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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

A Tale of Four Gamers- Thar be rats!

The first month of the TOFG challenge is nearly done, and so are my units. First off, a stonking big block of clanrats. Some of my favourite monopose plastics here from at least 3 sets of AHQ (with thanks to Ross). In his seminal article the mighty Andy Chambers says he learned not to paint block units, and so I ignored his wise advice and did it anyway. There were some tough bits, painting belts on 61 identical rats was a low point, but it feels good to have got this largest block of troops out of the way early.

I've done minimal highlighting on these guys, allowing inks to do most of the work for me. After spraying grey and dusting with white I mixed up Army Painter Dark, Strong, Light and Mid Brown tone with some Vallejo Sepia ink and splashed it on the fur areas. Whenever the current ink mix ran out I mixed some more in from one of the bottles above, giving a variation across the rats. For a few red-hues I added some skin wash in. Then I split the rats into 6 different groups and chose 6 earthy colours to paint the robes of each group. Then swapped the colours around for the hoods. The belts and weapons were painted in then everything was hit with another wash of Dark and Strong tone. Lastly I did the homage to Andy Chambers in the dyed designs on the foreheads and eyes, painted the shield designs in black and white, did claws, teeth and muzzles, painted eyes light green and hit them with a green ink to give a glowy warpstone effect.

On the subject of glowy warpstone... I then got to tackle the poisoned wind globadiers. Starting with the same undercoat I used green inks around where the globes were shining, then used a blend of ink and paint for the robes, starting away from the green and blending into it. Pretty happy with the OSL effect. I wanted to keep the rest of them muted and neutral and decided that since they're clan Skryre they should be albino rats. The jewelled red eyes of their gas masks make a nice contrasting spot colour. The only thing I don't like about these sculpts is their tails which aren't that great even given GW's irritating preference for segmented 'worms' instead of proper scaly rat tails.

So that's the first 500 (519) points done. I think if I were planning to be super-tactical with my force choices I should probably max out my clanrat choices and rely on weight of numbers rather than going for the elite types, but since I'm not doing 60 clanrats every month for the next quarter of a year I'm sticking with storm vermin and black rats. Next month's challenge? Storm vermin and plague monks with their respective leaders, a total of 466pts.

Whilst on the subject of rats... here are the first three sculpts done from my dollies. They're not exactly 'slaves', I got excited about rats with guns, but the next batch will be more civilian and conscripted in their outlook.

Friday, 14 September 2018


What do you do when you're at the start of an army painting challenge and you have 60 Clanrats and 5 Poisoned Wind Globadiers to paint before the end of the month? You spend a week painting Bob Olley ogres of course!

Someone (I forget who) did a bequtifully painted set of these great Ral Partha Europe ogres around Christmas last year, and (surprise surprise) they became one of the company's top selling miniatures ranges in December/January! I was among those who rushed to purchase them.

They have sat on my 'to paint' shelf giving me evil looks ever since, and having taken advantage of the nice weather over the summer to undercoat all the waiting miniatures it was nice and easy to grab them and get started when the mood took last Saturday.

I was getting a definite Scottish vibe off these chaps, so having had a break from tartan on my fimir, then just finished doing the tartan for my barbarians I decided to go for... more tartan! You'd think I'd be good at it by now, but it's still a right pain and I don't think I have it quite right.

In my head the fur trim is highland stag, but looking at the guy above it might be more Aberdeen Angus!

And here are two 'misfits'. The guy on the left is actually my reason for picking up so many ogres. After seeing JB's exquisite paint job I acquired one myself (through SHQ, although he doesn't appear on their website. I eventually tracked him down by emailing them a picture of JB's model) and imagined that the RPE ogres would be a similar size. They are actually much smaller, but enough of the Bob Olley character is shared by them that he just looks like a freakishly large member of the clan. A second edition of Golgfag makes a nice champion for the unit. Mine had a damaged club but I had a suitably large axe head spare.

Right, now onto the furry varmints... I promise!

Monday, 3 September 2018

A Tale of Four Gamers- The gauntlet is thrown.

Ever since its first appearance in White Dwarf, A Tale of Four Gamers has been a much-adopted challenge. The premise is simple. Four gamers agree to simultaneously attempt to build an army over an agreed period of time and then pit the four armies against one another in the forum of their choosing. Having watched with interest a number of fellow Oldhammerers giving it a go in previous years I was keen to get in on the action this time around. There are at least four half-formed armies in my painting queue, so it would be good to get motivated to paint at least one of them in the coming year. After a few flagons of ale on Saturday night at BOYL it didn't take too much to convince Richard, Dave (Snickit's Tail) and Erny (Erny's Place) to join me. We agreed on 2000pt 3rd Edition Armies (picked from the Warhammer Armies lists) with 500pts to be done every month starting from now. So that's the major logistics sorted, now what army to choose?

I had a reasonable idea what my three co-builders would be working on, and there's no fear of doubling up. I've pretty much done my Undead horde (with only chariots left to paint up) so that one's in the can. I won't let on what the other two are planning, but it sounds like it will be a lot of fun! My pick of themes comes down to Chaos, Halflings, Snotlings and Skaven. My Chaos troops are currently involved in a half-stalled Path To Glory warbands campaign, so I don't want to break that up taking units out. Besides, I don't really have enough for 2000 points. Snotlings and Halflings are a lot of fun, but they don't fit well with any lists in the Armies book unless proxying. Skaven it is then. I've been wanting to get onto these chaps for a good long time and helpfully I just received a parcel of ratty goodies from Rochie which will form the basis of a goodly 2000pts. To work!

Here's what I have to work with then. In time-honoured tradition I am going to build a list based on what I have and what I like rather than any strategic goals, but I have been consulting two handy references. The first is the original Tale of Four Gamers, in which Roy Barber's skaven seemed to face nothing but defeat after defeat. This was in the era of 4th Edition, so the skaven lists looked quite different, but his learning to use the furry ones on the table was still good experience to read about. The second is the great tome on skaven itself, Andy Chambers run down of his own army. The photos of which inspired many a ratman player and have recently resurfaced as Andy took 'modern' photos shining ever more light upon his fabled horde.

Studying these works, that stack of blisters and lead and Warhammer Armies I drew up my list to work from:

General: White Skaven Sorcerer (L20)
Army Standard: Lv5 Hero with Dread Banner

58 Clanrats with spears and shields

40 Skavenslaves with shields

20 Storm Vermin with 2-handed weapons and a Relic Banner lead by a L10 Warpweaver

20 Black Skaven with halberds and a Relic Banner lead by a L10 Warpweaver

8 Plague Monks lead by a L10 Warpweaver

4 Beastmasters, 2 with 18 Giant Rats, 2 with 2 Rat Ogres

5 Poisoned Wind Globadiers

2 Warpfire-Thrower teams

4 Jezzails

My original plan was to use AHQ skaven for my Storm Vermin, since they're big and have large weapons and shields, and use Storm Vermin for my Black Skaven. However I have over 60 AHQ skaven, so I decided to put them to good use as my Clanrat unit instead. I have a few of the Fantasy Regiments skaven which will be pressed into service as Skavenslaves, then I plan to do massed slaves on the cheap (well, cheap compare to eBay prices anyway) by sculpting these 'dollies', getting them cast up and then converting them, adding heads, clothing and weapons to give myself a decent horde of mixed slaves.

Rochie's box contained most of the 'special' elements (jezzails, warpfire-throwers, poisoned wind globes), leaving me with some giant rats and a single rat ogre to find. Ral Partha Europe's Giant Rats are great, if a bit smaller than the classic GW sculpts- I might need to use more than 1 per base. That's those sorted. So really just the rat ogre and a few character sculpts I like the look of to source.

So what's the first month going to be?

I'd like to get the Clanrats out of the way, so I'm going to tackle that big unit first. They're the most regimented, being all in the same pose, so will probably be the most dull to paint. But that's counterbalanced by the fact I really like the sculpts (yeah yeah, I know) and given that Andy Chambers built big units from them they'll be a good subject to test my paint scheme on. 58 is only 389 points, so that leaves me with 111 points left to paint. I can't do the Skavenslaves as they aren't sculpted yet (and doing two big units would make my head hurt and my brushes fall apart!) so I'm going for the Poisoned Wind Globadiers at 130pts, making my September efforts 509pts total. Ok. To the painting station!


Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's