One of the things I enjoy most about building miniatures for this army is coming up with the story behind my characters and units. One of the first regiments I had built was a block of skeletons, and I painted their wraith champion to match the shield decals. This was the first unit and character I made for my undead army. You can see the history of the army in my post "The Legion of the Infernal Skull: A (not so) Brief History."
In life Korak was a necromancer known for preying on villagers for his grizzly experiments. Eventually, the village elders discovered his lair and slew him, entombing Korak's body in a barrow mound protected powerful spells. The necromancer lord, Nieman Kimmel, discovered Korak’s tomb and released him to serve as his undead lieutenant. Korak returned to the village where he was defeated, and murdered everyone. As The Crimson Reapers, they are now eternally enslaved to Korak and do the wraith’s foul bidding.
Korak the Grim and The Crimson Reapers remains one of my favorite units to this day. I have wanted to update Korak's model for the longest time and now, after a decade of patience and planning, I have finally done it.
This specific conversion has been in the works for the better part of a year. I had been waiting for an appropriate wraith-like miniature to use as the base model, something more imposing than the classic GW wraiths. The new plastic wraith, while larger, isn't really my style of wraith and it's too open on the bottom. I considered models like the Changeling (Chaos Deamons), and the Watcher (Lantern wraith from Kingdom Death), but they didn't fit the bill.
The corpsemaster from the Corpse Cart had some really nice sleeves (and plenty of spare options in the kit). I had used them to make a Curse of Years spell counter, and I could imagine these as part of a larger build with more robes and a scythe. (Check out the post about how I made this counter here.)
I picked up the new plastic banshee and necromancer, and began experimenting with the different parts to kitbash a suitable wraith. Here you can see the banshee's skirt, with the top half of the corpsemaster, the necromancer's cape/ sleeves, and the elaborate scythe from the Empire Wizard kit, which seemed appropriate for a character wraith. These parts sat for well over a year. Every now and then I'd fit them together and consider the build, never quite happy with how it was shaping up.
Then I began working on the Mortis Engine, and this portion of the ethereal swarm jumped out at me:
It had the height I was looking for, and there was room for a skull to fit inside the hood. There was room to fit the sleeves that I wanted to use, and some of the ethereal tendrils would add an element that would tie it to the spectral wing I picked up an extra set of the spirits online, and got to work.
These are the parts that went into the conversion: The spirit, the sleeves from the corpsemaster, and a plastic skull.
I took the bit of ethereal smoke from the bottom of the wraith and added it as a trail behind the scythe.
I'll go into the conversion in more detail in part 2, but here's how everything turned out: