[40k] The Return of the Squats

As many may be aware, the Squats are returning at long last to Warhammer 40’000, with a vengeance. Warhammer community have a slew of nice little reads on various new concepts and units and wargear that these Leagues of Votann will sport.

Hilariously, the precious central computers which these Space Dwarfs depend on were not designed for being in operation for twenty thousand years, and so the accumulated memory has slowed down these once-lightning quick artificial intelligences to an agonizing crawl, with many problem queries to the machines requiring centuries of loading before solutions are received.

What do you think? Any favourite new reveals? Yay or nays? Planning to collect these stunties?

My take: Design choices such as beards and proportions aside, this is the thorough treatment that Squats deserved to originally get.

Of the same kind the Eldar got during Rogue Trader:

We are at last getting fantasy Dwarfs in space, who are much more than just that.

Asteroid mining, clunky AI, the whole shebang. At last the Games Workshop design studio was inspired by a vision for Squats.

Remember that Squats were sidelined during 2nd edition, despite selling reasonably well, because the studio folks had no good ideas for them. Unlike, for instance, Eldar.

They felt that biker Dwarfs in space who hated Orks were too lacklustre, too close to their fantasy counterpart, without a driving vision, and thus they put Squats in fallow.

Which in hindsight was the correct decision, because now the current studio crew has a vision for Squats. As refreshingly loosely based on their fantasy archetype, yet being something far more, as Eldar were to High Elves during the Rogue Trader era. And I say this as a fan of the original Squats; much as I like them, they were also always lacking something essential in their background to tick properly. And yes, I will convert whatever Leagues of Votann models I add to my Squat army to be more Dwarfy, especially with big beards and runes and Viking ornaments. And 80s Rogue Trader Squat stuff. And Ork trophies.

The current GW studio has hands down surprised me delightfully with how good of a vision for 40k worldbuilding they possess: Just look at the Adeptus Mechanicus, Genestealer Cults, new Sisters of Battle units, everything in Necromunda and now Squats. This isn’t just an endless repetitive codex cycle of ever more Space Marine releases. It’s an actual exploration of the galaxy, with plastic kits to boot. And it’s not a shoddy exploration, but a thought-through one.

What a great time to be alive: The GW studio has turned freewheeling creative again, not unlike the Rogue Trader days, and they are expanding the setting true to its spirit, without breaking the overarching themes (with a caveat that the ongoing Primarch return plot may risk to break it; we’ll see). You cannot reasonably expect the Warhammer 40’000 setting to be in such good hands after 35 years of personnel rotation and risk of picking up outside influences for the worse. We’d better count ourselves lucky.

Let’s be clear: Long live the current Games Workshop studio!


Here’s hoping for a chaos version. Would like to see Hashut in 40k


Yes im loving this release even though i wont buy many models as they will look too big next to the older size. Vehicles are definitely in though as well as the book.
Ill play 40k again for 1st time dince 2nd ed ended.

Hope you start a squat blog admiral on here, will be good viewing im sure.

The background seems to be good and allows for different takes on these a.i robots , troop types etc


Agreed. A nice revamping of the old squats.

According to what little information we have so far, I believe we might even get several versions of squats for all tastes. The leagues of Votann are the basic culture, but we already have necromunda squats annonced, meaning they can be found in the imperium.

And then there are the demiurgs fighting with the Tau. I hope it will be revealed they are squats who travelled too far and mingled with xenos. That would provide a lot of variations.

And that’s without counting the chaos conversions.

Although I must say I still favour the kharadrons for esthetic reasons. I hope more squat minis will change my mind.


@Zoddtheimmortal : Good plans! I look forward to follow your Squat project here. Will you be sharing your original paintjobs as well? Such is always nice to see.

I do have a Squat blog on Chaos Dwarfs Online: Squattish Shooters Ahoy!

After all, my main army is WHFB Karak Norn Dwarfs, my evil army is Chaos Dwarfs, my 40k army is Squats and my Lotr army is Dwarves. I don’t believe in longshanking, or knees for that matter. :smiley:

Aye, it looks promising!

@ashur : Excellent point! Fingers crossed more is revealed about the Demiurg, and that we may see some Chaos Squats from GW (we collectors will always see to it otherwise).

Yeah, the Kharadrons are ace Space Dwarf designs. Hard to beat. Nothing I’d ever want for a fantasy setting, but I loved them on first sight for 40k. I might try to get some Kharadrons and new Squats and mix them into my mainly Mantic Forgefather-based army, plus Rogue Trader style Squats converted from plastic Dwarfs.


At first, I thought, oh no, it’s Space Marines all over again but I think I’m starting to see the vision you are mentioning. I agree that the old squats had little potential in 3rd ed onwards because old 40K did not take itself as seriously. I personally prefer that as for me the visual style is more important than deep and consistent lore. But given the direction 40K has evolved to, this is a relatively good compromise. The Necromunda squats released in the recent past make me hope that we will see some Rogue Trader aesthetics again, though.


Rogue Trader Squats have good style. Mining helmets with sound dampeners, quilted armour and fun bikers. Aesthetically they were as solid a start as for any faction at the time, and hopefully we will see more of them, as per the Necromunda Squats. It was the background that was lacking when GW took stock of their 40k creations in the 1990s, and realized that something essential was missing, and they had no good ideas at the time. The last hurrah of the original Squat range was in Epic 40’000, complete with land trains and other large warmachines.

Moreover, hobbyist conversions, homebrew 3D-sculpts and additional third party manufacturers may well come cater to different styles of Space Dwarfs, so even if the visual direction of GW does not appeal, a Squat fan will still get an army with rules and bonkers, polished background, regardless of what models and style one sticks to. No need to proxy it anymore. And the GW studio has come up with concepts for hobbyists to further develop, CDO style, if they are so inclined.

Also, the return of the Squats was foretold in the very last TTS video released after the IP debacle last summer. Lo and behold its glory:


I always loved the old school squats, they had a wonderful Judge Dredd and 2000 A.D. flair to them.
But as @Admiral points out, GW really didn’t seem to know what direction to take them fluff wise.
It’s nice that the newer GW studio crew seems to have recognized that shortcoming (no pun intended).
I’m not particularly impressed with their lack of proper dwarvish haircut styles, but nothing that green stuff can’t take care of.
I have high hopes for them :+1:


Gaddam this TTS episode makes me lose it every single time! Sunderer of Slugs is a title I shall seek to aquire for the rest of my life! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:


I must admit I love those bandana wearing hell’s angels squats of old. Maybe they would fit Necromunda today.


Well, I’m sold. I love them.



Some designer’s notes from Jes Goodwin and Andy Clark: Designing the Leagues of Votann

“It was an incredibly exciting opportunity”, explains Andy Clark, who was the lead background writer on the project. “We worked on developing, building up, expanding, and nuancing for as long as I can remember ever doing with a project. It was a hugely collaborative process.

LoVDesigns Sept08 Terrain1

“I can honestly say that this was one of the most exciting and inspiring factions I’ve ever worked on, as well as one of the greatest challenges. The amount of time spent working on cultural elements – how their society might work, their language, their naming conventions, and what those, in turn, would tell us about the Kin as a race… The creative buzz as we all ran these sorts of things past one another was absolutely inspiring.”

“Working on the core concepts, establishing the base design vocabulary, and then collaborating with the designers, writers, and ‘Eavy Metal on the background, the colour schemes, and the icons made it a bit of an epic – especially in the midst of COVID”, adds Jes Goodwin.

LoVDesigns Sept08 Terrain2

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

“While there are certainly traditional Warhammer dwarf elements to the Leagues of Votann, they are very distinctly their own thing instead of simply being dwarfs in space”, says Andy. “People’s mileage may vary – there will be hobbyists out there who really want to lean into that theme, and there’s room in the background for them to do so.

LoVDesigns Sept08 Einhyr

“Equally, though, this excellent model range deserves to be something fresh, exciting, and fully realised, rather than simply leaning on a set of existing tropes and – dare we say it – clichés. On that basis, wherever we included a traditional dwarfen element, we were careful to give it a gothic sci-fi reimagining and ensure it felt organic within this millennia-old spacefaring society.”

“As Andy says, they needed to be more than just sci-fi dwarfs , in the same way that Aeldari are more than just elves in space”, Jes continues. “But we wanted to draw from the dwarfen archetype and honour some parts of the old range. Where dwarfs are about mining and smithing, the Kin are about resource acquisition and manufacturing on a grand scale – dwarfs through the epic lens of Warhammer 40,000, if you will.”

LoVDesigns Sept08 Art

Core Concepts

“The Ancestor Cores were one of the first concepts established, along with their links to earlier periods of Terran history”, explains Jes. “They formed the bedrock for subsequent development. The angular decorative elements and runic motifs are similarly a callback to dwarfen runes. Their use increases as you go up the ranks, helping the elites stand out on the battlefield. While the basic look could be called utilitarian, these designs helped allude to the ancient nature and craftsmanship of some of their wargear.

LoVDesigns Sept08 Runes

“We tried to make the suits and vehicles reflect the idea of exploring and exploiting hostile environments – Victorian mariners, Antarctic explorers, deep sea surveyors, moon landings, space exploration, and so on. Obviously the hostile environments to be found out there in the galaxy are rather more hostile than here on Earth…”

Gearing Up

“The Leagues exo-armour went through several iterations”, Jes continues. “Trying to evoke the feel of early Terminator suits while making them their own thing was a bit of a balancing act. In the end I looked back at a very early Terminator model I made in the eighties, before the design that we are familiar with today was set. The huge pauldrons, exposed spine, and inset bowl helmet are from there.

LoVDesigns Sept08 Hearthguard

“The Hearthkyn helmets also took a bit of refining, as we wanted a visor element but had to fit several layers in for that. And with only so much room on the model, we then had to fit a head in…

“The weapons they have in common with the Imperium hint at their shared technological ancestry, but differ subtly in execution – while the style of the Ironkin and COGs obviously has a resonance with some of the more ancient elements of the Adeptus Mechanicus forces.”

Fond Favourites

“I couldn’t pick one favourite – I’m indecisive at the best of times – but for me the models that are the most uniquely Kin make me the happiest”, says Andy. “The Ironkin with their wonderful blend of retro sci-fi and rugged, chunky engineering, the Hearthguard in their classic-reimagined exo-armour, and the Grimnyr, who mingle archaic and science-fantasy aesthetics. Those tremendously cool-looking (and frag-tacular) Brôkhyr Thunderkyn…”

LoVDesigns Sept08 Thunderkyn

“I do like a basic trooper, but then I love a robot, and a space wizard and, and, and…” agrees Jes. “I try to think about the design of the range as a whole rather than individual models. We’re giving a varied sampler of the different factions within the race, with room for expansion… There’ll be more to come – as the Kin themselves know, the work is never done.”

The Leagues of Votann will arrive for pre-order any minute now. Check back on this very website to find out when, and sign up to the newsletter to stay on the cutting edge of Kin news.

** For an in-depth look at the design behind one specific unit, check out* our other interview with Jes and Andy on the Hernkyn Pioneers.


Squads … all well and good, but where are the Chaos Squads??? :thinking:


GW’s current design team gives me hope for Hashut’s best boys in Age of Sigmar and The Old World.

I agree though, we need some Chaos Space Dwarfs…ChSparfs?


Aye, we’re still holding our breath for the big spiky Chaotic stunty release. :smiley:

Some information on a few of the bigger known Leagues. Personally I love the sounds of the Leagues, especially in contrast to such factions as the Imperium and Eldar. It’s not just intriguing worldbuilding in and of itself, but adds another streak to an already vibrant smörgåsbord of a setting:


Like the other species and empires of the 41st Millennium, the Kin are divided into many different subfactions – known as the Leagues. Each has its own take on Kin culture, but five in particular stand out as the largest and most influential.

LoVFactions Sept13 Thurian

Comprising over 200 allied Kindreds and several wealthy Guilds, the Greater Thurian League is clearly massive. One of the original founding Leagues, they are easy to recognise with their fetching teal-and-white livery.

LoVFactions Sept13 Art copy

Spread far and wide, the GTL consolidates on the home front while forging forward to claim new lands for Kin dispossessed by the forces of Chaos. Legendary heroes such as Ûthar the Destined hail from this League which exemplifies Kin values and acts as a guiding force for all.

LoVFactions Sept13 TransHyp

Clad in bright orange and white void armour, the Trans-Hyperian Alliance is a League made up of explorers and adventurers who seek out new territories, and the mysteries held therein, with a fevered compulsion.

LoVFactions Sept13 Art copy 4

Their Hernkyn Pioneers are noted as genuinely exceptional, striking out to distant fringe planets to scout for valuable resources. Unlike other Leagues, their disparate fleets live a nomadic life with smaller ships acting as relays between their larger congregations. Even their three Votann have adopted this void-faring existence, nestled deep within highly fortified ships.

LoVFactions Sept13 Kronus

Founded less than a millennium ago when the Kôrynn’s Kindred’s Fane* achieved self-awareness and became a Votann, the Kronus Hegemony now aggressively pursue new knowledge and raw materials to defend their fledgling Ancestor better.

LoVFactions Sept13 Art copy 2

Decked out in distinctive yellow-and-black regalia, it’s not only their stature that’s short, as these Kin are swift to anger and the most aggressive of the major Leagues. Any Hold or void-fleet that joins the Hegemony must swear a martial oath and guarantee that they will focus on training massive Kinhost forces.

LoVFactions Sept13 Ymyr

All Kin understand the value of well-crafted engineering, but the Ymyr Conglomerate Holds and fleets contain many Kindred who specialise in creating finely wrought works of unparalleled technology. Clad in striking deep red armour, this League’s forges churn out peerless weapons of war and exquisite civilian finery.

LoVFactions Sept13 Art

Their phenomenal armoury contains so many beam weapons, suits of exo-armour, and Colossus-class war engines that they can equip an entire army with a quantity of elite wargear that other Leagues can only dream of fielding.

LoVFactions Sept13 Urani

Beset on multiple fronts by mighty Necron, Ork, and Tyranid forces, the Urani-Surtr Regulates, known as the URSR to other Leagues, nevertheless refuse to give an inch of ground to these persistent threats, despite continued losses. Their only explanation is that their Ancestors would abandon them if they gave up their Hold worlds.

LoVFactions Sept13 Art copy 3

Some suggest that either reckless grudges, Holds of great importance or a sense of stubborn pride keep them defending their beleaguered territory, but the URSR remains impressively tight-lipped. Kitted out in rugged green gear, this League and the Kindreds that form it are fiercely loyal to their Kin.

There are many more Leagues, and no centralised list exists. For the Kin, all that matters is that they fight as one for the betterment of their race.

You’ll be able to explore the rules and in-depth lore behind all of the significant Leagues with Codex: Leagues of Votann, contained in the Leagues of Votann Army set, which is available for pre-order this Saturday – it even has a unique cover exclusive to the box.

  • A Fane is the tangle of arcane technology through which a Votann communicates. Tales of them gaining sentience are not uncommon.
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While I love that the Squats are back, my first journey into Warhammer40K. Im not 100% sold on the new miniatures, but I guess Im just being an old nostalgic guy these days. Im sure Ill come around to them… :stuck_out_tongue:


Same here. I think I favor those “arctic explorers” with coats and parkas. I they all looked like that I would be completley satisfied. Conversions aplenty in the future.

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@tjub : This is a very different style. I can easily imagine how this new NASA-punk style would have looked like in miniature form if released in the 1990s for Squats, including more rotund build and bigger beards. A great difference to quilted jackets and mining helmets for sure even if executed with a 1990s sculpting flourish. It would be interesting to see someone sculpt a Squat with the new style, but sculpt it like GW would a Dwarf in the early 1990s, because I think it’s got less to do with nostalgia and more to do with the styles themselves.

My main gripes with the new Leagues of Votann are their bodily proportions. I’ve pondered for months about cutting them down at waist, legs and arms, then fatterning them up and sculpting large beards. It’s still undecided.

I prefer much of the original Squat style over the new one as regard infantry, but I also find the new separate style has a lot going for it, bodily proportions and small beards aside. Might attempt some synthesis conversions of style (think mixing Hellcannon, LoA and big hat CDs into a coherent whole, but with different Squat styles instead). Plenty of fun in any case.

@ashur : Coats and parkas are an improvement, aye. Arctic explorer route is a good one! I might nick that idea a lot going forward. :smiley:

The new Squats are a good start with a fine explorer vision going on, but something more is needed to make them fully pop with charm.

A quick look on the wheeled vehicles of the Leagues.

The Sagitaur all terrain vehicle (the name being an amalgam of the Latin words sagittarius, meaning archer, and taurus, bull) can fit half a squad inside it. Ruleswise, it is the first vehicle in 40k where you can mount one squad in a couple of vehicles, if I understood it right. It’s got a nice evolved mooncar explorer look, complete with crash bar cages. This helps give the Squats a distinct vehicle style, clearly from the same routes as Imperial stock, but with a very different impression given. When you see Imperial vehicles, you think world wars. When you see new Squat vehicles, you think rugged explorers and space miners.

The big vehicle realease this edition is the Hekaton Land Fortress. I was surprised when they went for the same route as with the Sagitaur, only bigger (as in a large arctic explorer vehicle, complete with lab and living quarters). I would have prefered something built around a heavier artillery cannon or big rock drill, but I can see what they are going for here.

More to the point, however, is the matter of future releases. This first wave introduce a full compact army range, stretching from infantry, heavy infantry, some small robots, close combat berzerkers, gravtrikers, and light and heavy combat vehicles.

It has not touched on such things as flyers and large walkers or big robots, nor has it yet delved into large artillery or rock-drilling vehicles.

Look closer to the left in the second reference sheet here. That is clearly a rail coupling. A lovely hint of things to come.

The Hekaton Land Fortress is meant to act as locomotive for a future Squat land train. Expect more specialized vehicles to show up in the future. I am very curious how this range will evolve with future releases.



These vehicles are awesome…despite I’d prefer them tracked. Easy conversion :wink:


Decent photo for anyone contemplating chaos squats (from Facebook)