Today saw the new Skaven Verminlord model go up for pre-order as part of the next phase of the Warhammer End Times, so I’ll be continuing my occasional series of speculations on what I’d do with the kit if time and money allowed.
Obviously as a Skaven fan I’m very curious about what new models the verminous masses will be getting as part of the great plan to bring civilisation to its knees (and stealing the plastic intended for Elf models was cunning, rat-servants, yes-yes!). However I’m not quite ready to retreat back to my underground nest and start work on a diabolical, if poorly designed, weapon of mass(self)-destruction. For the moment my evil plotting remains very much focussed on the Dark Millennium, and specifically the Ruinous Powers. The irony is that many people, myself included, have been moaning on about the lack of decent (official) models for the Great Daemons for ages. The Great Unclean One is basically the best of a bad bunch, Kairos Fateweaver is fairly solid (but doesn’t look that easy to convert into a single headed Lord of Change), the Forgeworld models are pretty good but horribly expensive and the rest are various shades of naff, through to just plain awful. Now I’m sure this is a rant you’ve heard before, many, many times, but try to stick with me because the twist is only just revealing itself as the fifth Chaos god plays his hand.
The Great Horned Rat may lurk in the shadow of the Four but he’s still the one who gets a plastic Greater Daemon (because by any other name that’s exactly what the Verminlord is) ahead of the rest.
The more I look at the Verminlord the more its Pan-ish qualities reveal themselves. With those sweeping horns, goat-like face and hooves it wouldn’t look out of place at the head of an army of Beastmen (minus the ratty tail perhaps). Obviously the armour and weapons are very obviously Skaven (all those runes scratched everywhere for one thing). Greenstuff over them however and replace the tabard and staff with those from the Tree Man Ancient and you have the makings of an untamed forest guardian, a Lord of the Woods that any wood elf would follow in these uncertain times for Athel Loren. I see the makings of a great ‘counts as’ Durthu – and one that sits a little better with my image of the wood elves than the official version. (Somewhere an elf player’s head just exploded. ‘They deny us new miniatures and then he suggests we make do with re-working a giant rat? Damn him and his pompous blog!’).
Another possibility, and much though I love the idea of a Wood Elf Forest King this one ties in more closely with my current projects, is the Keeper of Secrets. Of the official Greater Daemons the Slaaneshi model is arguably the worst (although there’s some stiff competition from the Bloodthirster). Why are its proportions so uncomfortably weird (and not in a good way)? How do those spindly legs carry it around? Who thought either of those heads were a good idea? Why is he doing some kind of weird gang signs? The mind boggles.
Already I’ve seen several people suggesting that this is the way forwards but making a Keeper of Secrets from this bad boy won’t be straightforward; the tail will have to go (or perhaps be turned into some kind of whip), he’s got two arms fewer than the official model and you’d need to find a sword from somewhere (that shouldn’t be too difficult). He’s also a bit on the hairy side for a Keeper of Secrets. And who painted the Warpseer blond? Really with those locks and muscles I can’t look at him without wanting to break out some 80’s power metal as this comparison shows (for those of your who’re uncertain the Skaven is the one on the left).
Anyway I should add I’m not likely to take this one on myself any time soon, as quite a few other projects are on my agenda for the coming months. However I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with – especially as quite a bit of creativity will be called for (compared to Ghurk Glott for instance, who makes a damn fine Great Unclean One straight out of the box).
All in all it’s making me start to wonder if Games Workshop are sneaking the plastic Greater Daemons out in disguise. We already have the Ghorgon which, with the addition of some wings and a suitably fearsome axe creates a highly impressive Bloodthirster (take a look at this one for instance). It makes you wonder if the next End Times release will include a giant bird man. Here’s hoping!
Disclaimer: None of these pictures are mine, credit for them belongs to their respective owners. Obviously. And whilst I’m about it I apologise for trying to get a cheap laugh out of the Kings of Metal by comparing them to a silly blond rat.