Rattus Vulgaris – Painting Skaven Clanrats step by step

As part of our Tamworth Games Clubs “tale of” event I am currently building a Skaven army. I say building, but its built – one hundred plus grey plastic models glued together (for the most part) to practice the Skaven game plan.

To paint that many models I need a consistent mix and plan to paint each and every unit. Clan rats are the most common, so I thought I would start there and construct a guide for you budding chieftains out there too. Games workshop recently featured a guide in White Dwarf, which I also recommend, but this is a much more rough and ready simple guide for speed painting an entire army.

** Edit – I’ve noticed since publication as you will have done, these pictures came out a bit dark. The backlighting on my laptop can be deceptive when using photos, unfortunatley the case here. Hopefully, you will still find this article useful.

This clanrat is actually one of my claw leaders. Although my rats have hand weapons, I like giving the leader a spear, it makes him stand out a little more. He also has a rag taken from the plague monk sprue added as a head plume. First, sprayed chaos black, and then heavily dry brushed Foundation Calthan Brown.

Then painted the major areas of metal. The head and cheek guards, the spear blade, the armour plates on his back and chest with Boltgun Metal. The wrappings around the spear head, teeth and claws were painted with Foundation Dheneb Stone and his ears and tail with Foundation Tallarn Flesh. The main areas of cloth were painted with a 1:1 mix of Graveyard Earth and Chaos Black.

The whole model was then washed with Devlan Mud, and the plume painted Scab Red. This deepens the colours between the folds in the cloth, the wrappings on the spear, and makes the armour look tarnished and worn. Perfect Skaven equipment!

To accentuate the worn, rusty effect, all metal areas were then given a very very watered down wash of Vermin Brown. This deep, orangey brown pools to the edges, and when dry (a hairdryer helps with this bit I find) really does give a nice fine rust patina. Then washed with Devlan Mud again for effect.

I then went around the metal areas of the model with a 00 size brush, flecking edges over the rust with Boltgun Metal. Whilst still wet, flecked again with Mithril Silver. This does a good quick job of looking like fresh dings and scrapes, untarnished metal. Makes the rust look more obvious too.

At this point, I began adding a little Matte Medium to my paint mix, to keep the cloth from becoming shiny. Acrylic paint has a tendancy to do this. You don’t need to use it, but I find it helps keep a nice finish. I use Liquitex, which is available for about £4.00 for a reasonable sized bottle, Vallejo also produce their own. I mixed Matte with pure Graveyard earth, adding it over the cloth raised areas. Gradually wet added thin watery layers of Graveyard Earth with more and more Bleached Bone mixed until I was happy with the level of the highlite.

Also brought the plume up with Red Gore, and redded the eyes with the same. Virtually the same principle applied to painting the fur, a mix of Foundation Calthan Brown and Kommando Khaki was blended up over the edges of fur on the snout, arms, legs and shoulders. I brought the rings of the tail up a little with Foundation Tallarn flesh, and washed again with Gryphonne Sepia. His eyes were dotted with Chaos Black. Beady, beady eyes.

That’s the bulk of the painting done! Just needs a couple of details.

For a quick and easy base, I bulk sand all 20 of the units bases. PVA the whole base and flat dipped into a pot of mixed modelling fine sand and chips, small stones and broken bits of filler. This gives a nice variance in texture, not just the old “flat sand with one colour” bases of old.  Simply sprayed black, dried, dry brush Scorched Brown, dry brushed Foundation Calthan Brown and then dry brushed Bleached Bone. Edges of the bases painted with Foundation Calthan Brown.

With the addition of some clumps of static grass and a shield, (painted with Calthan brown and Boltgun, washed with Devlan Mud) The Claw Leader is complete!

Note that as the leader, he has a couple more details than usual rats. The plume is an extravegance for a walking rat, and wouldnt be for every minion. I estimate that without pausing to take pictures and change your lighting rig, you could paint this guy in about 20 minutes.

Just 99 more to paint!

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4 Responses

  1. Yitu says:

    Great work!

    Kind regards from Germany!


  2. Norman says:

    Wow!!! really great job!!! I want to start to paint skavens now!!!!!

  3. Joe Higgen says:

    That is a great step by step guide! I am using that for my army! Thank you very much!

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