Tag Archives: Escher

The Ladykillers – Part 15

After spending quite a while in the doldrums the gangers of House Escher have seen a fair bit of progress lately, with three new members – including the leader – recruited over the last couple of weeks. However that still left me with three remaining which had been built and base-coated but never finished. Time to knuckle down and get them done as well.

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Of this final set the first to be completed was Sirena who just missed out on being ready in time to be shown alongside the previous two. Should an occasion arise when nothing short of a very big gun will do, she reckons she’s the girl for the job!

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Alongside her we have Nyska who continues to demonstrate my predilection for inflicting fiery demise (as mentioned in my previous post) and backs it up with a chainsword, an excellent hair-do and a razor-sharp sense of style. Much like Meria, the lady with the flamer thrower I finished last week, she has a laid back attitude to health and safety, and has tied a ribbon to the business end of her flamer, something which I’m sure won’t result in any kind of drama or danger…

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And thirdly we have Elika, painted in part because nothing says “House Escher” like shooting someone with poisoned needles, then carving them up with a power sword, all whilst dressed to impress.

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All together these new recruits, combined with the others who’ve joined them in recent weeks, almost make a mini gang in their own right and definitely deserve their own group shot. Plus, by adding these three models to the gang I’ve actually managed to “complete” it for the time being (more on that dubious claim below) and I’ll be counting these as my first submission towards Azazel’s Squaddie September challenge (and I’m sure you’re well aware of Azazel’s blog and his monthly challenges by now – if not where have you been?!).

Escher Group Wudugast

However Mellix has gathered a lot more followers than just these, indeed so ambitious is she proving that her gang is starting to look like a little army. Then again she does need to prize Ironhouse from the meaty fists of the Goliaths and the claws of the Genestealer Cultists, not to mention looking into those worrying reports of Chaos Cultists moving in on what should rightfully be her turf, so arranging some extra back-up is probably a wise move.

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…And why stop at a group shot when we can have some moody action photos to send them off in style?

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Anyway, with these complete I’m going to turn my attention to some other projects for the next little while, although I still have a lot of ideas I’d like to explore – both as part of the gang and as spin-offs and side-projects. Trackers from the Crow-skull girls are making their way across the ash wastes, Vatra Nighteye clings to life whilst her surviving allies struggle to restore her and claim their vengeance, Lashoth Katilesh may well seek out her errant daughter (bringing her Escher elite guard with her) and down in the darkness of the hive roots the former Queens of Hive Volatos hiss and crawl, their gaze already turned upon the usurper who seeks to claim their lost holdings. It’s safe to say we haven’t seen the last of these girls yet!

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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.

 


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…


The Ladykillers – Part 11

After a slow start I’m pleased to discover that the Escher gang is coming together nicely. I’m now reaching the point where there’s almost a glut of gangers, although there are still a few weapon options I think it would be fun to throw into the mix, so my next move will be to add the gang leader and another champion before moving on to one of the other houses. First though here are two more of the rank and file gangers, both of which have been sitting around half-painted for long enough to become embarrassing.

When I built Kherrisa I wanted to give her a chainsword but back then the Forge World weapon upgrades were no more than a distant dream. Of course, clever though I thought I was in finding a suitable alternative, it’s still taken until now to get her painted.

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Melikka used to have a different head but I was never entirely happy with it as it strayed rather close to one I’d already used for one of the other girls, so as soon as the Forge World alternative head kit was released she suffered a quick decapitation and the installation of a new face.

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As noted above I think the gang is almost at what I would consider fighting strength (that is to say, not done – because no project is ever done and this one especially is a very long way from that, but ready to take to the tabletop as and when things quieten down enough to let us get a game in). With this in mind I’m aiming to get the last few members of the core team painted up ASAP so as usual, watch this space!


The Ladykillers – Part 10

Fans of House Escher could be forgiven for feeling somewhat neglected in the pet department. Whilst the Goliaths enjoy their monstrous crocodile and the Orlocks have an similarly titanic hound, the ladies find themselves currently lacking their cats. I’ve found suitable proxies for the equally pet deprived Cawdor and Van Saar, the former using a Vulcharc from the AoS Tzeentch range, the latter the skull crabs from Heresy Of Us.

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Alongside these creatures the gangers of House Escher keep this odd looking predator, the Phyrr Cat. The name of this beast has proven to be a source of contention – I always pronounced it as “fire” cat, and I’ve even heard people say “fur” cat, although I now understand the official pronunciation is “fear” cat. I’m not sure it really looks like a scaredy cat to me but presumably this allows us to compare the phyrr cats – and indeed we shall.

Phyrr Cat

Official models for the phyrr cats were previewed around a year ago but, with the response being almost universally negative, the decision was made to start again with new sculpts. Personally I tend to agree with this, the models shown were well below the premium standard expected of Forge World. You are of course welcome to judge for yourself. My apologies to whomever took this photograph originally as it has now circulated online so much that I have new idea to whom credit should be given. If anyone knows let me know and I’ll update things accordingly.

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In search of a suitable alternative I explored numerous ranges, soon discovering that cats are thin on the ground as miniatures. I even tried roping in this beast although she proved to be in entirely the wrong scale and even the Goliaths refused to go up against her after she took to knocking them off their shelf…

Duska

Finally I stumbled upon the Hoar Cats from Wyrd Miniatures (a creature which gives quite a different impression written down as opposed to spoken aloud). Last time I paid any attention to the range was many years ago when everything they produced was rather spindly and metal, and as a result given to bending out of shape in a stiff breeze. Thus these solidly plastic cats were a nice surprise.

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I did consider using a bright and exotic colour scheme to tie them in with the rest of the gang but on consideration decided that their small-size meant less is more and too much detail would swamp them.

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I’m pleased to have these done, partly because they add to the variety of units available to the gang and partly because in a place like Necromunda which is swarming with rats (many of which are carrying bombs) it pays to have a few cats around. Indeed the Underhive may prove to be prime habitat for them due to the distinct lack of trees for them to get stuck in.


The Ladykillers – Part 9

Well, that didn’t go as planned! We all have commitments outside the hobby and sometimes they leap up and grab our attention and everything else, space wars and awesome miniatures especially, get flung to the winds. I tend to avoid talking about “real life” as much as possible on here, especially when it comes to my parent’s health. Ultimately they’re very private people, and this is intended as a hobby blog rather than a look at my daily life (who’d want to read that?!), so I’ve done my best to steer around it unless it has a big impact on the content I’m producing. Suffice to say that back in 2017 they were the victims of a serious road accident (a polite way of saying a careless arsehole drove his car into them) which has left both of them seriously disabled. Last week my father’s health took a turn for the worse and so I dropped everything and jumped onto a plane, leaving half-painted miniatures scattered in my wake. The good news is he’s now on the mend again, a huge relief for my mum and I, and I can take a moment to appraise my painting and kick the engines of this blog back into some semblance of life.

I had several things planned for the end of Feb which have fallen by the wayside but I’ll aim to pick up where I left off and get them done soon. The Khorne Slaughterpriest is tantalisingly close to being finished (don’t tell him though – the word “tantalising” must sound disgustingly Slaaneshi to his ears!) so I’ll get him wrapped up first. I also had various models planned for Fembruary, especially the addition of more Escher gangers, all of which will get their moment soon.

Most striking of all this marks the first time since January 2017 that I haven’t managed to add something to my Skaven army. Perhaps I should be cursing the fates that my 25 month streak has come to an end but honestly I’m pretty damn pleased that I managed a 25 month streak in the first place. All being well, normal ratty-service will resume this month.

The one thing I did manage to get finished before I went hurtling out the door was my long promised Escher champion armed with a chem-thrower.

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When I first started working on my Escher gang I found myself thinking a lot about the chem thrower. Here we have an iconic Escher weapon combining their love of cruel and remorseless destruction with a showy and flamboyant style. Fill a narrow corridor full of your enemies with flesh-eating gas and no one will forget that the house is not to be trifled with. Moreover it struck me that anyone who actually wielded such a weapon would need to be a particularly cold and vicious example of her kind, distant and ruthless amid the camaraderie of the wider sisterhood. Thus Isadora was born.

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I didn’t want to go too crazy with bright colours, to emphasise her otherness and grim nature, but she’s still an Escher so a few spots of that are a little more garish helped to tie her in with the rest of the gang.

With her joining their ranks the Escher gang is now starting to show the strength of numbers and versatility they’d previously lacked, although there are a few more models I’d still like to add – most notably gang leader Gallows Grace.

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Of course, all of these Eschers also count towards Fembruary, a community challenge event aimed at encouraging hobbyists to diversify the range of heroes and villains in our collections beyond the predominance of our collective comfort zone amid the massed ranks of muscular men. Originally, in a classic case of my ambitions outweighing the practicalities, I intended to get a lot more ladies painted here – everyone from Elucia Vhane and Sanistasia Minst to the Infernal Enrapturess and Kria the Huntress were originally pencilled into the list. Alas there are still only so many hours in the day and, despite my devotion to the genestealer cults, I only have one pair of hands, so my ambitious list was cut down somewhat by reality. Nonetheless I’m pleased to have finished this little lot, especially under the circumstances.

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What’s more I’ve been continuing to follow the great motivator and hobby institution that is Azazel’s monthly challenges. February was a combination of terrain (somewhere I could use with getting more done but alas, on this occasion, did not) and neglected models (those miniatures which were purchased some time ago – more than six months is generally regarded as the minimum ballpark – but which have stubbornly remained unpainted). Again I had all kinds of plans here, incorporating both the aforementioned Skaven and Slaughterpriest, alongside the Sloppity Bilepiper who has been dancing unashamedly in nothing but a basecoat for over a year and the Tiger of Dirz from Confrontation, which has been kicking around for over a decade and which I plan to use as a Khimerix for the Eschers. None of those actually made it of course but at least these four Eschers definitely count.

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Having been away from home and work for a week I’ve got all kinds of things to catch up on, and once again miniatures are forced to take a backseat whilst I catch up with everything else. Nonetheless I have, as ever, got lots of things planned, so their time will come – just as soon as I get the rest of my life under control!