Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Squats in White Dwarf 2000-2004, Historia Squataticus Volume 4.1

Introductory Mea Culpa. It is the end of another earth year, and Hungry Ghosts has exceeded his target in only one area: number of surgical operations. 4 instead of 2! And somehow I have 30 Squats and Scrunts in various stages of completion and have not actually finished the 1500 point army minis. Attention deficit! Then hours snuffling through the internets trying to figure out if last name is Croatian or Ukrainian, instead of finishing the White Dwarf Squat Review. Blown off course, but think last name is Croatian for 'person from the small cave'! Freakishly accurate description of Hungry Ghosts in his basement apartment full of Dwarfs!

Too Many Puppies! Listen to Primus!

Anyway, here is the last post for 2010, which covers Squats in White Dwarf up to the coming of Warhammer 40K 4th Edition. It will necessarily be more impressionistic and oblique in its analysis, given the low frequency of our quarry. Another dwarf pun! It's going to be quite the ride.

Part 11: Blackout for the Squats in the Black Age, 2000-2004 (Issues 241-295)

Now the Squats are barred from passing the Cadian Gates into the Warhammer 40K 3rd Ed rulebook, it is a Black Age for the Bearded indeed. But the real reasons I have named this period the Black Age, in contrast to the Red Period and the Great Green Period of the 1990s, are largely non-Squat related. Just like the Red and Great Green Periods.

The Black Age was brought about by changes in printing technology that allowed cheaper publication of glossy black inks on lighter paper than before. GW took advantage of this, filling the pages of White Dwarf, the Rulebook, and the Codexes with black backgrounds and grey-scale or computer-green text. The blister package card stock adopted the dominant black/grey/metallic scheme as well.

The minis became darker as well. The Imperial Guard went to drab tones and camo-schemes, and 1000 flavors of grey-scale tanks. This was a move away from the Ultramarine Mordian Army and Sunburst Yellow ammo clips for Cadians, and toward natural environmental toned Valhallans, Storm Troopers, and Catachans. The focus in the Space Marine world turned to the Black Templars, Grey Knights, Black Dragons, and Salamanders, while the shade of the Dark Angels and Blood Angels dimmed. Chapters like the Space Wolves and Ultramarines were given the Cadian treatment, abandoning the bright yellow and red accessories for metal and fur.

On the Xenos side, Ork Klans were strongly de-emphasized, resulting in lots of black armor and dark silver weapons. Similarly, the variation among Chaos Powers was reduced, putting more emphasis on Chaos Undivided, which used largely the same colors as the Orks (Iron Warriors) to avoid any sense of allegiance to a particular patron. Dark Eldar adopted a similar dress code. Only Imperial Fists and Eldar Harlequins dared to wear bright primary colors.

Watch our spines fade to black...

White Dwarf 241 (February 2000)

The first half of this issue introduces the refreshed Imperial Guard. Remaining on the army list are slow-witted thugs and butterball thieves, and fracking fur-hatted horsemen. But not the technological adept and highly honorable Squats. Is that the kind of Imperium you want to live in? Do you really think that you can use prayer to repair your Rhinos?

This issue also tells of glorious actions of the Guard. One tale involves the Valhallans invading a planet already occupied by Demiurg (p. 27-28). The Valhallans exterminate the Demiurg by making a surprise attack with vastly more troops and better equipment after plenty of orbital bombardment. And they sustain terrible casualty rates despite these advantages. This sounds barely competent, not glorious. And from an Imperial propaganda source as well. The true losses must have been catastrophic.

And we will note, as GW has made clear several times, these Demiurg are not a new version of Squats anymore than Tau are. Though they are said to be squat in stature compared to humans and to engage in mining activities, they are also poor mountaineers and bad at close-quarters combat.


White Dwarf 242-243 (March-April 2000): none


White Dwarf 244 (May 2000):

This issue introduced the Skulz program of buyer rewards. Yes, my Beardlings, once upon a time, a time that lasted until the mid-2000s, Games Workshop was a company that held sales prices for new releases and store openings, and had a reasonable buyer loyalty reward program.

Included was a set of Adeptus Mechanicus miniatures (2 of the 9 shown above, the Magos and his Assistant). In response to a reader letter, it is reported that the Adeptus Mechanicus set was made as part of an attempt to develop the Ad.Mech as an army that was stalled indefinitely.

Painted pictures of this interesting and intricate series of minis can be seen at the link below.


White Dwarf 245-252 (June 2000-January 2001): none


White Dwarf 253 (February 2001):

This issue introduces the 3rd edition Tyranids. There is no mention of Squat-eating or much else other than the famous assaults on Ultramar and Iyanden. Plus any Tyranids that ingested Squat genetic material would have beards and Bone Axes, not Bone Swords. The Tyrant Guard are reported to be evolved from eating Space Marines (WD 255, p. 5): Where are the bearded Nids?

Troll 37, March/April 2001

White Dwarf 254 (March 2001):

The letters page of this issue informs us that the WFB Dwarf Goblobber is another item now considered too silly to be coming back for 6th edition (p. 55).


White Dwarf 255 (April 2001):

The Imperium has had close combat with the H'rud since the Horus Heresy and still can't produce a description of the buggers (p. 20-21).

GW also embarks on what will ultimately be another half-hearted effort to promote Epic-scale 40K on p. 106.


White Dwarf 256 (May 2001):

Here we have an ad for the 2001 Games Day in Baltimore, which shows off the limited edition model from a new army. This fellow is a Birdman called a Kroot Shaper, whose race learned to fly by eating Orks. He is the Lord High Ambassador of Silly Names. You can almost hear Terry Jones in horrid drag screeching "then 'e brought 'ome the Kroot Shaper! Wot am I to do with a Kroot Shaper? 'e won't sit on the sofa and keeps after my DNA."

And what is up with GW and its fetish with flesh-eaters? Seriously Games Workshop. Hungry Ghosts is a psychologist and can help you. Yes, the Hungry Ghosts are flesh-gnawing revenants, but they are doomed to chew but never swallow, and are under the medical supervision of Doc-Bot KillMaim666-74445369 and Snotling Nurse Dammit.

GW, the first baby step is to stop referring to the mail order staff as “long pigs”.

Also in this issue, the White Scars Space Marines take over the non-Greenskin Bad-Ass Biker niche formerly occupied by the Squats (p. 78).


White Dwarf 257-261 (June-October 2001): none


White Dwarf 262 (November 2001):

The Skulz program ends and the Adeptus Mechanicus will never become a real army. Also Lord of the Rings comes into town, which brings us to a new stage of Games Workshop short-attention span theater as they try to juggle 3 Core Games as well as the Specialist Games. And Black Library fiction, video games, movies, ccgs, Forge World etc..


White Dwarf 263-269 (December 2001-June 2002): none


White Dwarf 270 (July 2002):

Once again GW would like you all to stop asking about Malal (p. 24). Who's Malal? Call the Mail Order Trolls and ask to speak with Kaleb.


White Dwarf 271-272 (August-September 2002): nein


White Dwarf 273 (October 2002):

While discussing the new 40K Chaos Marines codex, Andy Chambers mentions reviewing “a scarily precise, unpublished treatise on the nature of Chaos written by Rick Priestly in the late '80s” (p. 103). What is this mystery treatise and what secrets does it hold? Damn Harlequins. “You must be this tall for a Black Library card” my ass.


White Dwarf 274-283 (November 2002 - August 2003): nyet


White Dwarf 284 (September 2003):

The article "Index Malleus: The Lost and the Damned" reports:

Across the widely spread legions of the Emperor's crusade new allies were welcomed for the aid they could render in the great task of freeing Humanity. Even mutants of particular strains judged stable enough were permitted to prosper and fight in the rank of the Imperial Guard. This is a practice which remains to this day, although under drastically tighter constraints of genetic purity than was once the case. (p. 99-100)

Good enough to battle side-by-side with the Emperor, but not good enough for today's Guard? This reeks of hubris. Inquisitor, inquisite thyself!

GW would also like you to stop asking about Space Skaven (p. 62).


White Dwarf 285 (October 2003):

A second report of the allegedly glorious, yet drastically lop-sided, victory of the Valhallans over the Demiurg, a word-for-word repeat of the content in issue 241. As we can see, this new Demiurg race is really getting hit with the GW Development Stick. (p. 95)


White Dwarf 286-287 (November-December 2003): guess!


White Dwarf 288 (January 2004):

GW would really like you to stop asking about 40K Skaven (p. 81).

At this point, we must suspect that GW is publishing multiple letters about Space Skaven because they provide a jokey way to reduce their guilt over the Squats. Clearly White Dwarf received responses to the comments about the Squats in Issue 240's letter page, and does not want to face the issue directly and responsibly.


White Dwarf 289 (February 2004):

In a biography of Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, the Green Monster is reported to have inscribed upon a fallen Warlord Titan tales of his victories and power. Thraka claims that his army "crushed the stunties on Golgotha" and had done so despite the intervention of Commissar Yarrick. The article reports that the whole of Golgotha Sector was lost to the Imperium. (p. 108)

So Games Workshop does remember the Squats, and remembers where they live as well. But strangely only Thraka refers to the Squats, while the article refers to "tech-adepts" in "heavily defended strongholds" (p. 107).

To hide a shameful defeat by an alleged hero of the Imperium, the existence of the race that instructed the Imperium in the art of crafting War Machines, was denied. The only testimony is that of an Ork. Way to twist the knife in the back, GW, and please set us on fire next!

Even this idiot one-eyed fungus with a gun can see the Squats!
White Dwarf 290 (March 2004): nope.


White Dwarf 291 (April 2004):

In a Chapter Approved article about alien critters and Xenos mounts, the H'rud are reported to have "conducted highly effective hit-and-run attacks focused on destroying ammunition and fuel stockpiles." (p. 81)

This firmly establishes the H'rud as not Squats in disguise. Because those disguises would just make their poor hit-and-run attempts more fumbly. And because Squats take your ammo and fuel for their stockpiles, they don't waste it.


White Dwarf 292 (May 2004):

More playful denials of Space Skaven in the letters page (p. 71). You can suppress it all you want, but you cannot forget what you did.


White Dwarf 293 (June 2004):

The Warhammer Fantasy Battle world has also been cruel to the Chaos Dwarfs as well, with just a crummy Ravening Hordes pamphlet army list. This month sees the release of the Chaos Hellcannon with 3 Chaos Dwarf Crew, the first Chaos Dwarfs in a long time. (there have also been sporadic mentions of the popularity of Chaos Dwarf armies in the tournament scene).

These fellows are a nice combination of 1980s Chaos Dwarf helmets with 1990s Chaos Dwarf beards.


White Dwarf 294 (July 2004): none


White Dwarf 295 (August 2004):

A history of Warhammer 40K in advance of the release of the 4th edition rules doesn't mention Squats at all. (p. 84-91)


We end this volume with sadness.

The Imperium has attempted to erase from history their best and oldest allies.

It has attempted to relieve its guilt with avoidant chatter about Space Skaven several times.

One gets the feeling that there was a ban on any references to the Squats during these years, with Thraka's comment surviving because it used 'stunties' instead of 'Squats'.

All 1s on the Plasma Guns for the Squats in the 2000s

As time goes on, we will see GW become a bit more relaxed about their crimes, and allow the small shoots of a Springtime for Squats poke their hairy little bulbs through the snow. But that will be a story for next year.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Space Dwarfs Beyond the Galactic Fringes: Velard Miniatures

It has been a few months since our last visit to the OTC branches of the Space Dwarf galaxy. Today we take a quick look at a series of 5 Space Dwarf Infantry Troopers produced by Velard Miniatures in Moscow, Russia, primping coyly behind the blast walls. Since I can't find Velard on the internet, I am guessing that these fellows are out of production now. I got them in 2007 or so, 30USD including postage.

Here is our first trooper. As we can see, the Velards feature the pads-and-pouches design common to the crappy armor of the science-fiction infantry trooper. The more realistic body proportions of these miniatures are made more interesting by the honking huge gun.

Trooper 1 from behind, no surprises here.

Trooper 2, scutting across the battlefield, weighted down by his BAG.

From the rear, he is equipped just about the same as the first trooper.

When was the last time you saw a Dwarf run? Weird, isn't it?

Now we'll see who keeps the Golden Snitch!

Shooty Trooper, gun now more plausibly sized.

Shooty from the back.

After 4 smooth, mannequin-like troopers, we get this Sergeant. He looks like he's been sculpted from an Ork's description of a Dwarf. He also came with a tiny grenade that fit into his tiny left hand, but I can't find it.

His right arm is a separate bit.

There you go. Some nice but bland clone-trooper infantry led by the creature from the back of the boiler room.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chaos Commissars for Khorne: Your Living Ancestors Have a Dark Secret

Today the Commissars for the Hungry Ghosts make their appearance; Commissar Ob Dniepr on the left, Commissar Amur Yenesei on the right. As the Hungry Ghosts are Undead, of the Revenant Berzerker strain, the notion of Living Ancestors was philosophically challenging. But Christmas is coming up, and the urge to paint some Squats like Nazi Santas was overwhelming.

I decided to make these Commissars look very similar, in contrast to most of the army, since they will need to be noticeable in the field in their assigned squads. I also went with a starker color scheme of the Black-Red-Metal typical of Khorne, with white to indicate their age and authority. In Hungry Ghosts fluff, their red skin is a gift from Khorne for their long and glorious service, making them look more like His daemons. They also have Skull-headed ornaments attached to their right ears, just like those of famous ally-slayer Kharn the Betrayer. Exactly like them.

Here is a closer view at Cmsr Yenesei. Both Commissars were given Plasma Pistol, the version from the 40k 2nd edition Chaos Marines Close Combat Weapons sprue. The Plasma Pistols have been painted to contrast with the heads of the Squats: they are white at the top/back and red at the bottom/front. Both pistols have Space Wolf Tails attached as trophies (and to fill some of the negative space these minis have).

To emphasize his authority, Commissar Yenesei has a severed Squat hand laying at his feet, painted to blend with Yenesei's metal areas.

Both Living Ancestors were sculpted with large metal ring collars to indicate their high status. These were made bigger and spikier, in accordance with Khorne's commands. The thicker spiked ridge is from the 40K Ork Boyz sprue, while the more delicate one is from the Space Marine Commander sprue (with the middle part cut out).

To go along with all the other spikes and curved parts of this mini, the Commissars were given a symbol a wolf on their capes, from the WFB Knights of the White Wolf sprue. The Living Ancestor minis were not sculpted with interesting backs, so the Wolf Symbols and the Spiked Collars work well to add needed detail consistent with their Chaotic allegiance. These Hungry Ghosts with the Wolf symbols are also designed to cause Duran Duran to sap the opponent's valuable attentional resources.

Here is Commissar Dniepr from his left side. To distinguish him from Yenesei, Cmsr Dniepr's thin spikes are positioned above the head, more like a crown than a collar.

Commissar Dniepr also has his Wolf Tail at the trailing end of a chain, this time a metal bit, part of the Chains from the first version Dark Eldar Jetbike. Overall, the Commissars are accessorized to display their ferocious canine aspects.

This Commissar holds the Power Stick, so long thin cylindrical forms were needed for his accessories. Along with the chain, a broken piece of Imperial Tank was used to counterbalance the Power Stick; tilting forward on the right while the Stick tilts backward on the left. (Yenesei has a zig-zag appearance to match his Power Sword.)

It was fun to use such as stark color range with these fellows. And while GW's Dwarfs have never been known for their legs, these Commissars look like floating heads with their bulky beard covered bellies and giant collars, while their legs fade into the black landscape.

It's Fluff Season in Illinois!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chaos Squats Astropath of Tzeentch

The Astropath position offered another opportunity to break from the Colors of Khorne. This time, Tzeentch has lent the ambassador to the Hungry Ghosts, High Astropath Arc Wendigo, Master of Obfuscation, Occultism, and Obscurity. While I've used a bit of an exaggerated comic book painting style with the Hungry Ghosts in general, I used the power of Tzeentch here to go further and break out the old funky purples, pinks, and yellows from the 1990s. Now our Astropath glows like he's constantly bathed in ultraviolet light.

This Squat Pirate suffers from the Giant Head Syndrome that plagues GW Dwarfs frequently, and comes with a giant, curved, what-the-hell-is-this-for, hooked cyberstaff. The only thing to do was to make the rest of him fit the mutations and equipment he arrived with.

First was to make his head More Giant by adding a set of Horns and Hair from the WFB Beastmen sprues, with greenstuff to fill in the gaps. Next, Wendigo recieved a second what-the- hell-is-it staff, jutting straight ahead in his right hand (the top half is from the Empire Wizards sprue, the bottom half is a Wood Elf bow, the arm is Zombie). The Wizard bit also provided more fire for a two-of-everything theme for the Astropath, with two candles and a two horned skull. The skull also provides a second head looking forward. But where the Eyes of the Astropath Glow with the Fires of the Warp, the skull offers only darkness.

To contrast with the glowing green and yellow Magick Flaymes on the Astropath's right staff, I added a some small brightly colored bits to give the appearance that his hook staff is drawing splashes of magic out of the ground. Similarly, the metal upper bits of the hook staff have been painted with a gold/bronze tone which is used on the bottom half of the candle staff. A similar non-metallic yellow/tan was used on Wendigo's extremities and his prominent gun. To keep the emphasis on Wendigo's interesting parts, the bulk of his body was painted black. It was a stupid looking puffy jumpsuit and it deserved to be hidden.

This Astropath's next attention grabbing mutation is his wings. The edges of the wings have been painted to match the glowing hair and magic flames, while I have attempted to paint the inner portions to look like they are refracting light and creating an iridescent shine. It's always interesting to attempt to make the solid appear less so. The wings are an old one-piece version from the Dark Elves Harpies.

By this point, the Astropath has become one of those conversions that fully utilize all of the space on the base. To fill out the front, Wendigo is joined by his familiar Minigo, a little Rat King from the Skaven Rat Ogres sprues. Minigo has been painted with the same color scheme as his master, and his small sharp body parts add to the many thin bright yellow/green elements already present. To balance that brightness a bit, and to add some complexity to the appearance of the base itself, I gave him red Magic Circle a bit in from the edge, to assist with his astropathing and stuff.

This Astropath is a character who will definitely stand out on the battlefield, but at the same time his shape is highly fragmented and complex. I think that's how Tzeentch would want it.

The Hungry Ghosts Miscalculate Their Missile's Radius of Effect!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chaos Squats Fleet Admiral Tunnler

It has been a bit longer than planned since we last saw a new Chaos Squat from the Hungry Ghosts army. But your author is not just joking about being a cyborg, and part of his implanted medical device attempted to escape its fleshy lodgings for the great outdoors. Thus an emergency surgical procedure was required to keep it inside. But now we can return to the Squats.

Today we meet another Chaos Squats version of the Imperial Guard Regimental Advisors, Fleet Admiral Wendigo Tunnler.

Admiral Wendigo Tunnler is based on one of the 1990 Squat Pirates that did not make it into any of the Citadel Catalogs or White Dwarfs. From his claw hand and horned helmet, this mini was an obvious candidate for the Officer of the Fleet slot.

To give the Hungry Ghosts a bit more variety than they already have (as if they needed it, with Snots dressed as Sharks and Gnoblar-Daemonette crossbreeds trailing them) Admiral Tunnler has been painted as a follower of Chaos Undivided. In our Warhammer Universe, this means lots of grey-scale colors and metallics, as too much of any color would tip the balance toward one of the Great Ruinous Powers. But Admiral Tunnler knows that it is unwise to sail the space waves for long without a nod to those Great Ruinous Powers. Thus the greenish beard for Nurgle, a blue sword blade and other accents to placate Tzeentch, and red studs and tattoos for Khorne. The pastel pink and green tone of the Tyranid skull shows how highly Slaanesh is valued by the Hungry Ghosts.

There was not much converting needed to finish the Admiral, but Tunnler comes from the days of less-dynamic more-planer casting. So the bits selected to finish him were bits that would give him a more dynamic 3-dimensional look. His right arm comes from a WFB Empire Militia sprue, with a nice thick-bladed pirate cutlass. To make it look more sci-fi, the cuff of the arm was increased in size and painted as if it were a small computer (ask not how he presses those buttons with his Claw).

Those of you who have been following the Hungry Ghosts for a while can likely guess that Tunnler's sword arm was not selected just for the nice cutlass. It was also the first step in creating diagonal lines to further draw attention away from the relative flatness of the mini. The angle of the sword matches the angle of the long axis of the Nid skull. In contrast, the lines on the bases are aligned with his right forearm, and are positioned under the bells of his beard with the gaps between the lines about the same as the distance between the bells.

Now that Admiral Tunnler has a front profile that draws the eye from the right front to left back, the bits added to his back side will do the opposite. Adm. Tunnler is given a nice windswept appearance with his cape and flag, with wind blowing from the left front to right back. The furry cape is from the Chaos Marauders sprue, the pole is an IG Tank antenna, and the flag is probably from some Empire cavalry, but I'm not sure and pain-levels are too high for a thorough search to identify it. Tunnler also has a sidearm from a Cadian sprue added to his belt.

That's all for Admiral Tunnler, up next will be the Hungry Ghosts Astropath, finishing the Regimental Advisors positions.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Fun with Corpses

finally figured out what to do with that stupid Eldar head

Halloween seems to be a meh holiday for the Warhammer World. The basic problem is, How much more GRIMDARK can things be? None more GRIMDARK. (Shut up Wilson, or it's the rats again.) The whole universe is swarming with undead gods, daemon worlds, and sharp slicey horrors. Try going round with your little pumpkin bucket asking for candy in the Hell Spires of Necromunda...

But all that GRIMDARK doesn't mean we can't have some fun with corpses and casualty miniatures. Aside from the interesting issues raised by the painting gore from various species, the corpse mini gives you a chance to paint something from an army that you'll never build. One Cadian standing on the shelf is rather pathetic, but one Cadian squished under the wheels of an assault bike is the start of something beautiful.

Welcome to our hosts for our crawl through the corpses. Yes, even the Hungry Ghosts have a medical plan: Doc-Bot KillMaim666-74445369 and his Snotling aide Dammit Getoverhere.

Due to an Unspeakably Horrible programming bug in the KillMaim666 series of Doc-Bots, Doc-Bot Giggles is only fit for duty as coroner and tour guide. Ideally, the programming flaw should have been noticed from this Doc-Bot's Series Name before nearly 75 million KillMaim666s were released into the wild, but mistakes get made.

Dr Giggles comes to us all the way from Paranoia's Alpha Complex, a dimension where humans dwell underground because they have ruined the surface world. Where man worships an insane and unseen god of technology, battling to stamp out mutants, psychics, and heretics to herald a new golden age of endless bouncy bubble beverage for all the clones. Sounds familiar.

In olden tymes, before there was a Warhammer 40,000, corpse miniatures for most of the fantasy races were produced, sometimes more than one version. Here is a Beastman, 205-03 in the Citadel 1988 Catalog.

Rogue Trader arrived in 1987, with several dead Space Marines to litter the battlefields. This was the first, Ex-Brother Marine from the RT01 series released the same month as the 40K Rulebook, White Dwarf 93.

Here is another former marine, from the RT101 series released in White Dwarf 99, known only as Wounded Marine.

"Oi, my hand has joined the Horus Heresy!"

This marine is not officially a casualty, he is one of the Rhino Crew Marines from WD 103, missing original hand. These marines were offered as casualty minis in an issue of Troll in the late 1990s, but I can't remember which one.

"What do you mean, the skeleton is on the inside?"

Some Rogue Trader Armies were supplied with more corpses than others... 4 Squats, 0 Eldar.

"Yes, I'm quite certain the demon will just eat the bad bits."

Dammit is dressed as a Shark for Halloween. Impressive initiative from such a tiny mean brain.

Fewer corpses were offered during the Warhammer 40K 2nd Edition days of the 1990s. A good supply of plastic troopers and the eternally useful Skeleton Horde sprue eliminated much of the need, and allowed for more variation.

Corpse minis of the 1990s were offered mostly as some sort of "special" release, special being a very rubbery term in this context. Both the Tallarns and Praetorians were widely available for many years (yet absent from my collection).

Other corpses were made but never officially released. These Chaos Space Marines are 2 of a series of 5 made for the Horus Heresy Siege of the Emperor's Palace display at a mid 1990s UK Games Day. Hungry Ghosts Master Astropath Wendigo is present to insure any temporal fluctuations due to the presence of such asynchronic corpses are exploited to their maximum.

Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition was released at the end of the 1990s. Thousands of Dark Eldar corpses were created as Space Marines players tried to think of something to do with the chaos elves and their jungle trees. Were the jungle trees supposed to help the DE infantry counter the Land Speeder? These dead elves arrived to me battered and broken in a giant pile of bits, and were swiftly converted into artillery blast victims.

Some newly painted Hungry Ghosts can be glimpsed behind the blasted walls, soon to appear on this interweb channel.

"No, none of them need that leg either. Put it down."

These Vostroyan Imperial Guard were the only corpse minis released during the Warhammer 40K 4th Edition days. They were available only in the Vostroyan Battalion box released as part of the 2005 Cities of Death extravaganza. Nice sculpts that go from newly dead to very dead as needed. A Cadian Wounded trooper was included in the Cadian Command box, but a Medic was included to tend to his boo-boos and kiss them and make them all better.

These Space Marine casualties are the most recent offered for 40K, as part of another of Games Workshop's half-hearted return-to-our-roots spasms. They also nicely range from "I'm not dead yet!" to "rats have eaten my face!"

Our Halloween tour concludes with this insane meeting of the minds, and bitz. 1 40K 2nd ed Snotling helper, wearing a shark suit made from Dark Eldar and Wood Elf bits; 1 Paranoia Doc-Bot, enhanced with an Imperial Servitor arm and Dark Elf Corsair pointies; 1 Warhammer Quest Snotling armed with Eldar Laspistol and Marauder Daemonette Claw (the writing proclaims his loyalty to the Gobbo Revolutionary Committee, he is also hiding a Space Marine grenade behind his back); finally his prey, 1 Imperial Guard Tank Commander who has been melted down to crispy bones (Skeleton Horde) and oozing guts (WFB 5th or 6th ed Ghoul Intestines) below the waist.

The Red Rebel Snotling came from the same batch of bits as the dead Dark Eldar, already armed with Laspistol, but nothing in his right hand. That giant metal claw was in the bin waiting for the right kind of stupid, and thus our massively top-heavy little Yarrick was given the breath of life.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Squat-tober Mutant Round-Up: Battle at the Bitz Box 2

Night(s) of the Storm Troopers

Whilst diligently cleaning up the mess made by the creation of the Scrunt-Spawn, and innocently reflecting upon my unpainted Squats and Chaos Dwarfs on The Tower of Khorne, a plan was hatched: Expand the Burnt Scorpions and Black Frost Storm Troopers squads from 5 to 10.

Yes, the internets say that Storm Troopers aren't worth the points. But they have a cool name and you can turn old Chaos Dwarfs in platemail into carapace armored Storm Troopers. So I'm making more.

Fun in the Sun with the Burnt Scorpions
Sometimes Even Khorne Likes a Cover Save!

The Burnt Scorpions Storm Troopers squad as currently formulated have no special weapons troopers, or a gratuitous banner-bearer. This needed to be fixed, but needed to be fixed with troopers that fit in well with the Chaos Squats in Power Armor who currently make up the squad. So I had to acquire some Chaos Dwarfs to convert.

Our first new Storm Trooper is Corporal Troma Orthanc, continuing the Evil-Places-of-Middle-Earth name theme for the Burnt Scorpions. Cpl Orthanc started life as the C16 Chaos Dwarf named Dunuin Dust-Tooth (aka Flail in the Red Cat). There is always a struggle between my desire to convert and my desire to preserve rare minis when working on these old Chaos Dwarfs and Squats, but in this case, Dunuin came to me already missing his flail and shield nub, so no Chaos Dwarfs were harmed in the making of this conversion.

Despite the guns, the total remodeling of his head is probably most noticeable. The face covering is a piece of Tyranid armor on top and an Empire Knight covering the mouth. This mini was one of a few Chaos Dwarfs most shamefully sculpted without a beard. Troma's beard is actually the vomit part of one of the WFB Zombie command heads, with a skull from a Lizardman attached because the skull had twine attachments that lined up well with the lines of the vomit spray. His topnot is from one of the plastic 1990s Chaos Marauders or Warriors, and if you look carefully you might see that he also has a set of horns curling forward in addition to the originals sticking straight out (Beastman bit). His Melta-gun is made from the front bit of an Eldar Rogue Trader Melta gun, attached to one of the Lantern-type bits from either the Dark Angels or Black Templar Space Marines. Two smaller bits from the same sprue are positioned as fuelcells, and the horns from a Chaos Marauder head finished it.

Orthanc's backpack is a turret from one of the late 1990s Epic Ork Tanks with some additional grenades and fuelcells attached. His left hand holds his Las-Pistol, from the mid-1990s Necromunda Pistols sprue, with a little Lion Head from an Empire war machine added. The circular bump on the back of his head is an Extra Eye from the Chaos Spawn sprues. For some reason I've had needs to give many of my minis mutations that let them see behind them, and a single one provides the creepy Sauron atmosphere that two eyes would not.

The Banner-Bearer for the Burnt Scorpions is Corporal Zuanic Umbar, who apologizes for his past life as a Flame Cannon Gunner for the old world Dwarfs. While Trooper Umbar had a body that would not require too much work, and one that reminds me of the ancient Iron Man prototype armor from the Silver Age debut, he had no hands. So he now holds his unique version of the Hot-Shot Lasgun, obtained from the Mordheim Carnival of Chaos weapons sprues, with additional Chaos Spawn spikey fingers on his hand, and a RTB01 Marine Bayonet. And once again, the Tyranid Biomorphs sprue is used for his turtle-shell shoulder pads.

The Burnt Scorpions Battle Banner was taken from the 3rd version of the Bloodletters, with a skeletal horned horse head added at the top.

From the back, we can see that the Banner Pole is made from the leg of another skeletal horse. His hand is a plastic one from the 4th Ed Space Marine Devastator sprue, and various armies have come together to provide pouches and knives attached to his belt.

Our next Storm Trooper is Cpl. Sruïhoth Lammoth, based on the Marauder Miniatures MM90/5b Chaos Dwarf with Crossbow. Since this Dwarf is rather rare, I decided that all the conversion would involve adding bits, with no removal of any part of the mini.

Cpl Lammoth is armed with a Plasma Gun made from part of a Rogue Trader Eldar Fusion Gun and part of a plastic Epic Imperial Knight Paladin. He is also ready to shoot his Hot-Shot Las-Pistol, another old Eldar gun, this time with hand and cable attached.

I've also used one of the WFB Empire Wizard Heads to make Cpl Lammoth resemble the 1990s Big Hat Chaos Dwarfs, with a fez-style tassel on top and horns added in the front. He is joined by another Chaos Rat, with a giant eye mutation and enhanced spikes.

Sruïhoth Lammoth from the right, showing the complicated tangle of wires that attach the Plasma Gun to his arm. They are made from Skaven tails and the ammunition parts of 2 of the Eldar Fusion Guns. The Halloween Tree is part of a Wood Elf Dryad planted in a Rogue Trader IG Trooper's severed boot. (Lammoth still needs green stuff to fill his gaps)

Despite my tender feelings for the carapace armor, I decide that Captain Caveman here will also be a Storm Trooper. Uklathemoq Bragollach, with his mighty hairiness mutation counting as his carapace armor. His spear has been reassembled by cutting off the tip and replacing it with another Epic Paladin gun barrel, with various bits wrapped around the haft and Ukla's hand to cover up the wood grain pattern, including another appearance by the Skeletal Horse. Ukla's spear tip is now the bayonet, and he has captured the Wolf Tails of several unfortunate Space Wolves.

I also decide Ukla needs ears, and they need to be as big and pointy as his horns. These are the ears which lead to the next Bitz-Box Frenzy...of Gnoblars...Gnoblars...but first, another Storm Trooper.

Black Frost, the Invisible Killer

The danger of death due to black frost and ice related automobile accidents is one of the reasons Hungry Ghosts left the windswept fish-shaped island by the sea of his youth for the Candy Capital of America. The Black Frost already have their special weapons, and just need more las-troopers.

I haven't gotten as far with the Black Frost additions since I need to find Squats or Chaos Dwarfs who had a more standard "outer space" look to provide more contrast between the Frost and the Scorpions, and that is harder than finding plate-mail maniacs. The first is Storm Trooper Geely Septopus, number 420217 of the Squats released in White Dwarf 108. Not too much has been done to him, just a spiny crest from one of the old Dark Eldar heads and an epoxy bulb to whatever is in his right hand. I think I might add a couple more bits and turn it into video device to make him a battlefield recorder trooper.

Trooper Septopus is another Squat with eyes on his backside, in this case, an Epic Space Marine Dreadnought was chopped up and attached to Geely's backpack. His hostile pose and tiny size make it look like he is having an impotent little temper tantrum. "But they told me being a Transformer would be awesome..." At least he's in better shape than the Striking Scorpion.

Gnoblarizing Your Enemies

I had bought a gaggle of Gnoblars cheap on eBay several years ago, not knowing what to do with them, but knowing that their body shape was different enough from other Citadel miniatures that they, or parts of them, simply had to be useful at some point. And now they had ears just the right length for Captain Caveman.

But fetching the Gnoblar heads involved going through the head baggies, reminding me once again of the many nice heads that I had that didn't really work for Squats or Chaos Marines. Then came the realization that the hunched over posture of the Gnoblars was just right for making some humiliating Chaos mini-spawn slaves out of the enemies of the Hungry Ghosts.

Due to their extreme awesome heads and other bits, I got a box of the Empire Flagellants, which will form part of my future Nurgle Horde army that I like to pretend I will have time for. But some bits have been used to create Inquisitor Angelous. Our angelic Inquisitor has false wings made of metal picks rather than bone and feathers (Chaos Marauders again) and will not be flying anywhere except in his alcohol-fueled delusions. Which he will then have to repent with self-flagellation. The Inquisitor is also forced to wear desacrated proclamations from his former Imperial life, also violently attached. To complete his torment, a tiny Plaguebearer rides on his back, shouting squeeky little marching orders that Angelous must obey.

I also like the newly released plastic Daemons, enough that I bought the new Daemonettes and Seekers despite their Slaaneshiness. But once again, the many heads allowed for some fun. Here we have the Shield Maiden, a tortured Daemonette crushed under the weight of a mighty Dwarf Totem stuck on with a spike through the chest. The Shield Maiden is pathetic enough to be trusted with a las-pistol (Confrontation sprue type). Her burden is a WFB Dwarf Warriors Standard with all the non-circular bits trimmed off. The spikes are too generic for me to remember where they came from, and we all know where that tail came from.

On the other side of the Shield Maiden, her parasitic, insectoid, head-tumor twin is revealed. The bit with the eyes is part of an Eldar gun, its tongue is part of a Dark Elf Corsair Crossbow, and the bulbous back bit is a Chaos Mutations sprue head with all the face bits cut off. The chains are from a Chaos standard, probably Skaven.

The Ambassador of the Abyss

Here is a mini that I have struggled with for decades, an ancient Night Horrors Demon in a strange pose, with legs jutting out in the front, and his arms lifted to the back at about a 45 degree angle from horizontal with his hands clasped together. The arms also looked unnatural compared to his small head. For some unknown reason, I kept him despite his bizarre posture.

My first attempt to fix this mini was cutting off his arms and replacing them with some Space Marine plastic arms and Bolt Pistols. Now at least he had a kind of Wild West Gunslinger pose. This converting was done during the Rogue Trader days when there were not a lot of spare arms in the US, so they are not the best fit to the modern eye that has seen hundreds of plastic arm variants. But their relatively long and thin shape works well with the elongated demon body and the aggressive arm posture enhances his forward movement provided by the legs.

But he still didn't look complete, or right. Then, while rifling through the bitz box, I found an old plastic Dragon from the Mighty Empires game. Like a bolt of lightning from the warp, I then realized that Night Horrors Daemon 8 was actually in a Swooping Hawk Landing-with-Guns-Blazing position, gracefully stepping over a bit of Daemonette arm. He could now be given a name: Lucifuge Redfinger von Khorne, the Ambassador of the Abyss. He is Khorne's Daemonic middleman for the Hungry Ghosts.

Redfinger is now complete, but remains interestingly odd looking, as a Daemon should. There is no one area that the eye is naturally drawn to because his limbs are so spread out and his head is so small, so the eyes bounce around from limb to limb. Do that for a few thousand years and you will be as nutty as a Krynn Tinker Gnome.

I'm not sure what I will use him for beyond his ambassadorial responsibilities, I may use him along with Master Chef Chunckx as General Stalkarlik's personal guards in an expanded Hungry Ghosts Command Squad.

Storm Troopers Attack with Ambassador Redfinger

Some readers may have noticed the change from a white ground to a black (well, blackish) ground, to better match the bases. It is a Judas Priest Painkiller t-shirt that is as old as these Squats.