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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thunder Chiefs Rough Riders Number 9: Spinne Sluitdiep

The newest Hungry Ghost to be finished is the 9th of 10 Rough Riders from the Thunder Chiefs gang, Otzo "Spinne" Spuitdiep. Spinne is the first in what will be a growing series of "Squats That Are Not". Yes, Chaos Dwarfs have been converted into 40K Hungry Ghosts, and Storm Tpr. Spyham is the Ork Tinboy Squat. But Spinne is a bunch of bits, none of which are of Squats origin.

As the picture shows, Spinne's Cycle is speeding across the battlefield, crushing all those who get in his way. In this case, it is Necromunda Pit Slave 1 smashed against the front shield. The Pit Slaves in general make for fine victims in their posing, and we recently saw Slave 3 beneath the wheel of Thunder Chief Ken, and Slave 2 will appear with Thunder Chief Trollo soon.
Pit Slave 3, Unterm Rad, for you Hermann Hesse fans

Back to Spinne. Spinne was painted to emphasize the many rivets, gears, divots, and other round bits found on the pieces of his bike and body. The riveted shield PS1 is splattered on is from the Ork Hop Splatt Field Gun, with the Front Wheel and Handlebars it covers coming from the standard Rogue Trader Ork Bike. The Shield was embellished with a WFB Dwarf Warrior Head Symbol, a large spike, and a Chain Sword Blade.

The Chain Sword blade is the one that was removed from Blood Eagles Trooper Brew Ithica. As said in the days of the Deodorant-Hover Tank long ago, never throw anything away. That Chain Sword Blade is the only piece of Spinne & Bike that are actually from the Squats miniatures; the Dwarf Warrior Head is the only bit from the Dwarfs.

The Chain Sword and Spike also provide support to keep the Pit Slave attached more effectively. And because I can't leave anything alone, you Necromunda Obsessives out there may have noticed that Pit Slave 1 did not come with a metal mouth-guard originally. It is from a from a WFB Empire Knight, and though it does match well with the tire strapped to the Pit Slave's shoulder, I literally found it on the floor while walking from the Shelf of Many Catalogs to the Mighty Place of Painting Miniatures.

From the other side, the skull face on the Hop-Splatt Shield can be glimpsed. To complement the many rivets and such, I used a lot of bits with eyes or faces for the cycle, including the small lion head from a WFB Empire Cannon and two Space Marines Gun Scopes in the center of the shield. They line-up with Spinne's eyes to give him a double-dose of cybernetic vision enhancements. They also work to create a nice black/grey ribbed pattern extending from the Pit Slaves shoulder to the Scopes and then to Spinne's Horns, as can be seen below as well (the Horns came from a plastic Beastman Gor Warrior Head).
Now Spinne. Most noticeable is that having extra limbs lets Spinne steer his motorcycle and wield two weapons at the same time - Spinne has a Chaos Warrior Spiked Mace taking the role of the Rough Rider Explosive-Tipped Lance (yes, the use of an exploding mace is meant to turn the Ridiculous Meter to 11). The rest of the arm is made from part of the Gorkamorka Big Grabba Blowtorch and green stuff, with the armor plating from some High Elves or Dark Elves sprue that is newer than the 2006-07 Catalog, so I am not sure where exactly. Spinne's other upper arm wields his Lasgun, which is a Death Korps of Krieg version from Forge World.

From the right side again, Spinne's upper right arm is visible, from the Necron Destroyer Lord set with another bit of armor. Spinne's right leg and left middle arms are both visible as well. These bits, as well as the obscured left leg and right middle arm are taken from the Chaos Dreadnought Power Scourge. The clawed ends are used for the limbs, but the upper segment has not gone to waste - it is the piece that attaches the back end of the cycle to the front section, with Spinne positioned above it.

The complicated conversion makes it tough to get a good look at Spinne all at once, but this angle combined with the other pictures lets us see Spinne's head and upper body well. The bulk of Spinne, his head and torso, are an Epic-scale 40K Imperial Knight Titan Paladin, the metal version. Like the bike bits, it is nicely detailed with rivets and straps and circular protrusions of unknown purpose. But they provide an excellent way to break up Spinne's overall shape, along with the limbs, giving him a futuristic Cities of Death camouflage scheme should his bike be destroyed.

Though very difficult to see, Spinne proves his Dwarf-origins by having a long braided beard flowing from his cyber-chin. It is the flame-colored pointed bit visible below the haft of the mace. Like the horns, the beard is from a plastic Beastman Gor head. Legends whispered in the dark intimate that, unlike the Imperial lies about the entirety of the Squats race, Spinne was devoured by Tyranids. Or almost devoured- leaving only his beard, horns, and hatred available to rebuild him.

The rear section of Spinne's bike provides the propulsive force. Skulls with trailing spines provide air-intake while expelling noxious exhaust, on both sides of the engine. They are made from the Vampire Counts Mounted Wight Horn Blower Arms, with the arm removed. Next to the Skeletal-pipes are halves of the Smoke Launcher from the Chaos Vehicle Accessory Sprue 2. Maybe they launch smoke, maybe they are sensors, maybe they're the "check engine" lights. It's a future space-engine, so they're mostly there to look cool.
Another view of the Skeletal engine system, showing how the curves of the Wight Horn Spines flow into the curve of Spinne's legs which point toward the front wheel, providing a wave-form visually integrating Spinne with his cycle. The Smoke-Launcher halves have been painted to match the Gun Scopes attached to the gap in the front shield, providing a trio of steel and red pairs of machinery. Similarly, the red-on-brass round protrusions forming Spinne's mouth and on his shoulders are re-emphasized by using the gears of the tracks and the forks of the front wheel assembly.

Aside from my most obvious preference for complicated designs, I feel that many painters, including the Games Workshop staff, tend to ignore the possibilities presented by the details of the sculpture of the models, both artistically and (admittedly imaginarily) functionally. So Hungry Ghosts will also point out at this time that even the details of the tracks and tires can be used to increase the effectiveness of the overall appearance of a model.

Similarly, as best shown from this angle, the use of red for the tips of many of the triangular areas - the claw tips, mace-spikes, end of the beard, gun tip, chain sword, and the ridge of spikes on the Wight horns - focus attention toward the outer edges of the model, enhancing its apparent size. Visual effects that enhance apparent size are a common evolutionary strategy. As is the use of patterns that have the appearance of eyes, used to either create the illusion that an organism can see in a direction it cannot, or to distract from the actual eyes, to make it less likely that a predator can bite a head off a smaller critter. But in the Hungry Ghosts army, as in all the Warhammer Universe, heads also make fine decorations and gifts, and should be used as much as possible to please Khorne.
Now for a direct look at the back of the bike. As we can see, more skulls, more bright red circles surrounded by metal. This section also uses ridged patterns extensively. Along with the spines of the Wight-horns, a crown of spikes has been placed over the middle skull (Ork Boyz armor bit), and a feathered-winged skeletal angel is used as Spinne's seat-back (mid-90s Space Marine Chaplain 4's Power Maul). The large spiked pole in the center of the cycle, indelibly stained red with the blood of Elves, is a Chaos Dreadnought Trophy Rack.

The main bits forming the rear end of the cycle are a Space Marines Vindicator Tank Hydraulics bit that the tracks are attached to, and the grabby-end of the Big Grabba from the Gorkamorka Big Grabba truck. The large engine piece sporting the large center pipe and the tubing bending down into the nether regions are most likely from an Ork vehicle or very big gun, but I gave up searching the catalogs before I could find it. Only so many sanity points left... Anyway, a couple more plastic bits were added for fun, the big red bulb is part of a plastic IG Flamer Backpack, and the thin upwardly pointing pipe is from one of the Dark Eldar guns (I think).

In the end, Spinne was a complicated and fun romp through the bits box. Hopefully I will not drop him.

And there is always more crazy heading down the highway.

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