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Karak Norn Clansman #4884

As many may be aware, the Squats are returning at long last to Warhammer 40'000, with a vengeance. Warhammer community have a slew of nice little reads on various new concepts and units and wargear that these Leagues of Votann will sport.

Hilariously, the precious central computers which these Space Dwarfs depend on were not designed for being in operation for twenty thousand years, and so the accumulated memory has slowed down these once-lightning quick artificial intelligences to an agonizing crawl, with many problem queries to the machines requiring centuries of loading before solutions are received.

What do you think? Any favourite new reveals? Yay or nays? Planning to collect these stunties?

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My take: Design choices such as beards and proportions aside, this is the thorough treatment that Squats deserved to originally get.

Of the same kind the Eldar got during Rogue Trader:

We are at last getting fantasy Dwarfs in space, who are much more than just that.

Asteroid mining, clunky AI, the whole shebang. At last the Games Workshop design studio was inspired by a vision for Squats.

Remember that Squats were sidelined during 2nd edition, despite selling reasonably well, because the studio folks had no good ideas for them. Unlike, for instance, Eldar.

They felt that biker Dwarfs in space who hated Orks were too lacklustre, too close to their fantasy counterpart, without a driving vision, and thus they put Squats in fallow.

Which in hindsight was the correct decision, because now the current studio crew has a vision for Squats. As refreshingly loosely based on their fantasy archetype, yet being something far more, as Eldar were to High Elves during the Rogue Trader era. And I say this as a fan of the original Squats; much as I like them, they were also always lacking something essential in their background to tick properly. And yes, I will convert whatever Leagues of Votann models I add to my Squat army to be more Dwarfy, especially with big beards and runes and Viking ornaments. And 80s Rogue Trader Squat stuff. And Ork trophies.

The current GW studio has hands down surprised me delightfully with how good of a vision for 40k worldbuilding they possess: Just look at the Adeptus Mechanicus, Genestealer Cults, new Sisters of Battle units, everything in Necromunda and now Squats. This isn't just an endless repetitive codex cycle of ever more Space Marine releases. It's an actual exploration of the galaxy, with plastic kits to boot. And it's not a shoddy exploration, but a thought-through one.

What a great time to be alive: The GW studio has turned freewheeling creative again, not unlike the Rogue Trader days, and they are expanding the setting true to its spirit, without breaking the overarching themes (with a caveat that the ongoing Primarch return plot may risk to break it; we'll see). You cannot reasonably expect the Warhammer 40'000 setting to be in such good hands after 35 years of personnel rotation and risk of picking up outside influences for the worse. We'd better count ourselves lucky.

Let's be clear: Long live the current Games Workshop studio!

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Last edited by Karak Norn Clansman on 06 Jul 22, 23:13, edited 1 time in total.
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James #4891

Custom Custom Custom
Nice write up!

I am excited that squats have returned. Still feel like it could be an April fools joke 😂

I'm not overly inspired by the models if I'm honest so I probably won't be getting any but I do find it exciting that they are adding a new faction and listening to the fans so to speak. 👍
And never say never, maybe I will get sucked into buying them once I see them in the flesh!
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Karak Norn Clansman #5033

Haha, their return have long been a running joke. :grin:

I can easily see that. I'm not fond of their longshanking bodily proportions and small beards. The NASA-punk style is a bold choice as well, and can't appeal to everyone. But it might be something that grows on one when one sees it.

This is a very different style to the original Squats. I can easily imagine how this new NASA-punk style would have looked like in miniature form if released in the 1990s for Squats, including more rotund build and bigger beards. A great difference to quilted jackets and mining helmets for sure even if executed with a 1990s sculpting flourish. It would be interesting to see someone sculpt a Squat with the new style, but sculpt it like GW would a Dwarf in the early 1990s, because I think it's got less to do with nostalgia and more to do with the styles themselves.

My main gripes with the new Leagues of Votann are their bodily proportions. I've pondered for months about cutting them down at waist, legs and arms, then fatterning them up and sculpting large beards. It's still undecided.

I prefer much of the original Squat style over the new one as regard infantry, but I also find the new separate style has a lot going for it, bodily proportions and small beards aside. Might attempt some synthesis conversions of style (think mixing Hellcannon, LoA and big hat CDs into a coherent whole, but with different Squat styles instead). Plenty of fun in any case.

- - -

A quick look on the wheeled vehicles of the Leagues.

The Sagitaur all terrain vehicle (the name being an amalgam of the Latin words sagittarius, meaning archer, and taurus, bull) can fit half a squad inside it. Ruleswise, it is the first vehicle in 40k where you can mount one squad in a couple of vehicles, if I understood it right. It's got a nice evolved mooncar explorer look, complete with crash bar cages. This helps give the Squats a distinct vehicle style, clearly from the same routes as Imperial stock, but with a very different impression given. When you see Imperial vehicles, you think world wars. When you see new Squat vehicles, you think rugged explorers and space miners.

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The big vehicle realease this edition is the Hekaton Land Fortress. I was surprised when they went for the same route as with the Sagitaur, only bigger (as in a large arctic explorer vehicle, complete with lab and living quarters). I would have prefered something built around a heavier artillery cannon or big rock drill, but I can see what they are going for here.

More to the point, however, is the matter of future releases. This first wave introduce a full compact army range, stretching from infantry, heavy infantry, some small robots, close combat berzerkers, gravtrikers, and light and heavy combat vehicles.

It has not touched on such things as flyers and large walkers or big robots, nor has it yet delved into large artillery or rock-drilling vehicles.

Look closer to the left in the second reference sheet here. That is clearly a rail coupling. A lovely hint of things to come.

The Hekaton Land Fortress is meant to act as locomotive for a future Squat land train. Expect more specialized vehicles to show up in the future. I am very curious how this range will evolve with future releases.

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Cheers
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Karak Norn Clansman #5046

Codex Impressions

The codex is sweet poetry. It is not only the concept with the new Leagues of Votann that is right, but the presentation itself is polished. It is so Dwarven!

I'm sold. Dwarves and science fiction belong together. Who else would tame stars and carry out mining around black holes? Who else would crack planets to harvest the glowing remains in long processor lines in outer space? Who else could thrive as voidnomads and creators of pragmatic wonders across the starspangled nightsky?

Dwarves and spacefaring do marry. At last a tale where Dwarves do not face their glide into slow doom. At last a tale where their genius and thorough hard work raise them far above others, on high to material achievements of which sagas will be sung.

The triumph of the Kin in the long run is phenomenal. They are basically living in hardy Dwarf heaven, as if beleaguered fantasy Dwarfs had died and came to an afterlife where their genius and thorough toil could lift them well above the longshanking rabble. :smiley:

I'm laughing all the way to the bank. This codex is one of the best things to ever be written for Warhammer 40'000, and one of the most Dwarven tomes I've ever had the pleasure to read. And it's in space!

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Karak Norn Clansman #5061

Free Will or Perfect Tool: On the Origins of the Kin

One sign of the new Leagues of Votann codex being well-written, may be the better background discussions which arise around it to wrestle with the origins of the Squats in 40k.

A core theme of the question marks about the Kin and their beginnings, revolves around free will and slavery. To be clear, the codex itself presents the Kin (called Squats by Imperials and Demiurg by Tau) from their own point of view, revolving around kinship, ancestors and perfectionist work to mine and forge marvels across the stars. The explicit part of the codex contains wondrous vistas of Kin astral mining success in the galactic core, touches on cultural development among ancestors to foster perfectionism, and also delves into crazy themes such as acquisitive Kin showing no regard for others living on planets which they have deemed worthy of strip-mining for mineral wealth; the prior mineral assessments include present infrastructure on the planet, as so much junk to salvage.

Yet there are implicit themes in the codex, with quasi-corporate heraldry being a nod to Squat origins, and with a remarkably ordered society bred through centralized cloneskeins. What can be read between the lines present a fascinating part of the mysterious background, a worthwhile discussion of which starts around here in a thread on Dakkadakka.

To pick a succinct post by Mad Doc Grotsnik that drills down to the hidden horror hinted at by the Squat background writing:
Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:Think I’ve finally got the words for my thoughts on Kin being STC products.

Right now, as far as they’re concerned, they’re the descendents of The Ancestors.

Yet…if I’m right, they’re not. They’re creations and tools of the Ancestors. Their pragmatic ‘focus on what matters, lad’ attitude may not be cultural, but designed into them. They’re pragmatic not by choice or temperament, but by careful design, arguably to ensure they never rebelled.

The perversity there is that it will always be so, because the Cloneskein will always, always ensure it. And so, they ultimately lack free will. Certain options don’t occur to them, because it’s not allowed for it to occur to them. They’re free to do whatever they’re told, not what whatever they want.

That’s…horrifying. At least to my mind.
The tongue-in-cheek counterpoint being something of the following:
KNC wrote:And it's beautiful. Imagine being able to work hard during a long life, without ever being unhappy with your toil and task in life.

Like a tool well forged.

In short, it's Dwarf heaven. Also grimdark to boot. :D

Turn the steak around. Is it not wrong to put slaves to tasks which they ultimately are unhappy with? Why not design the slaves to be happy with their task and find fulfilment in their toil? What could be more beautiful than perfection of function?

Nay, pity the unrefined raw longshanking manlings instead! Their flesh and essence is but a random hodgepodge of contradictory neurotics, falsehoods and selfish desires, spat out by the rutting chance of evolution. How much suffering and bloodshed and destruction does not result from man's imperfect being? Why not make a better man, and do away with all the evils of life? Why not design a better being from the ground up, stable and dependable, clever and strong? Why not forge the perfect tool?

There is a cyclical beauty in this pragmatic futuristic design of slaves. In ancient Mesopotamian mythology, man is but clay, given shape to serve the gods.

From the Enuma Elish, the Babylonian creation myth:
Enuma Elish wrote:When the gods like men
Bore the work and suffered the toll
The toil of the gods was great,
The work was heavy, the distress was much.

...

You have slaughtered a god together
With his personality
I have removed your heavy work
I have imposed your toil on man.
Furthermore, the first prototypes of humans in Mesopotamian mythology were unable to reproduce, and only later did the gods grant them this power. Cloneskein echoes?
Now, what do you think?

Regardless of stance, the fertile fields of reasonable speculation provided by the background is a sign that this time around, Games Workshop did Squats right.

Cheers

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