Blackstone Fortress: Negavolt Cultists

Despite getting that Ogryn painted the other day I sense a real danger of my Blackstone Fortress project starting to stall so I’ve been reapplying myself to the task over the last few nights. As I can lay the blame for the slow down firmly at the feet of the Negavolt Cultists (a set of models which regular readers will know I’ve been grousing about for some time) I decided that the best way to get back on track was to face my fears and get them finished.

There’s actually a lot to love about them; they are unusual models, subtle and cleverly designed and our first sighting of the Dark Mechanicum in plastic – surely a boon to any servant of Chaos. However they are also a real challenge to paint, as though the whole model was made up of nothing but nooks and crannies into which one has to find a way to insert one’s brush (stop giggling at the back!). That, combined with their pale and sickly skin – never my forte – turned them into a bit of a headache and I kept finding excuses to put them off and paint other things instead. No more however! Our brave explorers shall face the depths of the fortress and when they do they shall find bondage clad luddites with optical dreadlocks waiting for them.

Negavolt Cultists Blackstone Fortress Wudugast (1)Negavolt Cultists Blackstone Fortress Wudugast (2)Negavolt Cultists Blackstone Fortress Wudugast (3)Negavolt Cultists Blackstone Fortress Wudugast (4)Negavolt Cultists Blackstone Fortress Wudugast (5)

…And of course this allows me the minor thrill of crossing off the Negavolt Cultists from my, by now slightly battered, “to do” list.

Blackstone Fortress To Do List

Although there’s still quite a lot left to cover there we now have pretty much everything we need to play a game (assuming that we only use the same four heroes and that we recruit traitor guardsmen from the ranks I made previously for 40k). The biggest things missing from the basic game now (leaving aside the expansions) are the beastmen and the rogue psykers so that’s where my attention will be focused next.

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Warcry

My love of Chaos is no secret. if you’re looking for someone to take up an axe and lead his barbarian tribe against the Empire of the Old World, to stand at Abaddon’s right hand as Cadia burns, or conduct dark rituals on some grim and bitter moor to conjure daemons into the Mortal Realms, then I like to think I’m the man for the job.

Likewise I’m drawn to skirmish games, to small bands of warriors packed with character and personality. Thus, if Games Workshop’s developers had reached into my head by some arcane means – and who’s to say they didn’t? – and tried to craft the perfect game based to what they found there, then the result would have been something a lot like Warcry. Given the hype that’s been generated recently it seems I’m not the only one who feels this way – indeed the concept of small groups of Chaos-loving warriors beating merry hell out of each another is starting to feel like the most obviously popular, yet previous unexplored idea, since Games Workshop invented dogs.

For those who’ve managed to avoid that overenthusiastic juggernaut that is GW’s promotional engines, Warcry is the latest of their skirmish games, the tale of small bands of Chaos worshippers drawn from all corners of Age of Sigmar’s Mortal Realms to gather at a place called the Eightpoints. Once there they attempt to inveigle themselves into Chaos overlord Archaon’s  good books through committing heinous acts of violence to each other, armed with everything from swords to whips to meat tenderizers, bones, even live snakes. Don’t try this at home kids!

Warcry

Rather than the armies of the gods which we are familiar with these are people born and raised to the cultures abandoned by Sigmar when he hid himself away in Azyr and ceded control of the Mortal Realms to Chaos at the end of the Age of Myth. Rather than the all-encompassing top-down view enjoyed by fans of the game or the blinkered fanaticism of an acolyte bound to a single god, like a blood warrior or a blight king, these are in the main just people to whom Chaos is an ever-present elemental force which must be appeased, for whom being mauled by a spawn is an occupational hazard and who cannot rely on the Stormcast Eternals to come and rescue them, but are otherwise attempting to get on with their lives. Or at least they were until, for one reason or another, Archaon called them to the Eightpoints. That’s not to say that they’re just misunderstood, that they are a top bunch of lads if you just get to know them or that they’re all nice to their mums. Indeed I think it’s fair to assume that they’re a bunch of right bastards, as evidenced by their love of gritty violence and their willingness to throw in their lot with Archaon rather than let millennia old bygones be bygones and give Sigmar another chance. In the main however these are not professional warriors – indeed much like Necromunda these are armed civilians – the man on the street in the Mortal Realms.

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Untamed Beasts

Walking adverts for steroid abuse and guaranteed to give every man they encounter body image issues, the Untamed Beasts hail – perhaps unsurprisingly – from the Realm of Beasts. These are your classic barbarians, caked in ’80s charm down to the last loin cloth, oiled muscle and cod-Austrian accent. They’re comfortable enough to at least indulge the trappings of civilisation with the odd metal helmet and so on but for the most part they like to keep things as primal as possible, using bones for weapons and wearing enough fur to turn a Space Wolf green with envy.

Seriously, if you can look at their leader and not hear a shredding guitar solo ringing in your head then you have no soul!

Untamed Beast 1

If you hadn’t already gathered from the above, I’ll admit I’m a sucker for an old-fashioned, cheesy barbarian so this warband was always going to appeal to me. Nor are they solely devoted to the art of masculine power posing. Indeed the best model in the group is this dynamic young lady. Note also the tail she’s wearing (or at least we presume she’s wearing it – you know Chaos!) – a nice visual reference to the Beasts and the predatory animals with which they are intrinsically linked.

Untamed Beast 2

And who doesn’t love a part-goat part-lion?

Goat Lion

However it’s not all perfection. Part of the knack of pulling off over the top cheese is not taking it so far that it ends up looking like a pastiche of itself. Making the weapons of some of these warriors a little smaller (something I’m told happens as a side effect of taking steroids anyway…) would have made a big difference. Take a look at this chap for example and see if you agree that the huge bone in their hand (chortle chortle) throws out the proportions of the whole model.

Untamed Beast 4

Another offender is the First Fang. Overall there’s a lot to like here but his pose makes him look awkward and undecided, as though he’s torn between throwing his spear and hitting someone with his axe. I suspect that the intention was to have his sweeping someone aside with the axe, blocking a low blow perhaps or knowing their feet from under them whilst the spear jabs in to make the kill, but it doesn’t quite come across. Personally I’d have preferred to see the axe strapped to his back whilst he goes all in with impaling someone on that spear.

Untamed Beast

These are minor gripes though, things that I’ll either kitbash my way around or learn to live with. They may not be my favourite warband but they still look like they’ll be a lot of fun to paint and frankly it would be a sin not to be listening to Manowar whilst I’m about it!

Iron Golem

Speaking of heavy metal the Untamed Beasts share the Warcry starter set with the Iron Golem, a group of blacksmiths from the Realm of Metal. As someone who enjoys painting bare flesh and battered iron and who’s been feeling the itch to paint some more Goliath gangers lately, these are pretty much perfect for me. They don’t look particularly subtle but who needs cunning when blunt force trauma will do?

Iron Golem

You could see these as being somewhat simplistic, there’s no cloth, nothing soft, no blades or sharp edges, just heavy armour and heavier hammers, the very epitome of Warhammer. It’s a straightforward concept but it’s kept interesting by the style with which it is pulled off and the variety of models to which it is applied. Whilst traditionally such thuggish brutality would have been exclusively the domain of the male, the Golems continue the diversity demonstrated by the Beasts, including amongst the ranks what I can only describe as iron maidens.

Iron Maiden

As though the humans weren’t enough to emphasise their raw power and aggression of this warband they’ve also recruited an ogre (I still refuse to write Ogor) who looks more than capable of taking on anything life throws at them all by himself. We seem to be having a good run of Chaos Ogres at the moment, and I’m already wondering about getting my hands on a second one to turn into a Goliath ‘zerker. Many people have asked how he eats without the use of his hands, which is a fair question although I suspect that the answer is implied by the horrifying, lamprey-like aperture in the front of his helmet. After all it only takes a quick glance at him to confirm that he hasn’t been missing many meals.

Ogre Dammit

Of course if you’re going to have an ogre, why stop there? Who better to join up with a band of craftsmen and metal workers than a dwarf? Fans have been muttering about the absence of Chaos Dwarves for many a year and so it’s nice to see that they’re still around in the Mortal Realms. (I must admit I thought their next official appearance would be for Blood Bowl – I’m sure a team will be along sooner or later). Like the Squats that have been popping up in Necromunda, skirmish games like this are a golden opportunity to keep these concepts current, even if they don’t have an army of their own in the main games at the moment. The dwarf himself obviously feels glad to have been included – rarely has a worshipper of the dark gods looked so delighted!

Iron Dwarf

Cypher Lords

Whilst the Iron Golem may be cloth-phobic and brutally simple, and the Untamed Beasts wild and, well, bestial, the Cypher Lords sit at the other end of the spectrum; civilised, subtle, some might even say downright sneaky. There’s something unearthly about these denizens of the Realm of Light and with their masks and crests many people have suggested something Tzeentchian about them. Personally I’d go so far as to say these are everything that the Kairic Acolytes should have been – I wonder how they’d look wearing those wonderful masks, far and away the best thing about the Kairics? That said there is something rather Slaaneshi about them too, a product of the dancing poses and air of sophistication.

Cypher Lord 2

I’ll admit I’m still in two minds about these. When I first saw them I loved them but the more I looked the more uncertain I became. However the past couple of weeks, and particularly looking at them again as I write this review, has reignited some of my enthusiasm. Part of a problem is their top heavy appearance, a side effect of those wonderfully ornate helmets combined with their trailing hair-do’s. I did consider whether building them without the hair would improve matters but I’ll wait to pass judgement until I’ve explored that option further. That said, I really love those sinister helms and beautiful crests, so my fall to the embrace of madness is surely assured.

Cypher Lord 3

These models are very much defined by their grace, leaping and lunging more like dancers than fighters, and a world away from the straightforward brutality encapsulated by the Iron Golem. With many of us starting our path to darkness in the Old World of Warhammer Fantasy, or amongst the hulking power-armoured marines of Warhammer 40k, our mental image of Chaos is often tied up with muscular barbarians in heavy armour, bludgeoning their way to daemonhood. It’s exciting to get a fresh look at Chaos, and once again explore the creative options opened up by the Mortal Realms. After all, why shouldn’t a servant of the Dark Gods be light on their feet?

Cypher Lord 1

Of course even whilst I took the time to make up my mind about the rank and file of the warband the leader grabbed me from the start. It hardly needs to be said that this Thrallmaster is the epitome of style and a truly outstanding miniature, or at least it will be once I snip off that silly looking smoke effect!

Cypher Lord

In their stylish costume, and with a third arm hidden beneath their robes, one could even convert them into a Locus for a Genestealer Cult that’s infiltrating the very highest echelons of Imperial society.

Splintered Fang

So I there was, sitting on the hillside, eating my sandwich and about to start writing about the Splintered Fang when along came this awesome little dude, sliding right past my boots. It’s a sign I tell ye!

Adder

As it turns out it was a sign that I should really take a second look at the Splintered Fang before giving them the slagging I intended to. The fact is they’re actually quite a nice-looking gang, let down by their leader, the Trueblood. The gladiatorial rank-and-file in their scaled armour are excellent models. Like the Cypher Lords there’s nothing overtly chaotic here, file off the odd blasphemous symbol and these would fit in nicely amongst the loyal Cities of Sigmar, indeed these are closer to my mental image of what the common man of the Realms might look like than the old citizenry of the Empire.

Splintered Fang 1

Continuing at the racially inclusive trend started in the box set they’ve even managed to recruit an elf.

Splintered Elf

Furthermore, as denizens of the Realm of Life, they can bring along a bunch of snakes, reminiscent of the old jungle swarms that used to accompany the Lizardmen.

Snakes Alive

Indeed, despite my initial uncertainty about this warband, the more closely I look at them, and the more I get over the Trueblood and the Serpent Caller and turn my attention to the rest of their colleagues, the more I grow to like them. Indeed, leaving aside those two, the rest of the gang may be amongst my favourites of the whole range.

Splintered Fang

The Serpent Caller however is, in my opinion, simultaneously the best and worst model in the warband. On the one hand the dynamic pose is pulled off in style, the fanged mask beneath the hood is wonderfully sinister and there’s a nice sense of danger and motion. On the other hand I feel like he’s about to hit the floor face first after getting tangled up in all those snakes  whilst the dart in his hand appears to be being flicked away to the side with no suggestion that it might actually hurt anyone, apart from possibly one of the poor snakes. For these reasons I want to dislike it but it’s still a charming model with a lot of appealing qualities, and I suspect once I learn to stop taking it seriously I’ll grow to like it.

Hello I'd Like To Speak To A Serpent

The Trueblood on the other hand is another matter. There are so many other poses that could have been used here to greater effect; casting the net, stabbing with the trident, posing ominously. Instead they’re neither one thing nor the other, stepping forward whilst wafting the net to the side in a manner that leaves them looking awkward and ineffectual. It’s not a terrible pose but it’s a long way from being the powerful, attention capturing stance one expects from a leader. Something with a bit more punch would have made a world of difference. Whether anything can be done about it remains to be seen, without pictures of the sprue available online – we’ll have to wait and see what can be done once I have the model in front of me.

Trueblood 2

That said, when viewed from the side the model has a lot more power, and the tail is a nice touch. There may be hope for it yet!

Trueblood

Corvus Cabal

I’ve mentioned dynamic poses a few times in this review so let’s turn our attention to the gold standard, the warband that consistently gets that (and pretty much everything else) right. Hailing from the realm of Shadows this crow loving tribe are strong contenders to be my favourite of the six warbands we’ve seen so far.

Far more so than the Splintered Fang or the Untamed Beasts they wear their totem animal on their metaphorical sleeves. The crow theme is stamped across all of the models in the warband down to the lowliest Cabalist and the result is a strikingly cohesive, yet wonderfully diverse and original, group of characters.

Corvus Cabal

The dynamic poses are pulled off with universal aplomb, there are loads of details for a painter to get their teeth into and every last one feels like a unique character. Meanwhile the prize for the most spectacularly creative model in the entire war cry range has to go to the wonderful Shrike Talon. Channelling all of the weirdness that’s made the Inq28 scene great, and bound to be the basis of some gloriously strange conversions, this birdman is proof positive that GW are at the top of their game when it comes to creativity. Speaking of crazy conversions I’m very curious to see if I can kitbash these with some Space Marines to create a suitably strange Raven Guard squad. Watch this space!

Corvus Cabal 2

Overall then these are the best of the bunch for me although there is one other warband left to discuss and they’re so mad  that they almost snatched the Cabal’s crown.

The Unmade

What does one do when all of one’s learning and sophistication has come to naught and a hoard of the undead is kicking down the door? Why cut off your own face and swear yourself to the Dark Gods of course! Bringing a whole new meaning to the expression “where will I put my face” it’s the grimmest of the bunch, the hideous masters of body-horror that are the Unmade.

Unmade 1

You could be mistaken at times for thinking that life amongst the Slaves to Darkness might not be so bad. Everyone is welcome regardless of race or gender, there is little sign of hideous mutation or daemon worship here and if you’re lucky you even get a pet. What’s not to like? Luckily the Unmade are here to set the record straight chopping off their own appendages and replacing them with instruments of torture.

Torment and cruelty are the order of the day here – just look at this flail for instance and imagine the fate of someone unfortunate enough to be snagged by it.

Awakened One Flail

Unlike some of the other warbands which star all kinds of characters the Unmade are actually quite uniform, although the rank and file are still a long way from being faceless drones (boom boom). However the real star of the show has to be the terrifying scarecrow like figure of the Blissful One. One almost suspect that this figure was approved simply to put to bed once and for all the claims that GW had dumbed down and become family friendly.

Blissful One

Of course that’s still not all. The starter box set also contains a selection of chaotic beasts; the weird looking but oddly endearing Raptoryx…

Chaos Duck 2

… And a reimagined version of the old furies.

Fury

In the latter case this was something desperately overdue, these unaligned chaos daemons being amongst the oldest and least attractive models in GWs entire catalogue.

Ugly Old Furies

What’s more the box also comes with a range of handy train perfect for recreating the three-dimensional environments in which the warbands battle it out. Here we see the ruins of an ancient civilisation long eroded by time and war and now build over by barbaric newcomers.

Warcry City

Amongst the details of these ruins we see a fallen statue of Sigmar and this skeleton which appears to have been queuing for the toilet for quite some time…

Warcry Scenery

Looking at the selection of terrain in the box one wonders if Necromunda had any influence here. When the new edition of the classic game was released many people moaned about the lack of terrain in the box set. Personally I felt that including enough terrain for a game of Necromunda would have made the box too heavy to lift and too expensive to buy, that the terrain of yesteryear which so many people praised may not have been quite as perfect as nostalgia suggests and that the use of tiles was an elegant solution, but the carping was certainly pervasive. Warcry meanwhile follows in the footsteps of Kill Team with a smaller footprint and enough terrain to create a densely packed, immersive environment. Of course I’m still miles behind with my Necromunda terrain collection let alone adding anything else…

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So there we have it, plenty for us fans of the Dark Gods to get our claws into regardless of which faction takes our fancy. Much like Necromunda and Blood Bowl I can easily see myself trying out all of these in time – part of the joy of skirmish games for me being that each faction is relatively inexpensive, I’d never have the time or money to apply such a broad brush interest to one of the main games for instance.

Those who refuse to bow before the True Gods can always indulge their craven weakness with one of the other available factions, with everything from Stormcast Eternals to Gloomspite Gits (on a quest to collect glass bottles – I kid you not!) having rules for the game. Indeed I may well take the excuse to paint up a few warbands for these other factions just for the fun of it, regardless of whether I ever actually play the game.

Speaking of playing though, I tend to avoid mentioning the rules in these reviews – I rarely if ever play, preferring to focus on painting, and my rules insights are likely to be less than engaging. However from what I’ve seen so far this does look like a lot of fun, and fairly straightforward to get the hang of, so I may well give it a bash in the near future.

Meanwhile GW have been keen to remind us that this isn’t intended as a flash in the pan, but that plenty more lies ahead for the game. What that might be remains to be seen, although we do know that there are two more Chaos warbands which we’re yet to see revealed. The Scions of the Flame originate from the Realm of Fire and like to catch and eat fire elementals to prove their strength – much like some lads on a night out encountering a particularly vicious vindaloo. They worship Chaos as the Ever-Raging Flame which they believe will someday consume all life, with a little encouragement of course. Turns out some men really do want to watch the world burn!

Having seen warbands from seven of the eight realms I must admit I assumed that the final set, the Spire Tyrants, would be coming from Azyr itself, as hints have been dropped in the background fiction that even amongst Sigmar’s great bastion a few scurrilous rogues have hidden away, plotting the downfall of the God King and the final victory of the Dark Gods. The Tyrants however turn out to be natives of the Eightpoints, champions of the arenas and fighting pits of the Varanspire who have cut their way to freedom and now seek even greater excesses of violence and glory by joining Archaon’s elite. Angron would be so proud!

As for what comes next your guess is as good as mine, although personally I’d love to someday see a Destruction themed spin off. Rather than questing all the way to the Eightpoints it could instead features tribes of Orcs, Gobbos and Orgres knocking seven-shades out of one another down their local cave.

Having got this far I’ll confess that I mostly started writing this whilst waiting for my copy of the boxset to arrive and, having watched the poor postman struggle to the door with it, I’m off to delve into it properly. As usual though I’m interested to hear any thoughts or comments you may have. Will you be starting a warband of your own, and if so which has you tempted? Have you, or a loved one, ever been called to the Varanspire for a life of unremitting violence, or been affected by any of the other issues discussed in this blog? If so, the comments box is as ever, the place to speak your mind.


Blackstone Fortress: Chaos Ogryn

Initially I didn’t plan to tackle this one for a while yet, saving the expansions to Blackstone Fortress for once the core game was fully painted. However once I had him in hand I couldn’t resist getting him assembled and then, in a surprisingly rapid turnaround, painted up.

Blackstone Fortress Chaos Ogren Wudugast (2)Blackstone Fortress Chaos Ogren Wudugast (6)Blackstone Fortress Chaos Ogren Wudugast (1)Blackstone Fortress Chaos Ogren Wudugast (4)Blackstone Fortress Chaos Ogren Wudugast (5)

As with all the traitor guard models for Blackstone Fortress this is an excellent miniature and once again I’m struck by how awesome a full army of renegade guardsmen would be. Of course having just received new Chaos Marines, Slaaneshi Daemons and Chaos Knights over the past few months us followers of the ruinous powers have had an excellent first half of 2019 (not to mention Warcry and all the exciting goings-on on in Age of Sigmar) so we can afford to be patient. Nonetheless I’m hopeful that GW are using these to test the waters and a full scale invasion by the Lost and the Damned might emerge in years to come.


Rat Race – July

It’s time once again for an update on the progress of my Skaven army. This month inspired by Azazel’s Jewel of July challenge I decided to tackle something big and surprised myself by getting the plagueclaw catapult built and painted in just over a week.

Plagueclaw ConvertOrDie Skaven (1)Plagueclaw ConvertOrDie Skaven (2)

For once I actually remembered not to glue down every potential moving part so the catapult retained a degree of possibility. Then I added the crew and discovered that once they were in place the degree of available movement was only about a millimetre. Oh well…

The crew themselves, along with the cables, warpstone and hideous ammunition, added a much needed splash of colour, and a chance to bring in some yellow robes to tie the vehicle into the rest of the army.

Plagueclaw ConvertOrDie Skaven (3)Plagueclaw ConvertOrDie Skaven (4)

Just the one model this month then but, with another of the bigger models done I’m feeling confident that I can get everything done as we rumble into the second half of the year.


Beam Me Up Orky!

I’ll confess I may have Orks on the brain at the moment. Despite intending to work on other projects *cough*BlackstoneFortress*cough* I seem to have found myself unable to leave the greenskins alone. I had thought that the five boyz I painted earlier in the week would be sufficient to scratch the itch but apparently that only wet my appetite for the violent, fun-loving xenos. When I remembered that this Big Mek was not only in desperate need of some attention, but also met the criteria for Azazel’s Jewel of July challenge, I couldn’t help but shove those (unbelievably frustrating and tricky to paint) Negavolt Cultists a little further back on the desk and turned my attention to the big green lad instead.

Wudugast Big Mek Ork (7)

In fairness this particular Ork has been crying out for paint for a very long time indeed. I built him at the same time as his force-field lugging companion, back in 2017 and have considered him for every Neglected Model challenge and Ork-Tober since, to no avail. Indeed over the last few months it’s become something of a mental challenge to find ways in which he counted towards the theme of whatever challenge Azazel was running that month, and despite that he remained stubbornly unfinished. At last however he’s able to give up his seat on the shelf-of-shame and join the rest of the ladz in their unruly, painted ranks.

Wudugast Big Mek Ork (1)Wudugast Big Mek Ork (2)Wudugast Big Mek Ork (3)Wudugast Big Mek Ork (4)Wudugast Big Mek Ork (5)Wudugast Big Mek Ork (6)

Of course the real brains of the outfit was always going to be his oiler-grot sidekick. I’ve always loved this little guy but never got around to painting him until now so it was a fine opportunity to get him finished as well.

Oiler Grot (1)Oiler Grot (2)Oiler Grot (3)

Hopefully this has been enough to sate my love of Orkyness for a while and allow me to concentrate on some of my other projects. Of course, knowing me, I’ll be back to the greenskins sooner or later – I still need to get another twenty boys finished by the end of December for one thing.


Green Iz Best – Part 7

For a long time I’ve harboured an ambition to own a hoard of one hundred unique ork boyz. The last time I mentioned it here a few months ago it struck me that with seventy-five already painted at that point it would be fairly straightforward to get the remaining at twenty-five finished by the end of the year.

Ever-productive blogger Azazel even went so far as to declare that if I can get twenty-five orks painted over the coming month then so shall he. Of course, given the rate at which he paints that shouldn’t take him more than an hour (I jest – but seriously, he’s a painting machine and produces distressingly high quality results to boot! If you don’t already follow his blog then do yourself a favour and head over there now).

With that in mind here’s another five warlike greenskinned lads, cutting the number still to paint down to an increasingly manageable twenty.

Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (9)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (10)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (11)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (12)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (1)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (2)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (3)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (4)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (5)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (6)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (7)Ork Boys ConvertOrDie Wudugast (8)

With the year end deadline still comfortably distant I’m not in a huge rush with this project but it would be nice to get it done at last so expect to see me continuing to chip away over the coming months.


It Takes A Village – Part 1

…to raise a ganger… Or, for that matter, an Inquisitor.

The game of Necromunda is set upon a hive world, with almost the entirety of the human population crammed into cities far larger and more crowded, not to mention more violent and squalid, and anything found on Earth today. The setting may have a great deal in common with post-apocalyptic fiction with its planetwide irradiated deserts and domes full of crumbling machinery but it is in the massively overcrowded metropolises that the vast majority of people live – and by extension that’s where all the action happens. As a result I’ve been keen to create some hapless civilians with which to populate my stretch of the Underhive – downtrodden unfortunates just trying to go about their business when the bullets start flying once again.

Officially most of the people on a hive world live where they work, in the huge manufactorums, with block after block of habs crowded up against grumbling, fume belching engines. The Underhive itself, and the crawl spaces, waste domes and labyrinthine sprawl of decaying shafts and tunnels that lies hidden within and around the walls of these factories, should be relatively sparsely populated – but on a world as overcrowded as Necromunda even that will still undoubtedly  equate to a vast number of people. Even if those who find their way into these liminal spaces are only a fraction of a percent of the hive’s population there will still be plenty of them. What’s more, people gather only where there’s something worth gathering for, a useful resource or a meeting of tunnels or trade-routes – something which in turn will attract gangers looking to seize whatever it is for themselves, or deny it to their rivals. Indeed, although I was first drawn to this project as a spin-off from my Necromunda gangs it soon occurred to me that wherever one goes in the Imperium, a few generic civilians would go a long way, and thus this would tie in nicely to any and all of my Inq28 plans as well.

The first of these civilians are now ready, coming in the form of these three monkish characters courtesy of the first Black Crab Kickstarter. One of the greatest strengths of the Inq28 scene has been the encouragement of, and reliance upon, converted models – many of which have been startlingly creative and evocative. It’s rare to find something which suits the aesthetic from the word go so when I spotted these I just had to snap them up.

Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (1)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (8)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (9)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (2)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (3)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (7)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (4)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (6)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (5)Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (10)

Of course I really must get on with building up more of my Underhive terrain collection so that they have somewhere to live (not to mention all the muties, Inquisitors, cultists, gangers, scum and whatever else I think of).

Black Crab Inq28 Wudugast (11)

Needless to say these three won’t be populating the hives and back allies of the Imperium alone, plenty of other civvies are on their way – so watch this space.