Tag Archives: Goliath

Scum’s Thoughts – Part 1

If you’re reading this, congratulations – you’ve survived as far as September 2020! (And yes, I will be reusing that joke for the Christmas round-up – assuming we all live that long…).

Last weekend saw, at long last, the release of House of Blades, the latest Necromunda expansion which focuses on the Queens of the Underhive, House Escher. Much earlier in the year the Goliaths enjoyed the release of their own book, House of Chains, and the Escher were intended to follow soon after – except of course  that then we went and spoiled it all by saying something stupid like “Oh god, there’s a global pandemic on, we’re all fucked now!” Ever since we Necromunda fans have been waiting *cough* patiently for the girls to arrive and thankfully now they’re here and we can see in the apocalypse with two house-specific expansions clutched in our paws. Who knows, we may be lucky enough to be able to buy the Orlock book, House of Iron, before the asteroid hits and stops our civilisation in its tracks. Fans of the other three houses must face the day of reckoning with bitter hearts and unfulfilled expectations, or pray for a slightly less bumpy time in 2021.

Anyway, having spent the last few days pouring over House of Blades my head is suddenly full of thoughts and I’m damned if I’m missing out on the opportunity to share them!

The format and content of the “House of…” series becomes a little clearer with this release. We, the fans, already knew that each of the six major houses of Necromunda (Goliath, Escher, Orlock, Van Saar, Cawdor and Delaque) would be getting a book dedicated to them but until now we could only categorically say that we knew what House of Chains looked like, because it was the only book to have been released. Now that we’ve got House of Blades as well we can start making some assumptions about just what will be included in the future books; a ton of new background, an expanded gang roster, new gang specific hangers on, tactics, scenarios, timeline, house agents and allies.

Every Necromunda book released since the game’s relaunch has contained a number of new special characters and House of Blades is no different. Yet whilst House of Chains contained six, House of Blades has only three. Now it’s worth noting that one of the House of Chains personalities, “Sparky” is an ogryn so the Goliaths only get five new heroes (and one of those is a gigantic crocodile). What’s more the Escher already have a bounty hunter available exclusively to their house, the Death Maiden Kria the Huntress.

In addition to her we have Belladonna, an ex-Escher turned (briefly) noble-bride turned underhive assassin on a quest for vengeance (think Kill Bill but with bigger hair and no bright yellow jumpsuit), and Yolanda Skorn (another ex-Escher turned gun for hire) whilst the Goliaths have only Krotos Hark, treated as an outsider to his house after being born intelligent. On the other hand all of these latter characters will work for any house, which leaves the Goliaths with five characters unique to them, and the Eschers with four.

Now many of you may be thinking “so what” and I don’t really disagree. The situation regarding the dramatis personae of Necromunda seems a little odd to me at the moment. For one thing there are a hell of a lot of them. We now have rules for 49 different special characters, although only models for 21. Games Workshop have noted that they intend to create models for all of them “at some point” although so far they seem more enthusiastic about coming up with even more of them. Two more special character models were announced back in March – the Cawdor Rattus Tatterskin and the Enforcer Scrutinator-Primus Servalen. Neither of these are on my list of 49 given above, and if each of the “House of…” books contains only a further three dramatis personae we could easily be looking at more than 60 special characters. I don’t think this is a bad thing, far from it, although given the price Forge World tend to charge it could be quite an expensive thing. However unless they up the rate at which they release special characters a lot the supply of new models will never catch up with the rate at which they’re coming up with new ideas. On the one hand I don’t want them to stop turning out new characters because they’ve got a lot of interesting ideas but on the other hand there are a lot of cool concepts already out there in books which I’d love to see models for. Yes, I could convert my own and I already have made models for some of them (it’s a lot of fun and a hell of a lot cheaper than paying Forge World prices) but there are some that I’d love to see given official miniatures – Jorth Slither and the Catallus twins for instance (which would also be a fine name for a band). Plus there are a lot of other things I’d like to see models for – nobles, criminals and guilders for instance.

Something I’d like to see more of is dramatis personae being used to demonstrate the range of possibilities within each house. In House of Chains for instance we have Old Three-eyes (the mother of all sumcrocs), Ajex Gorgoth (one of the most powerful Goliath alphas on the planet), Attilus the Axe (a champion pit fighter), Tess Arc-Up (a particularly wild prospect) and Djangar Gunfists (the former head of the house now roaming the wastes with no memories and a knack for spectacular violence). Now there’s none of the above that I particularly dislike, that I wouldn’t try to convert a model for and wouldn’t take an interest in an official miniature were one to be released and not outwith my budget. Every one of them brings something to the house and tells us something about the planet of Necromunda and its mightiest sons.

I could be harsh and say that Tess (see my kitbash above) is basically just a rambunctious juve and Attilus is an angry dude with a saw for an arm but they do expand the character of the range all the same. I’ve already converted my own Tess and I’ve got plans to make Attilus and Djangar as well. However, in some ways I can’t help but feel that they could be doing more with these characters and using them to expand the idea of what it means to be a Goliath even further.

For example, so far the only female Goliaths we’ve seen have been prospects, that is to say youngsters. We’ve also seen models for male prospects. Both sexes have been smaller and lighter than the muscular giants that make up the rest of the gang. A fully grown Goliath lady would have been interesting to see, perhaps strutting her stuff in a massive suit of handmade armour much like Ajex Gorgoth.

The only lady Goliath we’ve seen so far, but she could grow up to be a champion of her house.

Another possibility that immediately appealed to me, was the Goliaths of Gothrul’s Needle. For those who’ve not been glued to every development in Necromunda over the last couple of years Gothrul’s Needle is home to one of the most dangerous forms of sedition known to the Imperium, having fallen under the sway of something they call “democracy” and broken away from the rest of the planet. Obviously this isn’t something which Lord Helmawr, the Imperial Governor, is terribly impressed about, and considerable effort is being brought to bear to bring the renegade hive back into line, all whilst pretending to the wider Imperium that House Helmawr retains absolute control over their domains and would never be so weak as to allow one of their holdings to slip the leash. In defence of their independence the Council of Gothrul’s Needle have recruited the local Goliaths, offering them wonderful things such as advanced weapons and armour, proper medical care and even education. Here we see the Goliaths as they could be, not brutish tech-barbarians but the superhumans they have the potential to be, yet which they are never allowed to become elsewhere on the poisoned world. A Goliath hailing from the Needle, sent abroad to carry out some mission or other, would make for an amazing miniature and a chance to look at a very different side of a house normally associated with boneheaded violence and not much else.

Likewise the three new characters in House of Blades are all interesting in and of themselves, there’s none that I dislike or would want rid of. We have Betti Banshee – a woman with a sonic scream instead of a throat, Necrana – oldest and most terrible of the Death Maidens, and Cyniss, a mistress of poisons and close confidant of the Matriarch Primus herself. Again however there was the potential to really push the boat out here.

Necrana

The story of House Escher begins even before the coming of the Imperium, when three sisters – known collectively as the Blades – carved out a legacy for themselves beneath the gaze of the ancient Iron Lords who ruled the planet. When Imperial warships filled the sky and space marines poured onto the surface the Blades sought to ensure their endurance into this new age, hiding banks of clones scattered across the world. When one sister died a clone would arrive to replace her, stepping into her life and continuing her legend – until she too died and was replaced by another. This situation would remain for the next three millennia before the sisters combined their bloodlines to form a new house, swearing allegiance to the House of Helm’ayr and destroying their old clone banks forever. Except of course nobody really believes they destroyed all of them do they? Indeed a timeline entry even refers to a lost clone vault being found and activated in M38, leading inevitably to bloody mayhem. Surely a mysterious and powerful character, who steps from the shadows to aid the cause of the Eschers in their time of need then vanishes into the shadows of the Underhive from whence she came, and might – just might – be one of the lost clones, would be a fantastic special character? Especially as there would be plenty of Eschers keen to cut her up, take a look at her DNA and find out if she contains something to keep their menfolk from dying – and others who would see her as a natural replacement for the current Matriarch Primus – for good or ill.

Or, as another possibility, how about an Eschaki chem-soldier, specifically a male one? Again, for those who’re willing to indulge me as I enthuse about the new background, before they were the Escher the house was known as House Eschaki. Given to tinkering around with their own DNA, consuming chems and pushing the boundaries of science even further than the modern Escher, the Eschaki eventually screwed up and developed the so-called Flesh Curse, which lead their entire male line to be born weak, stupid and sickly – female readers may be thinking that some things never change – on those rare occasions that male children were born at all. In the end the women of the house gave up on the male line altogether and rebuilt their clan under the new name Escher (although they have made several spirited attempts to recreate a male bloodline – most notably the so-called “Project Goliath”…). Whilst they lived however the Eschaki fielded all kinds of “combat-drug fuelled murder squads, ash-dancer assassins and genehanced berserkers”. It might be sensible to assume that the Eschaki are now safely extinct but as recently as the latter part of the 40th Millennium a colony of Eschaki chem-warriors was found, only to flee into the wastes and vanish. Whenever there’s discussion of the Escher online there’s always someone who pops up and asks why they can’t have male Escher (because everyone knows you can’t have something nice for the girls without the boys muscling in and demanding to be included too). Now I’m going to stick my head above the parapet and say that I don’t want to see male Escher any more than I want weedy Goliaths, healthy Van Saar, agnostic Cawdor or Space Marines who find this whole purging business a bit tiring and would rather stay at home and read. However wouldn’t an Eschaki chem-warrior (with appropriate mystery and hand-waving over the details of his background) make for a very interesting special character and a chance to give whoever wants boy-Escher a boy-Escher without actually changing things so radically that we now all have to have boy-Escher?

Anyway, moving on before I wear the patience of my audience any thinner than I probably have already, another thing I wanted to talk about was the models that Forge World have released, or will release, in conjunction with these books. When House of Chains was released Forge World accompanied it by bringing out the Goliath ‘Zerker (a brute unique to House Goliath) and the Slavers Guild – the merchant’s guild with the closest ties to the house of musclemen.

A chain lord of the Slaver’s Guild, ready to make someone’s already miserable life even worse…

With the arrival of House of Blades I must admit my fingers were tightly crossed that we’d see the Khimerix (the Escher’s unique brute – think of a Chaos Spawn which has somehow become fabulous) and their favoured guild allies, the Water Guild. Instead there’s been no sign, and instead we’re looking at new Escher champions (see below) – which are nice enough but nothing to write home about and could easily have been accommodated with an upgrade set or two of new heads and weapons. This is frankly slightly galling when you consider all of the aforementioned bounty hunters that we’re yet to see, plus guilder allies, criminals, hangers on, etc etc.

Anyway, I suspect I’ve probably worn this topic thin so let’s move on, because there are a few other developments I’d like to give a little more attention to. For one thing we have another new gang in town in the form of the slave ogryns (or as they should be called the Free Ogryns – because these boys aren’t going to be anyone’s slaves anymore!). First revealed alongside House of Chains back at the start of the year they’ve only lumbered into our homes now, their mighty muscles proving no defence against the global havoc caused by C-19. So far I’ve only had the time to build one of them, kitbashing him slightly with a head from the Imperial Guard ogryn kit.

Of course this is a fine chance for some size comparison photos, so here he is next to some more normally-proportioned underhive residents.

Not all the Goliaths look weedy next to him however, this Stimmer for instance actually comes across as pretty imposing.

And he doesn’t look quite as big as this partly painted Ambot.

Interestingly there are six ogryns in a set, and all six houses can take an ogryn as part of their gang. Part of me is already tempted to pick up another kit (not a cheap investment mind you) and make a themed ogryn for each of my gangs. The Escher one would be especially interesting, resplendent in brightly coloured armour and leopard-skin pants, but picture the possibilities – the masked and scrap-armoured Cawdor version like a shambling candelabra, the high-tech Van Saar version, the terribly un-stealthy Delaque version (with bionic eyes of course!). Of course then I’d need to cook up a Corpse-Grinder and Genestealer Cult version. At least I already have a Chaos Helots version already made…

Anyway, there’s one final thing to discuss before I realise that I’ve entirely outstayed my welcome and that’s the new Orlocks. Frankly I don’t have a lot to say about them apart from how downright amazing they are! Take a look at these very good dogs for instance (but keep in mind that if they bring you your slippers they might still have someone else’s foot inside)…

And I’m also very fond of the chap with the servo-arms and the big hammer, and seeing female miniatures for the House of Iron is long overdue. I reckon this gentleman, the only Orlock I’ve painted so far, won’t be on his own for long!

I often find myself thinking about writing Necromunda themed editorials so I’ll probably make this into an occasional series (hence the “part 1” in the title). In the meantime I’m off to think about all the new Eschers I want to build. If you have any thoughts you can confidently say you’re not an Ogryn, and if you want to share them the comment’s box is all yours.


The Irondogs – Part 16

After a quiet few months it’s a very exciting time to be a Necromunda fan. I’m sitting here hopping from foot to foot waiting for my copy of House of Blades to come through the door (accompanied by some reinforcements for the Ladykillers gang and a bunch of Ogryns who’re intent on stamping out their plans onto the face of the underhive – just as soon as they can remember what they are). Plus we saw all those lovely new Orlocks – and their very good dogs – previewed at the weekend which has me itching to finally get to work on my contingent for the House of Iron.

However, before all that happens, I’ve been back to pouring over House of Chains and my eye fell upon Tess “Arc-Up” one of the Goliath special characters introduced in the book.

Tess is described as headstrong and reckless in the extreme, scaling the outer shell of the hive barehanded as ash storms rage around her or throwing herself into the thick of gang-fights regardless of the odds. She’s a prospect, keen to join a gang of her own, yet even the craziest of Goliaths find her too mad, bad and dangerous to know to stick around with for long. So she roams from gang to gang, gaining the respect of  many a forge boss but never allowed to stay.

You’d have to be down-and-out and desperate, even by the standards of the underhive, to hang around with someone as wild as Tess, especially in the wilds of Necromunda where there’s danger aplenty without going looking for it, and stirring it up when you find it. On the other hand the Irondogs are very much desperate, not to mention the living embodiment of down-and-out, their backs against the wall and their little kingdom crumbling as foes of all kinds close in. So when Tess rocks up in their patch of course they’ll keep her around, at least for a little while…

I made my version of Tess from the Goliath forge-born prospect, with a modified storm-welder (kitbashed from a Necron warrior’s gun and a Sicarian Infiltrator’s taser goad). I like the idea that Ironhouse lies not far from Hive Primus, and so all kinds of special characters might pass through – whilst keeping it remote enough that I can do my own thing to my heart’s content. Thus Tess probably won’t be the only Goliath character to show up, not to mention the Escher characters whose identities and backstories are soon to be whisking their way through the post in my direction.


The Irondogs – Part 15

A couple of weeks ago I showed a group of work-in-progress Goliath gangers and, eschewing my usual habit of sitting on them like Smaug for months, I then battered on and got one of the forge-born painted up in short order. Here’s Varski, the first of the Irondog’s next generation.

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I do have a bunch of other models on the go that I’d like to keep my focus on and get finished, but I’m quite excited about all things Goliath at the moment so expect to see a few more recruits making their way into the ranks sooner or later. After all, given some of the threats currently moving in on their turf Korak and the boys are going to need all the help they can get!


The Irondogs – Part 14

It’s been a while since I added anything to my Goliath gang but it’ll come as no surprise to anyone that, since I got my grubby paws on House of Chains I’ve been busy expanding the ranks of my angry musclemen. I read the new book (twice) over the last few weeks and I think it’s fantastic, another outstanding volume from the team behind Necromunda and one that’s taken pride of place on the shelf. I won’t delve too far into reviewing it as that’s been done far better elsewhere, but the degree to which this single book has enriched the Necromundan landscape is quite outstanding and I’m champing at the bit to see the rest of the series.

Having been fired with enthusiasm I turned my attention to the range of new models that were released alongside it – and naturally decided that this was a fine time for the Irondogs to indulge in a recruiting drive! First of all I put together one of the new Stimmers. Rather than mess around too much with a fiddly kit that I’m not all that familiar with I built it straight out of the box, just swapping in a head from the Forge World upgrade set (which suits him nicely I reckon).

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I also put together a couple of the forge-born. For those unfamiliar with the ever expanding range of options available to a Necromunda gang these are the first of the “prospects” which will apparently be available to all but one of the House gangs – a prospect being essentially a juve who’s willing to put themselves in harm’s way in exchange for a fast-track into the gang proper. Again I didn’t try anything too radical here as really I was just exploring and familiarising myself with the kit.

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The forge-born are also perfect for making juves. I think like most people I was expecting that sooner or later we’d see miniatures for juvs, although I also assumed that GW would be cautious of putting them front and centre. I played around with making Goliath juves by combining the legs of genestealer neophytes with the torsos of kairic acolytes, something I’ve seen done with great success by others, but never really produced anything I was terribly happy with so I fell back on waiting to see what official miniatures would appear, or for further inspiration to strike. However the arrival of House of Chains firmly states that the former is off the cards.

Juves

In other words alternative models for juves (that’s Bullies in House Goliath) are out, if you want juves in your gang you should use the same models as ordinary gangers. Now I can see why Games Workshop have chosen to go down this route, child soldiers and juvenile delinquents  are never exactly a good look (especially when they’re being carved up by angry cannibal berserkers). Then again I’ve always seen juves as just that, youngsters who’ve just joined the gang rather than simply new recruits. Now I will acknowledge that the book describes the majority of Goliaths being born from vats, emerging fully adult and ready to get to work on the production lines, rather than enjoying the kind of childhood and teenage rebellion that we might have enjoyed ourselves. However I still want my juves to look younger than my standard gangers. Plus if the prospects are youngsters why not the juves? Readers may recall that I’ve already made two Escher juves that I’m quite pleased with and I wanted something similar for the Goliaths.

With that in mind I started kitbashing using one of the forge born and came up with an early proof-of-concept that I’m pretty happy with (very much inspired by the dozens of other people I’ve seen in various groups online doing exactly the same thing).

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My only real issue with him is what to do with his back. The forge-born have backpacks and webbing, which suits the weapons they carry, and I wanted to steer away from that in order to further differentiate the juves from the forge-born. I’ve not yet decided whether to greenstuff over it or try to cover it with something (probably the former as Goliaths tend to have all their armour to the front and juves should be no different) but if anyone has any suggestions I’m all ears.

Next to join the crew is the hulking great ‘zerker. I wasn’t entirely sure about him when I first saw the studio model, and my plan was to make quite a range of tweaks and adjustments. However I have to say that once I got my hands on it I discovered what an excellent miniature this really is. Everything went together perfectly, there were hardly any mould-lines and the level of detail is quite outstanding. Thus much like Ortruum 8-8I think this is another rather nice model let down by a less than stellar studio paint job. Here’s a quick reminder of the studio model.

Zerker Studio

And here’s my model, assembled and ready for paint. The one thing I didn’t include was the breathing mask that hangs around his neck, a rather fragile looking bit of resin that I decided wasn’t worth the effort of trying to attach.

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There are loads of cool little details on the model and I predict he’s going to be a lot of fun to paint. For instance check out these bone spikes bursting out of his mutated flesh – something I’d quite overlooked on the studio model.

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I did plan to swap out his head but again once I saw it in person I realised that I rather like it. This isn’t me panning the Forgeworld studio painter – they’re clearly very talented, I just don’t think that the style they’ve used has entirely shown the ‘zerker at its best.

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However I do wish they’d included an alternative head that matched the one shown in the original artwork. It’s also worth noting that the head of the ‘zerker is a little larger than those of the standard gangers so unlike the stimmers it’s not so easy to just swap in a head from the Forge World upgrade set, all the more reason why an alternative on the sprue would have been a nice touch.

Zerker Head

He’s a big lad, the real monster of the crew, as this line-up shows.

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He even looks imposing next to this (shamefully part-painted) Ambot. I must admit I thought the burrowing robot would be the bigger of the two by quite some margin so it was a surprise to see them side by side and realise just how large the ‘zerker is.

Zerker Ambot Necromunda Wudugast ConvertOrDie

All of this gives me plenty to paint and I’m keen to get my teeth into them as soon as possible, although I’ve also got my eye on a few other projects which may take precedence (including my often delayed but never forgotten Cawdor gang). I’ve also been kitbashing Corpse-Grinder Cultists so I’ll try to get something uploaded to showcase them soon too.


Looking Uphive – Necromunda Plans For 2020

This time last year I put together a post summing up where I stood with all of my Necromunda projects and laying out everything I had planned for the future. I found it to be quite a useful exercise so I decided to do it again this year – although whether it turns into an annual feature we’ll just have to wait and see.

Of all GW’s games and settings Necromunda remains the one with which I’m most engaged. 2019 was a fairly good year for the game, with lots of world building spread across a number of books. The first half of the year was relatively quiet for miniatures releases however, with the just the ambot and Kal Jerico (and Scabs) putting in an appearance. Things picked up in the second half of the year however with the arrival of two kinds of Enforcers, a ravenous cannibal cult and the three-dimensional zone-mortalis terrain that people had been complaining bitterly hadn’t been included in the original boxset (of course, they immediately started complaining about the price instead. Those of us who suggested, back in 2017, that a boxset stuffed to the gills with high-quality plastic terrain would be desperately expensive quietly congratulated ourselves on our Nostradamus-like powers of prediction…).

Based on what I understand (and I’m no industry insider) this deceleration in the release schedule in early 2019, followed by a subsequent acceleration later in the year, was very much to be expected. Based on what I understand, as with Blood Bowl a series of teams or gangs were commissioned at launch and their popularity would decide how much future support the game received. As both games seem to have gone down a storm it’s hopeful that Necromunda will follow Blood Bowl and receive regular updates throughout the coming year (and indeed years). Time for me to crack on and clear my backlog of unpainted stuff then so that I’m ready for whatever new things might emerge from  the Underhive gloom next.

The Irondogs (House Goliath)

My Goliath collection really found its feet in 2018 but 2019 wasn’t entirely without recruits, as four newcomersjoined the crew. At the moment I’m not rushing to add any more but I do have plenty of ideas, not to mention one or two models built but as yet unpainted, so I’d imagine they’ll continue to grow in dribs and drabs over the coming months.

The Ladykillers (House Escher)

After a relatively quiet 2018 the girls really arrived on the scene in style in 2019. From a mere handful at the start of the year we now have a veritable army of them. As with the Goliaths I’m not planning to add many more in the immediate future but I still have plans and I’d very much like to return to them when the opportunity arises.

The Tech-Hunters (House Van Saar)

This time last year I showed off the test model for this gang and I’m pleased to say I managed to rattle through the rest of the gang as well. It took me a while to get around to them but once I got started I fairly powered through them, even adding in an old Space Wolf model by accident. For now I’m fairly happy with how the gang stands so again I’m not planning to add anything new in the immediate future, but who knows what might happen later in the year.

The Cult of Ruin (Helot Cult)

The final gang to get a lot of attention last year was my Chaos cult. These helots were originally intended to be put together quite quickly out of models I already had in my collection, plus a few odds and ends that I was going to paint anyway such as the Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress. Of course it didn’t quite work out like that but I got there in the end and I’m pleased with the results.

I’m not planning on expanding the gang this year per se but there are a few old cultist models in my collection which could use a repaint, and I’ll be working on the cultists from Blackstone Fortress: Escalation, any or all of which could easily find a second home in the gang.

Chaos Cultists

The Radwolves (House Orlock)

Enough about gangs I’m not planning to paint much of in the coming year and on to those I will be. I’ve had a lot of Orlocks sitting around for quite some time now but until recently I just couldn’t find a colour scheme I was terribly happy with. At last however I think I’m onto something.

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Having tried out a number of other colour schemes I think I’ve settled on this dusty, dirty look – perfect for a battered road-warrior. All the tweaks and adjustments to his paint scheme mean he’s far from perfect but hopefully those which are painted following a consistent plan from start to finish will be better. Now I just need to crack on with the rest of the gang.

The Children of Whispers (House Delaque)

Next up it’s Billy Corgan (or possibly a Delaque ganger).

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As with the Orlock it took me a while to get the colours just right here, although I’m finally happy with what I came up with. From the get go I planned to paint my gang in a very stark, mono-chrome style, akin to this piece of artwork. Like a lot of others I was also very much inspired by the look of The Strangers from the film Dark City, with just a touch of the Observers from Fringe.

Delaque Art

However painting something in black and white is easier said than done and a great deal of fiddling around went on before I ended up with something I was happy with. Now I’m settled on something I’d like to crack on with the rest of the gang soon. Once again it probably won’t happen immediately (I think most of my Necromunda projects will be pushed back a bit whilst I get my teeth into Warcry) but I’d like to look at them properly in the near(-ish) future. In the meantime I’ve been quietly building more gangers in the background.

I’m pleased with this one, although the gap at his shoulder is bloody annoying. The blame probably lies with me more than the kit, but I’ll need to tidy it up before he’s ready for paint.

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Having started off with some fairly standard builds I tried experimenting with the Forge World head upgrade pack. Hooded Delaque are something of a new phenomenon in the Underhive but I rather like the way they look, somehow they’re even more sinister than usual.

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Like most people I tend to associate Delaque with sneaking around in dark corridors, cutting the lights, murdering their adversaries with silenced weapons, and planting false leads to pin the blame on everyone else. The thought of one carrying something as OTT as a heavy flamer calls for something a bit out of the ordinary, the kind of laughing madman the gang unleashes when they want to make a statement and they need everyone to know about it. And yes, that’s a Cawdor head, but being bald it fits the Delaque nicely.

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The Oathbones (House Cawdor)

The next Necromunda project I tackle is likely to be the devout men and women of House Cawdor. These are amongst my absolute favourites from the range and I’ve already started chipping away at them.

Unfortunately I don’t have any WIPs that are at a stage to show but have faith, plenty more are on their way!

Palanite Enforcers

A big part of the appeal of Necromunda (and Warcry, Blood Bowl and so) is the low price of admission to each new faction (Dark Uprising aside of course!). A new gang will set you back somewhere between £20 and £30, not much more than a single character in 40k or AoS these days, or the back rank in a WHFB horde. Thus when the long arm of the law stretched out towards the Underhive in August 2019 it was all too easy to sign myself up for some police brutality. So far my little patrol doesn’t even have a name, let alone any background, but they do have a single officer, modelling a colour scheme I’m happy with, so we’re off.

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Thanks to the wonderfully model-packed but eye-wateringly expensive Dark Uprising box I’ve already recruited him some backup in the form of this sturdy Subjugator. I love the heavily armoured, bulky aesthetic of these guys, they look ready to weather a storm of bullets and wade into whatever the Underhive throws at them, batons swinging.

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Sizewise these aren’t much bigger than the regular enforcers but their bulkier armour adds a real sense of weight and presence to them.

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Meanwhile this one is armed with an assault ram, designed to knock doors down and follow up by firing a grenade into the breach, probably whilst the wielder yells “Freeze perp, show me your hands!”

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I’ve seen quite a number of people complain that, should the ram become bent or otherwise damaged (for example when being used to knock a door down) then the grenade could easily get jammed and explode prematurely, which might not be the best thing that could happen to the poor bloke who’s holding it at the time. It’s a fair point but I’ve never been entirely clear at exactly which point in this scenario Lord Helmawr starts giving a shit about the safety and well-being of his subjects. This is Necromunda, where the only plentiful resource available is human lives. Furthermore this is the 41st Millennium, where doing exactly what you are told without question or hesitation is the only law. If the people who look after the machines (the same people who think praying and waving incense around is a key part of the process) say that this is how you’re meant to use it then you’ll damn well use it that way. Should the God-Emperor decide that today is your day to die in an entirely preventable workplace accident then He must have had His reasons. Perhaps you were harbouring thought of sedition, or doubting the mechanism of the blessed machine with which you have been entrusted. And if the resultant explosion kills half your squad of highly trained officers and allows a cannibal cult to escape justice? Well let it suffice that He moves in mysterious ways…

 

The Lodge of the Carnivore King

The latest gang to join the grubby underworld of Necromunda are the Corpse Grinders, foul Khorne-worshipping barbarian cannibals. Honestly if you thought that I was going to be anything other than all over this then you don’t know me at all!

Again I’ve just started dipping my toe in here but it goes without saying that I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far. On the one hand these are great models in and of themselves, and a day which isn’t spent recruiting blood maddened cannibals into a cult of violence and depravity is a day wasted. More than that however it’s great to see some new ideas being introduced to Necromunda, without straying from the core of what makes the setting great. These feel instantly at home here, whilst at the same time introducing something fresh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of all the concepts introduced in past editions – roll on the reinvention of Ratskins and Redemptionists – but this setting has so much more potential than simply aping the ’90s and waxing nostalgic over a past era.

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Until I started putting them together I hadn’t realised quite how large these lads are. All that healthy eating is certainly helping them to grow big and strong!

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Indeed there’s not much in it when the Skinners stand shoulder to shoulder with a Chaos Marine, handy for anyone thinking of kitbashing them, or using the heads and weapons to add alternative flourishes to World Eaters. The smaller Initiates meanwhile would make for fine cultists in a Khornate Chaos Marine army (after all, that’s essentially what they are).

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Usually I love converting my gangers to make as many as possible unique to me. That said there are normally one or two in every gang that I just have to keep “as is” – they’re just too cool not to. Enter, this angry man…

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However, despite how nice the standard models are, one of the biggest draws for me is converting, kitbashing and personalising them. Looking through the equipment list in the Book of Ruin I spotted the Icon of the Corpse Grinders and knew that if my revolution was going to look like it meant business I was going to need one of those for starters!

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Knowing myself as I do I’m certain I’ll be chipping away at all of these over the coming months. My plan is to try to focus on Warcry for the next little while but the call of the Underhive has always been strong for me and I don’t imagine I’ll be able to resist any of these projects for long.


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.


The Irondogs – Part 12

Here’s one last goliath to add to the Irondogs gang for now. I actually have several more assembled and waiting for paint but I’m keen to crack on with other gangs and projects for a while. Equally I didn’t want to leave Sylus here half-painted and gathering dust when he could be raising merry havoc in the Underhive.

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The eagle-eyed will have spotted that I’ve used the bolter from the upgrade sets, after talking myself into buying Weapon Set 2, and this, combined with the glorious new heads from Forge World, undoubtedly means another wave of recruits for House Goliath will be stamping across my painting desk sooner or later.


Looking Uphive – Necromunda Plans For 2019

As we stride purposefully into 2019 I wanted to take a look at just where I stand with all of my Necromunda projects (which otherwise run the risk of degenerating into my usual disorganised chaos). For me Necromunda is the game and setting I’m most excited about of all GW’s canon. The game had a great year in 2018, growing from just two gangs at the start of the year to nine by the end. With all of the Clan Houses now represented it’ll be very interesting indeed to see how things progress over the coming months and years. As for myself I’ve started working away at all kinds of projects with my usual unsystematic enthusiasm. The aim of this post therefore is to serve as a round up, keeping me on track with where I stand with all of my gangs. It’s not all models you’ve seen before though, a few new ones have snuck in as well. Let’s take a look.

 

The Irondogs (House Goliath)

The former lords of Ironhouse have had a fine time of things lately, at least when it comes to getting painted. The backstory I’ve written for them may see them as a shadow of their former glory, struggling to reclaim the turf they once held so securely, but at least they don’t have to worry about unpainted models. As it stands the gang is pretty much done for now, I’m aiming to finish off the bolter wielding ganger Sylus shortly, but I ended up picking up the weapon upgrade for them, and will undoubtedly add the new heads to that, so expect to see further reinforcements arriving in the future as Korak attempts to expand his realm and reclaim the lost power of his house.

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I’ve mentioned previously that I see the Goliaths as having a lot in common with the dwarves of old-Warhammer (brawny craftsmen who rely on sturdy durability over fancy do-whats – just swap the pre-battle start-me-up for combat stims instead of Bugman’s XXXXXX and you’re good to go). However it wasn’t until I was writing this that I realised how deeply this had worked its way into my thinking – as my once mighty Goliaths now struggle to reclaim a corner of their Underhive empire from the invaders squatting amid the ruins. Speaking of which…

 

The Ladykillers (House Escher)

For hundreds of shift-cycles the House Escher presence in Hive Araneus has been minimal, making it the perfect for “Gallows” Grace and her girls to set up shop. Having betrayed her way across the wastes Grace needs somewhere off the radar to build their strength, and the under-defended Ironhouse looks like the perfect place.

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The Eschers haven’t grown as quickly as I first expected but I intend to do something about that shortly. Generally I feel this lack of progress can be attributed to three key factors. Firstly, these ladies are challenging to paint, with all those crazy patterns and colours. Secondly, I’ve been working on this gang for my partner and as she’s also an avowed acolyte of the Void-Emperor and His strange xenos ways my focus has been switched to the genestealer cults over the last month or so. Thirdly, I want every Escher to look unique. After all in a house where peacocking is  more than just a way of life having the same hair-style as one of your gang sisters sounds downright intolerable. Thus my progress has been slowed as I’ve tried to create unique ‘do’s for each of the girls, something I’ve managed to pull off so far, but which the new head upgrade kit should mean becomes much more straightforward.

 

The Radwolves (House Orlock)

I must admit when I first saw the Orlocks I wasn’t that inspired by them. On the other hand the longer I’ve looked at them the more excited I’ve become. I’m still no fan of the running poses, and I’ve steered firmly away from the more “well groomed” gentlemen but I’ve still already kitbashed a little army of them and I’m constantly tempted to do some more. I’ll try to get them painted soon, although I’m aware I’ve promised myself that about a lot of things…

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Tech-hunter Cadre Scorpion Null (Van Saar)

Even more than the Orlocks, I really wasn’t that enamoured of the Van Saar models when they first appeared. They’re just so different to the aesthetic of the wider 40k setting that it took a little getting used to, plus the fact that they’re the harder to build, let alone kitbash, by a country mile makes them possibly my least favourite gang in Necromunda (although it goes without saying I’m still a big fan – what a fan boy eh!). Although I’ve not found myself as captivated by them as I have some of the other houses I’m still working on an elite team, dispatched into the Underhive by the house masters on a secretive mission. Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying out my planned colour-scheme on a test model and I’m rather pleased with how he’s turned out.

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Of course now I just need to get the rest of them done. Hopefully the fact that I’m not planning many of them should mean I could wrap up the project fairly quickly, but with so many things I’d like to be working on getting the chance to focus on them exclusively might not happen straight away.

 

The Oathbones (House Cawdor)

Whilst I only plan an elite strike force of Van Saar my Cawdor will stand at the opposite end of the spectrum; a full blown army of the faithful. I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely love these models, and all the various forgeworld upgrades for them have only served to make them better. The temptation is to paint hundreds of them, although as ever time and money have tended to reign me in so far. That said one of the joys of Necromunda is that it’s relatively cheap so a mighty horde of fanatics could well be within my grasp.

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Plus the stigshambler I made a couple of months ago was one of the most popular models I produced in 2018, and remains one of the conversions I’m most proud of, so I need to get them (and their gangmates) painted soon.

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However, rather than start somewhere sensible like painting up a few gangers, I instead chose to paint a sheen bird as my first model for the gang. I had planned to use the model as part of a converted Tzeentchian cultist but when I realised that wasn’t going to work it ended up in the bits box looking for a home. Now I just need to complete the ash prophet who’ll be its owner.

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I’m not entirely without common sense though, so once the sheen bird was finished I painted the test model for the gangers. My idea, which I know isn’t all that original, is that some members of the house have seen the mighty warriors of the Imperial Fists who base themselves on Necromunda and, wishing to emulate these noble souls who must surely have stood at the side of the Emperor Himself, have taken to dressing in yellow robes. Plus I’ve got into the swing of painting filthy yellow clothing from working on my Skaven and knew I could repeat the look on lots of gangers. Overall I’m pretty happy with him so this is probably the look I’ll be using for all of them (unless some clever person comes along and suggests something so mind-blowing I end up doing that instead!)

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The Children of Whispers (House Delaque)

As it stands I’ve only built one of these sneaky characters but I have to say this kit is absolutely outstanding. Expect to see me working on these a lot more in the future.

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The Cult of the Abyssal Gaze (Genestealer Cults)

Like the Goliaths this gang is painted up and ready to take on the Underhive. Rising from the ash-mining clans of Delving Alpha-12 and led by the ambitious Vyrion the Elder this insidious cult prepare to invade Ironhouse and from there spread their influence into the hive itself.

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Most of the work on this gang happened in December, and really served to demonstrate that I can get these projects painted up quite quickly if I just put my mind to it (and can find the time of course). That said they’re not finished by any means. I’ve always planned to build up a genestealer cults army for 40k and the newest images we’ve seen of forthcoming models have only added to that. For those who’ve missed them (and where have you been?) take a look at this lady for example;

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Of course much as I enjoy building 40k armies it’s not a game I actually play. Thus part of me is drawn to the idea of expanding my genestealer cults into more than one gang, representing different factions setting out from the Delvings to spread the cult. Whilst Vyrion leads the invasion of Ironhouse his young acolyte could take a gang of her own to undermine the Orlock wayforts that dot the ash wastes, or drive out the Cawdor ragpickers that currently control Sumpside. One way or another expect to see plenty more of these in the coming months.

 

The Cult of Ruin (Chaos Cults)

Ah, my cult of mislead, Chaos worshipping helots! Such plans I had for them last year! Sadly not a lot of actual progress has been forthcoming. Part of the trouble is that most of the models I planned to include don’t have the best paintjobs, my skill having increased considerably over the five years or so since I first worked on them. This seems like a fine excuse to fix them up but as a result the project has become a lot more involved than I originally envisioned. That said things may have stalled but they haven’t been forgotten, so I’m aiming to get back to them sooner or later.

Chaos Core Gang

Venators

Not much to see here yet but I’ve got all kinds of ideas planned, starting with a gang of beastmen bounty hunters. Don’t expect them to appear straight away though, as you can see from the list above there’s plenty of other things to tackle first.

 

So there we have it, a solid set of projects to tackle over the next few months (alongside all of the other things I’d like to be painting). Naturally I won’t get around to all of them straight away but perhaps by nailing my colours to the mast and setting out my plans I’ll be encouraged to keep at it. Oh, and I have a heap of terrain to do as well. The Underhive never sleeps…


The Irondogs – Part 11

I don’t know about the rest of you but at this time of year I always feel a drive to try and clear my desk of half-finished models ahead of the new year. Of course the best laid plans of mice and men and all that, what with the way in which work is always at it busiest in the run up to Christmas, and then spending time with family over Christmas and New Year itself, all adds up to make this more of an aspiration than a reality. Nonetheless with the genestealer cultists finished for the moment I grabbed the chance to squeeze in a couple more models and get these two Goliath gangers finished.

Last time we looked at the gang the focus was on bitter misfit Max. This time it’s the turn of his cool-headed brother, Dekker, a man burdened with the unenviable task of preventing his recalcitrant sibling from pushing Korak’s tolerance beyond its limits. Somewhere up in the manufactorums I imagine a Goliath mama informed him in no uncertain terms that he needed to look after his brother and Dekker is still trying his level best to do exactly that.

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Whilst all the senior members of the gang went to the Feast of Khorg, the likes of Max and Dekker were left behind to guard Ironhouse. Leadership of this skeleton crew was given to Spike and as a reward for holding the turf even after news came of the massacre at the feast Korak has entrusted him with a grenade launcher.

I’m aware that this pose isn’t all that popular amongst Goliath fans, and certainly the fact that this is pretty much the only way to position the grenade launcher without going to a lot of work is slightly unfortunate, but all the same speaking personally I think it looks excellent.

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For now this is pretty much the complete Irondogs gang. I have one more gang member who I had hoped to have finished by now but at this rate will probably have to wait until the new year. For a while however I’d like to switch my focus to some of the other houses, probably starting with a few more Eschers. Fear not though, I will be returning to the Irondogs at some stage as I continue to explore their lives in the deadly warrens of Ironhouse and its surroundings. In the meantime here’s a group shop of the Irondogs ready to defend their turf from xenos interlopers and rival gangs.

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As usual I suspect I won’t be posting much here over Christmas but I will be working away on a few projects when time allows and you can expect to see a roundup of this month’s Skaven and perhaps even a self-indulgent look back at the year before we rumble into 2019.


The Irondogs – Part 10

With what’s starting to look like a full blown xenos invasion on our hands it’s time for the muscular men of Ironhouse to get their collective act together and prepare to defend their turf. To do that I’ve called in another recruit to bring a bit more bulk to the gang (although I admit it’s mostly because I like building and painting Goliaths – plus, I needed a little bit of a break from painting genestealer cultists after bashing through most of the rank and file over the weekend). I also went back to a couple of previously shown gang members and made a few tweaks and improvements.

First up we have Max. Left behind as part of the skeleton crew guarding Ironhouse when many of his gang-brothers went to the Feast of Khorg Max has stewed in resentment, a sentiment undiminished by news of the disaster that took place there and the slaughter of most who attended. In truth however his animosity towards Korak dates back much further, to the days when Max was a mere juve who dreamed of glory. When Korak declared he would tame the great sumpcroc which dwelt in the drains beneath Ironhouse Max pushed his way to the front and demanded a chance to join in the hunt. Although Korak was ultimately successful, capturing the beast and saddling her with what is – to Max at least – the quite ludicrous name of “Snuggles” Max himself was dragged from the stinking waters after having his hand bitten off. To this day Max feels a phantom itch crawling through the crude blade which replaced his hand every time he sees Korak lounging on his throne, the great reptile curled languidly at his feet.

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This model has had a real battering over the year or so since it was released and fell into my possession. I’ve tried to base several conversions on it and each time it ended up back on the metaphorical drawing board looking slightly more abused than the last. I’ve done my best to cover over the worst of the damage but it is perhaps best if he is not subjected to too much close observation. This undoubtedly fed into his back story, building up the idea that life hasn’t always treated him quite the way he would have liked and as a result he’s rather bitter about things. The fact that he is actually better off as a result only adds insult to injury!

Whilst I was about it I decided to right a wrong that have been bothering me since I first showed gang boss Korak, and fix the damage to the end of his gun that resulted from me making a pig’s ear of drilling out the barrels. Despite fellow blogger The Imperfect Modeller’s very fine suggestion that the damage was probably the result of a failure to maintain the weapon properly in the Underhive I still couldn’t unseen what I knew to be a mistake so in the end I broke out a dab of greenstuff and patched it up.

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I also realised that I’d left lovable sidekick Ugly Gabe in a bit of a fix by forgetting to equip him with any close-combat weapons. So long as he stays away from any up-close and personal fighting he’ll be fine but the moment he fails an ammo roll or get’s charged he’ll be down to fighting with his fists alone. As the thought of a Goliath that avoids a proper fight is unbearably silly, and quite unbefitting a macho man like Gabe, I took the opportunity to arm with a combat knife as well as his trusty krumper.

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There are also a couple more Goliaths waiting almost finished on the painting desk and I did wonder about finishing them off as well, but I decided to keep my focus on the genestealer cultists for now and ignore the temptation to get too sidetracked. However, assuming I get the xenos finished soon, I’ll try to get  them done at some stage over the next few weeks as well.