Thursday, 6 October 2016

Rats!

Introduction

Regular readers may remember my Witch Hunters and Witches warbands for the Song of Blades and Heroes rules.  Well, it's been on my mind for quite some time to expand my game by adding new factions.

Various ideas for forces which might fit into a loose version of mid-17th century England have come and gone.  I have recently built a 3rd, small force of French musketeers (on a secret mission abroad to find Milady, or fighting for or against the Puritans?).  Additionally, I may someday do a troop of hidden ghouls/cannibals (think Sawney Bean or "The Hills Have Eyes").  I might even build a force of Scots Covenanters, if only to have someone more fanatical than the English Puritans!

However, tonight I'm going to describe my 4th faction: the rats!

The Head Rat

So, here's the fluff: somewhere in the growing towns and cities of 1650s England, at least a few super-rats have evolved.  Either these are the discarded experiments of some careless natural philosophers, or they are the product of satanic dark magic.  However they came to be, the dark alleys and deserted barns are now infested with a huge number of variously-sized plague-carrying vermin!



The leader of the band is the creature above.  He (she?) doesn't have a name - at least, not one that I could pronounce.  However, the head rat is man-sized, intelligent, bipedal and understands people well enough to attempt to disguise its appearance so as to be able to pass amongst them without challenge.  I suspect that it has unholy powers as well...

This model is from Black Tree Design.


Little Rats


As I understand it, all swarm models of the same type in Song of Blades and Heroes must remain in base contact.  That makes this just one very large swarm of rats, rather than a number of smaller swarms.  Hopefully this will provide an unusual challenge for their enemies!

The rat swarms are from Black Cat Bases, who make (in my opinion) all of the best swarms for 28mm figures.  They really do look like a seething mass of small animals, rather than 4 or 5 separate models which just happen to be sharing the same base.

Mind you, looking at the other models in this band, the rat swarms' bases seem a bit bare.  Hmm, perhaps I ought to put a little grass on them, to add a bit of different colour and texture?


Big Rats


About the size of a large dog, these critters aren't a match for a human soldier one-on-one.  But whoever said that they would attack one at a time?  There are enough of them to surround a careless person and give him a whole load of grief.

Models are old Games Workshop plastics; I've had these for quite some time.


Biggest Rat


At the other end of the spectrum, the warband has one huge, nightmare rat monster!  Although sold as a "Giant Wererat" (it's a Reaper Bones model), the animal has huge chunks of flesh peeling away from both flanks.  Either someone has already carved it up a bit or the stress of its mutation is tearing its body apart.

I think that I prefer the latter explanation; it's clearly a diabolical abomination and if such a creature was unstable (with a lifetime measured in hours after its transformation, at most) then the world would be a safer place for people like me.  Not much safer, but every little bit helps, right?


Conclusion


I've collected and painted these models over quite a period of time, so the styles and colours aren't quite the same.  Rather than repainting any of them, I'm tempted to just paint up more models instead (I've still got many of the dog-sized rats).    I'll probably add some grass to the swarms, but other than that these are all completed.

So, is this a good warband?  What powers or vulnerabilities might it have?  Are there any obvious gaps in its composition?  What do you think?

18 comments:

  1. I love the rats, know nothing about the game but love the rats!! Agree with you about the swarms they are brilliant!!

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    1. I have added a little grass to the swarm bases since this article, so I think they look even better . Now if only I could find a reason to use Black Cat Bases' "turtle swarm" in a game :-) !

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    2. I cannot speak for turtles, but one of my friend in London had his pond invaded by a terrapin which quickly consumed all the resident fish.

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  2. Good painting.
    Finally an example for the Biggest Rat. I had the model from one of their kickstarter and I hate the no-metal material. I couldn't read the details. Thanks to you I know how to salvage the beast.
    I will look at the rat swarms. They are definitely better than anything I have seen before.

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    1. The Bones material is slightly soft in detail, but it's pretty good for larger models. The one thing to watch (so I've heard) is *don't* use a spray undercoat; it'll make the model tacky. I've no experience of that myself, mind...

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  3. Exellent paintjob on the rat force C6!

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    1. Thanks, HW. Actually, these beasties are quite simple to pain: drybrushed fur and a few pink details...

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  4. It certainly works as a group for me, fabulous job.

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    1. Thanks, Michael. Glad you like them.

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  5. I likes me some rats. Having been a fan of skaven before GW messed them up, I still have some of the original Jez Goodwin sculpts, which will be making up my Nezumi warband.
    Regarding your force, you're missing missile troops. Ral Partha have two Ratmen slingers that might suit - very nice sculpts too.

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    1. Thanks, CC. You're right that there are no missile troops in the band. I see these as (mostly) a bunch of scurrying creatures inhabiting dark, hidden spaces in a human world. Slings/bows/guns don't seem very rat-like to me :-) .

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  6. Looks great! As for the rat swarms why don't you pick out rats here and there with different black/brown inks to break up uniformity a little.

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    1. That's an idea which hadn't occurred to me, oddly enough. Mind you, it may not be obvious from the photos, but I have added some coloured details to the swarms (mostly pink tails &c).

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  7. Looking very good. There is something sinister about them. personally I like the balance of lots of believable rats and 2 larger than life rats. One could easily over do it, but you have not and that is fantastic.

    I look forward to your Halloween Game. (Even if no rats are involved)

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    1. I was aiming very much for the realistic "swarm of filthy vermin" effect, with only a few fantastical rodents in the background. Thanks, Clint.

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  8. I like these, a lot; the mix of manufacurers minis has come together well.
    I would hink you could invest in one of those movement trays that allow you to 'drop in' bases for the swarms,; it would keep them together.

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    1. This is what I was thinking about:
      http://wargamesbuildings.co.uk/epages/950003459.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/950003459/Categories/Movement_Trays/Irregular_Movement_Trays
      Sorry for the long link!!

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    2. Thanks, Joe. I do agree that swarms such as these on round-lipped bases can be hard to pick up (there's nowhere to grab hold of them!). I'll have a think about trays.

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