Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

Devoted to the Preservation, Collection, Conversion, Painting, and Resurrection of Space Dwarfs.
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Squats in Epic 40K Part 1: Tunnelers and Troopers

This will be the first in a series of postings about the Squats in Epic Warhammer 40K. The Squats continued to be an army in Epic for several years after they were abandoned in regular 40K. As we shall see, this is because the different scale allowed the production of an interesting range of war machines unique to the Squats.

It would have been impossible to produce many of these war machines in 40K scale due to their size, and there probably wasn't enough demand to make them financial feasible as well. In the end, the only Squats vehicles made in 40K scale were those they shared with the Imperial Guard. But the 6mm Squats Army did have a glorious time in the 1990s.

Hopefully this series will be of some use to Squats fans, I don't think there is a website that has examples of all of the Epic Squats miniatures.

We'll start with the Squat Warriors sprue, released in July 1990, in White Dwarf issue 127. Which is far more famous for the Eldar Army List in it than the Epic Squats Army List.

Here is front side of the sprue. Originally 10 of these sprues came in the Squat Warriors sprue. The sprue had 1 each of a Standard Bearer, Hearthguard, Exo-Armor, Missile Launcher, and a Gunner for the Mole Mortar or Thudd Gun. For the fast attack wing, there are 3 Bikers, 1 Exo on Bike, and 1 Trike Weapon Team. On foot, 5 Assault Troopers (with a Bolt Pistol in each hand), 5 with Heavy Bolters, and 9 Lasgunners. Below is the other side of the sprue.
Here are some pictures of the front and back of the box.
Recycled White Dwarf cover art
The back of these boxes look oddly prescient with their "content in the middle & ads on the side format". The Thudd Guns and Mole Mortars have gained some bulk, probably due to limits on casting small plastic items in the early 1990s. Later, the box set would be reduced to 5 sprues.

Robots & Big Guns
Once upon a time, there were robots in the Warhammer 40K universe. But they were crushed under the pages and pages of insanely complex rules for using the metal buggers. Here are Epic versions of all 5 Robots - Conqueror in the bottom row, Colossus , right abovenext Cataphract, Castellan, and Crusader. These were released in spring of 1989, with Epic rules in White Dwarf 112.

Also shown are both versions of the Rapier, and the Lascannons part of the Tarantula (the base got used as a cyberfoot for one of the Hungry Ghosts troopers). There were also metal versions of the Thudd Gun and Mole Mortar that had Space Marines attached, so they are not shown here.

Tunnelers Small, Large, & Jumbo SizeHere is the smallest underground troop transport, the Termite. Released in the Summer of 1989 with rules in White Dwarf 116. Below is the Termite on its transport vehicle. The 40K Termite from Epicast is almost identical to the Epic Emerging Termite. Seats 10 comfortably.
Next is the grand Mole ready to be launched with its cargo of 20 troopers.
The Mole in pieces.
The Mole and Termite together.
The giant Hellbore Heavy Mole
Still in its package, note GW's lax sticker proof-reading.
Here is the Hellbore next to the Termite and Mole. The Hellbore was released in February 1990, with rules in White Dwarf 120. This underground monster had a carrying capacity of 40 Infantry, 8 Dreadnoughts, 4 light vehicles, or 2 Rhinos. I don't know what they meant by "light vehicles" but shooting some Land Speeders out of an underground attack vehicle sounds fun to me.

These Tunneling machines are of the most fun war machines in the 40K universe. It would be nice to see more of them, but underground assault vehicles are not easy to integrate into gaming rules. The next Epic 40K post will take a look at the vehicles released especially for the Squats Army.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Trooper Los Fnnr: The Embiggener

Today we have a Very Special Guest, coming all the way from the spewing plagues and poxes of the disease dimensions, Trooper Los Fnnr.

Tpr Los Fnnr joins the Hungry Ghosts for Warhammer 40K 5th edition. He is a Nurgle Renegade Guardsman, with Cadian Legs (mostly) and Arms, and a Forge Word torso.

He has been given the usual complement of bits, with one leg replaced by the leg of a plastic Imperial Knight Paladin. He retains the normal size of a Guardsman, which is his job. When the Hungry Ghosts were started up, it was the end of the 40K 4th edition era (yes, I am that slow), and swapping Squats for Guards was no problem. With 5th edition came a need to have a replacement to resolve any line of sight issues.

Thus was born the Line of Sight Friendly Neighborhood Nurgle Renegade, drafted for the embiggening of our Squats whenever called to duty. It also gave me a reason to change colors for a while to assorted greens, greys, and yellows. These fellows can talk all night about the finer points of skulls as decorative accents. And killing stuff.

The Forge World torsos are very finely detailed, almost too detailed, as they emphasize the age of the Cadian bits. It is time for a new edition of the standard Guardsman. I can't believe it took me until now to notice the Trooper/True pun.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Death From Below: The Epicast Termite

Thus far, the Hungry Ghosts have been a foot-slogging army, with a few cavalry. This way mostly intentional: I plan on using all of the different Squats miniatures and squads of infantry are the way to go to achieve that goal. Also, aside from the motorcycles, there were no "official" Squats vehicles made for 40K, they had access to whatever the Imperials had. Now I've painted about half of the Squats, along with some Chaos Dwarfs, enough to assemble a 1000 point army and the next 500 points will be spent mostly on mechanizing the Moriad. As the picture above shows, the motor pool is growing crowded with future lascannon-attractors.

The Epicast Termite
The first vehicle to emerge from the motorpool to the army list is the oldest. The Termite is a resin vehicle made by Epicast in the mid 1990s. Starting around 1992 and lasting through most of the 40K 2nd Edition era, Games Workshop allowed several companies, mostly in California, to produce Warhammer 40K scale versions of Epic scale vehicles and titans. These companies were given licenses to develop units that GW had no specific plan to produce, so Termites and Cauldrons of Blood were allowed but not Chimeras or Predators.*

As we can see, the Termite was designed in the surfacing mode similar to the Epic mini in production at the time. It is a happy coincidence that the rubble in the Termite model looks like the rubble I use for the Hungry Ghosts bases, especially since I've been using the same bag of small black fishbowl gravel since 1987. And I still have plenty left, so that was a dollar well spent.

This Termite will count as a Chimera transport for the Blood Fists Veterans squad. But before we get to the Termite, we'll take a visit with the Termite's gratuitous driver miniature.

So there was no real need for me to create Cpl Gweilo Hellfisch, but before I started collecting the Warhammer minis, I was a GI Joe junkie, and some of the best GI Joe action figures were the vehicle drivers. And virtually every character in Robotech was more or less a vehicle driver. Now it is tough for me to create a vehicle without a driver.

Hellfisch started off as Squat Biker 2, one of the guys too lazy to finish buttoning his shirt. He and his fellow belly-barers are a major reason the Squats were declared too silly to live. I have compensated for his poor job at dressing himself by adding bits that draw the eye to anywhere but his belly.

Much of that job is taken by his bulky arms, on the far end of proportionality. But the added length of the shovel makes them seem shorter and provides a source of all those muscles. The arms are the Medic Arms from the recent Catachan Command sprues, while the shovel is the standard Imperial Vehicle accessory. The slight tilt to his head and the straight-out angle of the shovel make it clear that Gweilo is not using it for digging. I have also augmented his vision with cybernetic spectacles that are just one of the Imperial Grenade bits cut in half.

I also like the idea of evil vehicle drivers being cybernetically connected to their vehicles, so I added a giant cable to his back, clinging like a baby Alien. The bulk of it is the Great Unclean One's Tongue 2, with syringes and spikes from the Inquisitor scale cyber-flagellants. He has a sidearm and several pouches added to his belt, and yet another TMNT Mouser mini companion, this one carrying Cpl Hellfisch's rope, beer stein, and backpack fully of scooby snacks.

From this view, the cable from Gweilo's back can be seen in "attached mode," reaching back to a circular vent a little larger than the tip of the cable. It is just another of the Space Marine backpack vent-bulbs that I use so frequently, and it leads us to a closer look at the Termite itself.

Now our Termite, the Land Shark. Like a fin emerging from a tar pit, the Termite cuts across the battlefield bearing its load of mighty veterans. As with many of the Squats, the basic Termite has a design that is a bit simple to the modern eye, resulting in a need for lots of bits.

The need for lots of bits was compounded by the vast difference between the functional requirements of the Chimera and the design of the Termite. The body of the Termite as cast** is cylindrical, with no external weapons, just the circular door and a small bar on each side. These bars will form the stubby nubbins of the main weapons.

Here we can see the converted weapon, with a similar dragon-headed contraption on the other side. Since they are of exotic design, and the points cost is the same, they can count as Heavy Bolters or Heavy Flamers. The parts of the heavy weapons were spread out along the body of the Termite rather than sticking out to meet the needs of a tunneling machine. The dragon heads shoot flames or hot lead and are attached to the end of the rectangle ridge, while the ridge itself was given more flair by covering it in Dark Elf Warrior Crossbow Quivers and a vent-bulb from a CSM backpack. I attached it via some tubing to a skull headed exhaust pipe from the Imperial Cities sprues.

Here is the same weapon system from the other side, showing more of the Dark Elf Quivers because this side is more exposed than the other.

My plan is to have the vehicles in the Hungry Ghosts army appear to be part technology and part daemonology, so I've added various Chaos and Dwarf symbols to represent the other equipment standard with the Chimera. The Eye of Chaos functions as the searchlight, and the skull heads act as smoke launchers, and each of the circular Wolfheads counts as the 6 Lasguns that can shoot out of the Chimera (only 4 are visible, the others are covered in rubble).

One thing that didn't require any extra bits was the Dozer, which was demanded by the basic nature of the Termite. From this angle, all of the Daemon-Accessories can be seen as a repeating series in the nooks created by the scalloped portion of the body. It contributes to the revolving impression of the boring head. For the door, I went with the circles and just added some small round WFB Dwarf Head and Wolf Head symbols.

The center of the door demanded another small accessory to achieve an Evil Eye look, which was supplied by a skeletal bearded Dwarf Face bit from the Scrunts line of Olley's Armies minis. Circles and Spikes, the two basic flavors of Chaos.

The Termite arrived with rubble that was just small rocky bits. Anything else was added by me, and I made sure it looked like the Land Shark was emerging through several layers of history. I continued to use the ever-expanding range of mutant rats from the Skaven sprues. Part of the reason I like the mutant rats is because they remind me of the early Rogue Trader and WFB slotta ranges, which were composed of a couple dozen single piece variations on a theme, without the need to add arms and such. And where there are rats, there are bones and skulls, and half a Necron. The Necrons are too limited in range for me to want an army of them, but they are another great source of conversion bits for Chaos mutants. I added another tiny slice of life with an epic scale Beastman carving off a slice of rotting human arm (Tomb Kings again).

Finally, the Land Shark disgorges its belly full of bearded Blood Fist veterans, now entering their third decade of battle. They are accompanied by the ejected but attached Gweilo.

*Some of the first Epicast products were resin additions for the Rhino, to convert them to the Vindicator and the Whirlwind. Once GW released their versions, the Epicast products went out of production. They can be seen at the Collecting Citadel Miniatures Wiki.
** unpainted Termite can also be seen at the CCM Wiki:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hungry Ghosts of Tomorrow Today, Part 2

Since I am a compulsive converter, and the latest IG Codex really blew open the possibilities for special troops and characters, the first Hungry Ghosts post for August will be another preview of works in progress for moving beyond 1500 points.

Legios Moriad XIV Military Commissariat
Voenkom Rycraik is the Hungry Ghosts' version of Commissar Yarrick, an Exo-Armour Chaos Squats with a Power Scourge instead of Claw (from the Khorne Blood Slaughterer) and Baleful Eye taken from an Eldar Fusion Gun.
Partly painted in regimental colors.

Commissar Lord Don Bug Volga
The Commissar Lord will scuttle about the battlefield in a four-legged walker with the Squat Living Ancestor Sidecar in the center.

Commissars Ob Dnieper and Amur Yenesei

Regimental AdvisorsMaster of the Fleet Admiral "Black Hole" Tunnler,
with the remains of his last meal.
One of the Pirate Squats.

Astropath Arc Wendigo with vestigial wings and Ratlord Familiar.
Another of the Pirate Squats.

Special Characters
Gunnery Sergeant Harker, taking on the 'nids in their own mutation game.
The Smurf-Hat Squat Adventurer with the first version of the Rogue Trader Grenade Launcher.

Colonel Schtarken now with Bodyguards with Zombie Eyes,
from Bob Olley's series of Squat Troopers

Finally, the nucleus of a second Veterans Squad, likely to tunnel through the battlefield with a Ramshackle Games Boring Machine (http://shop.ramshacklegames.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=211)