Category Archives: Necromunda

Muties – Part 2

It wouldn’t be the dark corners of the 41st Millennium without a few muties scurrying around, suffering deprivation, being oppressed, demanding rights and turning dark thoughts to the darker powers that lurk beyond the veil… Some of you may recall that back in April I finally got around to painting up some of my long-planned tribe of mutants, models which I converted over several years based on the Lord of the Rings Goblin models. Here’s a reminder of how they look.

Now at last we have three more, ready to join the tribe.

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This one is actually the very first one I made – alongside the chap in the death mask from the previous set – but in the mixed up world of miniatures I only got around to painting him now. He has however had a few tweaks since he was first built, mostly to take advantage of new components as they came along – with the poxwalker tentacle being the most obvious addition.

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This one is one of my favourites from the whole group, a very simple conversion but there’s something chilling about him that makes me think of the worst excesses of research conducted unmonitored in crumbling asylums.

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A face to give you nightmares if ever there was one!

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Here’s a cheeky groupshot of the three newcomers.

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And here’s the whole tribe gathered together, ready to spring out upon some unsuspecting ganger or inquisitor.

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That’s not all however. Whilst I was about it I also found myself thinking about the other scavenging creatures which might be found lurking in the gloom of the Underhive. Giant rats appear to be the most prevalent form of life on Necromunda (even more common than muties!), and are probably pretty common everywhere else in the Imperium as well, so adding one to my collection of verminous critters seemed like a wise move.

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I was also looking through my Chaos Space Marines collection and my eye fell on this old familiar that I painted a couple of years ago. With retrospect I don’t think I did a great job on it so, on the grounds that there’s no time like the present, I popped it back onto the painting desk and gave it a quick freshen up.

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And there we have it, a few more verminous scavengers ready to sneak and plot in the deepest shadows beneath the hives. Speaking of which, the end of the month is approaching and I really need to crack on with some Skaven!

 


The Irondogs – Part 13

It’s all kicking off in the Underhive at the moment. This weekend saw the release of Dark Uprising, the eye-wateringly expensive but still rather lovely new Necromunda boxset. Despite the fact that it’s rather painful on the wallet I’m still excited about this, containing as it does a combination of really interesting and atmospheric-looking terrain, and two new gangs, both of which are of interest to me. On the one hand we have the brutal jackboot of oppression, the po-po themselves, in the form of the Palanite Enforcers. We already saw the Old Bill muscling their way onto the streets a couple of months ago and at the time it was announced that a second, more heavily armed and armoured variant, the Palanite Subjugators would be coming soon.  Like many people I assumed we’d be looking at a Forgeworld upgrade kit so seeing a plastic kit for this is fantastic, especially as I’m gearing up to start my own collection of the fuzz to unleash on the local miscreants, bams, neds, ne’er-do-well and other assorted scum of the Underhive. If you need me I’ll be watching detective dramas for “research purposes” and practicing my lingo. Attracted by the smell of bacon we have the other gang in the box – the Corpse Grinder Cultists, who are exactly as friendly and loveable as their name would suggest. These are important not just because angry cannibals are something one can never have enough of but also because it’s the first time we’ve seen something truly new in Necromunda for a very long time. We’ve seen lots of things on the sidelines of course, developing and enriching the world in which the game is set, but now we’re actually seeing a whole new gang, something the developers have been hinting at for a while and which is alleged to be the first of many. Of course it would be great to see Redemptionists, Ratskins, Pitslaves and all the rest of the old gangs making a return at some stage but personally I’m thrilled to see a breath of fresh air entering the Underhive and reminding us that reliving the ’90s is all well and good but this is a creative goldmine and we’ve only just scratched the surface.

Down in my own little corner of the planet’s surface, the industrial fortress of Ironhouse, the gang warfare is set to hot up considerably.  Since I last worked on my Goliath gang at the tail end of last year Genestealer Cultists have come sneaking in from the tunnels that lead into the ash-wastes, House Escher have established a presence in the ill-defended areas of the territory and a Chaos cult has begun spreading their influence, whipping up rebellion amongst the helot population. Lately agents of House Van Saar have come rappelling down from the hive above, carving out an outpost from which they can conduct secretive missions of their own and tramping over the hard-won territories of the locals without seeming to give them a second thought. Now there are rumblings of a Cawdor crusade taking to the streets, and of course I’m expecting Corpse Grinder Cultists and Palanite Enforcers to arrive in strength soon. The Irondogs of House Goliath were already stretched thin trying to hold onto their turf – and if you want to read the story of how it all began then I recommend you take a look here – and things have only become worse since then. If Korak and his boys want to keep their old territory it’s time for them to do a little recruiting of their own.

Anyway, enough chat – let’s take a look at the new boys. First up we have Grolg, who I like to think of as a real “Goliath’s Goliath” – that is to say an angry and imposing muscleman with a suitably un-subtle two-handed hammer.

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Next up there’s Dansk, wielding a brutish chainsword (although it looks more like a chainsaw than the kind of thing other gangs employ).

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Lastly there’s Butch, with an improvised maul and a bolt pistol which in itself looks heavier than most clubs.

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And of course here they are all together.

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It’s been about a year since the last time we had a groupshot of the whole gang and although they haven’t added that many new members since then with these latest three joining up I thought it was high time we had another.

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With these finished I’m aiming to focus on Blackstone Fortress for the next little while (and Orks of course, I’m not forgetting that I still have ten of those to paint!) but with the new Necromunda releases soon to be winging their way to me I’m feeling the call of the Underhive again (although when am I not?) so I’m sure we’ll  be looking at more of the inhabitants of Ironhouse before we know it.


Tech-Hunters – Part 4

I’ve been trying to get these posted up for a while but time hasn’t been on my side lately and the weather hasn’t been helping, with dark and brooding skies outside most of the time the ambient light in the room where I do my photography has been awful, forcing me to rely on artificial lighting exclusively – which in turn sucks all the life out of the paintjobs. Anyway, enough moaning and excuses from me, the last two Van Saar are done and the gang is complete (for the moment).

Before we look at the models however, I wanted to write a bit of background, setting the scene and explaining how this latest gang  fits into the crowded landscape of Ironhouse and its surroundings. Feel free to skip over it of course, there are pictures of miniatures further down!

Even along the upper echelons of House Van Saar the name of Koen Margen was spoken with respect, and even a little awe. Far from the clamour of the production lines and the squalor and violence of the gang wars tech-scholars pursue knowledge, constantly searching to expand the accumulated wisdom and wealth of their house. By the scraps of knowledge they claw from the rubble of the past are the wheels of Necromundan industry oiled and the coffers of House Van Saar filled. The innermost circle are permitted to study the STC itself and those who fail are rendered down at once. Not even servitors or corpse starch are made from the remains, so paranoid are the House lords that they are secrets might slip out.

A polymath genetically and surgically enhanced to attain levels on genius far beyond the human norm Margen was one of this gifted few. However during the final years of his life his focus moved from the technical to the biological as he became obsessed with the search for a cure to be poisonous illness to which all Van Saar are subject, and which dooms them to brief and painful lives even by Necromundan standards. Many suspected that for him the struggle was a personal one and the race to a cure was being run against his own mortality and failing strength. More and more he isolated himself, abandoning the core territories of his house and busying himself in a fortified laboratory bastion amongst the spires of Hive Volatos. His lab assistants were replaced with servitors and he traded data with underhive gangs, circumnavigating the traditional lines of communication. Only his assistant Espen Luthrix remained close and in time even she found herself isolated from the crux of his reasoning or dispatched to deal with tangential enquiries. Having undergone cerebral enhancement and a full spectrum of combat training she was able to act on his behalf as an assistant, a bodyguard, an archeotch hunter, even an assassin. Yet she could not truly know his mind, and she came to believe that the tasks she was set, whether ultimately valuable or otherwise, were intended to distract her and prevent her from understanding whatever secret he pursued. Often she would return to the laboratory  only to be turned away by his cybernetic guardians, made to wait for days before a perfunctory message would set out her next task. In the end it had been more than forty cycles since she last saw him when a servo-skull sought her out and, following recognition of her personal codes and ciphers, repeated a simple recording of her mentor’s voice. “Success. Come at once”. Later it would only be that skull, its four spoken words analysed over and over again by House adepts until it’s provenance was proven beyond doubt, that saved her from execution. By then the message recorded by the skull had burned through the backchannels where paranoia reigns supreme and kill-squads were sent to purge those guilty of even the most approximate association to the truth.

All that was still to come however. On reaching the laboratory Espen found only chaos and destruction. The door, designed to halt a charging ogryn, had been torn from its hinges, the servitor guardians left as nothing more than offal and scattered machine parts. Beyond lay fiery devastation. Whatever notes or data Margen may have accumulated, the fire consumed it all. Yet worse was to come. As the House agents dug through the charred wreckage they found bodies, but only those of the machine men with which Margen had populated his kingdom. Of the tech-savant himself there was no sign.

Another ripple of panic passed through the house at this news. That Margen was dead represented an acceptable loss, life – even for the brightest stars of Van Saar – being unnaturally short and cheap. The loss of his data was a greater burden, but one which could be borne. The house would go on and in time all that he had learnt would be rediscovered. The thought that he might live however, and even now be spilling his secrets – willingly or otherwise – to their enemies represented an existential threat to the entire house. Knowledge is a hard currency on Necromunda and the adversaries of Van Saar are numerous. Houses once thought untouchable have fallen before, the names of those once mighty now recorded only in fading ink in the darkest archives. Agents of the house were dispatched to all corners of the planet, every clue to his whereabouts, every hint of information and even the most far-fetched sighting, picked over by sanctioned hunters, although few of them knew exactly who they pursued.

In the end it may have been this that saved Espen’s life. She knew Margen far better than most, and if the house was to recover their lost adept she could well be their best hope. Following her instincts she has headed downhive, taking with her a small but elite crew of tech-hunters, codenamed Scorpion-Null and led by the hard-bitten veteran, Major Solaq. They are an experienced team and one with which she has worked well before. Lethal though she is she knows that where they are going she will meet their backup. Only now does she begin to see the pattern of clues in the missions she was sent on during her mentor’s final months. With little more to go on she gathers her team and follows the twisting road into the hive depths, down into the ash choked streets of that industrial carbuncle known to its inhabitants as Ironhouse.

With the background for the gang set out, let’s turn our attention to those two key characters from the gang (leaving aside the mysterious, and clearly absent, Koen Margen). First of all here’s the gang leader, Espen Luthrix.

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And here we have the veteran tech-hunter Major Solaq.

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Yuk! Despite my best efforts to photograph it that mask looks horribly flat and over-exposed. Would you believe I actually put quite a lot of effort into painting it so that it looked just right? Not with lighting conditions like this you won’t eh?

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You may have noticed that both Espen and Solaq have shields, as does the previously shown Agent Ivanek. No, I didn’t buy a second box just to get another shield – I just think they look cool and managed to get my paws on a spare one.

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Here’s the whole gang, ready to rappel down from the spire heights and start making life difficult for the locals, as they attempt to hunt out Koen Margen, dead or alive.

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In theory the plan is to leave Necromunda for a bit and turn my attention to some of the other projects that have been singing their siren song to me (I still need to finish Blackstone Fortress for instance, and Warcry is a harsh but alluring mistress with a lot of bare plastic that needs to be dealt with). However I’m also itching to get started on my Cawdor gang, who’ve been untouched for far too long and the Dark Uprising box has grabbed my attention too, so I don’t imagine I’ll be away from the Underhive for long.


Tech-Hunters – Part 3

With a number of projects competing for my attention I’m enjoying how quick and straightforward to paint my Van Saar gang is proving to be. The irony that this is a small and elite force is not lost on me, especially compared to some of the veritable hordes that I find myself collecting with far trickier colour schemes. For now this gang is entering its final stages with my intention being to complete it in the near future. After that I’ll turn my attention to one of the more populous gangs, probably Cawdor, although I’ll probably turn my attention to some other projects first. First of all though let’s take a look at the latest two recruits.

The final rank-and-file ganger is Agent Bask. I do find the awkward crouched pose of some of the Van Saar a little hard to get used to, although it helps if you imagine them taking cover behind the ramshackle rusty terrain of the underhive. The Van Saar also appear more organised and military than many of the other gangs, something I’ve tried to emphasise with the pose as he takes cover and gestures to one of his squad mates for backup. A Goliath would probably just wade in shouting!

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Alongside him we have the first gang champion, Agent Weyland, who brings a missile launcher to an underhive knife fight. The instructions which come with the models suggest equipping one of the running figures with the missile launcher but to my eye it looks too heavy, and the gangers of Van Saar are said to be too frail and weak, for such dynamic action. Instead I went for a power pose as he prepares to launch radioactive death into the upper gantries.

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Lastly let’s take a quick look at how the whole group is progressing.

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With them done I now only need to finish off the gang leader and the remaining champion and the project will be complete for the moment. On top of that I also need to write the background story which explains who they are and what has brought them out of their labs and tech-refineries and down into the grim depths of Ironhouse. With the end in sight I’ll aim to tackle that soon.


Tech-Hunters – Part 2

As promised I put in a bit of time over the weekend working on some Van Saar and so the gang continues to grow apace. First to be completed is Agent Nyska, who I’m hoping will make the gang slightly less ineffectual in close combat with her shock baton. I decided to mix things up a little by giving her a green, rather than blue, glow to her plasma pistol, partly to bring some variety to the gang and partly as an excuse to experiment with using contrast paints for this purpose. So far I’ve found blue and green to work well for this but red definitely does not so I’ll be falling back on traditional techniques whenever I need an evil red glow on a plasma weapon.

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Alongside her we have the gunslinging Agent Lucien. There’s something about his eyes that aren’t quite right but it took all my concentration, sniper-style breathing and steady hands to paint them into the little sculpted marks on the mask so I’m frightened of going back and trying to improve them. Maybe I’ll get used to them, or maybe I’ll find my courage – we shall see.

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And of course what progress report would be complete without a group shot?

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With these two done I’ve almost finished with the rank and file gangers already but I still have two champions (including one with the awesome looking rad cannon) and the gang leader to go so I’ll be tackling them next.


Tech-Hunters – Part 1

With the ladies of House Escher and those despicable Chaos Cultists both finally up and running we now have four Necromunda gangs available to choose from whenever we decide to indulge in some underhive violence.  Time to paint something different then and after some deliberation I decided to plump for the Van Saar on the grounds that they would provide a very different tactical and painting experience, with their smooth, clean armour and high-tech gadgets and gizmos. Plus, based on my experience with the test model I worked on previously, they should also be fairly quick and easy to get painted. By way of a reminder let’s take another look at said test model – now named Agent Kleiss.

And here we have two new gang mates to keep him company in the dark of the underhive. First up there’s Agent Ivanek armed with a Hystrar energy shield and plasma pistol. I  must admit that I wasn’t sure about how the clear plastic shield would look on a painted model but now she’s finished I think it works rather well.

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Alongside her we have Agent Larz, toting a lasgun and ready to make trouble on behalf of his house.

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With these three done it looks as if I’m off to a good start already, especially given that the Van Saar tend to be a little more elite than many of their rivals. The eagle-eyed will notice that once again I’d forgotten to finish off the barrel on Ivanek’s plasma pistol, fear not – it’s been sorted now!

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However as it turns out there are even more, already painted and ready for action. This chap was intended as an old school space wolf but when I realised I’d painted him in the same colour scheme as my Van Saar I decided, following encouragement from several readers on this blog, to rebase him and recruit him into the gang instead.  My thinking is that he’s an agent or tech-scout sent down into the underhive by the house, who’s been living off the land for some time before joining up with my gang.

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Each house in Necromunda has access to a pet and, in the case of the Van Saar, that’s the cyber-arachnids. I received these a while ago from Mark at Heresy of Us and had already painted them as pieces of imperial tech, but incorporating them into the gang now seemed like an obvious move.

Add them all together and it starts to look like the gang is well on its way to completion already.

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However I still have several other murder-tech wielding nerds to add and I’m feeling confident that the paint scheme I’ve chosen is quick and easy to replicate. Thus despite having taken an inordinately long time to produce my previous Necromunda gangs I’m aiming to get them painted up in short order. Watch this space!


The Cult of Ruin – Part 8

I’ve been bumping my gums about my Necromunda chaos gang for absolutely ages and yet progress, when it has happened at all, has been bumpy to say the least. However with the ladies of House Escher wrapped up (for the moment) I decided it was time to get this bunch of crazy reprobates finished off as well. Once again Azazel’s monthly painting challenges proved their worth here. This month it’s “Squaddie September” with the aim of completing squads of at least three models, something which I used as a spur towards getting the gang finished up.

My affiliation with 41st millennium beastmen is hardly a secret and so I wasn’t going to miss the chance to sneak another one into the gang. As well as arming him with a gun I tried to make him a bit more “40k” by replacing his hooves with mechanical prosthetics, whilst his tentacle arm leaves him little hope of finding acceptance amongst upstanding Necromundan citizens and forces him to throw in his lot with the dark gods.

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That said he’s not the only beastman in the gang, even the leader is one, so he should be in good company!

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Alongside him I also completed this Tzeentchian cultist. I still have a plan to make a fully Tzeentchian gang at some point and although that may be a while off this chap brings us one step closer to seeing it realised.

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As with several previous cultists he’s a conversion, continuing my determination to have as few duplicate models in my collection as possible. Here he is alongside the original. As you can see he’s not a radical conversion but the tweaks I made do, I feel, offer him a rather different (and distinctly more Tzeentchian) character.

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What’s more the gang is starting to develop a little contingent of models dedicated to the Changer of Ways (although I have no doubt that they are completely ignorant regarding what exactly it is that they are worshipping). I blame the subtle influence of that sneaky fish myself…

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Alongside these new recruits I also gave some attention to a couple of older miniatures that I thought deserved a second chance. First of all we have this despicable renegade, rescued from my old traitor guard collection and well overdue for some attention.

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Meanwhile this was one of my favourite models from the Dark Vengeance boxset so I knew I had to include him somewhere. However he was also desperately in need of a repaint before he was ready to join his new crew.

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I could have stopped there of course but I’ve been hearing the call of the dark gods a lot lately and I’m still working towards getting the contents of the Blackstone Fortress box painted up. Thus I decided to broaden my options for the gang and get some work done on Blackstone Fortress into the bargain by completing another of the traitor guard. Presumably this is a deserter from the Dust Wall who turned his coat when he saw the Genestealer Cultists coming. If they think they’re going to find refuge in Ironhouse they’ll be sorely disappointed!

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So, where does this leave the cult? Well, right now it looks a bit like this…

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Much like the Escher gang I’ve got far more models here than one would really need to play a Chaos gang but it’s been a lot of fun coming up with ideas, building and painting them and that’s really all that I’m looking for.

Command of their activities falls to the bestial Skaverghast, accompanied by his champions and a powerful witch.

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Then we have a small contingent of traitor guard, partly borrowed from Blackstone Fortress.

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Not to mention the disorderly rabble of the rank and file.

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And there we have them, another gang of reprobates ready to join the seedy and anarchic backstreets of the Underhive. Of course, like an army, no gang is ever truly finished. For one thing a lot of the new Blackstone Fortress cultists deserve to find a second home amongst this ragtag crew (when they’re not terrifying explorers and hunting for ancient xenos arechotech that is!)