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Sunday, 27 July 2014

My Skaven Top Ten

OK, you must of seen these doing the rounds at the moment. They're listings of people's top 10 mini's. I thought that I'd do mine but I wanted to do it with a twist though.

When I first started this blog (shortly after BOYL 2013) several people gave me a shout out and one stood out in my mind,  Orlygg at Realm of Chaos 80s ( in which he utters the line "Expect Skaven, and a lot of it". I'm not certain I've lived up to that over the nigh on year that I've been doing this and so in order to redress the balance a little I've decided to present this, an unequivocally self indulgent look at my favourite Skaven miniatures. Now, I've been collecting the verminous rat man hordes for many years and if I don't own it, I probably don't want it and therefore it isn't going to appear in the list. This means I could use my own collection for the list photo's. Please excuse the paint jobs, I see much better out there and I acknowledge it. Be honestly brutal if you must, that's your prerogative but I'm using the mini's in my collection to allow me to get personal photo's that have an emotional attachment, not get rave reviews.

NB: I've used the Miniatures Catalogues to name the mini's, I accept that they do have proper names on their tabs and probably the White Dwarf articles in which they first appeared, but I don't know them off the top of my head, I'm not breaking them off of their bases to read their tabs and I'm not going to trawl umpteen websites to find them, sorry, I'm LAZY - deal with it!

So here, in no particular order, is my personal favourite Skaven mini's of all time, my top 13.........................


Yes, 13, I know it's cheating, it's supposed to be 10 but I'm a sneaky sneaky Skaven at heart so it's in character and as 13 is such an important number for Skaven it'd be wrong for me to conform and do it correctly.............................................

Ok, there's actually two different models here with two variants of one. The two outer Skaven are the white plastic Warhammer regiments Skaven (the first Skaven mini's I ever came into contact with). The central one is the lead mini they were based on, "Clanrat with Sword 4". I think the lead mini came first, any eggier headed types can feel free to correct me. I love the mini's, I'm not a history student. I adore this mini because of what it means, it's where it all began. I don't think these two are from Erny's original boxed set, if they are then I may well get a demand to have them returned........... (that I'll ignore, sorry Bro............)

Next up - "Clanrat with Halberd 9" that I use as a spear armed Clanrat and is one of the first spear armed Clanrats I bought with my paper round/Saturday job money. The more orange the skin is dictates how old the paint job. You can also see my poor attempts to create some shield icons. I'm not happy with them so they'll get worked on. I've also only tried the Horned Rat symbol, I probably need to do more different ones, or it may look to uniformed. This mini symbolises my resolve to create my Skaven Army in 1995 (the author has detailed the reasons behind this determination in the following article for those that have not already read it Needless to say they're very close to my heart and whilst the mini's are exceedingly good examples of Skaven, clothed in rags and armed with scavenged or cobbled together weapons and armour, this mini makes into the list more for the emotional attachment.

Next up is "Clanrat with Dagger 1". In my collection, and most others I'm willing to bet, this guy is a Gutter Runner and this guy is my favourite of them that I use for this role. He sums up Gutter Runners perfectly, he's got a hooked rope in his hands so he can go climbing somewhere or other and a dagger clutched behind his back in his tail to take someone by surprise. Love him, pure and simple.

Standard Bearer with Whip. Of the three Jes Goodwin original Standard Bearer variants available to the Skaven commander this guy is my favourite. Armed with whip and toting the Horned Rat symbol atop his banner pole and the sneering look on his face - pure Skaven.

This guy, listed as "Clanrat with Halberd 1" is one of my all time favourite mini's. In an earlier incarnation of my Skaven, my 4th edition army, he was a Stormvermin, one that ranked up alongside the big and chunky ones because you got one of him in a blister of 4 mini's, the rest were 4th edition figs and although they have their own charm, they're too big and they aren't this guy and as a result my present Skaven collection includes a unit made up of this one model with the addition of a command group. I think I have just over 20 painted and a few more unpainted that would push the unit up to 30. Depending on edition being played they either feature as Black Skaven (3rd edition) or Stormvermin for all later incarnations. He's got a mean looking halberd, loads of pouches, a coil of rope and a cool helmet. He's possibly my ultimate rank and file mini.

Speaking of Stormvermin, I'm presently building up a unit of the above fella, "Clan Rat with Ball and Chain Flail" to act as my Stormvermin in 3rd edition. In later editions they may well end up being dotted around my other Clanrat regiments to bulk them out a bit, although I like the idea of trialling them as Stormvermin with double-handed weapons in 4th edition. I picked this guy because of the illustration of a Stormvermin in Warhammer Armies......................

..................................possibly my favourite of the illustrations in the Skaven army list, he just looks mean and hard, no one's gonna mess with this guy!

Any self respecting run down of Skaven Mini's has to include this guy, "Plague Monk with Dagger and Staff 2". Once again this is a mini that makes up an entire unit in my army, I even converted one into a standard bearer. His counterpart with the scroll is my unit champion but this one model alone just IS the Skaven Plague Monk. There was a Treasure Island animation on telly when I was a kid where the characters were portrayed as animals (I think Long John Silver was a fox). The Blind Pew character was a rat with magical powers and looked a lot like a Plague Monk, in my young mind I made the connection between the two.

Blind Pew from the "The Adventures of Treasure Island", an animation from the UK which ran between 1993 and 1994.

Next up, the best Rat Ogre ever released (also one of the most expensive to get hold of these days). Known in the Catalogue as "Rat Ogre with Chain Gauntlets" I seem to remember my friend using the original one I had as part of his Blood Bowl team. Don't worry, I got him back, I'm not using this as a way to rat him out (................ oh dear, bad pun.....). The Rat Ogres that followed in 4th were stupid looking and all subsequent versions have gotten worse, to the point that they now have blades and guns on them, supposedly a product of Clan Moulder's surgery table rather than their breeding pens. This guy is better than all of them. He looks hard as nails and vicious with it. Basically, if he gets hold of you he'll either tear you limb from limb or he'll rip your chuffin' face off. A big unit of these guys should scare the pants off of your opponent not make him giggle as later versions will!

The most mutated Skaven of Jes Goodwins work, the original "Throt the Unclean" listed in the catalogue as "Clan Moulder Mutant". He's taller than the other Skaven of this range without ending up as big as the 4th edition Skaven releases (all of them were bigger and more muscular than the 4th edition Empire mini's so lacked the feral rat feel). I've never used him as the actual "Throt" special character but I wouldn't be adverse to trying him. Later versions have him on an orc sized base so I have another one of these ones on the larger base to give him a try sometime.

Is he a Grey Seer or a Warlock? Dunno. He's listed as "Clan Skyre with Warplock Pistol" but he has horns which is supposed to be the remit of Grey Seers only but I don't care because HE HAS A GUN. How cool, I saw him as a kid and just knew he was cool cause of that gun. I haven't used this mini in a while as the paint job was sooooooo bad but as you can see here he's midway through an update (his skin is no longer orange) so I'm thinking I may get him out at BOYL 2014. He may not be my favourite Skaven mini of all (even though he's up there) but I think he may well be the coolest!

Now we're on to the mini that sometimes commands my army, especially in 3rd edition. Listed as "Clan Skrye with Poisoned Wind Globe 2" he usually takes the name of "Vasqueel" in my army and is either a Grey Seer or a White Skaven Sorcerer. He's my favourite Skaven magic user model and it's very rare he gets left out. I don't so much see the item he's holding as a poisoned wind globe and more of a crystal (or warpstone) ball that he uses for his magics. Full of character, the mini even has keys on him and it's always intrigued me as to whether or not he has something (or someone) locked away or if he doesn't understand what they are and he has them as decoration. Any mini that makes me think that much is AWESOME!

So here's my converted Army Standard Bearer "Neek" alongside the original mini that I use as a unit champion. He's in the catalogue as "Commander with Halberd". Yes, before anyone points it out, I still need to finish off "Neek", adding in his banner and masking the joint between his pole a lot better - but forget that - just look at the mini - he's soooooooooo good. Full of character, he has scraps of clothing and armour, he's got a scroll and pouches and all sorts of cool detail that's just not on more modern mini's. He's also pointing in the direction he wants his rat brethen to head in, even if he probably doesn't want to go with them. Stick him in the middle of a whopping great big unit of Clanrats and he looks really effective.

Last up it's time for my absolute favourite Skaven mini of all time!

This rather dapper looking fellow is "Verminlord with Halberd" in the catalogue but I know him as "Warlord Varl Snickit of Clan Snickit". He's been named as such in my army since about 1996 but he was my 4th edition Warlord from the moment I purchased him (weirdly there's a similarly named Warlord in a short story in the 6th edition Skaven Army book but he was named long before I read that!). He's got a mean looking halberd, poisoned wind globes, funky armour and the best helmet of any Skaven mini ever! Being this enlarged means I'm shaking my head at the paint job I did on the halberd blade, those paint scratch/pack markings need neatening up. I've converted him slightly to to have a back banner to add height and status but sadly the top was loose and as I was setting him up for the photo I tried a quick repair job with a tiny bit of bluetac (I couldn't find my glue) and the whole thing came off! D'OH! I've subsequently tried finding my glue and I still can't so I'll go pick some up after work tomorrow so he's repaired promptly rather than putting it off until another day and forgetting about it.

So that's it, my run down of Top Skaven mini's, you'll notice they're all from the same Skaven range, that's because these are the originals and the best, accept no imitations.

Right, I'm off to work out how I'm going to make an effective looking hole in the ground to be an earthworks and entry/exit point for my Skaven for the siege game at BOYL 2014. If you've managed to stay awake and get to the end of this piece then any suggestions would be welcomed.


  1. Nice list mate, almost a review of the whole set.

  2. Oh no no, plenty left I could review..................

    To be honest I don't think there's a single one of Jes Goodwin's Skaven I dislike.

  3. Just discovered your blog mate (thanks to Orlygg). Great rundown of your favourites there, didn't realise they were the work of Jes Goodwin actually (which explains why they are so excellent). The Grey Seer with the globe is probably my favourite. He's just so sneaky.

  4. a good selection of the best of the best.....

    Seriously, the early metal Skaven are the most characterful GW ever did put out.