Category Archives: Necromunda

The Cult of Ruin – Part 7

Needing a bit of a break from painting brightly colour Eschers I’ve turned my attention to the leader of my Chaos Cult gang, Skaverghast the Pit Dweller.

Originally conceived as a way of getting another gang up and running quickly and easily using models cannibalised from elsewhere in my collection my Chaos Cult rapidly degenerated into a morass of self-sabotage, over-ambitious targets and general mayhem. In this regard I suppose I was acting entirely in character for a Necromundan helot planning to smash the system armed with nothing but a poorly translated book of spells, a rusty knife and the advice of a whispering voice no one else can hear which assures me that everything will turn out just fine so long as I trust it. After all they too believe they’ve found an easy shortcut to success that soon mutates and grows (sometimes quite literally) into something they can’t control. Time to nip this heresy in the bud and get the gang ready to spread mayhem in the Underhive at last. With a chaos spawn on the loose and a witch borrowed from Blackstone Fortress what my cult really needed next was a leader, a demagogue who has stirred up the helots and convinced them to take up arms against the Imperium.

I’ve made several attempts at creating a suitable model to fill this role but until now I really haven’t been happy with any of them.

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As is traditional he also needs a backstory to explain his origins and tie him into the evolving story of Ironhouse and the gang warfare threatening to overrun it (someone should call for the Enforcers…).

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Skaverghast was born strong. Down in the deep pits beneath the roots of the hive, where light is as precious as water and the air flows as thick as soup, he came into the world bellowing and wrathful. The human tribes that dwell in those depths are a far cry from the Imperial citizens who live above them. Far from the Emperor’s glory they dwell in madness and degeneracy, gibbering idiot prayers into the inky chasms, mating with mutants to birth monstrosities, and feasting on the weakest of their kin. Had he been born in the manufactory levels above Skaverghast would have been carried straight to the pyre, so terrible were his mutations – his form and foulness an offence to the Emperor’s gaze. To the people of the pit he was holy, touched by the gods of the hungry shadows. They grovelled before the babe like beggars before a king.

As Skaverghast aged he ascended, climbing the crumbling stairs and muck-choked pipes that led up towards the light. As he went he carried the darkness with him. The Ratskin clans hated him as soon as they sensed him, recognising at once a cancer of the Hive Spirit and knowing that he would spread corruption within the blessed shadows. They sought to slay him and with each failure Skaverghast gorged and grew stronger.

Higher still and the crime queens of the Black Manufactoria recognised his strength and coveted it for their own ends. Taking him in they made him their overseer, and he reigned in terror over an army of slave-workers. Soon however even that was not enough. Skaverghast hungered to hunt again and the Queens desired a foothold in Hive Volatos, an opening from which they might reclaim their lost realms and rebuild their dynasties. So decided they dispatched their general, tasking him with gathering the lost, the hateful and the bitter, taking these broken shards and forging from them an army by which Ironhouse might be claimed.

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Whilst I was about it I took the opportunity to repaint a couple more of my old cultists, bringing them to a modern standard and allowing myself to induct them into the cult.

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As ever I’m keen to avoid any duplicate models making their way into the gang so that second cultist was a conversion. For comparison, here he is next to the original.

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If I’m honest I probably have enough now to get my Chaos gang up and running but I still have a few other cultists either part-painted or in need to repainting so I’m not going to call this project done yet. However I’m determined not to allow it to drag on for months so I’ll aim to get the last few done ASAP, hopefully (all being well) in the next couple of weeks.


The Ladykillers – Part 14

With the leader of the Escher gang now complete I’m aiming to ride a wave of enthusiasm through getting the rest of the models painted up. As it stands I have a surfeit of Eschers already finished but, as a result of my love for the Underhive’s best dressed, I still have five more unfinished miniatures waiting for attention and I’d like to get them all painted up at last.

First up we have one of my personal favourites, Dutch – a gang champion lugging around a suitably imposing heavy stubber, ready to chew through any rabble the girls encounter. I’m painting the gang on behalf of my partner and she’s been a big fan of Dutch since she first saw her assembled – no pressure to get it right then! Luckily my efforts met with the official seal of approval so chances are good that this lady will be unleashed on my unfortunate Goliaths next time we manage to get a game in.

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I must confess to an unhealthy attraction to flamethrowers in miniatures games, which of course makes a Cawdor gang a must! However they’re not the only ones who get to unleash fiery destruction in the Underhive and there was no way the Eschers were going to miss out on the fun! Again contrast paints proved their worth when it comes to painting tattoos – definitely something I’ll be making more use of in the future.

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With these complete we’re two down three to go, so I’ll see what else I can finish up over the weekend. At this rate I’ll need to beef up the Goliaths as well, otherwise the girls are going to walk all over them!


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.

 


Blackstone Fortress: Rogue Psykers

Floating eerily over the battlefield the Rogue Psykers are another of my favourite models from the Blackstone fortress set. I was a big fan of Forge World’s Rogue Psyker, although perhaps foolishly I never saved up the money and bought one, and as a result was rather disappointed when it was removed from the range last year. For those who don’t know what I’m on about here’s a reminder.

Forgeworld Rogue Psyker

Thankfully he’s now back, although sadly without his tortured victim, joining the Necromunda range as Bounty Hunter Thaetos 23-2. My initial disappointment at the loss of the Forge World psyker however was very much ameliorated by the arrival of Blackstone Fortress and the two Rogue Psykers within, very much the spiritual successors of the aforementioned model, with the added advantages of being produced in a lighter and more flexible material.

Driven insane by the warp-spawned powers crowding their minds and at constant risk of being possessed by daemons, yet equally unwilling to be dragged away onto a Black Ship and used to keep the Emperor alive in a tortuous soul-flaying process, these two gents have instead offered their cruelty and megalomaniacal hatred of mankind to the chaos gods with predictably evil results.

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As I was painting them it struck me that one or other would make a fine witch for my nascent Necromunda chaos cult gang (the one that I’m painting at a downright glacial pace!) and, as a witch can be accompanied by a familiar, I dug around in the bits box for something suitable to accompany them into the Underhive. Given the amount of toxic industrial runoff in every body of water on the hive world a mutant fish seemed perfect – and even the most learned of the helots would struggle to recognise the sigil of the god trapping them ever further in damnation…

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With these done it’s time to turn my attention to the biggest, baddest villain to haunt the halls of the Blackstone Fortress, Obsidius Mallex himself. Despite my long affiliation with Chaos and my deep and abiding respect for Abaddon (the true Warmaster) this is my first attempt at painting a member of the Black Legion so it’ll be interesting to see how I get on.


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.