Category Archives: Necromunda

The Ladykillers – Part 13

I’ve been banging on about getting a House Escher gang for Necromunda up and running ever since the game was relaunched in 2017 and as a result of this enthusiasm for the best dressed ladies in the Underhive I’ve now gathered a small army of them, even recruiting some pet phyrr cats and a mighty khimerix.  What I didn’t have until now however is a leader, and there’s really nothing more imperative to a gang than that!

To me the leader is the most important member of the gang, and the driving personality behind their evolving story, and so I wanted her to look a little bit special even amongst the ranks of her flamboyant, peacocking followers. Thus rather than use the standard gang leader model – cool though she is – I decided to convert up someone unique based on Theddra Skull-scryer from the Godsworn Hunt. I first showed some work-in-progress images of her way back in January but it’s taken until now for her to finally see completion.

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Of course such a personality demands a backstory so, like the good rememberancer I am, I set to work recording her deeds thus far for posterity…

Decanted as the 17th clone daughter of Lashoth Katilesh, Matriarch of the House Escher Spire Maidens of Hive Furian, Mellix Katilesh was raised to a world in which the shackles and burdens of minor house nobility hung heavy, yet which enjoyed few of its privileges or freedoms. The genetic inheritance she was gifted by her mother granted her a fearsome intelligence bonded to a lethally quick tactical mind and she took swiftly to her education, particularly in the two subjects central to an Escher girl’s tuition; chemical synthesis and the art of assassination. Only the feuding trueborn daughters however had any hope of inheriting their mother’s throne. Instead Mellix was sent to be the ward of Vatra Nighteye, the Gang Queen of the Crow-skull Girls. This band of rebellious ganger Eschers lived on the fringes of house life, yet their underhive labs produced feral strains of great wonder and potential. Ostensibly, by entrusting her daughter to her care Lashoth honoured Vatra, establishing a tie by which the gang-lab might strengthen its bonds to its parent house. Some however suspected Mellix as being little more than a spy sent to discover the secrets of the Crow-skull Girls and determine if their creations were the results of untamed genius or the influence of shadowy patrons. For her part Mellix appeared to chafe at the duty and made no attempt to hide her disgust at being used as a political pawn. Whilst her sisters fought over the scraps they might inherit she was far away in a world of gloom and filth, destined to receive only the runt’s portion. Apparently cast aside by her own family, distrusted as an outsider by the senior Crow-skulls and with less control over her own life than the most lowly juve, Mellix was left to watch, to wait and to plan. Finding herself begrudged and ostracized by the court of senior gangers who surrounded Vatra’s throne Mellix instead found common cause with the ragtag rebels of the rank and file. She led them on daring raids, bloodying the noses of local rivals, using her quicksilver cunning to spirit them out of danger or save sisters in trouble and giving up her share of the loot to cement their loyalty. 

Ultimately she knew that her mother had sent her to the Crow-skulls because she was both valuable and disposable. Should any harm befall her, honour would demand retribution but no real damage would be done to the Spire Maidens themselves. Thus, when the Crow-skulls’ mysterious benefactors revealed themselves as a fraction within the Spire Maidens, led by one of her trueborn sisters in a carefully constructed bid to seize their mother’s throne, Mellix knew she could expect no help to come from above. In the chaos of the attempted coup Escher fought Escher and Mellix led those loyal to her in cutting their way to freedom and fleeing into the ash wastes.

Before she and her new gang vanished however Mellix had one last trick to play, implanting a black market xenos parasite in Vatra’s brain. It was an act of spiteful retribution, petty revenge for the years in which she had suffered Vatra’s minor cruelties, but nothing is without cost and the time will come when the echoes of that moment must be faced. 

That time however remains in the future. Mellix and her crew, who named themselves the Ladykillers in mocking honour of the house nobility they found themselves set against, took to the wastelands beyond the hive in a desperate search for sanctuary. The feuding of the wealthy had seen them driven into the rad-storms and mutie-haunted ruins and so the gangers proudly dug in their heels and spat in the face of power and privilege. Mellix however had more practical concerns. The toxic dune fields and ash-thick air would kill them soon enough and she had no desire to embrace martyrdom. To the north lay a desolation of poisonous run off lakes and dead hives, to the east the jagged mountains riddled with the mining cities of House Orlock. Thus she took her girls south and east, until they reached one of the huge arterial highways that criss-cross the face of the planet like a thousand scars. There she smuggled them aboard a great land-train hauling ore towards Hive Volatos. Hidden amongst mountains of unprocessed metal she listened to the acid storms lashing the pitted hide of the train and dreamed of the hive reaching out to draw her into its embrace. Volatos had long featured in her grandest and most ambitious daydreams for she knew that the Escher nobility there had long since vanished, poisoned by their own experimentation to leave only leaderless gangs and unclaimed power. There she could begin anew, rising through its thousands of floors until she became a Spire Matriarch in our own right. There at last she could stand on the battlements and spit in her mother’s eye across the hundreds of miles of poisonous wasteland. 

First however she must establish a foothold, a corner of turf she can claim as her own and nurture into an empire. Already she has begun to draw outcast Escher to her banner, and each tells the same story; that the Goliaths who once ruled the underhive of Volatos are in disarray and the battle for the city is already half won. All she has to do is drive the last of the brutes from their final stronghold, plant her flag in Ironhouse and name herself Queen. 

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Now it’s worth emphasising that the gang is a long way from being finished. With Mellix finally complete their story is ready to begin and already there are plenty of narrative hooks I’d like to explore. For one thing I’m already considering converting Mellix’s manipulative mother Matriarch Lashoth (Yvraine seems like she’d be perfect for this) and since the Corvus Cabal were revealed for Warcry I’ve found myself seeing the Crow-skulls in a new light as well. Originally intended as just a name and a few lines of background, the opportunity to bring them to life seems too good to pass up. Then there’s the question of what became of the original Escher nobility of Hive Volatos – did they truly die out, or do some endure, lurking in the dark places, waiting to reclaim their crowns? Would they be willing to allow an upstart ganger to take what they know to be rightfully theirs, or would they attempt to make her their puppet in the eternal House-war – or even attempt to destroy her outright?

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All these questions will have to wait however. One thing I do want to do though is get the remaining five partly-painted Eschers currently sitting on my painting desk finished at last. Before I move on to any other painting projects I really do want to get them completed as all of them have been sitting around for quite some time, so if all goes as planned expect to see them next.

 

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The Cult of the Abyssal Gaze – Part 8

I’ve been feeling the itch to add some more genestealer cultists to my partner’s Necromunda gang lately. Ever since I painted three new recruits last month I’ve been hearing the call of the hive mind once again and watching the development of IRO’s very gribbly army has only made the siren song of the star children louder. I’ve been thinking of adding a close combat focused leader to the gang, as opposed to the Magus who specialises, as you might imagine, in unearthly psychic powers. What’s more Azazel’s Jewel of July challenge is a perfect time for painting leaders and characters so I seized the opportunity to work on the Locus.

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A new unit added to the genestealer cults range earlier this year the Locus serves primarily as a bodyguard to the cult’s Magus. That also ties in neatly to the background I’ve come up with for the gang, with their attempt to seize Ironhouse from the Goliaths being led by Vyrion the Elder it makes sense that the monstrous lords of the cult would dispatch a Locus to ensure no harm befalls the venerable magus.

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There’s a real joy in painting genestealer cultists and in my opinion these are one of the best ranges in GW’s arsenal so – despite all the other projects I’m juggling and the fact that the orange colour scheme is more than a little challenging to paint – expect to see a few more of these xenos appearing over the coming months.


Scum! – Part 4

Just a very quick post today as I try to get caught up after a hectic few weeks. Another addition to my Necromunda collection, here’s a down-and-out hive scummer looking for a suitably desperate gang to hire him.

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I went into painting him with the intention of doing so as quickly as possible, whilst still producing a model that I was pleased with and I have to say I like the results. Then again as he’s just a degenerate scumbo he doesn’t need to look too classy!


The Cult of the Abyssal Gaze – Part 7

Remember Kutter, the outlander Goliath who joined up with the Irondogs after his old crew were wiped out to a man by the rise of the genestealer cults? For those who don’t, here’s a quick reminder of what he looks like.

The model for Kutter originated as an attempt to convert a leader for my Goliath gang (a project which, on the third attempt, turned into the mighty Korak Kingbreaker). The first version knocked around the bitsbox for a little while before being rescued and reused as the basis for Kutter. However between the dismissal of the Kutter version and the eventual success of the Korak version a second model was attempted, butchered, sworn at, and hurled back into the box from when it came in a fit of disgust. There it lay, biding its time, until I came up with the back-story behind Kutter and his old gang’s ill-fated encounter with the Cult of the Abyssal Gaze. Did all the Goliaths die in those rusting, ash-choked tunnels, I found myself wondering. Were some taken prisoner, or fell willingly or unwillingly under the sway of the cult, coming in time to worship new masters, take on new forms and bear the mark of the alien…

Meet Brother Narlek, former Goliath ganger and now the “muscle” behind many a raid by the cultists. Of course, if you find him too fearsome looking you can always imagine that he’s shouting “Taxi!”

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As one of Kutter’s former gangmates his transformation represents a profound and personal insult to the Goliath and a vicious rivalry is bound to follow.

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Whilst I was working on Narlek I decided to focus my bolstered enthusiasm for the cult to get a couple more recruits finished. After all, you can always use another rank and file cultist with a shotgun…

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…meanwhile a webber brings a bit of tactical versatility to the cult (and should be handy for keeping those rampaging Goliaths tied up – both figuratively and literally).

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As previously mentioned work and family commitments remain extremely busy at the moment so snatching hobby time is proving a challenge, as it stands I’m not even finding time to keep up with my fellow bloggers let alone paint much of my own. Hopefully things will settle down over the next little while but until then expect updates to remain somewhat sporadic.


The Cult of Ruin – Part 6

Next up, something I can only describe as a rabble of Chaos cultists. As I’ve mentioned before work has been particularly crazy recently and, despite actually managing to finish some models last week, painting time has been thin on the ground. Thus when I did manage to claw back some painting time I went for a few “easy wins” and tackled some of the part-painted chaos cultists that have been waiting on the edge of the desk for some time.

First up there’s this savage beastman. I built him a number of years ago (indeed a quick look back into the archives of this blog tells me it was 2015) but he’s spent most of the intervening time with nothing more than a few basecoats to his name. Time to put in the (fairly minimal when it came down to it) extra effort to get him finished and ready to rage through the Underhive in full colour!

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Whilst I was working on him I found my attention drawn to the traitor guardsmen from the Blackstone Fortress box. Now as I’ve previous noted my aim with Blackstone Fortress is to paint up those models that I can’t easily proxy from elsewhere in my collection and then work on the rest – that way we can actually play it with a full set of painted models sooner rather than later. Traitor guard are something which isn’t in short supply so my plan was to shove them to the back and crack on with things like Negavolt Cultists and Ur-Ghuls in the meantime. A good plan sure enough, but not one which survived first contact with the painting desk! After all, it’s all very well to have these organised and sensible aspirations but how could I allow models as cool as these to sit unpainted for long?

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In turn working on these gave me the impetus to go for a few more “easy wins”. All of the above models may well find their way into my long-gestated Chaos Cult gang for Necromunda. When I originally planned this gang last year the idea was that it would be quick and easy to put together, just a case of gathering models I’d already painted and going for it. However I quickly became dissatisfied with this idea. The models I had to hand had mostly been painted several years ago and the quality of the painting really didn’t hold up next to the newer stuff. Thus I picked out several cultists that I wanted to use in the gang and decided to make a start by giving them a quick repaint – and of course having made this plan then proceeded to do absolutely nothing about it.

However with other chaos models on the painting desk and feeling the temptation to do something quick and easy with what little painting time I could scrape together I finally got around giving these three the love and attention they deserve.

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Now I just need to find the time to get this month’s Skaven photographed and write some words about them. Perhaps if I give up sleep…


Ortruum 8-8

Don’t worry, I’ve not leaned over the edge and fallen off the world, or anything equally dramatic. It’s simply that this is the time of year when work is at its busiest and I end up spending most of my time outdoors with not a paintbrush or a miniature in sight. Which of course tends to reduce my output of painted models rather dramatically!

Of course I still have all kinds of hobby plans I’m wanting to pursue, but – after a rather productive April – it’s a safe bet that things will probably slow down a little over the next few weeks. Even when I do snatch some hobby time it’s not automatically the case that my creative energies – always a wilful beast at the best of times – will go in the direction I want them too. Thus once again the Eschers were left to languish whilst I found myself distracted by Ortruum 8-8, the bizarre psi-hound dispatched from Lord Helmawr’s secretive psykanarium to seek out those the lord of Necromunda deems undesirable.

It’s a weird beast this one, and not to everyone’s taste, although personally I love the fact that they were willing to create something so strange, ugly and utterly unlike anything else – either in the range or elsewhere. Plus, it was a fine opportunity to paint lots of unhealthy looking skin!

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The little hands it uses (presumably) to feed and care for itself – in as much as it can – always struck me as particularly creepy and so, rather than paint them as mechanical (as on the studio model) I decided to go for living flesh instead. To me it emphasises the clinical, industrial cruelty of the 41st Millennium – why manufacture mechanical hands when literally everyone is walking around with two already attached. Plus, in comparison to the bloated bulk of the rest of the model they look oddly small and delicate (although, the more I look at him, the more I realise that as a pudgy, baby-like figure, barely cognisant of the enormous power it wields, which struggles to understand even basic concepts, has something ridiculous on the top of its head and is controlled by shadowy puppet-masters, it’s no surprise it has small hands as well…)

It’s worth noting as well that this is a big creature, it’s swollen, suspensor-borne flesh easily outsizing even the most muscular of Underhive locals.

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As mentioned above progress is likely to remain somewhat erratic for a while yet but hopefully that just means the creative fires will burn all the hotter when I do find the time to indulge them!


The Ladykillers – Part 12

I had great plans to get the Escher gang rounded up this month, and once again those plans look set to miss their target. Ah well, I have been busy with other things so I guess I’ll let myself off! Nonetheless I feel like I’ve been working, very slowly, on the Eschers for quite a while so I’d like to try and get the last few members of the core gang wrapped up ASAP.

On that note here we have the gang’s brute, the giant genetically modified monster known as a Khimerix. These monsters, described as “flesh-fused chimerae” and “gene-spliced hybrids” are created by the gene-wrights of House Escher as attack beasts, status symbols, gladiatorium combatants and, above all else, proof of their ability as queens of the genetic and flesh-sculpting arts.

As no official model has appeared as yet I decided to use the Tiger of Dirz model from the Confrontation range (that’s Confrontation – the game made by French miniature’s company Rackham, not Confrontation – the name for the original version of Necromunda, although there is a pleasing symmetry at play nonetheless!). The Tiger of Dirz was itself a flesh-crafted attack beast, created by the genetic manipulators of the Alchemists of Dirz so the creature seemed like a natural fit. All I had to do was give her a suitably Escheresque paint job and she was ready to join the gang.

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As brutes go she’s perhaps not quite as big as she could be, although she still towers over the gang’s collection of phyrr cats…

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…and looks suitably imposing next to the gangers themselves…

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However an ambot still makes her look a little small…

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…and she’s actually no bigger than the sumpkroc.

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Thus, as and when an official model for the Khimerix is produced I’d expect it to be somewhat larger than this (given that she’s brute whereas the croc is merely an exotic pet), but for now she more than fits the bill.

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Working on this has reminded me (as if I needed reminding!) of how much I loved the Rackham range. I used to drool over their miniatures each month but, given that I was a poor student and they were terribly expensive, never got around to buying any until the company hit the rocks and foundered into bankruptcy in the 2008 recession. Suddenly the market was flooded with cheap miniatures from the range which I greedily snapped up (the silver lining to every cloud and all that). Maybe it’s time I got around to getting them painted…