Tag Archives: Warhammer

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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Out For The Count

On Friday night I finally finished off the long awaited final models for my Vampire Counts army (not the most rock and roll start to the weekend but even I stop once in a while). On Saturday I uploaded them to this blog with, I’ll admit, very little fanfare. However, all things considered, that’s rather unfair. With one notable exception these are models I bought back in 2010(-ish, my memory isn’t so good) when I harboured plans for a massive undead army of the sort that might pour forth from Sylvania, spread eternal night across the land and so on. Instead they lurked in boxes (not even crypts – the shame of it!) as the years passed. Some of them were painted, to varying standards, many suffered through in nothing but bare plastic. Then, around New Year 2016 I resolved to resurrect them. Cue maniacal laughter and the distant howls of corpse-wolves!

Fast forward a few months and here we have them, a shambling band of wights, ghasts and revenants, ready to trouble the living once more. And all without needing to move into a castle, hire an assistant named Igor or even buy a shovel. How, then, could I let the moment pass without a few glamour shots and a group shot or two?

Let’s start with the finished squad of dire wolves, a kit which is (perhaps rightly) much maligned and yet for which I have a deep affection, in spite of its flaws.

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And how about some suitably creepy mood shots as my corpse army advances through the dark-magic saturated gravelands of their Sylvanian homeland.

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And of course no project of this sort can come to a close without a group shot.

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Of course, no army is ever finished and so it should come as no surprise that I’m already planning to return to these. Hopefully it won’t be another seven years before they’re reinforced. Hang some garlic by your window, bury me at a crossroads and watch this space!


Hounds At Your Back – Part 4

Well, in spite of my doubts, here’s the last two dire wolves painted, which rounds out my Vampire Counts army for now. Fans of the undead fear not though, everyone knows that Vampires always come back eventually…

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Hounds At Your Back – Part 3

Beneath the light of a desolate moon two more dire wolves join the hunt…

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With a new edition of 40k coming soon, and new Death Guard apparently just behind, it’s time to make a dent in all the models currently loitering on my painting desk; to finish off the old in anticipation of the arrival of the new. Of course I’m well aware that I won’t be able to shift even a fraction of my unpainted models in time but at least I can make a start! First off I’m keen to wrap up my Vampire Counts, at least for a little while. I bought most of these models almost a decade ago and they lingered in part-painted shame for a long time, so it’ll be nice to see them all completed soon. I even hoped to get them all finished this week but, by this point, it’s starting to look unlikely. Still, here’s a couple more dire wolves done, which only leaves two more to paint over the weekend, an achievable goal I reckon.

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