Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vampire Counts: Skaven Pt 1: Characters

I always liked the Vampire Counts army list from Warhammer Fantasy, but playing a bunch of Bela Lugosi-style vampires wasn't my cup of tea. I mean, really? Guys in red capes and crap like that? Come on. Besides there's lots of fluff text in the Codexes and old issues of White Dwarf about the Skaven raiding ruins and graveyards for warpstone, stuff to eat, etc.  It makes more sense (to me, at least) that some warped Warlock-Engineer from Clan Skryre went even more crazy and decided to start doing things like reanimating dead rats, making Frankenstein's Monster style boss monsters, etc etc. I mean, the Skaven do that sort of thing anyway (Boneripper, Clan Moulder, etc). Thus, my third WHF army was born. 

This fellow was really the seed of the whole thing. I had been using him in my stock Skaven army as a Lord-level character. Based on an Reaper Orc character, he really was too monstrous to be any old rat with delusions of grandeur. Thus, the figure got a complete makeover (sorry, no before- pictures) and gained white skin, dingier-looking armor, and a wicked blade-arm where his weensy little sword used to be. You can picture him storming back into the rat-warren in the dead of night and sucking the blood out of everything in sight. Of course, such a monster needs a sidekick, which leads us to the Skreinlich Skremmler, the Sklichemaster:

I had originally planned to make him a rat-parody of the old Heinrich Kremmler model, complete with wide-brimmed hat, but when I saw a particular steampunk wizard from the Warmachine range (my old standby for years to come) I thought what an awesome Skaven he'd be, and voila! My necromancer was born. There's a champion character from the Necromunda range that rides a humongous undead rat, so maybe another character will appear someday, riding a "zombie dragon" with helicopter engines and rotors in place of wings.  Ahhhh skaven engineering.... Speaking of which:

This mad fellow and his crazy-ass mount came after I had finished the skeletal-giant rat cavalry. A steam-powered wight-skaven with a warpstone glaive packs quite a punch in the battle line. Another reason I wanted to use a vampire  counts army was their fear-generating cavalry, something neither my first army, the Dwarves, nor my second, Skaven, had access to. The new Skaven book has all sorts of new, awful things (for that matter, so does the new VC book) but until I can find another WHF opponent around here, upgrades to that army will have to wait a while. 

Here's another view of the rear of this thing. It really is one of my favorite models, from the mono-wheel and heavy suspension to the warpstone globes behind the saddle. Come to think of it, he sort of looks like a little Doomwheel. For my skeletal cavalry (which you'll see in part II of this series) I ordered a bunch of skeleton horses from Reaper (their prices are real steal!) and then cut and bent the pewter parts until they resembled a rat skeleton I found photos of on the web. I botched one rather badly, but the ribs, head, and tail were intact, so this model was really sort of an accident as well. It was another case of a model just building itself after a certain point. 

In life I suppose he was a bit of a daredevil, as all Skaven are, so I gave him a WWI German helmet made out of an old Tamiya 1/35 infantry hat and a bayonet. That shield is a leftover from the Black Tree Design regiments I used to build my skaven army. His skull is from the skaven plastic sprues I eventually got on the cheap on eBay. Who knew every 5th head was a skull? It helped when I was building those regiments of skeletal Skaven.

This fellow is one of two Wight characters to join either my Grave Guard or Skeleton formations. He's a simple conversion based on a re-bent Necron Flayed one, as is his drinking buddy:

A bit more heavily-armored than his fellow, he fits in a bit better with my Grave Guard models, who are more than a little "enhanced" themselves. I guess that Skavromancer thinks power fists are as good as Wight Blades. 

Next time, Cavalry! Yeeeehaaa!

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