Scum’s Thoughts – Part 5

Over the last few years I’ve built up quite a library of Necromunda books. Indeed they’ve now completely overrun the part of the shelf that I’d dedicated to them so all my gaming and hobby books will have to be rearranged at some point to accommodate them. Here’s a reminder of how the book stack looked back at the end of 2020, with House of Faith and House of Shadows soon to join them.

Necromunda Books

As well as stacks of background and general inspiration – which is mostly what I buy them for – and further stacks of gaming rules, these books also contain loads and loads of shady individuals with which to populate the underhive. By my count we now have rules for 58 special characters – and assuming they follow the pattern laid down by the preceding books House of Faith and House of Shadows will add 3 more each. Then there are the hangers on, pets, brutes, criminal or guilder allies and noble houses all of which have representatives that you can add to your gang. The thing is, not all of them have models. In fact a huge number do not. My estimate puts the number of concepts without models somewhere around 120, and there are likely to be more in the future. The Specialist Games studio have always maintained that they intend to make models for all these characters and creatures “someday”. However honesty has to compel us to admit that this might be a long time coming. If Necromunda ceases to be popular Forge World will undoubtedly put their resources elsewhere, rather than spending it on creating these models. If it does remain popular I’d expect to see plenty of new books in the future, each containing plenty of new concepts, and the number of “concepts without models” will only increase rather than decrease.

I have what I’ll admit is a bit of a silly idea, that is to own models for all of these things. Of course, even if miniatures were available I’d have to lean pretty heavily on kitbashing to achieve it – I simply couldn’t afford to buy them all – and I suspect the end goal will always be out of sight. This one, however, is definitely a project that’s more about the journey than the destination. Before this turns into any more of a wall of text, and before I start assault my reader’s sensibilities with an outpouring of mathematics, here’s another look at my kitbashed version Freikstorn Strix, the winged Van Saar mercenary.

Freikstorn Strix Necromunda Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)Freikstorn Strix Necromunda Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

Let us imagine, just for fun, that Forge World start churning out Necromunda models with gusto. At least one per month sounds achievable, but let’s say they really commit and start releasing two new Necromunda models every single month of the year. It would still take them almost five years to work their way through the backlog as it stands now. Alternatively they make an announcement tomorrow; with nothing else to fill their time during lockdown their sculptors have worked around the clock and there are now models made, cast and ready to put on sale for every single one of these ideas. In fact, they’re all going on sale right now! Then we’re faced with the Forge World prices I alluded to earlier. Forge World’s pricing is notoriously erratic but generally expensive – most individual characters come in somewhere around the £20 mark. That would make this little lot cost somewhere in the region of £2400 cumulatively – which is certainly well outside the bounds of my hobby budget!

Now I don’t mind this, I’ve always been a convertor and kitbasher at heart, and even if some of these models were available I’d probably choose to make my own – as I’ve already done with Freikstorn Strix (above) Gor Half-Horn, Tess Arc-Up and Grendl Grendlsen for instance. Personally I’ve taken to treating the characters and hangers on that appear in these books as a list of cool concepts – if we get models for them someday then I’m happy, if we don’t I’ll be equally happy to use them as a source of inspiration and make my own. However everyone likes a “Top 5” so today, after all that preamble, let’s take a look at five things from the existing books (in no particular order) that I’d very much like to see models for.

Jorth Slither

Being at heart a filthy heretic I’ve liked the look of the mutie Jorth Slither since I first set eyes on him. In the backstory of Necromunda, outlandish, comic-book style events are as common place as more seriously framed discussions of the planet’s history and industry. The story of Jorth Slither falls firmly into the former category. Turned out of his guilder clan for his somewhat unorthodox approach to making money (i.e. he was a crook) he stumbled upon a corpse lying in a pool of goo. Naturally he did what every right thinking entrepreneurial individual would do and started going through the dead person’s pockets for anything worth nicking… only to be overcome by whatever had killed the poor hiver and wake up sometime later with his body transformed into that of a hideous mutant. Not that this has put a stop to his money-making schemes, and amongst those criminal elements willing to throw in their lot with a mutie he’s gaining a reputation as the kind of man who can get things done…

Jorth Slither

Honestly I just think he looks really cool, if somewhat disgusting and gribbly. In fact the more I look at him the more it strikes me that an official Mutie gang would be a cool thing to see someday. In the meantime I have plenty of muties of my own that would gladly through in their lot with Jorth if only he had a model…

The Shadows of Catallus

A cheeky two-for-one here, these twins were once part of the noble house of Catallus, living high up in the Spire and enjoying the decadent lifestyle that only the very rich can afford. However when the house when through one of their intermittent civil wars the twins found themselves wanted by both sides and escaped downhive where the murderous tendencies they had honed amongst the wealthiest of Necromundan citizens proved just as useful down amongst the gangs of the Badzones. I really like the look of the various noble houses but of all the ones we’ve seen so far Catallus, with their harlequin costumes, are the most striking. House Catallus also have a close relationship with House Van Saar, with the assassins of the Catallus Carnivals putting in an appearance in the House of Artifice book. I have pondered using parts from the Eldar Harlequins combined with the more ostentatious models from the Empire range to kitbash some agents of this most mysterious of Houses, but for a skilled miniature’s designer there’s a lot of scope in these characters and I’d love to see what a professional could do with them.

Catallus 2Catallus 1

Toll Collectors

We’ve seen two of the major Necromundan Guilds appear in model form so far. First there was the relatively normal looking  but still very cool Slavers Guild…

Slavers Guild

…followed by the (soon to be released and deliciously weird looking) Water Guild – or Nautican Syphoning Delegation to give them their proper name.

Water Guild

 However the one I’d really like to see is are the Toll Collectors of the Guild of Coin. This image of them hard at work steps straight from the kind of artwork that I’ll always associate with 40k and which, for me at least, sparks so much imagination and creative energy – yet which we rarely see given full expression in model form. In the grim darkness of the far future, this is your bank manager…

Guild of Coin

Grapple Hawk

Swooping out of the darkness to latch onto a hapless ganger using the metal hooks it has in place of feet (not to mention the other metal hooks it has in place of a face!) there are few 40k creatures more bizarre than the Grapple Hawk. Kept as pets by the more inventively vicious gang champions these winged horrors make a fine addition to any gang, but I can’t come up with a way to make one of my own that matches the terrifyingly demented looking creature in the artwork so if Forge World wanted to save me the job I wouldn’t say no.

Grapple Hawk

Cephalopod Spekter

The Delaque are a creepy bunch, forever skulking around in the shadows, listening in to what the good people of the hive are saying and surrounding themselves with layer upon layer of lies. Pale skinned and unnaturally tall and thin, these hairless gangers, shrouded in long coats and with their eyes replaced by blank lenses, seem just a little less human than anyone else in the underhive – with the possible exception of the xenos hybridising genestealer cults of course. So whilst other gangers choose relatively normal creatures as pets – the Escher’s cats, the Orlocks dogs and the hulking Goliaths equally muscular crocodiles – the Delaque prefer something a little stranger. Pop down your local pet shop and ask to have a look at the floating biomechanical octopuses and the owner will know straight away that you’re an agent of the House of Shadows. Of course not any old Cephalopod Spekter will do, the truly discerning Delaque prefers one which they can really trust. In the world of falsehoods and obfuscation that surrounds them the only way to be sure of that is to implant your own cloned brain into the creature.

With House of Shadows and an accompanying expansion to House Delaque scheduled for later this year this is one we might just see in the coming months – or perhaps that too will prove to be just another lie…

Spektor

So, what do you think? Are there any of these creatures and characters you’d particularly like to see as miniatures – or is there someone or something else in these books that should have made the list? As ever the comments section is all yours.


26 responses to “Scum’s Thoughts – Part 5

  • Pete S/ SP

    The depth of background that has been developed for Necromunda is staggering. I’ve really got behind din my reading of it sadly. I’ll just pick up the odd bit of Forgeworld ket as and when the mood takes me.

    Scratchbuilding is fun but I lack a big enough reserve of spare parts to make it effective for myself to do really.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    • Wudugast

      It really is impressive isn’t it? They’ve clearly poured a lot of time and effort into it and the results are outstanding, long may it continue!

      Yeah, kitbashing is so much easier when you have a decent amount of kits to work with. I very, very rarely buy a kit with it in mind that I’m going to use it for kitbashing, but I do hang onto pretty much every spare off every model I’ve built over the last couple of decades, they all get bagged up and put into a box and now when I need something it’s like a treasure hunt. Of course, it’s miraculous if I actually find the bit I’m looking for in all that…

  • theimperfectmodeller

    Now it wont surprise you that I can’t add to your top 5 as I am not familiar enough with Necromunda to do so but, and this won’t surprise you either, I do have some thoughts. Firstly, scan all the books and then put them in the loft, this way you will free up some storage space 😉. Secondly, I think it is far better that these figures are never mass produced, this way you will have the only ones once you have kit bashed and converted. It will also allow you to concentrate on a specific section to focus your personal collection on i.e. the ones which do not exist. Finally, why not make two versions of everything you kit bash and convert, especially the non available figures and any that are more easy to do. It might not take a lot longer to build and paint two having mixed the paints etc. You then get to keep the better of two and sell the other as a unique master piece which means your whole project becomes self financing. As a concept, albeit that I don’t kit bash and convert, this is working very nicely for me at the moment. I know you are busy at work but sometimes you have to consider the hobby first! 🤗

    • Wudugast

      Some good suggestions there. I’m all in favour of ebooks etc, so the scanning idea makes a lot of sense to me. I read a lot of fiction and having the kind of library around that I would naturally accumulate would have taken over the entire flat long ago if it wasn’t for ebooks. That said for books I’m going to refer to a lot there’s nothing beats a physical book. Somehow that seems to be especially the case with miniatures, physical books inspire me to create physical things. We spend a lot of our lives nowadays in front of computers or looking at screens, which is part of the reason I think in recent years I’ve been drawn more and more towards painting miniatures rather than playing computer games.

      Not sure about storing stuff in the loft mind, as our loft is actually the flat upstairs… Mind you, if they were happy to store a load of gear for me this might actually be a good solution to my storage woes. Maybe I’ll pop up later and ask them…

      I actually completely agree that it’s a good thing that a lot of these figures won’t be mass produced. Back when I got into the hobby Games Workshop would release army books and codexes that contained loads of concepts which they hadn’t got around to making models for. There would be articles guiding people through how to kitbash or convert your own and it lead a lot of people, including myself, into discovering this side of the hobby. Then GW realised that other companies were making models that just so happened to be suitable proxies for these concepts and helping themselves to a slice of GW’s profits – not that this appears to have been hurting GW’s turnover much, although I’m sure it was a huge boost to these smaller companies. Either way GW stopped doing that altogether with their main lines – if something doesn’t have a model available from them there’s no rules for it either, with a few of the so-called “Specialist Games” like Necromunda being the last redoubts of the old ways. Now I know that a lot of people never convert a model, and that’s fine – if a miniature is perfect the way it is why change it? – but it’s nice that there’s still something out there which encourages people to push themselves, to develop their skills and do something a bit more unique and personal.

      • theimperfectmodeller

        Well I hope the conversation went well the people in the flat above. It seems they hold the key to solving some of your problems. Unless you are on the ground floor you might want to ask the people in your basement too? The only thing here that really matters is that you continue to be inspired to to produce unique mini master pieces. 🤗 You might want to use that line in your chat with the neighbours, I’ve no doubt they will be understanding and in return you can promise to keep the music volume down at 3 in the morning. 🙂

      • Wudugast

        Well I asked but for some strange reason they weren’t keen. I’m as mystified as you are. As far as I can tell the only obvious storage fix remaining to me is to tell my partner she has to throw out some of her stuff to make room – if you don’t hear from me again it was good knowing you!

      • theimperfectmodeller

        Annoying. You would have thought this pandemic would have created a greater understanding and a pulling together to alleviate mental health and anxiety concerns such a modelling storage space but it’s seems some people just don’t care. 😔

      • Faust

        I can just picture them saying “Surrrrrre we will store your stuff…” and the next day them hauling off some boxes marked for Ebay!

  • Alex

    Have you checked for gan-made 3D print files mate? Maybe not for the human characters, but those pets look very printable!

    • Wudugast

      You know, no I hadn’t thought of that. I’m still stuck a bit in an old fashioned mindset where miniatures are physical things and if they don’t exist already you have to kitbash or sculpt them. I’ll have a nose around on the 3d printing side again.

  • Page

    I’d missed any previous mentions of the cephalopod specter. They sound creepy and cool. Might be the reason I need to get the viceroy scrutator “death marble” from Reaper Miniatures March 2021 new releases as the base mini for a conversion.

    I have a handful of Forgeworld bounty hunter or other models I plan on getting with all the rest being either convertible (Gore Halfhorn) or ones I think I can live without.

    • Wudugast

      The specter sounds unbelievably creepy doesn’t it? I really like the inhuman, uncanny-valley element they’re bringing to the Delaque these days.

      I’m the same really, I own a few of the Forge World characters, and I like the idea of kitbashing all the rest – in theory it sounds like a fun challenge but in reality I know it’ll always be too big to take on. Still like the idea of it though!

  • Kuribo

    While I have no idea how the game plays, I do think Necromunda is pretty much the most interesting thing that Games Workshop has made in the past five years. It seems like it has so much creativity to it and it is achieving exactly what it tries to be. I think there is a good chunk of Warhammer sculpts and content they’ve made that doesn’t quite hit that mark, if you know what I mean. It is often an attempt to refresh or reinvent something that is classic and inevitably falls short of the original.

    I love that you can kitbash and convert your own special characters! I don’t know if I’ll ever have the skill and creativity for it but I wish I could 🙂 As someone who admires the game from afar, I like that Forge World has released a fair number of solo characters too. I can’t bring myself to purchase a gang’s boxset because I have no reason to paint them all up but I can certainly paint a one-off character for the fun of it. I hope they’ll keep releasing one-off characters in the future for my own selfish reasons like this 😀

    • Wudugast

      ” I do think Necromunda is pretty much the most interesting thing that Games Workshop has made in the past five years. ”
      This. 100% this!

      Necromunda isn’t the easiest or most straightforward game rulewise, I do find the rules quite complicated even for a basic game – but I’ll happily admit that I’m a bit stupid when it comes to game rules, it takes a while for me to get my head around them and for some reason I can only fit one set of rules in my brain so now I’ve learned Warcry (so wonderfully, delightfully easy to play by the way) Necromunda’s rules have kind of fallen out through my ears. On top of that there’s just loads you can do away from the tabletop (if you want to) as you collect credits from the various areas of the underhive you control, take on missions from shadowy patrons, gain experience and reputation, go to the shops to buy bigger guns, go into alliance with the guilds (or some bunch of criminal scum), join a Chaos cult, fall afoul of the Enforcers and have to go on the run, etc etc. If you like storytelling (and I do) and you like spreadsheets (and I do!) then Necromunda is the game for you, you can take on a juve who’s never held a stub pistol before and raise them into a gang champion, see them go on to lead their own gang, follow them through their career of adventures (on both sides of what passes for the law in Hive City), gaining skills, injuries, pets, bionic implants and ever bigger guns, see them die in a blaze of glory and – through dark pacts or arcane sciences – raise them from the dead to do it all over again!

      Of course from a miniature’s painting point of view you can do a one off character (and I really recommend you do!), a whole gang (and their allies, hangers on and pets…) or build an entire hive city (well, maybe a bit of a district, but if I just had a little more space…).

      You probably wouldn’t realise it from reading this but I’m a bit of a fan really…

      • Kuribo

        If you’ve liked Necromunda before, I certainly never noticed, mate 😉 To be a bit more serious, the fact that Necromunda is almost like an RPG where you can add whatever stuff you want on top of the game is seriously impressive and not like many other wargames. I think Fallout Wasteland Warfare has been moving in that direction but I don’t own the supplement that covers that in detail yet so I can’t say for sure. I’d have to say that I hope Fallout does move in that direction because the “sandbox” feel is awesome for narrative play and that is all I can about from a wargaming perspective. Having said that, even the miniatures are full of options which isn’t really something GW offers with a lot of their other game lines. When you add to that a “fresh” setting and characters with real depth, you’ve got a winner I’d say!

  • Mark A. Morin

    I do like what you guys come up with from GW, but man that’s a time investment!

    • Wudugast

      Say’s the man who’s building the entire Spanish invasion of South America, down to the last pack horse! 😉 Seriously I think it’s true of most projects in this hobby, it all comes down to how much time you choose to put in. Most people would never want more than one or two of these models in their Necromunda collection, but if someone has the passion for it they can take things a lot further. It’s the great thing about the miniature’s hobby in general I would say, there’s really no end to the depths to which someone can explore a project if they have the enthusiasm. 🙂

      • Mark A. Morin

        Well technically it’s Mesoamerica, which is still part of North America (when I get to the Inca, that will be SA!). I think you are correct on the passion side of the hobby, but without that why would anyone do it of course. Still, I do enjoy your work, and nobody paid me to say that! BTW, if you’re going to jump in my guessing contest, it closes soon!

      • Wudugast

        And that’s what I get for posting before I’ve had a cup of coffee – you are quite right that its Mesoamerica rather than South America (and I like the sound of you tackling the Inca as well!). Cheers for the reminder about the contest, I’ll put my thinking cap on, channel my inner Nostradamus and see what I can come up with. 🙂

      • Mark A. Morin

        Entry window closes midnight my time on April 10 – and I think that’s 5 AM on the 11th for you?

  • Faust

    Whew, I think I might have forgotten half of what I was going to respond to! Let’s see, firstly books. Do you have any of the old books? I think their comic style art was probably what really caught my eye in the first place. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the game anywhere at the time, so I never hopped on until the 2017 release. Models…add to the Necromunda characters to produce, all the Blood Bowl Star Players. Hell even a Kroxigor to finish the Lizardman team, and well it’s going to take FW ages to ever nip at that iceberg! Lastly, I think Gor Half Horn might have been one of my early intros to your site. I remember seeing the price of the FW model and gulping at the time. Then I saw some conversions online and thought “That’s not a bad way to go!”. Did I actually ever make my own Gor? Haha, I don’t think I did! Probably way too distracted with Blood Bowl stuff. Ah well.

    • Wudugast

      Alas I don’t have any of the old books. They seem to be quite pricey now whenever I’ve looked for them online, a symptom of the game’s current popularity I’m guessing. I really wanted to get in Necromunda back in the day but I only had one mate who was interested and we both felt that the miniatures were a bit rubbish so in the end we took our cash elsewhere. I kind of regret it but I’m making up for lost time now! 😉

      I’d agree that there is a comic book style to Necromunda, not just in the old art (and indeed in the old comics) but also running through the stories etc. In part I’m sure that’s a nod to all the people who have been drawn into the game by the similarities to 2000AD’s Judge Dread etc. I always think that Necromunda walks a fine line there, and so far has done so very skilfully. On the one hand this is the setting where you can really get into the nitty gritty of the 40k setting, if you want to think about the industries, the economies, the languages, the way your characters live on a day to day basis, then you can. Equally it has all these OTT comic book-style trappings. Both are intrinsic to the game and they need to balance the two against each other to make it all work.

      On the models front I completely agree – plus there’s still plenty of mileage in bringing new stuff to the Horus Heresy and LotRs, there’s weapons etc for Titanicus, extra planes for Aeronautica Imperialis etc. Far more than Forge World can handle – much as we might want them too. I like that they keep showing new ideas though, things we could make if we wanted to, that’s such an important part of the hobby and one that GW has neglected in recent years.

      A Kroxigor would be ace, I keep wondering if we’ll see that one in plastic though. We could be lucky!

      Good old Gor Half Horn eh, I’ve still never got around to painting him up. I know I’m always saying things like this but I should definitely do that soon.

      • Faust

        Ah, I never played the original Necro, and so I wasn’t sure how good the rules are. In truth, I like the setting but have not been happy with the new rules.

        I prefer simpler rules overall, and I guess I hadn’t realized how overly complicated most of GWs rules are. It’s not so much the base rules, but the layers and layers of add-ons. It’s probably why I’ve been enjoying Frostgrave so much, as the rules tend to just click for me. Everything is in one smallish book, and I imagine I could condense a good chunk of those rules into a 2-sided cheat sheet. Maybe just 1 side.

        Yea, the comic style seemed to cross all their early lines of games. It might be in part to D&D which had comic book type art initially. Mainly because two of the bigger artists had aspirations to go into comics. Would make sense that people at GW would see the D&D books and follow the same art style. Though the GW games had a dark sense of humor that didn’t show up as much as in the D&D game. That humor was a bigger draw to me, than the settings of the game themselves. Blood Bowl kept some of that in 2016, but seemed to dive more into it in the recent release. Necromunda went with darker more realistic art, but there are still bits of humor in the text and characters. I’m not sure if that’s the same with Warhammer? Also like you mentioned, they were likely heavily influenced by Judge Dredd, so there’s that too.

        There’s a great Kroxigor by Fanath Arts, if you don’t want to wait. Nicely sculpted model, but he does seem to be a tad on the short side which is too bad.

      • Wudugast

        I know what you mean re the rules. I love Necromunda, it is without doubt my favourite GW setting, but I struggle with the rules so I hardly ever play it (I’ve got some thoughts that I’m exploring that might help with that, time will tell what works and what doesn’t). I too prefer simple rulesets (which is why, of all GW’s games, Warcry wins it for me every time – easy to learn, hard to master and a hell of a lot of fun to play). I want to be immersed in the game, not looking up rules all the time. I do think that all of the optional rules are one of Necromunda’s great strengths, you can bolt on so many different things and add as much or as little as you want to, and all of it feeds into the overall story of your gang and their corner of the Underhive. However for that to work at its best you’ve got to have a really good, and above all straight-forwards, set of core rules to bolt everything else on to – and my main criticism of Necromunda is that it doesn’t have that.

        From what I know of the old rules they’ve definitely made some improvements (dropping IGOUGO – which should be left in the dark ages – and replacing it with alternating activation for example) and added a lot more nuance to the different gangs, but beyond that I don’t know enough about the old rules to make an informed comment.

        Interesting about Frostgrave, I keep hearing good things about it and from what you’re saying it sounds like my kind of thing. I’ll look into it.

        Cheers for the tip on the Kroxigor, when I get around to painting some lizardmen I’ll see how I feel if GW haven’t got their act together by then. As you say he does look cool but I found myself saying “Aren’t you a little short to be a Kroxigor?”

      • Faust

        You might check out Stargrave, if you’re more into SciFi. We might try our first game of it in a few weeks, and I’m sure I’ll post on the blog when I do.

        The base rules of Necromunda aren’t too bad. But after the first couple games, things just seemed to get more overpowered/out of control. It was also made worse by the rules being spread across too many books. Then they finally released one book, but it needed some major editing. Hopefully the latest rules are even better. I’d say the 2020 BB rulebook is much than the 2016/2017 ones. Still I just feel the upkeep for those games is a bit ridiculous.

        After game in Frostgrave takes us very little time at all. And there is no inducements/balancing pre-game act like in Blood Bowl. You do have to setup all the terrain though, but that’s any serious skirmish game.

        Mainly I just think it’s the rules style for GW. Though it sounds like they are adapting with games like WarCry, which is cool.

      • Wudugast

        Yeah, I think a side effect of all the story-telling/narrative tools that can be bolted onto a Necromunda campaign is that it’s very prone to runaway leader syndrome. I think the game works best when you’ve got a group of friends who’re willing to think outside the box a bit and who’re aiming to have fun and keep the story rolling along. There’s plenty of official suggestions out there for ways to bring the strongest gangs down a notch or give the weaker gangs a boost – but it’s a lot to take on for anyone who’s just getting into the game (I know I’ve never got to that stage and I’m a bit of a Necromunda fanboy as you know). Having a GM or someone co-ordinating everything helps a lot too but for lots of us it’s hard enough just to drum up someone to get a game against.

        I would tend to agree that much as I love their miniatures I do find GW games to be particularly dense and unintuitive – Warcry being the notable exception of course. On the other hand millions of people around the world play 40k and AoS so maybe it’s just me! :-p

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