40K’s Squats: The Lost Stunties

squat-horz

Today we look back 23 years at the stunties who rocked across tabletops in 1993. It’s time to face our fears and look at The Squats

 

The Squats were originally mentioned at length with multiple pieces of artwork in the Rogue Trader hardback that kicked off Warhammer 40,000 all the way back in 1987.

They made an early splash and had a decent range of miniatures in those early days of the Grimdark. Here is a color plate of sample Squat Brotherhoods from Book of the Astronomican in 1988.

squat-brotherhoods-astronomicon

Let’s fast forward to 1993 and take a look at the Squat range at that time, once it had some time to grow.  It was a very different world with GW rapidly expanding thier early 40K plastic kits and ranges.  Take a look at this early spread to get an idea of the game’s factions and major kits 6 years after it launched.

 

40k-retro-1993-plastickits-horz

Who still has some of these kits on the tabletop?

Onto the Squats

 

squat-infantry

Here we see two major ranges of the early figures.  Up top are the older minis that are fully metal, including the multi-part exo-armor ones (a Squat analogue to Terminator armor). Down below we see the hybrid kits that came with a metal main body and included a sprue of squat arms and plastic weapons in each blister. More on those sprues below.  You can say one thing about Squats – they certainly had distinctive headgear. Check out “Pirate”!

squat-bikes-hvyweapons

Now we move onto the bikes and heavy weapons.  Note the bike with multi-melta which was the Squat’s version of the early Ork buggy and the Marine attack bike.  There are also exo-armor bikes for some heavy armor and speed.  Below are the heavy weapons that would fall into disuse once the plastic heavy bolters and las-cannons from the Imperial Army sprues became widespread.

space-dwarfs-pic squat-space-dwarfs

Next we hit the bit central kit needed to build your squat army, the Space Dwarfs plastic box.  This box gave you 36 bodies and a ton of the arm and weapon sprues.  This was the bread and butter of putting together your Brotherhood and then round it out with the metal models for the specialists.

squat-armsprue squat-weaponsprue

 

Some closeups of the plastic arm and weapon sprues.  The weapon sprue was shared with the early Imperial Army range.  Take a close look hobbyists – that is what the early gamers of the Grimdark think a lasgun/laspistol should look like.

The Fall of the Squats

squat-armylist-01

Squat Rogue Trader Armylist sample

Rogue Trader

The most shocking part of the demise of the squats was that they were a full fledged faction in Rogue Trader.  They received many miniatures, background, full army lists, and plenty of attention. They were just at much a part of the universe as say Tau or Necrons are today.

squat army list

Squat 2nd Edition Armylist sample

2nd Edition – 1993

The Squats made a short appearance in the racial background section of the core 40K rulebook. They would appear referenced in other faction’s codices yet never received one of their own.  The writing was on the wall. Strangely while the Squats were waning in 28mm 40K, they were growing and thriving in EPIC where they finally grew into a distinctive force at 6mm.

squat_army_epic

Squat army in EPIC circa 1992

3rd Edition – 1998

The Squats made no appearance in the core rulebook and were never seen again.

~Thanks for this trip down memory lane folks. What are your favorite memories of the Squats?

  • nathanie1

    yet they live on here….

    https://ironsleet.com/2015/01/17/the-brotherhood-of-steel-story-so-far/

    some of my favourite conversion work

    • euansmith

      Have you seen Inso’s work on his Squat army. Loads of cool conversion work, plus some home made sculpts too.

      http://s3.zetaboards.com/The_Ammobunker/topic/7685448/1/

      • nathanie1

        wow that’s really impressive work, thanks for sharing the link!

    • Ciaphas Cain

      Not a fan of power armour squats myself.

  • dinodoc

    You reset the clock.

  • Simon Chatterley

    Too soon

    • Muninwing

      really? it it actually that deep a wound? tragically bleeding from a thousand scratches from your agony at their passing? falling asleep atop their grave in the rain?

      i just don’t get the squat love. “space dwarfs” isn’t a concept, it’s a silly idea you come up with to get to a real idea. and there’s little to make them really dwarfy, real not-dwarfy, or give them personality.

      maybe if i’d played Epic back in the day i’d feel differently?

      • euansmith

        It was a silly idea, like Space Halflings and Space Elves and Space Orcs, but it had a charm all its own.

        • benn grimm

          You forgot Space Marines….sometimes silly ideas just sell I guess…

        • Muninwing

          so… kinda like hair metal or pet rocks? if you liked them as kids, and got the idea, it’s just a thing?

          • Commissar Molotov

            Just as legit as “Space Elves.”

          • Muninwing

            except that’s not what Eldar are now… but “space dwarfs” is really what the Squats never seemed to leave

          • Commissar Molotov

            Really? You have “High Elf” craft-worlders, “Wood Elf” Exodites riding dragons, and “Dark Elf” Dark Eldar. Why should they get a pass if “Space Dwarves” are supposedly too rooted in Fantasy?

          • LordRao

            The whole Space Dwarfs thing was only ever a passing resemblance. They didn’t really have the slow thing (they had biker hordes for chrissakes, and masses of tanks and the frigging Land Trains) and consequently also weren’t as much a static gunline army as Dwarf were in WFB. I think the main reason the Squats got axed (hur hur) is because they had too much in common with the IG and SM of the time. Add to that AdMech, which GW have really expanded impressively, and even the Demiurg have little reason to exist (as much as I like their fluff and concept art).

          • Commissar Molotov

            I miss the days when Gee Dub didn’t take themselves so damned seriously…

            Let’s face it – you’ve got ‘roided out space warrior monks fighting cockney green space gorillas who are fighting prancy doomed space elves who are fighting cranky robot space undead who are fighting bright blue commie fish-men…

            But gawd forbid we do anything to counter the grim-dark tone, folks. ‘Cause this crap is SUPER SERIOUS.

  • BT

    I can say I have every vehicle kit and 4 out of the 6 troop box sets. Multiples even. To bad most of those figs are worthless now, at least the marines. They did forget to list the Terminator and Harlequin boxes.

    • Laurence J Sinclair

      Those are only plastic kits, so the metals would be omitted.

  • Alvin Adorno

    Squats would be a great 30k army.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      There are rules in the Militia and Cults army list.

      • Ciaphas Cain

        Oh good someone else worked that out…

    • grim_dork

      I think the rules for Militarum Tempestus Scions would work well too.

  • Crevab

    Never seen again, but they were brought back to the lore in 6th

    • Muninwing

      is that when they were eaten by Nids?

      • Severius_Tolluck

        Nah they were eaten in nids end of 2nd with the board game! They had references, in the first guard codex of 3e talking about how some regiments are made of abhumans and it mentioned how they had squats but squats were lost.
        6th mumbles about them but doesn’t say they are gone, just kinda throws that they are out there doing there thing in one spot, and brings up their loss in another spot.

        • Ciaphas Cain

          What board game?

          6th and 7th basically resets them to early RT where they are one of the few Abhumans found in many different parts of the Imperium in many agencies of it and that the IG likes to recruit them more than any other abhuman..

          Which is how it should have stayed, the idea of Independent Squat Worlds makes little sense.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Never said they were independent, just not a commonly found regiment doing as people do, living. Being stunties also is often seen as lowly after all… As for the board game, it was like mid 90s. Can’t recall the name persay but it was about the same time they also did a nids vs elder board game. No figures, all cardboard if I remember right… damn.. Hard to find too! My google fu is weak, so I wouldn’t know where to look them up as gw tends to sweep stuff like that under the rug and pretend it never happened.
            However the fluff during third came to match the nid victory in the board game! Let me look about and see if I can find it, my local game store used to have a copy way back when!

          • Ciaphas Cain

            I think you are conflating the Armageddon expansion, that had Inquisitor Horst and his Army of Squats and Doom of the Eldar.

            Late RT and 2nd ed Squats were Independent. That’s been retconned thankfully.

            And they are almost as common as Ogryns and Ratlings in the newer fluff.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            yes it was retconned. Yes again, they were readded as other abhumans, which in themselves are very rare. You may be right about me merging the two, but I swear to the all father I touched such a board game back in the day. Grrr…

          • Ciaphas Cain

            Yeah Abhumans are rare but Squats are one of the 3 common strains.

            I was disappointed when they were left out of the Abhuman doctrine rules.in 4th ed.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            counts as is a wonderful thing….

      • Ciaphas Cain

        No they were never eaten by nids. No one has ever shown me an official bit of fluff about that.

        It was a throw away line by Jervis when he got sick of people asking about them at Games Days like they were some sort of comic genius.

      • Crevab

        Nope

  • wibbling

    One thing that was nice about them is a distinct aesthetic: a biker army. Trikes, bikes and infantry. In Epic scale they had by far the most absurd vehicles going, but those were iconic and ruddy cool.

    Heck, it’d be lovely to see Forgeworld produce a leviathan.

    • Muninwing

      i do appreciate their bikes. i’d love to see some like that showing up in some other design, with a currently available army

      • Ciaphas Cain

        Was disapointed that biker gangs were not options in either the Genestealer Cults or Renegade and Heretic army lists.

        Hell I’m still puzzled as to why R&H don’t had cavalry!

    • Severius_Tolluck

      the mastodon is a step in that direction.

    • Ciaphas Cain

      The Leviathan is also an Imperial thing so its a possibility.

  • KrakenWakes

    Bring them back as an all-vehicle army. All bikers, tanktrains, mole machines, etc. We know wed buy them, and its different to any other army around right now.

    • euansmith

      THE Super Heavy Army? All huge, all the time? They could certainly stand out from the crowd; and a Squat army that harbors a grudge against the Imperium could add some more fun to the narrative.

      • KrakenWakes

        Yeah, something like. Bikers instead of infantry, maybe some kind of alternative obsec ability like an obsec building or turret? Fired from mortars or burrowing in from underground, or, I don’t know. Something!

        • euansmith

          Squat USR: Something! 😀

          • KrakenWakes

            Yeah, the design team at GW can have that for free.

          • euansmith

            You know they’ll turn it in to “Tectonic Magma Nemisis Something” 😉

          • Ciaphas Cain

            Skull Blood Magma Death!

          • euansmith

            Not be confused with the entirely different, “Death Magma Blood Skull”.

      • Tothe

        Keep the biker idea, but ditch the traditional motorcycle form. Monocycles, Dicycles, reverse trikes, or the like would work.

        All troops automatically include a transport vehicle in the cost to make up for a reduced movement speed on foot. Full-on armored cavalry from the start.

        Make the heavy support all armored walkers (better stats than Dreadnoughts) and burrowing tanks that deep-strike.

        Anything resembling a real tank would be a superheavy, or a squad that filled the Lord of War slot.

  • DJ860

    I can’t help but be glad they’re gone. I can’t see them fitting in with the current aesthetic and fluff of 40k one bit.

    • JN7

      Grimdark is serious business.

      • Commissar Molotov

        I know, right? I bet these kids hate the old, goofy Space Ork models, too, because herp derp toy soldierz iz seriouz biznezz…

    • Edouard Decaen

      Thank you. I thought I was the only one. They are from another time. They belong to 40k anymore. Sincerely I think they are ridiculous…

    • Manwiththedogs

      I think a reimagining would be successful, I didn’t always think that and the whole 80’s biker aesthetic is terrible but then Genestealer Cults had limos and the new force looks amazing. I think with the right angle it could work.

    • Ciaphas Cain

      They fit in now they reset them to the early RT fluff, but yeah the Indipendant Squat Worlds were just a bit naff.

    • Neal Laxman

      Not in the current (20 year old) guise, but I reckon potential for a revamp. Just needs some love to create a compelling fluff and unique faction rather than “little people what is funny”

  • Muninwing

    i don’t want to be “that guy,” but…

    can someone explain to me why they are such a big deal? i’ve never understood the preoccupation…

    • Charax

      well, they had a lot going for them – they were one of the few offshoots of humanity that actually understood technology and innovated rather than just working from old designs, they had a rich history (including a major grudge against the Eldar for not assisting them during the raids of Grunhag the Flayer), They were less xenophobic than the Imperium, trading with both Orks and Eldar during their early history, They’re basically a more progressive and pragmatic version of the Imperium

      • Edouard Decaen

        but the aesthetic is ugly. For me, futuristic dwarfs is not a cool thing.

        • Charax

          They’re from Rogue Trader. EVERYTHING was ugly. have you seen the first Tyranid? it looks like a plucked turkey that has been stretched on a rack, they never got the subsequent redesigns of other races to improve the aesthetic

      • Malevengion

        I think the “less xenophobic and more progressive” version of the Imperium is why they were taken out. I remember the stunties well (a friend of mine still has a massive army of them). The problem was that the Imperium, which was always grimdark, became codified in their hatred of mutants and xenos. Back in the RT days the fluff permitted the Imperium to work with aliens if needed but that was retconned out to stabilize the fluff. The Squats had too many errors to keep. They were mutants, they allied with xenos, and they didn’t respect the Omnisiah..at all (especially grievous since they didn’t lose their Dark Age of Technology tech during the Age of Strife). There was just no way that the Imperium would tolerate them.

        • Nick Davidson

          Imperial guard had Ratlings, ogryns and BEASTMEN back in rogue trader. I kinda miss the flavour of old school 40k, some of it now just seems bland by comparison.

          • Ciaphas Cain

            Had? They still do, read the fluff parts of 6th and 7th.

          • Andrew

            “Beastman bad. Make Emperor sad. Me fight for Emperor, make him proud!” Or how ever that quote went. 😀

        • Muninwing

          the idea that there was an essentially noblebright and optimistic voice — even if they were beset on all sides and hopelessly outnumbered — is a sorely needed counterpoint in the grimdark.

        • Ciaphas Cain

          Abhumans are not mutants, they are abhumans, are you questioning the Inquisition on this? nice interrogator over there would like a ‘chat’ with you.

          It’s the leaving the Imperium and the Imperium being ok with that and not just exterminatusing them all that made no sense in the new fluff hence why when they brought them back they dropped that part.

      • Muninwing

        see, that’s the most info anyone has ever given me about the reason why Squats are worthwhile.

        i get that.

        so… if there’s a mini version of the Imperium, and they innovate and adapt… and they do so outside the constraints of the Mechanicus… and they aren’t terrified extremists that use space fascist fanatic armies to steamroll over every problem… and they even have merchantlike connections to nearly everyone…

        they do actually fill a role. and being moored in the galactic center, with skills to navigate the dangerous regions, they would hold important territory.

        now they just need a better distinguishing battlefield presence, and i’d be all for them.

        • euansmith

          I guess they came back as the Tau… except for the whole expansionist, join or die thing that they call the Greater Good.

    • memitchell

      As the name implies, “Squats” were kinda dumb. Unlike Dwarves in WFB/AoS, they never developed their own strong identity, serious appearance, or unique play style. C’mon, who among us would give up their favorite army to play Squats. They started out as slower, tougher Imperial Guard, and never got any farther. Except for idiotic chopper bikes. Maybe if large plastic models had been available, they could have become more like their EPIC counterparts. Despite the nostalgia, they really weren’t a big deal (I knew only two guys with Squat armies in our vibrant local 40K community, and one of them was only a collector, the other owned a game store, and had myriad armies). It was that GW unceremoniously dropped the entire army range that made them such a big deal. The collector swore off 40K (which he never played anyway), and still bears a grudge.

  • euansmith

    I’m looking forward to Kev White finishing work on his new squad of Grymm over at Hasselfree. His dwarves, space and otherwise, are tip top.

    http://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/14642180_1836396606580116_1034986431846303788_n.jpg?oh=2f5bf240a74d3cfb3169e7270f8af7b7&oe=58AB7C9A

    • Ciaphas Cain

      Yeah I use one of the female Grymm as part of one of my Objective markers for My Squat Sappers IG Army.

  • euansmith

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. It is nice when a “let’s look back in to the mists of time” article isn’t referencing stuff from this millennium.

    If anything, getting dropped as an official army has freed up the Squats to become a “Counts As” conversion projected.

    • Ciaphas Cain

      I run an IG army of them The Golgothan 8th Irregular Sappers.

      The Beast of Armageddon will pay for killing our Homeworld.

  • Hakon

    If you want to play squats in 40k, what I do is use Mantic games Forgefathers miniatures and play them using the chaos rulebook, I give the whole army the nurgle rule, I use a gyrocopter as a flyer, a mechanical construct as a defiler and other demonic war machines, I have t4 guardsman, treat the dark apostle as a dwarf thane, and I run beserkers as chaos spawn. Marines become a new squat Marine or as I call them space dwarf.
    And an ancient dwarf God Avatar as a daemon prince.
    Fluff wise when you roll on the chaos boon table, a 2,1 or 2,2 result makes the champion go berserk and take of all his armor, becoming a berserker and a 6,5 or 6,6 results in a dwarf God possessing the champion and him becoming an avatar.

    • euansmith

      That sounds fun.

    • Ciaphas Cain

      I run them as IG.

      You could also use the Kreigerlist.

  • nurglitch

    Let it go, let it go…

    • euansmith

      Do you wanna build a Land Train?
      It doesn’t have-ta be a Land Train.

  • euansmith

    How very, very empty that Perry Twins’ Squat sprue is 😀

    • Ciaphas Cain

      Yeah folks who complain about how much more the new stuff costs don’t realise how much more stuff you get.

  • benn grimm

    Best memories of Squats are getting stomped by my cousins (rather large) epic army. Shame they never worked out how to do them justice in 40k.

  • david

    Look at the size of that Land Train,plenty of firepower.
    Nice to see the Hellbore and Mole!No sign of their smaller version, the Termite!
    The drilling machines of Epic had their own stats like the other vehicles.The Hellbore had the same chassis as the other Epic monster, the Capitol Imperialis.

  • kobalt60

    Not pictured are the chaos squats. Nothing too radical, just the occasional claw, goat leg or horns, but one squad lives on as a cultist squad in my Chaos army. There was also power armoured squats, in addition to exo armour. All a bit silly, but so was everything in RT. Still loved it though

    • Ciaphas Cain

      I have some of those in my Mutant Slave Levy.

      I’ve never seen the Power Armoured dudes. I thought they were only Chaos Squats.

  • Ve Ly Pè

    The day a squad invited me to good space dwarf lager and let me ride his motorcycle. Sadly, I think I even forgot his name. :`(

  • Ciaphas Cain

    ” that is what the early gamers of the Grimdark think a lasgun/laspistol should look like.”

    That’s a Ryza Patten Lasgun

  • Keith Wilson

    i have a ton of the stunties and love them till the end ! used them as IG until the HH book with militia came out. LONG LIVE THE GUILDS !

    • Ciaphas Cain

      Same here.

    • Tim Brown

      The Stunties exist as secret guild worlds despite the Imperium’s and GW’s lies and efforts to make them disappear. I too have a Squat army.

  • Brian Griffith

    and were never seen again

    If by “and were never seen again” you mean “were mentioned as among the surviving strains of abhuman in the 6th and 7th edition corebooks.”

  • Daniel Sellers

    please gw
    just a box of infantry to go in IG
    not even a full faction
    Just to go along with ratlings and ogryns as abhumans
    the genestealer cultist have been rediscovered on worlds
    how about some outter rim mining worlds use their skills
    and the imperium bring them into the fold
    sure you can come up with some good fluff
    and the whole squats haha what where we thinking
    well thats bs you do lots of rebranding
    just 1 box of spacedwarfs is all I ask 🙁
    and maybe a box of 3 bikers

  • Boba Vette

    Squats where one of the most unique armies in 2nd edition. Bad A$$ bikers on trikes and bikes. Back in 2nd multi-meltas where a 2inch blast and squats got them on there trikes. I even have 6 squat exo still….wonder how much they are worth?