Tag Archives: Skaven

Rat Race – October

Hear that rumbling, rushing, screaming sound – the sound of something hurtling towards you with terrible inevitability? That’s the sound of the end of month deadline to add something to my Skaven, racing out of nowhere and bearing down on me inescapably. With not a lot of year left ahead of my self-imposed deadline of seeing my Skaven army to completion by the end of 2019 I turned  my attention to the Doomwheel – perhaps the craziest of all the crazy contraptions employed by the ratmen – and finished it in time, although only by the skin of my teeth (with a few frantic late-night painting sessions to boost him over the finish line).

Before we look at the pictures allow me a moment to bitch about the kit which, although the finished model is great, is a real nightmare to assemble. It dates from an era when kits were becoming increasingly complex, and components need to go together in a very specific combination for it to work. On the other hand the parts aren’t numbered and the diagrams leave a lot open to interpretation. Add the fact that I decided to build and paint the entire thing this month and there were a few moments of teeth-gnashing, a bit of muttering and a whole lexicon of swearing before it was finished. That said it’s probably a good thing that I set myself a target and just knuckled down and cracked on with it, otherwise I’d probably never have finished it.

Anyway, enough moaning – it’s done and I’m rather pleased with the end results. As it’s a big kit I’ve used larger images than usual, give them a click and you’ll be able to see them full size (I’m always thinking about the health of your eyes you see!).

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Sadly the Warlock Engineer who sits at the controls is damn near impossible to photograph. I did put a fair amount of effort into him, and I think he’s looking good, but he’s really only visible in the hand so if you only see my miniatures via this blog you’ll have to use your imaginations! You can just about see him – and his rat “engine” – in here though.

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Suddenly realising that the banner needed to be painted, with mere hours left in the month, was a suitably hair-raising moment for Halloween! Luckily you can’t go wrong with a few Skaven sigils, and my freehand is just about up to coping with them (which is a relief as there’s the Battle Standard Bearer still to paint for next month).

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And with that one done we have just four models to go, and two months to paint them in. Onwards and upwards!


Squaddie September 2019

I’m not going to lie – this one is sheer self indulgence! September turned out to be a very productive month for me and I couldn’t resist acknowledging that with a post summarising everything I managed to paint. However, just in case this seemed too gratuitous, I decided to use Azazel’s latest monthly challenge as a thinly veiled excuse for a bit of back-patting. For those not in the know (assuming there actually are any hobbyists left who haven’t heard of this phenomenon) blogger Azazel runs a painting challenge each month and encourages anyone who’s interested to join in – the aim being to clear our collective backlogs of unpainted models. After all the purpose of these miniatures is to be painted, enjoyed, perhaps even played with if you’re so inclined. It’s not to sit around in boxes getting dusty, be that base-coated, under-coated, or even still on the sprue. Usually I try to use the challenge to push myself to get something done that I otherwise wouldn’t. This month however I seem to have gone completely mad on it! Let’s take a look a look shall we? This month’s subject was Squaddie September and – to quote the man himself – set out this definition for what counted;

“Obviously a “Squad” (a term I’ve chosen this month for alliteration’s sake) is often a military term, and often means a unit of about 10 or so individuals….Though in the interests of flexibility, inclusion and achievability, the “squad” size we’ll be using is a minimum of three models. This lets many of those boardgame units also qualify…Of course, not everyone is a gamer of any kind, so Hell, the models don’t even have to be a strict “unit” or squad. Figures from different forces, ranges, manufacturers. All good, as long as they fit together thematically…”

Obviously that gave me a lot to get my teeth into, and with heaps of models half-finished and waiting for attention I set about painting with abandon. Let’s take a look.

To start with I tried to focus my attention on my Necromunda gangs, of which I have several on the go – including two that I’d been failing to complete for quite some time. First off the block were the Ladykillers of House Escher. Like all my Necromunda projects I have plenty more ideas I’d like to explore but with these three warrior women joining the ranks my initial plan for the gang is finished at least 

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My Necromunda Chaos Cult was originally planned as a quick and easy project but once started it grew in unexpected directions (much like a Chaos spawn then). Once again I decided that this month would be a fine time to tie it down into something I was happy to call complete – for now at least.

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Not wanting to rest on my laurels I turned my attention to another of the Great Houses of Necromunda, the tech-geniuses of Van Saar. At the moment the project is still in it’s infancy but I plan to learn my lesson from the previous two and get the rest of the current crop of models finished up in the next few weeks.

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Turning my attention to the bigger picture of the 41st Millennium I added three new recruits to my Chaos Space Marine squad. My interest in this army has been reinvigorated since the release of the range of new models earlier in the year and I plan to get my teeth into them properly as soon as I’ve completed a few other outstanding projects.

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Continuing the chaos theme I also added a few newcomers to my horde of poxwalkers, bringing the total population of foul plague-zombies up to 28. My plan is to complete a swarm of 40 so I’m aiming to tackle a few more of these very, very soon…

Poxwalker ConvertOrDie Wudugast Group

Nor did my chaos focus end there. Turning my attention to the Mortal Realms I also rounded out my Blades of Khorne warband for AoS Skirmish, first adding a flesh hound and then completing the group with three bloodreavers. Its particularly auspicious, and completely co-incidental, that it took my eight posts to complete the warband – eight being the unholy number of Khorne – but I suspect that there will be plenty more attention focused on the Blood God’s hordes in time.

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Continuing my exploration of the Age of Sigmar I painted three squigs. I’ve been a fan of the Night Goblins for a long time and it took me a while to get used to seeing them in the Mortal Realms as opposed to the Old World of WHFB but, after too many nights peering out of my dank cave at the baleful light of the bad moon, I’m finding myself increasingly drawn to the reinvented Gloomspite Gits.

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However in case anyone fears I’ve lost touch with the Old World I’m still chipping away at my Skaven army and finally, after a lot of mumping and moaning, got the last of my Stormvermin painted. Anyone who’s been avoiding the blog for fear of my constant carping can come out of hiding now!

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And there we have it – not a bad month’s output by any means. Indeed by my count I managed to paint 35 models, more than 1 per day – something I once thought was quite beyond me. A big thanks once again to Azazel for running his challenge, I already have plenty of plans for this month (it’s all about Orks, Orcs, Orruks and anything that’s been neglected – if you’re thinking of giving it a shot yourself I strongly recommend it). Expect to see plenty of greenskins here in the coming weeks, not to mention the rest of the Van Saar and whatever else takes my fancy. Watch this space!


Rat Race – September

Sometimes it’s hard to be a Skaven, giving all your love to just one clan. This month on the other hand it hasn’t been so bad. Indeed things have actually been quite productive for the rats.  I’ve set myself the challenge of having the army done (in terms of currently owned models at least) by the end of the year and with quite a lot of ground to cover I decided it was time to get a wiggle on.

First up were the remaining Stormvermin for my second squad. The background fiction for Warhammer described how albino Stormvermin were used as bodyguards for the Grey Seers so I decided to paint this squad in that style. Truth be told I regretted it almost immediately and almost bottled out more  than once (only to be talked back into it by some of the readers of this blog). I still find pale fur to be a real nightmare to paint but now that they’re done I’m glad I stuck it out, it certainly looks striking (to my eye at least) and incorporates part of the lore that I was keen to include.

Objectively, these are nice enough models (certainly a huge improvement on the plague monks, which regular readers will be aware I hate with a truly Khorne-worthy passion) but truth be told I’m not a huge fan of either painting, or assembling them. They’re tricky models to put together, nothing quite seems to line up and (although this may make me unpopular in certain quarters it bears repeating) anyone who’s ever found themselves wondering why GW decided to move from old square-based Warhammer to new, round-based AoS has never tried to rank up a unit of Stormvermin (or ghouls, or beastmen, or pretty much anything else that wasn’t in a strictly two-dimensional pose).

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As well as these rank-and-file rats the squad also needed a musician…

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…and a standard bearer. Last night, when I was tired and trying to batter through getting this guy painted so I could get this post uploaded in the morning, I realised that I still hadn’t painted the design on his banner and I’d better come up with something toot sweet. Luckily the rune of the Grey Seers seemed like the obvious choice, given that these guys are the bodyguards of my Grey Seer and thankfully it’s fairly straightforward to paint as well (although not as gloriously simple as the rune of the Great Horned Rat which by this stage I could probably paint in my sleep). In a perfect world I would have made it a bit bigger but the folds in the cloth made it tricky enough as it was.

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Put them all together and here they are, this month’s recruits to the Skaven elite.

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With these done the squad is now complete (and naturally I’ll be counting at them as yet another submission to Azazel’s Squaddie September challenge!)

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I’ve certainly moaned a fair bit about painting Stormvermin over the last few years so readers may be as relieved as I am to hear that I’ve probably painted my last! Despite my claim back in June that I had a further 10 Stormvermin to paint, sorting out all the bits and getting everything assembled revealed only these 5 – plus some odds and ends which don’t quite add up to a single complete rat between them. I was quite sure that there were more when I inventoried them but it’s equally possible that I just miscounted. I’ll keep an eye out for the missing ones but given how challenging these have been to paint at times you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t look too hard. In the meantime I’m happy to call these two units of vermin elite complete. Here’s the whole swarm in all their glory; painful to work with, spiky to handle, tricky to paint, nightmarish to assemble and damn near impossible to rank up!

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That’s not all however. You may recall that last month a warlord appeared, presumably feeling it was now safe to do so. Of course the idea that he might be lording it over all the other rodents unopposed is quite intolerable so, as is the way with Skaven, another warlord has now showed up to make sure he doesn’t get everything his own way. This one first appeared in the Island of Blood starter set that accompanied the release of Warhammer 8th Edition (so quite a while ago then) and he’s been assembled and unpainted ever since. It’s been a long wait for him but today he can twitch his tail in pride at being finished at long last.

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And that’s still not all! By sitting up until the small hours last night I also managed to paint up a second hulking Stormfiend. I’m really enjoying painting these – I must admit I didn’t really appreciate them when they were first released but they’ve really grown on me. Bit tired now mind but I really wanted to include him in this post rather than ending up leaving him for another month.

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And here he is next to his equally ugly and fearsome squad-brother. Just one more to go to complete the squad.

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And even that wasn’t quite enough. I also turned my attention back to a couple of models I painted a while ago, the Plague Furnace and the Screaming Bell. I bought both models second-hand and, being more familiar with 40k, in which vehicles rarely come with bases, I didn’t spot that their bases were missing – or even that they should be mounted on a base of some kind. It wasn’t the biggest job but I’ve been putting it off – but riding a wave of verminous productivity I finally got the finger out and finished them at last.

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Whew! Not a bad month’s progress if I may say so myself, and I’m pleased to say I’m back on target for getting the army wrapped up. On the other hand there’s not much left that isn’t either a)big, b)complicated or c)both so I’ll not be able to hide behind painting a few rank and file and putting off the tricky jobs until next month (and what could be more in character for a Skaven than hiding behind the rank and file?). The end is in sight though so hopefully all I need to do is ride that wave to the finish line. Here goes!


Rat Race – August

As another month draws to a close it’s time for an update on the progress of my Skaven army. Two new models came scampering in this month (although in the case of this first miniature perhaps it would be more accurate to say lumbering). Each is important to the overall collection and called for a little extra time and attention.

First of all we have the first of my stormfiends, the giant rat-ogre variants which joined the range during the End Times. As well as being big enough to look like a centre piece in its own right this also served as a test model for the rest of its squad. At the moment I have two more still to build, plus bits of a forth which I originally acquired somewhere along the line to convert into a bonebreaker (the rat ogre steeds used by particularly pompous and powerful warlords). It’s likely that this plan will be scrapped however (sometimes a conversion just doesn’t come together, no matter what you do) so if I can find enough bits I’ll turn it back into another stormfiend instead. Watch this space I suppose.

In the meantime however this big lad is ready for action.

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Until I got him assembled I hadn’t realised quite how big these guys are either, they really tower over the rat ogres as this size comparison demonstrates.

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Indeed I reckon he’s even big enough to count as a last minute entrant to the Awesome August community challenge being run by Azazel (something which certainly helped to focus my attentions on getting him done).

Anyway, as mentioned above he’s not the only new recruit for this month. I also put in the time to get this warlord finished up (which actually makes him the first warlord to join the army – better late than never eh!).

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As well as working on these two I also started on the remaining stormvermin so with luck they’ll be ready by this time next month (perhaps Azazel’s next challenge “Squaddie September” will help me out there). Indeed, with only four months left to go before my self-imposed deadline to complete the army and quite a few models still to paint I’d better get a wiggle on!


Rat Race – July

It’s time once again for an update on the progress of my Skaven army. This month inspired by Azazel’s Jewel of July challenge I decided to tackle something big and surprised myself by getting the plagueclaw catapult built and painted in just over a week.

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For once I actually remembered not to glue down every potential moving part so the catapult retained a degree of possibility. Then I added the crew and discovered that once they were in place the degree of available movement was only about a millimetre. Oh well…

The crew themselves, along with the cables, warpstone and hideous ammunition, added a much needed splash of colour, and a chance to bring in some yellow robes to tie the vehicle into the rest of the army.

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Just the one model this month then but, with another of the bigger models done I’m feeling confident that I can get everything done as we rumble into the second half of the year.


Rat Race – June

Well here we are again, stumbling blearily into another month, which means of course it’s time for another update on the progress of my Skaven horde. Once again it’s been a relatively quiet month for the rats, with just two models completed (although, as ever, progress is progress).

Back in May I added another rat ogre to the squad, converted from a combination of the Island of Blood models and parts from the Hellpit Abomination. This month I decided to finish painting his brother, rounding out the squad into the bargain.

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With so many hulking monsters around I decided this was also a good moment to call in some professional assistance to keep them all under control. Enter Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth and his pet wolf-rat Gutsnagger.

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Put them all together and here’s the whole bestial squad – beardthings beware!

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With this being the end of June (I know right, where does the time go exactly?) this is also a fine moment to take a look at how the army has progressed over the past six months. Back at New Year I declared my intent to have the army completed (at least in terms of models I currently own – future releases notwithstanding) by the end of 2019. Here’s a reminder of how the army was looking back when I made that audacious claim;

And here it is now, six months further on;

Skaven Army June 2019

Solid progress I feel, although not the mighty leap I was hoping for, the unpainted pile being still something of a mountain. I did think about heaping it all up and taking a photograph of it but frankly it doesn’t look all that inspiring or photogenic like that and is unlikely to fill me with enthusiasm. Instead here’s a list of everything I’m aiming to paint;

  • 1 Warlord (from the Island of Blood set)
  • 1 Warlord (metal)
  • 1 Battle Standard Bearer
  • 10 Stormvermin
  • Thanquol and Boneripper
  • 1 Doomwheel
  • 1 Plagueclaw Catapult
  • 3 Stormfiends
  • Something which may end up being converted into a Warlord on a Bonebreaker or become a 4th Stormfiend.

Still quite a lot to chew my way through, especially as many of these are either centrepiece models or large kits or, in some cases, both. I still stand by my plan to get it all done by the end of the year however so there’s everything to play for over the next six months.


Rat Race – May

It’s time once again to take a look at how I’ve been getting on with my Skaven army this month. As many readers will by now be aware I’ve set myself the goal of getting my long unpainted Skaven army completed and to keep the ball rolling I’ve challenged myself to add at least one model to the army every month until it’s done. Having gnawed my way through the unpainted pile to great effect already, I’ve added the target of getting everything I currently own finished off by the end of the year.

Just a couple of models this month as the sheer busyness of life and work has invaded here just as it has with every other hobby project. First up we have another rat ogre to join the hulking brutes already in the collection.  I’ve been hoping for some time that GW might get around to replacing the old rat ogre kit, truly one of the worst things to currently (dis)grace their catalogue, but as yet they’ve stubbornly stuck with them. The Island of Blood versions were far nicer, but sadly were limited to two sculpts, neither of them easy to convert. Difficult to convert perhaps, but not impossible. Armed with some spares from the Hellpit Abomination that I painted back in January I set about creating a unique rat ogre to add to the squad I’d previously built.

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For comparison, here he is next to the model on which he’s based.

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And here’s the whole squad so far. Next to their brothers from Island of Blood (themselves over a decade old now) the two to the left really do look awful – and when you remember that these are still current models it’s hard not to feel a little embarrassed on GW’s behalf. Never mind though, perhaps if I get everything painted GW will finally respond to my entreaties and get some new ones made. We can but hope…

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Anyway, this is not all for this month because I was inspired once again by Azazel’s monthly challenges. This time it was Mechanismo May – time to paint anything of which at least a significant part is mechanical. I had various plans for this but life put paid to all of them, and those ambots and their ilk will need to wait a little longer to be painted. Somewhere along the way however Azazel mentioned that he would be working on a Skaven with a mechanical hand and immediately the little cogs began to turn in my brain – I too had a mechanical Skaven in need of being painted; the great inventor Ikit Claw.

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I’m not entirely sure what I’ll paint next for this project but, with next month’s update bringing us to half way through the year (already?!) I’ll take the opportunity to look at what else needs to be painted and perhaps even come up with some kind of strategy – otherwise there’s always the risk I end up painting everything in December!