I got a little distracted from my ongoing and quite substantial DreadBall project over the last few days and painted these two guys. I did base one of the figures for use as a DreadBall coach though, so I didnt get completely sidetracked.
These furry little predators are domestic cat models bought from the sadly very soon to be no more Mega Miniatures, painted to represent a bit of old school 40k nonsense called “Gyrinx”.
Gyrinx as illustrated in Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader, 1987
According to the first Warhammer 40,000 rulebook (AKA Rogue Trader):
A Gyrinx resembles a large cat, with very thick and fluffy ginger or orange fur and bright blue eyes. They can grow to as much as a metre in length. Gyrinx are not intelligent as such, but they have an astounding ability to empathise with other creatures, forming a mental bond with their owner which is comparable to true friendship. This mental empathy is of great benefit to the creatures owner, whose own speed of thought and action are actually improved whilst the Gyrinx is in close proximity. What benefit the Gyrinx obtains from the relationship is unclear, but there is plainly some deep-seated need being fulfilled, because an ownerless Gyrinx will actively seek out and adopt some other creature. Oddly enough, Gyrinx show a slow metabolic change so that they come to resemble their owner physically, tempermentally and in habit.
Obviously, these are creatures of great value, and unlikely to be owned by ordinary people. Typically they would be owned by Inquisitors, Rogue Traders, high-level members of the priesthood and the like. Even evil aliens might own a Gyrinx – the creatures inherit their morality from their owner so they can be pretty mean!”
An eldar warlock hanging out with his gyrinx master from Warhammer 40,000 rulebook 4th edition, 2004
The original 40k book was full of daft little entries like that, more like something from a RPG bestiary than from the modern Codices. The aim of the game at the time was to have as many ways as possible for players to use various miniatures that they already had in their collections, rather than prescriptive lists from which deviation is not allowed. There are pros and cons to both approaches of course, but 40K was a very different beast in those days.
A few of the entries were defined by the various other miniature ranges that GW produced at the time, with the model of Dave the orangutan mayor of Mega City One from the GW Judge Dredd range being the inspiration for the Jokaero for example.
Although I am bit out of touch with the 40k background these days, I am pretty sure that there hasnt been any proper reference to gyrinx since the eighties (although you can see in the picture above that there was a sly reference to gyrinx in the 2004 rulebook).
Work Night Out, 41st Millennium style
I bought a few cat models for use in the long stalled, but definitely still going to happen Personal Vanity Project, (I like cats). I had planned to paint up a few as gyrinx for ages, so painting these two was a satisfying little diversion. The description above states specific colours for the fur and eyes of a gyrinx, but I went ahead and painted mine in exotic space-alien colours.
GW did make a limited edition gyrinx model back in the eighties but it goes for daft money on Ebay these days. It isnt a particularly knock out model (it has a bit of a Looney Toons, Sylvester the cat, cartoony vibe). All of that said of course if anyone reading this has one that they are willing to part with then let me know and we might be able to make a deal. Death Ferrets also glady accepted :)
Failing the procurement of vintage, oddball space cat miniatures these domestic cat models are perfectly suitable for that role. The blue model above will take part in my WH40k Skirmish project whenever I get that off the ground.
For the laugh I based the purple cat up for use in DreadBall as a coach. If you read the background text above you will see that the notion of a mildly psychic cat granting enhanced reflexes and cognitive agility to players from the sidelines isnt that much of a stretch. It makes as much sense as anything involving psychic space cats does really.
Filed under: Boardgame, Miniatures | Tagged: 2013, 40K, DreadBall, Gyrinx, Rogue Trader, Sci-fi | 9 Comments »