Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Skaven army takes on a Von Carstein castle

My birthday came up and with my painting station filled with Highborn Aelfs and Grudge of Drong terrain I thought it was high time to buy myself a present at the local GW. I should've worn blinkers... Instead of getting the last few required Aelfs my eyes fell the Skaven releases I missed in the past few years. Pulling my attention back to this force. I hoped to get back to Grudge of Drong, but I have to interrupt with a short sidestep by presenting an overview of my Skaven Army as it stands today, with a bit of style by having them do a fictitious storming of a Von Carstein castle.

A Skaven horde: not the best view for any proud castle owner to wake up to.

My first fully painted Warhammer Fantasy army (somewhere between 3rd and 4th ed.) was a Skaven force. I still have most of those models. A lot of them still have their original old (not very good) paint jobs. I just can't get myself to strip and redo them. I did however take their old boring square bases with flock of and rebased every Skaven model I intend to use the coming few years. That leaves nine old models on their old bases, including the Grey Seer that used to run the army. Also retired to the display cabinet is the proud old army banner I made somewhere in 1991 I think. Not pictured but also retired are 40 painted monopose plastic clanrats from the white plastic Warhammer Fantasy Regiments boxed set and 20 Stormvermin (my larger Advanced Heroquest Skaven used to fill this position in the army.

I love these models, but I can't really use them in my current games. 
But back to the new. The core of my Skaven army is a huge force of Clanrats. I bougth two Island of Blood/Spire of Dawn sets and struck a nice deal on some more clanrats from this set. Then I forced myself to apply a very simple paintjob on a lot of them. Right now I have 149 painted up and based. The release of Age of Sigmar saw a goodbye to the base as an instrument of measuring. I took advantage of this by basing my Skaven on ovals and cavalry bases holding five at a time. That save a lot of time setting them up. Where I play we have returned to measuring from the base again but I have had no complaints about this way of basing so far.

Quick, quick, kill, kill!
An added advantage of basing Skaven in groups on oval bases is that it makes them bunch up a bit more which perfectly fits the nasty bunched up skittering mass of cowards a Skaven Army is.

The older warpfire thrower teams have actually been rebased twice since the release of Age of Sigmar (once from 20x20 to square cavalry base and now to ovals). 
The Screaming Bell makes a great centerpiece to this army and especially the Cracks Call spell tends to worry opponents I play (looking at you 4" movement Stormcast).

Somehow 149 clanrats sound like more then it looks, maybe I should go for double that...(queue batman slapping and yelling 'no' here). 
As I have two full Island of Blood kits I had two warlords to paint. The first one is in the center bottom of this picture. I went for a warpstone armour look and a lot of red. The second one is on the top left(ish) side (by the warpfire throwers). I took of his backpack and replaced his left hand with the extra hand in the Silver Tower set. One of the nice things about Skaven is that you can quite often use human hands to make quick conversions on them.

I love the screaming bell kit. From the blind rat ogre pulling the bell chain to the screaming grey seer on top.
At first I based the musicians in the units on single bases, but I quickly realized this is a bit pointless as they are not quite as important as banners and leaders. So quite a number of them are simply part of the group.

First to the fight Clan Eshin is ready to ambush the first vampire going for this morning's newspaper.
One of my smaller forces are the Eshin Skaven. Deathmaster Snikch has been roving battlefields for decades (only the base is new). He once killed a Giant in one fell charge. Four of the Gutter Runners have been painted recently (after decades on the lead pile), the other six used to run with the Deathmaster in older games. I don't own any Night Runners. If I recall correctly way back when I bought these metal models you simply used the metals for both. I don't really like the look of the current plastic Night Runners so maybe a drunk late night online purchase, but probably no Night Runners for a while, especially as I need a minimum of thirty to make an Eshin formation.

The new Thanqual and Boneripper kit looks awesome (and is most likely very awesome in game).
Brand new in my army is the new Thanquol and Boneripper model. I absolutely love the Gotrek and Felix novels, in large part because of these two. The release of this monument to Skaven megalomania in the end times made me want to own them, but I had so many projects that it took until now before I got one ready for the battlefield.

But the old Thanquol and Boneripper set also looks awesome (and I have Gotrek and Felix somewhere on the lead pile).
It wouldn't do if the big one was the only Thanquol and Boneripper model in my collection. A few years back I picked up the older version with a smaller boneripper second hand. Before painting the big one I had a lot of fun with this more modest combination. In a funny twist of inverted scale creep the older Thanquol is bigger than the newer (Boneripper is another story of course...).

Clan Moulder is represented by monsters and packmasters.
Here is a shot of the two together. I will be using the older Thanquol as a Grey Seer in my army and Boneripper will join my Rat Ogor pack.

Buddy the Hell Pit Abomination and his little friends.
Speaking of Rat Ogors and Clan Moulder. They are represented here with my Hell Pit Abomination 'Buddy'. I had some fun converting two of the Rat Ogors from the Island of Blood set with Warpfire Thrower implants. The Giant Rats are a mix of very ancient metal ones, old plastic ones from a very ugly plastic rat swarm set (that works excellently as separate giant rats) and three from the varying modern Skaven sprues (that are very generous on extra rats (both small and big)).

The trick too make the Island of Blood Rat Ogors not look too mono-pose is a bit of creative converting.
Here is a closer shot of the Rat Ogors with in the background two metal Packmasters (with very old paint jobs) and Throt the Unclean. Also featured is one of the newer packmasters of which I have two.

Clan Skryre and Clan Pestilens feature a mix of old and new in my army.
Lets move on to Pestilens. These are my very old (rebased) Plague Monks, including a very ancient banner and led by Lord Skrolk. I also had four Plague Censer Bearers that I expanded with a quick conversion of a broken metal Plague Monk (left side of the picture). On the right is a much newer Plague Priest that is part of the other build you can make with the Screaming Bell.

The little censer bearer that accompanies Lord Nurglitch is somewhere on my paint tray.
In the center is Plague Lord Nurglitch on his Brood Horror. I impuls bought this model up during a wargaming convention (with borrowed cash) and I have not regretted it since. It would be nice if GW made some warscrolls for these older folks (and also highly unlikely, but still...).

Lord Skrolk's book was the first freehand I was really proud of way back then, and I still like it today.
Here is a bit of a close-up of Lord Skrolk. I would probably do a slightly better paint job on him if I stripped him, but even after more then 25 years I'm still quite satisfied with the freehand on his book. So no acetone for him. Lets move on to our furry little friend from Clan Skryre.

I love the concept of these old poisoned wind globadiers.
I had three poisoned wind globadiers in my old army (two of which where painted). In Age of Sigmar they turn up in units of five. Luckily the old metal models are/where still sold by Games Workshop so I had the chance to add to this unit and paint up the lot to join the older ones (with the orange tubes going to their gas masks).

You can never have enough Warpfire Throwers and Doomwheels, never.
To the left of the Globadiers are my Warpfire Thrower Weapon Teams. Back when I bought the metal ones you had to phone in your orders (internet was not around (yes I'm old)). When I called I was informed that the Warpfire Throwers where being replaced with newer models and the older ones where half price. Being more of a general then an accountant I celebrated this fact by buying four. I'm so happy I'm not an accountant :). The fifth one is from Island of Blood (number six (also IoB) was cut up and used in the Rat Ogor conversions).

My old Jezzail Teams are ready to miss important enemies in the Age of Sigmar.
With the same discount I also got four Warplock Jezzail teams (in stead of two). Number one was in the retired group, the other three are here.

I like these new models, they fit very well with the overall Skaven army look and feel.
Plastic time. Here are two Poisoned Wind Mortar teams. I loved the concept of these in Island of Blood, but I hated the conga-line walk. Using oval bases I could model them as if the front one was loading the mortar.

Ikkit Claw (the Arch-Warlock) is ready to serve as the spill of my Skryre Formations.
Here is a freshly painted Ikit Claw, or the Arch-Warlock as he's called now, standing ready to make my opponents life miserable. Also a quick bit of extra attention on the metal warpfire team in the background, still love these old sculpts.

Banners rule! Every battle I use these two in I secretly take some time to feel proud of these paint jobs.
As you may have noticed my army has two Doomwheels. One made of plastic and one made of metal. I love them both, especially together as the differences in design make the combination look as rag tag as I want my Skaven to look.

You can almost hear this big rat giggle.
The grin of the new driver really captures the old Skaven design ethos in my very humble opinion.

Rattling guns. I picked the red head scarves with white shirts look of the top team in honor of Rambo (John J.).
I remember seeing these Ratling Gun teams and instantly hating them. A few years later I bought them, and now I love them. I guess I'm a bit of a fickle gamer on that account.

The Warp-Grinder Team is cool in concept and fun on the battlefield.
As opposed to the Ratling Guns I instantly loved the Warp-Grinder Weapon Team. Its rules allowing a unit to pop-up from the ground make it especially lovable. I should get more then one of these...let's add it to the 'to-do later' list.

Behind the Warlock is a freehand banner on metal paper, based on the designs in the old Uniforms and Heraldry of the Skaven book.
Here is another quick conversion. I used a Skitarii arm to make this Warlock Engineer slightly different from the other one in my army.

I wonder how far my horde will expand in the next 25 years....
I'll finish off with a quick bit about banners. I still love to make old-school square ones for my units like the yellow banner just above Thanqual here (and the one behind the Warlock Engineer one picture up). I alternate using thick paper and metal paper to make them and go out of my way to convert banner poles to hold the old style banners. One of my pet peeves with Age of Sigmar is Games Workshop's move away from banners in units. Such a pity, on the other handL rules or no rules I will never stop making extra banners, they make the army if you ask me.

Right now I'm concentrating on (temporarily) getting over my Skaven obsession. On my paint tray right now are: a sixth Rat Ogor, Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth, a unit of twenty Stormvermin (excellent plastic kit!), two Doom Flayers, three Storm Fiends (interesting kit), a Warp Lightning Cannon and two converted Skaven Chieftains with Battle Standards (yeah!). After this lot is finished (they are in varying stages of paint right now) I might just make a quick expansion to Clan Pestilens (the only ones with a battle tome so far). Also still on my want list is Tretch Craventail, a model that I sadly don't have in my force (and that is no longer on sale). Who knows maybe he'll pop up somewhere, he is Skaven after all....


  1. Love the army overview. The oval bases are a great adaption for the horde of figures in the AOS.

    Love the really old figures (jezzails!) and the two doomwheels.

  2. The overall view of the army is awesome. I really like those skavens, the paint scheme too. The castle leave me speechless, You did a terrific job. I saw the entry you posted building it and it´s really impresive. I hope I could do something like that in a near future.

    1. Thanks, I hope the Grudge of Drong terrain will be equally impressive once its finished.