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Tabletop Engineer: Making the Pi-Rat Warlord

This is the first of a series of guest articles by a friend of mine, the Tabletop Engineer. He has far superior skills to me in table top, in almost every way. I think I can only beat him in purely random acts of accidental brilliance, but I'd rather not let him know that every victory I've had against him are the product of unbelievable luck.

My ego has a very low saving throw.

Anyway, this is his build log for his Pi-Rat warlord. It's old at this point, so please check up this handy chart to check which paints to use these days. As I said, he has far superior skills to mine in nearly every way, and you'll learn a great deal from this article. 

So without further ado...

Skaven pirates, what's not to like? This conversion was done to represent Capt'n Squeak Fleet of Clan Rickets with his trusty Bone Breaker (and honorary First-Mate) Planks.

The base for the Bone Breaker was made from the Rat Ogres that come with the Warhammer Fantasy Isle of Blood box set. These awesome ogres put the standard Rat Ogres to shame. Before starting this conversion I made a list of everything that Planks needed to have befitting the Pi-rat Warlord:

Removable platform for the Warlord
Pirate Flag

All Check (Hook was WIP in this picture).

The platform for the Warlord was actually made from old bits of sprue glued together with a piece underneath for reinforcement. The railing was made from old paperclips. To fit the assembly the Rat Ogre needed a bit of smoothing out on the back as some fur was getting in the way of a snug fit for the platform.

The flag is a regular battle standard from the Storm Vermin set; the main shaft was drilled out so that it could be pinned straight into the Rat Ogre's back. Without glue this had the added benefit of pinning the platform into place which made the whole thing removable.

For the Warlord himself I wanted a pistol tooting maniac with a pirate hate, simple. I tried a great many number of models which were not so simple. First I tried the standard Skaven Warlord with Dwarven head for a banner pole. I found the platform I made was actually too narrow to fit him on so that was a dead end. The next candidate for a seat on Planks was Queek Headtaker, however, although a really nice model, the pose on the platform I constructed did not suit him and he didn't look anything like the Pi-rat Warlord I had in mind.

Finally I settled on a regular Storm Vermin Model. The arms simple weapon swaps with those found in the Empire Pistolier set.

Pirate hats made from Green Stuff (Sorry, no pics of this). This was done cutting a flat circle of GS as the base for the hat, a ball of GS was put in the middle and the circle was closed around the ball, then trimmed to fit. The tricorne hat for the Warlord was done in the same manner but bent up in three positions.

Close up of the Warlord, I opted for two pistols (for show) so he can rain down bullets on his enemies (and friends) from his pedestal of command. What a smug bastard.

With this warlord I was trying a new paint scheme that could be applied to any Skaven that I would complete in the future. That meant the more simple the procedure the better. I decided for a very simple basecoat-wash-drybrush approach.

Here is the Model with the base colours. The flesh was painted GW snakebite leather; the red clothes, GW mecharite red.

Here is the finished model as it is. The whole model was given a liberal wash of GW devlan mud (two coats in parts to get that depth). Then it was a quick drybrush to lighten the raised areas of the model and extra bits like verdigris on the copper and rust on anything made of steel. It's not going to win any painting prizes but good enough for the table and most importantly it was quick and easy (only took 5 hours to complete, that's quick for me).

The banner was a bit of freehand; copying the Skaven rat symbol and adding in a crossed bones motif. It's quite badly painted but my excuse is a rat-man painted it, blame him.

Planks right hand seemed a little bare and I was tempted to give him maybe a battered spyglass or a dead slave to use a club but could not find the right bits to use. Scratch building a spyglass would have been simple enough but I opted out of the extra club for Planks to keep things simple and less cluttered.

And that's the Pi-rat Warlord Squeak Fleet with his First-Mate Planks. The base was made from old lollipop sticks (the best part of doing this project... yummy).

So that's my attempt at converting a Bone Breaker. There's a whole archive of awesome Bone Breaker conversions out there but I hope this simple kit bash would give others some confidence that you don't need expert GS skills to make a reasonable conversion (The only GS work done was filling holes and the hats).

Thanks for reading.

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