Rodents Of Unusual Size – January

Back at the tail end of 2016 I found myself looking at my Skaven collection and wondering what to do with them. I’d loved the ratmen for a very long time, indeed the first miniature I ever owned was a skaven given to me by a friend when I was just a nipper, and my verminous host was long overdue for paint. Indeed, inspired by dreams of Skavenblight’s dominance I bought another friend’s army when she decided to get rid of it and added a whole new mountain of grey plastic to the one I’d already accrued myself. Now the thought of actually climbing that mountain appeared beyond my capabilities, it was just so vast a task that I found myself doubting I was up to the challenge. Enter “The Year of the Rat”.

ancient_ratman - Convert Or Die

My challenge to myself was simple – every month of 2017 I would finish something for my Skaven collection, no matter how small or insignificant. Some months it was indeed next to nothing, others I managed to churn out a reasonably sized host, but no matter the result the ball kept rolling, the army kept growing and I started to believe that I could do this, that someday I would be general to a rat army not a shameful, unpainted blob. By the time 2017 rolled to a close I didn’t want it to end, and I feared that without this goal to keep things rolling my Skaven would soon stall. Of course the answer had to be – why stop at all? In spite of the progress I’d made there are still plenty of unpainted rats waiting for attention. I may not have reached the summit of that unpainted mountain in 2017 but I’d crossed the foothills, now it’s time to shoulder my metaphorical pack once more and make for the summit.

Skaven Convert Or Die (2)

At the same time as I was making the decision to forge onwards with my rats Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box blogged about Painting Decemb-uary, a hobby challenge which takes some effort to say and is damn near impossible to spell. Essentially the idea is to make use of the Christmas/New Year holiday and, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, the darkness of midwinter that keeps us indoors anyway, to paint something big. Whilst some hobbyists are naturally drawn to the big, impressive kits and struggle to finish a single foot-soldier others – and I count myself amongst their number – can paint infantrymen until the cows come home but fly into a panic at the sight of anything larger than a dreadnaught. Azazel’s challenge to us was to tackle those centrepiece models that we otherwise cower from, and I knew just the one I wanted to take on; the Screaming Bell.

If I had my time again one thing I’d definitely do differently is the building of this kit. I bought it fully assembled and, somewhat foolishly, thought that meant the job was partway done already. Heed my advice if you’re planning a screaming bell of your own because this proved to be a real error and an unmitigated headache. By trying to paint the model fully assembled (bar the grey seer himself who’d broken off along the way) I found myself struggling with numerous sections which proved next to impossible to reach with a paintbrush. Worse the open appearance of the model means that rather than being hidden these awkward corners are displayed for all to see, making getting in to fix them was even more imperative, if no less difficult. Hopefully my perseverance paid off although I’m still dreading the (highly likely) possibility that one of you will spot a section I’ve missed. If you do feel free to hoist me by my own habit of encouraging conversation on this blog and draw my attention to my error in the comment’s box. I’ll even thank you (albeit through gritted teeth…)

Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (17)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (1)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (8)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (7)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (6)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (4)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (15)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (14)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (12)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (10)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (2)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (3)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (5)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (11)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (13)Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (16)

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.

Skaven Screaming Bell Convert Or Die (9)

Once again my thanks to Azazel for setting up this challenge and giving me the push to get this model finished. If you’re not already familiar with his blog I really do recommend you take a look, both for the quality of his own work and to see the creative output of everyone else who joined in with Painting Decemb-uary.

18 responses to “Rodents Of Unusual Size – January

  • Alex

    Nicely done mate – especially given the challenge of painting something already built. I can tell that the back of the bell was a bugger to get at, but you’ve done a great job of getting in there and the whole thing looks great! A worthy machine for the horde of 2017… will 2018 also be a year of the rat? I certainly hope so!

    • Wudugast

      The back of the bell was a headache like no other I can tell you. It’s quite a clever piece of design, it actually moves slightly (indeed if you changed the chain leading to the rat ogre it could move quite a lot). Lovely effect on a model but trying to paint it like that – much futile rage was expended I can tell you!

      As for 2018 being another year of the rat that’s the plan, add something every month and maybe by the end the mountain of grey plastic will have diminished enough that I can see over it…

  • imperialrebelork

    Very, very nice work Mr WuDu. I’ve never really seen an SB up close before so not only was scrutinising the paint work but also checked out all the details. Are the ropes/rigging plastic or did you add them? It’s a great model actually. Full of movement and character. The paint work is exceptional. I like the work you’ve done on the wheels and timber. Well done on getting it done in time man. Also, love the group shots. It really is an impressive horde. Bloody love that dirty yellow.

    • Wudugast

      You know, every time I walk into the room where my miniatures are displayed I think “Damn, changing to a yellow scheme for my skaven was such a good idea”. Don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

      As for the bell it’s a nice model isn’t it? I’ve aspired to one from the moment it was released so I’m glad I finally got round to it. And yes, it’s 100% original, including the ropes and rigging, no conversions here (what do you think this is – a blog about conversions?!) :-p

  • novafix

    Always got a soft spot for the Rat folk. Nice work

  • Alexis West

    Particularly impressive work on the ropes. Even being familiar with the kit, I was uncertain for a while if those were the original plastic, or had been re-done with twine or something.

    • Wudugast

      Thanks very much 😀 They were pretty straightforward actually (he said modestly!) – base coat of Karak Stone, wash with Agrax Earthshade then a drybrush with Praxeti White. As with the rest of the kit it was a bit of a fiddle getting to some of the ropes so it’s really nice to get such positive feedback on them.

  • 5 on Friday: 02/02/18 – No Rerolls

    […] Rodents Of Unusual Size – January @ Convert or Die – It’s always nice to see someone who loves the Skaven.  They really are the most fun of Warhammer armies.  It’s also always a brave move to post your earliest painted models, so I’ve got to applaud the author for that, too.  It’s always great to see how far people have come in their painting and I must say that the author’s Skaven army is just gorgeous. […]

  • Painting Decemb-uary 2017-18: Part 6 – The Final Round-Up! | Azazel's Bitz Box.

    […] Wudugast from Convert or Die completed his Skaven Screaming Bell. […]

  • imperialrebelork

    I have a question for you and a proposal/request

    I’ll start with the proposal/request.

    It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of your yellow skaven army. They’re the best I’ve seen.

    How would you feel about expanding it across the ocean? By that I mean me building more recruits but maybe for a different regiment within the same army. You, being supreme commander can choose the name for it.

    My question is. What pint formula did you use as I’d love to do the same so that they can all tie in together.

    I don’t have many rats at this stage. Maybe 20 but I’d like to get some more soon-ish.

    I’d be honoured if you would let me/them join your Ratty Mass.


    • Wudugast

      What a compliment – yes, I’d be well up for some cross-over here! 😀 Indeed this ties in nicely to my ideas about my skaven, which I see as nomadic, constantly carving out new burrows by which to move around the world. Your rats could be a breakaway group carrying out some mission on behalf of the clan/plotting inevitable betrayal.

      I’m away from home at the moment but as soon as I’m back I’ll sort you out with my painting recipes and all the background I’ve come up with so far and we can start bouncing some ideas around 🙂

      • imperialrebelork

        Sweeeeeet! Or should that be Sqeeeeeeaaak?!!! I counted mine and I have twenty but they’re all spear wielding rodents. I’ve just bought a warlord to lead them and I wouldn’t mind getting a couple of those Rat Ogres too but that’ll be it for this little nomadic brood. Any back story ideas you want to share would be ace too as you’re a bloody wordsmith. I’m excited!! Haha 👍🏽 Here’s my email if you want to send me the recipe there if you don’t do a post.

      • Wudugast

        Here we go, the recipes for all the basic colours in my Skaven army.
        Yellow cloth: Base coat of Averland Sunset. Wash with Agrax Earthshade. Highlight with Averland Sunset. Further highlight with Yriel Yellow.
        Fur: Basecoat of Rhinox Hide. Highlight with Mournfang Brown. Then I was highlighting with a 50/50 mix of Mournfang Brown and Skrag Brown. I’m trying to mix things up with a few different fur colours though, so expect more white rats, black rats, grey rats and so on in the future.
        For the light brown cloth: Basecoat with Karak Stone. Wash with Agrax Earthshade. Highlight with Rakarth Flesh.
        For the tails: Basecoat with Bugman’s Glow. The wash stripes of the tail with either Carroburg Crimson or Druchii Violet (leave some patches with no wash at all). Then once that’s dry wash with Reikland Fleshshade. Then (lightly) drybrush with Kislev Flesh on the tip.

        At some point I’m going to do a tutorial for this as people keep asking about it (which is extremely gratifying).

        As for the backstory it’s all rather sketchy at the moment. I see them as having an element of fallen nobility to them; that they were once a powerful clan which has been brought low (and is constantly scheming to try and return to their former supremacy – with mixed results of course). I always really liked the human/rat cross-over that existed in Warhammer, the idea that the first Skaven were humans tainted by chaos, that the Skaven had human agents, that people were abducted by the skaven as more than just slaves or food but as wererats returning to their foul kin. And of course there was the Dreaded 13th Spell that could turn whole units of troops into Skaven in the game. It was all very Lovecraftian and so I’ve always liked the idea that many of my clan were once human nobles, tainted and corrupted by the Skaven living beneath their floors and within their walls. Over time the humans came to hybridise with the rats, bedding rat wives, worshipping the Horned Rat in underground fanes, devouring human flesh in cannibalistic feasts, even casting off their human skins and walking the night in rat form.
        Stick the two ideas together and we find ourselves with a clan who’s influence was once bought through the power of their human puppets. Whilst the human princes could maintain the charade to a reasonable degree they were able to manipulate events to assist their rat kin. Doors were left unlocked, guard patrols reassigned, investigations silenced, food and artefacts were redirected into the dungeons and never seen again, and so the power of the rats below continued to grow. However the greater the influence the skaven had over their human proxies the less those humans were able to hide their true forms. More and more young princes were born hunched and deformed, unnaturally hairy, with twisted faces, clawed hands, mad eyes and high pitched, squealing voices. Those who were most twisted were sent below to join their cousins in the warrens but even those who remained at the surface were soon shunned by their peers and feared by their underlings. Their city fell into disrepair, other nobles avoided them, they lost their influence at court and, as their glory faded, so too did that of the skaven clan from whom they had grown indistinguishable. Without the resources supplied by their human agents they were unable to maintain their underground conquests and soon began to lose their former holdings to aggressive neighbours and slave revolts.

        Thirdly I see my rats as being quite nomadic, always on the move in the Under Empire. Their hub is still the decaying human city from which they first emerged but they send groups of their warriors and agents all over the world in pursuit of their schemes. This part I think ties in quite nicely as your rats will be on the opposite side of the world both physically and in the backstory. I’m seeing your sub-group as being sent off on a mission of some kind (exactly what is up to you, they’re your army after all). Naturally I expect to be betrayed and stabbed in the back at your earliest convenience…

      • imperialrebelork

        Wow an excellent, excellent reply! I have copied and pasted it for my reference later.

        I was thinking the same for my little nest of vermin. An exoeditionary force of some kind but, yes, a small mission with a big outcome maybe? Hmmm. I’ll put my thinking cap on but I love all the fluff. We could try and recruit others into the fold. Al;l using the same recipe for painting. What do you think?

Speak, damn you!

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