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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Squats in Non-GW Magazines, Historia Squataticus: Appendix 13

Squats in Non-GW Magazines, Historia Squataticus: Appendix 13

Le Héraut Citadel.
This was a French language magazine published by Agmat (maker of the Agmat Thudd Gun) on an irregular schedule in the mid- to late 1980s. I have only issue 5, dated June 1988. Like White Dwarf at the time, this magazine was shifting from a mix of TSR, Chaosium, MERP, and Games Workshop content toward being entirely devoted to GW. I am not sure how many issues were published; issue 5 is the only one I have.

Issue 5 features a black & white picture of the Squat Mole Mortar (unpainted) on p. 15 along with other black & white and color pictures of Warhammer 40K and WFB models.

Inquisitor (Epicast / Armorcast).
This 18-issue magazine was published at an erratic schedule by Tim Dupertuis. Tim was the man behind Epicast and then with Armorcast, so it is understandable that there would be some trade-offs between publishing issues and production of models. Armorcast still produces a fine range of wargaming terrain and miniatures (http://www.armorcast.com/), some of which can be seen in Hungry Ghosts posts, particularly the Alien Plants series.
The dates on the covers of the issues do not necessarily correspond to the actual time of publication, but may reflect the intended date rather than the actual date as was common for small publications of this time.

Number 1 (June 1991): No Squats

Number 2 (September 1991): Squats-free

Number 3 (January 1992): Disturbing absence of Squats.

Number 4 (April 1992): Advertisement for Epicast U.S.A. Termite and Falcon, page 10. This is probably the first ad for the Termite ($20). Given the overlapping ownership between Inquisitor and Epicast, all future issues feature an ad for the Termite somewhere in them and will not be included here.
Page 18: points values for various Squats-associated weaponry included in a Space Marine Army record sheet, including the Mole Mortar, Thudd Gun, Rapier, all Tarantula variations, and the Leviathan for those ambitious enough to construct such a monster (500 pts). Note that we are dealing with the Rogue Trader rules at this time.

Number 5 (June1992): Page 5, Q&A with Andy Chambers, including Squats questions about Exo Armor, Power Lance, squad and ally options and requirements.

Number 6 (September 1992): Page 4 notes the sad absence of Squat Champion units.
Page 14 index of White Dwarf articles from issue 93-151 reveals the conspicuous absence of Squats articles, limited to the Army List in 111 and the Land Train rules in 151. But it also foolishly includes the Mole Mortar in the Imperial section, along with generally shared systems Rapier and Tarantula, and bikes of all sorts.
Want Ads on page 19: Dwarf-friends in Alaska and Hawaii are still searching for Squat Musicians and Heavy Weapons Trikes. Good luck sirs, Inquisitor's publication numbers were measured in the low 100's. We had trouble in NYC getting minis in the 1980s and early 1990s, Alaskans and Hawaiians must be truly in dire circumstances.

Number 7 (February 1993): Article on pages 6-9 on Scout and Recon units. Provides rules and stats for Squats Scout/Recon squads. Reports that Squats do not distinguish between Scouts and Recon types, related to their heavy-handed approach to gathering information. Rules and Stats for a Jeep type recon vehicle in use by the Imperials and Squats (basically, touch it and it explodes).
Page 17 Want Ads. Our friends in Alaska and Hawaii continue their searches. Their pleas will continue, but will no longer be reported here.

Number 8 (Spring 1993): Squat Engineers on Bikes appear on the cover.
Pages 5-7, article on Combat Engineers, including Squats rules & stats. Squats also have access to specialized Rhinos with engineering modifications (bridge-laying, mine-sweeping), as well as Termite, Mole, and Hellbore tunnelers and the Gorgon (rules for which were promised in issue 9 but never appeared, except for Gorgon).
Page 13, Q&A with Andy Chambers notes that the Mole Mortar as detailed in the Battle Manual is far more accurate than any other weapon.
Page 18-19: Updated points values and equipment lists for Squats armies.

Number 9 (Summer 1993): Pas des Nains d'espace.

Number 10 (Fall 1993): Warhammer 40K 2nd Edition appears with minimal army lists. Page 5 notes that it is likely that a full Squats army list will not be seen soon...
Pp. 16-17, updated points values for 2nd Edition.
P. 18: Vain hopes for new Squats miniatures in 40K 2nd Ed.

Number 11 (Winter 93/94): Page 4, Squats Living Ancestor Dark Millennium psychic powers noted, as well as vulnerability of tightly clustered Squats armies (among others) to Virus Grenades.
Obstacles and Line of Sight rules on pages 10-14 discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being shorter than Humans, Orks, and Keeblars. Features illustrative photographs including Squats.

Number 12 (Spring 1994): No Squats.

Number 13 (February 1995): Vehicle System Update (pages 14-29) provides generalized rules for military vehicle classes and attempts to rein in the (literal) overkill allowed to Imperial Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts. Vehicle weapon points are adjusted for BS of crew, including Squats.
Also, the particular converted-into-superheavy-APC Soviet T34 tank shown in the picture on p. 13 was purchased by Hungry Ghosts and is now in their service. Counts as Gorgon (with the traditional 40K “Bag of Holding” troop carrying capacity compared to transport size), with stats on p. 26.

Number 14 (September 1996): Cauldron of Blood ($40) and Cannon of Khorne ($30) are now available from Armorcast (p. 2) and featured in an article on adapting WFB Chaos for 40K fun (pp. 5-7). Exo Armor Chaos Squats appear prominently in the army photo on p. 5.
Review of Galaktik Taktik spacecraft from Pewtercraft USA of Jackson NJ (p. 11) notes that the Colonial Forces ships would work well for Squats. Hungry Ghosts says, yes, but needs more skulls and tentacles.

Number 15 (August 1997): Armorcast High Tech Walls now available and seen in the background of many Hungry Ghosts blog posts (p. 2).
More importantly, this issue is devoted to remedying the missing Squats Codex for 40K 2nd Edition (pp. 5-24). A b/w illustration of an angry Squat with a large Bolter by Joel Phillips appears on p. 3.
The Squats Army List starts on p. 5. It is broken up into a Brotherhood Army List (pp. 8-13) including an assortment of converted WFB minis filling in the gaps in the product like, and an Engineer Guild Army List (pp. 14-17).
The Squats Army is equipped with vehicles from Simtac's Kryomek line of Nexus Marines, in pictures as well as rules.
The photographs included reinforce the belief that only a few Iron Claw Squats appeared in North America (Numbers 1, 5, 10, 17).
The illustrations by Joel Phillips seem to indicate that pictures or copies of the unreleased 2nd Edition Squats had been seen, or at least the Champions and Trooper.

Number 16 (November 1997): No Squats.

Number 17 (February 1998): Update of Combat Engineers article for 40K 2nd Edition rules, including Squats units (pp. 5-9).
Squats Army List errata on p. 25.

Number 18 (May 1999): In 18 issues Inquisitor has traveled from Rogue Trader to 40K 3rd Edition.
Page 12 gives a system for determining points costs of troops based on a average human model with additions for improvements. This system was used in assigning points costs in the Squats army lists that appeared in Number 15.
Page 25 Q&A includes discussion of weapons access for troop types in the Squats army lists.

Australian Realms.
From the vast wilderness of Western Australia, a bimonthly magazine covering all sorts of fantasy and sci-fi games – miniatures, RPGs, CCGs. I have only issue 21, dated January/February 1995. No Squats here.

The Dark Library: A magazine for the Warhammer 40,000 gamer.
Issue 1 from Autumn 1994 includes an article on boats in Warhammer 40K which reports that Squats do not have specialized Frogmen-type troops, as “squats rarely have much experience with water” (p. 6). But they do have much experience with beer, and have specialist Grogbrothers, who maintain the integrity of the vast beer production facilities found on every Squats Homeworld, expeditionary base, and spacecraft. They also care for the Beerquariums common to Squats entertainment parks (“The Happiest Fish in the Galaxy”).
The inside back cover reports that the next issue will feature Squats material, noting that “Squat players haven't had much to play with for quite a while now – the only new squat miniature released by GW in the past year or so was the mark 2 motorbike – and we hope to remedy some of that.
However, it goes on to state “If you're a squat player and would like to contribute something on squats, please send it in!”.
Open solicitation for material for the next issue is never a good sign in terms of maintaining a regular publication schedule.

Issue 3 from Spring 1995 is a much improved publication in terms of quality of content and format.
A scenario named “Irregularities on Vauxhault II” forbids allies for the mixed force of Imperial Guard and Space Marines, including Squats, which does not bode well for the humans.
An article on “Warhammer 40,000 Night Battles” reports the obvious – the superior genetic composition of the mighty Squats includes Infravision, “a second sight which allows them to not only see colors as humans do, but to see heat as well,” allowing them to function in the night without any deficit. On the other hand, it states that flashlights are useless to Squats. This is simply not true for a race as ingenious as the Squats. Amongst other functions, they can be sold or traded, used to make the ignorant think that Squats do not have Infravision, used to temporarily blind others by shining the lights in the eyes, or as a general whacking stick (pp. 21-22).
Page 26 features an ad for Nick Tompkins's Epicast U.S.A. resin vehicles, including the Termite ($22.00).
Page 29 introduces the new regular feature “Toshe Tales: Great Squat Lore”, concerning the mighty deeds of the Toshe Clan Stronghold. In this issue, the defeat of Ork Blood Axe Clan Kaptain Ironlung's Kommandos by a combined force of Squat Gyrocopters and Sky Surfers(!), taking special advantage of their geologic knowledge of the terrain.
The article includes rules (40K 2nd Ed) for Squat Sky Surfers troop type in addition to the story, as well as the Camo-Cloaks, Power Boards, and the Longrifles used by the Sky Surfers and Squat snipers. (pp. 29-32)

Issue 4 (Winter 1995) starts off with an editorial whining about the price of the Rhino transport used by Squats and other less important beings - $15! (p. 2).
Page 7: another ad from Epicast offering the Termite.
Page 11: a little complaint about the allies system for 40K 2nd Ed, noting that former enemies Squats and Eldar can now cooperate, and that Squats will condescend to ally with Space Marines.
Pages 21-35: Space Slann are back! On pp. 28-29, there is a sidebar discussion of an entity known as Saul of Nenuphar, a very ancient entity who appears in legends from just about every known race, including Squats. Saul is believed to have been a Slann. Or maybe a Dragon.

Imperial Dispatches: A Warhammer 40,000 Fanzine.
Broadcast from Alameda California, said to be quarterly. I have only Volume 2 issue 1, dated February 1992. Features a less-than-flattering illustration of the Emperor of Mankind on the cover.
A brief article titled “Artillery, the King of Battle” concerning artillery in (Epic) Space Marine notes that the rules are intended to be for general use, including Squats (p. 6).

Louis Porter's Fallout
I have Issues 3-6, March May July September 1995.

Issue 3 (March 1995): Page 7, picture of Imperial Commissars who have stolen a Squat Termite.
Page 12, article on efficient Space Marines point spending advises use of the Thudd Gun.

Issue 4 (May 1995): Page 8, quiz offering fabulous prizes for answering questions about Mole Mortars and less important things. Also discussion about people wanting GW to make some vehicles for armies besides the Smurfs and Imperial Grots, including Squats. Notes that Epicast offers such things, including the Termite, with ad for Epicast with Termite on page 12.

Issue 5 (July 1995): 40K scenario, Mission Delta: Assimilation, features Squats battling Tyranids for possession of a Squat Homeworld alternatively referred to as Drun Kale or Darmer, said to be closest to the Tyranid infested part of the galaxy (pp. 8-11).
Epicast ad for Termite etc p. 12.
Pages 14-17 feature 40K rules for the Blood Slaughterer of Khorne and the Holocaust tank, created by Khorne Cult engineers (i.e., Chaos Squats Adeptus Mechanicii).

Issue 6 (September 1995): Rules for Termite on pages 11-12 and 14. “Virtually invulnerable and invincible” while underground.

Mars: Adventures in Miniature
A quarterly magazine focusing on miniatures-based games from all companies, published in Vancouver Canada. I have only issues 3 and 4, from Summer and Fall 1997.
The letters column of issue 3 (“Martian Mail”) includes a silly idea from a reader, combining Battletech miniatures with Warhammer 40K. Noting that the Battletech mecha are of similar size to a Space Marine, our reader created a new race of tiny Gnomes. Our Gnomes pilot the mecha against 40K opponents who will tolerate such nonsense. The same reader reports that he is busily working on a Squat Codex, which would be of dubious quality from someone who would play silly Gnomes instead of just using the Battletech mecha as Epic 40K Squats Knight Titans, as any sensible person would do (p. 2).
A snippet on page 39 notes that the home planet of the White Scars Space Marines, Tengri, is near the Squat Homeworlds.
No Squats in issue 4.

Chaos Squats 40K Special Character Chikibi Chhattisgarh, Hungry Ghosts Gunnery Sergeant, Volume III: The Dragging-Outtening

Now we will finish having fun with Gunnery Sergeant Chikibi. Based on Catachan Imperial Guard Gunnery Sergeant Harker, Sgt Chikibi's main weapon is also a Heavy Bolter used without the need for a loader assistant.

Strapped to the lower right arm is the 'Terrordactyl', which is huge enough to have a mind of its own. Which is good, because Chikibi has 4 arms and a prehensile tail to think about. Also not spilling his pipe.

Terrordactyl is based on the Heavy Bolter that came with the Rogue Trader Space Dwarfs weapons sprue. It has been given life with eyes created from some inset gem bits from some creature that did not deserve such finery. Terrordactyl is part Tyranid like Chikibi. In this case, the claw comes from an Epic Lictor. The large spikes at the rear also come from the Tyranid Biomorphs sprue, with small spikes snipped off of the Dark Eldar Warriors that everyone was super-happy to get in the 40K 3rd Edition set.
The "rear leg" is a sword handle from a mid-1990s Orc Regiment sprue. Of course, the ribcage and spine are from the venerable Skeletal Horse. And I still have a baggie of Skeleton Army bits for the future.
The color of the body of the weapon comes from using a very old version of Bad Moon Yellow, right out of the Ork & Eldar Paint Set, that is translucent and good for nothing other than acting as a glaze over darker shades.
The last thing seen by enemies of the Hungry Ghosts.

Maybe this.

Assessing the possibilities...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Squats Fly Again: Hungry Ghosts Take to the Skies

From searching the murky depths of the galaxy...well, from our eBay alert for "space dwarfs"...we find more evidence that Squats once flew through the air like, um, like GW had left over hover boards from their Judge Dredd range.

There they are, hovering mightily behind the mass of infantry from the Space Dwarfs box, who have had some fun with the Orks box judging from their weapons and other goodies.

They truly hearken back to the age of deodorant canister orbital landing craft. We've got some popsicle sticks glued atop what I'm going to guess are chic Capri Sun bendy straws. Or Tootsie Pop sticks. Drilled with a delightful lack of regard for what becomes of the excess bits of plastic. And one is painted silver!

Hungry Ghosts must divert to a recurring puzzle: what the hell is going on with that paint? We'll do some boots here, some visors too. Let's not forget to use all the primary colors. Pick them with our eyes closed, that'll be fun. Somewhere Art is crying.

And here is the original illustration, hover board whizzing above the fray, making one wonder what the drawing looked like before being cropped to fit into the book, or magazine, I forget.

The Legios Moriad XIV has its own experimental air force of devious intent and malicious construction. Their mechano-tentacles know no boundaries.

Our program is overseen by Hungry Ghosts Dark Adeptus Mechanicus Wyrm Vulkaan. DAM Vulkaan has been working with his own personal flight system as well as guiding the general research and development program.

With the loyal assistance of some early prototype air crew. (Which are a Scrunt Hover Craft Pilot from Olley's Armies and a hybrid Paranoia Robot torso with Epic Eldar Nightwing fusilage.)

Below, we can see that the anti-grav propulsive systems have matured from light to heavy load bearing to ferry about the tools and parts as needed for experimental purposes. (assorted plastic bits and Dwarf Master Engineer with Handgun Backpack)
In the back, we can see the most ancient of the Squats' experiments in aerial activity, the Iron Claw Cloud Car. The technology of the time limited the propulsion system to pilots of Beardling age. Unfortunately, Beardlings are not the most cooperative of workers, having the stubbornness of Fully Bearded Dwarf Warriors but the teamwork capacity of an Eldar Ranger. Their small size has led some to confuse the pilot of this model with a Halfling, which only makes them more likely to zip off in a pout.

Here we can see another early test subject, developing a lightweight and speedy system that unfortunately demanded that the test subject have the lower half of his body replaced for the sake of science. (Scrunt Vehicle Driver on Tau Shield Drone bottom part with the rest of the Epic Eldar Nightwing as a directional guidance system (ok, it's a fancy rudder).)

And the Beardling Cloud Car has already reversed trajectory. How do we reach these kids?

Also a very experimental Bloodletter-Tyranid Gargoyle hybrid. Sometimes (=always) the Ad Mech works under the influence of substances. 
Plus he's evil.

 We have found that an early commitment to the program provides an excellent motivation for success. You do have to be careful about how insistent you are, and to whom you are insisting.

Our half-a-Scrunt utilizes one of the early Rogue Trader Space Dwarf Jump Packs. These were only produced for a short time, and only for 3 Space Dwarfs - Gatt Gunslinger, Roth Bergmann, and Owen Garand (in the picture). Garand and Gunslinger were modified to have a small leather/cloth type backpack in place of the peg for the jump pack at some point in the late 1980s, Bergmann just disappeared from production forever.

Of course, the aerial program that is the most advanced is a giant sized version of the old Space Dwarf Jump Pack. The Hungry Ghosts have assembled a team of Squats without acrophobia, equipped with intricate personally designed power armor, with a monster jet pack attached (from Chapterhouse).  They are similar to those used by Space Marines of various colors, but systems with the power to launch a mutant giant clone humanoid across a battlefield can send a sturdy Squat so much further.

The Hungry Ghosts have contracted the services of an outside consultant to advise the Skagerrak Skallen Fangsters Aerial Assault Squadron on the art of flight dynamics and the all-important landing-without-dying.

Half Daemon, Half Dragon, Half Machine (you can do that if you exist in multiple dimensions simultaneously).
Known only as The Drakoniak, payments must be made in blood or oil, but isn't that always the way? There are whispers of a world called Krymn, or Krull, Kakrakkis? but rumors are for the Elves.
(We have, in plastic, a Chaos Space Marine Torso, Imperial Space Marine lower body and left leg, Tomb Kings Chariot Driver Tabard, Dwarf Regiment Dragon Head, Rogue Trader Eldar Melta Gun with SM Scope, Saurus Left Arm, Right Leg from Epic Knight Paladin with a bit of its gun arm added to the Melta Gun (the Epic Knight Paladin is the Skeletal Horse of the Epic range), and metal Dark Eldar Scourge Wings, Pink Horror Tail, Necromunda Pit Slave Shears Arm, 2 CSM Shoulder Pads).

Here's our Skagerrak Captain Kytzia Anaya, from the Heartbreaker Miniatures range of evil Dwarfs (not sure exactly what they are called). He is quite an impressive fellow without any modifications, and his relatively large stature seems earned, as well as kept in proportion with his head and limbs unlike certain other company's ever-embiggening Dwarfs that are half head and no legs.

He is joined by another Skallen Fangster with a very nice skull head. Other than the Captain, the Skagerrak's are a series of Chaos Dwarfs called Ewal Dvergar, available from a fellow named Clam in Denmark.

A few more Ewal Dvergar in view. They are single piece bodies with separate heads. They also come with various axes and such and simple shields, which are unnecessary in the Grim Dark Grim Darkness of the 41st Millenium.

Here is how they fit in with the old size Squats (Iron Claw here) and Chaos Dwarfs - the Marauder line is the type they were intended to fit with. They were a special commission for Clam, sculpted by John Pickford, a noble influence upon the world of miniatures, dwarfs especially.

Another look. Aside from the close-combat warriors, there are also some grenadiers, one is on the left. He also has a few champion models available. The one I have is the fellow holding the hammer in some of the pictures.

Overall, there are 2 sets of 8 close-combat warriors (only the first is seen here), 2 sets of 3 Grenadiers, one out of stock until February, and 3 Champions. There are 10 heads in each set of 8 Warriors to go with 4 body variants.

These are nice miniatures, but are not intended to be an ongoing commercial venture for profit. So if you want some, you should act soon. Here's the website: http://claminiatures.blogspot.dk/p/how-to-get-some.html

And here's the Legios Moriad XIV Experimental Atmospheric Combat Division all together. The Legmor Exatcodiv, if you are an enthusiast of Soviet-style contractonyms.

And here we can spy in the background an ultra-secret prototype jet bike. It is rumored to be derived from ancient Slann technology. But, of course, they don't exist. 
And neither do Squats.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The [Tau] Empire Strikes A Curious Resemblance.

These are not the Tau Fire Warriors you're looking for...

 Move along...

Really now. We're not even listening.

 Did that head close? 
We're not sure what head you're talking about.

We admit nothing.
Keep your grubby paws off of our Space MarinesTM(C);No Backsies;TSNHH*.

*Totally Seriously Never Heard of a Heinlein.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chaos Squats 40K Special Character Chikibi Chhattisgarh, Hungry Ghosts Gunnery Sergeant, Volume II: The Title-Lengthening

Back from a word from our sponsor, but still scatterbrained. When Hungry Ghosts was in college, wearing our sponsoring Pantera Cowboys from Hell shirt, he was friends with a professor who enjoyed discussing Greco-Roman architecture (cause that was his job) and one such discussion topics was the "Yeshua ben Pantera" theory. For those lacking in Semitic linguistics skills, that means "Jesus, son of Pantera". 
The "Jesus, son of Pantera" theme had been in religious studies since the 2nd Century AD, and 'twas for centuries dismissed as pagan lies.
 Then came the construction of the Bingerbrück Hauptbahnhof at (for the time) the boundary of the Großherzogtum Hessen and the Rheinprovinz of Preußen in the late 1850s. This turned up a Roman cemetery containing a burial marker with an inscription belonging to a Roman soldier bearing the name
Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera
From Sidon, a city well known in biblical days, including for its place in Jesus's preaching tour of the region. Who is said to have lived 62 years, with 40 years of service in the Imperial Legions. But little else is known. Hungry Ghosts is also watching Die Römer im Südwesten (Germany) right now. Which is where Bingerbrück is. One of those places that are important that you've never heard of, Bingerbrück was the target of at least 7 major bombing missions in WW2.
Bingerbrück is the link from the left-bank Rhine railway to the Nahe valley railway, should one desire to travel from Mainz to Metz. Which is perhaps a surprisingly popular thing to do, or to prevent others from doing. Even the Swedes attacked in 1632.

Now that we have mentally traveled from the southeast frontier to the northwest frontier of Imperial Rome, when we last saw Chikibi ... he had been spontaneously mutated into another character,
Marbo Machinder
"strength in purity" the dwarf with the necrotic arm disagrees

There he is, coming through the door...
Here we have the left shooty-side of Chikibi. He is wielding a Las Pistol from the old Rogue Trader Squat/Imperial Guard weapons sprues (yes, sometimes someone actually uses one of them). Of course Las Pistols mostly suck, so Chikibi's humanoid wrist is wrapped with grenades...
 ...all the way...
Now you're thinking "Hey, sure he's got four arms, but two of the three others have skull-crushing claws and the other has a gun so big it needs its own character sheet strapped to it. So what's he going to do with those grenades?"
If Chikibi is somehow reduced to relying on his grenades, he will use his Chaos Gift of Sheer Anger to ram that fist into whatever passes for a mouth of whatever put him in the state of Sheer Anger, always hits/no saves, and pops the pins with his Willpower.
He's been told the arm will grow back. It will grow back.

The weird shape of Chikibi's shoulder-region made finding the right bit of armor not a problem at all, because I used another piece from the Ancient Skeleton Army sprues.
Cavalry armor breastplate!

Didn't even have to change the rotation from the sprue.
So our crunchy-crunchy claw-arm has a wide range of movement available through the waist ridge of the plate, while the las-grenade arm pokes out as intended by the Undead, the left arm side. Chikibi's head can rotate about thanks to the curved edge for the right arm, and his rounded sack full of sugarplums and children's dreams is accommodated by the neck section. A frame joined unto a fearful symmetry.
The symbol on the breastplate is a variant of one of the Hungry Ghosts symbols:
But even with the smallest tip pen, it still looks a bit crammed, and is nigh impossible to photograph well.
Here we have an older picture, before the addition of the symbol. It is not terribly satisfactory either, with its expanse of red. So what to do here...

More pictures: With The Grudge Master
 Catchin' Orks
 Combating the Other Green Menace,
well, mostly brown, in this case.

The Grudge Master fears no flame.

Winters afoot...