Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

Monday, January 17, 2011

Septopus the Unbalanced, Squat Storm Trooper

Unlike the 3 previous Storm Troopers, Geely Septopus will be a member of the Black Stars Storm Troopers, painted in similar color scheme to other Black Stars. Also unlike the last 3, he is a Squat instead of a converted WFB Dwarf (Iron Claw Squat from WD 108, number 420217).

With this trooper, I tried out an unbalanced structure, with a tight focus on the facial region on his right, while the left side sprawls over the front of the base and juts out into the air in the back. But this unbalanced structure is intended to encourage a second pattern, where the color of the antenna is painted similar to his Mystery Scanner and face, leading the eye to bounce off the antenna toward Geely's face instead of continuing off into the distance. At the same time, the Striking Scorpion's left leg and the bit of blasted barrier set a boundary across the front stage right, again encouraging the onlooker to bounce their gaze up toward the face. (Hungry Ghosts is wise in the ways of the eye-tracker machine)

From the side, we notice that there's a lot of Rogue Trader Scorpion 2 sticking over the edge of the base, with the protruding neck bones made from a plastic Skaven knife blade. I also stuck a dessicated severed Zombie hand to the Eldar's leg, to add some mystery as to what the hell mangled him so badly.

Trooper Septopus was given his mandatory Chaos Spikes as a crest across his head, from the shaved off edge of a Lizardman Spiked Club/Sword arm. The spike pattern of the club is echoed by the serrated edge of the exposed Eldar spine.

We can also get a better look at Geely's freaky gun, which probably contributed to him getting cut from the 1991 Blue Catalog. His weird little cyber-device in his right hand didn't help much either, and has been enhanced here by sticking a round little plastic missile launcher bit to it, and adding a shiny red Mystery Ball at the end (leftover green stuff). The antenna bit is another Imperial heavy weapon fragment. By now, there has been so much conversion madness that I'm finding Chimera parts in the bathroom.

Storm Trooper Septopus also has one of the little backpack friends that are so popular with the juves these days. It is made from the arms and face of an Epic Robot (Castellan?) from the second Space Marines Epic sprue. Why didn't they put a Dreadnought on the sprue instead of a Robot?

Anyway, part of my fetish with little robot/cyborg critters, aside from their sheer amusingness, is meant to mirror the Imperium with their Servo-Skulls and Servitors. In my mind, similar critters should be found scattered throughout the Squats army, as the Squats are the more technologically-advanced civilization that showed those no-beard grass-monkeys how to make a Servo-Skull in the first place.

Finally, I added a partial Eldar Shuriken Catapult in a position and coloring that recalls a severed leg, and provides an extended boundary making Septopus fully enclosed by the dead Eldar.

"Looking awesome, Sgt Skorpios!"
"Looking awesome as well, Sgt Porkulus!"
"Let us go forth and be awesome together!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Very Hairy Chaos Dwarf to Very Firey Chaos Squat

Today's Storm Trooper is Uklathemoq Bragollach, also of the Burnt Scorpions squad. He started life as the Chaos Dwarf known as Very Hairy (don't smirk, the mutation gave +1T) or Axe 12 in the Red Citadel Catalog.

Inspired by some of John Blanche's work on Bloodletters, I decided to make him Very Firey instead of Very Hairy. This was obviously done with paint, not bits. But the bits added were painted to help establish boundaries on the color-range between Ukla's molten red skin and white hot pointy parts. I also gave Ukla a couple of Gnoblar ears behind his horns, to add some additional red contrast to his head. Now Trooper Ukla has a red nose, ears, and cheeks, and white horns, eyes, and eyebrows.

From this side, we can focus on Tpr Ulka's main converted area, the Axe that must become a Gun. You bet that's a Skeletal Horse's ribcage over Ukla's arm (with some additional boney bits to hide the fact that the gun barrel disappears behind Ukla's left hand). His original axe blade was preserved as the bayonet, and the gun barrel is from another old favorite here at Hungry Ghosts, the Epic Knight Paladin. Specifically the gun-barrel part of his right arm, this time upside down.

This mini's basic pose has him jutting forward to a point while splaying out in the back in a series of pointy spines and flames/hair. Keeping the axe head as bayonet and using boney bits that point forward emphasizes Tpr Ukla's aggressive stabbing-and-jabbing thrust. Ukla was glued to the base with his feet facing the short side and as far forward as he would go for the same reason.

Similarly, I attached 3 Wolf Tail bits (Space Wolves) to the butt of the gun, flying in an arced pattern similar to Ukla's spiny ridge. The wolf tails were positioned so that they look like they are attached at a single point and are bouncing in response to the forward movement. Along with the spikes, they help fill the large amount of empty space behind Ukla in a way that makes him appear bulkier than he really is (which was the reasoning behind the +1T for the Very Hairy Mutation).

Finally, we have some Tyranid spines on the base, to remind us to be thankful each day for the spikes we receive. I mean, because I can't make a Chaos Squat without some Skeletal Horse, Tyranid Biomorph, and Epic Knight bits. The Nid bits are also purposefully splayed in an outward pointing arc, echoing Ukla's spines and tails. But they also being grounded beneath his feet, symbolizing the many victories of the Hungry Ghosts against the Tyranid menace.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Storm Trooper Banner Bearer

Another day, another Storm Trooper. How long can this go on? 4 days.

This is Storm Trooper Zuanic Umbar from the Burnt Scorpions squadron. Trooper Umbar carries the no-game-purpose-squad-banner for the Burnt Scorpions. As the banner is shoved right in our faces, we'll start by noting that the bulk of the banner is the Standard bit from the 3rd version of the Bloodletters (the super-pointy cut-your-fingers edition). Atop that might symbol of Khorne, we go back for our all-star utility infielder, the Skeletal Horse. From the Skeleton Army box now two decades old and still working. The horns come from the Skeleton Army sprues as well.

From the right side, we see that Umbar is made from a WFB Dwarf not of the Chaos variety, the Flame Cannon Gunner. Another of our favorite sprues, the Tyranid Biomorphs, come back with the Adrenal Glands as Umbar's shoulder pads. This mini is heavily armored in a stocky round way, and the Nid bits help reinforce that with their turtle-shell look.

The rest of the arm is made mainly from one of the metal Rifle bits from the Mordheim Carnival of Chaos set, a thin tentacle arm. Thin tentacles are not very menacing, and did not really fill the space, so another spiky bifurcated tentacle from the current Chaos Spawn sprues was used to make Umbar more threatening. The Bayonet bit attached to the Rifle is from the RTB01 box.

Umbar's left arm is just some greenstuff with one of those weird-angle heavy-weapon Space Marine hands stuck at the end.

Here is the back of the banner, showing that the Skeletal Horse's leg provides the rest of the banner pole. The leg is long enough to rest against the body of the mini, providing extra support for the plastic bits supporting the metal Khorne banner.

The Gunner came with all the interesting instruments visible, just the skull (Lizardmen) was added, at a swinging angle to give the impression that Trooper Umbar is trudging across the battlefield. Even just one small bit added at the right angle can make an interesting change in the overall appearance of a miniature. The angle of the knife also aids the impression that Umbar has just put his right foot down.

Trooper Umbar comes with a little sidekick. He is one of the Chaos Space Marines from the 2nd version of the Epic Chaos sprue, and his stockiness nicely worked with Umbar's proportions. I was also able to position him so that he looks like he is slowly moving along with Umbar, checking the left while Umbar watches the right. It is not fun trimming the bases off Epic minis, not fun at all.

They are stomping on a Leman Russ hatch-flap, but we probably all already knew that. It is painted so it both contrasts with Umbar's coloring and aligns with it, giving the impression that Umbar and Little Umbar are stepping onto a small stage.

Burnt Scorpions now 7 Strong

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chaos Squat Storm Trooper Troma

Back to the Chaos Squats miniatures, the off-table reserves crowd is getting large. Today we have Storm Trooper Troma Orthanc, the sixth trooper of 10 in the Burnt Scorpions squad.

Storm Trooper Troma is another Chaos Dwarf conversion, starting as the C16 series Dwarf named Dunuin Dust-Tooth, aka Flail in the 1991 Red Catalog. I got him without the flail, or else I probably would have let him keep it in honor of the jackass Flail-Flopping Dwarf warriors I kept rolling up in D&D games of yore ("You say you fellows don't eat Elves? But he's already dead..."). But the Burnt Scorpions needed a special weapon trooper, and the double-gun look works for him.

I painted him to emphasize his segmented pattern, with red pieces of armor creating borders for his legs and arms and similar highlights on his guns and backpack. The laspistol is a metal one from one of the Necromunda sprues, with a bit of an Empire Knight Helmet attached.

Trooper Troma had no beard, and that needed fixing. So now his beard is one of Ghoul Vomit with a Lizardmen Skull totem attached to the ended. I also remodeled his head to provided more segmenting lines, with another Empire Knight Helmet bit over his mouth. I also once again used a bit of the Tyranid Biomorph sprue on top, giving him a bit of the ninja look.

By this point, it was obvious that a triangular outline was developing with each gun & arm and the vomit-beard as the sides of the triangle. So I gave him a topknot from a Chaos Warrior Head with a small skull on the base to pair with the larger at the end of his beard and colored the hair to match the beard.

Those who have been following for a while know that I have trouble with adding extra heads or small creatures to the Hungry Ghosts. The photo above gives a closer look at our squeeky little space mouse popping his head out of a tunnel (from some sort of vehicle sprue). Like Trooper Troma, the rat & tunnel form a triangle-attached-to-a-ribbed-tube look.

From behind, Troma has a backpack made from an Epic Ork Battlewagon Turret, giving him an industrial feel and keeping the tube theme going. Troma's Meltagun can also be seen more easily from this angle. The tip is from the 1990 Eldar Guardian Weapons sprue, while the body is made from a Black Templars lantern accessory, painted to look like a fluid filled cylinder. Some grenade accessory bits from the Dark Angels are attached to the gun and backpack, painted to look like ammunition canisters filled with the same red fluid. To increase the aggressiveness, a Chaos Marauder Champion's helmet lost its big thick horns. The hair tuft was added to the gun because the head has one, and just as a reminder that there's gravity on the battlefield.

Trooper Troma has a giant cycloptic eye on the back of his head, to keep the tigers away. Actually, it gives a focal point to the back similar to the light colored skull at the end of the beard. But while that skull is flying forward at a low level, the Eye is recessed and high.

The mouse (from a Bretonnian Archers bit) was given a symbolic tail with a thorny cable wrapping around Troma's feet in the back. Which I can't remember where it is from, previous edition Skaven Rat Ogres probably.

Finally a picture of our Storm Trooper posing as the central spike of the Chaos Star.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Squats Who Might Have Been

It is a bright new year and it is time to ask: Was there a place for the Squats in the Warhammer 40K Galaxy after the Rogue Trader era and its d1000 Tables of Mutations and endless Vehicle Targeting Grids gave way to saner rules?

There's Squats in those there Citadel Journals

Of course there is a bias here in Hungry Ghosts Country, but Games Workshop was basically right- there was no reasonable way to make the Squats a distinct army.

A large part of the problem would have been financial risk. Really putting effort into the Squats would likely have involved turning the Epic-scale Squats vehicles into 40K form. And the Epic vehicles that were unique to the Squats tend toward the gigantic and expensive to produce. And the basic transport and tanks would still have to be created. Even the Termite would require special rules for underground movement. I think if there was a great enough demand for Squats vehicles other than the Termite, Epicast or Armorcast probably would have made some steps to fill those gaps.

A Squat Can't Survive on Termites Alone!

So the Squats fail at a Codex Army level. But the Squats could, and should, have been kept in the game by giving them a lower-level position in the Imperial Guard. The Squats would be like the other initial abhuman strains, the Ratlings and Ogryns. Reflecting the nature of the Squats, a nice choice would be tank and transport drivers. This would have had no practical effect in gaming terms, there would just be bearded little heads popping out of the hatches instead of clean-shaven humans.

We Demand More Jobs for Retired Blood Bowl Players!

Squat drivers could even be just an option on the tank sprue along with human types.

Smoking, Drinking, & Driving. Don't try this unless you are made of Metal.

Squats are superior Adeptus Mechanicus Tech Priests!

This AMTP made an appearance in the Chicago Golden Daemon contest in 2006. The Paranoia Scrub-Bot continues to dwell in obscurity. But don't let his Disney Eyes fool you, that right arm is a Melta-Gun.

Squats are enthusiastic operators of stationary artillery!

The motley band of rapscallions and scallywags known as Lt. Shaffer's Last Chancers would have been a welcome home for a Squat with a big gun. That is my Darksider version of Lt. Shaffer shown above.

And finally, with its vast range of possibilities, the Inquisitor game could have used a Squat character. No, I have not been crazy enough to convert an Inquisitor scale Squat, but now the genie's out of that bottle...

Great Job, Games Workshop!

Let us remember 2010 as the year Games Workshop gave us a Squat version of The White Dwarf. And a fine figure it is, one that says GW is also more relaxed about the strictness of the GRIMDARK Warhammer Universe, letting out a few GRIMDARKgiggles.

(See The White Squat painted at http://solegends.com/citle/citle2000/wdsub/sub2010wdspace.htm)

Offering a new variant of The White Dwarf each year with the subscription sounds like a great plan to me. I would be very pleased by a White Dwarf Skier reminiscent of the Alpine Ski Dwarf below (a limited release from 1989).
Be very very quiet, we're hunting assassins.