Tag Archives: Skaven

The Year Of The Rat – July

But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley

– Robert Burns, To A Mouse…

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Like all Skaven warlords I had a grand and cunning plan, and like all Skaven warlords it went spectacularly and horribly wrong. My scheme was to build up my Skaven army into a filthy horde of clanrats, rank upon rank of the little devils. I’m not usually a batch-painter or a speed painter but I was determined that, by the end of this month, I would have added sufficient rodents to my collection to create a swarm vast enough to terrify all sensible cats and farmer’s wives (regardless of how many carving knives they might be armed with).

I won’t go into the details, they’re far too unpleasant and personal to share here, but suffice to say that real life instead dealt me and my family a vigorous kicking of the kind that puts all other activities on hold. Expect output on this blog to be fairly erratic over the next little while and my apologies if a few projects disappear into the warp for a while.

Regardless the Great Horned Rat often moves in ways that are mysterious to his servants, and when I sat down to count the rats I had managed to paint I found the total to be  a suitably auspicious thirteen.

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But wait, that’s not all. I’ve also managed to cobble together a battle standard bearer for my rats (sorry Age-of-Sigmarites, I still think in old fashioned terminology, dunno what you call the guy who rallies the whole army in this modern era we live in but I do know that anything which discourages my ratties from running away is to be encouraged!). He’s still very much at the tacked-together stage right now with lots still to be done – that Khornate icon needs more work to removed it from the banner for example – but this should give you an idea of the overall concept and direction I’m heading in. As usual feedback and suggested improvements are welcome.

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But wait, that’s still not all! When I uploaded last month’s last minute addition, this Skaven assassin, Azazel noted the similarity between the rune  worked in the guard on the weapon clutched in the rat’s left paw and the rune of Khorne.

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Of course, careful examination reveals that it is intended as the Skaven rune but nonetheless, once seen the Khornate influence is just too obvious to overlook – and as no ratman would ever be brave or foolish enough to dedicate himself to the Blood God it had to go. As it turns out there wasn’t much needed to fix the problem, a couple of quick snips and a bit of touching up and it was done. I did wonder about cutting back the guard a little further to emphasise the look of the Skaven rune but in the end decided to leave it as it is, slightly more subtle and concealed – like the Skaven assassin himself.

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A before and after shot highlights the difference.

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So, perhaps not the glorious expansion that I had planned for my ratmen this month but when it comes to mustering the verminous hordes a few setbacks are to be expected and thirteen completed models are not to be sneezed at. As I always say, any feedback you have is welcome, and fear not – accepting setbacks is a talent all Skaven warlords have to master. I may be less active for a while but you won’t get rid of me that easily!


The Ripper In The Gloom

“Skaven society is a tyranny moderated by assassination”

– Bagrian, ancient scholar who was assassinated by the Skaven.

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Having felt a little prickling of shame at only finishing one model for my Skaven this month, even if it is a hulking great rat ogre, I decided – before July is upon us – to break out the paints and finish this assassin off at last. Originating in the Silver Tower set I always thought this model would make an excellent Skaven assassin for Warhammer, indeed I’m inclined to wonder if it started out as an unused model for a Skaven release that was abandoned or mothballed with the end of Warhammer.

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I kept the paintwork as dark and dirty as I could, the aim was for him to look nice and stealthy in spite of wearing the bright yellow tabard he needed to tie him in with the rest of the army.


The Year of the Rat – June

It’s time once again to look back over the progress of my Skaven army this month. As it turns out I’m afraid there’s not much to show for June, just a single rat ogre, but still, I promised at least a model a month and this big, ugly brute fits the bill. Now I just need a friend or two for him…

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If I’m honest the rat ogres aren’t easy models to love, they’re famously ill-proportioned and ugly models and, in spite of flirting with the idea more than once (the Island of Blood kit, followed by the Stormfiends and Boneripper) GW never seems to get around to replacing it. Having said that it’s been a long time since the last proper Skaven release so perhaps, if I focus on painting the models I’ve got, the Citadel team will find it in them to supply us with some new ones.

In the meantime it’s the end of June which means we’re now half way through my challenge and – in spite of some months producing fewer models than others – so far I’ve managed to keep to my goal. To celebrate, here’s a group shot of all that’s been achieved so far.

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As you can see it may not be a huge army but it’s considerably more than I would have painted if I hadn’t set myself the challenge. I’m aiming to churn out quite a lot more in July than I managed in June (wadayamean that won’t be difficult?!) – we’ll find out in a month how well I get on!


The Year of the Rat – May

With May drawing to a close it’s time for our by now familiar look back at the progress of my Skaven collection this month. For those who’re new to this the aim of the exercise is to add something, even if it’s only a single rat – although preferably more than that – to my Skaven every month of 2017.  For me the Skaven were the very beginning of my exploration of this hobby, the first miniature I ever owned was a ‘ratman’ given me by another boy at school, and for a long time I’ve planned the army of my dreams, a vast host of scabrous fur and rusty weapons. The enormity of the task tended to put me off however and for a long time my rats have been forced to wait, imprisoned on their plastic frames, plotting the moment that a coat of paint would be theirs. The thought of trying to paint all those models froze me with a force equal to the avarice that had driven me to collect them all in the first place. Then, over New Year 2016, it occurred to me that whilst painting the whole collection was a Herculean task painting a few rats each month was easy!

So far my instinct to tackle the project this way has been proven correct. Breaking it down into smaller chunks has made for a more achievable task, whilst the constant sense of progression has helped to maintain my enthusiasm. With that in mind let’s take a look at what I’ve managed to finish off this month.

First up we have a command unit for my second squad of clanrats (for those who’re keeping track these are the ones armed with close-combat weapons rather than spears).

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Adding all the sigils to the banner was an adrenalin fuelled bout of heart-in-mouth freehand but I got there in the end.

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Here’s the whole squad so far, bolstered by the arrival of their new leaders.

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A couple of months ago the legendary Duncan Rhodes demonstrated how to paint an albino clanrat and, whilst re-watching the video, it struck me mixing up the fur and skin colours of my own rats would add to the ragtag appearance of the units.

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I’ve also finally finished off a warpfire thrower, the first weapon team to join the collection.

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Last, but not least, we have this plague priest, ready to spread the Great Horned Rat’s foulest infections. At the moment he’s forced to scurry corpulently around unaided but, as soon as I get it finished, he’ll be able to ride in style atop a maddeningly toxic plague furnace.Plague Priest Convert Or Die (1)

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The Year of the Rat – April

It’s the end of April and time once again to look back at the progress my Skaven army has made over the last month. For those who’re new to this the premise is simple – back at New Year I promised to add something, no matter how small, to my Skaven army every month of 2017. Think of it as A Tale of Four Gamers, but without the other three, no actual games and significantly less progress.

This month I’ve focussed on the Stormvermin. I planned to get enough finished for a full unit but, although I fell short of that, I’m still pleased with how many I did manage to complete. After finding the first two (painted last month) a bit of a struggle I’ve managed to pick up the pace a little so hopefully more will come scurrying off the painting desk soon enough.

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And because I know you all love a group shot here the whole squad so far ready to go and bother any dwarves they can find.

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Oh and for anyone thinking “but this isn’t the year of the rat, it’s the year of the rooster” I know, but it is a Skaven’s job to spread disorder and confusion ahead of our diabolical rise. That and I’m not waiting until 2020 to get these little vermin painted!


The Bane of the Bearded

Well look what I just discovered scurrying around the bottom of a box! It’s my oft-mentioned but never revealed Queek Headtaker. Of course he’ll no longer fit in as neatly with the rest of my Skaven, who’ve switched from the red colour-scheme of Clan Mors to a filthy yellow, and the paintjob shows its age, but don’t let that bring you down Queek – I still love you!

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The Year of the Rat – March

Right, March is almost over (where does the time go right?) and it’s time to take a look at the progress my Skaven have made over the last month. For those of you who’re new to this and are wondering why I’m going on about the Year of the Rat when it is very clearly the Year of the Rooster, back at New Year I pledged to add something new to my Skaven collection every month of 2017 – even if it was only a single clan rat. Well, January and February didn’t see huge amounts of progress but with March I actually broke a fair bit of ground and added an impressive (for me) eight clan rats to the ranks.

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What’s more I also got started on my elite squad of Stormvermin. If I’m honest I found these two a right hassle to paint; either there was some grime on them when I basecoated them or the can of paint wasn’t properly mixed (either way entirely my fault of course). Whatever the cause the paint refused to behave properly and painting them turned into a slog which I endured with the heroic determination that normal people reserve for climbing Everest or trekking to the poles. On the plus side I got through it without losing any fingers to frostbite, although of course I’m not going to be impressing anyone in bars with my exploits either.

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