Monday, November 28, 2022

Rats! And ROUS's (for Post-Apocalyptic Games)

    My Reaper Miniatures rat swarm arrayed in front of some recent post-apocalyptic terrain I'd painted
Everyone has their own personal flavor for a post-apocalyptic setting. They range from raw and gritty, Mad Max type of setting to a world populated with bizarre mutants, sentient plants, and psionic powers. My preference is more toward the first, as I've mentioned in my posts before. My personal apocalypse is a channeling of the Terminator movies with a self-aware Artificial Intelligence launching a war of destruction against humanity via the various bots that humans had created.

ROUS's (Rodent of Unusual Size) ready to pounce on any unwary survivor who doesn't believe in them
So, besides Bots (and fellow humans), that leaves me in need of some "bad guys" for the players to struggle against in their bid to survive the dangerous, post-apocalyptic world. Rats are hardy creatures, and can grow quite large, so I figured swarms of bad-tempered rodents would make logical monsters prowling the ruins of humanity's cities. And why not an occasional ROUS (Rodents Of Unusual Size, for those not familiar with the classic Princess Bride movie), too? Reaper Miniatures makes a number of different rat packs in their line of plastic miniatures. They came essentially in three sizes. Dire Rats came in a pack of eight and were the smallest. Giant Tomb Rats were the next size up, and the six in the pack were appropriately shaggy and angry looking. The largest were ("ROUS's? I don't think they exist..." RAHHRR!!!) the Barrow Rats, and came two to a pack. All in all, I had two dozen rats to paint up after a few months of collecting packs from Guardtower East or Dragons Guildhall on our Saga game days.

    My two dozen rats were painted in four basic colors, dry brushed over a black base coat
I decided that I wanted to black prime my rats to give them a dirty look. I would just dry brush the fur in one of four colors - light gray, dark gray, medium brown, or a cream color. I could have done more colors, but I thought four would provide enough variety. The ears, nose, and tail I painted a base salmon color and dry brushed a lighter pink. I gave them ivory claws and teeth, along with black eyes with a red dot to give them a feral or "eyes glowing in the dim light" aspect.

    I like how the pink tails, noses, and ears make them stand out from their dark background
Once they were all painted, I applied a heavy black wash. Most of the rats had various stone tile or cobble stoned bases, which I also did in shades of gray. All in all, I was happy with how they came out looking ragged and dirty. Since I am using Fistful of Lead rules for my post-apocalyptic games, I based the smaller rats up three or four to a base as a "Swarm." The ROUS's, which are the size of a very large dog or small bear, were individually based, of course. Since base size or shape doesn't matter for this game (or most rules I play), I put them on some available oval MDF bases I'd purchased last year at Cincycon

    I textured and decorated the bases to look like a decaying urban battleground
I flocked the bases with Woodland Scenics Fine Ballast (Gray Blend). I gave this a dark wash, as well (perhaps too dark?). I also put some resin bricks on the bases that I'd purchased at the Dragons Guildhall, too. I finished the bases off with some tufts of grass for that overgrown urban environment effect.

My horde of rats painted up quickly, so now it is on to more projects!