Kroot Taste Like Chicken

I have to throw out one more shameful plug for my new book, 14.  It hit the top 30 bestselling books on Audible.com last week.  Not top 30 Sci-Fi or top 30 horror—overall bestsellers (#27, with a brief peak at #26).  Check it out.  Lots of people are liking it, and you can listen to audiobooks while you build and paint toy soldiers.

As for this week’s little rant... you want to know what I use all the time as “counts as” models?  Kroot.  Kroot really don’t get enough respect from a modeling/ gaming viewpoint.

As anyone who played with the old Kroot Mercenary army list knows, they are what they eat.  Fluff-wise and rules-wise, this means Kroot are one of the few units in the entire game where it’s completely acceptable for them to have a shifting stat-line.

What does this mean for the clever, on-a-budget hobbyist?

Between their mercenary ways and their shifting stats, it means you can introduce Kroot into a lot of armies as very solid counts-as models.  Which is very cool because a box of a dozen Kroot is relatively cheap and comes with a ton of accessories.  Heck, you can go to BattleWagon Bits and buy four of them on the sprue, or try the Bitz Barn.

(apologies for the picture quality on some of these, by the way—my camera’s getting old and acting up. If I can get some better shots later, I'll replace these)

In my Inquisition force, (yes, I’m one of those oddballs still favoring the Inquisition over the Grey Knights) Leviticus Gul is a big-time radical who employs xenos mercenaries (among other things) in his fight against Chaos.  So in his squad of henchmen, his death cult assassins are all Kroot Carnivores that were remodeled to have two close combat weapons (and a pile more strapped to their harnesses).  It’s very easy to do.  One of the Kroot arms already comes holding a knife.  There’s also an arm holding a rifle by the barrel, and once you cut off the weapon around it, that leather-wrapped barrel is suddenly a leather wrapped handle for whatever you want to attach.  Their Krull-looking weapons are just the bladed Kroot rifle stocks glued together.

Helpful Hint – Kroot have a double thumb.  From a modeling point of view, that means their left and right hands are identical.  You can swap back and forth to get whatever grip/angle you want on whichever hand you want.  With their different gloves and bracers, it’s easy to hide the cuts, too.
Gul’s Vindicare assassin is a Kroot, too.  He’s based off the metal (now Finecast) Shaper model.  A tiny bit of wire as a pin let me double the length of a Kroot rifle, and a few Ork gun sights made it seem like a suitable Kroot super-sniper rifle (reminiscent of the one in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen).  His Exitus pistol--most likely retrieved from some unfortunate assassin he ate--is an Ork slugga with the glyphs filed off and a Space Marine targeter on top.  It replaced the knife the Shaper had in his left hand.
Let’s peer at the Dark Eldar Court of the Archon for a moment.  Kroot can make great stand-ins for Sslyth.  After all, they’re mercenaries, too, and while they don’t have four arms they are known for being blindingly fast, fluff-wise.  Any oddities in the stat line can be brushed off as your Kroot eating a Sslyth a few months back. 

I call him Sirpenntarr
I built some Kabalite armor for this guy using shoulder pads from the Hellions and the Fantasy Lizardmen, then loaded him up with a bunch of spare knives, blades, and holsters from both the Kroot and  Dark Eldar lines.  I strapped a splinter rifle across his back to add to the mercenary feel and also help represent the shardcarbine. 

Sslyth come on a 40mm base, which looks a little large, but there’s so much extra Dark Eldar stuff (new and old) floating around in bitz bins it would be easy to make a mini-diorama with the extra space which would tie him to the Dark Eldar even more.  Maybe some vehicle wreckage or bodies of various Dark Eldar warriors who failed to kill this mercenary’s employer

Using this same logic, by the way, you could use Kroothounds as Ur-Ghuls if you wanted to.  Their stat line wasn’t quite as mutable in the game—they’re supposed to be an evolutionary dead end, fluff-wise—but if you’re using Kroot as Sslyth you can probably say “counts-as by association.”  I’d just paint the hounds a ghastly green or blue-white and say they ate something that didn’t agree with them.  Or maybe agreed with them far too well...

I’ve also been playing with the idea of building a Kroot model to serve as a “counts as” Guardsman “Sly” Marbo.  With nothing more than a paintjob a Kroot could match any Imperial Guard paint scheme, and it wouldn’t be hard to rationalize it as a lone, deadly mercenary the army had managed to hire.  With a few extra bits or the right paint scheme, a Kroot could even make a passable Predator.  And what army wouldn’t want the Predator on their side...?

So next time you’re struggling for a counts as model, think of the Kroot.

Next up, one last conversion tip with the Orks, and then it’s time for a new Paperhammer project.

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