Today’s post is basically the apotheosis of my efforts to paint up an all-metal Skaven army. Sometimes, when you’re making an omelette, you need to break a few eggs. In this case, the egg that got broken was my own fragile psyche. It was shattered, scrambled, and fried by the mind-numbing effort of painting 12 of the same boring metal model.
The model in question is, ironically, not an actual Warhammer Skaven figure. It’s from Heartbreaker Hobbies’ Wererats line, which was released in the mid-90s in a shameless attempt to cash in on the burgeoning appeal of fantasy ratmen. Games Workshop was not nearly as litigious then as it is now, and as a result Heartbreaker Hobbies was able to produce a full range of models, many of which served as serviceable alternatives for Skaven players.
Here’s a superb writeup on the history of Heartbreaker Hobbies’ Wererats line, if you’re curious. There were some gems, but there were also some real stinkers.
In any case, the model that so tested my mental fortitude was a Wererat With Crossbow. It is one of just a handful of metal ratmen holding a crossbow available across several manufacturers.
I needed 12 of them for a very specific purpose — to create a 12-man unit of levies with ranged weapons for Saga: Age of Magic.
This was a rare instance of me painting up models to fill a distinct battlefield role in a specific game. Most of the time, I paint what I want to paint, and then fit my collection into whatever game I’m playing at that moment. In the case of Saga: Age of Magic, I had to put considerable effort into acquiring and painting suitable models to fill out my unit of levies.
The models themselves are fine, if a bit simplistic. They’re aiming their crossbows, which is nice, since it gives them a uniform aggressive stance. I mixed up the palette a little bit but mostly went with drab greens and grays for their tattered robes — again, the goal was to churn out this unit in short order.
It’s not easy to see in these photos, but these models are quite large — far larger than a typical Warhammer Skaven figure. As you can see, I based them on 30mm lipped bases, and their feet still stuck over the edge.
I rationalized this in my headcanon by reasoning that overly large Skaven are a bit dull of wit and unsuited for sneaking and backstabbing (which is what all proper Skaven aspire to). So instead, they’re given heavy crossbows and grouped into thick knots of ratflesh on the battlefield to get the best results when firing en masse. Yeah, that sounds about right.
So that’s my output from March. This lot took longer than expected because of the arrival of COVID-19 in the U.S.A., and the slow-motion apocalypse that ensued. My job has not gotten easier — in fact, I am an essential employee with a role to play in the pandemic response in my small community. So I could not work remotely very easily, and if anything, tasks have piled up even higher on my plate. Painting 12 of the same metal model during this high-stress period would be enough to drive a lesser painter insane. Luckily I am built of hardier stuff! Stay tuned for more.