Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

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.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Squats in White Dwarf 1996-2000, Historia Squataticus Volume 3

This is the third half of my adventure through the volumes of White Dwarfs to record the great achievements of the might Squat race. Like many third halves, it arrived like a Vorpal Kitten: Great fun, but completely unexpected.

The first two halves of the Historia Squataticus were based on some notes I had taken on the side about 5 years ago, while primarily looking through my White Dwarfs for Eldar material. I stopped at about issue 200 because there were no new articles with the Squats in a leading role since issue 190, and no new Squats minis since the Thunderfire for Epic. I was not yet fully possessed with the Chaos Squats Fever and did not take the time to look beyond the headline for additional writings about the Squats.

Knowing this, for Historia Squataticus Vols 1 & 2 I looked through each White Dwarf anew, for discussion or artwork involving the Squats in articles not directly about them. So Gavin Thorpe's article in WD 191 stating that the Squats were the creators of most of the Epic Ordinatus War Machines came as much as a surprise to me as to you.

This of course means that the review must continue beyond 1995's issues of White Dwarf, for completeness and because there are still important unanswered questions. When was the final appearance of the Squats in White Dwarf? From whence did the “Eaten by Tyranids” myth arise? Is a silly name such a handicap? Will Gavin Thorpe's contradictory claims about the Squats leave him in the Book of Grudges?

Part 9: Squats Fade to Black, 1996-1998

While we have pleasantly re-discovered that the written life of the Squats continued in the pages of White Dwarf long after the production of new 40K Squats models was halted. But they appeared under the names of other forces, and were declared to be Innovators and Engineers for the Adeptus Mechanicus and The Cult of The Machine God. Squats also continued their trigger-happy thousand-year march under the banner of the Eight-Pointed Star with Bolters (and worse) eternally ready for action.

But we also know that the AM Ordinatus War Machines were the last models released by Games Workshop for the Epic Space Marine/Titan Legions 2nd Edition rules. Due to the termination of this iteration of ESM, there were several planned models were not put into general release, most prominently the long awaited Eldar Exodites.

The 3rd Edition of Epic, now named Epic 40,000, would introduce many new miniatures, replacing nearly all of the previous models and infantry sprues in the late 1990s. These minis made each Epic Armies have more unified appearance, and more similar in appearance to the Warhammer 40K vehicles available at the time and those that would come. The new Chaos sprue did not include Chaos Squats.

These will be rough years for the Squats, and our best hope for their survival is in the flacts of 40K articles about other races and armies, and defiant Golden Demon entries. But that is small beer indeed.

White Dwarf 193 (February 1996) (there was no North American WD dated January 1996)
p. 73-77: “Unsung Heroes” Infantry Tactics for Epic by Adrian Wood, including Squats. Properly notes that Squat Thunderers are the best Heavy Infantry.

White Dwarf 194 (March 1996)
p. 39-43: “Converting The Mighty Abominatus, Chaos Lord Titan of Khorne”. Bow before the Blood God Made Metal! Adrian Wood's army features many converted Titans of Khorne (built and maintained by Chaos Squats), and legions of Squat troopers at their feet.

p. 83: Squat-manufactured Leviathan shown under Imperial command against Tyranids.

White Dwarf 195 (April 1996)
p. 69: Games Day Epic Mass Battle invites players to “bring one Titan or Squat super heavy vehicle”

White Dwarf 196 (May 1996)
p. 29: Games Day Epic Mass Battle invites players to “bring one Titan or Squat super heavy vehicle”

White Dwarf 197 (June1996)
p. 39: Hurrmm... “Many Imperial anthropologists and religious researchers have put forward the theory that the Ratskins are descended from the original Adeptus Mechanicus who colonized Necromunda.”

Soo.. some human homeworlds emerge from the anthropocentric Dark Age of Technology and Age of Strife with a superior physique and an advanced technology, go on to supply the Imperium with the critical technology and the blood of many battle-brothers to allow it to survive the Horus Heresy and a thousand thousand Waaaghs, and get declared “silly.” Others emerge living and dressing like Skaven and are somehow “cool”. Book of Grudges for you, Ratskins Gang. Book of Grudges.

p. 94-107: “Reign of Fire” Epic 40,000 battle report using new objectives rules (Greenskins vs Red Smurfs). Picture for Rescue objective shows a Squat Colossus (p. 94)

White Dwarf 198 (July 1996)
p. 55-59: Necromunda Scavvies, Scalies, Pit Zombies rules by Andy Chambers, 'Eavy Metal pictures of same and Pit Slaves.

“The most common Human sub-species in the Imperium are the abhuman races of Ogryns, Ratlings, and Squats [as if a Squat would mate with aught but another Squat]. The Scalies are another such sub-species.” (p. 57) Scavvies and Scalies, and the Squats cry “who has the silly name?” into the Ash Wastes...

White Dwarf 199 (August 1996)
p. 10-19: Introduction of the 2nd Ed 40K Chaos Codex, in which the Chaos Gods were considered to be of differing power, with Khorne the most powerful, then Tzeentch, Nurgle, and finally Slaanesh. (p. 14)

Also nicely converted World Eaters Marines from Fred Marcarini's army (p. 26-7), and introduction to Abaddon the Despoiler (fluff & stats, p. 69-72), but no Squats (but we know who is engineering the Titans of the Black Crusades).

White Dwarf 200 (September 1996)
p. 21-25: “Faith in the Emperor” 40K article about designing armies with fluff in mind, p. 22 has John Blanche illustration on Inquisitor with a (probably) Squat Servitor

p. 78: Squat Cyclops by Shawn Gleason, 3rd place for Epic Titans Category

White Dwarf 201 (October 1996): Khârn the Betrayer Arrives, but no Chaos Squats follow him. Too fat of foot.

White Dwarf 202 (November 1996)
p. 5: News that Epic Space Marine/Titan Legions and their supplements will be removed from shelves on 30 Sept 1996, in anticipation of new rules and miniatures releases. It is not clear whether the existing Epic models were removed from circulation as well. This may be the date when sale of the Epic Squats line was ended, or perhaps removed to Mail Order only.

White Dwarf 203 (December 1996): None. Note that by this time the NA and UK White Dwarfs have become out of sync by a month. I'm not sure when it started, but my copy of 203 is the UK edition and dated November, same as the NA issue 202. All dates used have been, and will continue to be, the North America publication dates after the NA/UK date-disturbance.

White Dwarf 204 (January 1997)
p. 89 Index Astartes (of WD articles) includes Squats in Epic category (for Cyclops in WD 170)

White Dwarf 205 (February 1997): None

White Dwarf 206 (March 1997)
p. 23-27: “Small is Beautiful” by Adrian Wood, about small battles in 40K, p. 27 refers to battling Nick Davis's Squats.

White Dwarf 207 (April 1997)
p. 66: Epic 40,000 introductory article mentions Squat Army in previous edition of Epic

White Dwarf 208 (May 1997)
p. 8-15: Second Epic 40,000 introductory article points out that Rules Books in boxed set contain all the army lists for all of the races in this edition; planned are Chaos, Eldar, Imperial, Orks, and Tyranids. While we all know that GW's palantiri show things as they will be, might be, or may have been, but nonetheless this casts a Great Maw shaped-shadow over the Land Train depot.

p. 117: Epic Battle Report refers to Leviathan, but as an Imperial vehicle. The Shadow Grows.

White Dwarf 209 (June 1997)
p. 57: The Emperor's propagandists once again claim the Leviathan as an Imperial Guard vehicle.

White Dwarf 210 (July 1997)
p. 108: Bitz and Archive minis now available in North America, making Squats easier to get there

White Dwarf 211 (August 1997): None
White Dwarf 212 (September 1997): None.
White Dwarf 213 (October 1997): None
White Dwarf 214 (November 1997): None

White Dwarf 215 (December 1997)
p. 61: Squat Thudd Gun shown in the collection of Master Model-Maker Dave Andrews. Dave Andrews has been an inspiration to Hungry Ghosts through his many excellent dioramas and hundreds of expertly converted miniatures; a man who makes full use of the Citadel bitz catalogs and beyond.

A Decade in the GRIMDARK Future

We are now approximately 10 years after the release of Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader and Epic-scale 40K. This is a shameful period of decadent barbarism for Games Workshop: Warhammer 40K 2nd edition comes with the foul Orks. Epic 40,000 comes with the vile Greenskins. And GorkaMorka spews forth, allowing the GW staff to revel in the Orky orgy of destruction of self-destruction and their shamefully barbaric attempts at engineering war machines. The corrupt Ork-fever even leads to the creation of a gang of humans who worship Orks as their technological and cultural superiors (the Diggas).

Table 37: Imperials and Eldar Welcome Orks as Allies but Not Squats!

Much is made of the Infamous Red Period of the early 1990s, but less is said about this Ork-Dominated Great Green Period that followed in the later 1990s. In addition to the growing hordes of Orks in every game possible, the 40K and Epic table-tops have become traffic-snarled pits of green Imperial Guard tanks and infantry in sensible camouflage patterns. The Great Green Period also featured a Bad Moon Nob's Teef number of Dark Angels Space Marines articles. A pox-wagon full of Nurgle followers (Great Unclean One, Plaguebearers, Nurglings, Plague Marines) would start off the redesign of the Chaos Daemons. The 40K and Epic Leaf-Muncher studio armies are painted in the green and white colors of Biel-Tan. Meanwhile in the new WFB 5th edition, the Old World is dominated by Lizardmen and lush jungle terrain.

There may have been some Bretonnians as well, but they dress like Harlequins and are not to be taken seriously. Nor was WFB 5th edition, which would soon be replaced with a 6th edition set featuring Orcs. Later, a 7th edition would be released featuring Goblins. And then those awesome Jungle Trees appeared in the Warhammer 40K 3rd Edition boxed set....

During the Great Green Period, even GW Staff wore GorkaMorka Green Shirts!


White Dwarf 216 (January 1998): None

White Dwarf 217 (February 1998):
p. 2: Editor's Soapbox reports that “What's happening with the Squats?” was the most common concern from meetings with US retailers. No response is given, report moves to other topics.

White Dwarf 218 (March 1998): None
White Dwarf 219 (April 1998): None
White Dwarf 220 (May 1998): None
White Dwarf 221 (June 1998): None
White Dwarf 222 (July 1998): None

White Dwarf 223 (August 1998)
p. 56: The Chaos Army arrives for Epic 40,000 with a new improved sprue of daemons and marines. Sadly, Chaos Squats were not on the sprue, and designers Tim Adcock and Aly Morrison are treading dangerously close to occupancy in The Book of Grudges. Yes, they had to get rid of the Space Trolls with Warp Clubs and the Warp Minotaurs with Space Axes on the old sprue, but bearded berzerkers with bolters and beer are beneficial on any battlefield.

White Dwarf 224 (September 1998)
p. 72-75: “Lords of Battle: Titan Tactics for the 41st Millenium” by Iain Compton. Mr Compton's article reflects the power of the Great Green Period by focusing on Orks, Imperials, and Eldar, all of whom use much green on their titans. So great is the pull of the Great Green Period at this time that Mr Compton reports that only Imperials and Orks build Imperator-size Titans, a claim demonstrated to be false by the presence of the mighty Abominatus of Khorne shown on page 101 of this very issue.

p. 100-101: Adrian Wood's Epic Khorne Titan Army from WD 194 reappears in ad for Epic Titan Bitz. Chaos Squat Troopers may be seen providing infantry support.

White Dwarf 225 (October 1998): None

Part 10: Welcome to the Memory Hole, 1998- 2000.

White Dwarf 226 (November 1998)
p. 12-37 : Warhammer 40K 3rd Edition is released in time for Christmas, a time when we gather in our torture chambers to worship sadistic pointy ear bastard races, as we have done for centuries past.

That was a joke. This is not a joke:
“The new Warhammer 40,000 book includes full army lists for all of the major armies – Space Marines, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Imperial Guard, Chaos Space Marines, Orks, Tyranids, Sisters of Battle, and Heroes of the Imperium [i.e., the freak show that became the Witch Hunters/Daemon Hunters in the early 2000s]” (p. 14)

Here the Dark Eldar are instantly invoked as a “major army” while Squats are erased from existence by GW's Thought Police. This Newspeak tidbit would earn GW the scorn of both Squats enthusiasts and Dark Eldar freaks, who would have to twist and writhe for over a decade before the next codex for their so-called major race.

To twist the truth further: “Now I can't guarantee that someone, somewhere won't have a specially converted Aspiring Champion of Khorne riding a unicycle with a warp banner that they can't use in the new lists, but 99% of the miniatures people have already collected will still be useable.” (p. 14)

Here we have a straw-man argument, one which manages to fall into both the class of “damn lies” and “statistics” in the “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics” scale of truthiness. Aside from the Squats, and many of the Chaos Renegades and Champions alleged otherwise right above, no longer useable miniatures would include Eldar Harlequins, Exodites, and Guardians armed with las weapons. No longer useable would be the many Imperial Army troopers and Space Marines with exotic weaponry (Webbers!) or vehicles (Imperial Jetbikes!). Also killed was the diverse bloody toothy froth that was Orky Kultcha....hundreds of miniatures released before 1991 were rendered useless.

Such is the Price we pay for “4 Complete Jungle Trees.”

The smoke-and-mirrors show continues as Andy Chambers shows us how easy it will be to tweak existing armies for 3rd Edition by using his Blood Angels (p. 20-21). A non-challenge in a game molded around maintaining Space Marine Fever, further eased by the fact that the 3rd Ed Blood Angels Codex was already pretty much done at the time. (p.27)

At least on p. 32 Jes Goodwin admits that the 2nd edition plastic Space Marines were terrible.

White Dwarf 227 (December 1998): None

White Dwarf 228 (January 1999)
p. 87: 40K 3rd Ed Questions & Answers reveals the great length to which GW would stretch its Myth of Model Usability put forth in issue 226:

Q: “In spite of reassurances that old armies would be compatible with new 40K, I've discovered that my Eldar Guardians can no longer have lasguns. Do I need to change their weapons to shuriken catapults?”

A: “Obviously you're confusing the alternative pattern shuriken catapults which have long been misidentified as lasguns by Imperial scholars. While the weapons carried by some Eldar Guardians bear some superficial resemblance to Imperial lasguns, closer examination reveals a number of differences... etc, etc. Just as with the power swords question above, it's not really necessary to change your models, simply make it clear what's going on at the start of the game. Of course since all Guardians use shurikens these days, there's nothing for the opponent to get confused about.”

The “I can't use my power swords and axes” problem was resolved with a recommendation to re-paint them as normal swords and axes or tell your opponent to ignore their high-tech appearance. The “what happened to Ork Clans?” concern was dismissed by saying you can paint your Orks whatever color you want but they will all be the same in game terms.

In the new Millennium, only the color of Space Marines would matter.
White Dwarf 229 (February 1999): None
White Dwarf 230 (March 1999): None
White Dwarf 231 (April 1999): None
White Dwarf 232 (May 1999): None
White Dwarf 233 (June 1999): None
White Dwarf 234 (July 1999): None?
It seems that I somehow have the southern hemisphere's version of White Dwarf 234. It contains substantial local material, including an excellent highly converted and diverse World Eaters Army belonging to Ian Dearie of the Perth region. But no Squats here, and probably not in any other versions of WD 234.
White Dwarf 235 (August 1999): None
White Dwarf 236 (September 1999): None
White Dwarf 237 (October 1999): None
White Dwarf 238 (November 1999): None
White Dwarf 239 (December 1999): None.

White Dwarf 240 (January 2000)
This is the issue that spawned forth the lies about the extinction of the Squats, in the Mailbox page (p. 97). The letter and response are below.

Letter from Concerned Squats Commander:
Sorry, I just assumed this was how most people have been reacting since the Squats were dropped from the 40K universe. This race was the reason I joined the Games Workshop family in the first place. If I was so impatient back in mid-2nd edition and started collecting my second choice army (Space Marines), I would have quickly lost interest and never became the obsessed freak over the game that I am today.

The history and characteristics of the Squats are interesting and unique in the 40K universe. In the 2nd edition rules they were a mix of Orks, Imperial Guard, and Space Marines... with a grudge! The honor, toughness, and excellent weaponry (I would have loved to see a Mole Mortar in action) were the big draws to this under-appreciated army. Also, something very cool about the 40K universe was the fact that it was a sci-fi mirror of the Fantasy world. Nearly every race from Fantasy had its high-tech cousins represented in the 'far, distant future', and that's how the people liked it! Would you even consider robbing the Fantasy world of Dwarfs. With their wonderful weapons and bitter-sweet rivalry with the Elves? I don't think so! Nor should we players of 40K have to do without. Just the humble opinion of one dedicated fan. Tim Gutierrez”

Response from Games Workshop:

“Would you believe they were all eaten by the Tyranid invasion? Or, due to the Squats biker life style, everyone of the was arrested for disturbing the peace and sacrificed to the Emperor. Where do you think they get all of those souls anyway? All kidding aside, it doesn't seem likely the Squats will ever again see the light of day. When they were out they never seemed very popular, showed up at our stores, or tournaments, and didn't sell on top of all that [Note that this claim is directly contradicted by Jervis Johnson in 2002]. Their look was really outdated compared to the hundreds of other great Warhammer 40,000 models. Don't send us hate mail, it's just the cold hard facts of the 41st Millennium.”

Commentary from Hungry Ghosts:

Would you believe you sound like a huge dick? All kidding aside, this is a flippant and disrespectful response to a devoted and enthusiastic customer about a favorite product. Comments like this are why there is so much Internet Hate for Games Workshop.

But let's make it clear: the “Eaten by Tyranids” comment is not Warhammer 40K Canon. It is just an asinine comment by an unidentified GW employee who does not understand:
1. Squats (very few of them have a Biker lifestyle, and the comment about the lifestyle is insulting to actual real world human bikers),
2. GW's business (Squats were not selling poorly),
3. or customer service (the sarcastic tone of the response).

Let us also make it clear: Based on our source above, there is an equal chance that “The Emperor Ate All The Squats” as “The Tyranids Ate All The Squats”.

Conclusions for Volume 3
Just a month before the Squats letter, WD issue 239's Mailbox page provided a terse, no-explanation notice that GW were no longer actively developing the Gorkamorka or Epic 40,000 games (p. 30, poor little games didn't even make it to 3 years old).

At this point, GW says they are redirecting their energies to developing their Black Library literary products (p. 27-29), the burnt ruins of Mordheim and the blackened pages of its Town Cryer (with a 26 page pull out in WD 239), and the blackness of space with the recently-released Battlefleet Gothic game. A new Black Age for both the colors of GW's upcoming products and for the fans of those games swept aside.

Comments like those in WD 239 and 240, combined with the lies and back-peddling about just how many models would remain useable in 40K 3rd Edition armies in earlier issues are not acceptable business behavior. It seems at this point, Games Workshop has lost the distinction between Fiction and Lies.

With this disgusting slaughter of miniatures and their mythos, we will stop to mourn, and to fill the pages of the Book of Grudges. Then the sharpening of Axes.

Thus ends the Great Green Period. Now comes the Black Age of the New Millenium.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Squat-tober Mutant Round-Up: Battle at the Bitz Box 1

Although Hungry Ghosts HQ has been busy as Captain Ahab pursuing his White Dwarfs to flense their carcasses for their precious Lost Lore of the Squats (up to 1999, and done with Troll), we have not seen a whole lot on the actual painted miniatures front.

Well, Hungry Ghosts is a bits junkie, and converting is his crack. To heighten the temptation, the bitz bins are right next to the painting zone, which is next to the TV, which means constant exposure to interestingly shaped bits that suddenly reveal their purpose. Like the Tyranid Hunter-Slayer face that had been waiting more than 20 years to become a Chaos Ratling-Centaur's buttface.

Master Chef Gravy Chunckx's Chaos Cooking for All Times and Places reports:
"According to their unholy religion, the Chaos All-Stars must cook and eat their coach if they lose a game [of Blood Bowl]. If they win, of course they're allowed to eat him raw!"
(actually from White Dwarf 221 p. 14, by Jervis Johnson)

But some progress toward army completion was made. The Lava Shark Leman Russ is ready for highlighting, and the Fire Shark Hell Hound has been lined.

With the Hell Hound, I'm trying out the use of a base for the tank, so that corpses like the Dark Eldar Warrior there, and other bits, can be added. There aren't many places to get bases big enough for the tanks (about 150mm long and 120 mm wide), and they are expensive, the Hell Hound is attached to part of a DVD case.

The Land Shark Termite and Driver Hellfisch were finished and joined the rest of the Hungry Ghosts Horde in the Tower of Chaos (aka the Ikea modular shelf).

Ken the Thunder Chief is also ready for his highlights.

Then we took a break to create a couple of minor stars in the Hungry Ghosts galaxy, Master Chef Chunckx, whose GrimDark recipes were a key to warping the Legios Moriad XIV Expeditionary Force into the Chaos fiends we know today.

No meal is too big for the Master of the Cuisinatorium!

And the Hungry Ghosts hired a Renegade Guardsman from the Plague Barons Army of Nurgle to help resolve line of sight issues, since the 40K 5th edition rules would favor the Squats due to their stature. Plus I wanted to paint something green.
Trooper Los Fnnr was not very impressed by the new version of the Lord of Change.

Then things got chaotic.

The Explosion of the Scrunt-Spawn

Some people see a driver torso on the shelf and say, great, I'll use them for my tank drivers. Instead, they nip nip nip at the corners of my brain saying “where's my legs sir?...need legs...or wheels...tracks...” A separate part of my brain decided “you need to make tall Dwarfs, you don't know why, maybe because Mickey was caught heightening on Seinfeld, but you will make them...”

These Super-Size Scrunt conversions are a mix of Citadel metal and plastic bits with Scrunts torsos from Olley's Armies. Citadel & Olley's Armies are independent companies, and neither has endorsed, nor recognized the existence of, these hideous half-breeds.

The stained wood appearance of the Scrunt Spawn is Terra Cotta primer and Chestnut ink wash over it.

The Super-Size Scrunts don't have official names yet, so we'll call this one Grasshopper. He has the legs of a 40K 2nd edition Genestealer, a Gorkamorka Mutie Backpack, and a (2e) Chaos Spawn Head taking care of business in the rear with a Daemonette Crabclaw Arm about to toss a grenade.I forget whose giant horns those are, they are metal, and is suspect a dragon of some sort, maybe a Greater Daemon. Grasshopper is also enhanced with some plastic bits from Kroot, Chaos, and Undead.

SSS-2 has been enhanced through cybernetics instead of hybrid genetics. He was sort of inspired by the Powerlifter used by the heroine of the film Aliens, so we'll call him Ellen Ripley for now.

Ellen is heavily equipped, with Ork Bionik Deluxxe Kickin Legs, a Space Marine Servitor Arm, and a giant weapon scope from Ork with Mega-Armor Head Sprue 3. His central-waist area was made by taking the hand part out of the center of an Ogre Weapon Animal Trap bit, with various sacks and other phallic symbols added.Ellen's arms are from the Mordheim Carnival of Chaos set (gun) and Necromunda Redemptionists (mace). The exhaust-pipes backpack is from an arm from the Epic Imperial Knight Crusader, with some plastic Empire Knights Eagle Head symbols added.

This fellow has a long ethereal arm reaching out to slime the enemy, so he'll be Ecto-Cooler. The crazy arm is the Lashwhip from the old metal Tyranid Hive Tyrant. He also has bolter-type gun from one of the Scrunt Weapon Sprues on his right, while the left arm is part of the torso, with a giant metal spike, also Tyranid I think, added to counterbalance the Ecto-Arm.

From the back, we can see that Ecto-Cooler's lower half is a Beastman from the previous round of plastic Gors, along with a generic Horse Tail bit added for more beastiness. He also has a metal Gorkamorka backpack, and makes use of some of the metal Scruntification skull symbols from Olley's Armies.

The last Super-Sized Scrunt is Wheelie, whose lower half is the Ork Bionik Gyro Monowheel. Wheelie has also turned to the Green Menace for his robo-arms, which are the Power Claws from the 1990s metal version of the Epic Gutrippa. The centrally located Las Weapon is also Epic, from the Dreadnought on the Space Marine Legion sprue. His antennae are Tau Fire Warrior, like the wreckage on the base, and his gunbarrel is enhanced with an old Eldar Fusion Gun tip.Wheelie's originally exhaust pipe has been doubled with the Horn from a High Elf Warrior Musician, while the cloth streamers are the leftovers from the Eagle Head bits on Ellen. He also has one of the old little metal Empire Outrider Backpacks, along with some Imperial pouches and more Scruntification.

Our final Scrunt conversion is super-sized in attitude instead of height, and was inspired by a character met during Judge Dredd's legendary voyage across the Cursed Earth to save Mega-City 2.

This version of General Blood N Scrunts is based on the old Epic Imperial Basilisk/Manticore Chassis, with additional armor plating from Grey Knight Terminator Shields.

Celebrating the Forever War by rolling over a RTB01 Beakie

From the back, we can see that the General has had to cobble together his engine and supplies from parts scoured from the battlefield, with the assistance of a WFB Zombie hand.

Four more Super-Sized Scrunts are planned. Like the other 4, 2 will be feral mutants and 2 will be cyber-mutants.

The leather biker look complements the metal Daemonette-Kangaroo crossbreed legs from the 90s. Whips, snakes, and capes will complete the perversion.

This Scrunt will use the bottom half of a 90s Flesh Hound (with Pink Horror Tail), and will also be position on the corpse of one of his fellow Khornicons who has fallen in battle (the Flesh Hound legs require a climbing posture).

The Cyber-Scrunts are less differentiated at this point. The one pointing will be hovering about shouting orders using a metal Dreadnought Power Fist bit and a metal Tau Drone bit, with additional curved plastic and metal bits from various ranges.

The fellow in the cockpit will have a zippy little Cloud-Car with long engine bits from old Epic & Space Fleet Eldar bits and/or old Tyranid warrior arms. Odd how similar the Nid gun is to the tail portion of the Eldar Wraithship. This one is meant to be reminiscent of the ancient and off-scale Iron Claw Hover Car.

That's it for today's miniature review. Coming up next will be Storm Troopers and their Spawn Slaves. In the meantime, ponder this image:

(from Troll 37, March/April 2001)