The Year of the Rat – May

With May drawing to a close it’s time for our by now familiar look back at the progress of my Skaven collection this month. For those who’re new to this the aim of the exercise is to add something, even if it’s only a single rat – although preferably more than that – to my Skaven every month of 2017.  For me the Skaven were the very beginning of my exploration of this hobby, the first miniature I ever owned was a ‘ratman’ given me by another boy at school, and for a long time I’ve planned the army of my dreams, a vast host of scabrous fur and rusty weapons. The enormity of the task tended to put me off however and for a long time my rats have been forced to wait, imprisoned on their plastic frames, plotting the moment that a coat of paint would be theirs. The thought of trying to paint all those models froze me with a force equal to the avarice that had driven me to collect them all in the first place. Then, over New Year 2016, it occurred to me that whilst painting the whole collection was a Herculean task painting a few rats each month was easy!

So far my instinct to tackle the project this way has been proven correct. Breaking it down into smaller chunks has made for a more achievable task, whilst the constant sense of progression has helped to maintain my enthusiasm. With that in mind let’s take a look at what I’ve managed to finish off this month.

First up we have a command unit for my second squad of clanrats (for those who’re keeping track these are the ones armed with close-combat weapons rather than spears).

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (1)

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (10)

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (2)

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (3)

Adding all the sigils to the banner was an adrenalin fuelled bout of heart-in-mouth freehand but I got there in the end.

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (7)

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (6)

Here’s the whole squad so far, bolstered by the arrival of their new leaders.

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (9)

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (8)

A couple of months ago the legendary Duncan Rhodes demonstrated how to paint an albino clanrat and, whilst re-watching the video, it struck me mixing up the fur and skin colours of my own rats would add to the ragtag appearance of the units.

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (5)

Skaven Clanrats Convert Or Die (4)

I’ve also finally finished off a warpfire thrower, the first weapon team to join the collection.

Warpfire Thrower Convert Or Die (1)

Warpfire Thrower Convert Or Die (2)

Last, but not least, we have this plague priest, ready to spread the Great Horned Rat’s foulest infections. At the moment he’s forced to scurry corpulently around unaided but, as soon as I get it finished, he’ll be able to ride in style atop a maddeningly toxic plague furnace.Plague Priest Convert Or Die (1)

Plague Priest Convert Or Die (4)

Plague Priest Convert Or Die (2)

Plague Priest Convert Or Die (3)

Plague Priest Convert Or Die (5)

9 responses to “The Year of the Rat – May

  • Alex

    Brilliant job mate – good shout on mixing the fur up a bit, and high fives on the banner! I have to note the beautiful warpstone/smoke effects too dude, that green is amazing with the yellow! Bravo!

    • Wudugast

      Thanks mate – I’m quite pleased with the idea of mixing in different fur colours now. Definitely want to add a few more white rats and I’m experimenting with some black rats as well. Should help to maintain visual interest across the squad, and keep things interesting for me painting them as well! 🙂

  • imperialrebelork

    Superb! I’m loving this project so much. I never paid the rat faction much notice until yours. I have a small pack of them to paint myself or slice them up for parts. The yellow is still one of my favourite thing about this army as it’s so unique. That plague priest is brilliant mate and well done on the freehand work too. Extreme sport at times be this hobby of yours and mine.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers mate – yeah, the adrenaline rush of trying to pull off some tricky bit of free-handing undoubtedly knocks skydiving into a cocked hat (he says, knowing full well that you couldn’t pay me to jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane).

      Yeah, the Skaven are a funny faction in some ways, they could so easily come across as just fluffy woodland creatures but somehow the addition of all the body-horror really elevates them into something wonderfully dark – like an evil reflection of kid’s TV.

      They’re also one of the few Warhammer races that doesn’t have a 40k analogue. Oh and they’re damn hard to convert easily! Unlike most of the other factions I really enjoy them just as they are, without needing to start cutting everything up.

      Any plans for what you might do with yours if you do decide to convert them?

      • imperialrebelork

        No plans as yet really. Well one, loose, idea was to have them as a rabid pack controlled by some evil Lord. If you like rats and a bit of horror I strongly suggest you read “Rats”, “Lair” and “Domain” by James Herbert. He is, in my opinion, the best horror writer. He takes. What could be, a rather cheesy (excuse the pun) idea and turns it into a series of books that, once you start, you can’t put down. I guarantee it will get under your skin and have you checking every dark corner of your house and rethink your trip into the underground train systems.

      • Wudugast

        Interesting – cheers for the tip, I’ll give those a look.

  • Azazel

    Quite a productive month! These guys look great. I particularly like the rust effect and the warpstone steam on the Warpfire Thrower.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers man – yeah, I’m actually really pleased with the warpstone smoke from the warpfire thrower, and it was ridiculously easy to do. I think we hear so much about Golden Daemon entrants sitting up all night, pouring thousands of hours into creating perfection that one almost feels it doesn’t count when an effect is easy, which of course is ridiculous. Basically I just painted the smoke light grey then gave it a couple of washes of green, one over most of the smoke and one on the deepest parts of the swirls. I suspect that part of the reason why I, and others, struggle with smoke effects on models is trying to overcomplicate them. The rust was nice and simple too, just a case of using sponge weathering but applying a lot more of it than I normally would – I reckon Skaven gear would be so encrusted with rust and filth as to be almost unusable.

      • Azazel

        I’m sure it’d be fine. Just pour another bucket of grease/oil onto it! I’ll have to remember that technique when I get around to painting some of the more modern models that have smoke/steam/etc effects as parts of the sculpt – cheers!

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