PBS1 Skeleton Horde: the archetypal plastic animated bone-men

There comes a time in every young scriveners life when he finds himself at a loss of what to do on a sunday afternoon in the mid-1980s. If you are one of these young fellows, then this article will hopefully guide you towards a fulfilling and constructive exercise that can easily be carried out with just a few simple items.

Firstly, travel on the Local Authority-sanctioned public transport of your choice to the nearest Video Rental Outlet.

SYT bus in red/brown/beige livery, circa 1980s, Doncaster route
The bus will look like this, and cost 2p for a journey from the Shire to Mordor AND BACK AGAIN

You will need to put your copy of Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings on your Betamax video cassette recorder. You will no doubt have to rewind it, because other people are ignorant.

Original box cover Lord of the Rings 1978 Ralph Bakshi
This is the VHS cover, which every sensible person knows is the inferior format.

Now, having arranged your home entertainment thusly:

boy and man watch betamax on tv
Back when the VCR was larger than the TV it served…

The intrepid pioneer should immediately raid the nearest ‘craft box’ (because there is no recycling yet) and construct a series of  elaborate temples , dungeons, oubliettes and fortresses out of toilet rolls and cereal boxes and whatever else one can scavenge. This will be your battlefield. Press play on your modern and efficient video cassette recorder, and adjust the tracking until you can make out some sort of image. Don’t worry too much if you can’t in fact see anything at all, because you will be listening to the soundtrack only.*

Now, with the stirring and epic musical stylings of Leonard Roseman ringing in your ears, reach for your enigmatically and impenetrably coded Citadel Miniatures Box set: PBS1** – Skeleton Horde and fetch the polystyrene cement…

John Blanche We are Legion artwork for Skeleton Horde box set
John Blanche’s ‘We Are Legion’. That tree looks a lot like the Feculent Gnarlmaw. Answers on the back of a postcard to why that skeleton is going scrumping in the back… or what for.
The definition of Horde is elastic in plastic. More of a gang or a team, IMO. Painted by Colin Dixon

Now wile away the rest of the afternoon in good wholesome play with your animated corpses. Rinse and repeat well into the 90s, or even into the Noughties (stupid, stupid term) and right up to the current day.

The current predilection amongst undead is for a more ghostly spectral appearance, and let us be clear, there is nothing wrong with that.


It is inevitable that some of the new NightHaunt models will drift on the ethereal breeze into the Lead Mountain, completely unnoticed by the Widow due to their phantasmic abilities (one hopes).

As an alternative, one could always reach for the larger, boxier,  ‘Skeleton Army’ instead.

The guy in the centre channels his best Jason and the Argonauts, but he’s going to get knackered by that chariot any minute now
The infantry are the same, but the chariot, horses, lances and bows are new additions.
Something of a skull theme going on here. Who makes these, undead seamstresses?

Sorting through the piles and mounds of the Mountain uncovered these fleshless (and surprisingly paintless) beauties, already assembled, and probably the last survivors of the countless boxes of Army and Horde purchased by this inconsistent necromancer.

The shields will stay black until a suitable scheme presents itself. Note the very useful shield bosses, only extant in this kit, but a far more efficient way to fill the centre of an old citadel shield than the usually cast on spike or hub.
The bone technique is mostly a re-iteration of the one used on the chest-plates of the marines here
Pensive skellington on the right, centre skellington is really pleased with himself.

For all that they are decades old, these are still remarkably good representations of skeletons, rare for being plastic and naked. (One other naked plastic set exists, from Wargames Factory, but they are increasingly rare themselves.) They do tend towards being a touch flashy, requiring some detailed clean-up, and being ancient, can often be a little fragile in places. They are however equally easy to fix with a dab of poly.

Ten men is a couple short for a Dragon Rampant unit, so this particular group will be serving in the bogs and swamps of their Fimir overlords, most likely led by this necromantic fellow, from Krakon Games. If more turn up, they will be added to the unit to make it suitable for something like Oathmark. Rumour has it that there may be some old metal models lurking in the deeper workings….

*Or you could just buy it on CD, or find it on youtube, IF YOU REALLY MUST.

**PBS1 – What could it mean? What arcane combination of letters did the ancients choose to hide behind this acronym? Who could know?

If you enjoy the content I generate, feel free to show your appreciation using the link below. It’s not actually coffee, but it might end up being. (Or I can upgrade WordPress and make this whole show more shiny.)

6 thoughts on “PBS1 Skeleton Horde: the archetypal plastic animated bone-men

  1. Great minis and post! Like your painting too.
    Have them myself and still I regard them as a greatest plastic skellies ever. They are easily customizable, proportionate and simply great.
    I had my first horde as a kid in age of 11 and till today they have honorable place on my gaming table. Thanks for the post.


  2. Pingback: Fiasco at Leeds 2018: A Convention appraisal. – Lead Mountain Widow

  3. Pingback: Fritz the Nazgul; Wargaming the 40th Anniversary of Ralph Bakshi’s Animated Lord of the Rings – Lead Mountain Widow

  4. Pingback: ROBIN at Nottingham: A Convention Appraisal – Lead Mountain Widow

  5. Pingback: Chillcon at Sheffield: A Convention Appraisal – Lead Mountain Widow

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.