I must admit, I was saving the best for the last when I embarked upon a journey two years ago to paint up a Skaven army featuring the vintage metal figures that had so inspired me as a younger person. I knew the last batch of figures I’d be painting would be my beloved clanrats: those scrappy fighters who make up the bulk of most Skaven armies.
By this point, I’ve already painted Stormvermin and Plague Monks and Gutter Runners and weapons teams galore to give my army some versatility. All that remains is that solid core of warriors. OK, maybe not so solid — these are Skaven we’re talking about, after all.
I knocked these guys out in the waning days of 2020, so although this blog post is dated January 1, 2021, these figures represent my output in the previous year. Most of the sculpts are from the famous C47 range of Skaven sculpted by Jes Goodwin in the late 80s and early 90s. I adore them as examples of how Skaven looked and behaved before the lore had been fully developed.
As with the other units I’ve painted up so far, I did 12 of these guys. Twelve is a number that is well suited to both Saga: Age of Magic and Dragon Rampant, which are the two rulesets where I’m most likely to field these guys.
I’m particularly enamored with these figures, as they’re armed with a hodgepodge of weapons and armor that really represents the essence of the Skaven to me — grab whatever’s handy, strap on some armor bits looted from a still-warm corpse, and rush back into battle!
Now we’ll walk through some close-ups of the various figures in this unit.
On the right in the photo above is Throt the Unclean, an early example of the zaniness that infests the Skaven range. Look closely and you’ll see he is sporting a third arm! Interestingly, Throt lacks a tail, which suggests to me that the arm was grafted onto his body to replace his tail. Neat detail!
The standard bearer is a bit of a slapdash effort. I painted him up and realized I didn’t have a suitable battle flag to affix to his standard. So I dug around in my bits box and found a couple clipped off tattered robe bits from some Nurgle models. A bit of repositioning and they can do an acceptable job as some flapping rags to inspire the Skaven warriors.
I love the variety of weapons on these figures. On the three figures above, we have four distinct weapons: a pick, a dirk, a morning star, and a butcher knife. Plus two shields! And that duel-wielding Skaven is wearing like one-quarter of a suit of ill-fitting armor.
These figures date back to an era when models were created based solely on how badass or awesome they looked, rather than how they might conform to a set of wargame rules. Ah, the glory days! Bless you, Jes Woodwin.
As with many early Warhammer figures, these models are loaded up with satchels, pouches, scabbards, scrolls, vials, and other accoutrements of battle. I particularly love these details because it makes these guys look like raiders and battlefield scavengers. They’ll lop off your hand in combat, but they’re just as likely to pause and yank the rings off your fingers before loping back to the melee.
I sprinkled on some rust effects, nothing major, just a hint here and there to suggest that these blades and armor bits have seen better days.
Astute Oldhammer fans will probably notice that, strictly speaking, not all of these figures were sold as “clanrats” back in the day. A few are slaves, or warlords, or whatever. I acknowledge this, and dismiss it out of hand with a stern yet friendly admonition: once a figure has crossed my workbench, it loses all trappings of its former life and becomes precisely what I wish it to be in my army. Thus, these are clanrats.
With the completion of these 12 figures, I’ve officially completed the last unit in my all-metal Skaven army. I have a few single figures left that I’d like to get around to painting, but in general this project is complete. I will do a wrap-up post later in January with some photos of the whole army (including some recent additions that haven’t yet been seen by my blog comrades). Stay tuned!