|Combat Cards 4 Life, Dawg|
One thing notably missing from current Games Workshop design principles is a cheap and cheerful "gateway drug". It would be impossible to get a nerdy 13 year old into the hobby without a three digit price tag and (speaking very much from personal experience here) convincing random mates of yours who haven't tried the hobby before to play a several hours long game of Warhammer is a big ask.
Back in the Ye Olden Days things were a little difference. Citadel Combat Cards were an excellent little toy that I brought to the playground on many an occasion - cheap, quick and portable. They were basically just Games Workshop-themed Top Trumps with some suggestions for more involved, complex games to play. Every card had a picture of a gorgeous painted Citadel Miniature on them and individual Orcs, Space Marines, Ogres etc even had names - years later I can still remember some of those names.
Most of the creatures in the Yellow-bordered "Monsters" set are fairly classic mythological beasts like Ogres, Minotaurs, Trolls, Dragons etc along but there's a few odder examples. Front and center is perhaps the strangest in the set, a 40K monster surrounded by Warhammer Fantasy beasties - the Ambull, a creature who I now have a painted example of
|First appearance... and pretty much last appearance, if we're going to be honest.|
One important thing to know about 40K is that, as surprising as it might seem to us know, Rick Priestly informs us that it wasn't initially considered to be likely to succeed. Sci-fi games were rare and sci-fi figures in short supply so everything had to be made assuming that players would be mostly converting Warhammer, D&D, World War II and other fantasy figures to the task. It became quickly apparent that wasn't the case but the bulk of the 1st Ed book was written under that premise - and the classic "Space Elves/Dwarves/Orcs" conceit was there as much for easy availability of figures as a stylistic conceit. The Adeptus Arbites aren't just inspired by the Judges of Judge Dredd - GW were making figures of those judges, so including them was just common-sense.
The Warhammer rulebook, therefore, is filled with creatures who are Expies of other things that GW was making figures of at the time - a lot of them D&D creatures, since Games Workshop had started supporting RPGs first and foremost. The Ferro-Beast is a fairly obvious Rust Monster proxy, both in powers and insectoid appearance, while the Enslaver feels like a fourth hand recollection of what a Beholder looks like - round body, central eye, tentacles emitting...
|1st Ed and 3rd Ed Umber Hulk art: spot the family resemblance!|
Now, the Ambull is fun and all but it doesn't really fit the current Warhammer game style. Random beasties running in, controlled by a third party, and fucking shit up is not really going to fly with someone raised on 2000s era Warhammer and it's mass battle, balanced points, quasi-tournament-conditions ruleset. To be honest, not long after 1st Edition came out they already seemed out of place with how the game was evolving - in White Dwarf 99 there was an attempt to restyle them for use as trained beasts but it fell a bit flat.
|Just a few months later and this article shows how quickly 40K was changing from quasi-RPG to wargame|
|A plastic honeycomb of Ambull-y goodness.|
Now the previous data may have made you think Ambulls are human/ogre sized. That's true - that's about who big the original figure was. That's now how big this Ambull is, though...
|Put together with a traditional Space Marine for scale.|
No, Adam was a true American and decided that the correct thing to do to improve this was to make it BIGGER. His Ambull, shown above with a Space Marine not even reaching his waist, is standing on a 75mm square base and is clearly a Queen Ambull, Dire Ambull, Gene-Spliced Ambull or some other oversized version. He's quite intimidating looking!
I assembled him with some Millput to cover the joints and also to add a little bit of texture to the model. I was a little nervous about painting it since the lattice of the printed plastic was visible to the naked eye and I feared it would end up looking a bit flat- this would not be the case, however.
|Some Milliput and a coat of Rhinox Hide and this'll be right as rain.|
|Base coated and. flat|
Rhinox Hide went all over the base, as per the rock spires. Finally I gave the gums and eyes an even mix of Vallejo Pink and Vallejo Off-White - I tried just using Pink at first but it was a bit luminescent! The end result is much tamer and makes the whole thing, at base coat stage, oddly subdued and pastel for a yellow/green/pink monstrosity.
|Don't mind the green splodge on the arm, I'll fix that in a sec.|
As ever, this went on quite glossy but calmed down a bit when try.
|A little spiritz of drybrushing - Iyanden Darksun, Rust and even paler Warpstone Glow.|
Normally I cover everything in Matt or Satin varnish but I think this time I want to try a gloss. It will add a bit of an insectoid organic sheen to the creature - as well as being a very Oldhammer thing to do!