Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Rotted Hearth Infantry Platoon Part 1: Command Squad

The Rotted Hearth Infantry Platoon is the core of the Hungry Ghosts army, containing nearly half of the troopers my current 1500 point army list. The Platoon includes the Command Squad in front, a Special Weapons Squad to the left of the Command Squad, a Heavy Weapons Squad along the wall and 2 Infantry Squads on the right side of the picture. The platoon includes minis from Space Dwarfs by the Perry Brothers with and without separate arms, Bob Olley's Iron Claw and Citadel Squats, a couple of the plastic troopers from the Space Dwarfs boxed set, and 3 Chaos Dwarf War Machines. We shall begin our tour with the Rotted Hearth Command Squad.

The Command Squad includes Captain Hister smoking a pipe in the center, with Platoon Standard Bearer Wynnet with mug of beer to his left and Platoon Vox Trooper Quogue to his right. Special Weapons Troopers are on the ends, Trooper Canarsie wieldingMeltagun and hammer, and Trooper Speonk with Heavy Flamer.

First is Captain Red Hister, armed with Bolter and Power Clamp. The Captain is made from one of the plastic bodies and heads from the Space Dwarfs box, which was also the source of his right arm. His fanged Bolter is from the 40K 3rd Edition Space Wolves sprue, and his pipe from a WFB Dwarf sprue. The Clamp Arm is Space Marine Servitor Arm 2.

Captain Hister is joined by the Rotted Hearth platoon's mascot Lenny. Lenny is a Squig Hound with a Medal of Valor earned for biting things bigger than a hobbit but smaller than a halfling.

The back side of the plastic Space Dwarfs were a bit barren and unencumbered by the adventuring equipment and gadgets weighting down the metal Space Dwarfs of the time. I added some bulk with some oversized gunpowder canisters from the fantasy Thunderers. I also slipped in another 80s OTC bit and replaced his right ear with one of the head antennae from a Robotech Veritech battloid mini from Dark Horse.

Next is Vox Trooper Pol Quogue, armed with Lasgun. His body is another variant from the plastic Space Dwarfs box, as is the standard issue Lasgun. His body and gear include several WFB bits-- His head is from one of the recent Dwarf Miner sprues, the arms are from an early 2000s Empire Militia sprue, and his noose is from the Empire Flagellants. He is also wearing a chain on his belt with Khorne symbol from the Berzerker sprues. And if you look closely, you will not see one of the floating skulls that do not frequently appear on 40K battlefields.

To create Tpr Quogue's Vox apparatus, his left hand was replaced by an Auspex, and a Dark Angels devotional icon was corrupted for use as his backpack, with Epic scale Banner Poles as antennae.

This is Rotted Hearth Platoon Standard Bearer Steve Wynnet. He is a converted Iron Claw Squat 27. I've added a beer mug to his left hand, from the Dwarf sprues, and a Rat & Turnip snack at his side, from the Bretonnian Archer sprues. To make the standard, I removed Tpr Wynnet's Chainsword, and added Khorne symbol of the Hordes/Warriors of Chaos sprues.
Trooper Wynnet, displaying a golden skull symbol atop his hat. To ensure the creatures of the sky know that he is GRIMDARK no matter time of day nor number of suns in the sky. +1000 XP and -1 Charisma to those who notice Steve Wynnet is an anagram for 27.

This is Special Weapons Trooper Tong Canarsie, armed with Heavy Flamer. His body is the Squat Adventurer with Hannibal-Lecteresque facemask. This mini was released along with the other Adventurers in White Dwarf 113, but WD 113 is the only ad for him, so he may be rarer than the other Adventurers, who were continued into the 1991 Blue Catalog.

His right arm with mighty warhammer is from the WFB Empire White Wolves sprue. It works well with his striding pose, to make him look like he is lunging at the enemy. The White Wolves and Empire Militia sprues are both very good sources of arms and accessories for the Squats who need some variety, or just lots of warhammers. You can never have too many warhammers.

We get a closer look at Assault Trooper Canarsie's cybernetic Heavy Flamer that replaced his left meat-flipper. This gun is a rather rare metal bit, the Battle Cannon arm from the short-lived Epic Imperial Knight Baron.

Since I like this Adventurer and his bumblebee coloring so much, here is another view from the rear. Another Squat well-prepared for lengthy stints on the battlefield.

The second Platoon Command Assault Weapon Trooper is Rinter Speonk, armed with Meltagun. His body is Hearth Guard 3, the last variant of the Hearth Guards on foot. His Meltagun comes from a plastic Epic Imperial Knight Paladin. The firing pose is enhanced with a left arm from a Tyranid Termagant, with greenstuff fingers gripping the barrel.

Around the back, we can get a closer look at his Meltagun and his mighty gold chains. The positioning of his gun and left arm and his lack of a backpack created an unbalanced look to the overall appearance of the mini on his base, so a Mordheim street lamp was used to fill the empty portion. It works well with the Standard, Vox, Warhammer, and Bolter of the rest of the Squats to create a heightened profile for the Rotted Hearth Platoon Command.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blood Fists Veterans Squadron 2: Lasgun Troopers & Transport

The first of 4 Blood Fists Veteran Lasgunners is Trooper Maxim Bang. Tpr Bang and the other 3 Lasgunners in the Blood Fists squad are all from the RT03 Space Dwarfs series. All 4 are also minis that were not included in the 1991 Blue Catalog.

Trooper Bang is in a fine shooting position, wearing the typical red and blue favored by the Hungry Ghosts. I added a bit of terrain to fill more of the base, and to give something to look at other than the trooper It is made from a couple of plastic bits from the various Imperial building sprues. I tried to make look like it was constructed from several different kinds of stones. I wanted the triangular top to look like a very glossy blue stone, so I made the highlights fairly dynamic. In a pleasant coincidence, in the picture above, the highlight streaks on the stone point to the right to shooty end of Bang's lasgun barrel.

Rear view of Trooper Bang. Belt pouches, leg pouches, so many pouches that he is suspected of being part Kender. But that's only true in the "you are what you eat" sense.

Next is Veteran Trooper Luger Gerlich. Somehow, he has obtained a 40,000 year old AK-47. Perhaps it was his anachronistic weaponry that got him dropped from production before the 1991 Blue Citadel Catalog was released. A Cadian helmet lays rusting by his feet.

Or perhaps it was the severe backward tilt that got him dropped. His backpack is so small as to drive the other Ghosts to mockery. That and the puffy red sleeved shirt he got while vacationing in Talabheim.

Here is Veteran Trooper Smoothbore Sten. His gun appears to be somewhere between an AK-47 and a Bolter. Whatever it once was, now it counts as a lasgun. Smooth is another of the Squats that have been in my collection since the 1980s.

Smooth has one of the biggest backpacks in all Squatdom. The round canister and tubing sends the beer directly into his stomach for faster drunkery.

The last Blood Fists Lasgun Trooper is Gatt Gunslinger. He is one of several RT03 Space Dwarfs who is armed with a weapon that looks like a Lasgun. This mini, however, is the version of Gunslinger who uses the early Space Dwarf Jump Pack, which was included as a separate metal bit. The two-piece Gatt was replaced by a version with a cloth backpack after the Squats lost Jump Packs from their army lists. The picture below shows the Squat Jump Pack on his back.

The Blood Fists Veterans will soon be the Hungry Ghost's first mechanized infantry unit. Below is their version of the Chimera transport. It is still a work-in-progress, as is the mini of the ejected Driver, Trooper Gweilo Hellfisch.

This "Chimera" is a resin Termite made by Armorcast in the mid-1990s, a 40K scale version of the Epic tunneling transport. I've added various plastic Chaos and Dwarf symbols to add detail and built a weapon on each side from with bits from the Imperial Cities, Chaos, and Dark Elf sprues. The Chaos Eye symbols are meant to represent the Searchlight, Dwarf Face symbols represent the Smoke Launcher, and the boring tip counts as a Dozer accessory. I also added assorted bits to the rubble pile, with some more Space Rats scurrying about.

Driver Hellfisch has Squat Biker 2 as his body. I've added to him the Medic arms from the recent Catachan command sprue, with a shovel replacing the syringe tip. To make it look like he is well integrated with his Termite when driving, I attached a thick prehensile cable to his back. (Edit Out: "It is from one of the Inquisitor scale models." This is incorrect & I finally figured out it is the Great Unclean One Head 2 Tongue from the late 1990s GUO). The pack-robot on his base is a Mouser from the 1980s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line, carrying some recent WFB plastic Dwarf accessories on his back and sides.

Blood Fists Veterans Squadron 1: Command & Special Weapons Troopers

Here is the first of the Troops units for the Hungry Ghosts, the Blood Fists Veterans Squadron, named for the bionic arm with Power Fist of Veteran Sergeant Rod Fistula. The veterans in this squad are mostly from either the first series of Space Dwarfs, the RT03 series released in October 1987, or the second series, the RT302 Space Dwarf Command, released in January 1988. These early Space Dwarfs had a similar, but not uniform appearance. For many of the model types, there were two or three versions made with similar bodies but different heads (bare, hat, and helmet), which provided a useful way to remember which Squat was in which squad. For the Blood Fists Veterans, I used the trooper variants wearing helmets. Most of these troopers have painted signs of allegiance to the Blood God on their uniforms, but have not been converted.

We start with the squad commander, Veteran Sergeant Rod Fistula. He is the Space Dwarf Officer from the RT302 series that did not appear in the White Dwarf 97 advertisement with the others. He did appear on an old flyer with the name Vollmer Adams, but stuck him with the name I gave him despite finding that out. He is armed with a Bolt Pistol and Power Fist, and I have painted him with relatively bright yellow and green accent colors to distinguish him a bit from the rest of the squad, where dark blue or dark green is used to contrast with the reds and oranges of favored by Khorne's followers.
This is Sgt Fistula from the back, equipped with a metal backpack like most of the troopers in the first two Space Dwarf series. I tried using a transfer on this fellow, though I usually prefer to do any designs with my own brush. A very small portion of the audience may notice that the black paw on red background reminds them of an obscure superhero from Madison, Wisconsin.

This is Veteran Vox Trooper Corporal Blish Browning, from the RT03 Space Dwarfs series. I liked his quirky little pistol too much to replace it with a standard lasgun. With these early Space Dwarfs, I decided that preserving the history contained in the variety of the weaponry was more important than complete wysiwyg uniformity. In gaming terms, the effects of most of the weird weapons can be deemed to average out to function as if they were all lasguns (and many actually are), except for those specially designated as assault weapons. He did not remain in production long enough to be included in the 1991 Blue Catalog, where the minis were given names after their weapons, so who knows what this pistol was meant to be.
Vox Trooper Browning from the back, showing more clearly the studded mini-Marine shoulder pad designs used by the early Space Dwarf series. And the mysterious boxy attachments on their helmets. They do make nice containers for Eldar soul-gems, for later snacking upon.

Next up is the banner bearer for the Blood Fists squadron. The banner is purely ornamental in effect, since standards that function on the tabletop are limited to command squads. But it is too much fun to convert a banner bearer for each squadron to pass up the opportunity. This mini is Garand Steyr from the RT302 series. The standard poles on the RT302 minis were prone to breaking easily, and he lost the top of his standard before he joined my collection. I replaced it with the Marine-Head Spiky Pole and symbol of Khorne from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory sprues.
More mysterious appendages to the helmet on our standard bearer. Plus a broken bit of a Battlefleet Gothic spacecraft placed at the appropriate position to make the base debris echo the crossed lines in the symbol of Khorne far above.

Special Weapons Trooper no 1 for the Blood Fists, Barry Schmeisser, armed with a Flamer. He is another trooper with a mysterious looking piece of weaponry - In the early days of Warhammer 40K, the miniature designers were sometimes given orders for a dozen Space Dwarfs, for example, and were frequently left to their own imaginations as to what exactly they looked like or what weapons they carried. The 1991 Blue Citadel Catalog decided Schmeisser's gun was a Las Pistol, but it looks far too complex and far too large to be a Las Pistol.
Trooper Schmeisser is hiding a Jump Pack under the tarp on his back, successfully evading the Great Imperial Jump Pack Holocaust of 1988. From the colors, it looks like he might have liquidated a Salamanders Space Marine to get it. An IG Flamer fuel container is used as rubble on his base to remind me that he's got a Flamer.

This is Special Weapons Trooper Waltha Twelvebore, armed with Meltagun, another from the RT03 series. He is one of a three from that series that have similar looking Melta or Flamer style guns. I've decided that they will all count as Meltaguns in this army. And that is one of the little Imperial tank lights at the front of his base.
Trooper Twelvebore on the back, with enough storage space to survive for weeks without resorting to eating nasty elfin waybread.

The last Special Weapons Trooper for the Blood Fists squad is Pietr Powl, from the RT303 Space Dwarf Heavy Weapons series released in early 1988. Also known as Loader with Plasma Gun, but if you look closely, you will see he also has a Plasma Pistol. This fellow rarely lasts through a full battle without melting himself into a gooey puddle of goo...delicious Dwarf goo...
Taking a stroll across the crippled remnants of a Cadian Lasgun, with plenty of ammunition on his back. Some of these early Space Dwarfs seem precariously close to falling down backwards under the great weight of their gear, leading to some rolling around like Space Turtles unable to right themselves. But Khorne does not appreciate humor and will not allow his followers to imitate the loathsome Space Turtles.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hungry Ghosts: A Day at the Fluff Factory

This is the story of how the Legios Moriad XIV Expeditionary Regiment became the Hungry Ghosts of Khorne

Hungry Ghosts: The Bones Beneath the Beards

The Legios Moriad XIV Regiment was assembled as an elite expeditionary force composed of troops from the League of Moriad, nine heavy gravity homeworlds near the edgeward borders of the Squat regions. Sent to investigate rumors of exotic mineral resources to be found on the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, they instead discovered horrors from beyond the stars and from within their minds.

Rather than rich worlds awaiting the construction of mighty forgespires and deepest delvings, empty husks of pitted rock awaited. These grim discoveries drew the Moriad along the trail of wrecked worlds toward temptation. How efficient must be those who stripped these worlds, how mighty the machines and how wondrous the technologies, how surely these technologies would be shared with the Squats.

These were the thoughts the Squat commanders could not put to rest, thoughts that pounded ever louder as they pursued those who destroyed worlds. Their thirst for mechanical lore led them beyond the limits of the Astronomicon's flickers and into the maw of the Behemoth, the first fleet of the extragalatic Tyranid to drink from the Milky Way.

The Moriad were soon desperate for survival in the pincers of an advanced biotechnology that they struggled to comprehend and could not defeat. The mind of the expeditionary force commander, Gen Jengiz Stalkarlik, turned grimly toward the thoughts that had spurred the Moriad to chase the Tyranid fleet. Where the sane would have turned away, Gen Stalkarlik and his Moriad embraced their dark cravings and followed them to their source.

Some believe the Moriad were tainted from the start, others that they broke psychically from the emptiness of the edges of the galaxy in contrast to the snug corridors of their homeworlds. Whether driven by desire or desperation,* the Squat warriors called upon Lord Khorne, the dark god of blood and machines to save them from the Behemoth Tyranids. Mighty Khorne granted the Moriad their wish, in a fashion.

In the end, entirety of the Legios Moriad Expeditionary Force was slain by the Tyranid. As each soldier died, though, Khorne transported his corpse from the battlefield. Each awoke to undeath, refashioned by Khorne’s whims and the random chaos of their warpspace journey. All awoke in the Maelstrom, upon a blood red garnet the size of a planetoid, conveniently orbitted by a Chaos-corrupted spacecraft.

Ever restless, the Moriad soon forayed from the Maelstrom. Khorne provided them with weapons and minerals in the form of a Squat reconnaissance outpost to devour. It was here that they discovered their hunger for flesh could never be sated, though they could never starve. After futile feeding on the bodies of their brothers, the Moriad left the garnet planetoid and the Maelstrom to continue their eternal quest for new flesh and machines to consume.

Through centuries of unlife the Legios Moriad, rebaptised as The Hungry Ghosts, have collected a strange variety of weaponry and cybernetics dedicated to destruction in the name of Chaos. Some have become more machine than flesh, but none have found rest.

*In fact, Chaos had levered the smallest among them to speed them to doom. The Moriad were accompanied by a gaggle of Ratling cooks, as the only artful cuisine among the Squats is entirely alcoholic or geologic. Following one of the few paths to Khorne that Ratlings may find, the mission's head chef came already possessed of unholy hankerings for raw meats of all kinds. Soon the hallucinogenic poisons he mixed into every meal made the Squats keenly receptive to Khorne’s daemonic gibberings from the warp, and their common greed inflated into undying treason.

Khorne Champions Surprise!

I have fallen a little behind on taking pictures of the Chaos Squats, so here are pictures of two of my old Chaos Champions from the Realm of Chaos days.

This Champion started out as Daemon 8 from the C18 Night Horrors series released in 1987 or so. Old enough that I can't remember what I named him. He had an awkward positioning with his arms raised and clasped behind his head. So I chopped them off. I replaced them with 2 plastic Space Marines arms firing 2 of the RTB01 Bolt Pistols, and tried to position them so he looked like he was in a kind of Wild West Gun-Slinger pose. The idea of a pistol-packing Daemon of Khorne blasting through the doors of Space Saloon amuses me greatly.

Here is the leader of the Orky contingent from my old Khorne army, the Ork Champion of Chaos from the Freebooters series. In contrast to the chopping off of the arms that many of my miniatures have suffered, this Ork was given a bonus third arm. They are the plastic Ork arms from the Rogue Trader sprues, the Bolter and Bolt Pistol are also from the Rogue Trader sprues. The thought of a three-armed Ork Champion throwing over the poker table and opening firing back at the pistol-packing Daemon also amuses me greatly.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Master of Ordnance, Regimental Advisor Concerning Craters

Since the Hungry Ghosts are devoted to the Skull Throne and general destruction, the first Regimental Advisor added to the army was the Master of Ordnance, Sir Boaz Avenu, shown with Chaos Beastling assistant. For this regimental advisor, I needed a mini that looked to be wearing Carapace armor like the others in the Regimental Command. Hearth Guard 4, with his shiny breastplate and impressive helm, worked well. I also chose him because the impressive helm is shaped like the tip of the missiles he calls down in his barrages.

As with the other Hearth Guard, I avoided the regular Squats arms for arms that were more armored in appearance. Master Avenu's bionic left arm provides a Chainsword for his Close Combat Weapon, and the rounded shape of the shoulder pad goes well with the curved design of his helmet and breastplate. It comes from the same plastic Epic Knight Paladin that gave Trooper Megazone his Meltagun arm.

In contrast to the upward drawing of the gaze created by his rising helmet and chainsword arm, the angle of the pistols at his belt draw the eye to a point to between his feet. I put one of the resin basing bits from the Warhammer 40K Basing Kit there to make sure there was something to look at, a bit that had an unexploded shell painted to match his armor, to re-emphasize his role in bombardment.

I continued the theme of curving lines with his right arm by overlapping a rounded bit of armor from one of the WFB Empire soldier sprues over one of the ridgeless old Space Marine shoulder pads. The forearm is from the Rogue Trader era Eldar Arm sprue, with the wiring and little metal tabs taken off. This left the forearm looking a bit boring, so I added a tiny chainsword from an Epic scale Khorne Berzerker to provide some detail, echoing the Chainsword in his left arm. I positioned both arms so that the Chainsword was vertically straight like his body, with the angle of his right forearm matching that of the left upper arm. Overall, I tried to make him look as though he was in the act of calling down an ordnance barrage and viewing the results.

The MOO from the back, displaying his fancy cape and battle medals. Someone ate the Space Rat's tail. Beastling is chief suspect, but The Hungry Ghosts are devoted to improper dietary decisions, so it could be any of them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Special Character Conversions: Marbo and Straken

One of the best aspects of the 5th Edition of Warhammer 40K for me was the renewed emphasis on Special Characters and other additional Headquarters staff. I gleefully welcomed the chance to convert Chaos warped versions of the Imperium's greatest heroes and most loyal servants.

In more practical terms, though, I did not want to let the many kinds of special HQ options overwhelm the style I had established for my army: fierce individualistic troops motivated by lust for blood and exotic weapons. I therefore decided to create my own versions of the Catachans Special Characters, rather than Cadians, for their rougher attitudes and absence of regulation uniforms. I've also made some similar restrictions on troop types: no Psykers, no Ogryns, no Ratlings (except as chefs/food).

Battle-Brother Machinder
The first Special Character I converted was my own version of Guardsman Marbo, renamed Battle-Brother Styvleer Machinder. I started with Squat Adventurer 4, since his Ninja-like clothing and rugged gear suggested the stealthy ruggedness of Marbo, down to the bandanna-like twists on his headgear.

Since he was in clothing that fit the character well, but also covered him well, the arms gave me my best chance to show his Allegiance to Chaos. A concern about this mini was the backward tilt to his positioning. I didn't want this posture to suggest that our Mighty Servant of Khorne was thinking of retreating, so I also needed to use his arms to provide a counterpoint to his posture. The Tomb Kings Charioteer Arm gave a better reason: Machinder is leaning back to put more force into the snap of his whip. I added some tattered cloth of greenstuff to his shoulder to make it look as if he lost a sleeve along with his arm flesh.

I also just really liked the Tomb Kings Whip Arm, and had been waiting for a good reason to use it. This is a practice I advise: If you have some bits you like, don't hesitate to use them on the first conversion that they work well for. There's no need to save them in hope of finding the perfect opportunity. You'll like your current conversion more, and will get to enjoy the nice bits sooner. And you know you will always find more interesting bits than you can ever use, so there is no fear of running out of inspiration.

And that is why my version of Guardsman Marbo uses an Envenomed Whip, instead of a blade. Whips and poison are too much fun to leave to the Tyranids.

On his right side, I have finally used one of the arms from the Squats Arm sprue. Here the cloth pattern fits very well with his clothing and the glove provides a nice chance to provide a counterpoint to his high boots. The straight-out tensed appearance of the arm also fits well with the tone I wanted to give his posture, and nicely raises his gun to his eye-level.

To create his Ripper Gun, I used a chopped up Eldar Shuriken Catapult, and attached a small bit of a Dark Eldar Shredder Gun, then part of a Space Marine Plasma Pistol to the front. I stuck one of the bolter ammo strings from a Chaos Marine bolter and filled the gap between it and the plasma bit at the front with greenstuff. Not quite visible beneath his feet is a brass Imperial Devotional Sign saying "Strength Through Purity". A thought so feeble-minded it barely deserves to be trodden upon by such a great warrior.

Brother Machinder is joined by Ex-Brother Marine, from first set of Space Marines released in September 1987 (White Dwarf 93).

Colonel Iron Beard Schtarken
My second Special Character conversion was Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken, processed through my patented Rename-Intator 40000 and transformed into Colonel Tony "Iron Beard" Schtarken. His body is from the Squats Pirates series, a poorly promoted set of models, perhaps not released in every country. He is accompanied by two Space Rats, Hydra and Aim. They are obscuring the conversion of his left leg from a wooden peg to a robotic prosthesis taken from one of the early Space Marines.

I have combined Schtarken's bionic arm, Plasma Pistol, and Close Combat Weapon into one evil machine, starting with the upper arm of a Necron Warrior, to which a Plasma Pistol from the Rogue Trader Ork Heavy Weapons sprue was attached (minus the grip). Then I added a impressively large blade from the Tomb Kings Skeleton sprue for the CCW. Schtarken is sculpted in a way that makes him look as if he is facing something taller than himself, so I positioned the arm to align with his gaze. The rat on his left was also selected for his upward gaze; he is obviously Aim. Hydra is sniffing out something in the wee bit of vegetation.

I didn't like the flatness of the original Pirate helmet, so I added a spike to the center to give Schtarken a bit of a German WWI look. It also helps make the upward tilt of his head more noticeable.
From the rear, we can get another look at his converted arm, now with its stylized Khorne symbol visible. I've also added a cape from one of the WFB Chaos Marauder sprues. Its windblown direction aligns nicely with the angle at which Col Schtarken is holding his shotgun in his left arm. This pattern provides a contrast to the perpendicular pattern created by his right arm and head positioning, giving more three-dimensional complexity to his overall appearance.

In general, I try to select and position my bits for conversions to create two or so alignments across multiple areas of the model, to give the eye multiple ways to view the miniature. Since the miniature will frequently be viewed from above, I try to make sure these alignments are visible from direction as well. Base elements can also be helpful to create these kinds of visual alignments, especially from above.

The basic position of a model can create an unbalanced appearance from above when based, and positioning of base elements can be a helpful remedy. This mini started as a static pose right to left, common for the time, to which I added an upward slanting arm, creating a more dynamic front to back look. But there was no similar element of the mini that could be used to balance this out on the left side of the base, which looked quite empty in comparison from above. Here, Aim the Rat came into use again to provide a parallel front to back upward slant on the left side to balance that of the right.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Historical Interlude: 1987, the Year Squats Could Fly

Having pondered the (alleged) demise of the Squats in the Warhammer Universe yesterday, I thought I would take a look back at the youthful exuberance they displayed in the days when Warhammer 40K required a Game Master. The image above is the first published picture of the Squats from White Dwarf 93, September 1987. It is an example of a common practice used in the early 40K art: using existing miniatures in paintings and drawings, in this case Colt Stoner and Waltha Twelvebore from the RT03 Space Dwarf series released the next month.

Printed immediately below the last image we discussed, we see the first published rendering of Chaos Squats. These fellows look like several of the miniatures in the RT03 series, but a careful look shows that they all vary from those in the series. How do we know that these are Chaos Squats? The trooper in the front declares his allegiance to the Dark Powers by writing on his helmet "May The Dark Be With You". Look inside the empty husk that is your emperor and you will find the same Darkness. Now for the flying Squats!

This picture of part of a diorama from the Rogue Trader rule book shows the crazed variety of equipment that was available for your troopers when 40K first sprang to life. Here we see RT03 Trooper Owen Garand launching himself into the air with a Squats Jump Pack. For a brief glorious time in the late 1980s, everyone had access to Jump Packs and there was much 18" hopping about the battlefield.

The model shown with the Jump Pack was a variant that was only available briefly, and came in separate Body and Jump Pack pieces. Once the various races started to become more differentiated in their appearance and equipment, the Squats with the Jump Packs were resculpted to have a cloth backpack instead.

The Squats did not miss their Jump Packs, though, because they had Hover Boards! Yes, the drawing above shows the feet of a Squat whizzing above his battle-brothers on an accessory ripped straight from the Judge Dredd line. For a brief while, the Judge Dredd Hover Boards were marketed as 40K Power Boards (they are shown in the Rogue Trader Part 2 flyer), but soon disappeared from the 40K line.

For several years, those possessed of an uncontrollable urge to hover had to climb upon a Disk of Tzeentch and surrender to Chaos. Surrendering to Chaos remains your best chance of getting a Hover Board to this very day, so get in line kiddies.

Here is the first drawing of Chaos Squats with visible mutations, published in White Dwarf Issue 111, defeating a puny force of loyalists. These Chaos Squats are of the "Imperials gone Mutant" variety of The Lost and The Damned that continues to fester on the edges of official Army Lists to the present day. The current Forge World line of Chaos Renegades bits are some of the nicest made for this purpose. The Infantry Platoons of the Hungry Ghosts contain many troopers in this style.