Saturday, 5 March 2016

Squats to bend your mind!!!

The Squat range first appeared in White dwarf 94 and in the book of the Astrnomican and obviously they'd been in the RT rule book. Heavy weapons appeared in WD 97 along with command models. Two model appeared in the adventurers range in WD99 and then in WD100 this lot appeared.

The god like genius that is Bob Olley (he charges by the mm you know!) produced this range of Squats for citadel at the height of the Golden Era. They were his first of two ranges of squats and the 32 figures here help make the humble squat one of the most numerous ranges within the early Rogue Trader ouvre.

How come on one figure from this range made it to the 91 catalogue then? How come this range is so overlooked when folk look at classic RT ranges? I'm not sure I've heard of any body trying to collect this range. Why does nobody love this bunch of mini psychos?

I think we need to first of all see what we have to compare them against. There were two other Squat ranges around at the same time. First up is the Perry range. 

These are the guy that appear in the RT rule book and are the archetype of RT squats. Roughly uniformed but individualistic. Beards and extremely cool looking. All the original range had punning names based on gun manufacturers. They looked like the were capable of nonchalant violence and were armed to the teeth. Shades and cigars were the order of the day.

Later the immortal Mr Olley did a second range of squats.

These guys had similar trappings to the Perry ones. Quilted flack armour. Helmets with photo visors. Standard issue lasguns, shades, special weapons. Great for expanding your troop base for your squat squads. 

And there was this lot.
There is nothing standard about this crew.

First up the weapons are less than standard. They have the same random pattern as the Space Pirates the Bob did. Good luck making a decision about what some of them are supposed to represent.

There are no uniforms here either. Helmets, skull caps, flight caps, bandanas and at least two of these guys are wearing capes. Capes for flips sake!

Just look at the general. He's like a mini Zod!

These guys are individuals. They aren't some uniformed brotherhood, sold as a military asset. These guys are making their own way in the galaxy. Fighting their own wars for their own reasons.

Taking that into account these guys are the equivalent of the mercenary, adventurer and pirates ranges. Space age tough guys ready to throw a stick bomb and blast a greenskin with a double handed ray gun provided Abdul Goldberg doesn't get in the way. 

Adding these guys to your pirate crews or adventuring band adds a bit of abhuman spice to your mob. A couple of wise cracking bearded grumbles to anchor the gun line as you assault the church of the lucid shirt button. 

However, I'm thinking this very individuality could have been their undoing. 40k may have contained everything you needed for a tabletop scifi, adventure skirmish game but it's not why it became popular. Armies feature troops that are armed and dressed in a uniform manner and that's what the Perry and the other Olley range offer. These mad, bad and hairy little individuals just didn't fit into an army list. The second factor that counted against these guys is that they were sculpted by Bob. Kids are fickle little bastards and Bob has a unique approach to sculpting figures. Many people don't like them and certainly those of us who love them these days have grown into our love. The Perry figures were just easier to read and therefore were more popular. This fantastically bonkers range of space hopping nut jobs just kind of faded into the background. When was the last time you heard anybody talking about them never mind talking about them fondly? It's such a shame. They pop up on ebay occasionally but suffer from the "it's a squat so I can charge silly money" syndrome. They'd be a great range to collect but maybe just a few of them mixed into to your warband for flavour. So come on, who loves this range? 


  1. That was a great read that. I've never been that bothered by the squats, but those iron claw ones have made me sit up and pay real attention, it'd be a terrible shame not to collect paint a few....
    Here we go again.

  2. I agree Rochie excellent read, and ya I'm not a squat man either, well unless I'm in the gym. However I do like short folk in my forces. I might need to pick up a couple of these. Excellent write up Whiskey meh man!

  3. Must admit, as well as him being a bit of a 'marmite' sculptor, Bob's sculpting style just didn't 'fit' with the rest of the RT range, in my opinion. I guess management did as well, hence the creation of the 'Iron Claw' label.

  4. The great thing about Olley is that he forces you to have an opinion. Whereas The Perry's, Goodwin, Naismith, Copplestone and Morrison can sometimes be a good discussion away from recognising, there is no mistaking a Bob. No one sculpts like Olley.

    1. The one sculptor that to my mind flew close to the Olley style (albeit briefly) was Kev Adams when he sculpted his zombies. Kev's zombies certainly have a 'what the fuck is this bit? ahhh! I see now, cool!' quality that Bob perfected. Although it predates the range, Bob's Essex zombies could easily shamble along with Kev's wrinkly horde.

      Bob is the panacea to the smooth faced and nameless aryan supermen. Maybe as oldhammer players, with the emphasis on old, we can no longer project ourselves onto the symmetrical adonis types, and instead prefer the fugly guys with gnarled faces, pot bellies and Dennis Healy eyebrows who look half drunk and wise enough to know how stupid they are :)

      For me the perfect oldhammer scenario pack and minis would be Blanche cover art, Chalk interior art, Rick Priestly story and Aly and Olley for the minis. Lots of undead and at least 40% of troops subject to alcoholism. Everything, from geographical to character/unit names has to be a pun.

  5. Yep, the gnarly sculpting is an acquired taste, I really didn't take to it at the time - just another sign that citadel had lost its way. Now strangely I can't get enough of his sculpts, be they the dwarves, undead, ogres or these squats. I love all the non-citadel sculpts he has done as well and in my head am quietly planning my collecting campaign...

  6. Squat's not to like? :-) Bob Olley is an acquired taste no doubt, but once you've got a taste for his work there's little substitute...

  7. The only Squats (I mean Space Dwarfs) I'm not all that keen on are the Exo armoured ones. I use the Olley Iron Claw minis as personalities in my force.
    As mentioned they are also great for Pirates or Mercs.

    I think it was Asslessman who coined the phrase "Bob Olley Factor" where you may think his minis are horrid until you paint one and fall in love with it.

  8. Great post - glad you are shedding some light on this neglected range. Bad mad and hairy perfectly sums up Olley's sculpts for GW in the golden age. As Bruno says, there really is an Olley Factor. His miniatures don't fit into a non-Olley unit. But once you start painting them and appreciating their fungal weirdness, you want to create your own unit of Bob Olley Irregulars.

  9. It was a Bob Olley Goblin Chariot that finally won me over - having languished unloved in my collection for many a year.

    Squats passed me by back in the day, although I do remember coveting the Space Dwarfs plastic box set to go with my plastic Imperial Guard - the polar opposite of these little beauties! I think I may have Yellowbeard or someone similar and now feel inspired to paint him up as some kind of rogue or pirate for a Rogue Trader game we have planned next weekend.

  10. Oh forgot to mention - never seen that Imperial assault trooper or the Robo Dog before - nice!

  11. I've always loved the character in Olley sculpts. Shame I've lost and sold more models of his design than I currently own.

  12. I really like these little fellows; I've seen The advert before but never actually bothered really looking at it. Now I have I think I might have to try to acquire some.

    Oh dear

  13. whenever someone writes an article like this it just increases the amount of things in my life that i need.


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