Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Space Dwarfs beyond the Galactic Fringes: Harlequin, Fenryll, and Heresy

In our next tour of Space Dwarf Universe, we will stop at the small worlds of Harlequin, Fenryll, and Heresy. In this review of the OTC Space Dwarf universe, our beardy warriors will appear in more or less chronological order. But there is only so much I know about these minis, and many of them have no dates on them.

Harlequin / Black Tree Designs
Some time in the early to mid 1990s, Harlequin Miniatures released 3 sets of 3 Space Dwarfs, distinguishable by variations in their armor design. After Harlequin went out of business, their Space Dwarfs were sold by Black Tree Designs. They seem to be out of production now, or no longer made by Black Tree at least. My minis were purchased from Black Tree, who did not take the Harlequin name off the slotta tabs but did blank out the copyright date. Using a keen eye and the right angle, the whisps of the date can still be discerned as either 1991 or 1994, probably 1994.

As can be seen in the picture, Harlequin designed these minis in the imperial army flak armor style. They pack a variety of weapons that look like chunky versions of Citadel Lasguns and Las Pistols. This set is distinguished by having a ribbed pattern to their armor, reminiscent of a baseball catcher's padding.

Here is the Catcher series from the back. These Space Dwarfs could be a nice Necromunda gang, from very deep in the underhive.

The next set of troopers have smooth armor and are less heavily armed.

Smoove Squad through the backdoor. One of these troopers looks like he is treasonously raising his arms to surrender. Khorne countenances no surrender! Report for Mandatory Liquidation Duty immediately.

The last round of Harlequin Space Dwarfs, with a rectangular turtleshell type pattern to their armor. The fellow with the two pistoles in the air is badass enough to dispel some of the shame by Mr Cheeseatingsurrendermonkey above. Despite the similarity of that name to a certain popular Simpsons phrase, it is just coincidence; Mr Cheeseatingsurrendermonkey is Sri Lankan.

I'm not sure if that dwarf in the middle is supposed to look like he dropped his beer down the mineshaft, or is just weirdly cast.

Team Turtle's other side. Raphael is off for some pizza.

So why did the Harlequin Space Dwarfs escape the Cone of Ceasing and Desisting Spell cast by the High Wizards of the Citadel, which smote the Enigma Space Dwarfs? Despite their superior armor? Upon occult consultation with my Palantir of Intellectual Property Lore* a three fold path is dimly discerned.

By 1994, Games Workshop had undergone a period of expansion beyond the UK and into North America, Europe, and Oceania. They had also expanded their product lines with miniatures of a more uniform design than the days of Rogue Trader. These strengths would make them less threatened by a competitor than in earlier years. Enigma's location in Canada would have been a stronger threat to a company with a smaller range of products and distribution, possibly interrupting their ability to expand into North America.

Also by 1994, the Squats were more or less dead as a Warhammer 40K army, and the few minis designed for 40K 2nd Edition showed that Citadel's design team was moving away from the little guardsmen Squat variant in favor of the Hearth Guard style Squats.

Here is a scale comparison with our S3 Unit. It's blurry but I didn't feel like a reshoot, so just pretend it is a drawing of Xenos technology in action in a 40K Codex.
* Remember that the Palantiri reveal to the Seer many Things. Things as they Are, or Will Be, or Might Have Been. All opinions of the Palantir of Intellectual Property Lore are for entertainment purposes only, and those who are not entertained will be taken as fuel for the daemon-engines.

Fenryll Miniatures
In the late 1990s, maybe early 2000s, a company named Fenryll, located in France, started producing resin miniatures. The minis were mostly fantasy types, but they also produced a few sci-fi minis.

As the picture shows, Fenryll's earlier models had a tendency toward the cartoonish, and their minis still seem to vary wildly in style and skill depending on sculptor. These 3 are the SF10 Squad de Nains (Squad of Dwarfs). Center is a single piece with a giant gattling style gun, whose ugliness raises suspicions of some Ork in his ancestry. The Dwarf on the right is in two pieces, the body and the missile launcher. Lefty has a variety of weapons to be plugged into his hands.

Fenryll Dwarfs looking better from behind. Insert joke about your favorite university sorority here.

Despite the claim on the package that these are 25mm scale minis, Mr Halfork is honking huge compared to the S3. Overall, I would say that I am glad I got these for half price.

These are the SF27 Nains Zootroupers (Dwarf Beast-Troopers or something like that), 3 power armored fellows in uninspired poses. In the eyes of Khorne, those are some particularly puny buzzsaw hands the trooper on the left has. He looks a bit more like something from Paranoia than the Warhammer universe.

All look same. But now we know that those tubes are supposed to stick out of the heads of two of the troopers (the third is a cyber-whip for the right hand of the guy on the right). The tubes seem to be intended to dangle mysteriously, attached only to the aether.

At least these guys scale reasonably well with the rest of the 25/28mm world. These power armor troopers would be worth it to add some variety to the Citadel line if one were trying to make a "Counts-As-Space Marines" army of Space Dwarfs, instead of the "Counts-As-Imperial Guard" that is more commonly encountered. But first they must be interrogated as to their apparent lack of proper beards.

Last is the VPA06 Moto-Tank des Nains, technically from Fenryll's Post Apocalyptique series rather than the SF series. And quite the stylistic curiosity. Most noticeable, we have our gunner in the famous "Drive Me Closer I Want to Hit Them with My Sword!" pose, with a fitting IG command style hat as well. He is the gunner for a warbike similar to the Rogue Trader era Ork Wartraks, whose driver is some sort of escapee from Blood Bowl.

Here is the Moto-Tank in separate parts. The bike originally came as a main body with 2 side track pieces, with the gunner's stand and guns also originally separate. It also came with a resin base that is pretty obviously too small.

That's it for Fenryll. These minis are still in production, and there are painted examples on the Fenryll website. Also some more recent Chaos/Mutant Dwarfs that look rather intriguing.

Heresy Miniatures
Heresy Miniatures produces mostly fantasy miniatures, though they have been expanding a nice range of sci-fi skirmish game minis over the past few years. They have also been producing a really great line of Demons lately (http://www.heresyminiatures.com/demons_main.htm).

These Dwarfs are technically not Space Dwarfs. The two on the right and left are variants of Heresy's HH013 Dwarf Inventor/Miner. Both have the same body, with different arms and heads. They were interesting enough to buy, but I'm not sure what I'll ultimately use them for.

In the middle is the HV019 Dark Lord Dwarf Va'durr, another very nice mini. He would also fit well in a SM Squats army or as a commander in an IG army. He comes with a fantasy football hand that can replace the flaming sword, but who would want to do that? (http://www.heresyminiatures.com/hv019.htm)

Here are the Heresy Dwarfs from behind.

Both variants of the Dwarf Inventor/Miner. Claim-jumpers will be shot and fed to the vultures.

The Dark Lord with the S3. Durin...I am your father....

So buy some Heresy, great minis with nice optional parts at reasonable prices.

At this point, I would also like to thank the Frothers Unite! website for its Space Dwarf Showcase article, which introduced me to many of the minis in the Space Dwarfs beyond the Galactic Fringes series.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hungry Ghosts of Tomorrow Today!

So here we are at the end of July, and I have reached the point in my army painting that was scheduled for the end of June. Which is to have the assembly and base coat of paint on everything left for a 1500 point army.

Huzzah. Somewhere in the distance, a Bloodletter claps his bloody hands with bitter mirth, splattering droplets across his brass bowl of Khorne's Blood-Crunchios and the Daemon-Table it lay upon.

So here is a quick look at the rest of the models that will finish off the 1500 points Hungry Ghosts, 3 Rough Riders and 3 Tanks.

Here's Ken from the Thunder Chiefs Rough Riders squadron. Despite all the mutations, Ken was missing something interestingness, which was solved by adding a Necromunda Pit Slave 3 from the bits box. Now the upward angle and his pickaxe remind me of the mountain dwelling ancestors of the Squats, and the crushing of his enemies pleases Khorne.

Since Ken got a Pit Slave, Trollo got a Pit Slave (no. 2). His barechest, topknot, and giant pistol enhance the Mad Max appearance of this conversion, and adds a sense of movement to Trollo's Shotgun Arm. Robo-gun Arm versus Robo-gun Arm. This motorbike is so long the wheelbase barely fits on the base.

Last for the Thunder Chiefs, Spinne has also captured a Pit Slave (no. 1). This is another conversion that turned out to barely fit on the base, but that issue fits with the rough terrain specialty aspect of the unit.

This is the "Chimera" transport for the Blood Fists Veterans squad, an old Epicast Termite from the 1990s, with some more contemporary Chaos bits glued on. The bits in the rubble base are of all ages, since the burrowing Termite would stir up the remnants of many battles past. The Termite is named the Land Shark for its fin-like silhouette and the general silliness of the term. Your Chaos Scribe is also from Long Island, an island shaped like a fish. A converted Biker Squat named Gweilo Hellfisch will serve as ejected driver, with his robot companion.

Next is our Hell Hound, constructed from a Chimera kit with the Hell Hound parts added from a variety of places, but mostly the Imperial Cities building bits. The Hell Hound driver is one of the old plastic Blood Bowl Dwarfs, name of Staang Leadingham. To continue the tank-naming theme, the Hell Hound it is bright red and named the Fire Shark.

For this tank, I wanted extra armor without using normal armor-type pieces. I also had a lot of nice Chaos arms that are too big for Squats that I wanted to use. So I decided to cram the arms and various other Chaos bits into the holes in the Chimera armor, to create a kind of living-daemon armor instead. A few heads were added as well, to make it as though there are multiple daemon spirits operating different elements of the tank.

Our Leman Russ is last, and is the Lava Shark. For this tank, I wanted a kind of symmetry with the Hellhound, so that its body is dark blue where the Hellhound body is bright red, and the LR's daemon-armor is bright red while the Hellhound is protected by daemons in blue. I also wanted to give the pair of tanks a Tomax & Xamot feeling with the red/blue/metal Cobra color scheme.

I almost ran out of Chaos Spawn tentacles and heads making this tank.

The driver, Frith-Ra Jackson, is a one of the 1990s WFB Dwarf Crossbow troopers smoking a pipe and wearing a pouffy hat (no. 1). And the Leman Russ cannon bits have been replaced by the barrel of the current Dwarf Flame Cannon.

Our bonus picture for today is a trio of Bob Olley Scrunt Tank Drivers fused with some all terrain movement bits, perhaps to become a second squad of Rough Riders.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Going Renegade with Chaos Space Marines (Again)

As a servant of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, it is tough to stick one army for too long, without the occasional lost wandering through tangled forests of bits. And like the noble Chaos Hogmen, the snuffling produces exquisite treasures, not of yummy fungus, but of Chaos Marines.

So I've been busy organizing my Chaos Space Marines lately, while painting and assembling more Hungry Ghosts. Which inexorably leads to an interesting bit and another and another, until a mighty Champion of Chaos is spawned.

Playing around with the CSMs from 1995 and later, with their more regular and humanoid appearance, brewed desires to convert some minis with more exotic and disturbing shapes reminiscent of the old Rogue Trader Chaos Renegades. One for each of the 4 Major Powers.

We'll get the Crazy out of the way first. This monster is the oldest of the four, a Tzeentchian explosion of body parts and magical fluxions. The main body is not a Citadel bit, it came to me in a lot of minis, and I don't know what it is supposed to be. But it kind of reminded me of that picture of the Chaos Columns in the old Realm of Chaos books. It also had lots of areas that scalloped inward, allowing easy attachment of a bunch of Chaos Spawn bits that are too big for my Squats or CSMs.

Next is a Champion of Nurgle's Plague Marines. One of the 40K 2nd edition plastic Plague Marines with an assortment of hideous extra faces and pointy bits to deform the silhouette of the mini.

I don't usually work in the area of Slaanesh, but sometimes it can be fun. With this mini, I wanted to create a crossbreed between the old Rogue Trader Renegades and the old beetle-back Epic Warlord Titans. To hunch him over, I used the body of a Knight Paladin and built the CSM backpack bits on to it, and then built a large banner on top, in the fashion of the early days of Epic Warhammer. He's been given 4 arms like some of the old Renegades, and is perched on one of the new Chaos Terminator Lord bases. Rogue Trader era Space Marine remains moulder beneath his feet. This guy uses a lot of bits from a lot of armies.

I also tried out a quick painting method on this conversion. He was primed in Space Wolf, and then various colors of the newest Citadel Washes were used over the primer, in just two fast coatings. My intent was to figure out a way to paint all these Chaos Marines that I've been converting in a way that makes them look reasonably good on the shelf and battlefield, but that doesn't take much time. My scheme was meant to improve upon the unpainted metal masses more than to compare with my Hungry Ghosts, and I think the experiment worked out well.

Last, we come back to everyone's favorite Blood God with a fresh new Champion of Khorne. I've given him the popular Khorne mutation of weapons for hands (a Necromunda Pit Slave Chainsword Arm and an Epic Knight Errant Power Fist Arm). I tried to give this Khorne Champion a bunch of curved areas in his armor bits to go along with his smooth skull head, and then broke violently out of the curves by giving him a collar of giant spikes. He is also equipped with the Backpack Cloak of Salamanders Chaplain Xavier, providing a nice scaly appearance from behind, and some weight in the back to balance his metal arms.

So what have we learned from all our converting of miniatures thus far? That the aspiring Chaos Lord can never have too many Tyranid bits or Undead bits.

As these future Slaanesh Noise Marines will soon find out.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Space Dwarfs beyond the Galactic Fringes: Enigma Minis Power Armor Dwarfs

Not content with imitating GW's motorcycle gang themed Squats, Enigma Minis also aspired to produce some Space Dwarfs in bulky power armor...called Marines. I guess the lawyers got them before they "discovered" Imperial Army Space Dwarfs with lasers.

Here we see what I think is one of each miniature from the Enigma Marines series, 1 Lord, 2 Heros, 1 regular Marine, and 3 with special weapons. Below is a comparison with our friendly neighborhood Standard Squat Servitor.

Bigger and chunkier, and not incredibly well cast or varied in design, but still better than those Bikers. Something about those little wings on the helmets and their round little bellies makes me think of Space Ducks. What follows is a brief review of the individual troopers.

This is the regular Space Dwarf Marine. As the picture shows, the SD Marine comes armed with a power axe that is supposed to be stuck into the hole in his left hand. A honking huge axe as big as the marine, artfully jutting out perpendicularly from the plane of the marine's body. The Inquisition records imply that very same strain of the stupid-pox that inspired these axes also afflicted Jes Goodwin the week he designed the Phoenix Lord Fuegan.

Note the machine pistol and prominent shoulder pads. Not even trying. Here he is from the back.

Next, one of the Heros. I'm not sure if they were given names by Enigma; we'll call him Mr Boom because he has a grenade in his left hand.

Mr Boom kind of has the pose of a bank robber who is threatening to blow himself up and take you all with him if the police don't let him out. Has the smell of one too, very strange.

Here he is from behind, in his "don't make me shoot my way out of here" pose, with an assist from the Armorcast tech wall segment's door.

The second Marine Hero, we'll call him Mr Itsallyourfault. His left arm is a separate piece, and that head's going to be a tight fit in his helmet.

Mr Itsallyourfault from behind, not sure how he gets the tangled ball of yarn look to his hair, but several Skaven have expressed their admiration.

Now comes the Marine Lord, we'll call him General Zod. He is going to shoot his way out of here regardless of what you do.

Zod's gun has more bullets than the rest of the dwarfs, so he gets to wear the magic cape.

Like the Marine Trooper, General Zod also came with a Power Axe of Perfect Perpendicularity, one far more elaborate and huge. It's broken because it is poorly designed and cast. Why so big? What inadequacy are they compensating for? Did they really find it in a Bloodthirster's garbage heap?

Enigma's special weapon marines, all the same pose, just different weapons. The round metal bases shown in the picture are the bases these minis originally came with, giving the appearance of the slotta-base while defeating the cost savings.

Comparison of what I think is the Meltagun Trooper with the S3 unit. The weapons are separate pieces that stick onto small spikes in the trooper's hands, the reverse of what was done with the axes.

Here are the special weapons bits all together. The top gun is a Plasma Gun and the bottom is a Grenade Launcher. They are strangely shaped and not very pretty to look at, nor is the casting of this trooper's legs.

That's about it for my collection of Enigma Space Dwarfs. There is also a vehicle called a Quad Bike that comes with a driver that I don't have. There are also 5 hero types called Heavy Dwarfs that have specific names of Scottish style.

In penitence for these short comings in my space dwarfs collection, here are some Paranoia Doc-Bots fixing up some injured Squats, while our Standard Squat Servitor lends some assistance.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Space Dwarfs beyond the Galactic Fringes: Enigma Minis Biker Dwarfs

It is already 20 July, and your Chaos Scribe has been busily painting and converting Chaos Squats. But we have reached the point where all the finished Hungry Ghosts have been discussed, while there are many more in progress. However, to conquer his self-imposed hurdle of 5 posts or more per month, your Chaos Scribe will take you on a tour of Space Dwarf miniatures from beyond the Citadel & Iron Claw Squats series. Then we will return to the new members of the Hungry Ghosts legion.

We will start with the first, and the worst. In the early 1990s a company named Enigma Miniatures produced a variety of chunky, heavy sci-fi gaming miniatures, some of which ran afoul of Games Workshop's intellectual property lawyers. Today, we look at the first Enigma subspecies.

You can see why GW had some issues with these: out of a universe of possibilities for Space Dwarf designs, they go for beardy little space bikers. These guys are made of a harder metal than Citadel, chunky and prone to scratches. Compare them to our Standard Squat Servitor (aka the S3 unit):

There is our S3 on the right, smaller, thinner, less round, and more detailed. Here are some closer photos at the Enigma biker-style space dwarfs.

These are the 5322 series Space Dwarfs with Power Gloves. Back view is below.

Below are the 5321 Series Space Dwarfs with Shotguns and Bulletproof Jackets.

Next are the 5320 Space Dwarfs with Flamer and Blaster.

Finally for the bikers series, what I believe are the 5323 or 4 Space Dwarfs with Rocket Launchers or Heavy Bolters, but without the weapons. Front:
Finally, one more comparison to our S3 Unit to illustrate scale:
These guys are just too ugly and too unimaginative to bother painting.