Skritt Ashenfang gnashed his teeth and snarled from the back of his lumbering Brood Horror mount, slowly encircling it's prey. The lone manthing, separated from his unit, had lost its footing and was making an panicked attempt at crawling backwards across the ashen wastes.
"Blood-blood for the blood god!" screeched the Skaven Warlord, as he fiercely swiped his warpforged halberd from the saddle of his grotesque mount. The warpstone blade sliced eagerly at the manthings throat, decapitating it with a viscous spray of blood. Skritt let out a fervent cry at his fresh kill as his hunting pack of Wolf Rats surrounded the corpse, picking and tearing at the warm flesh.
Skritt surveyed the area. Up ahead, his retinue of Stormvermin were in pursuit of the fleeing manthings. The weak would be slaughtered there and then, whilst the strong would be bound and brought before The Pack, to either replenish their bloody ranks or sate their bloodier appetites. Extending his black tongue like an earthworm protruding from soil, Skritt licked his gore-slick chops as he watched the manthings run as a wolf would study a herd of deer. Unable to contain himself, he yanked viciously at the brass chains bolted to his the jaw of his mount and kicked his vicious, yellowed toenails into it's side, signalling for the Brood Horror to charge. Khorne would reward him for the blood he spilled today, even if The Pack would not.
Today's blog post is about my other army, The Wolf and the Rat, which is a thematic take on Khorne Bloodbound, but pulling in some areas of Skaven and Khorne Daemons. There's a mash of a few different ideas and stories in this army, and the main reason for it is a combination of starting from the starter box, and just really loving the miniatures from a wide range of the Chaos faction. I knew, like with my Stormcast army The Azure Tempest that I'd want to try and make the army I grew out of the Chaos half of the starter box my own, and something that I've always liked the idea of is the interpretation of Khorne as a Wolf (the Wolf Father, the Blood Wolf, etc). The fact there's such an abundance of great viking/wolf upgrades these days thanks to things like Space Wolves Wulfen and so on kinda cemented this idea for me. The other thing was that I knew I wanted something big and awesome for a centrepiece to at least a little match my Stormcast's Stardrake, and I also knew that I loved Skaven, but would struggle with painting a pure horde army. And thus the concept of The Wolf and the Rat was born.
The White Wolf
Lord Alpha of The Pack, The White Wolf is a shrewd tactician, savage warrior and devoted chaplain of The Wolf Father. Although little is known of his time before The Pack, it is said that The White Wolf had once been a scholar of divinity, leading to his ancient and dogmatic interpretation of the Blood God Khorne as a bloodthirsty wolf.
His savage doctrine dictates that worshippers of the Wolf Father are the fangs of Khorne himself made manifest, and it is their duty to sake his thirst by preying upon the 'cattle' of the realm. To this end, The Wolf Father and his chosen 'enlightened' disciples enter the battlefield in suits of bone white platemail, in contrast to the blood red of his horde.
One of my first Bloodbound that I painted from the starter set, and I had a bit of trouble keeping the armour white while keeping the shading from the brown wash I used. I later discovered my folly was that the Army Painter washes that I used were more of a 'glaze' than a wash, so more fool me for using the Big Bad model from the starter set as my test model. Nothing overly taxing on the conversion front, just a power axe (with sci-fi parts like cables shaved off) from the Wulfen kit I had spare, and a resin wolf skull from some basing kit for a helmet. I kinda like the model, but I've always had a soft spot for mounted generals. My plan is to eventually replace him with a Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut converted from an OOP metal kitthat I got on Ebay (because ugh finecast), which I'm very much looking forward to seeing take fruition (see the WIP section at the bottom for the build).
The White Wolf's second-in-command, or 'pet rat' to his detractors. Skritt Ashenfang was once a Fangleader of the Stormvermin bodyguard of Clan Fellpyre, entrusted with the protection of Grey Seer Chittikh on a great exoddus to claim a rich warpstone deposit in the realm of Aqshy. It was on this journey that Skritt's clan was ambushed by The Pack. Intent on consuming their flesh as an act of worship for the Bloodwolf, The Pack had destroyed much of Fellpyre before Skritt and his Stormvermin's martial skill had caught the eye of The White Wolf himself.
Whether through torture, brainwashing, cowardice, resentment or the simply the influence of Khorne's domain, only Skritt can say why he chose to forsake The Horned Rat in favour of the Blood God. In spite of his uncertain motivation, his unnatural strength and fell gifts remain proof he wields the favour of Khorne.
Another minimal conversion (Khorne banner from the Mighty Lord instead of the Horned Rat icon, spikey bit on the helm from a spare Stormvermin captain head).
This guy came about mostly out of desire to have something big and awesome in this army to match the visual appeal of the Stardrake and deciding that I couldn't justify buying a new Bloodthirster when I could paint strip and repurpose my old style metal one (see the WIP section below). I ended up on the ForgeWorld website, and kinda went back and forth on whether or not I'd buy Skaarac the Bloodborn. Ultimately, I thought £140 was too much to spend on a single (albeit awesome) miniature for My "First" Army, but while I was there I found myself looking at all the different miniatures ForgeWorld were doing for Fantasy/Age of Sigmar and being a little blown away by some of the more affordable miniatures - in particular, the Skaven Warlord on Brood Horror.
Skaven are an army I've always wanted to play - I love how they look, I love how they think, they're just the epitome of Games Workshop's creativity in fantastical settings and I love them to pieces. Back in the day, they were my first attempt at an army for WHFB, and that turned out to be a really stupid decision. They were kinda tricksy to play, and I hated how much time it took me to get them all to rank up. Additionally, there was just no way a 12-13 or so year old me would have the patience to paid those some 60 clanrats, 20 Stormvermin and so on and so forth. That army was sold quickly, and after a fumble or two (I believe I attempted Empire, Dark Elves and Chaos) I eventually settled on Dwarfs, an army I still have in a mixed state of completion and plan to slowly fix up for AoS eventually.
Anyway, skip forward to today and now we have Age of Sigmar and the #1 thing that I love about this game, being a returning hobbyist with a lot more hours in the hobby side than the gaming side as of now, is the ability to mix and match factions within your grand alliance. This opened up the floor to adding into my starter set whatever I liked the look of as long as I could justify it from a lore perspective. The stars sort of aligned for me on this one - the followers of Khorne respect strength and appetite for battle, which meant I could add a small, elite Skaven contingent to my army - not too many models to paint and it makes sense. Perfect!
As The White Wolf's 2nd in command, I like to field this guy as the general in smaller (1500pts or less) battles. His command ability buffs up the Stormvermin contingent, meanwhile the Bloodsecrator buffs up the Khorne mortals and daemons, giving the army a divided but united sort of feel that I think works on a fluffy level - Skaven are notorious for their backstabbing ambition, and the followers of Chaos can all be a little "xenophobic" of each other at the best of times anyway.
Notable from a model perspective is this is the first occurrence of the warpstone crystals I like to put on the bases of my more mutated miniatures with a mind that any of the crazy mutations could be attributed to either Khorne's blessings.. or maybe just a mutation from all the warpstone in their encampments soil.
Not much to say about this guy, he's just the Bloodsecrator from the Starter Box. One of these days, I'd like to replace him with a wholely unique conversion - I'd really like to take Valkia the Bloody and switch her spear for a big honkin' icon of Khorne sometime, but that's a project for another time when there's less pressing things (such as the rest of the 2000pts army) to finish.
Blood Warriors (The Red Hunt)
Just some starter set Blood Warriors. I think, of all my starter set Khorne, these are the guys who turned out the best.
Blood Warriors (The Enlightened)
I bought these guys 2nd hand prebuilt and partially painted in a set of 5. In addition to being super cheap (I think I paid £8), it's always annoyed me that if I ever picked up a Blood Warriors box set, then I'd always have the 5 guys from the starter set 'spare' if I was building units of 10 to get the big crazy glaive.
There's no obvious Champion guy here, which would've made them perfect for just adding to my main unit, but they came partially painted in bone white and I kinda loved it, even if originally I had planned for only characters and more expensive individuals in the army to be white. I decided to keep them as their own unit in the end as a sort of 'retinue' of sorts for The White Wolf. The plan is to eventually buy another box of Blood Warriors and pump each unit up to 10, with the Englighted's champion getting a goreglaive. In the meantime, they look pretty cool. Fluff is a work in progress, but I like the idea of two units that are functionally the same with The Enlightened being closer to the radical ideology of The Pack's alpha (the cunning predator) vs the standard BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD of The Red Hunt.
Bloodreavers (and Slaughterpriest)
Buncha Bloodreavers and a White Dwarf Slaughterpriest. The paint job does the job for tabletop, being essentially a base coat and a sepia glaze without any real highlighting or anything, but the thing that's probably standing out here are the movement trays.
While I love that my Bloodbound has a huge, hordey feel (with 80+ minis at 2000pts) in comparison to my elite Stormcast (with roughly 30 minis at 2000pts), that's an annoyingly large amount of miniatures to be pushing around a table. Somewhere along the line I heard someone mention Warbases, a UK company that does laser cut MDF bases and movement trays - I thought the 5 model skirmish stands were just perfect. They don't have an outrageously large footprint, and being able to split each 20-strong unit into 4 stands makes them a lot easier than a big 20-mini movement tray for getting around terrain and piling in and all that jazz - since there's no actual benefit to a formal formation, and that's certainly not the way I'd expect the followers of Khorne to fight anyway! They were a pretty quick job, just slop a bunch of Vallejo Black Lava onto them all and give them a drybrush and a bit of static grass and job's a good 'un.
These guys were super quick and easy, which I was really looking forward to after the slog of painting and varnishing Bloodreavers Stormvermin. Just prime, paint the horns/claws/teeth/eyes/metallics, dip, extra nuln oil wash over the horns and weapons, then paint the base and matte varnish over the horns and weapons. I'd always planned to dip them for maximum speed and a glossy slimy looking skin, but it wasn't until the models were on their way to me in the post (along with a can of Dragon Red primer spray that went unused in the end) that I decided they'd look really cool if they were white. I haven't fully developed my fluff reasons yet, but I love the scheme, and how prominently the blood effects show on their hands and mouths over the white flesh.
I don't like how many mold lines I missed in my hurry to get them finished in a weekend. As cool as the miniatures look, the sprues in this kit were really a bit janky. Lots of big mold lines and weird bits that didn't go together as well as I'd like. Still beats working with resin!
Cool models, I think this set aged quite well. Kind of a meh paint job on account of there being 20 to get through, so they got the same treatment as the Bloodreavers - not so great up close, but pretty cool en masse. More expensive than I'd have liked once you factor in the fact I had to buy my own bases for them (and GW don't like to sell small rounds without packaging a bunch of bigger rounds you PROBABLY WONT NEED with them). On a related note, I had debated whether to go 25mm or 32mm for these guys but in the end settled with 32mm. I hate foot overhang on bases of any kind, and furthermore, if Bloodreavers get a 32mm, then Stormvermin are getting 32mm given their somewhat elite status.
These guys tie the wolf theme of the army together. I love how the conversion turned out - a Wulfen box set with a bunch of Wrathmonger flails that I got from bitz websites in place of their stabby knife hands, and all the cables and 40k bits filed off. I don't know if you can see it particularly well from the photo, but I used the weird little skull and crossbones bits from the Wulfen frame to cover the hole in the minis backs where their backpack normally would be. Paint job wise, I could've done better. I rushed these guys to finish them and a unit of Judicators in a single weekend to get them ready for a game and it kinda shows. They actually looked a little worse before this photo, but on the night I was finishing up this post, I decided I'd do something about these guys and repainted their hair, from a kinda lazy light brown + wash to the black/grey you see now, which adds a little contrast and ties them a little closer to the Skin Wolves they might eventually become. If I were to do these guys again though, I think I might consider painting their flesh grey and hair brown, like mini Skin Wolves. That'd look pretty cool, and hey, normal Wrathmongers are all crazy and red, right?
From a lore perspective, as far as The Pack care, these guys aren't much different from your normal Wrathmongers, only they came out more Wolfy because Big Bad fancies his deity more canine than your average Bloodbound warlord. Or it could just be the warpstone up to it's usual tricks! Who knows.
Skin Wolves (The Blessed)
I am straight up thrilled with how these guys came out. Like a lot of my paint jobs, I got pretty down on how they were coming along at first. I had originally decided to make their bodies grey and their fur a lighter shade of grey. It took about 75% of the way through the first one before I realised why my guys looked so much worse than everyone else's on the internet - people tend to make the skin lighter than the fur, which 'balances' out the miniature a little more because the light tends to hit the backs a lot easier. Liking their skin the way it was, I decided to make their fur a grungey brown instead and that really improved things some more.
What really brought these guys together were the bases. I'd originally decided I wanted to do a little more with their bases than normal, but I didn't think they were big enough to warrant the lava stream that my biggest guys had (Skritt and the Stardrake so far, although my Juggerlord and Bloodthirster will be on resin lava bases since I had to buy their round bases separately anyway). I ended up buying this basing kit with animal bones, thinking that would typify wolves a lot more. They also got the warpstone crystals the other mutants got, but I also decided to be a bit more liberal with my use of static grass. I tend to religiously stick with grey gravel for my bases rather than picking something complimentary to each army for the simple reason that most of my games are played on the tiles you can see I photograph most of them on, but I also use an assortment of dead static grasses and tufts on the board to break up the monotony of grey, and I do the same on my bases, though I normally stick to the simple dead looking green grass. With these guys, I expanded to use 2 of the 3 types of flock and both types of tufts I use on the main board, and cover up a lot more of the grey with the grass, and the effect not only compliments the grey (that would otherwise just blend into the base), but I think comes out looking a lot more marshy and macabre, which somehow suits the gothic horror vibes that Skin Wolves give off so well.
Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is I really liked how the bases turned out and just how much better they make the miniatures look overall.
From a fluff standpoint, these guys are known as 'The Blessed' within The Pack, for reasons that should be readily apparent by now; for a crazy religious cult (even by Chaos Worshipper standards) that believes their God is a big crazy bloodthirsty wolf guy, being made into a big crazy bloodthirsty wolf guy is a pretty high honour and considered on par with daemonhood. Sweet. Once more, warpstones on the base. Are these guys just crazy and stupid? Oooo.. maybe, but maybe not. But probably.
Just a Khorgorath, nothing super special here. I guess this was my first attempt at painting something big in Age of Sigmar, outside of my Ogroid Thaurmaturge from the Silver Tower set that got me back into the hobby (and looked terrrriibaaaad!), so I was pretty pleased with how he turned out. He's a neat model, but doesn't really fit so well in the army, but I painted him, so he's getting shown off anyway!
Same deal as the Khorgorath, nothing super interesting here. This guy gets some use in my 1500pts list, but I think got the chop in the 1000pts and 2000pts versions. Go figure. I think his base might be a tad bright.
AAAND BONUS: Here's some works-in-progress!
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury
Yeah, this is an old ass metal Bloodthirster model. I had him kicking around my parents attic, and given that I had a Bloodbound army, it felt like a shame not to use him. I decided to repose his arms, because they looked static in the classic GW way where everyone loved to stand with biceps by their sides and their elbows bent. I also gave him a modern plastic Bloodthirster head that I got from Ebay, because the old one looked ridiculous and just a bit unsuitably camp in the modern style. I dunno, it might be a little big, but it looks a hell of a lot better. Oh, and on a similar note, I filed down the weird stars where his nipples would be on his breastplate. That just always seemed weird to me.
Then I got a bit ambitious. I decided I'd risk ruining him - he only cost me £25 back in the day, which is kind of insane when you consider the (albeit amazing) plastic kit these days will skin you almost three times that, and frankly, he paid himself off in extensive use in my World Eaters army back then. So, I thought I'd make him more unique and Wolfy by adding a green stuff fur cloak (which you probably can't see) and some metal spikey pauldron things to tie it to his back and wings, which I thought turned out pretty well. He'll get his own post when I'm finished so you can get a better idea of what it looks like, but I'm planning to also add my remaining animal bones to his base before I'm done. He'll be white like the other daemons in my army, and more than a little unique. Sometimes, I wish that I'd sprung for some modern plastic Bloodthirster wings on ebay to go with the head, but between that and the base I'd be as well buying a new plastic one. And my Battlefoam pluck foam's already been cut to size so that ship has sailed anyway.
Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut
The White wolf himself, looking a hell of a lot more regal upon the back of one of Khorne's favoured daemonic mount, and in glorious white metal to boot!
I love this miniature. Even the standard Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut just has this blasé swagger to it that puts me in mind of the Orc general riding to the front lines on a warg in The Return of the King. I really hate the idea of my Mighty Khorne general walking into battle with a little red pooch while his second in command is riding in style on a big gigantic mutant mole rat with baby rats crawling out of it's skin (that miniature is so gross and cool). This guy got a couple things from me - a Space Wolves helmet, with the sci fi bits filed off (top bit on the helmet, and the side tubes cut and filed to look like tusks/spikes), his shield replaced with a big ol' Space Wolves one with fetishes dangling not unlike the Bloodreavers/Wrathmongers, and a big honkin' axe made of two of the big two handed axe heads from the Wulfen sprue stuck together. He just needs a bit of greens stuff cleanup, and a nice oval base (this one came with a square). MORE SOON!
And that's that!
Hopefully in my next posts I can show off my finished Bloodthirster, Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut and my as of yet unpictured Wolf Rats. Thanks for reading (or looking at pictures and skipping to the end)!