Verminlord Deceiver

Ratnarok the Unseen, Verminlord Deceiver

Some giant anthropomorphic rat daemon miniatures are bigger than others. This one was… enormouse.

White Dwarf (weekly) #49, 03/01/2015, pictured here with WIP Verminlord.

When I read that weekly White Dwarf back in January 2015 I figured that I wouldn’t ever paint the new, plastic, Citadel “Verminlord” kit.

The Shonen Knives muster…

A year later I was working on old Citadel ninja for my Shonen Knives feudal Japanese myth style force and watching some old fantasy anime in the same theme (Ninja Scroll, that sort of thing). I decided then that a verminlord would fit in very well with the project, with his yokai/oni design vibes. I resisted the urge to buy a verminlord then though, as I didn’t feel like I would be into painting a figure that large any time soon.

Paw Clan Night Runners search the ruined city for warpstone…

By the time 2020 rolled around, I was back painting ninja, ratman ninja this time. Spevna suggested to a few mates that we each aim to paint a greater daemon model by a fixed date – just for fun, documented here – and all of sudden it was Verminlord time.

Ratnarok really is a big boy. I didn’t realise how large the assembled model was going to be when I bought it. I figured that the Verminlord would be roughly around the size of the modern Sylvaneth Drycha, or a big dreadnought or similar. I was wrong.

Toe to head the Verminlord is about the same size as Nagash or one of the modern Greater Daemons of the traditional four Chaos Gods. Which makes sense conceptually of course, but for whatever reason was a surprise to me by the time I had the figure assembled. I figured that the Verminlord would be a tier below in terms of size. Nope.

In order to make sure that I didn’t become worn out by the inevitably long process of painting a model like this, I made certain to take as many shortcuts as possible when painting, and to go with colours and techniques that I have already proven feasible on other, smaller models. I didn’t want to try something experimental (read: risky) out on this guy, the sheer size of the figure was enough of a challenge.

I painted the Verminlord pretty much the same way that I would any other, more usually sized figure. Essentially it’s fairly rough layering over base coats and some edge highlighting, more layering and some glazing to tidy it up a bit.

I did leave a number of small painting errors uncorrected on this model. They are small issues that I would usually tidy up on a regularly sized figure, but I felt that it was more important that I powered through this project and came out the other side enthusiastic about painting, rather than frustrated by endlessly trying to fix loads of small things that in all likelihood only I would ever notice.

As you can see from the photo above, standing next to a couple of averagely sized skaven, the Verminlord really is huge. So huge that taking even half decent photos of the model is a challenge to my mediocre photo skills and facilities. But I didn’t let that stop me.

There are multiple variants of the Verminlord that can be built from the kit, each associated with one of the major factions or character concepts of the skaven. The “Deceiver” variant was a no-brainer decision for me: while I like pretty much everything about the various skaven factions, the initial and biggest ongoing draw has always been the ninja style Clan Eshin.

I swotted up on Verminlords before I started working on the model, and while I skimmed the rules for the different variants, I really didn’t care much about what variant/weapon combination looked like it would be most powerful in the various games. I wanted a giant rat daemon NINJA, not one of those other rat daemons.

Plus, in addition to a “warpstiletto” about the length of a grown man, the Deceiver also carries a humongous shuriken type “doomstar” that reminds me of the “glaive” from Krull (1983), which regardless of what the film itself is like, was always a groovy looking thing.

I don’t often bother with rear shots of miniatures, but as painting this big furry fella’s back was kinda fun, not too difficult, and looks pretty decent, I figured that I would display his posterior in this case. I imagine that a Verminlords fur would smell revolting, but I think that in this case it looks kinda nice at least. Cosy even.


21 Responses

  1. Wow! Cool!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It seemed to me for a second that you were badmouthing Krull there, we just cannot allow that 😛

    Liked by 4 people

    • Krull was one of those movies that I always to see as a kid, but didn’t actually see until I was an adult. I may have only seen a part of it to be honest, I can’t remember. Which tells you a little about my feelings on the matter…

      Suffice it to say that I still like the groovy weapon jherazob 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Awesome job man

    Liked by 3 people

  4. That’s a gorgeous piece! It wasn’t until you showed those regular skaven that the size of the thing became apparent, it’s massive :O

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Mikko!

      I hope to get my hands on a 1990s verminlord at some point, just for fun. It should be a doddle in comparison. Also in comparison, putting one alongside the 2015 figure should illustrate once again, how huge the model is.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. This big fella turned out brilliantly. It does go to show that done is better than perfect, because I’d love to know what the errors you left are. I really can’t see anything amiss in the photos, it just looks great.

    As I have said, I love the fur on his back. I imagine it’s always a little damp.

    Top job Cheetor!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Warm garbage water is the definitive skaven aroma I expect, possibly with a sharp, toxic chemical sort of smell/taste as you come across skaven with more warpstone in their system. Ratnarok definitely reeks.

      The errors are minor, more sloppiness in transitions that I figured were not worth going back to redo. You would spot them in hand if you looked for them, but they are insignificant. I just neurotically feel like mentioning the errors before someone points them out. My fragile, skaven-like ego at work 😉

      I’m glad that you like Ratnarok MrS! Coming to a table near you soon I hope!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m not sure how many times I’ve looked at pics of this model (certainly a few), but this is the first time I’ve realised that the twin-fleshy ropes whipping round its body are in fact the verminlord’s tail(s) and not (as I’d assumed) a whip! That’s sufficient justification for sharing the rear view, but equally, I love the colour variation you’ve managed to achieve with the back fur. Was it achieved through different base colours or tonal washes?

    The finished figure is great. A striking colour scheme married with a strong figure design. The purple hood does a great job of framing the centre of the face – an area which could have been otherwise lost in the all the other detailing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The fur on the back was painted something like this IIRC:

      Wyldwood to fur.
      Drybrush Sylvaneth Bark.
      Agrax Earthshade/AP Strong Tone all over.
      Noln Oil/AP Dark Tone Dark Tone to fur recesses.
      Drybrush with Sylvaneth Bark again, more lightly.
      Drybrush Eldar Flesh lightly, towards ends of hair strands mainly, and on the occasional curve.
      Selective highlight with a bone colour here and there.
      (It gets a bit fine art from here, going with the flow rather than hard and fast rules, as I did a few things to make different elements look more like how I wanted them to…)
      Glaze back with Contrast thinned with Contrast medium, wherever I thought the finished job would benefit from it. I used Darkoath Flesh or Fyreslayer Flesh at different points.
      I also glazed a few areas with thinned down Skrag Brown.
      I then worked with some thinned paints of appropriate colours to highlight where I thought it was necessary, probably going back and forth with a Contrast glaze to rein in some of the over enthusiastic elements

      It was a pretty organic process. There are some scratchy, not terribly well graduated areas of transition, but the overall look of the fur was good enough to get away with them I think. The fur area is so large on the model that it needed a little bit of attention, so as not to drag the finished figure down a bit.

      Re the hood, I will never paint to the standard of the studio models that GW produces, but without wanting to sound too cocky, I do think that some of the colour choices that they use are not very flattering to specific figures. The studio version of the Deceiver is a little murky, with the head being slightly lost in the torso, as you describe. The hood on my version may not be painted to anything like the technical standard of the studio version, but the figure is easier to read visually on mine I think, plus the purple obviously ties back to the rest of my skaven, so in that sense, I prefer mine.

      As for tails, twin tails are portentous in Warhammer. I expect that Ratnarok is rather proud of his.

      Thanks for the feedback Axiom!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Good Lord he is nasty.
    I admire your ability to make progress during these strange times.
    I’m still gaming and painting, but my poor blog is neglected and sad

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Will, I hope that you are well!

      My blogging dropped away an awful lot since late 2017, for multiple reasons, one of which was that there wasn’t a good way to fit blogging time into my schedule.

      One of the ways that I am dealing with the oddness of the world at the moment is to work on my toy soldiers. That’s my priority, the hobby side of things. The blog comes after that, as time permits. Again for multiple reasons, I have a some opportunity to put together some blog posts at the moment, so I am doing it. Once the blog becomes a chore it is self defeating, so I have aimed lower, with larger and more varied posts, less frequently, as much to record my progress as anything else. Right now, that is what works for me.

      And at least you are getting some gaming and painting in. Blogging can be fun for all sorts of reasons, but painting and gaming trump those pretty easily I think 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Fantastic painting on a very interesting miniature. It does make one wonder how stealthy a ninja can be when it’s the size of a house, but on the other hand I know that even elephants can be surprisingly hard to spot in their natural habitat.

    Congratulations on the punning and wordplay as always.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is an interesting miniature isn’t it? I couldn’t really describe it as “understated”, but in context it is an interesting one I think.

      I read in the background description of the “Deceiver” variant of the Verminlord – this one – that it can apparently make the bells on its horns stop ringing when it is being stealthy. I would have said that the bells wouldn’t have been the giveaway when a two story bidepal rat-goat is sneaking up on someone, but maybe that’s why I will never be a true ninja myself.

      Thanks for the feedback Argentbadger!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. […] Verminlord Deceiver @ Sho3box – The Verminlord is a huge, imposing miniature.  It is, after all, a Greater Daemon of the Horned Rat.  The author of this post shares his journey in painting it and whilst there is mention of leaving several mistakes in place, the final product is stunning.  Heck, all of the minis shown in this post put me, and most others, to shame.  What a fantastic job!   […]

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Excellent job mate – talk about an intimidating painting project!! Well played sir!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Alex.

      I kinda sidled up to it, without looking it straight in the eye. I was halfway into the process before I allowed my self to fully acknowledge the work required, if you know what I mean.

      It’s the old “How do you eat an elephant?” thing.

      I’m glad that you liked it Alex. Thanks for the feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t get over how the images of this Verminlord looked like a painting instead of a superbly painted miniature (albeit a really big one). Loved the painting recipe too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope that the recipe turns out to be of some use to you at some point Mark!

      One of the settings on my camera (just a phone camera) does sometimes perform a minor digital alteration that can be seen up close. It is possible that it is a little more pronounced in this case because I had to be further away to take photos of this model than I normally would. That might be what you are seeing Mark, a minor digital homogenising of the image. Which could be regarded as a form of “cheating” I suppose, but you will have to take my word for it when I say that the model looks pretty much exactly like that. Maybe a fraction less “flat” if you know what I mean.

      Thanks for the kind feedback Mark!

      Liked by 2 people

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