Building a Squat army

It has been a long held hope that one day, I would build a Squat army.

Over the past year, I have been collecting plastic Squats from EBay and have amassed good few... so it was only a matter of time before I started putting a few together... but there were a few of problems:

1. There are very limited components in the plastic sets.
2. The arms have a very limited range and look strange when glued on.
3. The lasguns are designed for humans so are way too long.

It became obvious that the solution was to convert the plastic miniatures so the following was planned:

1. Sculpt all the arms individually.
2. Add beards to all of the troops and also add a few new faces.
3. Shorten all the lasguns.

In order to keep things simple, I decided to build the army using a mix of Imperial Guard and Space Marine codexes so I started with a pair of infantry platoons; each with a command squad, a heavy weapon squad and two infantry squads. These would each be backed up by three armoured sentinels for support.

This is what I came up with:

There will be more to follow.

Impressive work!

Cheddarmonger Great to see all the thought and work you put into these!

Army plans

Cheers Smile

Before I continue with photos, I want to take a moment to talk about how the army was planned.

To start with, my plan for the army was to use converted plastic Squats. In order to keep with the theme, I decided at that point that I would have no metal miniatures. That prevented me from buying more Squats than I needed (because when I get started on a project... I just can't help myself) and closed the door on many other possible allies. However, I put resin in the 'plastic' pile so I have taken to using a few more unusual elements to proxy for certain units in the two army codexes I am using.

The bulk of my army was always going to be made up of Imperial Guard elements (or Astra Militarum) but there would be a couple of elements that didn't fit in with what I want in my army:

1. Commissars are not fluffy for my army so wouldn't appear.
2. My Squats would not be psykers.
3. There would be no humans in the army.
4. Abhumans were welcome.
5. Various unit selections would be proxied.

My initial plan was to have two basic infantry platoons with Sentinel support (as has already been shown). This is to be followed up with an army command HQ squad and a third, 'special/reserve' platoon, at a later date (I will talk about that at another time).

In the meantime, I have allowed myself to be a little distracted by some of the other more unusual elements of the Imperial Guard army list. As well as deciding to build new units, I also had a look through some of my unfinished projects to see if anything could be used. Initially, I knew that I would need an Enginseer so I decided to build one and add a few servitors into the bargain:


Next up, I wanted to include a Primaris Psyker but didn't want it to be a Squat. I had some Tau and with a little tinkering, I soon turned one of them into a 'Jedi' Beastman who fitted the bill nicely:


Then I suddenly realised that I had some miniatures hiding away in my unfinished projects pile that would make a great little Weirdvane Psyker unit... so a small Hrud Squad was gathered together and put to good use:


That covers all of the finished Imperial Guard units so far. However there are plans to add some Rough Riders to support the third platoon and a small unit of Bullgryn but those will come at a later date and in the next post, I will talk about the Space Marine aspects of the army.

Exo Armour

One of the must-have elements of any Squat force is Exo armour and my force couldn't be without it. Fortunately, I pledged on the Mantic Deadzone Kickstarter and had a set of 12 Forgefather Forge Guard that didn't have a place to go. The Forge Guard are heavily armoured space Dwarfs and are a bit larger than Squats but I felt that they would work really well as Exo armour with a little conversion.

Now that I had the miniatures lined up, I had to fit them into the army somehow and it was a fairly obvious choice to count them as Space Marine Terminators... so that is what I did. I needed to tweak the weapons a bit but after a bit of tinkering, I came up with a squad of 10 Exo troopers equipped as Terminators with Storm bolters, chain fists and heavy flamers, with the sgt having a power weapon. I then added a captain to the mix. Here's the Squad with the captain leading it:


With a single HQ and Elite choice, I only needed 2 troop choices to make a separate detachment so I plan to add a pair of small scout squads at a later date.

The third platoon.

The third platoon will be an assault/reserve platoon. It will not be like the standard platoons in three ways:
1. There will be no heavy weapons squads or teams so special weapons and special squads will be included.
2. There will be no Sentinels. There will be Rough Riders instead.
3. The troops will be wearing berets instead of helmets.

Here are a few Sgt's that will eventually have some troops to lead:



I plan to change the layout of the platoon so that there is a command squad, 3 infantry squads, 3 special weapon squads and the rough rider squad. The ethos for this particular platoon is attack. as a result, I am planning to convert 3 Squats into Berserkers, counting them as Priests and putting them with the infantry.

I have been thinking about what special weapons to include in the special weapon squads and I have decided to go for, Meltas, Flamers and sniper rifles. Obviously, the snipers will get Ghilly suits.

The Rough Riders will all be based on famous characters from film and TV and they will be riding badgers. What better animals to ride into combat? Here is the first one... he's finished apart from his lance tip:



One thing that can never be underestimated when building any army is motivation. Even if you are just buying, preparing, painting and basing stock miniatures, in order to build up a large army, motivation is key.

When converting every miniature, motivation is an essential part of the process because each miniature takes in excess of an our just to get to the painting stage but there are lots of ways to go about building motivation:

1. Try to plan what you want to complete by when.
2. Be pessimistic when you choose deadlines so that you don't overstretch yourself.
3. Be thankful for small victories and celebrate them.
4. Keep completed units close at hand so that you can look at them and see end results.
5. Show off what you have finished. You often get 'keep up the good work/nice work' comments which really do help with motivation.
6. Set yourself a standard and stick to it... improving unit by unit means that earlier ones need rework and that kills motivation.
7. Have a star chart/progress chart and make it obvious how far you have got (do this once you have a good few units finished).
8. Every so often, get all of the finished units out and put them on the table for an 'army shot'.

Talking about progress charts, here is the one (in two parts) that I put together for my Squat army:



My priority, at the moment, is to turn the command squad green and then turn all the green boxes blue. Hopefully, my motivation will last.