Friday, January 12, 2018

Vengeance of the Lichemaster: the Skaven Warband

Behold the Skaven warband of the Grey Seer Gnawdoom, one of the principle antagonists in the classic Warhammer scenario Vengeance of the Lichemaster. Regular readers will know that I'm methodically (i.e. slowly) profiling all the Citadel miniatures needed to recreate this wonderful battle.

I painted most of these Skaven models years ago in order to populate my copy of Advanced Heroquest. As a result, I'm not sure I love all my work. Even now I'm niggled by the suspicion that I've never really "gotten" how to paint the chaos ratmen. I've bought used Skaven on eBay that were clearly painted in speed mode, with rapid and dramatic drybrushing -- and yet these fast and dirty versions seemed to capture more of the old-timey Skaven essence than my time-consuming and painstaking style. Oh well - sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.

Well, without further ado, here they are:

"Skreth the Ironclad" (Citadel C47 Skaven, sculpted by Jes Goodwin, 1987)

Above is "Skreth the Ironclad" (C47 Skaven, sculpted by Jes Goodwin, 1987). This is one of my all time favourite Skaven sculpts. I love his chainmail face-mask, and long, jezzail-style rifle.

"Goar Headwrecker" (Citadel C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986)

Here we have "Goar Headwrecker" (C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986). Even though this is only a rank-and-file model, you can see all of Goodwin's talents on full display: a dynamic and almost geometrical pose, fascinating details and a general sense of ratty menace.

"Goar Headwrecker" (Citadel C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986) conversion

This is my simple conversion of "Goar Headwrecker" (C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986), substituting a cleaver for the original's spiked mace.

"Ashish the Black" (Citadel C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986)

Above is one of the original gutter-runners, "Ashish the Black" (C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986). His name is a not-so-veiled reference to the hashishi, the Islamic cult that gave us the word assassin. 

"Carver" (Citadel C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986)

Here is "Carver" (C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986).

"Nightrunner" (Citadel C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986)

Another classic assassin is "Nightrunner" (C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986). Again, I love how Goodwin composed these models. Their geometry seems to evoke a swastika or throwing star -- either way, it reflects the nasty and deadly nature of the Skaven.

"Spyker" (Citadel C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1987)

This is "Spyker" (C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1987).

"Spyne Blightmaster" Plague Monk (Citadel C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986)

Finally, we have the original Plague Monk, "Spyne Blightmaster" (C47 Skaven, Jes Goodwin, 1986). This model is a superb distillation of Goodwin's creative powers. I just love the way the cowl covers his eyes (does he have eyes?), not to mention the strange spines growing from his back. Well, we already know the Skaven have some pretty unsavoury religious practices.

Here's another shot of the whole lot marching out for battle with the Warlord Throt the Unclean at their head. 

Thanks for looking! Next week we'll be turning to the undead cavalry of the Lichemaster Heinrich Kemmler.


  1. I love the highlights of the figs. They do ooze with character. It really makes me understand what people are banging on about when they talk about 'bland sculpts' versus the old stuff. Fast painted/dry brushed skaven seem pretty stock because of the massive numbers needed. I think your work is amazing and visually delightful.

    Where do you get the leaf litter?

  2. Your painting style would seem to have found a perfect match in Skaven. I do love how your use of vibrant colours and bold highlighting really make the models jump out at you. The Children of the Horned Rat are quite possibly my favourite Warhammer race/species and certainly one of the most original to populate their now defunct fantasy universe. My introduction to GW was primarily via AHQ, so Skaven hold a very special place in my faded pantheon of hobby memories!

  3. Masterclass mate! I really love your classic work!

  4. I absolutely love your paintjobs on these! The other comments are correct the work you've done on these highlights really suit your style. ;)

  5. Don’t worry about your paint jobs, they suit the models perfectly!

  6. You did great! I love the little glass flasks.

  7. For the love of fuck, stop teasing with those!!!

  8. Wow. Awesome paint-paint on all Skaven things-things. Seriously, lovely and striking.

  9. Amazing work!I especially love the dirty white robes on Skreth!

  10. Truly verminous! Well done indeed.

  11. Lovely work!
    Skaven are brilliant.

  12. Skreth is an awesome rat! I can see why he’s your favourite.

  13. Yarrghh! Gorgeous! Very excited about this project. I've recently dragged out my Skaven box and have started working on whole bunches of the little creeps again, and I want you to know that it is all your fault.

    1. I can't wait to see what you do with the little ratty bastards, Mr. Mouse!

  14. Great work! I love these old Jes Goodwin skaven figures ;)

  15. Stunning ! This is the real look of the skavens !

  16. I like them. My favorite being the plague monk.

  17. Thanks for the lovely feedback, everyone! Someday I'm going to create a full Skaven army... but not quite yet.

  18. More of my fav Fantasy sculpts and painted up to your all too brilliant style (Regardless of your reservations otherwise!)

    One thing I find interesting about the sculpts is the inclusion (Or lack thereof) of tails on these rat men. The warriors having them, the assassins not. I wonder if there's some background fluffy reason for this? Like, being a sneaky rat, they have to tuck their tails away or even cut them off altogether!?