Tag Archives: Underhive

Mean Streets – Part 2

Undoubtedly the biggest project I’m currently working on is my collection of Underhive terrain. It’s something I discussed at length when I first started this series but to recap, as it’s been a while, I’ve always dreamed of having my own set of terrain but until recently I had neither the space nor the money for it. If I’m honest with myself I probably still don’t but, with a bit of creative storage and careful budgeting I’ve decided to go for it anyway. After all if you’ve been planning something for over a decade it’s probably time you just got on with it right?

I wouldn’t really consider myself a gamer, for me painting and modelling comes first and any dice rolling, if it happens at all, is a very distant second. That said when I do play games I want them to be as evocative and atmospheric as possible. Nice though it would be to create all the landscapes I can imagine games being set (a crumbling dwarven mine infested with Skaven and Night Goblins, the wraithbone spires of an Eldar craftworld, the ever changing madness of a daemon-world within the Eye of Terror, the verdant gardens of Nurgle, a shrine-world covered in statues so vast that tank battles can play out in the Emperor’s cupped hands, a Blood Bowl pitch with cheering crowds, hotdog sellers and a commentator’s box, the inside of a Tyranid bio-vessel, and so on) practicality tells me I can only really have one board for the foreseeable future. Thus, as my predilections lie towards small scale skirmishes in the 41st Millennium (mostly Necromunda but there’s room for some Kill Team/Inq28 shenanigans in my life too), what I need is a slice of decaying industrial hell, layer upon layer of toxic, crumbling factories, a place so rough the apocalypse would improve things and streets so mean even the rats won’t go out after dark.

Needless-to-say, although I’ve painted a huge number of models over the years, terrain is still pretty new to me. I’ve been chipping away on this project for about six months now, and the learning curve has been steep, but Azazel’s latest monthly challenge (which calls, appropriately enough, for terrain) has given me the push to get one of the bigger pieces done at last. (Those unfamiliar with Azazel and his famous challenges – where have you been? – should take a look at his blog, and I urge you to join in – this is a phenomenon not to be missed). Anyway, let’s take a look at the building shall we.

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As might be expected I got a lot of things wrong here, there’s certainly things I won’t do the same way twice, and places where I made a lot of work for myself that I really didn’t need to but on the whole I’m happy enough and hopefully I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned and things will continue to get easier and smoother.

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The Irondogs – Part 7

Everything’s better with a friend right – and what better friend for a Goliath boss to have than one who values brotherhood and loyalty and isn’t just gunning for your job? Ugly Gabe is the heart and soul of the Irondog’s gang, the cool head that keeps the rash and the violent from biting off more than they can chew in one go. He hauled his boss Korak from under the rubble at the Feast of Khorg, convinced “Bloodbath” Bosrak out of the fighting pits and back onto the streets and helps the juves find their courage when the going gets tough.

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There’s still plenty more Goliaths to paint but getting Gabe finished means the central triumvirate of characters are all ready for action. I’d like to get a few more of the lads finished up soon so my partner and I can get some more games in, but I’m also needing to work on some adversaries for them so expect things to be Underhive dominated around here for the next little while.


Take Cover – Part 3

My efforts to populate the Underhive of Necromunda with rusty, grungy terrain continue apace. Indeed, I’ve got a few bigger items in the works which are tantalisingly close to being ready to reveal, but you’ll have to wait just a few days more. In the meantime however I’ve painted up more of the scenic elements from the Underhive Wars box.

Decorating the Underhive calls for plenty of doors, walls and barricades…

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… including some from the new Orks kits …

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… and some from a much older Ork release.

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Next up the crates, some of which contain useful stashes of ammo, whilst others turn out to be empty, or even deadly boobie-traps. The design here is rather clever, each crate is double-sided with one side full of ammo whilst the other is empty. Clusters of makeshift explosives can be hidden in the blank side and whilst the lid is on players won’t know what awaits them until they open the box. The downside is that this makes them something of a slog to paint as I had to be careful not to leave any distinguishing features that might tip us off later as to which is which.

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These hatches are of course nothing more than pieces of decorative terrain and would never be used by sneaky Underhive residents springing up from ambush (particularly not dastardly three armed creatures)…

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Then we have a set of control panels (useful for opening all those doors!).

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A gang relic, which appears to be some kind of notice board. Perhaps those are wanted posters for the gangs most famous alumni.

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And last but not least, the sump-monster which lies in wait for unwary gangers.

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Stig of the Dump

Ever since Gang War 4 was released I’ve been pondering how to make house brutes for each of my gangs. Although my intention at the moment is to get my existing Necromunda gangs up to fighting strength I’ve been feeling the pull of House Cawdor and the desire to build an army of the faithful. By way of scratching that itch in the short-term I started putting together the bits to make a Stigshambler, the lumbering brutes employed as living weapons by the pauper house.

For those unfamiliar with the background, House Cawdor take a dim view of all mutants, knowing that any aberration from the human norm is proof positive of a corrupt and evil soul. As with so many Imperial institutions however their tolerance increases markedly if the individual can demonstrate their usefulness. Those on the borderline are “Stigs”, marked by the stigma of mutation but not true mutants and thus spared the pyres so long as they can work towards the greater glory of Him On Terra.

A Stigshambler combined two such Stigs; one physically frail but intelligent, the other bulky and strong but lacking in the wits needed to survive long in the Underhive. Indoctrinate Master-Blaster into a life of religious fanaticism and you’re most of the way there.

A couple of days ago I was able to show you the “thinking half” of the partnership, but here he is again for those who want a reminder.

Stigshamber

And here he is now riding in pride of place on the shoulders of his gigantic sidekick.

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Together they tower over the other members of the gang.

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They even stand taller than the local Goliaths!

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At the moment the only change I’m thinking of making is to turn the little guy’s clenched fist around so that he’s mirroring the big guy a bit more closely. As ever  though, now is the time for feedback if you have any, before he goes to get painted.


The Irondogs – Part 5

I know I’m supposed to be concentrating on goblins but sometimes an idea comes to mind that’s just too cool to resist. Down in the Underhive respect is a matter of life and death. A gang boss who is not feared will soon find their career ended on the knives of their rivals or underlings. An enforcer who is both loyal and savage, and who can be relied upon to impose order and inspire fear in equal measure is worth all the creds in the Spire.

Meet “Bloodbath” Bosrak, a former ganger turned champion pit-fighter and now convinced to return to the mean streets and rubble-strewn tunnels of the Underhive where he serves as the savage enforcer sent in by the Irondogs when a problem can only be solved by an extreme display of violence.

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I wasn’t really intending to tackle the champions for my Goliaths yet, planning instead to finish off the rank and file first, but it seemed foolish to stand in the way of creative inspiration. Plus the chance to make use of one of the heads from the new Gellerpox models as soon as I saw it was too exciting to pass up! Here’s Bosrak leading the boys into action to stamp their authority on the hab-shanties and crumbling domes of Sumpside.

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Working on Bosrak has given my enthusiasm for the project a real boost so the rest of the gang will get their turn on the painting desk soon, but before that I really do need to concentrate on the gobbos…


The Ladykillers – Part 2

Well, I promised I’d finish a couple more Eschers before the end of the week and what do you know – I’ve actually managed it!

Leaping to the fore with laspistols in hand we have “Lethal” Grace.

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I think of her as being a fairly new recruit to the gang, and indeed she may even serve as a Juve once we get some proper campaigns rolling, hence her relatively plain hair-do. Indeed I almost bottled-out myself and left her as a blond without the blue highlights, until my partner got involved and added the final touches (why yes, it is nerve wracking to paint a professional artist’s models for her – thanks for asking!)

The Escher gang will be very much under the command of my partner, Janice, and indeed, in fairness to me, at least part of the delay in getting these finished was waiting for her to have the time to join in. Janice works as an illustrator so brings a wealth of talent far in excess of my own. However, by the same token, having spent her working day producing works of art she doesn’t necessarily want to sit down on her day off and start painting again. Thus these were very much a collaborative effort with me doing most of the leg work and then Janice adding a stamp of quality on top.

Anyway, next up we have Cassidy, the fourth Escher to join the gang. Again, if you see a neatly applied basecoat, or a skilfully deployed wash, that would be my doing, whereas if you see a clever detail that makes your jaw drop Janice is the one responsible.

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I mean, I reckon I’m not too shabby as painters go but she’s put scalp-tattoos on an Escher! That’s way above my skill level.

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I also found this chap working in a box of old miniatures. He’s a Tiger of Dirz belonging to the Alchemists of Dirz, originating from the game Confrontation produced by Rackham.

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The greater part of the background fiction for Confrontation was only available in French and as my grasp of that language is embarrassingly poor I have only the sketchiest understanding of the factions and their motivations. As far as I understand the Alchemists lived in the desert where they used some arcane science to create genetic abominations and clone armies for evil purposes (nobody ever makes a genetic abomination because they’re a fundamentally decent human do they?)

Sadly Rackham collapsed during the 2008 recession, a victim of both foolish business practices and attempting a radical and unpopular transformation of their core game. On the plus side there were a few short weeks in which their models, previously jaw-droppingly expensive, became unbelievably cheap and even I, then on a students’ budget and staring into a rocky financial future, could afford to amass a heap of them. I understand there have been attempts to resurrect the Rackham range since, but sadly this has primarily been under the CMON banner and thus to be avoided at all costs.

I painted the Tiger not long after I bought him but he’s been skulking around in a box for quite some time, packed away after one house move or another and never unpacked – until now… As soon as I stumbled on him I was put in mind of the Khimerix, one of the new house brutes detailed in Gang War 4. Whilst the brutes previously available could join any gang now each house also has their own unique ‘big guy’ ranging from the ‘roid raging overgrown monstrosities that are the Goliath ‘zerkers to the cargo servitors of House Orlock. Most unusual of all is the Khimerix, the chimerical gene-spliced beasts created by House Escher.

Khimerix Art

I imagine that each of these beasts is unique, and that an Escher with a trained eye would recognise the signature of her peers in the monsters they had created. Each is a mish-mash of genetic components, mixing gaudy appearance with brute strength and predatory instincts, albeit rolled together into a bizarre looking beast – like a chaos spawn only fabulous! Khimerixes end up battling gladiators in the fighting pits, as terrifying guard dogs for key Escher labs and chem-plants and of course as status symbols for powerful gang leaders.

I always thought that there’s something reminiscent of a tyranid in the Tiger’s face which helps to tie him in to the 40k setting. Indeed given House Escher’s interest in acquiring exotic xenos’ biological material for their experiments we should all be grateful that there aren’t genestealers and their hybrid cultists sneaking around in the Underhive as we speak. Oh, wait…

Anyway, judging by comments on the Warhammer TV live stream it sounds like an official model for the Khimerix won’t be released for quite some time so I reckon this chap will do the business nicely in the meantime.

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Edit: Faust of DoubleDownDice pointed out, rather sensibly, that a size comparison of the Tiger standing next to an Escher or two would be useful for those unfamiliar with the model (which given its age is probably quite a few of you). Feel free to give them a click if you want to see a bigger image (no need to peer at the screen – think of your eyesight!)

Tiger of Dirz with Eschers

Of course, it’s been the best part of a decade since I painted him so he’s in need of a bit of a touch up, not to mention moving to a base more in keeping with the Underhive, but I think there’s potential there. Plus, he was originally made for the game Confrontation, and Confrontation (albeit a different game) was the original name for Necromunda, so there’s a pleasing symmetry there that appeals to me!


The Ladykillers – Part 1

We’ve seen plenty of stupid, sweaty Goliath boys recently, not to mention an outbreak of foul heretics, now it’s time to give the Eschers the limelight they deserve. Given my self-imposed exile from the brighter end of the colour spectrum and my preference for grubby darkness these were a great change of pace and I really enjoyed the challenge of combining the guady peacocking of the Eschers with the filth of the Underhive.

First of the ladies to be finished is Amilita, who went on to acquit herself admirably in our practice game, hiding out of sight behind a barricade and letting her unpainted sisters get shot at before popping up to snipe at least one unsuspecting Goliath.

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To be honest she isn’t quite as nice as I’d hoped, I accidentally decapitated her when I dropped her on the floor and I’ve never managed to get her looking right since. Never mind, on the tabletop she looks fine but the close-ups I’ve taken here are a little unflattering.

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Her gang-sister “Electric” Zoya I think came together rather nicely even if I did have my heart in my mouth throughout the leopard-print.

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All being well I’d like to get a couple more finished by the end of the week, who knows – I may even be able to rope in my partner to assist.