Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

Devoted to the Preservation, Collection, Conversion, Painting, and Resurrection of Space Dwarfs.
Beards for the Beard God!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Legios Moriad Regiment XIV Command Squad

This is the Regimental Standard Bearer for the Hungry Ghosts, Corporal Karp Morgul. He is another trooper who started out as a WFB 3rd Edition Chaos Dwarf Crossbow (number 2). Like the CD Crossbow converted to a Storm Trooper - chopping off his hands was his price of admission into the 40K universe.

The main piece of the Regimental Standard comes from one of the older Skaven clanrat sprues, topped by a hissing snake from the Empire Wizards sprue released a couple of years ago.

From the side, we can see that he uses a modified Termagant Fleshborer for a lasgun, with some additional layers of plating at the end added to continue the pattern of overlapping plates of armor on the body flowing onto the gun. I've modified the trigger hand, which was originally positioned to cradle a plastic crossbow, into one that is gripping the gun by removing the thumb and top few fingers. The hand was rebuilt with an extra digit and a thumb on the proper side of the gun, another green stuff conversion.

From the back, we can see the conversion of the left arm. After chopping off the original hand, I used a Chaos Spawn hand with long, spiky fingers, echoing the the ridges and points on his armor. The Spawn hand was modified to turn the long front finger into the Standard pole. I continued the trooper's bluish white skin tone up the banner pole and onto the Snake, making it a living part of the dwarf's hand. I've also added some green stuff gems to the pole to match the larger gem on the Snake's cowl.

On this fantasy mini, I didn't feel the need to do much conversion to his back. There were no visible crossbow bolts, and his axe is another bit that melds nicely with the curves and ridges of the armor and hands.

To make things just a bit more spiky, I've added a small sensor array to the base, formerly a mace end from a Chaos Marauder sprue, now looking a bit like an evil little Christmas tree. It's common knowledge that Khorne and Santa Claus both love the color red, but did you know they both also love gingerbread cookies? The Blood God's lust for gingerbread cookies are the sole reason Elves are not extinct.

The picture above shows the Command Squad Vox Trooper, Corporal Uzi Mospeada. I've added a cybernetic prosthesis to his face, the top bit from an old Epic Eldar Doom Weaver gun. Since the original Vox speaker was not very impressive looking, I added the daemon face sound blaster bit from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory 2 sprue and repositioned one of the wires so it leads into Mospeada's head.

Another Chaos Warrior mace bit to create a spiked vent protruding from the back of the Vox.

The first of the Command Squad's special weapons troopers is Trooper Bunker Macross, armed with Plasma Gun. His body is Hearth Guard 2, and his arms come from the WFB Dwarf Thunderers sprue. His plasma gun is made from the Thunderer command pistol arm with an old-style plastic Eldar Meltagun fuel tank attached at the bottom. His right hand holds a ceremonial scepter, made from the Thunderer standard bearer's arm with gemstones made of greenstuff added. The Thunderer arms also appear more heavily armored and ornate than the old Squats plastic arms, with their Imperial Army Trooper cloth design, and fit the model better.

Rear view of Trooper Macross, showing his ornate cape and the dangling Dwarf medallions and chainmail sleeves on the Thunderer arms. A small dragon squats on the head of this Hearthguard, waiting to pick at the charred flesh of the battlefield.

The second special weapon for the Hungry Ghosts Command Squad belongs to Trooper Donder Megazone, who has the body of Hearth Guard 1. Like HG 2, he has been given new arms, rather than using the regular Squats arms, both to make him a Chaos Mutant, and again because the old Squats arms are cloth-covered and boring. He wields a Meltagun, represented by the gun arm from one of the plastic Epic Imperial Knights Paladin, with the rounded shoulder pad accentuating the curves of his armor and gemstones.

Trooper Megazone beckons toward his enemies with his mighty left tentacle. It is the body of one of the metal Tyranid Rippers from the 40K 2nd Edition Tyranid releases, and has an overlapping plates of armor resounding with the curves of his armor along with assorted rounded glands and claws that accentuate the round rivets and gems on the other pieces of the model.

Some Thoughts on the Demise of the Squats Army
The Hearth Guard are some of my favorite Squats in appearance, because I like my Space Dwarfs with heavy armor, and because they lead in a artistic design direction that distinguishes the Squats from the Imperial forces in an interesting and potentially productive way.

While the Squats did not survive long enough to get an official 40K 2nd Edition codex, I think there is a lot of the Hearth Guard spirit in the symbols and equipment designed for the WFB Dwarfs starting with those released in the mid 1990s. It's a nice example of how to take the successful elements of a failed product line and use them to enhance the value of a successful product line.
Looking at the extremely-limited released 2nd Edition Squat Champion in the picture below, we can see further development of design details that would transition into the WFB Dwarf models over the next decade. Notice the multiple round Dwarf face symbols and ornate patterns on the helmet, axe, and belt (and the large ammo canisters strapped to it). There is also more focus on the head and arms of the model, and an increased size, contrasted with a decreased focus on the shortened legs. This pattern seems to be more and more the case with the WFB Dwarfs, with some models having quite large heads and arms. Like the WFB Dwarfs, the champion below shows a tilt toward a more barrel-chested design for the beared folk.

This similarity of direction in design could also be part of the reason why the Squats were discontinued: there's not much you can do in design terms with the Squats that you can't do with the more financially successful Dwarfs. And with the fantasy Dwarfs, you are not left to wrangle a force divided into the leather-clad bikers whose attitude and appearance make a better fit in an Ork army and the "Imperial Guard but shorter" infantry along with your well-armored Hearth Guard commanders.

Even in terms of gun design, in 40K there has long been a campaign to standardize the appearance of weaponry, while in WFB there has been a blossoming of multiple gun sculpts to represent the same type of gun in gaming terms. This standardization makes the prototype 2nd Edition Squats appear less distinct, and gives the impression that the heavily armored and Bolter-wielding troopers are just shorter Space Marines who don't shave.

No comments:

Post a Comment