Exquisite drawings and designs, and as Carcearion pointed out a perfect marriage between the big hat opulent Chaos Dwarf style and the grimdark Chaos vein. The Daemonic bull’s head image is particularly strong. Your drawings are especially refreshing to see, since it captures something of what could have been, had GW decided to make a full Chaos Dwarf army out of the Hellcannon style, with nods back to earlier ranges. I like your concepts a lot, and could point out particularly good parts of the sketches for half an hour at length. I’ll have to be brief instead this time.
As for whirlwinds and tenderizers, yes Forgeworld obviously took them up to date with the marvellous Donald Duck-ish contraption of the Skullcracker, neat model. But Chaos Dwarfs are more than just industrialists, slavers and maverick inventors.* The Dawi Zharr are Blacksmiths of Chaos, and they are fanatic devotees of a rapacious, capricious and overpoweringly oppressive Dark God demanding full submission. They are sacrificers and idolaters. They are mystics and binders of Daemons, forgers of devils and breakers of souls. Though split in various cults, all Dawi Zharr worth their salt in the eyes of the ruling Temple priesthood pay homage to the sacred spawns of the fiery Bull God, and adulation and fearful respect must be heaped upon His Bull Centaurs, Tauri and Lamassi. These fire worshippers of the Dark Lands are also enigmatically devoted to Chaos and order at the same time, slavishly sticking to a merciless Order of Things which grinds slaves and unworthies underheel to build the greater works of Hashut in the worldly realm.
Their mad ingenuity and demented inventiveness is no obstacle to a rigid adherence to tradition and the demands of cult and sect. One would not only expect to find Bull Centaurs with Whirlwinds and Tenderizers used even when steam technology has seemingly rendered these antique contraptions obsolete, but one would even expect to see bull chariots used not only in ceremonies and parades, but occassionally even in combat.
Uncorrupted Dwarfs are sensible. Chaos Dwarfs are not, and as such you can go to town with whatever senseless maverick schemes you feel like for these Children of Hashut. The more convoluted and cryptic and chaotic the overall impression, the better. The Dwarfs of Chaos have become increasingly fascinating as a fictive race, and will continue to intrigue and fascinate hobbyists for a long time to come. CDs are rigged for creativity and original leaps and crazy conversions and concepts of wild abandon. Not everything has to make sense at a surface glance in Dawi Zharr society, and much don’t.
As for Chaos Dwarf nobility, my guess is that they would roughly correspond to Clan leaders, individuals who through brilliance and achievements have risen in the world, and most importantly offspring of the ruling caste of Sorcerer-Prophets. To differ from their uncorrupted cousins in fundamental aspects and to draw upon real-world ancient Mesopotamian reference, the ruling class of the Chaos Dwarfs would obviously have harems. And though Sorcerer-Prophets eventually petrify, one would expect them to beget as many offspring as possible while the granite grasp of the Sorcerer’s Curse has not yet claimed their virility, particularly as they are bull worshippers with the bull being a most male creature (This and this are related to the topic on hand). To lord it over their harem and breed many sons and even precious daughters would only be to live in the image of their Father of Darkness.
As such, there would at any time exist a sizeable portion of the Chaos Dwarf society which has been fathered by Sorcerer-Prophets or other overlords, and as usual within societies with polygamy most of these would be expected to trickle down the social ladder and largely fend for themselves, though their status, upbringing and perhaps gifts or inheritance would likely secure fine enough positions in the Chaos Dwarf empire. Many of the more gifted or favoured ones would become Daemonsmiths, or warleaders and officers if their talents are martial. Prized companies comprising only of sons of the harems would not be unlikely at all in the hosts of Zharr-Naggrund the Great and all her holdings. And if gifted with the sorcerous and prophetic sparks, they could become Temple acolytes and aim at lordship and priesthood if not unholy rites, Temple intrigues, madness, sorcerous-Daemonic disasters or the Curse of Stone claim them first.
So, much of Chaos Dwarf “nobility” would be the numerous offspring from the priestly harems, whether of first or later generations. They would have lineage and prestige and some privileges, and would usually have quite good means to claw themselves upward in the world. And if they are truly fortunate or skilled, they will even have wives or concubines of their own. With the male to female ratio in fantasy Dwarf populations being skewed, even having a single wife in a society with harems would be highly precious, so it plays in well with the covetousness and greed inherent in the Dawi Zharr. Lust for mortal dominion, worldly wealth, immortal knowledge, otherworldly forces and fleshly power goes hand in hand in a culture which openly professes that might is right and stringently adhers to and even worships cruelty, ruthlessness, rapacity, oppression and black-hearted hunger for power.
This might provide some starting point for thinking of the Chaos Dwarf elite.
Also, though customs may vary widely from stronghold to stronghold, from clan to clan, from sect to sect and most importantly from the followers of one Sorcerer-Prophet to another (their whims or religious interpretations being the deciding factor for thousands of subjects), as a rule one would expect to see big hats, and particularly ornate hats, adorn the heads of what corresponds to nobility in the slavish, fanatic, mad craftsman world of the Chaos Dwarfs, with masks often being associated with the lower orders, artillery crews/engineers (for reasons of profession) and even the shamed outcast warriors of the infamous Infernal Guard. This hierarchical headgear height opulence would as stated not be strictly universal to all worshippers of Hashut, but could work as a rough rule of thumb.
* Also they are skilled artisans, and one would expect fine crafts pieces as opposed to mass produced arms to figure a lot among free Chaos Dwarfs, i.e. non Infernal Guard, who have the means to purchase or produce high-quality mastercrafted weapons and armour. Much of the simple mass-produced stuff would go on export up north and be used to arm the Hobgoblin middleman slave caste or the lowliest thralls. It’d be a status thing to have uniquely crafted objects among your armaments.