Grenadier Dungeons & Dragons Umber Hulk

The Umber Hulk is the iconic Dungeons & Dragons monster, a powerful tunnelling beast with the power to confuse anyone who sees all four of its eyes at once.  This confusion is a form of psychic hypnosis, rather than puzzlement over the fact it has eyes in its nostrils, and what might happen when it sneezes.

Dungeons and Dragon Umber Hulk by Grenadier

“Feckin’ peg it!” squeed Ploppin the Halfling.

Such a colourful shot!  The red and blue lights echo the garish paint choices this Umber Hulk’s previous owner made.  This miniature was a snip at £3 from the Oldhammer Trading Company and I celebrated by taking it to the pub that evening.

Dungeons and Dragon Umber Hulk by Grenadier

The lovable four-eyed spongmonster at the pub.
Also pictured: a Grenadier Umber Hulk.

He came missing a finger-claw, which I replaced with brass wire and putty. I also carved him new mandibles from some random Games Workshop plastic bits.

Dungeons and Dragon Umber Hulk by Grenadier

jazz hands /dʒaz handz/ noun:

The miniature has been released by Grenadier both with and without the mandibles.  In the original catalogue, the photographer completely misinterpreted the mandibles as unicorn bits.

Grenadier held the licence for Dungeons & Dragons miniatures 1980–1982, but released all sorts of suitable figures both before and afterwards.  This is not actually an official Umber Hulk but an “Umberbulk”.  It is still in production nowadays (without mandibles), via Mirliton.

Dungeons and Dragon Umber Hulk by Grenadier

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Dungeons and Dragon Umber Hulk by Grenadier

Original the Monster.  Do not steal.

The 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual states “Umber Hulks are black, shading to yellowish gray on the front.  Their head is gray on top, and the mandibles are ivory coloured.”  But I did mine a burnt umber colour as I got hung up on the name “Umber Hulk”.  In my defence the picture of them in the Monster Manual illustration is black and white.

Umber Hulks and Rogue Trader Ambulls

When writing Rogue Trader, Games Workshop anticipated players would want to use their existing figure collections, and so they slipped in a lot of the iconic Dungeons & Dragons monsters as thinly-disguised aliens.  Blink Dogs became “Astral Hounds”, Beholders became “Enslavers”, Umber Hulks became “Ambulls” and so on.

Dungeons and Dragon Umber Hulk by Grenadier

 Mighty Squat Hero Warmaster Gorun fighting an UmbeAmbull, with support from the Reckoners Space Marine chapter.

The Ambull did eventually get its own model, here’s sho3box’s rendition and here’s Jason Fulford’s.

Interestingly, having been ported into space, they got put ported back into their native fantasy setting in the form of White Dwarf 108’s Terror in the Darkness scenario for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, where the adventurers head into a mine only to encounter Ambulls.

That’s it for today!  I’ll leave you with this photo that was meant to show the detail on the top of the head, but his pose looked like it was inviting tickles.

Dungeons and Dragon Umber Hulk by Grenadier

  Cudgy cudgy coo cooo. Cudgy cudgy coo cooo.

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11 thoughts on “Grenadier Dungeons & Dragons Umber Hulk

  1. Great job replacing the missing parts, in particular. That’s become one of my favorite ways to get a classic at a price I can afford. And your incorporations are utterly falwless. Well done! Got to see the Diego Ambull next to the GW a month back. Now I need to see the Umber Hulk in the mix as well. :)

    1. Yeah, I can get more excited by seeing an incomplete miniature on the second hand market nowadays as it means there’s a better chance of me nabbing it.

      I think I’ll do more Umber Hulks in the future, I’m getting a taste for them.

  2. Warmaster Gorun is toast I expect, if I remember Ambull stats correctly.

    The lighting in the photos reminds me of the promo shots for the first 40k Predator tank, WD #111 or so IIRC.

    Beautiful painting Curis. The turquoise elements in the claws and teeth work really well.

    1. Warmaster Gorun has the second-highest Weapon Skill in all of the Citadel Space Wars combat cards and therefore the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I find the idea a lowly Ambull can beat him ludicrous.

      1. Combat cards? I thought we were talking Oldhammer here. What the heck are combat cards? ;-) You’ve got a heroic squat fighting an ambull . . . let’s see . . . Gorun should have a Rogue Trader era weapon’s skill of between five and seven and he might, possibly have as many as three wounds with two being a bit more likely of a heroic sort. But let’s give him the major hero stats and assume three and the WS-7. The ambull is WS-5, also with three wounds. Giving Gorun the major hero stats he would then be the equal of the ambull in initiative and attacks. (But no better. I-5 with three attacks eaches. Those ambulls are fast! They move fast too.) The ambull has straight up strength five attacks. The squat has a power glove and flack armor, by all appearances, which should give him at least a very minimal save and leave the ambull asking why he bothered to roll against that first attack, but the other two are unlikely to be so effective, being strength four improvised against a toughness five monster. So yes, a really great squat hero could probably take the ambull, as long as he’s armed and armoured. Otherwise it might well flip back the other way, given the ambull’s strength advantage over even a major hero. And anyone at all lesser . . . watch out. Don’t go one on one. And that’s just an average ambull. Surely they have some variation as well. Ahab will tell you not all whales are created equal. Anyway . . . Fun stuff!

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