Dunger Herd

Dunger herd

Dunger herd

Why do I spend so much of my time thinking about toy soldiers?  Why do I spend such a large portion of my day engaging in elaborate miniature preparation and painting processes?  These are complicated and mildly philosophical questions, questions that I do not have comprehensive answers for.  They are questions that come to mind frequently while I am painting peculiar side projects like this one.

Used dungers. One careful owner.

Used dungers. One careful owner.

These “dungers” are from Ramshackle games and will be used as some sort of herd of space cattle as part of my Alien Flora and Fauna project.  Ramshackle also produce a number of these models as mounts in addition to a couple of mammoth sized dungerdons with howdahs and the like.

A lot of the appeal of these models to me is that they are quite chunky.  Many larger animals in 28mm look a little reedy, particularly compared with heroically scaled humans.  Not these guys though, satisfyingly big ol’ lumps of resin that they are.


They remind me a bit of 40k squigs.  If Asterix and Obelix lived on an alien planet then this is what they would hunt and subsequently eat at the post-adventure astro-banquet in Nu-Gaul.

Five of the original Dunger model.

Five of the original Dunger model.

While painting the pelt on the shoulder of Admiral Leopold Horatio III recently I noticed a couple of things: 1) that turquoise colour was easy to paint quickly and effectively on fur and 2) if I painted my dungers like that then I could get them finished in a very short time.  I also noticed that it would imply that Leopold is wearing a dunger pelt, which I find funny for some reason.



I have wanted to have a painted herd of some sort of space bovine or similar ever since I read about grox in the Rogue Trader rulebook back in the eighties (my giant rat swarm doesnt count, even if I did play a game where the swarm was being rustled a few years ago) .  The dungers are going to fill this niche, even though they dont match the dinosaur type grox depicted in Rogue Trader particularly well visually.


Mr. Snuffleupagus

The dungers are peculiar designs reminiscent of the Muppets.  A blend of Sweetums and Mr. Snuffleupagus  in particular I reckon.

Sweetums and Robin.  Robin is the small green one.

Sweetums and Robin. Robin is the small green one.

I prefer the more savage looking dunger faces to the goofier humanoid ones, but I included at least one of each of the currently available models in the herd for the sake of painting variety.  The slightly more gruff looking dungers also remind me a bit of the pig lizard from Galaxy Quest (although the swine is bipedal).

A saurian swine.

A saurian swine.

The dark, bluish skin tone that I used on the faces lessens the human caricature, Spitting Image effect on the models I think, making these space cattle look a little more alien than they do when more familiar flesh tones are used. There is no way to get around the fact that they still look a lot like they wandered off the set of Fraggle Rock though.  I am fine with that.


The painting was executed quickly using a no frills approach.  I was looking for a rapidly achieved, fairly decent looking herd of NPCs rather than hero type individual space cattle.

Domesticated Dungers

Domesticated Dungers

A handful of the dunger models have been domesticated in some way.  Why an astro-cow might require a bionic eye or some rough and ready metal fright mask is left to the imagination, but I was glad of the variety when painting.  I can justify them as escaped domesticated beasts if I need to, which I dont.  The pack-dunger actually suggests a scenario or two to me, being  a science-fantasy equivalent of Bill the pony from Lord of the Rings.


The herd can be used in any sort of cattle rustling scenarios.  They are also suited for use as some sort of environmental effect in games.  The annual dunger migration or a stampede due to predators (like a Cthellean Cudbear, or a Catachan Devil or maybe a business of Death Ferrets) might take place during the scheduled fight between an Inquisitor and his nemesis for example, causing problems for both sides.

The larger males protect the herd from a predator.

The larger males protect the herd from a predator.

Unusually for me however, the main reason that I painted these was simply that I felt like doing so.  They will feature in some games I am sure, but I painted the herd mainly because I thought that it would be a fun change from painting some of my other more familiar model types.  After painting twenty four dungers I have scratched that itch for a while, but it was satisfying to get a decent bit of turnover all the same.


Orks of the BigDogz tribe enjoy a round up, unaware of the angry and territorial alpha dunger in pursuit.

Death Ferrets harry the flacks of the herd as it flees from the Cudbear, searching for the old or weak.  Should the cudbear make a kill, it will not eat again for four cycles.

Death Ferrets harry the flanks of the herd as it flees from the Cudbear, searching for the old or weak. Should the cudbear make a kill, it will not eat again for four cycles.


8 Responses

  1. This project is sheer gold in so many ways 😀


    • Thanks Mikko. Its fun to be painting something a little different, something other than more spacemen with guns.

      Many more at the work-in-progress stage 🙂


  2. I really like the dungers. Recently I have (of course) been very tempted by 28mm scifi. Good thing I haven’t invested in 15mm yet. There’s a plethora of nice, oldschool lead to be had expensively and then there’s a lot of newer fun stuff – such as some of Curtis’ stuff over at Ramshackle.

    I would enjoy getting (back) into scifi, it’s easier to be a bit dorky and get away with it. Dorky in fantasy tends to be cliché on the dull side, while cliché scifi is more appropriate somehow. I wonder why that is.

    I really like the pic with Riddick denying the little fellow a sip of his drink, unaware of the persuasive behemoth behind him. =D


    • To be honest I am slightly surprised at how enthusiastic a response the dungers have received. I thought that many people, particularly “serious” gamer types who think that Jokaero lower the serious tone of 40k (those guys crack me up) or that Infinity is a serious miniatures game for hardcore hobbyists (hilarious) woudnt like them.

      But I was happy to be proven wrong. Not every toy soldier enthusiast on the internet is a tool, hooray!

      I am surprised to hear that you are interested in 28mm sci-fi again Mattias. Obviously I can provide you with more heartfelt moral support if you choose the sci-fi route 😉 I want you to finish that Heroquest project first though, I am fully behind that.

      It is definitely easier to shoehorn whatever sub-genre you want into sci-fi. Its liberating in a way. I watched Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters last weekend and I will definitely be playing some sort of sci-fi version of that soon. I also want to play a Labours of Hercules style game using a space marine and some space monsters some time (think Ulysses 31).

      All of my toy soldier games take place in an environment somewhere between Samurai Jack, 2000AD and Futurama, each themselves mashups. So anything goes, which I like. Samurai Jack is a contender for my favourite TV ever. Even the poorest episodes each have something worthwhile in them.

      I dont know if you remember, but Riddick kills some guys in a prison while armed only with a mug in “Chronicles”. Although Riddick is shown to be an animal lover in another scene in that prison, I figured that the miniatures called for a classic pantomime “HES BEHIND YOU!!!” photo. I love how chunky that bull dunger model is.


      • Well, how could I not be enticed considering what I’m exposed to here! You’ve been cranking out some quality stuff recently. That, coupled with a few tasty catalogue pages of early painted Rogue Trader stuff have really got me looking more than once at sci-fi.

        I’m still undecided though, there are a LOT of nice fifteens too. I’m eyeing both Ion Age (ie Alternative/15mm.com) http://theionage.com/collections/15mm-prydian-army and some nice Ground Zero Games stuff: http://shop.groundzerogames.net/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=84


        • 15mm has a lot of appeal. The comparative ease of getting projects finished is a big one and as you say, the range of 15mm sci-fi available has increased dramatically over the last few years.

          Two things would put me off 15mm if I were to start collecting sci-fi figures now: 1) my terrain is 28mm. Im not going to collect all of the same stuff in another scale and 2) I enjoy the retro, 1980s figures that got me interested in the first place. Its nostalgia fueled obviously, but Ill take my kicks from whatever sources I can. Painting the occasional piece of old GW lead presses my buttons and I cant get that from 15mm. Early RT figures (like those from the pages you mention) are simply extra fun to paint, to me anyway.


          • The one thing putting me off 28mm retro sci fi is the price of old lead (and availability). I have a small collection of Star Wars miniatures (the prepainted plastics) and there would be certain synergies if I went with 28mm Rogue Trader minis.

            There’s very little scenery to re-use from my current terrain pile though. Most of it is decidedly fantasy (or would look fantasy to me). As a matter of fact, I don’t even think it’s possibly to play scifi games on a lush, green battle mat. It calls for dusty, barren landscapes.

            I think I’ll start out small in 15mm, get an order in with GZG and paint some stuff up. If I enjoy it, I’ll just stick to it and enjoy the nostalgia and expensive collector’s items on the fantasy side.


            • Im fully with you regarding lush, green, temperate sci-fi landscapes. Outside my window looks like that so it isnt exotic enough for me, plus all of the TV (and the majority of film) inspiration for my stuff looks hot, dry and sandy, so thats what I want my games to look like too.
              M-class planets look like California. The recycled golf course-esque Fantasy Battle table is one part of retro gaming that I definitely do not miss.


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