Friday, January 20, 2012

Goblin Skaven Slaves. Part 1.

Copyright: Goblin image by8Hungry


"Green things, your time has come to serve a great-great cause. The Great Horned Rat calls his children to war, and all those that hear the call must answer! Forward...and feel the lash!"

So I have read about (and occasionally seen) on the web "counts as Skaven slaves" units made up of other models. Popular options might include models that look raggedy enough (Empire flagellants) or fit neatly into Skaven lore. Good examples of the latter would be Goblins (as small, or smaller than your average clanrat) and Dwarves ("hates, HATES them we does", said in best Gollum voice.)

When a colleague cleared out his attic and offered me some WFB models he found I offered to take them. What I got was 2-3 boxes worth of old Goblin archers, Spearmen and Orcs, about 35-40 of each. Can anyone identify what edition they are?

At the time I wasn't really sure what to do with them. While Squeek and Snikch were drying today I decided to get out the greenskins. Despite having recently said that I would try to avoid doing large units for a while I immediately wanted to see if i could make these guys into a unit of slaves.
Goblin spearmen
Goblin archers
Some immediate problems presented themselves:

  1. Every single model was based at a diagonal. Therefore every single model faced sideways when ranked-up.
  2. As an old set, each model was identical in pose and main armament (spear and shield). Great for goblins, not so good for slaves.
  3. Spears...a forest of ramrod straight, identical spears. Most sources I read say don't bother with spears on slaves, so I certainly didn't want all of them like that.

So, after opening my bits box and getting out my tools I decided to see what I could do to make them into the rabble I wanted.

Here is how I spent my afternoon.

A.) Cutting each gobbo off their bases with a craft knife, I then filed down the feet and bases and glued them on facing front and center.

B.) I removed 70% of the original goblin shield and replaced them with shields from the latest style clanrats (triangular) and previous generation clanrats (circular).

C.) I clipped, chopped and glued my way through an assortment of spears, hand weapons, pouches and banners to try to vary the unit somewhat.

Here are some examples:

So guess what? I FAILED to make the unit the way I wanted it to...

I think the problem is that even doing all that, the body position is just too static...
...and they are ALL like that, so you can't escape the feeling of immobility that it brings. Also, it would be too time consuming to do something with the shield arm on models where I have removed the shield, but right now those arms just kind of sit there looking weird.

Finally, they look too well-armed (and a little too LONG-armed in some cases) to really be slaves.

What to do? Four possible solutions come to mind:
  1. Try mingling some archers in there to mix things up a bit.
  2. Add a couple of packmasters.
  3. Add some rats to some of the gobbo bases.
  4. Create some kind of unit filler of a reasonable size. This would break up the visual profile of the unit and add some appropriate Skaven "DNA" (a spare rat ogre holding onto chains running to the gobbos?)   

Any ideas out there that might be simple to do for a relatively inexperienced modeller like myself?




  1. They are the 4th edition models, from the old starter set (and were also sold separately)

  2. Indeed, the edition that also featured card proxis for the chariot (I think) and High Elf Lord of Griffon (again, if memory serves).

    I was also thinking unit filler. Maybe get a chariot base, stick some gobbos on there and a tree/rock/building.

  3. Solutions 2, 3 and 4 should do the trick.

    Packmasters whipping or baiting Slaves could be done as unit fillers, and making sure there are rats everywhere would help too.

    You could always mix in loads of normal Skavenslaves to make the unit seem less like just a unit of Goblins!

    Hope that helps! :)

  4. I had the same goblin salves idea, even with the packmasters in the back.
    I don't have "a backpack" of them like you seem, so I think i'll just mix em up with regular skaven slaves, mine have shortened weapons too, like looted butcher knifes instead of swords.
    I belive having them mixed up will do.

    1. Hi. I think it would be great to mix them up with regular Skavenslaves...
      ...they are all slaves after all haha!
      I like the idea of shortened weapons too. After all, as a Skaven warlord I don't want my Skaven slaves to be TOO dangerous - what happens if they rise up against me??


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