Vermintide, Part Four – More-More Warp Power!

Ever since I decided to knuckle down and commit to bringing my Skaven army into 8th/T9A, I’ve been knocking units out so quickly that I can barely keep pace writing about them. My hobby momentum is higher than it’s been in some time – one month in and I’m already feeling good about smashing my personal record for number of minis painted in a year.

I mentioned in Part Three that I was going to expand my Skaven force in a more methodical way that I’d done previously, and for once I’m actually sticking to the plan. The idea here is that I focus on each of the five Major Clans, filling in the gaps and reinforcing any units on the wimpier end of unit strength spectrum. Last month was all about Clan Moulder, while this time I’m focussing on the other mad scientists of the Under Empire – Clan Skryre.

Flipping through my 6th and 7th edition army books, the main Skryre missing from my arsenal were Poisoned Wind Globadiers, Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapon Teams, the DOOMWHEEL and Clan Skryre’s named character – everybody’s favourite lunar annihilator – Arch Warlock Ikit Claw.

As always, I find it helps motivation to tackle the difficult, time consuming or repetitive tasks first, so the logical place to start is with the Poisoned Wind Globadiers. But before we get into the hobby, can we take a quick minute to talk about blind buys on the Games Workshop webstore?

Poisoned Wind Globadiers (or Skryre Acolytes, as they’re known in Age of Sigmar) are metal miniatures that come in blister packs. These are legacy miniatures that aren’t stocked by Games Workshop brick and mortar stores and aren’t available from 3rd party resellers. They’re the old ass models that Games Workshop would rather you forgot about and the only reason they haven’t discontinued them altogether is because they don’t have anything viable to replace them with yet. But hey, as someone interested in Old World Skaven, it beats having to buy out of production miniatures from second hand resellers at an inflated supply vs demand market price. Well.. most of the time.

The problem with these blister packs is that – as was the case back when they lined the walls of every Games Workshop – the contents of these are packed randomly. This wasn’t a problem back when you could buy these from a physical shop; I’ve got fond memories of sifting through the blisters on the racks trying to pick out the ideal distribution of unique sculpts for my Longbeards back in the day. Unfortunately, with these miniatures being webstore exclusives now, the only place you can really hope to do this is Warhammer World. Not exactly ideal when you live.. well, basically anywhere but Nottingham.

This was tolerable for my Gutter Runners, as those models had four unique sculpts and generally came packaged with three models and no duplicates. Globadiers, on the other hand, only have three unique poses and – crucially – they’re sold as singles. With the Gutter Runners, if you ended up with three identical packs, you’re at least hitting an even distribution of 3/4 of the poses and any variation in content is gravy. With Globadiers, there’s a very real chance that you can order 10 packs and receive 10 identical miniatures. In fact, I’d go as far as to argue there’s a very good chance of this worst case scenario occurring. I don’t have any insider knowledge of how Games Workshop runs their packaging and warehousing, but I suspect they do these things in big runs of the same content for efficiency. If that were the case, unless the person in the warehouse is really paying attention to the nitty gritty of every single order, he or she is probably just going to grab the top X blisters from the box and pack them in the order.

Right, so remember in Part Two where I said I’d be furious if I ordered 10 Poisoned Wind Globadiers and only received one or two of the poses? Guess what happened.

Yeah, that’s right – 10 identical models. Who saw that coming, except everyone?

Frustrated, I emailed Games Workshop Customer Service and (politely) asked if there’s any way I could return these and maybe get a more bespoke selection. The answer was pretty much that I was welcome to return them (by freepost, which I thought was nice) for a full refund and try my luck with the blind buy again. Not ideal, really – but I was determined. I decided the best way to achieve this would be to make another order (this time of 12 minis) and return the worst 12 duplicates of the two.

The second order arrived in a couple days and was only marginally less disappointing. This time, the box contained 7 of the sculpt of which I already had 10, and 5 of the second. So, across 22 models – £220 worth ofl overpriced metal minis, no less – I managed to get myself a grand total of 2 of the 3 sculpts. At this point, I really didn’t want to tie up any more of my money in Games Workshop returns, so I looked to eBay to see if I could get any of the third sculpt I was missing directly. For some reason, eBay seems to think Globadiers are out of production and the market is absolutely flooded with scalpers punting massively overpriced used minis – but needs must. In the end, I found 3 of the last sculpt for “only” £2 more than 3 more blisters from GW would’ve cost (and the added hassle of a little paint stripping).

Monopose or not, I still love these miniatures and I’m glad I have them now. There’s something deeply, nostalgically satisfying about them – even if they are pound for point some of the most eye wateringly expensive models I own (and that’s coming from someone involved with the Horus Heresy).

Model-wise, my squad constitutes of 4 of Pose A, 3 of Pose B and 3 of Pose C. In retrospect, I probably should’ve kept 4 of Pose B, as that pose has a different style of backpack to Pose A and C – I could’ve swap a couple of those around to create more diversity in the squad. Unfortunately, by the time I’d realised my mistake I’d already painted the first 4 of Pose A (the first to arrive) out of impatience to get started. Thanks to the awkward and roundabout process I had to go through to obtain some variation in my sculpts (and the lightning speed at which I had gotten through my Moulder additions), I ended up painting these minis in small batches of the poses I had at the time – first 4, then 3, then 3 more. This helped to break up the monotony a little bit, and I do think that’s reflected a little bit in the overall quality of the paint job.

Not much else to say about the paint jobs here – it’s my usual red and ivory scheme, with Brassy Brass backpacks with a little Nihilakh Oxide in the recesses. The poisoned wind orbs I painted in patchy layers of Mutation Green, Goblin Green and Bald Moon Yellow before finishing with a Yellow Ink to create the gas effect and a thin veneer of Waystone Green to give it a glassy finish. Easy.

Okay, so that’s the ‘big’ unit of the month taken care of. Onto the fun stuff!

When I was placing my order for more-more Clan Skryre miniatures, something else had caught my eye on the web store that I hadn’t intended – the current in production models for Warlock Engineers.

Something that plagues and frustrates a good number of Skaven players to this day is that many of our most modern plastic models were released for the Island of Blood Warhammer Fantasy starter set (re-released briefly as Spire of Dawn for Age of Sigmar) and then left to go out of production once the need for this starter set had passed. Thanks to Games Workshop’s baffling choice to put models wherever they best fit across the four or so big sprues – not even keeping the factions separate – none of these miniatures were ever sold separately or even as part of a Start Collecting! box. As such, the currently ‘in production’ model for Warlock Engineers is not the modern plastic one, but a two pack of metal sculpts from the days of 6th Edition Warhammer Fantasy.

While this is lamentable for any aspiring Skaven player in Age of Sigmar, left to wonder why their favourite factions models are a janky mixture of plastic, resin and metal – it suits me just fine. One of those old metal Warlock Engineer sculpts is a model that I actually owned almost 20 years ago; one that maybe doesn’t quite match the sleek aesthetic of modern Skaven, but I absolutely adore on its own merit. I may already have a Warlock Engineer, but in an army like Skaven, it seems not unreasonable to expect I may need two some day. I had to have him.

The model is a little bit clunky and cluttered. More than once, I was a bit worried that the paint job was going to turn out absolutely rubbish on this one, but I’m pretty happy with the final result. The Engineer, his pack and the Orb on his backpack were all painted pretty much the same as my Globadiers. For his blades and cabling, I used thin glazes of Biel Tan Green to shade the metallics green toward the recesses – giving them a warp charged look while some of the metallics still shone through. The effect is a little more subtle in person than it looks in photographs, and I’m fairly happy with it, but it’s not my best work ever.

It’s never been more obvious that these are miniatures painted from years ago than seeing them in the same post as my Globadiers.

As far as the wacky and dangerous warmachines of Clan Skryre go, I’m pretty well served for Ratling Guns, Warpfire Throwers, Warplock Jezzails and Warp Lightning Cannons. This left two1 gaps in my armoury – Poisoned Wind Mortars and Doomwheels.

I lucked out as far as the Mortars go – I actually had three of these from my AoS days, and these just needed a little rebasing and TLC to bring them back over to Warhammer Fantasy. This was a delightfully easy win ahead of the nightmare that was the Doomwheel.

It’s maybe unfair to call the Doomwheel a nightmare. It’s not actually that complicated to assemble, and there’s not too much on the miniature that’s challenging to paint – but it demands subassemblies, and I hate subassemblies.

In the end, my subassemblies for this beast were the interior frame, the two wheels, the rats running in the wheels, the exterior cogs for each side, the pointy metal bits with the warpstone shards for each side and the base. The wheels had to remain off to ensure the interior track got paint on it as this was visible from some angles, the exterior cogs and side piece had to remain off until the wheels were attached, the rats would be way too awkward to paint once nestled into the wheels and of course I needed proper access to the pilot and controls without a big wheel and a bunch of techno gubbins getting in the way.

Of course, subassemblies bring with them their own share of problems – there’s nowhere to hold the bits that you won’t accidentally rub paint off, so you just have to put up with painting some highlights twice. I did make life somewhat easier for myself by painting the base first, dry fitting the wheels on the side and super gluing the rear wheel of the frame in place on the base – this gave me something substantial to hold onto while painting the most complicated piece, although it was still a bit tenuous and prone to snapping off if I wasn’t careful.

I wasn’t happy to be painting in subassemblies, but I will say one thing – it was absolutely worth the effort. The Doomwheel is a joy to behold, and encapsulates perfectly all the things I love the most about miniatures and miniature painting. It’s bristling with detail and while it still looks great on the tabletop at arms length, it really rewards you for picking it up and looking at it up close in your hands. Subtle little details like the different coloured rats running inside the wheel, or the metallic cog track on the inside of the wheels, the little warpstone crystal power source and the pilots pointy boots for prodding the rats into action. It’s a magnificent miniature, even if I’m in absolutely no hurry to paint another one any time soon.

And finally, we have the big man himself – Arch Warlock, Ikit Claw. Notorious for hijinks such as blowing up a moon during the End Times, and for having a notoriously frustrating to assemble metal miniature2.

Once again, I continued my trend of giving the named characters of the various clans a paint job, with only subtle hints toward my own Warlord Clan’s scheme. Fortunately for me, the ‘standard’ scheme for Ikit Claw – as he’s depicted in art and on GW’s webstore – actually suits my Warlord Clan pretty well. His black armour goes with everything and both red and ivory are already represented on his halberd and robes. His helmet – the teal blue of Clan Skryre – is the only part of Ikit that stands out from the rest of my army in a major way, and I can live with that.

I’ll confess, I was a little bit intimidated to paint this miniature at first. It’s a cluttered sculpt with a lot of detail – both shallow and pronounced – packed into a tiny area. It’s not exactly helped by how beautiful the paint job of the model is on the GW Web Store. I mean, just look at this – tiny little freehand triangles on his skirting, OSL effects and beautifully crisp iconography and filigree. I just can’t get my head around how crisp and sharp all the lines are.

Still, Ikit wasn’t going to paint himself, so I rolled up my sleeves and gave it my best shot – and I’m pretty happy with the end result. There’s no freehand or OSL on my attempt, but the highlighting came out well, I thought. Ikit pops on the battlefield and looks none too shabby up close, so that’s good enough for me.

And with Arch Warlock Ikit Claw in the bag, that just about wraps up this installment of Clan Skryre reinforcements. It’s been a good month, with some long overdue additions and some of my favourite models in the army so far.

Next up, I’m going to be returning to Clan Verminus with a renewed focus on filling out the chittering hordes of Clan Haanz (and maybe tick a final box for Clan Eshin along the way).

Until then, thanks for reading, and happy wargaming!

1 What about Warp Grinders and Doom Flayers, I hear you say? Well, okay, fine, if you want to be pedantic about it, but I’ve got enough on my plate as is without adding two completely unnecessary weapon teams that scream of ‘we ran out of ideas’.

2 Although personally, I didn’t have too much trouble. I found his claw didn’t go together very well, and necessitated a little hacking away to get it to fit, but nothing so bad that I’d have given a second thought to it if I hadn’t heard his reputation as a janky kit.

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