Skaventide – The Box Review

For months the we’ve been waiting for the launch of the new edition and the first ground up rewrite of the rules since the inception of Age of Sigmar. New editions mean big boxes full of new models and the Skaventide box is no different.

We would like to thank Games Workshop for providing our team with copies of the Skaventide box for the review.

What’s in the Box?

The amount of stuff packed into a box only slightly larger than the Dominion box is impressive.

The box itself has all the items that you expect from an Age of Sigmar launch set with lots of miniatures, a hardbound rulebook that outlines the new edition, and cards that go over the generals handbook rules and twelve missions. What sets this apart from other boxes that games workshop has released is the second hardcover book, Fire and Jade, that covers the Spearhead missions and factions. To go alone with this there is also a two-sided Spearhead board, two sets of tactics cards, terrain, and two sets of twist cards. There aren’t any dice but the greatest measuring tool created, the rat stick, is included.

This sprue is the most important as it contains both parts of the rat stick.

Similar to the Leviathan box there aren’t any datacards and we anticipate that rules for the models will be released online around the time of release. However, a subsection of the Stormcast and Skaven models form complete spearhead forces, The Vigilant Brotherhood and Gnawfeast Clawpack, that can immediately be assembled and used for a game. Another positive inclusion is the battle tactics cards. These are GREAT and a huge improvement over the heavy cardboard cards in the prior GHB as each card includes both Grand Alliance tactics in addition to the six universal tactics.

Stormcast Skaventide

If you’ve made plans to split the box with a friend you’re going to have to figure out how to divide the Spearhead parts as well. The terrain, cards, and board all need to stay together and the Fire and Jade book is a substantial rulebook on its own, not a flimsy softcover book that is sometimes included in these boxes.

Two hardcover books are included in the box.

Spearhead cards and board

The Rules

The rules, for new and returning players, are substantial enough that we’ve devoted several articles to them. The rulebook itself is great, and has all of the art and colors that you expect from a high quality printed game book. The fold out spread showing the flat-earth style cosmetology of the mortal realms is a great addition.

Stormcast Eternals

We’ve divided up the 24 Stormcast to some of our best painters and they have thoughts on the models.

Lord-Veritant and Gryph-Crow

Lord Veritant and Gryph-Crow. Credit: SRM

SRM: This model looks the part of “Stormcast witchhunter” in a way the tubby original never did. She also now has what looks like a variant of the Bloodborne Hunter’s Mark/Berserk Brand of Sacrifice on her tabard and sword, so I see you, uncredited GW sculptor. Regrettably, I have to admit that building this model was unusually tough. The layers of capes and overlapping fabric led to the “hollow tornado” effect I experienced when building the newer Daemon Prince. This also resulted in some pretty gnarly seams where the parts of the cape joined in the back. Fortunately, many are covered up by the big honkin’ skull shield she’s got back there, which I also left off for painting. Her little buddy is like 4 pieces and goes together in seconds, and was a charming little change of pace from all the bronze and fire on the character models. There’s a few bits of fur which have that extruded/stretched effect that so many CAD-designed models have, but they’re pretty minor and I don’t think anyone’s going to be looking at your Gryph-Crow’s taint to find them. I could have done more to differentiate the smooth and feather/fur bits of the little guy, but deadlines are deadlines, and I liked the crow look.


Knight-Questor. Credit: SRM

SRM: In a box full of ratmen, giant Gryphon-crows, and death cultists, it’s tough to Just Be A Dude. He represents every texture on the Stormcast miniatures in the box: armor, skin, steel weapons, cloth, and flame. I admire how back-to-basics he is, geared up like an adventurer in an RPG. He went from sprue to built model in about 15 minutes, and I hardly needed instructions. Honestly, the only tricky parts about painting him involve getting around his tabard and painting the flames on his torch. I left the shield off for ease of painting, and while it was a bit tricky to shave it down and get it back on, that’s more to do with user error than anything else. He only sort of compares to the old Knight-Questor model (or even any of the limited edition event variants) which are all variants of whatever a regular Stormcast looked like at the time. If anything, he shares more design language with the Questor Soulsworn than any of the old Knights Questor. It’s a lovely little model, and a great starting point with this box.


SRM: I didn’t have time to get them painted for this article, but I got to build these winged warriors and man, they really have some presence on the table. I appreciate the evolution of the Stormcast aesthetic, slimming down from the chunky art deco-inspired originals into what are now high fantasy hoplites on wings of fire. Of all the glow ups out there, this is one of the biggest, and I really love the look and feel of these new models. Each took me about 20 minutes to assemble, due in part to the strange wing connection, wherein each wing is half of a whole post that later attaches to the front torso. Be sure to use plastic glue and not super glue, as any additional volume added by your adhesive of choice will affect the connection. It was also easy to leave the shields off for painting, and I appreciate the modeled hero rocks as opposed to the doodlebopper flight stands of the originals. I won’t particularly mourn the loss of their old weapon options, as I don’t feel that functionally similar weapon options really add any depth to the gaming or modeling experience.


Liberators. Credit: Rockfish
Liberators. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: Basic troops can be a great place to see what you’ll be dealing with as you get into an army, will you be dealing with complex builds and tricky-to-access details for painting or smooth sailing on both fronts? With ETBs being increasingly being released as stand-alone we can use these as our baseline for the refresh to the Stormcast lineup, which in this case is a pretty good sign out of the gate.

On the building side of things you can expect to encounter models which are very light on visible mold lines and with an assembly straightforward enough you could probably never read the instructions and still turn out ok with a bit of trial and error. I will say it’s neat that the sprue comes with alt weapon options, including an optional special weapon, but besides helmeted vs bare heads you won’t find any customization options. On the technical details, they mostly managed to avoid any nasty sprue attachment points, though a few annoying elbow joint ones are still present. I will mention that as nice as the builds are the sprue groupings are only okay, I spent a bit longer than I would have preferred finding the first few bits.

Liberators. Credit: Rockfish
Liberators. Credit: Rockfish

As you’d expect from being a bunch of ‘basic’ human shapes the painting side of things is pretty straightforward, with good brush access even when fully assembled. They are relatively restricted in the types of textures to be found here, so if you’re looking for an extremely detailed painting experience you might feel a little disappointed but the rest of the range should help scratch that itch.

Liberators. Credit: Rockfish
Liberators. Credit: Rockfish

The Vigilant Brotherhood

Our first spearhead, the Vigilant Brotherhood, is comprised of a general in the Lord-Vigilant on Gryph-stalker, a unit of 5 Liberators, a unit of 3 Prosecutors, and the Lord-Veritant. This is a highly mobile force that hits extremely hard. The Prosecutors and Liberators are able to come back as reinforcements but the real strength is being able to run and charge with a unit and charge with 3 dice using the Prosecutors.


Much like the lore the reaction that most people who have received the models is “there are too many rats.” We’ve divided them as best we could and hope there are no negative effects from sending people boxes labeled “rats.”

Clawlord on Gnaw-beast

This is a fantastic model that can both be worked on for hours or painted quickly with some speedpaints. The textures, sculpting and look of the model really brings home the horrible existence that even the “best” skaven endure.

Clawlord on Gnaw-beast. Credit – Soggy

Pendulin: Goodness gracious, oh me, oh my. Be still my half-beating, warpstone corrupted heart – I love this model.

Skaven Clawlord on Gnaw-Beast
Clawlord on Gnaw-Beast. Credit: Pendulin

I have no complaints. It’s gorgeous, it was surprisingly fast to build, and designed to make subassembly a breeze. If you’re looking to get into Skaven and are intimidated by this model, don’t be. Build some Clanrats to get used to the rattos, and then hop right in and build the Clawlord.

Skaven Clawlord on Gnaw-Beast
Clawlord on Gnaw-Beast. Credit: Pendulin

As impressive as the model is, it’s also extremely fast to paint. I painted this in maybe 6 hours total, start to finish. And a lot of that was some rather unnecessary stippling on the armor.

I went for the “clean” approach I have with the rest of my Skaven, but I might go back and slap on some weathering oils to grunge it up a bit.

Skaven Clawlord on Gnaw-Beast
Clawlord on Gnaw-Beast. Credit: Pendulin

Do I love this model? In a word: yes-yes.

Grey Seer

Grey Seer. Credit: Rockfish
Grey Seer. Credit: Rockfish

Rockfish: I only had the time to get to one Skaven model thanks to time constraints and I think I chose a bit of a wild first choice. The new Grey Seer model is a beautiful example of what GW can achieve with modern ETBs, they’ve managed to produce a model that is difficult to even tell apart from a conventional monobuild character which is a great follow-on from the models in Leviathen last year.

Grey Seer. Credit: Rockfish
Grey Seer. Credit: Rockfish

As a taster for the painting part of Skaven, you can tell this is an army with a real smorgasbord of textures and colours. While you could throw contrast paints around and be happy, there are a truly mind-boggling number of details to these models that can easily get to be intimidating when you consider this is a horde army. I wouldn’t see this as a particularly speed-painting-friendly army but it promises to be a ton of fun if you do have the time to get into it, I know I really enjoyed this model even when working down to the wire!

Grey Seer. Credit – Soggy

Warlock Engineer

This plastic hero is a welcome addition to the Skaven range and serves double duty as one of the Spearhead models.

Warplock Engineer. Credit – Soggy

Ratling Warpblaster

Credit: Keewa

Keewa: Oh boy this is a nice big cannon. It was relatively easy to build, although I have my gripes with the current state of push-fit miniatures (I’ll get into that later, believe me!) the cannon has the least of these problems out of the models that I received to review. We’ve got a nice lookin’ gizmo, crewed by a gas-mask rat riding on a cart pushed by four ordinary ratties. There’s plenty of textures (metal, wood, skin, cloth, rubber, glass) here to give you some variety in the painting, which is always nice, and lets you flex your muscles a little. The experience of painting the Warpblaster is fine, I guess. It’s a very densely layered model, so there are some bits that are really quite difficult to get your brush to (painting the side of the pushing-rats that faces the carriage itself is a bit of an exercise in frustration) but on the whole, yeah, it’s fine.

Credit: Keewa

Rat Ogors

Marchettus: The Rat Ogors are some of the most iconic and striking models in the range. and have a wonderful set of textures (hair, skin, fur, metal) that can use the warpstone as highlights.

Rat Ogres. Credit – Soggy

Warplock Jezzails

Keewa: Okay so here is where I begin to despair with the push-fit mode of GW’s new starter sets. In my ham-handed opinion these guys are far too complicated and fiddly to work as push-fit models. I will explain: Several times when putting these guys together I had moments where it wouldn’t go and the dilemma popped up – Am I doing it wrong, or do I need to apply more force to make them go? As hobbyists go I think I can claim to be pretty experienced, but still this is obviously a problem when you’re assembling kits that are made of bits of plastic that will bend out of shape if you press them too hard. Maybe it’s easier for inexperienced people who aren’t more familiar with using glue and all that, but I can imagine a lot of bent or snapped pieces in peoples’ futures.
Also, GW, I beg you, stop making push-fit models that are covered in sharp little spikes, unless you are going to send me a free thimble to save my poor fingertips.
That gripe out of the way, these models are very cool, full of neat little details that will definitely be rewarding to paint.

Pendulin: Sounds like someone just needs to embrace puncture wounds.

But I kind of agree, these are a little awkward to build, but only really in comparison with Clanrats who are roughly similar sized. This single model is roughly as many pieces of plastic as like 4 Clanrats. That being said, I get it, a might big gun requires a mighty amount of plastic.

Skaven Warplock Jezzail
Warplock Jezzail. Credit: Pendulin

Overall though, It’s a head-and-shoulders improvement over the old Warplock Jezzails, and I absolutely love ’em.


Raf’s Clanrat. Credit: Raf Cordero

Keewa: Here we have our basic lads, the Clanrats. Clanrats have been a staple of Warhammer basically forever so it’s nice to see the rather dated seventh edition models get a cutting-edge refresh. The aesthetic is still the same wonderful Skaven collection of fur, cloth, and nasty metal, but the details are much sharper, and the poses themselves more open and varied, than the Clanrats of old. The Clanrats I got with Isle of Blood all those years ago were basically cast in one lump, shield and all, with a choice of various weapon arm. The current crop of Clanrats casts off the crap customisation and, in order to allow for poses more dynamic than “walking forward”, presents us with models that are effectively monopose, but with certain models able to be upgraded to banner holders, musicians (drums and bells) and a champion via the use off alternate parts. I like these guys, they’re cute and fun.

Raf’s Clanrat. Credit: Raf Cordero

Pendulin: I’m honestly a little mixed on these guys. Don’t get me wrong, I love them to death. I love a good egotistical maniacal murderous rat as much as the next person, but I feel like these aren’t as much of an improvement over the old Clanrats as other refreshes Games Workshop has done recently.

Skaven Clanrats
Skaven Clanrats. Credit: Pendulin

For example, the latest Warhammer 40k launch box introduced new sculpts for the Tyranid Termagants. I was simply blown away but how much of a staggering, dramatic improvement the new models were. Every single facet of the model was improved. More dramatic poses, easier assembly, more weapon options, more expressive, it goes on and on.

However, compared to the old Clanrats, the new ones are simple “an improvement.”

Old Clanrats next to new Clanrats
Old Clanrats (left) next to new Clanrats (right). Credit: Pendulin

Here we’ve got two old Clanrats next to two new ones. And sure, the new ones are more detailed, better poses, all that good stuff. But honesty if you put a bunch of them on the table together, it’ll take you a little while to pick out the new from the old.

Skaven Clanrats
Skaven Clanrats. Credit: Pendulin

I’m making it seem worse than it is. These models are genuinely amazing. To make it even more impressive, the majority of them are literally 2 pieces of plastic you push together. Incredible model engineering. The old Clanrats were such a high bar to clear. These new models could easily have lost the Clanrat charm and attitude, but they didn’t. They’re great, and I honestly can’t think of a way that Games Workshop could have made Clanrats better than how they are in Skaventide.

Gnawfeast Clawpack

This Spearhead is is led by the Clawlord on Gnaw-beast as the general and has a Grey Seer, a Warlock Engineer, two units of ten Clanrats, and a unit of 3 Rat Ogors. The clanrats can return as reinforcements. This Spearhead has a lot of bodies, some strong fighters in the Rat Ogors and Clawlord, and some extra bodies to compete on all of the points.


We’ve covered Spearhead by going to the event in Dallas, talking with the winner of that event, and sharing our feelings long before we received the Skaventide box. Unlike Dominion or Leviathan this box contains a complete game experience that doesn’t require you to purchase any more models or minis. Spearhead, with it’s two-sided board, card packs, and terrain is the best way to get your first experience in the new edition. You’ll quickly get use to the new ability system, combat ranges, and visibility.

The terrain features paint up relatively quickly and have enough character and fun details that you can do more than just a basecoat/wash/drybrush and feel rewarded. These pieces will definitely work as part of your terrain in larger games and the ruined walls won’t be too out of place on many game boards. The uniform height of the walls, slightly below 3″, allows most infantry units to benefit from cover but prevents them from being fully hidden. Foot heros, however, can easily hide behind some of the walls and not be visible at all.

Wrap Up

Marchettus: This is an extremely high value box to open the edition. If you’re a fan of Stormcast or Skaven it’s going to be an easy decision to purchase it. What is more difficult is if you’re a current fan of Age of Sigmar and don’t have an interest in either one of those factions. Normally you could pass on the big box and just pick up a GHB or other rules later. Spearhead makes an incredible first impression as a game and is a great way to casually introduce somebody who is experienced with games but not necessarily ready for a full miniature experience.

Pendulin: Should you buy Skaventide? Yes-yes. But what if you don’t like Skaven? Recognizing your mistakes is if the first step towards recovery. The Stormcast half is great too, but it ain’t called Stormcasttide for a reason!