Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Space Skaven Sergeant Squeek "Squeek" Squeek

As we know, Jervis Johnson once declared that there would "never, never, never be Space Skaven". Well, explain this, then. Here we have Space Skaven Sergeant Squeek "Squeek" Squeek. Sgt Squeek has been inducted into the Hungry Ghosts army to serve as a Bodyguard for General Stalkarlik. Not that someone as Mighty as General Stalkarlik needs a Bodyguard, but Skaven with Guns are Fun.

Space Skaven Squeek is one of the 1986 C47 Chaos Ratmen designed by Jes Goodwin. He appeared first in the Autumn 1986 Citadel Journal under the name of Carver. Early releases of this miniature had spikes so sharp they made your fingers bleed if handled unwarily; later editions had the spikes shortened and dulled down. Sgt Squeek is a fingers-bleeding version that is from the first blister pack of Skaven I bought. Plans to make a Skaven army for 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle were dashed by the ridiculous numbers of mandatory troops required in the Warhammer Armies book, and by all the exciting Eldar that came out in the early days of Warhammer 40K. And by my short attention span.


So Squeek first got his gun as a Tech Weapon Chaos Reward as a member of a Chaos Warband from the Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness system. The old Chaos rules let a young lad cram many a different race of critter into one army. Now, we must settle for "counts-as" troopers and corpse minis to satisfy our attention deficits. Sgt Squeek has had his paint refreshed for his new role in the Hungry Ghosts.

Ah, the good old days. Things always seem better in the hazy glow of times gone. But that hazy glow is poisonous gas from use of our rivers as toilets and industrial waste receptacles. Even the delicate lighting of those fancy Monet paintings were produced by streets and streams full of sewage...

Thunder Chiefs Rough Riders Number 9: Spinne Sluitdiep

The newest Hungry Ghost to be finished is the 9th of 10 Rough Riders from the Thunder Chiefs gang, Otzo "Spinne" Spuitdiep. Spinne is the first in what will be a growing series of "Squats That Are Not". Yes, Chaos Dwarfs have been converted into 40K Hungry Ghosts, and Storm Tpr. Spyham is the Ork Tinboy Squat. But Spinne is a bunch of bits, none of which are of Squats origin.

As the picture shows, Spinne's Cycle is speeding across the battlefield, crushing all those who get in his way. In this case, it is Necromunda Pit Slave 1 smashed against the front shield. The Pit Slaves in general make for fine victims in their posing, and we recently saw Slave 3 beneath the wheel of Thunder Chief Ken, and Slave 2 will appear with Thunder Chief Trollo soon.
Pit Slave 3, Unterm Rad, for you Hermann Hesse fans

Back to Spinne. Spinne was painted to emphasize the many rivets, gears, divots, and other round bits found on the pieces of his bike and body. The riveted shield PS1 is splattered on is from the Ork Hop Splatt Field Gun, with the Front Wheel and Handlebars it covers coming from the standard Rogue Trader Ork Bike. The Shield was embellished with a WFB Dwarf Warrior Head Symbol, a large spike, and a Chain Sword Blade.

The Chain Sword blade is the one that was removed from Blood Eagles Trooper Brew Ithica. As said in the days of the Deodorant-Hover Tank long ago, never throw anything away. That Chain Sword Blade is the only piece of Spinne & Bike that are actually from the Squats miniatures; the Dwarf Warrior Head is the only bit from the Dwarfs.

The Chain Sword and Spike also provide support to keep the Pit Slave attached more effectively. And because I can't leave anything alone, you Necromunda Obsessives out there may have noticed that Pit Slave 1 did not come with a metal mouth-guard originally. It is from a from a WFB Empire Knight, and though it does match well with the tire strapped to the Pit Slave's shoulder, I literally found it on the floor while walking from the Shelf of Many Catalogs to the Mighty Place of Painting Miniatures.

From the other side, the skull face on the Hop-Splatt Shield can be glimpsed. To complement the many rivets and such, I used a lot of bits with eyes or faces for the cycle, including the small lion head from a WFB Empire Cannon and two Space Marines Gun Scopes in the center of the shield. They line-up with Spinne's eyes to give him a double-dose of cybernetic vision enhancements. They also work to create a nice black/grey ribbed pattern extending from the Pit Slaves shoulder to the Scopes and then to Spinne's Horns, as can be seen below as well (the Horns came from a plastic Beastman Gor Warrior Head).
Now Spinne. Most noticeable is that having extra limbs lets Spinne steer his motorcycle and wield two weapons at the same time - Spinne has a Chaos Warrior Spiked Mace taking the role of the Rough Rider Explosive-Tipped Lance (yes, the use of an exploding mace is meant to turn the Ridiculous Meter to 11). The rest of the arm is made from part of the Gorkamorka Big Grabba Blowtorch and green stuff, with the armor plating from some High Elves or Dark Elves sprue that is newer than the 2006-07 Catalog, so I am not sure where exactly. Spinne's other upper arm wields his Lasgun, which is a Death Korps of Krieg version from Forge World.

From the right side again, Spinne's upper right arm is visible, from the Necron Destroyer Lord set with another bit of armor. Spinne's right leg and left middle arms are both visible as well. These bits, as well as the obscured left leg and right middle arm are taken from the Chaos Dreadnought Power Scourge. The clawed ends are used for the limbs, but the upper segment has not gone to waste - it is the piece that attaches the back end of the cycle to the front section, with Spinne positioned above it.

The complicated conversion makes it tough to get a good look at Spinne all at once, but this angle combined with the other pictures lets us see Spinne's head and upper body well. The bulk of Spinne, his head and torso, are an Epic-scale 40K Imperial Knight Titan Paladin, the metal version. Like the bike bits, it is nicely detailed with rivets and straps and circular protrusions of unknown purpose. But they provide an excellent way to break up Spinne's overall shape, along with the limbs, giving him a futuristic Cities of Death camouflage scheme should his bike be destroyed.

Though very difficult to see, Spinne proves his Dwarf-origins by having a long braided beard flowing from his cyber-chin. It is the flame-colored pointed bit visible below the haft of the mace. Like the horns, the beard is from a plastic Beastman Gor head. Legends whispered in the dark intimate that, unlike the Imperial lies about the entirety of the Squats race, Spinne was devoured by Tyranids. Or almost devoured- leaving only his beard, horns, and hatred available to rebuild him.

The rear section of Spinne's bike provides the propulsive force. Skulls with trailing spines provide air-intake while expelling noxious exhaust, on both sides of the engine. They are made from the Vampire Counts Mounted Wight Horn Blower Arms, with the arm removed. Next to the Skeletal-pipes are halves of the Smoke Launcher from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory Sprue 2. Maybe they launch smoke, maybe they are sensors, maybe they're the "check engine" lights. It's a future space-engine, so they're mostly there to look cool.
Another view of the Skeletal engine system, showing how the curves of the Wight Horn Spines flow into the curve of Spinne's legs which point toward the front wheel, providing a wave-form visually integrating Spinne with his cycle. The Smoke-Launcher halves have been painted to match the Gun Scopes attached to the gap in the front shield, providing a trio of steel and red pairs of machinery. Similarly, the red-on-brass round protrusions forming Spinne's mouth and on his shoulders are re-emphasized by using the gears of the tracks and the forks of the front wheel assembly.

Aside from my most obvious preference for complicated designs, I feel that many painters, including the Games Workshop staff, tend to ignore the possibilities presented by the details of the sculpture of the models, both artistically and (admittedly imaginarily) functionally. So Hungry Ghosts will also point out at this time that even the details of the tracks and tires can be used to increase the effectiveness of the overall appearance of a model.

Similarly, as best shown from this angle, the use of red for the tips of many of the triangular areas - the claw tips, mace-spikes, end of the beard, gun tip, chain sword, and the ridge of spikes on the Wight horns - focus attention toward the outer edges of the model, enhancing its apparent size. Visual effects that enhance apparent size are a common evolutionary strategy. As is the use of patterns that have the appearance of eyes, used to either create the illusion that an organism can see in a direction it cannot, or to distract from the actual eyes, to make it less likely that a predator can bite a head off a smaller critter. But in the Hungry Ghosts army, as in all the Warhammer Universe, heads also make fine decorations and gifts, and should be used as much as possible to please Khorne.
Now for a direct look at the back of the bike. As we can see, more skulls, more bright red circles surrounded by metal. This section also uses ridged patterns extensively. Along with the spines of the Wight-horns, a crown of spikes has been placed over the middle skull (Ork Boyz armor bit), and a feathered-winged skeletal angel is used as Spinne's seat-back (mid-90s Space Marine Chaplain 4's Power Maul). The large spiked pole in the center of the cycle, indelibly stained red with the blood of Elves, is a Chaos Dreadnought Trophy Rack.

The main bits forming the rear end of the cycle are a Space Marines Vindicator Tank Hydraulics bit that the tracks are attached to, and the grabby-end of the Big Grabba from the Gorkamorka Big Grabba truck. The large engine piece sporting the large center pipe and the tubing bending down into the nether regions are most likely from an Ork vehicle or very big gun, but I gave up searching the catalogs before I could find it. Only so many sanity points left... Anyway, a couple more plastic bits were added for fun, the big red bulb is part of a plastic IG Flamer Backpack, and the thin upwardly pointing pipe is from one of the Dark Eldar guns (I think).

In the end, Spinne was a complicated and fun romp through the bits box. Hopefully I will not drop him.

And there is always more crazy heading down the highway.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hungry Ghosts Headquarters: A Visit to Kastle Khorne, Part 1

Today we begin our journey into the full insanity that is the Legios Moriad XIV Expeditionary Force, and lear why so few Hungry Ghosts get completely painted- so many Space Dwarfs, so many conversions, so many vehicles, so much other weird bits of sci-fi funkiness, that distraction looms heavy, heavy on a mind that needs to find a special place for each and every little thing.

Like our mutant Scrunt to the side, Hungry Ghosts has a problem with self-reinforcing feedback loops that leave the floor covered in bits, and many a World War II documentary on the dvr unwatched (I saw them already anyway).

Now our visit to Hungry Ghosts Headquarters will show the extent of the madness.

Here we are on Level 1 of Kastle Khorne. This level holds all of the Hungry Ghosts troopers who have been fully painted. Plus their mascots and corpses, and various hangers-on. Like our loveable medical team, Doc-Bot KillMaim666-74445369 and Nurse Dammit Getoverhere, seen below.

Can Doc-Bot KillMaim666-74445369 feel our love for it?
His limbs are stained with those who asked that very question.

Do they look like they need a foot to you?

HG-HQ-Level 1 features the Hungry Ghosts Command Squad, its Squat Advisers, and non-Squat allies, such as Ambassador Lucifuge Redfinger von Khorne and Ghoti "Gravy" Chunckx, the Master of the Cuisinatorium. Redfinger will eventually play the role of Commander Creed if I ever actually finish an army list; Gravy Chunckx will continue to be entertaining fluff.

To review our forces, the Hungry Ghosts currently consist of:
General Jengiz Stalkarlik with his Command Squad and Advisers;
Battle-Brother "Badger" Machiner with his Venom-Whip;
most of a second Command Squad led by Col. Tony "Iron Beard" Schtarken;
2 squads of elite Storm Troopers, the Burnt Scorpions and the Black Frost;
our Hardened Veterans of the Blood Fist squad with their Termite transport;
the Thunder Chiefs Rough Riders (2 are not quite finished though);
and the Rotted Hearth Infantry Platoon under command of Captain Red Hister,
with the Black Stars and Iron Claws Special Weapons Teams,
the Miracle Workers Heavy Weapons squad,
and 2 of 4 planned Infantry Squads- the Blood Eagles and The Underdeepers.

The Rotted Hearth Platoon before the addition of the Iron Claws Special Weapons Team

Hungry Ghosts Level 2 is a crowded swarm of works-in-progress and units yet to be assembled and painted. We have our trio of Special Characters on the way-

Gunnery Sergeant Chikibi "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" Chhattisgarh

Captain Baast Aarde Winters

Colonel Tekja Ras-El-Dugmit

Level 2 also features the rest of the Rotted Hearth Platoon, including a second Heavy Weapons squad, the Lava Kings, composed entirely of freakish mutants. A preview of 4 are shown above. The Rotted Hearth will also grow with the addition of 2 Infantry Platoons, the Night Weasels and the Black Hands.

Adding more color to Level 2 is the River Bottom Nightmare Band, a Penal Legion led by Overlord Lobsang Wangdak and composed of assorted Ork and Human Mercenaries that I've had since the 1980s, plus some other rabble that we'll see more of later.

Level 2 also includes many other elements of the Hungry Ghosts. Crowding the shelf are Infantry Platoon 2, the Spectral Beards, including Command Squad, 2 Special Weapons Teams - the Last Dragons and the Steel Cobras, 2 Heavy Weapons Squads - the Terror Bears and The Red Dawn (taking the high terrain upon the Space Dwarfs Box), and 3 Infantry Squads - Captain Tweek's Rock-Eaters, the Bloody Beards, and The Raven Kings.

The Hungry Ghosts Dark Adeptus Mechanicus Wyrm Vulkaan and his Servitors (Epic Imperial Knights) are also to be seen, as well as a mix of sword-wielding loonies who will become Ministorium Priests, on the lower right side. Hiding on the left side rail are 7 of the 8 unreleased 40K 2nd Edition Squats. So, aside from a few exceptions to be seen soon, the Hungry Ghosts Army includes almost every Squat made, plus many converted Chaos Dwarfs and Imperial Dwarfs, assorted mercenaries and bots and troopers made entirely of bits.

Which means I had to create a 3rd Infantry Platoon with Space Dwarfs from other miniature manufacturers, who occupy most of the left side of HG-HQ-Level 2.

The Diamond Hards Platoon squadrons lurking on L2 are 5 Infantry Squads:
1. the Heresy Battle-Brothers, consisting of the Dwarf Miner from Heresy Miniatures and the 9 Space Dwarfs made by Harlequin Miniatures,
2. the Cold War Mountaineers, consisting of the 5 Space Dwarfs from Velard Miniatures of Moscow and 5 of the Fantastic Miniatures Space Dwarf Troopers and Heavy Weaponeers sculpted by Bob Olley,
3. the Black Reapers of the Highlands, consisting of a Dwarf Lord from Reaper Minis and 9 Highland Dwarf Fusileers from Black Tree Miniatures,
4. the WYLSMF Berzerkers, consisting of 5 of Bob Olleys Pirate Scrunts and 5 of his Fantastic Miniatures Berzerkers and a Heavy Weaponeer,
5. the Lords of Anarchy, consisting of 3 of Fenryll's Space Dwarfs and 7 of the Biker-style Space Dwarfs from Enigma Miniatures.

And slipped in another elite squad, the Warp Storm Troopers, including 7 of the Enigma Power-Armor Space Dwarfs and 3 of Fenryll's Power Armor Space Dwarf Mutants.

That's a lot of Squats. And other Space Dwarfs. Here are some ancient Chaos Terminators, Flesh Hounds, and converted Champion of Khorne, to cleanse the palate:

Tanks to Come!