A Tale of Two Doomwheels (Part One)

If you follow this blog or my Twitter/Facebook feed, you probably know I’m a big D&D geek. In addition, I’m also into miniatures and wargaming. After a particularly long hiatus from the table-top battlefield — and from getting tired of all the unpainted miniatures in my game room — I decided to get back into it with some serious painting. One such game, Warhammer, is a particular favorite (it’s also one of the most popular) because it includes fantasy elements. Armies vary from chivalrous to brutal to down-right sinister. One project falls right into that last category: the Skaven.

The Skaven are mutated ratmen — think of Shredder if he had been the one banished to NYC’s sewers for the fateful genesis of those green-shelled ninjas. They’re mean, devious bastards more than happy to help empires rot from within, all from the hidden realm of an tunnel-ridden underground. If you see one of these guys and they’re not running, then take a drink from your hip-flask as your last action because you’re about to get shived by the five in the shadows behind you.

When it comes to open warfare the Skaven aren’t all that brave but they have some amazing weapons in their arsenal. One wild example is the Doomwheel, and before we get into photos, let me paint this image in your head:

Think of a pair of eight foot tall wooden hamster wheels mounted on a common axle. In each of these wheels is a bunch of R.O.U.S. as big as mastiffs. These suckers are hopped up on combat drugs and probably a little powdered uranium to boot. That’s right, the Skaven eat radioactive rock. I am not making that up. Anyway, in addition to the requisite sharp and shiny bits attached to this thing is also a large turbine. This thing spits out up to three bolts of lightning to zorch anyone cursed by proximity. This contraption is piloted by a lone Skaven Warlock-Engineer. This is evil-ass steampunk fantasy here…

Now, one might think it would be a good idea to kill the little bastard driving the thing, but that’s actually a bad idea. Maybe not on the level of “land war in Asia,” but definitely worse than calling a radio talk show after inhaling a replica of the Folger’s mountain made of coke and rambling about your fire breathing fists of fury. The Doomwheel, you see, has no emergency brake. Without a pilot it keeps going in random directions, spewing it’s lighting all the time (since no one is there to press the off switch). Without the Warlock-Engineer, this thing becomes mayhem on the battlefield.

And I want to field two of them, in the hopes that I can see what sort of mess results when the both go off the chain.

I had gotten one, but then for a while the model was discontinued and excised from the Skaven rules. Granted I could house rule it in, opponents willing, but I still wanted two, dammit, and finding a second one was nigh impossible. Well, it came back, and with that my interest in the cheese-nibblers was restored.

Citadel Miniatures redesigned the Doomwheel with an all plastic model, which gives me two drastically different looking war engines. As a result, I thought it would be fun assemble and paint them side by side to compare the two. Unlike the previous attempt at blogging about a miniatures project however, I decided to do all the work and writing before even posting one single article. Plus the scope is a little smaller — this is just two war engines as opposed to an entire army.

So with the next article we begin this tale of two Doomwheels. Will the new and improved version be superior to the old? Only time (and glue and paint) will tell…

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