There’s been a lot going on in with Necromunda lately and needless to say, although my brushes have been busy with Blood Bowl, at least part of my brain has remained focussed on life in the Underhive. Various new models have been previewed over the last little while, with the most attention grabbing additions being the new recruits for house Van Saar. The House of Artifice will be getting a box with six additional fighters, including the Archeoteks, champions who have mastered the most powerful technologies available to them.
When I first saw the Van Saar models a couple of years ago I didn’t really see the appeal. My attention back then was captured by the brutish tech-barbarians of House Goliath and the amazing punk-amazons of House Escher, and the Van Saar looked a little clean and sleek for my taste. Needless to say they grew on me a great deal, and I now have a band of these high-tech killers stalking the dirty streets of the underhive at my beck and call. Will I be adding the newcomers to their ranks? Of course I will!
In my opinion the Archeoteks are some of the coolest looking champions we’ve seen for the game, standing alongside the Orlock Armsmasters. However much of the attention given to these reveals has focussed instead on the hot-headed young Neoteks who speed through the air on what can only be described as hoverboards.
They’re utterly ludicrous of course, but then Necromunda in general is fairly silly. After all this is the place where a demonically possessed lunatic can be seen fighting to the death against an angry cat (or an exploding rat) so why not throw in a flying skateboard or four? If they’re too silly for your taste, don’t use them – but there’s no hiding from the fact that Necromunda is silly (in fact the whole 40k setting is silly), and that’s a big part of why we love it.
Speaking of angry cats we’ve also seen a preview of the new Phyrr Cats which will be joining Escher gangs early in the new year.
Rules for these beasts have existed since way back in the early days of the new edition but, as with a lot of things in the underhive, models haven’t been forthcoming until now. To be fair we did see a pair of models previewed for them a long while back, and everyone tended to agree they were pretty much duff. Luckily GW agreed with us and retired them unreleased.
In search of an alternative I grabbed myself a set of Hoar Cats from Wyrd Miniatures which have been running around with my gang ever since.
Lately I have been thinking that they look a little plain I might be tempted to repaint them with some stripes or something similar, especially now that Contrast paint has made adding patterns to animal fur so much easier. Of course I could be tempted by a pair of the new cats, price and other projects depending.
The latest issue of White Dwarf brings us rules for four more brutes, exclusively available to Outlaw gangs (that being those gangs who’s operations are even more shady, criminal and liable to earn the ire of the Enforcers than all the others). As if the more civilised parts of the hive cities weren’t grim enough there are all kinds of twisted horrors lurking in the badzones, just waiting to be “tamed” by a gang low on options and full of deranged opportunism. Let’s take a look at our four new options…
As if taking a huge, predatory burrowing alien and wiring its brain into a big mining robot wasn’t enough of a health-and-safely violation, it’s not unknown for an Ambot to become corrupted with a tech-virus – either by accident or as a result of the tampering of a downhive heretek. I already have a pair of ambots but I’ll admit I’ve had a longstanding temptation to pick up a second pair and turn one of them into a spiky, Chaos infused abomination with which to horrify right-thinking tech-adepts everywhere. For the other I plan a slightly more involved conversion to create a “dreadnaught” with a wounded purestrain genestealer inside. Will I ever get around to either project? Who can say – although I’ll admit these new rules do make it more likely. Of course first of all I probably ought to finish painting my normal Ambots…
Just because an idea is obvious doesn’t mean it isn’t good. My Blackstone Fortress Chaos Ogryn has been rocking out with my Chaos Cultists for ages, now GW have come along and made it official.
Whilst the previous two concepts are cool, it’s the second two which really allow one to get creative and start cooking up crazy conversions.
For those who want to be really Chaotic and devote themselves even further to the will of the Dark Gods there’s the Warp Horror. Even criminal scumbos won’t generally go near these but Chaos Helots and Corpse-Grinder Cultists aren’t nearly so fussy. These are not so much the rampantly mutated monstrosities that are Chaos Spawn but rather a creature infused by the power of the Warp, perhaps even born directly from it. The article suggests using the various Nightmare Hulks from the Kill Team Rogue Trader box. I think this chap will fit in nicely alongside my hungry Corpse-Grinders, and it gives me a bit of encouragement to paint up the rest of them as well. Later on I’ll probably come up with the odd part-daemonic converted monstrosity as well…
Last but not least, the Sump Beast. This is a real convertors goldmine, with all the shackles off. This is a chance to make anything from a many-limbed monstrosity with a prehensile tongue to a shambling giant with a lashing tail. In this instance I don’t actually have any set ideas in mind, but I know there’s going to be something lurking in the dark beneath Ironhouse that one of my gangs will tame. I just need to have a rummage around in the bits box and see what I can find…
The House of Iron
I had hoped to be able to talk a bit about the latest in the “House of…” series, House of Iron, which covers the Orlock gang and their affiliates. Unlike some of the other houses it took me a while to really get excited about the Orlocks, it’s very easy to just see them as the ordinary Joes of the setting, and a little bit dull in comparison to some of the more obviously outlandish or showy gangs. In time I’ve grown to really like them however and I was hopeful that House of Iron would give me the push to start working on my own gang. Unfortunately I made the error of pre-ordering my copy of the book, and the new miniatures, alongside a few other odds and ends, from Element Games, and – over a month later – they’re still sitting on it like Smaug in his cave rather than sending it out. Apparently one of the other items I ordered alongside it has gone out of stock and had to be backordered and this is taking longer than expected. These things happen, and when this has happened in the past they’ve just sent out a part-order and waited for the rest to arrive, but not this time. It’s a shame, Element used to be one of the best places to buy miniatures in the UK, with excellent prices, fast turn-arounds and impeccable service. Sadly I’ve noticed a real decline from them over the last few months of which this is just the latest. Hopefully it’s just a phase they’re going through, probably suffering with the pandemic and the economic turndown like the rest of us, and they’ll get their shit together in time. In the meantime though its left me very much disinclined to order anything else from them.
Anyway, enough grousing, I’m sure eventually they’ll give up my book and miniatures and let me get a proper look at the Orlocks, at which point I’ll undoubtedly have a bunch of ideas to share here. Who knows, this guy and his pals might even get painted at last.
Look To The Future Now
Finally we got a nice little preview of the release schedule planned for 2021. There’s nothing here that’ll come as wildly out of the blue to the dedicated fan, the Van Saar (not shown) had previously been announced as coming early in the new year, and it made sense to assume that Cawdor and Delaque would follow.
Naturally I’m curious to see what additions these latter two gangs receive, especially given the high quality of the new models for the other four. As I recall it was announced early on that five of the gangs would receive new champions and prospects and the other would receive “something different”. (Don’t quote me too closely on that of course, my interest in Necromunda may be a little obsessive but my memory is far from perfect, as my fiancée often reminds me…). Anyway, my money is on Delaque being the ones to get “something different”, in keeping with their general air of mystery and strangeness. I’m also curious to know how GW will handle a book which reveals everything about the house in wonderful detail and depth – as the previous “House of…” books have – whilst still maintaining the inscrutable ambiguity that forms a big part of why we love the lanky goths. I’m guessing it’ll be written entirely in cipher.
As for the Cawdor I’ve heard a few people speculating that the Redemptionists, who have long been closely linked to the House of Faith, will be rolled into this release. Frankly I hope not. Back when the Cawdor gang box was released Andy Hoare (reigning Necromunda big cheese) commented that many people expected Cawdor and the Redemptionists to be combined into a single faction but that he intended to separate them out into two more clearly differentiated factions (again, see note above regarding my obsessive interest vs questionable memory!). Certainly this would be my preference, why have one faction when you could have two after all? Furthermore there’s a lot more to the Cawdor than simply being Redemptionists, this is a working society, fully integrating into the wider world of Necromunda, and that gives designers plenty of room to explore. The Redemptionists on the other hand retain a laser focus on burning heretic scum and are, I suspect, less likely to put in time taming rats or sorting scrap.
Of course there’s no denying that the Redemptionists are “problematic”, to use a word popular with keyboard warriors and the rage-filled-for-a-cause these days. When the Cawdor special character known as The Headsman was previewed online wearing a tall, pointed hood, knickers suddenly found themselves in a terrible twist.
Faced with a barrage of spittle-flecked fury worthy of the Redemptionists themselves, GW – understandably uncomfortable about what claims that they were in some manner supporting the KKK might do for their sales – dialled things back a little before the final model was released.
Perhaps then, they have come to think that it would be easier to just tuck the Redemptionists into a corner of House Cawdor and forget about them rather than risk committing the cardinal sin of releasing a range of miniatures which, if you look at it through the right set of cultural biases, squint really hard and wish upon a star for an excuse to get offended, might just prove to be “triggering”. Personally I hope that common sense prevails and we get a full set of new Redemptionists someday. Remember, painting a miniature does not automatically mean subscribing to vaguely similar real-world ideologies (something fans of historical miniatures managed to come to terms with some time ago). A friend of mine collects Tyranids and to the best of my knowledge he’s never eaten anyone…
Moving on we can look to this time next year, where something mysterious lurks on the horizon. What exactly we might be seeing in terms of releases that far out remains anyone’s guess but it’s always nice to be reminded that Necromunda is going from strength to strength. Whilst fans of 40k and AoS can sleep at nights knowing that very little short of the apocalypse is likely to occur which really affects the market dominance of their chosen games. Those of us who enjoy the so-called Specialist Games are always uncomfortably aware that we’re living on the fringes and, in a landscape of increasing economic and social turmoil, should GW need to protect the power-armoured golden goose it’s likely to be our heads on the block. Thus that mysterious “And More” in the final quarter of next year’s roadmap serves as a comforting reminder that there’s life after Delaque.
Finally this we also got a reminder of the art for the Water Guild, alongside the comment “we’ll be seeing some of the Necromunda characters that already have awesome artwork make their debuts as models. So we might be seeing this Master Nautican in the underhive before long…”.
Now whilst this is a deliberately vague statement, and the phrase “before long” could mean almost anything in the Necromundan release schedule, this is still an exciting confirmation that the Water Guilders are on their way, and indeed that other Guilders are likely to follow. The Guilds contain some of the most interesting concepts in the entire setting, and the Slaver’s Guild were excellent miniatures, so my hopes are high. Of course the price is likely to be equally high but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Anyway, I’m feeling that I’ve probably wittered on long enough – and if I feel that way you probably do too! As ever if you have thoughts or opinions you’d like to share, the floor (or the comments box) is all yours.