Tag Archives: Wargaming

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.

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The Irondogs – Part 6

Today we’re going to take a look at two of the key elements of the Necromunda set-up I’ve been working on; my Goliath gang boss Korak Kingbreaker and his old stomping ground, the territory of Ironhouse. Be warned, I ramble on a lot!

Goliath Gang

Let’s talk about Korak first. Developing the  personalities and backgrounds of our gangers and charting their exploits on the tabletop is right at the heart of everything Necromunda fans love about the setting. I’m a huge fan of the orks but with 70 boys in my army I can’t pretend that any of them stand out to me as individuals. Pick out a random skeleton warrior and ask its owner who it was before it died and your likely to get a very long-suffering look at best. Inquire about the backstory of an Orlock juve on the other hand and prepare yourself for a lengthy explanation of how they came to join the gang, their goals and aspirations and the adventures they have taken part in so far.

Now of course it hardly needs to be said that I encourage getting to know the characters in any army, the extra depth that develops as a result is quite unparalleled. However whilst you may well write pages and pages of notes on the life history of your Chapter Master only the most dedicated of hobbyists would dream of doing something similar for every tactical marine (if that’s you by the way I salute you, you are a hero to me). Nonetheless I would argue that beyond the world of Inq28 you will never find gamers who get to know their characters as well as those of us who dwell in the Underhive.

Despite this some characters will inevitably end up being more influential than others. As the leader of my gang Korak shapes the direction that the whole crew end up taking. His story is the story of the Irondogs, stamped indelibly upon the gang, their rivals and their territories.  It all begins with the soon to be infamous atrocity know as the Feast of Khorg…

Before we get into all that however that take a look at Korak himself. That way if you’re finding all this rabbiting on terribly dull you can skip the rest, having at least seen what is hopefully a nicely imposing miniature!

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Incidentally I’m aware that I’ve made a poxy job of drilling out the barrels on his gun, best to salve my ego by not mentioning it eh? At some point it will begin to annoy me so much that I replace it, I do have a few spares of that gun kicking around.

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If you plan on surviving long in the Underhive you’re going to need plenty of willpower and determination. Korak is a survivor. He has battled the worst that the Underhive can throw at him, pulling himself up by the bootstraps and crawling over the corpses of friends and rivals alike. Naturally, as a Goliath, he’s also gifted with phenomenal strength married to a willingness to indulge in act of supreme violence at the drop of a hat. This doesn’t mean he’s stupid however. There is a pernicious rumour going around which states that the Goliaths are all a bit thick (I blame the Eschers personally). Often they find themselves conflated with the Orks, on the grounds that the two are muscular, violent and love big, loud guns. However I would go so far as to suggest that they actually have as much, if not more, in common with the Dwarves. They are a proud and stubborn people, they are skilled smiths and metal workers, they are hardy and – most of all – they are exceptionally practical. If a tool can double as a weapon then that’s one less thing to carry. Why kill with flair or flourish when the main thing is making sure your enemy is dead? When a Van Saar’s fancy gun jams on Underhive filth, or an Escher’s stiletto snaps against furnace plate a Goliath’s fists will be more than enough to keep him alive. You might not catch a Goliath reading poetry (although if called upon to do so he might beat you around the head with the hardback edition) but offer him a book on tactics or advanced furnace maintenance and – assuming he’s learnt to read, hardly a given in the Underhive – he’ll be a happy man. Korak then is an intelligent, cunning and at times almost political, character. However this doesn’t mean that he is any less ruthless when he needs to be. He may have a good friend in Ugly Gabe (more on him soon!) but the Goliaths are a recalcitrant bunch. They respect strength above all because a weak leader is a death sentence in the Underhive. It’s nothing personal, they may even like him as a man, but if he can’t demonstrate ruthless authority when he needs to then he has to go. Most of the gangers would love to be leader someday and Bosrak in particular is an unhinged maniac, his brain turned to porridge by too many combat stims. On a bad day he’d beat up his own shadow on a bulkhead wall. So long as Korak’s authority remains absolute however Bosrak serves willingly as his most fearsome enforcer and attack dog (even more frightening than Snuggles – more on her below).

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Those of you who’ve stock with me as far (well done by the way) may well be wondering who the aforementioned Khorg was, what happened at his feast and what kind of place is Ironhouse? Well I’m so glad you asked! Having found out a little about Korak let’s take a look at his old boss Khorg.

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For those living in the lower reaches of Hive Araneus Khorg’s word was law and his influence absolute. His was the iron fist that had claimed a great swath of territory, covering hundreds of levels, dozens of domes and manufactora and thousands of kilometres of rusting corridors. Countless overseers feared him over their own house lords and countless more workers toiled in terror of the coming of his enforcers. In time his holdings spread from the toxic depths at the hive core to the ash shantys beyond the walls and up, creeping like a cancer closing its fist around a heart, towards the spires of the Hive itself. One after another, Goliath gangs bent the knee to him whilst his rivals were swept aside and so his forces grew into a true army, fiercely loyal and – to those seeking to maintain the status quo especially – desperately dangerous. Few dared challenge him openly and of those who did none survived long. High above, in the filtered air and well-lit chambers of the spires, his name was being spoken with increasing loathing. His ambitions where plain and all the Hive Lords knew that in time he would seek first to claim a place among them then to see each deposed until only he remained. Even amongst the lords of House Goliath such a thing was intolerable, for when it comes to their rivals a shared bloodline offers no safety and the thought of a pretender gang-lord taking a seat at their table was more than they were willing to suffer even to further the goals of their House. Who can say what pacts were struck among them but the men and women who rule Necromunda are like sharks that swim in black water, predators without compassion and ruthless in defence of their power.

In a grand display of strength Khorg called his army together. Many hundreds of Goliaths gathered for a festival of feasting, gladiatorial combat and feats of strength. It was a show of power intended to rival the greatest excesses of the spires, and to remind those dwelling in the lower reaches that Khorg and not Helmawr ruled here. Some even believed that Khorg intended to conclude with a declaration of war and send his troops rampaging upwards through pre-mapped tunnels and shafts to tear the head from hive governance in a single strike. If he had been so foolish he would have been sorely disappointed, the roads into the spires are well guarded, built to withstand a frontal assault and patrolled by legions of ruthless house veterans. As it is more subtle agents were in play, and the Hive Lords also wished to use the Feast as an opportunity to display their power and displeasure to all who might harbour thoughts of sedition.

Who, now, can truly say what Khorg might have planned? At the height of the Feast an explosion raged through the hall, bringing down the roof and crushing Khorg and his army beneath a tidal torrent of rubble. Of Khorg’s senior lieutenants Korak was one of the few to survive, pulled from the wreckage by his old gang-mate Ugly Gabe. With most of their gang-mates lost the two decided to return to their old territory in Ironhouse, from which to consolidate their turf and do what they could to survive the coming storm.

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By setting things in the aftermath of the Feast we find the depths of the hive in a state of turmoil. A power vacuum has suddenly opened up and an enterprising gang can seize prime turf and, if they can hold onto it, make a name for themselves. Ironhouse is one such territory, a settlement crammed with the thousands of sweating workers that are needed to maintain the ancient machines of the Halcyon Gate, packed alongside the destitute and the desperate. It is a gateway in its own right, a half-hidden back door by which illicit goods may enter the Hive, and in the days of Khorg’s reign was a Goliath stronghold ruled by Korak as Khorg’s vassal. Now Korak intends to hold it for his own, but that won’t be easy. His gang now has only a fraction of their former numbers whilst covetous enemies are muscling in on their turf. Both Orlock and Cawdor have large and influential presences in the local area and could easily decide to stamp out the Goliaths once and for all. More pressingly however a gang from House Escher calling themselves the Ladykillers are moving in whilst whispers of sedition run through the local populace like rot through a sack of corpse starch. For a long time the workers have been oppressed by the boot of House Goliath and there are those who say there shall never be a better time to be rid of them, even if calling for the strength to do so accrues a bloody debt to be paid to sinister allies from beyond the veil. Perhaps most pressing of all are the local ash-crust miners. Having armed themselves to defend against raiders now they’re seizing territory from the more established houses. Rumours that they harbour strange mutants amongst their number remain unsubstantiated however.

If Korak intend to hold off these rivals he needs support. He has put out a call to other survivors of Khorg’s army to gather beneath his banner, although as yet very few have done so. Furthermore in all of the confusion his beloved pet Snuggles has vanished into the flooded corridors beneath Ironhouse. Time to gather the boys and lure her out again.

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Inventing a detailed background for both Korak, his gang and his turf had got me really excited about this project again. I’ve already started doodling maps of the territories around Ironhouse that will soon be echoing to the sound of gunfire as the gangs set to carve out a home for themselves from the corpse of Khorg’s empire. First order of business will be painting up Ugly Gabe as he’s right at the core of the gang as well, then I’ll start on some of the other characters I’ve been inspired to create.


Mean Streets – Part 1

For over a decade I’ve harboured an ambition to own my own terrain board. Surely for many hobbyists this is the big one, the ultimate goal to aspire to. If you’re a keen gamer then what better than to be able to roll dice in style within the comfort of your own home? If your predilections lie more towards the painting and modelling then what project can compare to capturing not just the characters that inhabit your chosen world but the actual world itself?

The downside of course is that it’s expensive, it takes up a lot of space and it’s a lot of work to build. Leaving aside the lack of disposable income, which in itself lead to a lot of careful budgeting and saving up, until recently I just didn’t have the room to store such a comparatively massive construction. However at the end of the day life won’t wait. I’ve been made keenly aware over the last year or so that whilst planning for the future is a very sensible and intelligent move, putting off all your plans to an unspecified future date might just mean they never happen at all. Having managed to set aside a space in the house for it occupy I’ve set about building a section of Imperial cityscape.

Building a terrain board isn’t like other hobby projects. It takes a certain amount of preparation and self justification before you even think about spending all that money (assuming of course you’re not one of those geniuses who can make a convincing fusion reactor out of an egg box and a Pringles tin, which I am most certainly not).

Having convinced myself, with some difficulty, that it was ok, and that buying a few model buildings wasn’t the sort of fiscal irresponsibility that would see me reduced to fighting the other tramps for food in a matter of weeks, the next question is; what kind of board to build? Of course the answer to that very much depends on the kind of games it might be used for. The fantastic landscapes of the Mortal Realms may look amazing but my heart still lies in the 41st Millennium. You can keep the flyers and tanks of 40k proper, I lean towards Necromunda, Inq28 and perhaps a little bit of Killteam so my board in turn will be the close-packed warrens of the Underhive, the decaying depths of a crumbling Imperial city where Inquisitors roam and gangers hold sway.

In spite of my recent resurgence of interest in building this board its story actually began a few years ago when, following some kind of fit of fiscal frivolity, I bought myself the Sector Imperialis board from GW, and then froze like a rabbit in headlights and never painted the damn thing. Instead it just sat there, a brooding avatar of my decadence, lurking in the corner of the room to guilt me. No more I say! We’ve scowled at each other long enough, time to set aside our differences and get some paint on it. After all I may have spent rather a lot on it, and I may have regretted it afterwards, but the deed is done, I may as well enjoy it! For the last few months, in between other projects, I’ve been chipping away at it and at last the first section is ready to show off.

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Rukk and Grak set out to explore the crumbling deaths of their territory.

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Meanwhile the girls from the Ladykillers gang discover a lurking sump horror has been making its home beneath their streets…

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Over the coming months I’ll keep working away on this, adding the rusty, crumbling buildings and industrial structures of the Underhive’s heart. Naturally a project like this takes time (or at least it does if you happen to be me, I know some people power through terrain projects like they’re going out of style but alas my progress tends to be rather slower). Nonetheless keep an eye out and hopefully soon a city will begin to grow here.


Green Iz Best – Part 4

Just sneaking in another model in-between all the terrain (even though sneaking isn’t something an ork nob usually approves of!). According to the new ork codex an ork nob with a Waaagh! banner (a model with which regular readers will know I have something of a love/hate relationship) is no longer part of a squad but instead is a lone individual. Not that I pay too close attention to the rules but any excuse to paint another ork ought to be seized upon right? Surely I wasn’t expected to tolerate my poor nobs squad being a man down?

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There we go; the nobs are back to being ten strong and balance has been restored! Of course now I’ll have to start work on a second squad…


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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The Emperor’s Angels – Part 13

Never let it be said that the Imperium fails to respond to an escalating Ork threat on its borders. Why the part of the display shelf given over to the greenskins is positively groaning under all those models, and less said about the Chaos area the better – whilst the Imperials have only a handful of Guardsmen and a few Space Marines. To be honest that’s not going to change significantly any time soon but at least the marines can now identify the guy in charge by something more than just “he’s the one pointing”.

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Here’s the whole squad ready to smite heretics!

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And of course this makes for a victory in Azazel’s challenge, to complete a squad of models in October, although I have plans to finish off a few more by the end of the month.


The Emperor’s Angels – Part 12

I take it you’re all familiar with Azazel’s monthly challenges by now? I mean really, if not – where have you been? For those who are completely new to the idea, blogger extraordinaire and prolific hobbyist Azazel has been encouraging his readers to take part in a series of monthly challenges throughout 2018. The nice thing about these is they are generally aimed at encouraging us to complete existing projects rather than simply being an excuse to start new ones.

Last time Azazel ran a community challenge to complete a unit of models, the aptly named Junit, I took it as an opportunity to complete my first five space marines based on the Primaris models. Since then I’ve added a couple more so this month’s challenge -again calling for a unit to be completed – seems like a fine opportunity to round out the full squad of ten.

I made this one as a test model back when I was first exploring this project but somehow I ended up never painting him, so getting him finished was my first priority.

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Alongside him we have his battle brother, ready to send any heretics that turn up packing with a quick blast from a flamer.

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That just leaves me with the squad’s Sergeant to paint and the acting Sergeant to be demoted to the ranks, which I should be able to manage before the end of the month.