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Devoted to the Preservation, Collection, Conversion, Painting, and Resurrection of Space Dwarfs.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Death From Below: The Epicast Termite

Thus far, the Hungry Ghosts have been a foot-slogging army, with a few cavalry. This way mostly intentional: I plan on using all of the different Squats miniatures and squads of infantry are the way to go to achieve that goal. Also, aside from the motorcycles, there were no "official" Squats vehicles made for 40K, they had access to whatever the Imperials had. Now I've painted about half of the Squats, along with some Chaos Dwarfs, enough to assemble a 1000 point army and the next 500 points will be spent mostly on mechanizing the Moriad. As the picture above shows, the motor pool is growing crowded with future lascannon-attractors.

The Epicast Termite
The first vehicle to emerge from the motorpool to the army list is the oldest. The Termite is a resin vehicle made by Epicast in the mid 1990s. Starting around 1992 and lasting through most of the 40K 2nd Edition era, Games Workshop allowed several companies, mostly in California, to produce Warhammer 40K scale versions of Epic scale vehicles and titans. These companies were given licenses to develop units that GW had no specific plan to produce, so Termites and Cauldrons of Blood were allowed but not Chimeras or Predators.*

As we can see, the Termite was designed in the surfacing mode similar to the Epic mini in production at the time. It is a happy coincidence that the rubble in the Termite model looks like the rubble I use for the Hungry Ghosts bases, especially since I've been using the same bag of small black fishbowl gravel since 1987. And I still have plenty left, so that was a dollar well spent.

This Termite will count as a Chimera transport for the Blood Fists Veterans squad. But before we get to the Termite, we'll take a visit with the Termite's gratuitous driver miniature.

So there was no real need for me to create Cpl Gweilo Hellfisch, but before I started collecting the Warhammer minis, I was a GI Joe junkie, and some of the best GI Joe action figures were the vehicle drivers. And virtually every character in Robotech was more or less a vehicle driver. Now it is tough for me to create a vehicle without a driver.

Hellfisch started off as Squat Biker 2, one of the guys too lazy to finish buttoning his shirt. He and his fellow belly-barers are a major reason the Squats were declared too silly to live. I have compensated for his poor job at dressing himself by adding bits that draw the eye to anywhere but his belly.

Much of that job is taken by his bulky arms, on the far end of proportionality. But the added length of the shovel makes them seem shorter and provides a source of all those muscles. The arms are the Medic Arms from the recent Catachan Command sprues, while the shovel is the standard Imperial Vehicle accessory. The slight tilt to his head and the straight-out angle of the shovel make it clear that Gweilo is not using it for digging. I have also augmented his vision with cybernetic spectacles that are just one of the Imperial Grenade bits cut in half.

I also like the idea of evil vehicle drivers being cybernetically connected to their vehicles, so I added a giant cable to his back, clinging like a baby Alien. The bulk of it is the Great Unclean One's Tongue 2, with syringes and spikes from the Inquisitor scale cyber-flagellants. He has a sidearm and several pouches added to his belt, and yet another TMNT Mouser mini companion, this one carrying Cpl Hellfisch's rope, beer stein, and backpack fully of scooby snacks.

From this view, the cable from Gweilo's back can be seen in "attached mode," reaching back to a circular vent a little larger than the tip of the cable. It is just another of the Space Marine backpack vent-bulbs that I use so frequently, and it leads us to a closer look at the Termite itself.

Now our Termite, the Land Shark. Like a fin emerging from a tar pit, the Termite cuts across the battlefield bearing its load of mighty veterans. As with many of the Squats, the basic Termite has a design that is a bit simple to the modern eye, resulting in a need for lots of bits.

The need for lots of bits was compounded by the vast difference between the functional requirements of the Chimera and the design of the Termite. The body of the Termite as cast** is cylindrical, with no external weapons, just the circular door and a small bar on each side. These bars will form the stubby nubbins of the main weapons.

Here we can see the converted weapon, with a similar dragon-headed contraption on the other side. Since they are of exotic design, and the points cost is the same, they can count as Heavy Bolters or Heavy Flamers. The parts of the heavy weapons were spread out along the body of the Termite rather than sticking out to meet the needs of a tunneling machine. The dragon heads shoot flames or hot lead and are attached to the end of the rectangle ridge, while the ridge itself was given more flair by covering it in Dark Elf Warrior Crossbow Quivers and a vent-bulb from a CSM backpack. I attached it via some tubing to a skull headed exhaust pipe from the Imperial Cities sprues.

Here is the same weapon system from the other side, showing more of the Dark Elf Quivers because this side is more exposed than the other.

My plan is to have the vehicles in the Hungry Ghosts army appear to be part technology and part daemonology, so I've added various Chaos and Dwarf symbols to represent the other equipment standard with the Chimera. The Eye of Chaos functions as the searchlight, and the skull heads act as smoke launchers, and each of the circular Wolfheads counts as the 6 Lasguns that can shoot out of the Chimera (only 4 are visible, the others are covered in rubble).

One thing that didn't require any extra bits was the Dozer, which was demanded by the basic nature of the Termite. From this angle, all of the Daemon-Accessories can be seen as a repeating series in the nooks created by the scalloped portion of the body. It contributes to the revolving impression of the boring head. For the door, I went with the circles and just added some small round WFB Dwarf Head and Wolf Head symbols.

The center of the door demanded another small accessory to achieve an Evil Eye look, which was supplied by a skeletal bearded Dwarf Face bit from the Scrunts line of Olley's Armies minis. Circles and Spikes, the two basic flavors of Chaos.

The Termite arrived with rubble that was just small rocky bits. Anything else was added by me, and I made sure it looked like the Land Shark was emerging through several layers of history. I continued to use the ever-expanding range of mutant rats from the Skaven sprues. Part of the reason I like the mutant rats is because they remind me of the early Rogue Trader and WFB slotta ranges, which were composed of a couple dozen single piece variations on a theme, without the need to add arms and such. And where there are rats, there are bones and skulls, and half a Necron. The Necrons are too limited in range for me to want an army of them, but they are another great source of conversion bits for Chaos mutants. I added another tiny slice of life with an epic scale Beastman carving off a slice of rotting human arm (Tomb Kings again).

Finally, the Land Shark disgorges its belly full of bearded Blood Fist veterans, now entering their third decade of battle. They are accompanied by the ejected but attached Gweilo.

*Some of the first Epicast products were resin additions for the Rhino, to convert them to the Vindicator and the Whirlwind. Once GW released their versions, the Epicast products went out of production. They can be seen at the Collecting Citadel Miniatures Wiki.
** unpainted Termite can also be seen at the CCM Wiki:


  1. Really nice work adapting the Termite to your Hungry Ghosts as that's truly a stylish way to move your Blood Fists around. Great idea to convert it to serve as the unit's Chimeras, I like the way you modeled the weapons for it. My favorite though is Gweilo. He's just such a cool model! Well done on the conversion work and I'm totally with you in thinking 40k vehicles need to have driver models.

  2. I'm happy with how he came out too. Those standing Bikers are probably the Squats I like least, so I have hidden his biker gear with the multiple conversions everywhere to make you look at all his other parts. Plus a greasy tank driver is better than a greasy biker any day.