Back at the tail end of 2016 I promised so add at least one new model to my Skaven collection every month in 2017. Last month I managed just two clanrats (which means, if I keep painting at the current rate, I should get the army finished at roughly the same time as the Horus Heresy actually happens…). This month however I’ve managed to add a whole squad of rats to my army!*
*wadyamean it’s not as impressive as I made it sound? Why are you always so mean to me?!
Fair enough it’s not the largest squad, nor is it made up of the largest models, but the undead have been keeping me busy (not to mention preparing for the Chapel, plus another little project to be revealed next week…).
And yes, I know it isn’t really the year of the rat. But it is for me!
It’s almost the end of January – time to come good on my claim that I would add something to my Skaven army every month this year. Not a huge contribution this month (in fact it’s a meagre two clanrats) – blame the undead, Tzeentch and the Chapel for keeping me busy!
Before 2016 was out I knew I wanted to get all my old red clanrats repainted in their stylish new yellow robes. I have big plans for the rats in 2017 so putting all the old models to bed before the end of the year felt like a nice way to set things up.
Alongside the clanrats the only other old model still to be reworked was this devious-looking Warlock Engineer.n early conversion, but still one I’m rather proud of – who knows what duplicitous schemes he’ll be able to realise with those arcane gubbins strapped to his back?
Anyway, that’s it for new models in 2016 (accepting of course that none of these models are strictly speaking new anyway). Before this turbulent year is out however there’s just time for a recap of the past twelve months so watch out for that soon. Until then, as ever, your comments and feedback are much appreciated.
So with all the Chaos lunging off my painting desk and now talk of Orks waiting just round the corner you couldn’t be blamed for worrying about the whereabouts of my Skaven hordes. Fear not however – the vermin continue to emerge from their fetid warrens, one little rat at a time…
Like a skaven itself my collection of man-sized rats progresses in fits and starts; bursts of frenetic activity followed by pauses of tail-twitching uncertainty. Indeed this was the reason behind the title for this series of blogs (actually who am I kidding? The whole thing was an excuse to make a pun on the word ‘rat’). Unlike, I suspect, the majority of people tackling a horde army like the Skaven, I prefer not to batch paint models. Few things strike me as more dreadful and tedious as spending an evening painting the boots on forty orks. To me every model is a character and should be painted as such, and although this doesn’t result in the overnight appearance of huge regiments I find the results when they eventually are completed to be more pleasing.
Anyway, let’s take a look at the latest additions.
With this one I tried adding a lump of warpstone to the base. I’m not entirely convinced that it works that well but I’ll probably try a few more and see if the effect is improved by spreading it around the unit a little.
I’ve also been working on updating a few of the older (red) skaven to the new colour scheme. Let’s take a look at some ‘before and after’s. Some of the ‘before’ images are less than brilliant photographically but there’s not much I can do about that now!
So there we have it Man-Things! As usual feedback is welcome so if you want to provide some obsequious high-pitched praise followed by vicious backstabbing feel free to do so in the comments box below.
So all this talk of Warhammer lately has taken me back to my Skaven, if only in a fairly small way. Having painted my first clanrat in at least a couple of years I found myself facing something of a crisis. I’ve recently bought a bunch of Skaven from two different friends, adding up to an enormous heap of partly painted plastic and sprues. The trouble is I realised I’m not particularly enamoured with my chosen colour scheme. Partly it’s that red tends to blend in with brown, making for a homogenous mass when viewed from a distance. Partly it’s that I’ve already used red for my Space Marines, and intend to use it again when I get around to painting some Skitarii and Vampire Counts. Thirdly red is the colour of Clan Mors and as a result painting one’s own Skaven red and then claiming they’re part of a different clan is rather like painting your Space Marines blue and gold and saying they’re not Ultramarines (or red and saying they’re not Blood Angels…).That leaves me with three options.
- Accept the situation as it is. Red’s not such a bad colour after all. Obviously that requires far too much emotional maturity for me to even contemplate so we move on to…
- Think of them as Clan Mors. Now I’ve got no real beef with Mors any more than I dislike the Ultramarines. I even painted Queek Headtaker a few years ago (and if I ever work out where that model has ended up I’ll show you). However they’re still very much someone else’s creation and, like the aforementioned Ultramarines, not one I’ve ever found that gripping. They may be the largest and most powerful of the warlord clans but they’re also a little dull and my rats are no-one’s lackeys! Next!
- Change the colour scheme. As it stands I’ve only painted 14 rats*. Sitting in a cardboard box in the corner of the room however are roughly a hundred more, as yet clad in nothing but bare plastic. If I’m going to go through the work of changing the colour scheme now is the time to do it.
*ish – there’s a few, like Queek, that I can’t lay my hands on.
Faced with choosing a new colour scheme I weighed my options, looking for something that would stand out, whilst still looking suitably filthy and ragged, and hadn’t already been used extensively elsewhere. Cutting a long story short I started to become drawn to the yellow Skaven which appear throughout Age of Sigmar’s Pestilens Battletome.
Fighting censorship – used without permission (naturally!)
A bit more research revealed that yellow is also the colour of Clans Krizzor (beast-trappers and –moulders of some repute) and Skurvy (pirates – naturally) which gives me a few ideas when it comes to thinking up a background for my own clan. The question was though – would it work? Time to paint up a couple of test rats. Here’s the first of them.
And here’s the second.
And shoulder to shoulder with one of the red originals.What do you think (beyond that I need to improve on painting yellow – this being my first real outing with the colour)? At the moment I’m pretty pleased with these results but it’s not too late to speak out if you wildly disagree (better now than in 100 rat’s time – especially if I find myself agreeing with you!)
Anyway, I also thought I’d take the opportunity to have a play with the new Waystone Green technical paint Games Workshop released a couple of weeks ago. So far I’ve mostly seen it used to paint Eldar spirit stones (and this is very much what GW has been pushing it for) but I wondered if it would make for suitable looking warpstone as well. Following the guide detailed on the GW blog here’s the part of the warpstone core from the warp-lightning canon. At this point I’d given it a single coat of Fulgurite Copper, followed by a single coat of Waystone Green.Passable I reckon but not quite there yet. And with most of the work done in mere moments (probably about a minute of actual painting interspersed with twenty minutes or so drying) I reckoned I could afford a little more time on it. Here it is again following a quite highlight with Scorpion Green (still out of an old hexagonal pot I’m afraid – no idea what the kids call this stuff nowadays).
I think it’s looking pretty good, especially when you consider that the surrounding area is still mostly black primer, but as usual if you have any thoughts let’s hear them.
Hard though it is for me to believe, today this blog is one year old. To celebrate I thought I’d upload a picture of this truly ancient ‘ratman’ which was given to me as a present by a friend of mine when I was aged about twelve (at a guess) and which started my love of miniatures. In spite of a few lengthy hiatuses down the years I’m still messing around with tiny warriors nearly two decades on so, although I may have long ago lost touch long ago with the original owner and painter of this model, it only seems fair to say “Cheers David, wherever you are now”.
I didn’t know it at the time but this ‘ratman’ (with his rather natty shield design, classic nineties goblin-green base and ‘warhammer’) was, or would become, part of a race of skittish, conniving, self-interested cowards known as the Skaven. These treacherous vermin would come back to me years later when their most recent army book was released (ancient history for a lot of you as well I’m sure – let me get my pipe and slippers). Straight away I was grabbed by them, with their endless ranks of scruffy, bloodthirsty infantry with rusty weapons and weird, ramshackle war-machines (actually does this not sound rather similar to my Ork and Chaos armies…). I bought the army book the week it was released (pretty rare for me now and even more so back then) and launched myself into the start of a Skaven army. Seasoned readers may have guessed by the lack of any ratmen in previous posts that this never really took off as I abandoned the Horned Rat (and the Old World altogether) to instead launch a Black Crusade in the far future. However I’ve not been immune to all the End Times’ related excitement that’s drawing some much needed attention to Warhammer at the moment and thought this would be a good time to dust off my old Skaven and give them a moment in the limelight.
Here’s the Clawleader, complete with a scavenged Dwarf shield as a trophy. It’s not easy to make out but there’s also some broken dwarf symbols decorating his base. I like the idea of Skaven and Dwarves as natural enemies (far more so than uppity High Elves) and using a few Dwarf bits to spice up some of the rats seemed an obvious way to show this and add a little narrative to the units.
And here’s the rest of the scabrous clan so far.
I made this Skaven Slave as an experiment before attempting to build a full squad. As a model I’m rather pleased with it but ultimately it was a lot of work to convert and as the rules called for at least another 19 I was understandably put off. Nice though a proper swarm of them would look it won’t be happening any time soon but I’m sure he can skulk along at the back of the clanrat pack.
As I mentioned one of my favourite elements of the Skaven army are the ramshackle war-machines and crazy inventions, especially the weapon’s teams that accompany the swarms of clanrats. Reading the description of the Doomflayer in the army book I knew I wanted one – as I said I think of the Skaven as being petty much constantly at war with the Dwarves (when not cooking up some other nefarious scheme that calls for them to make one of their periodic invasions of the surface world). A Doomflayer, I reckoned, would be the perfect thing for driving the beard-things out of their halls. Back then however there wasn’t an official model available so, like any twitchy warlock engineer being prodded towards the battlelines by a few angry stormvermin I had to come up with something inventive.
This shot shows a little detail I’m still rather proud of, a little vat of warpstone which – presumably – does something to fire the murderous engines turning below.
The failing of the Skaven, for me, is the difficulty in converting the models. Although the clanrats are great, and fit together very nicely to make of make large swarms of individually unique vermin, they don’t convert easily into other units – nor do they cross pollinate well with many of the other ranges and armies available. Thus as I became increasingly interested in converting miniatures as well as painting them my interest in the Skaven waned. One final project however, and probably the one I enjoyed the most, was this Warlock Engineer.
Tempting though it is (and for a ‘hobby butterfly’ like myself it is very tempting) I’m not planning to restart my Skaven at the moment, as there are far too many other projects on the go (more on those soon I hope). However I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen and maybe (don’t hold your breath) once I’ve cleared my feet a little I’ll find the time to paint up a few more treacherous little rats (there’s still the contents of Island of Blood gathering dust under my bed for one thing). In the meantime comments, criticisms, cunning schemes or a little recreational backstabbing are always welcome in the comments box below.