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