The Year Of The Rat – December

And so, as the lights go down on 2017, it’s time for a final update on the progress of my Skaven army. Roughly a year ago I made a promise, to add something to my Skaven army every single month in 2017 – even if it was only a lone clanrat. For too long my dreamed-of verminous horde was nothing more than unpainted, unlovely grey plastic. At times I would pick up a model or two and get painting but the scale of the task was too great and time and again they were set aside in favour of more immediate projects, or the next idea to captive my feverish imagination. By setting a modest target however I kept the ball rolling, I forced myself to keep picking up those rats and stopped the motivation from guttering out. Of course some months I managed more than others (turning out just a single model in November, compared with a rather more inspiring 14 In July) but all in all it’s been enough to transform my Skaven collection from this…

Skaven Convert Or Die (1)

…to this…

Skaven Convert Or Die (3)Skaven Convert Or Die (2)

In old Warhammer money that’s a tidy little army of 1151 points. I’m afraid I’m still behind the times with Age of Sigmar so I’m not sure what it tallies up to nowadays but it looks good to my eye anyway.

Indeed so pleased am I by the success of this little project that I’ve decided to do it all again next year (albeit under a new title – “The Second Year of the Rat” would sound a bit silly and, as keeps being pointed out to me, this wasn’t the year of the rat anyway). However before we get onto that let’s take a look at what I’ve managed to add this month.

I decided to make December all about finishing squads (or at least bringing them up to fighting strength – despite the fact that I’m highly unlikely to play any games with them any time soon). Most in need of bolstering were the stormvermin who gained a banner last month but still needed a Fangleader…

Skaven Convert Or Die (7)Skaven Convert Or Die (10)

…and a musician.

Skaven Convert Or Die (8)Skaven Convert Or Die (9)Skaven Convert Or Die (6)

With the squad’s commanders suitably bolstered the whole pack is ready for action.

Skaven Convert Or Die (22)

That done I turned my attention to the hulking rat ogres that act as the muscle for the army. In my opinion these are some of the ugliest models still in the GW range (against stiff competition from the likes of the zombies and the Khorne berserkers). The best I could hope to do was turn their ugliness to my advantage and try to create something in keeping with the hideous lab-experiments that the Skaven use as shock troops. After all if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, and if you can’t make something less ugly try making it more ugly.Skaven Convert Or Die (23)

Two heads are better than one and all that.

Skaven Convert Or Die (21)

Skaven Convert Or Die (17)Skaven Convert Or Die (18)Skaven Convert Or Die (19)Skaven Convert Or Die (20)Skaven Convert Or Die (16)Skaven Convert Or Die (15)

Back in May I added a warpfire thrower to support one of my clanrat squads so, in the interests of preventing any inter-squad jealousy boiling over in vicious backstabbing, I decided it was about time I added a poison-wind mortar to accompany the other.

Skaven Convert Or Die (13)Skaven Convert Or Die (12)Skaven Convert Or Die (11)Skaven Convert Or Die (14)

That may be all the finished models for this year but there’s still plenty to come for my verminous horde. Lurching its way onto my painting desk comes a rather bigger model than I usually tackle, the wonderfully ramshackle screaming bell. This one’s been waiting for a coat of paint for a while and, thanks to Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box its time has come at last.

In order to encourage his fellow hobbyists to tackle those bigger, centre-piece kits that tend to get pushed to the back of the shelf (something I’m extremely guilty of) in favour of smaller and easier to completely infantry models, Azazel has inaugurated Decemb-uary. The aim of the exercise – simply to get a big model painted up between the start of December and the end of January. As it stands the bell still has a fair way to go but the early layers and down, the first washes are applied and the whole crumbling edifice is slowly rolling in the right direction.

Skaven Convert Or Die (4)Skaven Convert Or Die (5)

Whilst the bell itself still needs a lot more work before it can be called complete the grey seer that rides on it is pretty close to being finished (unless of course someone points out a glaring flaw that I’ve overlooked).

Grey Seer WIP Convert Or Die

Beyond that I’m planning to paint up a warlord to replace Queek at the head of the army, the battle standard bearer I showed back in July, a few ramshackle warmachines and, of course, lots and lots of clanrats. Roll on 2018!

13 responses to “The Year Of The Rat – December

  • bigbossredskullz

    Stellar effort and very cool seeing it all come together now 🙂

  • Alex

    Awesome project mate – would love to have my undead cross blades with these rat-men one day!

  • imperialrebelork

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed observing the progress on your rat project man. I’m in love with the yellow that you’ve gone with, almost to the point of obsessed with it haha. The horde looks fantastic, it really does. Thanks to your approach on this project I’m considering doing the same. I have several large projects that are kind of daunting but using your “year of the rat tactic” might just work for me. Good luck with Decemb-uary too mate!

    • Wudugast

      Cheers mate 🙂 I highly recommend the ‘year of the rat’ tactic for big projects like this – if I hadn’t done things this way I doubt I’d have added much at all to my Skaven. Go for it I say – Christmas 2018 might seem a long way just now but it’ll come round soon enough and that daunting heap of models will all be finished 😀

  • Azazel

    Nice collection of ratmans built up over the course of the year. Perhaps I should use your idea to try the same next year to help me build up one of the armies I’ve started up – but struggled with for awhile now. Dwarves perhaps? Gondor? Undead? Moria Goblins?

    • Wudugast

      Well like I say I really can’t recommend it highly enough. I find I never just paint one model, knowing that I need to get something done for the month inspires me to get started but once I’m started I get inspired to paint another, to finish a squad, to add a hero and so on. But because in some corner of my head I still think I’m only painting one thing it doesn’t overwhelm me 🙂 Good luck if you do decide to give it a bash (and of course seeing someone else doing the same should help keep me inspired so it’s a win-win for me!)

  • FirBholg

    Rattus annus secundus? Probably not 😉

    Now that is an army! Stormvermin are looking great, I think you di£ a good job making the most out of the rat ogres (seriously makes me wonder if GW will do a new kit for them st some point – it’s still something that lies primarily within GW’s IP, I feel, and each of the previous versions has had a very different aesthetic). I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with the Screaming Bell, too!

    Gonna see how 2018 goes in terms of hobby I may need to copy your idea too!

  • Painting Decemb-uary 2017-18: Part 3 | Azazel's Bitz Box.

    […] from Convert or Die has been working on a Skaven Screaming Bell as a worthy cap to his Year of the Rat project. No […]

  • Painting Decemb-uary 2017-18: Part 4 | Azazel's Bitz Box.

    […] from Convert or Die has been working on a Skaven Screaming Bell as a worthy cap to his Year of the Rat […]

  • Rodents Of Unusual Size – January | Convert or Die

    […] Of course the completion of such an imposing centre-piece model is a fine excuse for another group shot, even if it is only a month since the last one. […]

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