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 13 Aug 2020, 13:41
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first ever compilation of official Chaos Dwarf miniature developments through the ages!

This overview of Games Workshop and Forgeworld's various iterations of Chaos Dwarfs will take you from the very beginnings up to the present day (written April 2019), and showcase the evolution of the weird and wondrous concepts embedded in Chaos Dwarfs.

This thread deals with Chaos Dwarf concepts in official miniatures. For compilation attempts at community homebrew work on Chaos Dwarfs, see Carven Images (CDO 2007-2017) and the Chaos Dwarf Culture Project.

Enjoy! :)


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Element Games - Wargaming Webstore
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 14 Aug 2020, 12:19
I'm not sure if I have one anymore, but when I started buying GW stuff in the 90's you would sometimes get little booklets that showed you examples of the various forces they produced (I'll see if I can dig one out some time) and I always thought the Chaos Dwarfs looked awesome. I don't know if they were 'in fashion' at that point but I found their colour scheme quite striking, even in an age where everything seemed to compete to be the most outlandish and colourful!

Was there ever a point where they actually ceased to exist, or did they simply spend a long time being ignored?
And I know that you produce your own alternative miniatures too - do they fit in with the current setting, or are they designed for a more classic WHFB audience?
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 14 Aug 2020, 19:29
It would be nice to see some pictures of such a booklet! The 90s were before my time, but I like the daring colour schemes and garish paintjobs. A bit much, but still great in its way. And true to almost all peoples' preference for colours historically. I got into the hobby via my smaller brother shortly before the Eye of Terror campaign (around 2003?), and have always enjoyed looking at older miniatures and publications from Games Workshop. They have been good right from the very start.

Chaos Dwarfs were not fashionable in the 1990s. They were a real niche army, and one collector on Chaos Dwarfs Online shared an anecdote where he shirked from collecting them because his friends would taunt Chaos Dwarfs as a clown army. Still, they were a very creative new addition to the setting as they were re-imagined as Assyrian-style slavelords and blacksmiths of Chaos.

Chaos Dwarfs have always existed in the lore, but they have always been a fringe faction. They've spent a lot of time being ignored, or rather feeding on whatever little background scraps where thrown in as teasers by GW while the studio focused on its main armies.

It has been normal for the Chaos Dwarfs' niche range to eventually go unavailable before the next decade wave rolled in. The Hellcannon decade saw the most dearth of Chaos Dwarf miniatures (some big hats hung around in mail order for a while, but got phased out), and as a result also the most homebrewing initiatives. People banded together and started converting Chaos Dwarf armies like mad! Chaos Dwarfs Online was a creative hotbed, and has remained one ever since. This community creativity certainly provided some incentive and inspiration for Forgeworld when they designed their Legion of Azgorh range.

Being left out in the cold for a long while by Games Workshop was the best thing that could have happened for Chaos Dwarfs: It spurred people to take things into their own hands and expand the concepts and army list true to known official background bits. The second best thing was getting a new range of their own (FW resin). The only thing that would trump that would be to receive a full plastic range at last. That has yet to happen, but on the other hand, prospects for a plastic CD army look brighter than ever before.

Hehe, customers have bought my miniatures for all manner of settings: WHFB, AoS, KoW, T9A and more. They seem to work fine for any setting. I'm obviously inspired mainly by WHFB on some level (I share the same historically based fantasy vision), but has thrown in a lot of design details of my own (often based on ancient Assyrian stuff), with lots of historical and mythological references to ancient Mesopotamia.

I guess one could say the Admiralty Miniatures range would seem to be more tailored for classic WHFB since we don't have any strange magitech steampunk stuff (yet, but it could come), but then again I know lots of people who use classic WHFB miniatures for Age of Sigmar and often with the AoS setting in mind, since it was designed to welcome veterans with existing armies along with all the new factions being released.

From my point of view, I'm happy to see the minis getting used in as many settings as possible. And since there is such a plethora of fantasy wargames out there at the moment, I've stopped including bases since some customers will use rounds and others squares.

Cheers!
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 16 Aug 2020, 09:38
I'll have to see what I can dig out - unfortunately very little remains from back then, threw most of it away when I was a kid.

Was there always a market for home casting, or is that a more recent thing? I don't know what the 3rd party producer's scene was like 10-20 years ago!

(sorry, just a quick reply before I head to work)
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 16 Aug 2020, 10:10
Thanks! Best of luck rummaging for it. I've always been a tightwad collector at heart. It goes against my nature to throw stuff away (runs in the family), which on the one hand means I have saved all worthwhile stuff and memorabilia from early childhood on. Including magazines of all kinds and particular toy catalogues which struck a tune with us. It also means I've saved basically everything, which takes up space, which is a problem, haha.

The market for minor companies have grown over the years. Many homecast, but others (like myself) send our stuff to casting companies since casting is such a big and time-consuming hassle it's better to let the professionals handle it instead. You can earn more in the long run by casting yourself, but it requires expensive equipment, a ventilated workshop, time and lots of trial and error to learn the ropes.

The market for this kind of thing was a lot smaller 20 years ago as far as I know (I stuck only to GW back then, so might have missed something). 10 years ago there were quite a lot of minor companies around, but that amount have multiplied in the last decade. The advent of 3D-sculpting and 3D-printing will be a boon to collectors: Check out Lost Kingdom's marvellous new stuff. Adrian Perez Montejano does stellar work and is the best out there at combining historical styles and heavy metal styles for his grimdark fantasy range (and I'm happy to have sparked a lot of inspiration for him by chucking a Mesopotamian reference thread at him via E-mail - he got really fired up, itching to 3D-sculpt big things after that). The Chaos Dwarf scene has exploded. 10 years ago, there were only a handful of minor alternatives. Now, there are over 20 and counting.
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 17 Aug 2020, 00:49
I should be able to go through the box tomorrow evening - you'll just have to remind me because I'm incredibly forgetful 😂 just rather hoping I kept hold of it.

I would imagine that information surrounding sculpting and (in particular) casting being more widely available has certainly helped the market to grow. And that's before 3D printing is even considered.
Does it concern you at all that there is a chance that GW could give the line a push, and bring professional sculpts in at a cheaper price?
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 17 Aug 2020, 04:14
No concern at all. The release of the Forgeworld Chaos Dwarfs meant a huge surge of CD collectors. Collectors who wanted extra units, characters and odd bits and bobs for their armies. This was a great boon to minor companies. Our own 28mm stuff is mostly very niche at the moment (wall reliefs, odd characters, bazookas and so on) and of a kind that lots of collectors will want something from it for their collection, for the unusual value of niche products that no one normally would have made in the first place. I plan to expand with more rank and file stuff in due time (Hobgoblins would be a gold mine), but it's mostly just a hobby thing. A fun side venture, not expected to recoup investments and generate profits worth mentioning for years ahead.

Actually, the blossoming of minor evil dwarf manufacturers have stimulated further growth of collectors: The more there is to choose from, the more likely something will appeal to some collectors, who take the step and start an army (it's been a virtuous cycle the last decade). And once they start an army, chances are they will eventually buy something from us, because they want to spice the army with some niche oddballs. This process of steady niche sales apply to collectors of both GW and other companies. :smiley:

Also, GW doesn't do much in the way of cheaper prices these days, haha!
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 17 Aug 2020, 20:47
That makes sense I suppose - nobody selling third party sculpts is worried about the fact that GW have an official range, I suppose!
And no, long gone are the days of affordable pricing! 😂
Element Games - Wargaming Webstore