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Skaven Clanrats

INTRODUCTION

Dangerous and intelligent, the Skaven are the closest thing in the Age of Sigmar to Nazis in rat form, and their totem, a rune symbolising the Great Horned Rat has more than a passing swastika vibe. Skaven proclaim their allegiance to a clan by clawing runic symbols either into their shields, adding them into their swords or even themselves, either by blade or by branding.

Skaven battle tactics are brutal. Vast number of their troops will be expendable in battle. And those troops are the Clanrats. Lower ranks, such as the clanrats and slaves are usually sent in advance to wear down the enemy and as a result, are typically slaughtered, allowing a Skaven Army to soak up the capital resources of the enemy, while higher ranking Skaven warriors hold back until they’re ready to fight.

In this build, I opted in this build to make my Skaven warriors look as rat-like as possible. Partly to make them stand out from each other, partly for practice, and to make the clan stand out visually.

Built during the COVID lockdown, this army has been made out of two sets of Clanrats, a Warp Lightning Cannon, one Warlock Bombardier, a Grey Seer, and a Warlord. As luck would have it, the kit for the Skaven Stormvermin arrived literally the day before I finished filming. Somewhat annoying but there you go.

So, what exactly are the Skaven? They are rat like humanoids that live under the Warhammer World in underground cities, known as the Under Empire, in a citadel known as Skavenblight. Also known as Ratkin or Children of the Horned Rat, the Skaven are horrible little critters with a violent history of anarchy and belligerence, hated by the majority of races on the World.

Divided into clans, the Skaven also fight each other. They are ruled by the Council of Thirteen, twelve seats of which are held by each of the clan chiefs, the thirteenth being reserved for the mythical Great Horned Rat himself.

Here are the colours that I used. You don’t need to use all of them, this was after all, a bit of an experiment. Even so, If you would like to build your own Clanrats economically, pick one colour for the clothes, one for armour and one for the wooden aspects. Or not as the case may be.

Even so, the method I use is quite quick and straightforward. Cadian Fleshtone for the skin, and Gorthor Brown, Skavenblight Dinge or White Scar diluted to a wash coat almost for the fur.
You can tone the armour using different metallics in conjunction with each other if you prefer.

This army was finished off by basing them with Stirland Battlemire. Messy stuff, but works well.

I started off by basecoating the models using a couple of thin coats of Zandri Dust, perfect for setting up flesh tones, not just on Skaven models, but also any model with humanoid skin tones. You can use the Zandri Dust spray on paint to basecoat them, but for personal reasons, I favour the pot and a brush.

Next, a coat of Agrax Earthshade to flesh out all the details. Keep the pot of Agrax handy, as you’ll need it again later on. On top of that, apply a thin coat of Cadian Fleshtone on all the exposed skin, such as the face, arms, legs and tail.

Now for the fur…for this build, I used three different layer paints – White Scar, Skavenblight Dinge and Gorthor Brown, all watered down to create an almost transparent wash. Avoiding the areas around the nose where whiskers should be, as well as the hands. Thighs and tail bases could also require some of the same treatment.

With regards to the armour and weaponry, I went to town on the metallics to produce both layers and bases, and in some cases where I’d like a brass effect, I use a base coat followed by a layer coat.

Ironbreaker, Gehenna’s Gold, Auric Armour Gold, Bathazar Gold, Retributor Armour and Leadbelcher. Some are layer paints, others bases. Some work well together, especially if you’re trying to produce realistic brass effects. Apart from the swords and weapons, look out for shield edges, helmet details, hidden knives and chain mail.

For the mouth, apply a quick dab of Screamer Pink inside to highlight it, and use Khorne Red on the eyes, applied with a fine detailed brush – very carefully.

For clothing, I have used Khorne Red, Abaddon Black (which creates a nice leather effect), Mournfang Brown, Skavenblight Dinge and Zandri Dust to give them an almost feudal medieval feel. Other colours you could use for cloths are Eshin Grey, Nagarroth Night and Caliban Green – they are very versatile, and a large number of colours clothwise will work well on them.

As for the wooden elements, I have used Rhinox Hide and Dryad Bark for the poles of the spears and the shields. You could use a lighter brown colour, such as Gorthor Brown or Skrag Brown on the wood, so that when it’s shaded the grain shows up more distinctly; however, the soft and light woods do not make decent shields in reality – so using what could be perceived as a light wood like Zamesi Desert would like nice, just wouldn’t work in reality I suspect. You could even paint different browns onto the shields to give the view that it’s composed of different woods, working with the grain pattern on the plastic.

Having done a bit of mopping up on little errors, I then added another shade of Agrax Earthshade, watered down 1:1. If you want your Clanrats to look a bit grubbier, like they just crawled out from the Under Empire, use the Agrax undiluted all over the model. Pure Agrax will bring down the colour quite a bit, so be warned.

Last but by no means least, the teeth and any bandages have been topped off with Screaming Skull.

To complete the paintwork, I decided to base the Clanrats using Stirland Battlemire. This is a technical paint that has a rather granular texture, needs to be watered down a little for it to work really well, and this can be used to built up the bases with little piles of earth. It takes a while to dry, but the result is worth it. Get hold of a detailing brush to poke small amounts into the delicate areas around the feet and parts touching the base, then use a bigger brush to build it up. For best results, mix it on a paint palette or jampot lid with a bit of water until it becomes a little splodgy.

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orks painting guide warhammer

Evil Sunz Orks

Introduction

For this build, I have assembled just under fifty Orks in the Evil Sunz livery, and to give you some idea of the time it took, each layer of paint on average took two hours to add collectively to the group from my little production line.  Adding the times up roughly in my head, accounting for Ork Skin, uniforms, other gubbins such as detailing with other colours and the final basing, the overall process works out at about 48 solid hours of work over a period of about one month. 

The brushes I generally tend to use are Conda detail brushes which are excellent and do last quite a while, whereas other brushes for the heavier details such as basing with texture paints tend to get a little bit bedraggled.  Even so, no need to throw them out, unless you clean them with nail polish remover and then the paint turns to cruddy lumps on the brush.  Best to leave them to soak in water for a bit, then use antibacterial hand gel, the stuff that’s 70% proof to clean them properly.  That works a treat, and currently is also slightly more difficult to get hold of.  

This was filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, hence the video taking slightly longer to produce and the lockdown haircut of the author.

The Evil Sunz Clan

Orks (or Greenskins as they are also referred to), are widespread throughout the Warhammer universe, and thrive on violence and conquest. A simple folk, their main reason for existence is to fight, hence their battlecry, “WAAAAAGH”.

Their homeplanet and origins are largely unknown, though there are clues scattered about the universe, and rumours are rife as to how they arose and evolved. Orks are simple creatures, whose needs are very straightforward, they do not foster any grand plans or have any overarching strategies for galactic conquest. They love speed, pinching stuff and extreme violence, and shiny things.

They are also insanely tough and have a hideously high pain threshold. Able to physically regenerate themselves after suffering incredible injuries, and possessing incredible physical strength, orks, while seemingly dim, nethertheless are adept with technologies of other races and can use and adapt them accordingly.

The Evil Sunz Clan are one particular group of Orks that are feared for a number of reasons – speed, surprise, tenacity and of course their mindbendingly vicious nature. Preferring to charge against the enemy, then ploughing through them and coming back again for seconds is one of their favourite tactics, while weaving randomly in and out of their foes position in order to cause as much chaos as possible. A number of armies and species in the Warhammer world often have trouble coping with these so-called Speed Wars.

Their totem is a Red Ork face emblazoned by a red sun. All ork glyphs represent their particular clan, and the Evil Sunz are no different, favouring symbols.  They can be identified by their red armour, and their favoured ork glyphs…lightning bolts, burning skulls, arrows, and flames.

 

They also have some incredibly weird ideas. For example – anything painted red WILL go faster. This stems from their archaic habit of painting their vehicles with the blood of their enemies. They also have a habit of nicking vehicles off of each other or anyone else if they like the look of it – so, you will often see Cadian infantry tanks that have been captured and repurposed, or Tau weapons and vehicles that have been stolen, modified and repainted, often with Ork abuse sprayed on the armour. An itinerant bunch, they never stay in the same place for too long, and have been known to leave the battlefield before the end of a conflict if there’s nothing left for killing or stealing. 

Orks do have a rudimentary class system. For a disorganised rabble, they appear capable of the concept of rank and file even if it is partially on a subliminal level at times.

Warbosses are the big boys, bloodthirsty, ruthless and well respected. They lead the other Orks both by example and brutality. Some even plan ahead and develop strategems for battle, although these are usually thrown together in a somewhat haphazard manner and often improvised. Then, lower down the pile come the Nobz and the Boyz – what normal armies would refer to as the officers and men. But these are Orks; forget what constitutes normal.

Nobz are the ruling caste of the Orks, not decided by wealth or privilege, but by sheer size and aggression. They often form the inner circle around their Warboss, and if they fall, there’s usually a minor skirmish between the remaining Nobz to see who can fill the void. Meganobz are insanely armoured and relish the fact – although if brough down, they are often a burden to the other Orks who are honour bound to help get him back on his feet.

Boys are the lowliest troops of an Ork clan. Armour and weapons are often makeshift, and they make the most of what they have by being somewhat gung-ho in battle.  Ork vehicles vary from bikes, to trukks, deffcopters, bombas, ‘Kans’, ‘Killa Kans’,Stompas…anything they can steal or modify and paint red to scare the s*** out of the enemy.

Mekboys tend to look after the technical stuff, and have an unnatural affinity for technology and weaponry despite their seemingly low intellect. Somehow, it is believed that at a deep rooted psychological level, they have a deep understanding of technology, even if they cannot articulate what they know.

Then there are the Painboyz (or Docz), who often act as surgeons and extreme dentists. The Ork currency is ‘Teef’, and their teeth are just some of the body parts that they can grow rapidly when needed. Painboyz can also replace limbs with bionic spare parts knocked up in a Mekboys workshop, often resulting in some interesting and disturbing cybernetic enhancements.

 

Armour and painting guide

The predominant colour here is Mephiston Red, highlighted on the edges with a layer of Evil Sunz Scarlett. 

For the clothing in this case, here I have used  Dryad Bark and Baneblade Brown.  For the weapons and other accessories that need to be done, Abaddon Black, Iron Hands Steel and Retributor Armour base paints. 

To paint ork skin, refer back to my first video and guide which shows you how to speed paint ork skin quickly and effectively.

First step after painting the skin, is to paint Mephiston Red on all the armoured areas such as the helmets, shoulder pads, also some totem flags if they require it.  Then, use Evil Sunz Scarlett to bring up the red with just a light dusting around the edges.

Alternatively, you could paint the garments underneath first and then paint the armour.  In this build I have done the reverse, as that’s the way I roll.  Dryad Bark is used to paint the clothes and uniforms underneath. 

Rucksacks and various rags around wrists, guns or cables can be painted with Baneblade Brown, Ushabti Bone or Zandri Dust to compliment the brown of their garments, although if you prefer you can use the red colours as before.

Here, I have used Mournfang Brown on some of the additional areas such as leather gun straps, axes or the stick grenades that the Orks favour.

Next, Abaddon Black.  This will be used on things like our belts, boots and if you feel confident enough, some of the lacing on trousers with a very fine brush.

For the fittings, weapons and other assorted bling we are going to use two colours. Iron Hands Steel is used for the gun barrels, axes, and helmet earpieces, and other assorted fittings, belt buckles and chains (which some Orks seem to a lot of).  On some of the more complex models such as the Mek Boys or the Shootas, things like batteries and electrodes, ammo on magazines.  Lots to do here…especially if you’re painting up fifty at a time like I am.

The other colour is Retributor Armour to add gold to the models, such as bullet tips, ear and nose rings, other shiny trinkets, anywhere you would prefer to use gold rather than silver.

Then, once all these steps are done, do a spot of touching up and correcting on any painting mistakes that you have made or spotted. 

Once you’re happy and ready to, shade the uniforms and armour with Agrax Earthshade, which will add a bit of depth and the look of wear and tear that we’re aiming for.  The look I would aim for here is a bit on the filthy side.  Orks are a savage rabble with no time for niceties or personal hygiene, hence the slightly grubby look. 

On some of the Orks, certain features require a chequered pattern effect.   The easiest way to achieve this on banners and the surfaces that aren’t raised in a chequer, is to use Averland Sunset, a very steady hand and a fine tipped liner pen with a ruler.  Use the ruler to gently mark on the pattern with a yellow 0.3mm fineliner pen.  This will leave a pattern that you can paint to.  If, while you draw the pattern on, you make a mistake, you can quickly wash it off with a damp cloth or tissue and start again.  Practice makes perfect.

Now, we’re going to finish off the armour and other metal bits in the following three steps. Nuln Oil for the weapons, then, where there are dents and scratches in the armour, surround the immediate area with Mephiston Red strategically where we want to show evidence of distress.  Then once that’s dried, a tiny dab of Iron Hands Steel or other silver colour if you prefer delicately in the crack or dent so as not to fill the previous spot of red.  Then, if there’s a slight overpaint, wipe it off quickly with a damp cloth. 

Also, you can achieve scuffing to corners of armour in much the same way; edge the armour delicately with the Mephiston Red, wait for it to dry, then run the edge of the brush with as little paint on as possible with the Iron Hands Steel and you will get the effect that you’re after.

For this build, I have also used some primary base colours to detail all the miscellaneous items such as cables, wires and pushbuttons on some of the Lootas and Stormboyz.  In this case, we have used Altdorf Guard Blue, Flash Gitz Yellow, Troll Slayer Orange, Waystone Green and Xereus Purple.

For lenses, lights and screens fill in any lenses on goggles or lights, or screens that are visible.  Citadel have a number of technical paints, and here I have used Soulstone Blue, Spiritstone Red and Waystone Green to emphasise the glass features.

Last but by no means least, it’s time to base the models. For the Evil Sunz Orks, I have chosen Agrellan Earth, laying it on thick in some places on the bases, so that once it has properly dried, it should crack and look like dried earth. And then, we’ll add foliage where it suits. I get mine from warpainter.net, it’s quite reasonable, and it comes in sheets that you can peel off and just stick on the base with little or no hassle. Job done, ready for battle on your tabletop.

Extra touches

If you want to take these to the next level, then you will want to add extra layers, lighter strokes on the steels and armour, to add a bit more detail. While that’s all good in an ideal world, at some point you’re going to want to start using your Orks in anger on the table.

To see how the hardened detailers do this, some videos that are worth watching are listed with links below. I could while away some happy hours watching Duncan ‘two coats’ paint, or Alan, AKA The Apathetic Fish blow you away with his skills. Another chap, Lester Bursley has some interesting techniques which can also be applied with spectacular results. Definitely worth watching him at work to get some further ideas.

The Apathetic Fish – Ultimate Guide to Miniature Painting Palettes for Thinning your Paints and painting like a Pro

Warhammer Channel – How to Paint Evil Sunz Orks

Lester Bursley – How to paint Evil Sunz Ork Nob

Wrapping up

I have enjoyed building and painting these, even if they have been a bit of a sod at times. Some painters tend to prefer to use more red on their Evil Sunz Orks, and having had a look at how some of the other guys paint theirs, you can see why there is such a variation in terms of interpreting what constitutes the Evil Sunz look. The Evil Sunz are definitely less blingy than some of their rival clans, such as the Bad Moonz, and definitely have got more of a clue in terms of colour coordination than the Bloodaxes.

I think it’s because of their chaotic nature that the concept of an Ork generally is that of something anarchic rather than regimented, which is why a lot of gamers favour playing Orks. Definitely a firm favourite of mine.

For my Evil Sunz Orks, I have mixed it up a bit. Some are built from the basic Citadel kits, which always seem to have leftover arms, legs or heads, and I always seem to have spares here and there. And when I don’t have all the bits, I go on E-Bay, root around some reliable online shops and buy the spare bits I need.

On top of that, I had a couple of spare Leman Russ tanks lying about ready for some abuse, so one of these has been painted up in a typical Ork style, covered in red teeth and plasma guns.

The Ork Tank Commander isn’t from Games Workshop, but a company called Kromlech, based in Poland, but are on the internet as Bits of War. These only come as a one piece upper torso and head, so, to stick the little chap into the turret, I have drilled a hole in his underside to attach a plastic rod, used a lump of Citadel Green Stuff carefully blobbed up and stuffed inside the turret, and poked our friend on the top before it sets rock hard to make him stay in place. 

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orks painting guide warhammer

Ork Skin

Orks are horrible gits. They have BIG muscles, probably smell, have a very bad attitude, and lots and lots of teeth. Not even a mother would love their faces. They love to wage WAAAAGH, and while being a bit gung ho and somewhat dense, they have a technical affinity for machinery and weapons that belies their initial orky gorkiness.

Here’s how you paint them.

Skin tones:

• An initial base coat of Abaddon Black. Cover all of the plastic with a 1:1 mix of paint with water – this goes for all the paints and shades mentioned here.
• thin coat of Waaagh Flesh to give the flesh its initial colour.
• Biel Tan Green with a fine detail brush to shade the flesh and bring out the muscles and facial details. Let it dry for about an hour.
• Layer 1 – Warboss Green, using both a small detail brush and a flared brush to add extra highlights.
• Layer 2 – Skarsnik Green, using both a small detail brush and a flared brush to add extra highlights.
• Layer 3 – Moot Green to add the final skin highlights. Use a flared brush for some dry brushing. And use half as much of the previous paint.

Mouths and Eyes:

• Screamer Pink as the base colour for the mouth and gums.
• Evil Suns Scarlett for those Orks that have tongues. Just enough of this layer paint to highlight the groove with a fine detail brush.
• Ushabti Bone for the teeth. Using a fine brush, paint up to just below the gum line. Also, it’s good to do the hair and any bandages at the same time, as well as the odd skull if these are present.
• Agrax Earthshade to darken the mouth, bring out the teeth, gums and tongues where applicable, as well as the eye pits. Wait to dry for about an hour to be on the safe side.
• Screaming Skull next to layer the teeth and bring out the veneers.
• Evil Sunz Scarlet for the eyes – just two tiny little dots. And I mean tiny.
• Leadbelcher or Auric Armour Gold for the jewellery, and Ushabti Bone/Screaming Skull for tooth earrings.