Citizens of Mercy WIP

Final(ish) product first!

As some of you may recall, I fell down a bit of a Necromunda hole last year and had the BEST time and much of my work since has been reflecting on the grimy underdecks of the setting, Mercy. I had grand plans to make various factions, NPCs and scatter terrain based on the different scenarios that cropped up.

Since then, I’ve already put together some shooty beep-boops and a big angry Ogryn-servitor so it was time to turn my attentions to less metallic pastures. One scenario in particular stood out as being a) fun and b) in dire need of some miniatures – Downtown Dust-up. Two (or more) gangs bump into each other in a crowded area and go for their guns, but the area is populated by up to a dozen underhive citizens who don’t take kindly to gangers opening fire in their neck of the woods. Sometimes they flee, sometimes they draw a stub gun and take a pop at the nearest ganger, regardless of who set them off. The gangs are trying to drive their opposition off while avoiding civilian casualties, all the while the civilians are trying to kill them for starting a ruckus – it’s an absolute hoot.

Unwashed masses

I bought a sprue of Soldiers and Crewmen from the Frostgrave line and dived straight in. I’d been intending on picking up some sprues of these for a while as I’ve seen a lot of conversions that use parts from them, and this was the perfect opportunity to make the armed 40k civilians/crewmen minis that I so desperately craved.

So many options!

I had no real brief in mind, other than I needed to make a bunch of them. As it turned out, the maximum civilians that could be used in that scenario was 12 rather than 10, so I added another two from my bits box later down the line.

The kits went together so pleasingly, and really didn’t need much in the way of accessories to make them into the kind of scum and villainy you might find in the underhive or, specifically in this case, round the docks of Mercy. The trickiest part was actually snipping off the pre-cast base attached to their feet so I could base them separately.

Base of operations
Custom bases ready for trimming

The bases were custom constructed from bits of plasticard cut into strips and glued in random arrangements. Once they’d dried, I trimmed them down with some heavy duty scissors and tidied up the rim with a sharp craft knife.

They didn’t need to be anything special, just cheap and cheerful!

Building the civvies

Mixing and matching the Frostgrave parts was an absolute dream. They were so cross-compatible I often forgot which parts belonged to which sprue I only had to use a smidge of greenstuff in some of the arm gaps where I had tried to mesh Frostgrave and GW parts together, or attempted a particularly bold arrangement of arms.

The most pleasure I had was constructing little stories in my head for each one as I was assembling them. They look like they come from all walks of life (something I’ll highlight with their paint job) and caught in the middle of their day job or leisure time when a gunfight breaks out.

Adding those little details that give them character was not only highly enjoyable, but also meant I could use them as standalone NPCs in other games if I needed to. There are some which could clearly be religious characters, hive scum or gang bosses.

Let’s take a closer look at them (in the order I took the pictures, not the order I assembled them…).

First up is Hammer Girl. She is uncomplicated – she has a very large hammer and is pointing at something that needs hammering. Industrial worker? Blacksmith? Religious fanatic? Hammer enthusiast? There are many options for hammer girl.

One of the things I did notice on the Frostgrave sprues was the lack of lady heads, and although my own bits box is filled with gruff-looking male heads, I pressed whatever I could find into service to break up the sea of men that would have made up my civilians.

As a result, lots of Escher bits got used in these conversions (even for some of the guys) as they were a great source of female heads, and the arms/hands were a much better proportion to the Frostgrave plastics.

Where would a busy market place be without a mad old man with a “The End Is Nigh” sandwich board? A simple club and pistol combination and he’s ready to irritate some players with his endless religious ramblings and occasional acts of violence.

Perhaps one of the only female heads on the Soldiers sprue (at least I’m counting it as), she was given a laspistol and stiletto knife from the Escher kit. She’d make a good stand-in as a Hive Scum (or any Dark Heresy character really…) and she came out so well I’m genuinely tempted to do a whole gang of these…

This was one of the first conversions I did, using the utilitarian parts from the Genestealer Cult sprue to give him an industrial feel to him. Perhaps he’s a deep void miner or a work gang boss caught in between shifts?

(Also don’t worry, all the mold lines were cleaned off just after the photo was taken)

Tech Guy also benefited from a Genestealer Cult head, but also from a spanner from the Forgeworld Orlock weapon sprue, an arm from an old metal Necron (I think?) and a pistol from Zinge Industries. Perhaps some kind of technomat, rumourmonger or vox repair team?

Another angry disheveled lady, this time toting an autogun with a belt feed rather than the usual straight magazine. All the extras came from the Escher sprue apart from the belt of bullets which was donated by an old school plastic Chaos Space Marine bolter.

It was at this point I was seriously considering making a whole gang of these and running them as Orlocks – I really like the raggedy aesthetic.

Where would we be without an angry old man with a shotgun? The head came from an old Empire/Free Guild Free Company set, withthe arms coming from the GSC kit again. Although the arms are a little too large and the hands a little too claw-like, I figured there would be a bit more leniency for ‘tolerable’ mutation in Mercy…

Bag Guy! When I saw the parts to make a dude with just a club and a sack over his shoulder, I couldn’t resist.

I gave him a stub pistol on his hip just in case, but I pretty much had to leave this guy as he was, his stupid face and giant sack gave me too much pleasure to change.

Next up is Petrol Dude, who was just popping out for a gallon o’ the good stuff when a fight kicked off. His head was from a leftover Syracuse project from a previous year, and the mix of high-tech rebreather and low-tech conical hat was perfect for the kind of person that might make a lot of trips down corridors filled with dripping fluids and noxious gases.

Some kind of manic street preacher, also toting the ‘literature on chest’ chic that is very in right now. Perhaps more refined than Mad Hobo Guy, he’s brought a lamp with him so people can actually read what’s written on his belly-book.

Bonus round

The previous 10 civilians were made using the Frostgrave kits and a selection of odds and ends from my bits box. It wasn’t until I was all finished and finalised that I re-read the rules for the Downtown Dust-up and discovered the civilian count was D6+6 per game, meaning a maximum of 12. Guess I’d have to build a few more!

This is ‘off-duty guardsman just trying to enjoy his pint’. The core of this model has been ratting around my bits box for a while (I picked him up in the Bag o’ Doom) without much idea of what to do with him until this project came along. I snipped off his old guardsman head and replaced it with an Orlock one, and he held a Catachan fighting knife in his left hand which was swapped with a tankard.

A little Cadian helmet on the belt implied he was some kind of off-duty fighter, and that was the character I wanted him to be. Out minding his own business, taking his promethium can for a walk down the pub…

And finally Spade Guy, another long-time bits box dweller. He’s predominantly Warhammer zombie with an Empire head with other bits added. I wasn’t keen on the bone leg, it was Undead for my taste, so I snipped it off and replaced it with a bit of lance as a peg-leg. Naturally he still carries round his old leg on his belt, just in case…

I had a lot of fun putting these civilians together, and I’ve a new-found respect for the entire Frostgrave line for its versatility and ease of use. I’ll certainly be picking up more of them in the future, but for now… to the spray paint!

Meanwhile, on the Bench: Cathedral Assault

Our Dark Heresy campaign has made it to the planet of Syracuse -a dank and miserable affair perfect for acolytes tramping around in the mud and rot. For the campaign I wanted some epic set pieces, and even put together a game board to help build the mood.

It was time to return for another brawl, this time to defend an Imperial Cathedral (or what was left of it) from rampaging Undertow during a full-blown civil war.

The setup used parts from previous encounters, as well as some lovely houses from 4Ground to make it appear a little better lived-in than previous encounters. The cathedral came from the Kill Team boxed set I picked up when it was still circulating, and now goes by Sector Imperialis. It’s a nice kit that I went a bit overboard with, and I’m sure will get a write-up at some point.

I wish I’d taken more photos, but c’est la vie. The players were entering on the opposite end of the board to the Cathedral, with angry Undertow in the middle laying siege to the beleaguered Adeptus Arbites defenders (who did have a write-up for them done here.). If the players got to them in time, they would make valuable allies in the war to come.

The rain was bucketing down. Weather was a big part of this campaign, and nasty environmental effects include reduced vision and penalties to shooting. Not ideal for a predominantly ranged band of Acolytes!

The Undertow were out in force, showing that fancy equipment isn’t necessary to be a threat in such environments. Armed with reliable weaponry that won’t jam when dropped in the mud, firebombs filled with water-retardant chemicals and good ol’ fashioned shivs, they were more than a match for the players on the day.

They even set up a heavy weapon in the house across the street, ready to spit out a harrowing amount of lead if the Acolytes didn’t neutralise it.

The gang were joined by a temporary character, an ex-Zini armsman mercenary guardsman handy with a mono-club and with a penchant for explosives. The player would come to be a regular part of our gang in future campaigns, but for now we enjoyed having the extra muscle.

The house with the heavy weapon was unceremoniously lit up by the new guardsman, who had acquired a single-shot missile launcher earlier on and had been holding onto it for a special occasion.

On the players’ right flank, the Arbitrator had made a dynamic entry on a stolen dirt bike, ramping off a pile of debris and landing in the fountain for cover. It kept the Undertow at bay, but not for long. A criminal with a massive two-handed meathook charged up a set of stairs and bit deep into the Adept’s leg, dropping her into -5 Critical damage. It was at this point that we all realised how little armour the Adept was wearing – she still had on her starter set of armour that her career is given at character generation – a flak vest and some loose-fitting robes. In almost 6 years of playing with these characters, it had never come up that she might be under-dressed for the occasion of saving the world!

The mercenary handily finished off the offending criminal before he could finish the job of hacking off the Adept’s leg and swept round clubbing anyone she could find.

Many, many firebombs are thrown back and forth over cover. Some Undertow accidentally blow themselves up, but one particularly mean firebomb scatters over the heads of the tough frontline characters and directly onto the squishy techpriest who was patching up the near-dead adept at the back of the battle. Both immediately catch fire, the Adept passing out from excessive crispiness and the Techpriest doing everything in her power to avoid the same fate.

Meanwhile our damage-dealing characters had broken out into no-man’s land, identifying themselves to the Arbites to avoid getting shot and moving in to support. Everything, of course, is now either on fire or has been set on fire.

With the bulk of the criminals put down by a combination of Arbitrator and Scum, the injured support characters at the back of the pack gingerly move forwards through the fire and smoke.

They get ambushed by one last Undertow who had hid behind a ledge, who gets speared to the floor by an enthusiastic Cleric and choked to unconsciousness for interrogation later. You know what they say – it’s better to dive for the Emperor than live for yourself…

The team rendezvous with the besieged Arbitrators at the Cathedral and plot their final moves against the campaign’s villain(s). A very enjoyable battle to run and great scenery to play it on!