Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

Friday, May 28, 2010

Playing with Chaos Marines

An infestation of Nurglings here at Hungry Ghosts Headquarters has prevented much Chaos Squats progress this month. So here are some World Eaters conversions of 40K 2nd Edition era Chaos Space Marines that I made recently.

Khorne Berzerker Champion

The Shelf of World Eaters

Sunday, May 9, 2010

2 More Thunder Chiefs Rough Riders

Two more Rough Riders today, the first is Lemmy "Babyarm" Kilminister. With this biker, I decided to go with a lots-of-heads-and-eyes theme. I started with Biker 2 and the regular Squat Bike Body and small wheels in the back. Instead of using the regular Squat Bike front wheel section, I hit the bits box to create something new.

The front tread used on the bike started out as the rear Robot Tractor Unit from the early 1990s robo-monstrosity, the Blood Slaughterer of Khorne. The skeletal face piece is from the Lizardmen Saurus on Cold Ones sprue, the Musician's Drum, with the feathers cut off. The handlebars were positioned to look like ears or horns, and are made from a Wood Elf bow broken in two. The ropey design at the ends goes well with the ropey designs on the drum bit, and it's always fun to use pieces of the enemy for evil ends.

I set this model up so that the skull face of the drum aligned with the gaze of the bike rider. Then to increase the eye-head design, I took one of the Headlights from the Squat Bike piece and attached it to the top of Trooper Kilminister's head. I have always enjoyed the floating robotic eye look.

Carefully scrutiny of this biker's left side will show the withered little third arm that give him his nickname (the rest of his name derives from the Heavy Metal God he resembles). The Babyarm originally belonged to a Chaos Troll from the 1990s version of the Epic Chaos sprue. Yup, Space Trolls, with Space Clubs. It also came with Space Minotaurs, with Space Axes. And people say Squat Bikers are silly.

Here is Trooper Kilminister from the right side, showing his superfluous arm and robot eye from another perspective. While building this army, I've tried to express the original spirit of Chaos in Warhammer (or it's Melnibonean predecessor), where Mutations and other Gifts from the Chaos Gods may be helpful, harmful, or neutral, in game terms, though they may have quite the impact on one's social life.

From this side, we can also see the Chaos Squat version of the Rough Rider Explosive-tipped Lance-- the Explosive-head Hammer. The hammer comes from one of the Empire White Wolves arms, with the strap made from greenstuff. I also added an extra exhaust vent on top of the pipes in the rear, from one of the Space Marine Backpacks.

To continue with the many heads-and-eyes look of the bike and rider, I added two spears with shrunken heads on them to the base, set at an angle like Tpr Babyarm is knocking them over. They come from some Champion's Back Banner bit, from some evil WFB army that I can't remember, since so many of them love severed heads. The heads are painted the same color as the biker's skin, to remind us that these are Zombie Biker Chaos Squats.

Here is the view from the right side, Trooper Kilminister has exchanged his little bolt pistol for an oversized Lasgun made from a Kroot gun. One constant annoyance about the Squat Bikers is that the bars that their feet rest on never actually fit close to the bike, requiring some epoxy additions or the ability to not be bothered by the gap. I fall into Team Epoxy.

This Rough Rider is Juan "Blanco" Rajapala, made from Squat Biker 3 and the regular Squat Bike bits. I haven't done too much with this one, just added some extra bits here and there. Too make the cycle more exciting, I've used the Robot-Skull Face bit from the Chaos Defiler Weapons sprue, and positioned it so it's speeding over some Imperial defense sandbags. The rider has gained a Roman style crest to his helmet, not from Citadel, but I don't know where it comes from. It kind of makes him look like the line going from the front wheel to the tip of the crest is about as long as the line from the front wheel to rear wheel, providing some triangular symmetry.

From the right side, Trooper Blanco also has an Explosive Hammer strapped on, and his tobacco pipe is visible (another useful extra from the WFB Dwarf sprues). I added another Space Rat to his base, in an action-pose striding across the sandbags. He provided an excuse to add some bright red to the duller colors of the front wheel and sandbag, and his brown fur goes well with the metallic tone of the bike's frame.

Since this is the "John Blanche Squat" I painted him like he is wearing some 20th century denim jeans, as in the self portrait of John Blanche below (from White Dwarf 130-something).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thunder Chiefs Special Weapons Rough Riders

The next Rough Rider up is armed with a Flamer, despite the obvious concerns about whether his velocity exceeds that of the blast of fire. This trooper is named Greebo "Longhorn" Hijar, and he is another Squat who has been lurking on my shelves since the 1980s. I refurbished him for the new Squats army, giving him a few conversions. I've had that skeleton even longer than the Squat, it was part of a White Dwarf-inspired terrible attempt at making a diorama with a cardboard box and styrofoam. I also put in a murky pool using a small & shallow aluminum cooking tin, which quickly got colonized by local spores coming in through the screened windows. Thus, the natural aging of the diorama-skeleton didn't need much improvement before become part of the scenery.

So RR Hijar is on the basic Squats bike, which was made a bit more exciting by adding a WFB Dwarf Shield in the place where the headlamps or bolters bits would go. The Cadians donated the Flamer, both the Gun and Fueltanks. Longhorn himself is the Guild Master Rider, who has been given plastic horns from the WFB Beastmen sprues. These had to be cut and blended in with the help of greenstuff to fit over his existing hair.
Rough Rider Hijar from the other side. His Flamer is connected to the tanks with a tube made from greenstuff. His contempt for the Imperium is demonstrated by running over an Ultramarines Terminator Storm Shield. With this model, as with the Sergent conversion, I've continued to paint many prominent areas in gold metallic or a complementary brown, to emphasize the flashiness of these speedsters. The other Riders continue the theme, as well as incidentally gaining the go-fasta benefits of the color red due to their devotion to Khorne.

The other special weapons rider from the Thunder Chiefs is Darrin "Flombo" Flomberg, armed with Meltagun, and riding the not-so-common Squat Bike Mark II. This bike variant was never put in the Citadel catalogs, but did appear in White Dwarf 149 in May 1992. It is one of a few 40K Squats items to be released after 1989 minis accompanying the first Squats Army List in White Dwarf (the Squat Pirates are the others).

I've added some bits to the bike, but did not make any conversions that involved cutting bits off to keep a complete version of the MkII Bike. The Khorne symbol placed over the engine comes from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory Sprue 2. I also added a spiked skull bit over the front wheel, and can't remember where exactly it came from.

Rider Flomberg himself is composed of the Hearth Guard Rider body and the arms of the Great Greenskin Enemy. His right arm is made from half of a plastic Epic Ork vehicle grabber-arm bit, and I've added wires made of greenstuff to attach it to the handlebar.
From the other side, we can see more of Flombo's Meltagun arm, originally the Bionik Shoota Left Arm from the GorkaMorka bionik bits series for the Orks. This side of the bike also has a Khorne symbol over the engine, this time it had to be cut to make it fit with the exhaust pipes. The Mutant Space Rats make another appearance on the base; the varmint shown has survived some particularly interesting experiments. I think I should have put the rat on the other side. Having his bulky Meltagun and the large rat on the same side makes him look a little lopsided.

The Mark II Bike was not a very successful development for the Squats line. It's just too big for the Squats, and does not fit well with the older bikes. The large solid bike body bit also uses much more metal than the older bikes, increasing the cost to produce it. The exposed thin wires for the handlebars seem to have been too advanced for the casting process at the time and I had to replace the broken areas with greenstuff. From the timing of its appearance, I would guess that it was an early 40K attempt for the designer Norman Swales, who produced most of the Epic Squats vehicles.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thunder Chiefs Rough Riders: Sgt D.R.T. Zobdafi

The Thunder Chiefs biker gang are the first Fast Attack squadron from the Hungry Ghosts, counting as Rough Riders. This unit is where I wanted to avoid the monotony of the limited variants of the bikes, so I spent a lot of time converting each trooper to give them a unique appearance. The Squat Bikers are also considered "silliest unit" of the "silliest army," so I wanted to convert them into interesting Chaos Renegades, deflating the innate silly-factor these miniatures are believed to possess.

Only the first 7 Thunder Chiefs are shown above; there are 3 more on the way, but my 1000 point Army List uses 7. There are also only 7 different Squat Bike Rider minis, so I will have to get a bit more creative with the last 3 Bikers.

The squadron's name "Thunder Chiefs" comes from my youthful misinterpretation of the AC/DC song "Dirty Deeds." I thought the line "dirty deeds and they're done dirt cheap" was "Dirty Dee and the Thunder Chiefs". I had no idea who the song was about, but they seemed important. 30 years later, we have the Thunder Chiefs squad led by Sgt D.R.T. "Dirty D" Zobdafi. Zobdafi is just the last name of a high school friend that rhymes with Dirty D and D.R.T.

The first view of Sgt Zobdafi is his pre-construction bits form. He will use the Squats Trike body, wheels, and banner pole, which was made to fit the Exo-Armor Squats and was strangely without a steering mechanism. For a steering wheel, I added the Ork Squig Catapult Winding Handle. Then an additional row of 3 exhaust pipes (the old metal version of the Space Marine Bike Smoke Launcher bit) because more is better.

The bulk of the steering wheel also filled in most of the extra space left by using the Hearth Guard Warlord bike rider, instead of an Exo-Armor Squat. Mine came with the horns pointing straight out instead of curving up, which I kept because it helped increase the width of the bike. I picked one of the plastic Squat arms to use as his steering arm. I decided that all the round shapes already in the bike design would be enhanced by a round Power Saw Arm from the Necromunda Pit Slave series, and which would also help increase his width.

Here is the basic shape of the model, stuck together with temporary sticky stuff. The extra bits and straightened horns are nicely balancing out the huge rear wheels. The extra exhaust pipes fit nicely with the angle formed by the shape of the bike and the banner pole. Overall, I'm going for a cheese wedge kind of shape for the Rough Riders Sergeant.

And here he is permanently assembled. I've had to use green stuff to attach the arms. The Squat Arm was a bit too short to reach the steering wheel, and I wanted the Saw Arm to be set at an oblique angle to contrast with orientation of the wheels. I've also positioned him so he looks like he about to thrust his Power Saw forward at the nearest enemy or bystander. I am not that excited by the empty space over the front wheel, and will have to do something about it.

Here is the finished conversion from the front and left. The most noticeable addition from the versions above is the swarm of Tyranid Rippers Sgt Zobdafi is slicing through. I wanted to have my Fast Attack squad look like it was in motion, and adding some Rippers jumping away (and one squashed under the front wheel) gives that sense of motion.

For the Rough Riders, I also tried to find a painting scheme for the wheels that made them look like they were in forward motion as well. I decided to make them a basic black, with highlights in blue and space wolf grey, with the highlights more pronounced on the front edge of the wheel and weakening and darkening toward the back. I also used the space wolf and blue highlights on the black areas of his gear, to make them look glossy and in motion.

The sense of forward propulsion is also enhanced by the bit used to fill the void over the front wheel: it is Chaos Sorcerer 3 Arm from the mid-1990s series of Chaos Sorcerers. Edit 10 Jun 10: This is actually the chopped off hand from the 1980s Chaos Warrior with Sword and Bone Armor. Don't worry, the Chaos Sorcerer 3 Arm is safe and secure.

I painted Sgt Zobdafi in the same colors as the bike itself to give the sense that he was embedded in the bike, rather than just riding it. (Which is presumably how the Eggo-Armor Squats controlled the vehicle). From behind, I've also used plastic bits of cable from Eldar Guardian Arms and elsewhere to connect his back into the bike body, bits of cable that match the ribbed patterns on his armor (and the similar patterns created by the wheel segments and Rippers).

Here is a closer view from the above left, showing more clearly the scrambling Rippers. The one on the left is positioned so he is jumping approximately straight out, like the Warlord's horns. The Ripper on the right is positioned so it mirrors the angle of the Power Saw Arm, which is just barely making contact with the Ripper's tongue and teeth. It provides an additional point of glue contact to keep the Ripper in place and gives the Ripper adequate reason to be leaping backward. The last Ripper is actually made from bits of other nids and greenstuff, being squashed by the front wheel. I positioned the long white tail so it is pointing up at an angle perpendicular to the Sorcerer's Hand acting as front fender on the bike.

The closer view also shows the duplication of color patterns on the details of the wheels, saw, armor, and exhaust pipes. The bulk of the bike's body and the rider's armor was painted a bold golden-brass because our Rough Riders are attention hogs, and it reminds one of the cheese wedge shape of the bike.

Here is a view of Dirty D from his right side, showing his Power Saw arm about to slice through the Ripper while he and the bike point toward their next victim. The colors for the Rippers were selected for maximal contrast with our Biker Sergeant. I decided to leave the Banner Pole free of any banner to avoid distracting attention away from the forward motion of the bike: the Chaos Hand shows our biker is intent on destroying what is ahead, while a banner trailing behind would draw attention to where he's been. In general, the shape of the Squat Bikes is weighted toward the back half, so with this squad I've tried to use additional bits on the bikes and as scenery to tip the scales to the front.

Finally, one more picture of the Thunder Chiefs on the move. We see them riding past some Tech Wall Ruins made by Armorcast. I'm very happy with this series of scenery: the wall are very well-detailed and provide a nice contrast to all of the recent Citadel scenery sets that are overtly Imperial in design.