Homeworld for Wayward Space Dwarfs

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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fleas the Size of Rats Sucked on Rats the Size of Cats: Citadel Scale-Creep

Hungry Ghosts just got a few of the latest edition of Imperial Guard Ratlings, and they are quite robust fellows. We'll let the pictures do most of the talking...

 And ten thousand peoploids split into small tribes...
Squat Adeptus Mechanicus flanked by Ratlings Mark 3 flanked by Ratlings Mark 1, and a wee little Marauder Miniatures Halfling stuffing his mouth at the left end.

Cute how they kept the traditional Ratling poses. Not so cute how the new Ratling looks like he could eat the old Ratling and still be scrounging through your fridge for leftovers. It's always Hunger City when you're a grotesquely large mutant Ratling.

Could strap that halfling onto the rifle instead of the scope. Scope's less greasy though. Less gassy as well. Doesn't want you to guess how many cheesy puffs he can fit into his mouth...whose idea was it to use the halfling instead of the scope?

Steel Legion Officer, Mighty Ratling, Drunk Dwarf Miner, Scrawny Space Dwarf, 
Embarrassingly Large Gotrek Gurnisson, 
Embarrassingly Small Space Marine Captain with Terminator Honors.

R.O.U.S.'s? Rodents of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.

Power Fist, Dwarf Fist;
 A Steel Legionnaire becomes 
Delicate flower.

But I'm a Terminator! Chaos Terminator! Eye of Terror Terminator!

I'm a HORSE! Quit whining.

This is why the Iron Claw Squats Hover Car is also known as the Halfling Cloud Car.
This is why Squats and Scrunts don't mix.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chaos Squats Hero on Black Shadow: Taming the Rust Monster

Here we have another Chaos-Squatified Imperial Guard Special Character, this time the Attilan Commander Mogul Kamir. Like the others, the Hungry Ghosts incarnation swaps the horse for a motorcycle. Unlike the others, this Chaos Squat has the body of the dreaded Rust Monster (from the mid-80s Citadel Advanced Dungeons & Dragons series). He has been renamed Gemist Knarst and integrated firmly into a Vincent Black Shadow with floppy weak legs (Tyranid Spore Mine tentacles) so he cannot escape.

Your basic Rust Monster is a bunch of lumpy rocks and probing antennae. Plus the mysterious propeller tail. So it was a fairly obvious idea to provide some additional probing antennae (from the Dark Eldar Talos) and other sensors from some Eldar, Dwarfs, and Battlefleet Gothic. The lumpy rock pattern was amplified with some Lizard Men Saurus Shields covering the back tire, the top of a Nid Spore Mine, a Tomb Kings Standard top, and a heavy-on-the-rivets Dwarf war-machine bit from the WFB 7th edition boxed rules set.

But then there's the face. The Rust Monster has a tiny almost unnoticeable head, relying on touch instead of sight. Which is a bit preposterous for a cyclist. And so I expanded on that foundation of preposterity: I had a sprue of the plastic Space Dwarfs with a miscast head, just the front half with melted facial features. Someone less silly would have tossed it aside, but I saved it for many years, until it could be nestled between the Rust Monster antennae to form a blind mutant biker. There was also room for a ridge of hair (Trolls) and some cyber-sensors.

However, that melted face blind biker demanded a bike with multiple fully formed faces. The Tomb Kings Standard provided 6 nice skulls, and a ridge of spiky tooth-shapes similar to those on the Saurus shields. Pointing the way is a pointy-nosed goblin-faced metal shield from the 1987 assortment.

Since I don't know the meaning of "too many", an armored Gnoblar Head was slapped on the front of the Dwarf war machine bit. And a couple more heads are dragging from ropes in the rear (Vampire Counts). The ropey pattern of their ropes along with the similar styling on the Dwarf Machine accentuate the ropey look of the Rust Monster tail.

And that is how you ensure you don't finish painting your tanks.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ourse Beeruin: Terror Bears Nork Deddog Replacement

Proof that Hungry Ghosts actually finishes something. I have always hated the 40K Ogryn, so the quest to complete Chaos Squats versions of all of the Imperial Guard special characters was not going to involve any Space Ogres.

But Hungry Ghosts has also loved his little Terror Bears since they were released by Dark Horse Miniatures in 1985. So using the mental heuristic "do the opposite", one giant stupid Ogryn was replaced 3 vicious little bears. Adorable yet deadly. Still, they have been given one single name as the act as a single character. One suggestive of beer and ruins as well as bears.

So now we have a nice mini-diorama. The Ogryn-size base is large enough for all 3 bears and a Space Marine Casualty/Lunch mini from the late 1980s, with leg (accidentally) broken off. The Terror Bears are small enough to fit nicely within the Marine's sprawled arms and legs.

Also crammed on the base is a Lamp Post from the Cities of Death set, and a metal sign bit from a Champion of Nurgle with the bird snipped off. Thus, my obsession with filling up the entire base for a model has been sated.

My plan was to use the Terror Bears in a manner that fits their different poses. Pain Bear with his raised arms was placed in the center, using the ancient tactic of creating the illusion of being larger to frighten off enemies. Doom Bear is behind the lamp, his pose is one of a tilted observer.

Fear Bear has a bit of a strange stance. His sharp teeth are clearly emphasized, his arms are stretched out, but not completely, with his claws turned inward. Fear Bear either just landed from a jump from a high location, or should be holding something. Since I wanted to keep the bears as a unified force, I opted for the "holding something" position to avoid suggesting he just dropped down to join Pain Bear and Doom Bear.

What's Fear Bear got? Space Dwarf Head. Since all Squats and Squat bits must appear in the Hungry Ghosts army at some point, the plastic Helmet Head needed to be used. The original plan was to use it on a plastic body, but that body now has a Chaos Terminator Head on it.

Plus the size of Fear Bear's arms and the Squat head could be positioned so Fear Bear seems to be talking to the severed head, which adds to the creepiness of the Terror Bears. It also serves as proof that there will be no special treatment of ordinary Squats by the Chaos Squats. And to use more red.

I wanted to give this creation a height near that of the Ogryn it represents, but at the same time did not want to distract the focus from the Terror Bears. So the Lamp Post was painted in greys and blues, both to meld into the color of the sky and to blend with the black base and blue armor of the dead Ultramarine. This was fortuitously enhanced by the broken leg, placed next to the Lamp Post and Marine to provide an intermediate height level for the transition from lamp to Marine to base. And, like the Lamp Post rising above, the Bolt Pistol was painted grey, fading out to white as it crosses the boundary of the base.

This process is one of the interesting paradoxes of military miniature painting. You want the Lamp to be noticeable (because it looks awesome) but at the same time not too noticeable. Similarly, in real-life military gear and vehicles, you want to camouflage your soldiers and vehicles with proper color choice and use of materials to break-up the shape of the human body or tank. With military miniatures, however, you want your work to be attention-grabbing. So how do you make something both camouflaged and irregularly shaped and visible and identifiable at the same time?

Paradoxes aside, an all-blue Space Marine is boring, and Space Marines don't seem to care about camouflage. So most of the torso of the Ultramarine was painted in the yellow also favored by the Ultramarines, with brown shading, some nice red blood from the bullet holes in the chest, along with red studs on the shoulder pad. Red was also used for the eyes of the Terror Bears, as we are still working with furry little Khorne worshipers.

The Ultramarine was given a tan skin color somewhere between the yellow of the shoulder pad and the brown of the Bears and Sign Post. This serves to provide a bridge from Pain Bear to the Sign Post.

From the back side, we can see just how cozy the bears are with each other. Doom Bear's left arm wraps around the Lamp Post toward Pain Bear while the right arm nestles under Fear Bear's arm. Pain Bear's threat-pose is angled toward the Sign Post, which is painted in the same colors as the Bears. The dead Ultramarine's arm is also visible, extending across the base of the lamp.

Cropping out the upper Lamp Post shows the unified positioning of the Terror Bears and their sign. For you TMNT experts out there, the sign represents the fourth Terror Bear, Nightmare Bear, who disappeared at some point in the past 27 years. I feel old.

Which Sign Post is tough to get a good picture of in detail, but says "TERRER BEARS" on it in red. (Bears can't spell, and neither can the Ogryn they represent)

Overall, we have a nice example of two of the Hungry Ghosts principles of miniature design:
1. Use the base, all of the base. It's not just there to prevent the mini from falling down.
2. Chaos, Khorne, or whatever else, do not fear to use all colors from black to white in a single miniature. Just use them in the right proportions to achieve your artistic goals.

This illustration shows all four Terror Bears. Nightmare Bear is at the lower left. Fear Bear is shown with an Edvard Munch man rising out of his skull, which unfortunately does not appear on the miniature. The picture is by Eastman & Laird, creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Terror Bears. I believe it is from one of the TMNT Role-playing Game books from Palladium, not the comic book.

This one is by a fan of the Terror Bears, though I am not sure who, and is too much fun to not include.

Terror Bears in the blister pack. Nightmare Bear strangely has different proportions from the other Bears, both in body and base. Looks a bit more like a Terror Monkey with that arm-to-leg ration and slim torso.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Squats in Epic 40K Part 4: Super Heavy Metal and Very Big Guns

Finally, the final chapter on the Squats range for Epic Warhammer 40,000. Many a keg has ripened since last we visited the 6mm battlefield, but it is time to end this tale.

Above, one of the last glorious scenes of Squats victorious in combat against the green hordes, from the 1996 Epic Catalog (North America). A mighty fortress armed with artillery from the Land Train towers over the Ordinatus Gologotha and accompanying fast attack bikes and battle tanks.

Here we have the Ordinatus in Packagicus Status. Do not be fooled by the packaging, the Golgotha is named for the eponymous Squat Homeworld. And we know the Imperium would be entirely lacking in Ordinatii without Space Dwarf advanced technological prowess:

Geronimus Undersen devised an Ordinatus [Armageddon] as a defence against the marauding war machines [of Chaos]. Undersen mounted a massive starship weapon onto a land-bound chassis, giving the Imperial forces an immense machine powerful enough to destroy even the largest and most heavily armored foes. This idea was by no means original, and followed the concept behind the famous Squat Titan-killer – the Cyclops.” (White Dwarf 191 p. 52, Nov 1995)

The battle scene above is itself a celebration of the power of the Squats, with the Ordinatus Golgotha's mighty Hellfire Missiles repelling the invasion of Homeworld Golgotha by the Ork Warlord Ghazghull Thraka:

Ordinatus Golgotha was constructed in the recaptured strongholds of the Squats. Golgotha's terrifying Hellfire missiles devastated the Orks, slaying thousands over the course of a week. The Orks were routed from the Squat Homeworld and since then the Ordinatus Golgotha has always been in the forefront of any battle against enemies who have a strong numerical advantage.”
(White Dwarf 191 p. 51, Nov 1995)

As is common to the known Ordinatus war machines, the Golgotha is composed of 3 parts - a command module in front with a large tractor base behind, upon which is placed the largest weaponry a land vehicle can bear. Which is not to say that the Ordinatus tractor is weakly constructed: it is the planetary crust and its unstable fault-lines that limit the firepower.

Indeed, a poorly documented Ordinatus war machine demonstrates the strength of the Squat design, proving critical to the salvation of the Imperial World Priam:

This huge tunnelling machine [Ordinatus Priam] was assembled during the siege of Priam, a city overrun by the traitor forces in the Horus Heresy. The immense creation was designed to tunnel through the planet's crust and and then navigate through the white-hot mantle underneath. This rendered it undetectable to Priam's defences and allowed four companies of elite Imperial Guard troops to storm the city's Generatum Vulcanis, breaking the siege. However, Ordinatus Priam was irrevocably damaged during the attack, as parts of its heatshielding gave way.” (White Dwarf 191 p. 48, Nov 1995)

We can only speculate at the nature of this metal-monster, as the standard Ordinatus tractor platform seems poorly suited to tunneling many miles deep into the planetary mantle.

Ignoring the Imperial white-washing, here are all three released Ordinatus war machines as shown in the 1996 Epic Catalog.

Now that we have discussed the power of the Squats on the land and underneath, we must dismiss any notion that the Squats neglected airborne weaponry.

The most common craft is the Squat air forces is the Iron Eagle Gyrocopter, seen above in the blister pack of three available in the 1990s. The gyro-engines allow great tactical flexibility for this staple aircraft- precision vertical take-off and landing even on moving platforms, and swift directional changes as well as the ability to hover stably for sustained fire at enemy hard-points.

The Iron Eagle Gyrocopter is commonly found paired with the Colossus Super-Heavy Battle Platform. The Colossus is equipped with a flexible array of weaponry. Two large cannon are available to assault Titans, Gargants, and fortresses, while medium sized guns blast away at tanks and battle-wagons. Small arms are plentiful and welcome aid in defeating swarming infantry. The Gyrocopter and Colossus together become a hammer and anvil against opposing troops, with the Iron Eagle mowing down those fleeing from the mighty Colossus. And if that is not enough, powerful rockets are ready for long-range assaults simultaneously with the mid-range Titan-killers and tank-destroyers and the short-range anti-infantry weaponry. A gun for all occasions.

When the heavy fire is needed from the skies, the Squats turn to the Overlord Airship. With multiple wide-arc cannon offering 360 degrees of fire, the Overlord towers above the puny Eldar Harlequin below. Made with advanced self-repairing materials, the Overlord is a sturdy platform for war at any altitude.

Like the Land Train, the Air-Wing of the Squats military was released in Summer 1992, with the Ork and Squat Warlords Epic 40K Rules Supplement. And, yes, there are more things wrong with that combination than just the order of the racial names.

Moving right along, at some point we all need to blast something out of orbit or across a mountain range...

For that, we have the Goliath Mega-Cannon. The finest self-propelled artillery piece in all the galaxy, introduced in White Dwarf 153 (June 1992). As noted,

The Guild of Engineers is a powerful part of Squat society. It knowledge and experience in the art [of] mechanical construction is legendary.”

But the Mega-Cannon may be too Mega to be effectively or efficiently used in some situations. In these situations, the Squats use multiple Thunderfire Cannon, each with multiple barrels for a continuous deployment of targeted firepower. The Thunderfire can also provide protection for your Goliath Mega-Cannon when needed. Also known as the Thunder-Fire, it was the last new Squats item released by Citadel, in November 1994.

Now the controversial Leviathan. There is absolutely no question about the Leviathan's potent firepower, nor its ability to safely transport a mass of infantry to enemy hard-points.

But some may be confused by the origin and manufacturers of these Super-Heavy War Machines, believing them to be a creation of the Imperium's Forge Worlds due to exposure to post-1996 Imperial propaganda and thought-control beams.

As noted when released in late 1991,

" This awesome vehicle [the Leviathan] is made by Squats and supplied to the Imperial Guard as part of the mutual exchange of materials between the Squat Homeworlds and the Imperium." (p. 30)

Let us also pause to remember the false promise of Leviathan variants made in White Dwarf 163 (July 1993).

Finally, the Cyclops, released in winter 1994. The Ordinatus Armageddon is plainly small beer when compared to this monster it was derived from (cf. above). The Cyclops is what happens when you combine a Colossus, Leviathan, and Goliath into one massive machine.

the Cyclops is able to pulverize even the largest of Titans into bubbling piles of slag”
(WD 170, Feb 1994).

Complicated enough to need assembly instructions, the Cyclops's major weapon is the huge Hellfury Cannon. In addition to this, the Cyclops is also equipped with two Melta-Cannons, a Battlecannon, and two racks of Doomstorm Missiles. Also "tons of bolters" And a vicious Battering Ram.

"Do we have enough guns?" is a question that should never be asked.

Our Epic voyage is now complete. Here is one last look at the war machines of the Squats featured in this post, also from the 1996 Epic Catalog. Those with keen eyes will see that the Colossus and Leviathan are misidentified. Sloppy humans.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Space Marines Before Warhammer 40K: A New Page in the Book of Grudges

Just a little fun with the creative originality of Space Marines and the trademark status of the term. This is by Mark Rattner, published 1977. Look, Drop Pods!

Why poke the Imperium? Because Squats do not forgive or forget, but prefer to relive the insults and fuel the grudge-engines. Thus:

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”.

And never forget this admission:
The Book of Grudges will never run out of pages.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guldgubber: Ancient Miniatures of the Northmen

Hungry Ghosts is sick again, and thus will create a diversion. Travel back in time to the Viking Age and view some ancient metal miniatures recently discovered in Denmark. The artifacts are from the collection of the Bornholms Museum near Copenhagen.

These figures known as Guldgubber or Guldmaend are of uncertain purpose - some represent gods, kings, or warriors; others perhaps sacrificial victims, or commemorative wedding gifts. They are made of gold or a gold-tin, and are rarely found.

This Guldgubbe with a crown-like object on its head was found in August 2011 by Vestermarie in Denmark.

Here is another Guldgubbe found at the same site. He clearly has a Dwarfish appearance despite the shameful absence of a beard.

This picture illustrates the size of the Guldgubber in mm. Our noble Guldgubbe is about 15mm wide and 30 mm tall, while the Dwarf is rather square in shape, about 25mm x 25mm.

More about this pair can be found at the link below, which is also the source of the photos.

A more recent find, just a month ago, in Smørenge near København. This Guldman has a more complex 3-dimensional shape and defined facial features. The increased level of detail suggests a representation of a more important personage or a more valuable sacrificial offering to the gods. The age has not been determined yet. He is about 35mm tall and 10mm wide, but is missing his slotta-tab.

More details are available from the Borholms Museum about this

This pair date from approximately 500-600 A.D., and were discovered in 2005 in Pedersker. They are between 25-30mm tall. The bent-legged posture suggest that they may be representations of deities, which were seated upon thrones in a miniature altar made of wood or bone. The stretched arm position may be a symbol of the deity providing forgiveness or accepting a prayer or sacrifice.

Details from Bornholm again: http://bornholmsmuseum.dk/arkeologi/nyefund9.htm

This flat and rather abstract example was found in January, also from Smørenge. It has a similar emphasis on the arms and hands, typical of other finds. The flap on the neck represents a collar, of which the other half has broken off. (http://bornholmsmuseum.dk/arkeologi/amandgubbe.htm)

This concludes our tour of golden statuettes from the age of the great migrations in Europe. As we can see, there is a great variety in the artistic style of the Guldmaend. And, as many of these Guldgubben were found recently by amateurs working near large cities or in remote locations, many more remain to be uncovered.

More can be learned about these gold men and their wide variety of shapes in the article linked below by Margrethe Watt (in English):

And a couple more articles for our Swedish readers by Lars Lundqvist: