In 2nd edition 40k there was one model that summed up the role of Gretchen in the Ork army – the Pulsa Rocket.
It resembled a homemade and wildly improbably rocket that was far too short and stubby to be aerodynamic and far too large to be mounted on the tiny wooden launcher on its base. On top of what it was sitting on, it was painted bright red and looked after by one Gretchen crewmember carrying a tool larger than his body and another who seemed to be selling squigs (although I suspect it was supposed to be an oil-squig that functioned like a living can of WD40).
It was released in September 1994 and sculpted by Norman Swales and Alan Perry. It was one of the many special weapons that would sit at the back of Ork armies and bombard the enemy with their unusual effects. Other weapons included a Splatta Cannon and its chainshot round or the Lifta Droppa or even the squid catapult that fired a hive of bees that would stay on the battlefield and damage or immobilise anything caught in their template. This is best visualised in the below picture where it had pinning down a squad of Deathwing and the Dark Angels chapter master.
Of course these weapons required at least a page to describe how to resolve their special rules. Which gave the Ork player a nice break from shovelling his models off the table back into their carry case.
It has never been resculpted by Games Workshop due to one use weapons going out fashion and the trickyness of balancing them. However there is a kitbashed larger version for use in Apocalypse games if you so desire. I’m holding out hope for it being recast as part of the cast on demand initiative.
The strange thing about the miniature is that it isn’t really a missile, it’s a rocket that embeds in the ground where it lands and sends out forcefield pulses that disrupt the models around it. * This damaged the legs of walking vehicles like Dreadnoughts and War Walkers which were popular back in 2nd edition. However it really shone out in Epic where batteries of them could cause real damage against Titans.
~ Let me know if you like these articles on iconic miniatures and which ones you would like me to write about in the comments.