I’m nearing the conclusion of this journey, and it feels good to have an end in sight. I set out back in 2018 with an idea to build a Skaven army using the vintage metal figures that so captured my imagination as a youngster. Catch up with Part I, Part II, and Part III if you’ve not yet explored this series.
In this installment, I’m sharing a few character figures and a nifty terrain piece that will be used whenever this army hits the battlefield in Saga: Age of Magic.
First up is a classic character: Grey Seer Thanquol!
I realized somewhat belatedly that my Skaven army didn’t have any grey seers — those cunning, spite-filled Skaven spellcasters who do the bidding of the Horned Rat. Luckily, I had acquired the metal Thanquol figure in one of the many, many lots of Skaven figures I’d scooped up over the last few years as part of this project.
I gave him a fairly quick paintjob, starting with a few contrast paints — Gore-grunta Fur for the fur areas, and Mechanicus Standard Grey for the robe, plus Wyldwood for the staff. I’m still learning my way around contrast paints, but I definitely see the appeal. They save time and give a decent effect, which are two things I’m definitely into.
I started reading the classic Warhammer novel Grey Seer right around the same time I was painting up Thanquol. Whilst reading, I stumbled across a lovely passage from the book that happens to be one of those extremely rare instances where a Warhammer book author directly describes the appearance of a particular miniature — in this case, Thanquol.
The description comes shortly after he visits an armory and “gears up” for a big adventure. Take a close look at the figure above, and then read this excerpt:
Thanquol had purchased an elaborate bronze helmet from a Clan Skab armourer, arranging with the artisan to alter the helm to accommodate the grey seer’s curling horns. From a Clan Sleekit trader, Thanquol had secured a warpsteel blade, its blackened edge engraved with deathly runes that glowed faintly with arcane energies. A collar of boiled leather reinforced with iron studs and a lining of chain nestled between layers of fur had been provided by a one-pawed Clan Skaul merchant.
To protect against more magical threats, Thanquol had secured a riotous array of charms and talismans. Little shards of warpstone engraved with protective sigils, rat skulls taken from the sacred vermin of the temple, little bronze icons of the Horned Rat, an elfskin mojo bag filled with sacred powders and bones — all of these dangled from Thanquol’s belt and the head of his staff.
A pair of scrolls, written upon the flayed skin of slaves and marked with the scratch-script of the Queekish language, marked the most expensive of Thanquol’s protective measures.
Very satisfying, no?
I based Thanquol on a savage-looking 30mm circular base with lots of jagged rocky outcroppings, a perfect perch from whence to cast his foul dark magicks.
Up next was a much newer figure, but nonetheless interesting and appealing and a heck of a lot of fun to paint. It’s the Skaven Warp-Grinder, a two-man weapon team that appears to be a couple of ratmen toting a giant warpstone drill thing.
I love Skaven weapon teams. They represent all that is zany and wacky about this army. The Warp-Grinder is a great example of that.
I used another contrast paint on this one, and I’ll bet you can guess which one. Yes, Warp Lightning gave that fantastic green color to the jagged warpstone drill point on the Warp-Grinder.
I can’t wait to get this weird, wild unit onto the battlefield. It’ll either devastate my foes or chew through a unit of clanrats, and I’m honestly not sure which option will be more delightful.
I had so much fun painting Thanquol, so I turned my attention to another metal character model that I’ve had on my workbench for quite some time: Veskit the Executioner. This model was produced for Mordheim, and it’s a zany example of a Clan Eshin master assassin augmented by weird cogwork cybernetics courtesy of Clan Skryre.
The story is that Veskit was on a mission and got sliced and diced to within an inch of his life, and he was saved by the efforts of Clan Skryre’s inventions. This effort turned him into some sort of bizarre Skaven version of The Terminator. Right down to the glowing red eye!
Those blade-gun gauntlet things are awesome! And he looks great on one of those chunky resin centerpiece bases, too. Veskit is a really unique figure who will work perfectly as a leader or solo assassin for my Skaven army.
I also took some time to paint up another rather useful figure that was noticeably absent in my collection: the Skaven Packmaster.
This dude is at home lashing his whip over mobs of frightened skaven slaves, or swatting at the hindquarters of gigantic rat ogres to motivate them on the battlefield. Once again, I made a lot of quick progress on this guy by using contrast paints for his fur, lower cloak, and resin base. Tabletop standard in no time flat!
I noticed that I didn’t have a packmaster figure in my collection a few months ago (pre-pandemic) when I was sketching out a list for Warcry. Packmasters are one of a handful of generic unit types available in that game. Now I’m ready to roll.
The last item is a terrain piece to represent the deadly Chasm ability in Saga: Age of Magic. This is an ability unique to the Masters of the Underearth faction (which is a great analog for both stout dwarves and cunning Skaven). The Chasm is placed on the battlefield near the enemy’s forces and generally wreaks havoc by causing them to scramble away from the yawning crack in the earth. If they don’t move fast, the Chasm can cause casualties, too!
Saga is a game of very precise rules and measurements, and the Chasm is no different. The rules require that it is represented by a piece of terrain that is exactly 6 inches long by 1 inch wide. That’s not a lot of space! I used my hot wire foam cutter to split a small piece of pink foam in half, then I textured the sides and base and sprinkled on a bit of flock.
I hinted at some boiling lava bubbling up to the surface, too, which was a nice touch.
The Chasm ability is rather hard to pull off in Saga: Age of Magic, but I now feel well equipped should I ever have the opportunity to open up a gaping, sulfur-spewing rift in front of an advancing enemy army.
The list of stuff on deck for my Skaven army is dwindling fast. I’m looking to paint up a unit of 12 clanrats (all unique metal sculpts, most from the C47 Jes Goodwin range from the 1980s). I’d also like to build a couple more weapon teams (who can have too many of those, really?). And lastly, I’m going to paint up a few more special characters that I’ve acquired over the years (Lord Skrolk, Queek Headtaker, etc). Stay tuned for more!