View Full Version : On Ogre Leadbelcher Cannons & Chaos Dwarfs

Karak Norn Clansman
25-07-2017, 19:22
Ancient History

...sort of.

Back in 6th edition, Games Workshop made a masterstroke when they released Ogre Kingdoms. Not only did this give the Ogres a homeland, a culture and detailed background, but it also gave us Gnoblars (easy slaves and fodder!) and a lot of glimpses eastwards of the Dark lands and Cathay.

6th edition was glorious for reasons such as this, the Hellcannon and the new Wood Elf aesthetic (GW has always been strong in the looks departments since very early days), but interestingly for our Dawi Zharr purposes, the Ogre Kingdoms army book stated the origins of the Leadbelchers (https://www.games-workshop.com/en-IE/Ogre-Kingdoms-Leadbelchers)' weaponry being as follows (from Lexicanum (http://whfb.lexicanum.com/wiki/Leadbelcher); my emboldening):

Leadbelchers are Ogres armed with great hand cannons, imaginatively named leadbelcher cannons. These Ogres are absolutely addicted to the thunderous roar of cannons and the immense destruction caused by their shot. Fortunately, they are few in number, for they either gain these cannons as a reward for great service from Chaos Dwarfs, or have to scavenge them from enemy artillery. Also, like all cannons, they are prone to misfires that can often kill the Leadbelcher himself.

The alpha-males in charge of small groups of Leadbelchers are fittingly known as Thunderfists.

This is likely familiar already with virtually all Chaos Dwarf collectors, but it is still an interesting point to look back at. Having cannons as a reward for Ogre mercenary and other service in the dark empire of the Chaos Dwarfs could likely be expanded with Chaos Dwarf trading and slaving caravans making it into the western parts of the Mountains of Mourn or to the Sentinels to sell weaponry to Ogres, which could well include the odd cannon. The role of arms dealers (http://www.chaos-dwarfs.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=16277) have always suited the Chaos Dwarfs particularly fine, not least seen with the spectacular Hellcannon and implied trading of arms and armour with the northern Chaos-worshipping Human tribes.

All pictures courtesy of their various owners... none mentioned, none forgotten.

On to the models. There are 4 Leadbelchers and 4 cannons in each kit, as can be seen in this picture where you will see duplicates of every single cannon design between the two units/ranks:


The interesting bit here is that obviously the GW sculptors had the above background in mind when designing the Leadbelcher cannons. There are no ornate Dwarf cannons, and no exotic Cathayan or suchlike eastward cannon. What we have is 1 Empire Great Cannon, and 3 cannons of uncertain origin which we may conclude are made by Chaos Dwarfs:


A closer look at the 3 suspects:


If decorations is something to go by, they all look like cheap shoddy work compared to the 4th edition and Legion of Azgorh ranges, just what you'd expect the Chaos Dwarfs to bestow upon mercenaries and trade partners. As we know, the Blacksmiths of Chaos keep the best produce for themselves. What the Ogres are getting is mass-produced second rate artillery. Still deadly, though.

Now, what might be interesting for Chaos Dwarf conversion and terrain purposes, is what to make of the fat brutes' handheld artillery pieces? One could of course include Ogre mercenary cannoneers as unit fillers in ranged units. One could make a trade caravan wagon or Iron Daemon's train car stacked with supplies and trade goods including said cannons. If a bit cheap, one could use the cannon barrels straight on some chassis for ordinary Chaos Dwarf field artillery pieces. One could even have a favoured Hobgoblin Khan who sports a cannon gifted to him by his overlords, instead of the token ballista.

They might be particularly interesting for terrain. Just think about it: What if you have some Chaos Dwarf naval vessel or supply barge project going? It might already sport one oversized main weapon as is right and proper for Dawi Zharr warships, but how to fill out the rest of the deck with details? Mounting some cannons (not even rockets!) nicked from the Leadbelchers could go some way toward giving the ship some versatile secondary weaponry and add to the detail level.

The cannons might be particularly interesting for fortifications. Perhaps the rocket launcher, Magma Cannon or mortar mounted on this or that battlement broke down, or is yet to be cast and delivered? As an emergency or stopgap measure, one could easily see the castellan dredge up some cheap cannon from the arsenal, usually used as hefty payment for Ogres, and mount it on the walls to cover up some of the fort's artillery shortcomings, until proper replacements can be acquired. Or perhaps there are some small cannons permanently deployed at certain spots with sweet killing angles or vulnerable sections?

We mainly see various kinds of mortars (incl. Daemonic a.k.a. Asscannon and Daemonforged a.k.a. Hellcannon), rocket batteries and Magma Cannons. Yet perhaps somewhere we can find a place for a cheap cannon as well?

Food for conversion thought!


Lord Damocles
26-07-2017, 22:10

I'd never really considered where the non-great cannon cannons were supposed to have come from.

01-08-2017, 17:47
The background seems to offer more opportunity for them to turn up in non-Chaos Dwarf armies than CD ones. The Dawi Zharr are more than happy to employ cheap cannon fodder (hobgoblins) in their armies, but cheap cannons don't seem their thing - I don't think they'd trust (or need) other races to use such weapons alongside them, even if they are shoddy ones. When Chaos Dwarfs are appearing in other armies (e.g. Chaos Warriors), they're doing so as the ranged support themselves, so it'd be unusual to have their inferior cannons duplicating that role alongside them, unless they're trying to short-change their allies (which is possible).

The cannons are the kind of thing you'd expect to turn up in human armies with dubious morals (Marienburg, Border Princes, Dogs of War) that might be playing using Empire rules, or perhaps a Skaven force that's fallen out with Clan Skyre.

Karak Norn Clansman
05-08-2017, 16:01
The Chaos Dwarfs are Blacksmiths of Chaos and infamous arms traders. It's an integral part of their background. Spreading some shoddy cannons around does not undercut themselves much, on the contrary it gives them access to deadlier Ogre mercenary troops. That said, any risk of Leadbelcher cannons turned against Chaos Dwarfs is part and parcel of arms dealing, just as arms selling to Marauder tribes up north carry a risk of the arms being turned against the arms producers themselves in the future - but given eg. the Hellcannon, K'daai and other rash risktaking this would not at all be unthinkable to Chaos Dwarfs; on the contrary, short-term gain, with possible long-term harm to themselves are part of their whole archetype.

Their empire in the Dark Lands is next-door to the Mountains of Mourn, they are arms dealers, they frequently employ Ogres and are mentioned as rewarding great service with cannons, and one would as such expect more Leadbelcher cannons to come from Mingol Zharr-Naggrund and all her holdings than from the Border Princes, Tilea, Estalia, Marienburg and the Empire.

In fact, it is likely that a Sorcerer-Prophet with a finger on the pulse of doings in the western Mountains of Mourn might supply Leadbelcher cannons to a weaker tribe in order to prop up the balance of power. Probably not too common, but likely to happen every now and then.

Ultimate Life Form
05-08-2017, 18:24
I liked Boneripper's Safety Valve rule from 6th Edition, which stated that the artificial Rat Ogre could never attack Clan Skryre, his makers, in any way. Not that it ever came into play or something I guess, but so fluffy! For once Clan Skryre made sure their creation won't backfire! For the first and last time in the history of the Warhammer world.

As for the cannons, I cannot see many coming from the Skaven. Skaven aren't traders like Chaos Dwarves, they regard all other species (and indeed all members of their own species) as enemies. A Cannon is a powerful asset in the constant struggle for dominance and any lesser Clan will be unwilling to give such a trump card away.

As for Warp Lightning Cannons, it is made clear that only Clan Skryre knows how to make them and thus has a monopoly on them. They make a good amount of money by selling their tools, but they are rather picky about whom they sell it. They would never allow a strong rival to get ahold of too many Cannons. This is not a problem with Ogres, of course, but their preferred method of payment is Warpstone, which Ogres are unlikely to have in great number. Maybe they would accept valuable Ogre Slaves as payment, but the price would be so steep that the Tyrant would have to sign over half his tribe, or more, for just one WLC. This would weaken him substantially, so only the most stupid Tyrants would accept such a deal. Remember, when haggling with Skaven you can only lose.