Tag Archives: Stormvermin

Rat Race – April

Ladies and gentlerats, it’s time once again to take a look at the progress of my Skaven collection this month. My plan is to get the army finished off (in as much as these things ever are) by the end of 2019 – barring GW releasing any new Skaven to replace some of the dodgy old sculpts marring the range (which at this stage looks doubtful to say the least). With that in mind it’s time I bashed on, progress has been rather slow over the first three months of the year and I’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Thus this month I turned my attention to the Stormvermin, the second squad of these elite rodents to join the army and frankly not my favourite miniatures to work on. Some people can make them look amazing once finished, and I feel I’ve done a fair job of them so far, but they really are exasperating models to work with – it takes a lot of work just to get them looking passable.

I showed the start of this squad last month and confessed that I was struggling somewhat with them. Originally I planned to painted the whole squad with white fur, distinguishing them from my other Stormvermin squad, which have brown fur, and marking them out as the elite guard of Grey Seer Murkskitter who accompanies the army and tries, often unsuccessfully, to make the clan obey the will of the distant Council of Thirteen, as opposed to their own verminous whims and schemes. I quickly found, however, that although painting the occasional rat with white fur is quite fun, doing a whole unit of them is an exercise in frustration, so I publicly called it off and declared that I would do the rest with brown fur, background be damned, don’t try and stop me! Several readers then made compelling arguments suggesting I shouldn’t be such a baby (albeit in rather friendlier terms), offering up advice and making the generally supportive noises that hobbyists make when one of their number is facing a challenge and not enjoying it. Amongst them Azazel – of Azazel’s Bitz Box – noted that this month he’s running “Armoured April” as a challenge, so whatever colour of fur I fancied painted it was a fine time to man up (rat up?) and get to work on them.

Cutting a long story short then I decided to take a swing at getting one of them done with white fur, then a second and slowly over the month they shuffled in, one pale furred rodent after another. After each I declared “I’ll just pack it in and do the next one with brown fur” and each time I sat down to paint it I talked myself into continuing. I’m not going to pretend it was entirely a joyful experience but there we have it, the halfway point has been passed and the finish line for the squad is now well within sight.

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Of course these duplicitous rats need a leader, someone to point them in the right direction – even if that direction is often straight back to Skavenblight with their tails between their legs.

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With these eight rats done we have enough for a full squad, and as I’ll probably take a bit of a break from them before adding any more, this makes for a good moment for a group shot or two.

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The keen eyed will notice that, ranked up this way, one of the rats in the back rank appears to be attempting a quick spot of Skaven-style career progression by stabbing his boss in the ear. That’s the ratmen for you eh! Fear not however, once I add a few more (including a banner bearer and musician) I’ll try to find a way of arranging them that makes such skulduggery a little less obvious…

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Rat Race – March

In what’s becoming something of a repeating refrain my Skaven plans have once again amounted to less than I hoped this month. When I set out I had a grand vision of finishing off at least ten Stormvermin by now. Alas the actual result has fallen somewhat short of that. Naturally I shall do the honourable thing, as all good Skaven would, and pin the blame entirely on the incompetence of my underlings. Plus I’ve been drooling over the new chaos space marines, an activity which takes up quite a lot of time in itself!

However I will admit that these are not the only reasons for my lack of progress. Truthfully, although I really like the models when they are finished, I find the Stormvermin to be a chore to build and no better to paint, not to mention the fact that anyone who has ever wondered why GW made the move from square-based Warhammer to round-based AoS has never attempted to rank up the little bastards.

Despite these complaints I would have broken more ground had I not made something of a rod for my own back in the process. As I started to work on the squad some mad part of me suggested I should paint them as the infamous albino rats which serve as guards to the grey seers and other agents of the Council of Thirteen. The trouble is, I find painting white fur on Skaven to be a real challenge, and although pushing myself to do it now and then breaks up the ranks in the larger squads, attempting a whole unit feels like a serious bore and it’s been a battle to summon sufficient enthusiasm. As a result, despite my best intentions, I only managed to paint up two of these elite rodents.

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Of course I refuse to be beaten so, once again, I’ll turn to the wisdom of the Skaven race for an answer to my woes. Rather than struggle on with a course of action that seems doomed to failure I shall simply destroy all evidence that I tried, assassinate anyone who says differently and move on to Plan B. Or, in practical terms, give up on the idea of painting them with white fur and try to get some brown furred Stormvermin painted by the end of April. Watch this space!


The Year Of The Rat – December

And so, as the lights go down on 2017, it’s time for a final update on the progress of my Skaven army. Roughly a year ago I made a promise, to add something to my Skaven army every single month in 2017 – even if it was only a lone clanrat. For too long my dreamed-of verminous horde was nothing more than unpainted, unlovely grey plastic. At times I would pick up a model or two and get painting but the scale of the task was too great and time and again they were set aside in favour of more immediate projects, or the next idea to captive my feverish imagination. By setting a modest target however I kept the ball rolling, I forced myself to keep picking up those rats and stopped the motivation from guttering out. Of course some months I managed more than others (turning out just a single model in November, compared with a rather more inspiring 14 In July) but all in all it’s been enough to transform my Skaven collection from this…

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…to this…

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In old Warhammer money that’s a tidy little army of 1151 points. I’m afraid I’m still behind the times with Age of Sigmar so I’m not sure what it tallies up to nowadays but it looks good to my eye anyway.

Indeed so pleased am I by the success of this little project that I’ve decided to do it all again next year (albeit under a new title – “The Second Year of the Rat” would sound a bit silly and, as keeps being pointed out to me, this wasn’t the year of the rat anyway). However before we get onto that let’s take a look at what I’ve managed to add this month.

I decided to make December all about finishing squads (or at least bringing them up to fighting strength – despite the fact that I’m highly unlikely to play any games with them any time soon). Most in need of bolstering were the stormvermin who gained a banner last month but still needed a Fangleader…

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…and a musician.

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With the squad’s commanders suitably bolstered the whole pack is ready for action.

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That done I turned my attention to the hulking rat ogres that act as the muscle for the army. In my opinion these are some of the ugliest models still in the GW range (against stiff competition from the likes of the zombies and the Khorne berserkers). The best I could hope to do was turn their ugliness to my advantage and try to create something in keeping with the hideous lab-experiments that the Skaven use as shock troops. After all if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, and if you can’t make something less ugly try making it more ugly.Skaven Convert Or Die (23)

Two heads are better than one and all that.

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Back in May I added a warpfire thrower to support one of my clanrat squads so, in the interests of preventing any inter-squad jealousy boiling over in vicious backstabbing, I decided it was about time I added a poison-wind mortar to accompany the other.

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That may be all the finished models for this year but there’s still plenty to come for my verminous horde. Lurching its way onto my painting desk comes a rather bigger model than I usually tackle, the wonderfully ramshackle screaming bell. This one’s been waiting for a coat of paint for a while and, thanks to Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box its time has come at last.

In order to encourage his fellow hobbyists to tackle those bigger, centre-piece kits that tend to get pushed to the back of the shelf (something I’m extremely guilty of) in favour of smaller and easier to completely infantry models, Azazel has inaugurated Decemb-uary. The aim of the exercise – simply to get a big model painted up between the start of December and the end of January. As it stands the bell still has a fair way to go but the early layers and down, the first washes are applied and the whole crumbling edifice is slowly rolling in the right direction.

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Whilst the bell itself still needs a lot more work before it can be called complete the grey seer that rides on it is pretty close to being finished (unless of course someone points out a glaring flaw that I’ve overlooked).

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Beyond that I’m planning to paint up a warlord to replace Queek at the head of the army, the battle standard bearer I showed back in July, a few ramshackle warmachines and, of course, lots and lots of clanrats. Roll on 2018!


The Year of the Rat – November

So after being fairly productive last month I only managed to finish a single Skaven in November. He does have a rather nifty banner though.

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The Year of the Rat – October

After a few quiet months things have been a lot more productive for my Skaven over the last few weeks. For those who’re new to this project, I’ve been collecting Skaven for a number of years (since the release of the most recent army book for Warhammer in fact, which was quite some time ago now). However the actual painting was proceeding at a snails pace – something only exacerbated when I purchased a friend’s collection and the pile of unpainted plastic grew overnight into a mountain. In order to remedy this situation I’ve challenged myself to paint something new for my Skaven army every month in 2017 – even if only a single clanrat. Truth be told some months I’ve come pretty close to achieving only that minor goal but, I’m pleased to announce, this month wasn’t one of them.

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This brings the current clanrat total up to sixty – which means it’s high time for a celebratory group shot.

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That’s not all however, this month I also managed to reinforce my stormvermin squad with four more of the rat elite.

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Now much as I like the models I’m not sure I find stormvermin that much fun to paint – they’re jagged, vicious little things that fought back almost constantly, jabbing me painfully in the fingers with their various spikes every time I tried to handle them. That said I’m already planning a second squad, this time made up of the albino guards of the Council of Thirteen. Before that however this squad will need a command group to finish them off.


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 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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