But did Hungry Ghold Leader stay on target? No. No way, he took the shortcut to 1-up mushrooms on the desert world of Level 2...erm, Tatooine. Um. Allusion collision. Chaos can get confusing.
So we start with an innocent round heavy weapons/dreadnought size base. Being a bit tired of the blackened Eternal War theme of the Hungry Ghosts bases, and having many interesting shaped Alien Plants from Armorcast, a thorny menacingly large desert plant was placed on the base.
The plant came in two pieces, the ridged middle section and the thorn-tipped large-leaf section. This included an integral base, of a sandy texture, with several smaller plants, some disturbingly brain-shaped. The oblong shape jutted out from the Warhammer base, while leaving parts of it exposed.
As we all know, those luscious succulent bulgy leaves and that ripply broccoli-clustered central stalk contain enough water to fill many a stillsuit. And a chance to work with textures not commonly associated with Chaos Squats.
To tempt the thirsty, the bulging leaves were painted with a green pattern similar to the watermelon, protected by hard red thorns in an inversion of the softness of the red inside of the watermelon. The central stalk was painted an inviting green as well, while the sharp scalloped ridges were painted Don't-Touch-Me Orange, protecting the water of our desert plant. Pretty much a mix of the color schemes of the watermelon and the pumpkin.
But let's not be silly. You're wondering who is coming 'round that bend.
It's rats, more rats. Citadel just keeps pumping out new rats to fill my bases. As we can see, there are three.
First, let's engage in some self-applause, for deciding not to include an entire squad of Ratlings in the Hungry Ghosts Army. Our littlest Rogue Trader Mercenary, Shorty, was repurposed as cavalry, through a mere snip of the slotta tab.
Given the rat-fetish of Hungry Ghosts, the Skaven Rat Centaur needed prominent treatment. So the Rat-Centaur was not only made into the mount for Shorty Mario, he was also given his own bolt pistol. Both Ratling and Rat-Taur were painted in color schemes that provide camouflage in the desert world they roam.
Since the base of the Space Cactus provided some empty space, the pair could also be positioned behind a mix of the smaller plants molded in the base, painted a similar mix of oranges and yellows. The striped leaf pattern was echoed by the striped tail on the Rat-Taur, while the pointy nose, pointy tail, and pointy horn on the head go nicely with the thorny bits of the Space Cactus.
Unable to resist the addition of bits, Mario has been given a banner atop his backpack, from one of the plastic Army bits from the 1990 edition of Mighty Empires. This helps to provide a nice diagonal going from the Rat-Taur's pistol and head bits, continuing with Mario's head and pistol, rising with the banner pole, and reaching toward the Cactus Stalk (which would otherwise really stick out of the mini-diorama).
Meanwhile, the curved ammo-clips and small wavy banner bit make a nice match with the scalloped shaped parts of the main plant. Yellow was used to unify the tops of the bits- the Rat-Taur's horn, Mario's helmet, and small banner. Yellow was also used for much of Mario's gear, and for the highlights of the smaller plants on the base.
But a tension was also purposefully created- the Rat-Taur has a trio of tumors, a bright yellow gift of Nurgle, while Mario is quite obviously in a quest for new life, as his Mushroom Banner shows. The colors of the Mushroom Banner also blend in with the leaves of the Space Cactus. The red thorns and the various dark grey areas were given white or close to white glossy highlights, fitting with the 1-UP Mushroom.
Our hero is being trailed by a camouflaged critter of the desert, waiting for a chance to bite off a bit of Rat-Taur tail. Painted in the same orange-yellow tones of the small brain-looking plants, and of similar size, the critter is one of the larger members of the Tyranid Squig range. He also fills in an area of exposed base.
From a different angle, we can see the other mutant space rat on the mission, another of the older metal Skaven rats, with a pointy artificial leg attached to a tube full of poison. This rat was painted very bright yellow, just because I haven't used that old Bad Moon Yellow for a while.
The Bad Moon Rat's poison mechanism wraps around his body and along his tail, making him dangerous from either end. Like most of my creations, the color palette ranges across the spectrum from white to black and just about everything in between.
From above, the overall effect of bits added to the mini-diorama nicely fills the available space. The area at the bottom of the picture is another thick green plant, topped by a rusted and worn-down Space Marine helmet, one from the ancient RTB01 Mark 6 Beakies hollowed out, with its faded colors blending with the greens and reds of the Space Cactus.
That Space Marine did not find his Green Mushroom in time.