I finished up my six Fell Bats– This post takes a look at them, and how my Fell Bat units have evolved through the years.
There have been three versions of the Fell Bats, two in metal, and the new plastic kit. My collection has four generations of bats: The original "stock" bat, a converted version of the bats, converted zombie pirate "Deck Droppers," and the new Soulblight Gravelords bats. (Wow, I can't believe it's been TWENTY years since we've had a new Fell Bat!)
2000– Vampire Bats
In the first Vampire Counts book (in 1999, 5th Edition) the units of large bats were simply called "Vampire Bats." The models came a little bit later, and stuck around through the 6th Edition Vampire Counts book, when they were rebranded as "Fell Bats." They were pretty simple models– a body, a wing, and one of two head options. I think I had originally assembled them with the clear flying stands, but swapped those for thick floral wire.
2002/ 2003– Fell Bat Conversions
The original Fell bats were pretty decent, but I wanted more dynamically posed wings. I converted these with the basic bat body and head, and Warmaster-scale wyvern wings. This allowed me to get some great poses, and I gave more attention to the bases, adding tombstones and skeletons. My conversion was featured in the 2004/2005 Citadel Catalogue. These were my "go-to" version of the bats for many years, and I still have a bag of parts that I was intending to use to bulk up the unit to at least 10-strong, but I never finished them. My only issue with the models is that they have more of a "bird" anatomy, with wings, and a separate tail. Real bats have a single wing membrane that spans across their whole body.
In 2001, GW resculpted the Fell Bats. The new models were two parts: The body and wings, and a head/ chest piece. There were three versions of each part and they were interchangeable so you could get a decent variety within the unit. The anatomy was more accurate, but I felt the wings were a little stubby, and heads overly large. I never incorporated these as actual "Fell Bats" in my army, preferring to stick with my conversion, but I did make these Deck Droppers that got incorporated into the zombie pirate army list that appeared in White Dwarf in 2005. (You can see all of the Zombie Pirates that I painted in this post: Zombie Pirates
2021– Plastic Fell Bats
And that brings us up to today. The new Fell Bats look perfect– great bat anatomy, nice flying poses, and no clear plastic flying stands. I got three boxes so I could pull out the bats perched on the rock and get six flying bats. (I used one of the perched bats for Lucinda Vale, and I've got plans for the other two.) I went all in on the bases, adding broken fencing to help tie the unit together. I also added some height to a couple of bats by extending their trees with wire and modeling putty. You can see their assembly in my August post:Bats, Rats, and Zombie Cats.
The bats are ready to join Lucinda Vale's Winged Coven and darken the skies!