perjantai 28. huhtikuuta 2017

Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB: Slann Animal Handlers

This part of ´Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB´ -series of articles is about Slann Animal Handlers. It discusses rules, models, tacktics, pictures, links, pro´s and con´s and everything related to Slann animal handlers. Please click here to find the other arcticles.

Goblin Lee has disected the Slann army list in this posting. Animal handlers are discussed there on a generel level whereas I have tried to dig in a bit deeper. Lee has a huge collection on Slann and if you are looking for something Slann related go to his blog first.

TheOttoVonBismark blog has article about slann animal handler concentrating on sabre-tooth tigers.

+Copper Oracle+ has written about slann and their beast too.

The Slann get the smallest number of animal handlers with just 0-4 and can divide them into 1-4 units. Each handler can control 2-6 beasts. We see some pretty interesting beasts that are unique to slann: cold one warhounds, giant scorpions, giant spiders and sabre tooth tigers. One would expect to see giant frogs as a neast of choise for such froggy creatures the Slann are but for some reason those have not been included.

Slann profile suits being a animal handler pretty well. T4 gives you some protection versus S3 missiles and good LD and CL should keep you from running. But it´s still a bit risky if you field a large pack of 40 something points creatures. A level 10 hero is 82 points as an animal handler and has T5 and W2. And could be given some magic armor that wouldn´t slow him down but would add protection. It´s of course a question of what kind of risk you are willing to take and how many points you can afford.

C22 Slann Cold One Warhounds and Handler set appeared in the WD96 alongside with other slann models. There are two slightly different warhounds and just one type of handlers.

Another add of cold one warhounds and slann handler.

Two sets were sold on ebay on Q1/2017 for 17€ and 24€.

For giant scorpion and spider models were made available as part of C29 monsters series.

Giant scorpion and giant spider on 1996 catalogue.

Both giant scorpion and giant spider are really nice large models. You can pretty easily reposition their feet, claws and stinger if you want a different pose.

Another add of the giant spider model.

Top view on the giant scorpion from a 1987 flyer.

There is also a Fiend Factory FF50 giant scorpion that looks a lot smaller than the C29 one. The same applies for a FF49 giant spider.

FF50 Giant scorpion.

FF49 Giant spider is really small compared to C29.

As  both giant spider and giant scorpion are big valuable monsters I would go for C29s. In my opinion they present the idea of such creatures better than the smaller ones
C29 Giant scorpions seem to sell for 15-20€per model and giant spiders go for about 10€ in ebay.

If you want you could go for midhammerian forest goblin giant spiders or products from other manufacturers. I still think that the C29s are the best models available for both giant spiders and giant scorpions.

Sabre tooth tigers were produced as a part of Eternal Champion line of models. The set was called Pan-Tangian Tyger handlers.

A couple of sets with two tigers and both handlers were sold for 28€ and 39€ lately. If you are looking for just the tigers be prepared to pay 10-15€ each.

Cold One Warhounds


The warhound model resembles the description very well. They are indeed ugly, alligator-like creatures with scaly skin and big teeth. Having two attacks is nice but WS3 and S3 reduces their close combat ability a bit. T3 and W1 mean that cold one warhounds are a little fragile agains missiles but basic saving throw of 5 or 6 compensates that a bit. In close combat they benefit from the terrible smell they emit as their opponent gets a -1 to their hand to hand to hit roll.

Cold one warhounds are subject to stupidity before they make their first charge. That means that they have to make a stupidity test in the beginning of controlling players turn vs.the unit leaders Cl. Fortunately the slann have basic Cl of 9 which means that you won´t fail that test very often. Only when it matters the most. And as mentioned the stupidity wears off after making that first charge.

Whipping into a fury -rule reduces cold one warhounds´ usability somewhat as you really have to concider when to declare charge. You propably should try to make that first charge agains an enemy that is already engaged or othervise in such state that it can´t move away from harms way before you get to charge.

Being so furious cold one warhounds must allways pursuit their victims. This is another slight tactical disadvantage that using them has.

Two slann cold one warhounds from Jon´s wargame minis blog.


Because of the whipping-rule I would use cold one warhounds to threaten enemy flanks and warmachines. Warmachines can´t manouver to safety and you can pretty safely declare a charge when targeting them. Against normal units I would try to tie the enemy down with another unit and charge them next turn with warhonds. If enemy breaks the warhounds would pursue and the other unit could hold and be used for other tasks.

Because of the disgusting smell rule warhounds could be used to tie down bigger enemy units with same or lower WS.

Goblin Lee´s warhound horde.

Nice models
Only Slann get them
Disgusting smell
Good speed
Two attacks
Charge rule
(WS3 and S3)
(Must pursuit)

Giant Spiders


When acting without a handler giant spiders are immune to all psychology. This is unfortunately negated by the animal handler rules: All psychology tests are taken using the leader´s profile. Some GM discretion could be used here. In my opinion handlers shouldn´t fear same type of animals they are leading. And if the handlers don´t come in contact with the enemy the panic test for being charged to the flank should not be taken.

The handlers also negate in my opinion the move-through-wooded-areas-without-penalty rule and climb-trees rule. Even if the slann are jungle dwellers. And the packs don´t benefit from the slann ability to cross bodies of water without movement penalty.

Cause fear is a potent ability. You may neutralize your enemy before entering close combat if he fails the psychology check. Keep in mind that if you win a round of combat versus an enemy that fear you he is automatically routed.

Poisoned attacks and -1 armour saving throw bonus are both nice additions to giant spiders´ combat abilities. Chitinous armour combined with T4 and W4 make spiders pretty endurable.

LM´s FF49 Giant Spiders with their Slann handler

Giant spiders are strong and tough and can take on almost anything that comes on their way. Still, having only WS3 means that you probably don´t want to engage anything that has WS4 or higher as you would have difficulties hitting them. So pick a WS3 enemy, make sure you get to charge him which you should be able to do with spiders´ M5, win a round of combat and see your enemy flee as you cause fear.

In a pack of giant spiders the handler is the weak point. T4, W4 and basic saving throw of 4,5 or 6 means that the spiders won´t suffer much from normal S3 missile fire. Crossbows and war machines are a far greater threat. A big risk is that some lucky shots could take out the handlers even with their T4. Consider taking a slann hero as a pack leader if using giant spiders.

C29 giant spider models are pretty large and require a board base which means that fielding many spiders will result in a big lump to pushed around. So some consideration in set up is required.

Goblin Lee´s beautiful C29 Giant spider. Be sure to check
this posting as there is also a giant scorpion and a big bug there.

Nice models
 Only Slann get them
Strong and resilient
Cause fear
Average WS
 (Dislike of fire)

Another C29 Giant spider. This time from Somewhere the Tea´s getting cold.

Giant Scorpions


Giant scorpions are very similar to giant spiders in what comes to rules and profile. Same exceptions for psychology and movement rules that were discussed under giant spiders apply to giant scorpions too.

Something that has to be remenbered with scorpions is that tail attacks can only be made to sides and back. And claws can strike to front and sides. As the rules don´t say how many claw and how many stinger attacks a scorpion has I would let the player decide. You could attack two times with claws or stinger or once with each. Claw attacks gice -1 armor piercing bonus and tail attacks are poisonous.

A gourgeous C29 Giant scorpion by Martin


Just look above. All that was said about giant spiders applies to giant scorpions too.

Yet another one from The Somewhere the Tea´s getting cold.

Nice models
 Only Slann get them
Strong and resilient
Cause fear
Average WS
 (Dislike of fire)

Black and very chitinous looking spider from Goblin Lee´s collection.

Sabre-Tooth Tiger


Wild cats on steroids! Not as fast as the smaller elven kitties but WS4, S5 and A3 is a formidable close combat profile combined with -2 armor piercing modifier. T4 and W2 provide some endurance but still you want to close in fast and not let enemy shoot them or their handlers to pieces. No really weak points here.
TheOttoVonBismark´s colorful sabre-toothed tigers.
Check his blog for another look on slann animal handlers.

Move in. Don´t get shot. Charge. Rip your opposition apart. Pack of sabre-tooth tigers is a good alternative for cold one cavalry as they are not restricted by whipping-to-fury rule. You will attract missile fire so again taking a hero as a unit leader could be a good idea.

A Celtos sabre-tooth tiger from "Amanthas the Huntress with Sabretooth" -set.
This image comes from Warmasterdk blog.

Nice models
 Only Slann get them
Can´t think of any

perjantai 14. huhtikuuta 2017

Easter orcs

My orcs & goblins project is moving on in schedule. I want to have WFB: Armies troop minimas done by july this year and with both gobbo and orc arrers done and orc boyz very near to completion I strongly believe I can make it.

As these arrer boyz were in black undercoat when I posted this it means that it took me just under one month to get a unit from start to table-top-quality-ready. That´s pretty much the maximum pace at which I can paint because of work and other real life responsibilities.

Everyone was first sprayed black. Then basic colours were applied and models washed with Agrax. As last stage I did some high lighting. I´m satisfied with the result. Individual models are not that great but as unit they look good enough for me from a couple of feet away.

Full twenty strong as is the O&G´s troop minima in WFB: Armies.
Some sort of banner needs to be painted but I´ve not yet 
come up with an idea for that.

 The command group would really need a musician but I don´t have any
appropriate models for one. Anyone care to sell or trade?

 Harboth´s archers, 80´s arrer boyz and a couple of early nineties in there I think.
The standard bearer is a Marauder skulpt.

Just one more shot from a bit different angle.

I´ll finish this posting with two thumb selfies. These gobbos are the first two of twenty that are the next in line to be painted. Lovely models both.

torstai 6. huhtikuuta 2017

Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB: Skaven Clan Moulder Beastmaster

This part of ´Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB´ -series of articles is about Skaven Clan Moulder Beastmasters. It discusses rules, models, tacktics, pictures, links, pro´s and con´s and everything related to Skaven animal handlers. Please click here to find the other arcticles.

WD137 is a very good source of material for skavens including beastmasters as there is a lengthy article by Andy Chambers describing his then new skaven army. Andy´s army includes a pack of rat ogres and another pack with giant rats.

Andy Chambers points out in his article that you could in theory field colossal 48 rat-ogres if you wanted to. I really didn´t understand how he got that number. Eight teams,each with four handlers, each with six rat ogres: 8 x 4 x 6 = 192. But 8 x 6 =48. That could only mean that I´ve been completely wrong with the way how you count how many animal handlers you can have. I always thought that the number on top meant number of packs. And model per unit how many handlers you can have in a single pack. How embararssing - now I have to go back and rewrite parts of three previous articles. Hope no one noticed :D

But it´s always nice to learn something new. And this is yet again a good example of how 3rd edition WFB rules are perhaps not the most comprehensive ones out there.

So infact you can have up to 8 handlers divided in 2-8 units. Each handler can have 2-6 beasts in his control. This way you could build two units of 4 handlers and 24 rat-ogres.

The beast choise is pretty nice with rat-ogres and giant rats that only skavens get. Chaos hounds are powerfull as discussed in dark elf and chaos articles but there must be some mistake with the points per model value. For others the hounds cost 23 but for skaven only 20. Giant wolves are another cause of confusion. Points per model cost is given as 2 which is a lot less than their cost of 8 points in rulebook bestiary. I haven´t seen this corrected anywhere but 2 points per model just can´t be right. The points value should be corrected to 8.

And where are wolf-rats? WFB: Armies tells that they are Clan Moulder creations but don´t appear on skaven army list - anywhere!

What happened to wolf-rats?

The Pariedolia blog knows that: "Wolfrats, oddly, were excised from the army roster as of 4th edition and (besides a brief appearance in the Moulder Hell Pit army list in White Dwarf #310) were only recently re-introduced via Forgeworld and the 8th edition supplement Storm of Magic (infamous for also re-introducing Fimir and Zoats, albeit in a rather limited fashion)."

What I am seeing is that the wolf-rats for some reason never made any further than WFB: Armies bestiary. To make things even more curious Andy Chambers tells in the WD137 article that he is planning on converting some wolf-rats for his army. That would suggest to wolf-rats being a troop choise for skaven but I´m not seeing that in the WFB: Armies.

I would personally allow a skaven player to take wolf-rats as pack beasts. By the description in bestiary they are clan Moulder created creatures and in style much more skaven than normal giant wolves.

Rat-ogres and their handlers by Pete Taylor from WFB: Armies

Citadel did produce a set of handlers and pack creatures. The beast choises were giant rats and rat ogres. They were sculpted by none other than Jes Goodwin.

Skaven beastmaster page from the red famous catalogue of 1991.

Clan Moulder beastmasters were sold in blisters with either rat-ogres or giant rats. There was no giant wolf and chaos hound dedicated set produced. You can always use wolf riders or other wolves and chaos hounds from chaos/dark elf animal handler set if you want to use those.

The C22 skaven handlers sell normally for 3-9€ on ebay. A pack of 6 giant rats should cost you about 15€. Jes Goodwin rat-ogres can be purchased for a price of 16-20€ per model.

MM32 and Citadel goblin wolfboy wolf prises range normally 5-10€ each. In BC2 monster starter set there is a vicious giant wolf model that can be bought for less than 5€. FF69 giant wolf will sell for around 20€ and often comes with an orc rider. For wolves there are many allternatives from different manufacturers. Just google for warhammer wolf and choose the ones you like.

Chaos hounds are usually around 10€ BIN.

There is a Forgeworld wolf-rat set available at a price of £32 for five models.

Forgeworld wolf-rats.

Giant Rats


A giant rat described here matches pretty well the models that were produced. Rats have good speed and because of venomous attacks great strenght. But their usability is somewhat reduced by their low WS. Propably the best thing about them is their cost - for just 2 points per model they are cheap. The empathy rule is a strange one in my opinion. I can understand it if rats were to act unlead but with a handler whipping them into action I don´t think empathy would really be an option for rats.

If you have read my earlier articles you propably know what I think about mutations. They are a nice addition but should be used with care. But that´s just me - I´m not telling you how run your game. D4-1 - that´s a lot of mutations.

Base size of 25 x 25 mm is nice as they do not take so much room on the battlefield as the 50 x 25 mm mounted collegues.

A big pack of rats from Tales From the Big Board

The cost effective way to field giant rats is like Andy Chanmbers says - take maximum number of rats for each handler and divide them into units that support you battleplan. Small units for harrassing flanks, skirmishers or warmachines. Bigger ones for screening action and close combat against chosen targets. If you take the maximum unit size of 4 handlers and 24 rats you can get maximum rank bonuses that will help you against smaller enemy units. And can even take some casualties before you start losing those bonuses.

Rats are not that endurable and you can expect them to take losses from missiles and in hand to hand. Taking a big unit lets you take some damage before rolling for rout/panic. And with skaven handler profile you can expect to fail that roll.

A giant rat unit is propably something you field as expendaple. You sort of expect them to die or run eventually. Therefore I would unneccesarily boost their value by assigning them a character model of some sort. They are cannon fodder, a speed bump or a nuisance to enemy at best - don´t put more points there than is needed to do the job. Four handlers and 24 rats costs you just 86 points. I think that pretty good value for money.

A pair of beastmasters with giant rats. From Orcsbains miniature world.

Giant Rat Pro´s:
Unique to skavens
 Very skaveny
S3 + venomous

Giant Rat Con´s:
Low WS
Low combat endurance



Strong profile for close combat. Rat-ogres cause fear which is a very good ability. If you win a round of combat and enemy is pushed back he is automatically routed. And when you charge the enemy of he charges your rat-ogres he has to for fear. Mutations are pretty rare as you get maximum of one on a D4-3 roll.

Some rat-ogres and beastmasters from Snickit´s Tail


Charge! You want to get your rat-ogres engaged in combat. Their WS is an average 3 but 2 attacks and good strenght will compensate. They are very tough with T5 and W3 but the handlers aren´t. Lucky missile fire can take the handlers out and then your rat-ogres are useless. I would really concider taking a hero to lead them. Both for sustainability and leadership bonus. Rat-ogres are a good substitute for heavy cavalry the skaven don´t have.

Some of LM´s beautiful rat-ogres.

Rat-ogre pro´s:
Great close combat profile
Cause fear
Unique to skaven
Jes Goodwin

Rat-ogre con´s:
Value per model
Vulnerability of handlers

Giant Wolves


So the rulebook bestiary tells us that giant wolves are almost as large as a horse. Well - the wolfboy wolves are pretty close to metal elven horses so I´m confortable with that. Base size is 25 x 50 mm. The bestiary description says nothing about skaven and points out that giant wolves are riding animals. Perhaps they were originally not thought to be used in a pack of beasts?

Giant wolves must always follow up and pursue as they are difficult to control. Being hungry for combat a unit of giant wolves must charge if they begin their movement phase within charge range of an enemy unit of half it´s size or more. This can be avoided by a 2D6 test versus units LD.

A minor weakness is that the giant wolves fear fire and must make a paniv test if attacked by fire weapons or if they come closer than 4" of a fire.

The point value feels a bit high. They are fast and have WS4 but are they really worth 8 points. Maybe.


As wolves are really fast and pretty good in close combat with WS4 you could use them as light cavalry. Threaten flanks, harrash skirmishers and war machines. Just keep in mind that you can only make that one maneuver per movement phase and that a big unit will take quite a lot of space. A small pack of wolves could perhaps be held back to protect you jezzail teams or warp fire throwers. With that M9 you should be able to charge first and buy time for weapon teams to do their work.

Once again T3 and no armor means that this type of pack is vulnerable to missiles.

Three BC2 Vicious wolves and a FF69 Giant wolf by Goblin Lee.

Giant wolf pro´s:
Really fast

Giant wolf con´s:
No very skaven
Bit pricey
Vulnerability compared to value

Chaos Hounds

I know I´m repeating myself now with chaos hounds. Things saud here have been said in previous articles about dark elves and chaos.

Rules say that chaos hounds 25 x 25mm but models are supplied with 25 x 50mm and propably won´t fit a smaller one less rank up at all on those. The profile is strong for close combat. Chaos attributes can be a curse or a blessing. And in any case should be generated as mentined under GM´s supervision. We don´t want to take the fun away from anyone by some lucky/unluncky rolls before the game has even started. But everything that all players can agree on should be fine.

The points value has to be a misprint and should say 23 as for darkies and chaos.


These dogs are deadly in close combat so you want to get them engaged. They are hard to kill with T4 and W2 but will propably draw missile fire as the enemy wants to take out the whelp masters and send the hound on their way to wilderness. Take a hero to lead the unit and concider armoring the handlers.

As chaos hounds are pretty valuable I wouldn´t waste them on harrassing skirmishers or war machines. Like rat-ogres they are a substitute for heavy cavalry so a simple staright forward advance followed by a charge should work. But once again - a large pack takes a lot of space.
A large pack of chaos hounds from Realms of Chaos blog.

Chaos hound pro´s
Nice models
Look good in large packs
Very powerfull in close combat
Good speed
Strong overall profile
Chaos hound con´s
Vulnerability of the handlers


Compared to ´normal´ giant rats wolf-rat have better WS but no venomous attack. They fear fire and are not affected by mutations even though the description says that they are horribly mutated.. Base size is 25 x 50 mm so your unit will become much larger. And they cost more than giant rats.


Pretty much the same applies here as for giant rats. Or for wood elf war hound packs that have almost the same profile as wolf-rats. I don´t see much sense in taking wolf-rats if you can field giant rats as rats cost less and can do the same things as wolf-rats.

Pirate Viking Painting blog Forgeworld wolf-rats.

Wolf-rat pro´s:
Unique to skaven

Wolf-rat con´s:
Price compared to giant rats
No oldhammer models available
Lame rules