MOTB: Slave Guild Entourage

Finished product first!

One of the aspects I enjoy about Necromunda is the modelling challenges it presents.

Since the addition of the Book of Peril, you can ally with Guilds and criminal organisations to unlock unique boons and deploy small squads (called entourages) alongside your current gang.

These entourages usually consist of a leader, a champion, and 1-3 pleb-level fighters. They’ll usually be equipped with a very particular set of skills and equipment, meaning there are no real out-of-the-box options (yet!) available for them. I’d love to see some plastic kits, especially for the Bioshock-esque Water Siphoning Guild, but I can’t imagine those kinds of kits are high on GW’s agenda.

One of the alliances available is the Slave Guild, replete with Slaver Entourage. They provide some interesting bonuses to gangs they are allied with, but I was mostly interested in seeing if I could kitbash four drugged-up chain glaive-wielding goons from whatever I could find in my bits box. Game on!

Pit Fighters

“Principal among the Chain Lords’ charges are pit slaves, often heavily augmented so that they might better entertain the crowds of the arenas. These warriors, often psycho-conditioned for maximum aggression and loyalty, are as hounds upon the leash, ready to be loosed should a word be spoken or gesture be made.”

The first models I put together were the bodyguards. I already had these guys planned in my head, using reclaimed Chaos Marauder bodies and heads from the Blood Angels Honour Guard set.

The book says are armed with chain glaives, flak armour and a stimm-slug stash – straightforward equipment and an uncomplicated build. Chainswords from classic Chaos Space Marines were chosen for their more non-standard and brutal aesthetic.

Shoulder pads came from Anvil Industry, very useful for hiding the awkward shoulder joints and giving them a bit more techno-bulk. I don’t have enough pipes, tubes and vials in my collection for a stimm-slug stash on the both of them, so I pressed some vehicle smoke launchers into service instead. I’ll be painting them to look like liquid-filled injectors, hopefully highlighting the fact that they’re both combat drug-addled lunatics.

I’ve never used combat drugs in my regular gang, so being forced to have them provided some interesting opportunities. I ran the numbers on the equipment combinations they have – with the Versatile trait of their chain glaives, the one turn bonus movement of 2 provided by the Stimm-slug stash, they can have a minimum charge range of 10 inches! Not something I’d want to be on the receiving end of…

Finally I added a techno-pommel to the base of their weapons. I think they’re from an Adeptus Mechanicus sprue, but I had enough of them to go round. They added some more weight and height to the weapons, and gave it a more duelling-weapon aesthetic that reminded me of the classic 54mm Sergeant Stone model:

The Shakleman – Guild Factorum

“Shaklemen are the bloated fight masters and slave drivers of the Merchants Guild, readily dealing in both human flesh and human misery.”

The hardest of the four minis to put together, mostly due to the eclectic mix of equipment and skills they possessed.

The Shakleman is armed with a shock stave and harpoon launcher, flak armour and a cult icon, and has the Disarm skill.

The harpoon launcher was a tricky bit to figure out, but otherwise I had a very particular vision of Igor from the (excellently cheesy) 2004 Van Helsing film. The arm of a Khornate Knight with the blade swapped for an AdMech taser goad made for a fine (and ludicrously large) shock stave.

The only other ready-made harpoon I had in my collection is the chunky launcher from the Orlock plastic kit (which makes for an excellent one-handed weapon if you’re huge) but I couldn’t figure out a way of attaching it to his back. Luckily, some Ork gubbins had me covered, and one of the Nob weapons just so happens to be this ramshackle-looking implanted harpoon gun.

I think I used up my entire collection of chains for this crew, but it was so much fun finding new parts of the models I could hang more chains from! The back banner came from either a Skaven or Chaos kit, with most the chains coming from Empire Flagellants.

In an effort to make it a little less chaos-y, I tried adding more chains (!) from the Bretonnian men-at-arms kit with some heraldry shields on it. I’m hoping to come up with some kind of Guild crest that I can recreate across the different minis, tying them together with some similar colours.

The head came from some classic Chaos cultists from the Dark Vengeance set, removed from its body for another spooky project but fit perfectly on the hunched Ork physique. Roll on the primer!

The Chain Lord – Guild Procurator

“Chain Lords are often huge and idle souls who have never had to lift a finger for their own comfort, their needs constantly seen to by a gaggle of servants. Hung with chains and trinkets, Chain Lords are nonetheless dangerous adversaries, their wealth affording them many hidden weapons and fiendish augmentations.”

For some reason, the description gave me this image:

The Chain Lord also is the only delegate with a choice of equipment – either a chain glaive OR a chain axe and shock whip. I’d already built a few chain glaives for the pit fighters, and I didn’t have any suitable shock whip that would look good with the chunky, static pose of the Chaos Warrior I used as a base, so chain glaive it was!

The body was made from the back of a Chaos Warrior, complete with shoulder pads, and the armoured torso of a Khornate Knight. I’d had the parts kicking about my bits box for some time and couldn’t resist the opportunity. The legs were also Chaos-sourced, but this time from the now-vintage original plastic boxed set of Chaos Warriors.

Obviously he was going to get covered in chains – he’s not called “Guy with some chains” or “Chain Intern”. What I wasn’t sure how to represent was the stimm-slug stash. I’d used smoke launchers for the pit fighters, but I wanted something a little less industrial looking for the boss.

Luckily I still had some miscellaneous Dark Eldar vials from the Talos kit that would look cool poking through the fur of the cloak, so they got glued on in a fairly random way and the fur re-added with putty to make them look more integral.

The head was the hardest part – finding something that looked both dangerous, ornate, somewhat idle. I had images of the God-King from Zack Snyder’s 300 but didn’t know how to translate that very well. I had two head options, and I put it to a Twitter poll:

The left head coming from Neferata, Mortarch of Blood, acquired during a bits swap, and a bionic head from Anvil Industry. Both had essences I liked – the one on the left had the ‘space pharaoh’ vibe I was going for, but the bionic head had the ‘fiendish augmentation’ flavour I so craved.

Nearly all the comments were for both, so I did both! I trimmed the fancy headpiece and metal beard (the most important element) off the head on the left and stuck it to the head on the right, filling in the gaps with some more green stuff.

All that was left was to add a few accessories, more chains (!) and fill some of the more heinous gaps with green stuff. Ready for priming!

Orthesian Herald 16 – Terrors of the Gallionic Passage

+++++

What could go wrong?

Last time we were mid-warp on our voyage to the unknown – the Void Sea. This had a small stop-off at Gallionic, an “entry point” to the Skylar’s Lie domain, catalogued as such due to its proximity to other systems and relatively calm warp currents.

Many Domains in the Nomad Stars have these entry points, and navigating across the sector is quicker (and usually safer) to hop from entry point to entry point. However…

An alarming turn of events

Beat to quarters! Boarding alarm! The canteen on Deck 7C has been breached!

It quickly becomes apparent from the horrified screams over the vox that there has been a daemon incursion in the canteen. Almost a dozen souls were lost before they were able to seal the bulk head.

Voidmaster Zilla in the top right, the Covenant in the bottom right.

The crew waste no time investigating. Missionary Lyoness brings two of her newly-minted retinue, the Covenant, that were rescued from the pilgrim ship “The Penitent Traveller” and then armed by the generosity of Brother Espin. The Captain brings along his new military-grade cyber-mastiff, Seymour, and an apprentice officer named Felicity.

Freeman wants in on the meatshield action and brings along a few engine adepts, only to have them terrified to death nearly instantly.

They hear a throbbing, rhythmic noise coming from inside the canteen…

“We’re here for a health and safety inspection, we heard you had an infestation of lesser daemons”

Von Gunn wins the initiative roll (hah, sucker) and kicks the door down to the canteen. Inside they are faced with a canteen ablaze – flames lick the walls and in the centre are half a dozen crewmen wreathed in warpfire, forced to dance along to the awful sound created by a pair of writhing pink creatures – Pink Horrors of Tzeentch.

Despite their ever-shifting nature, they both seemed to be carrying music instruments that were creating the terrible noise, and as they flicked and twirled their rubbery fingers about, forced the terrified crewmen to dance along to their sadistic music.

A Horror of Tzeentch

The horrors hurl balls of iridescent warpfire at the opening, pinning many of the crew. Those who aren’t pinned return fire, the Astropath enjoying his new killer combination of magically guided aim and overcharged plasma pistol.

Everyone down!

The captain issues his orders:

The Captain charges into glorious melee combat in a bid to break the impasse. He spits prayers of the Emperor’s Mercy as he strikes down the terrified crewmen, unable to control their own bodies moving to the foul music.

Sorry lads. This’ll hurt me more than it hurts you.

He then promptly catches fire.

Freeman blasts the Bongo Horror (new band name, I call dibs) and it melts into a puddle of warp-riddled goo, before changing hue and reforming into a pair of blue horrors. Gasp!

Horrors are some of my favourite lesser daemons because of their weird mechanic of spawning two slightly smaller variations of themselves on death. They are weaker and do slightly less damage, but now the number of targets has gone up…

Meanwhile, under the will of the pulsing music, the firedancing voidsmen charge the canteen opening and engage the retinue. To make them interesting enemies to fight, I used regular voidsmen stats but gave them Unnatural Toughness, a 20% forcefield and flaming melee attacks. Their objective was to gum up the players while the Horrors continued to lay down warpfire attacks, and it seemed to be working.

A few Brimstone Horrors crawl out of the flames of the perimeter of the canteen, eager to contribute to the weird dance party. They spit a few tiny fireballs and are extinguished pretty quickly by the crew.

With most of the Firedancers dealt with, there was the matter of the Burning Captain (new band name, I call dibs). Missionary Lyoness leaps into action, using her surprisingly impressive Strength of 50 for a 90-year-old to cover the distance, and helps put the Captain out while struggling with the final few Firedancers.

One of the Covenant, Beef Loaf (they’re all named after Ancient Terrain Hymn-writers) is killed by warpfire from the Horrors. Her name will be etched into a shrine when we’re done cleansing this horrid place.

The Captain is struggling from a few turns of fatigue from being on fire, so Lyoness (the closest thing to a healer the group has) stabs him in the neck with some stims to keep him awake. Once more into the fray!

Stay still, this won’t hurt much…

Meanwhile Von Gunn has puts the killing blow on the Fiddler, who splits into two blue horrors. Freeman moves into position to try out his illegal plasma gun ‘salvaged’ from the Grin Estate on Cilice. It’s like a regular plasma gun, except it shoots it’s plasma in a 30 degree cone like a flamer, doing plasma gun damage over a flamer-wide area. Yikes.

Better not put anything beloved in the way of that!

Oh no! Something beloved was in the way of that!

After some heated discussion about whether a cone exists in three dimensions or not (GM’s note: it absolutely does), Freeman accidentally catches Seymour in the blast of the plasma-flamer while trying to obliterate the last two horrors, much to the gasps of horror from the rest of the team.

Seymour the dog catches fire, and the whole incident was put down to a gross miscalculation of angles, because surely there’s no way the Explorator would be callous enough to fire the weapon again, knowing the Captain’s cyber-mastiff is definitely in the blast radius.

Oh, okay.

RIP Seymour. Your time on this crew was short but sweet.

Seymour is reduced to slag from the plasma blast, taking a considerable chunk out of the canteen and obliterating what was left of the horrors. The crew are genuinely stunned.

After heated discussion about what constitutes an accident, the Captain agrees to forgive Freeman’s transgressions (he did kill the final few daemons, after all), but he promises never to forget.

Licking their wounds, both emotional and physical, the crew return to the last few days of their warp journey.

Through the fire and the flames

Lyoness leads a team to consecrate the canteen. It’s beyond repair, so they replace it as a shrine to Saint Drah’Gunforz, the patron saint of fire and flames. They move an organ from the church deck down to the canteen and appoint someone to play hymns during the day, just to make double sure the daemons don’t return.

Out of the frying pan

You translate safely into the Gallionic system, your vessel adrift in a sea of rocks. Augers show high concentrations of atomic material contained in the asteroids 

The yellow light of Gallionic’s sun fills the bridge with its warmth. The drifting sea of rocks and radioactive haze throws strange lights through viewports – An eerie yellow patina, like drowning in a jaundiced ocean.

Proximity alarm! Augers detect plasma drive activation 8 VUs off starboard side and closing!

Bridge officers raise void shields and order deck crews to battle stations. There is an incoming vox from the unidentified vessel:

“This is Captain Firmstep of the Foregone Conclusion. You have trespassed on a trade route that is legally mine and I consider your ship forefeit. Surrender it to us and we’ll let you live.”

The Captain, normally a beacon for diplomatic behaviour and etiquette during confrontation, takes the vox directly and responds:

“You caught us at a bad time. We had to flee our last engagement, we’ve had a bad warp jump and someone just shot my dog. Prepare to die.”

+++++

MOTB: Beast House Witches

Finished product first!

The Beast House project is practically finished and I have enough minis to represent all manner of slavers and keepers to harass our Dark Heresy group. Previously I showed off the leadership of the Beast House, Jackal Mask, and all that’s left was to paint up a few of the ‘supporting roles’ of the campaign.

The plot called for witches – rogue psykers incarcerated in hellish iron-maiden-type devices for the purpose of tracking and interrogation. What would happen if one of those witches escaped? We’d need some minis, just in case…

Hunting for witches

The Red Cages is just the first half of this act, the second half takes place above ground during a riotous carnival of colour and excess. Some more villains needed to take the stage soon, the ones who hired the Beast House, but they wouldn’t show their masked faces for a few sessions yet.

I had picked up the Doctors Starter Gang from TTCombat’s Carnevale range, as I had plans for all the minis individually. The plague doctor lead would make up my main villain, the big thuggish guy was originally pencilled to be the basis for Jackal Mask.

It wasn’t until I got hold of them that I realised just how much bigger they were than 28mm minis. With some clever snipping at certain joints, a couple of them could be trimmed down to size, and in the case of these insane-looking lads the scale wasn’t noticeable against their extreme poses. The others, however, were shelved until I could figure out a way to scale them down. Another project for another time.

These guys were very straightforward – they came in three pieces and just needed a bit of cleaning around the mold lines. Give them a Beast House base and they were ready to prime!

Finished, not perfect

They were painted in the same palette as the Beast House, but their strait jackets meant a mostly single colour for clothing. This wasn’t a bad thing, as they were going to get muckied up with blood and grime effects anyway.

The biggest difference to the Beast House palette was the electric doo-hickeys on their head and their lightning eyes. This was a slapped-on light blue/white effect that I had the intention of coming back to tidy up, but ended up looking better than the OSL effects I had spent hours trying to layer in the past, so I left it. Funny how things work out!

They really were simple to paint, and given they’d not have a great deal of screen time I didn’t feel like spending much time on them. Once all the washes had dried, they were drybrushed and attacked with various effect paints, namely Blood for the Blood God and Typhus Corrosion.

Family photo

And with them completed, the Beast House project was more or less complete! I had many other ideas for designs to pursue or loadouts to tinker with, but for my purposes it was finished.

Time for a family photo!

Very pleased with how they all come together, made largely of scrappy bits I’d had lying around my bits box for a trillion years. In fact, the only minis that were purchased specifically were the Witches – everything else was repurposed or scratch built!

Time to terrorise my Dark Heresy group with plenty of Fear checks and chain glaives. Now, perhaps they need some kind of giant dinosaur rider…

Meanwhile on the Bench: Jackal Mask

Finished product first!

The Beast House project needs a little leadership, and the Hare-masked lieutenant just wasn’t cutting it. Our Dark Heresy group deftly slipped past Hare Mask and her Ogryn Butcher and they’re making a beeline for the head honcho, Jackal Mask.

The module describes him as huge and terrifying, with some built-in shock whip tentacles taking up one of his arms. Sadly the module is non-descript about his fate, suggesting his body is found in a trunk, skin flensed and missing an arm, so the Acolytes are never intended to take on Jackal Mask at any point. I thought that was a bit disappointing, as knowing my players, they’re desperate to exact revenge.

The project brief was quite open ended: build a big lad that could reasonably be the head of the Beast House operations, to make for an interesting foe in Dark Heresy and as a potential gang boss in Necromunda.

Building the beast

I picked up a cheap Lord of Plagues from an opportune swap and figured the massive frame would be an ideal starting point for my powerful lad. I wasn’t enthusiastic about keeping the two-handed weapon so I had a bit of a delve through the bits box to see what I could find.

Goliath arms fit perfectly! A Chain Glaive/grenade launcher combo is suitably gruesome for a boss – deadly both at range and close up. It’ll give me (the GM) some tactical flexibility for challenging the players too, as I can alternate between gas and frag grenades to keep them from bunching up too much in the pitched battle I have planned.

I covered up most of the cankers and sores (including the open belly wound) with greenstuff, as although I wanted him to be gross, I didn’t want him to be dead-man-walking praise-grandfather-nurgle type gross. Armour on the arms helped bulk him out a bit, leaving the belly open so he can remain aerodynamic when he fights.

I added a few large scars across the body to cover up the rough GS work I’d done. I figure someone who had a long career in capturing and torturing dangerous creatures might have a few nicks and scratches to show for it.

Final touch was the mask itself, one of the last things I put together. After deliberating the best way forwards, I decided that scratch-building was going to give me the closest thing I wanted. But then what – sculpt it from green stuff? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Luckily I have a bounty of Beastman heads in my bits box and jackals have a much sharper, thinner snout than the goat/dog skulls the Beastmen are – meaning I can shave one down to get the look I want. Result!

I added two cyclinders cut from a spear shaft to look like rebreather filters and added some ears made from carved plasticard. I’d learned a lot from my work on Hare Mask, so this part was much easier than I’d anticipated.

All done, time to prime!

Painting the jackal

Jackal Mask followed the same basic painting techniques as the Beast House slavers with only a handful of differences.

There was much more skin on show here, so more time was spent on that (but not a whole lot more – finished, not perfect!) with extra attention around the scars, surrounding them with a light crimson glaze to make them look inflamed and not healed properly.

The mask was simply painted black (to cover up the mistakes from all the drybrushing and stippling I’d done), edge highlighted and washed with Nuln Oil to give it a matte look. The eyes then had a little dab of gloss varnish to make them look more like visors.

The armour had an extra wash of Carroburg Crimson to give it a slightly reddish tinge rather than the usual brown. I think it makes it stand out much better!

MOTB: Ogryn Butcher

Raaaargh!

After putting together some slaver leadership, I wanted the Beast House project to have a bit of muscle. During our Dark Heresy campaign finale of the Red Cages, the module describes a butcher armed with a chain axe and chunks of animal. Some kind of bodyguard or armed thug to protect Hare Mask was exactly what the doctor ordered, and luckily I had exactly the mini!

I’d picked up this Ogre Kingdoms Butcher (I’ll be dead in the ground before I recognise ‘Ogors’) to use in our games of Inquisitor many, many years ago and it had languished half-finished in my box for nearly a decade. I hadn’t done anything particularly crazy to convert him to 54mm except give him a chainsword in his left hand. A quick snip resolved that.

I had a spare harpoon gun from my Orlock tech-gang and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a perfect fit. Not only would this meaty lad have a ranged weapon to harass my players from afar, but totally fits the kind of requirements the Beast House would have of him. Sometimes you just have to harpoon unruly animals to calm them down, you know?

It was pinned to the underside of the arm and some darning thread from my sewing box was used to lash around the arm and harpoon. Some superglue kept it in place, and with a bone-coloured undercoat and a splash of Agrax it even looked intentional!

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that he was 90% painted when I pulled him out of the box. Doubly-so when I realised he’d been painted during the Brown Ink era – pre Devlan Mud and pre Agrax Earthshade! Naturally I gave him a few light glazes to tie the colours back together and get rid of the horrid shine that Brown Ink left behind.

Some light crimson glazes were added around the scars and piercings to make them look bloody and swollen.

And in-keeping with the rest of the Beast House colour scheme, he got liberal dousings of Typhus Corrosion and Blood for the Blood God to keep up the grimy, blood-slick look. Blood spatter cures all ails!

Very happy with this big lad. It helps that he was 90% finished when I “found” him, but getting a model this size “finished” in an evening really helps with motivation! Plus that’s one fewer mini in the Box of Shame…

Just a head honcho to go and I think we’re good for a family photo!

MOTB: Dinosaurs!

Finished product first!

The Beast House project for our Dark Heresy campaign is going well. I’ve got the House part sorted, now I just need the Beasts. Time to hit the thrift shop!

Yeah Boye!

Boyes is one of my favourite shops – it’s a big homeware/haberdashery place filled with all kinds of strange and wondrous things. It’s great for craft and cosplay and you can pick up tinnies of spray paint for a fiver. It also has a toy section, which often has gems that spark joy…

I want dinosaurs in all my games, but I don’t fancy shelling out £40+ for a GW carnosaur (even though they’re super pretty), so £1 per big dino seemed very reasonable. I could justify a big spend if it was the centrepiece of an army, but for a one-off battle or two, this was way better value for money.

I bought the three big lads at the back for £1 a pop, and a handful of smaller pack hunters for 50p each, the whole lot setting me back the price of a southern pint. Very reasonable!

they do move in herds

The club-tailed fellow was used first for Rogue Trader in a very elaborate conversion, hopefully I’ll get that one written up when I catch up on Orthesian Herald. For Dark Heresy I needed some more reasonably-sized dinos though, so those allosaurs were first.

The paint job leaves much to be desired, but I was repainting them anyway so I wasn’t overly fussed. I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail the sculpts had though, which would lend itself quite pleasingly to washes and drybrushes later on.

The plastic is quite rubbery, you get a good bit o’ flex in these lads, and the mold lines took quite a bit to remove. They were 50p each though, and I got far greater quality than I expected for so little money.

It was only after pinning them to their bases I realised just quite how large they were compared to regular humans…

I was going for a gladiatorial arena-style base, so sandy with splashes of gore. A liberal helping of textured paint went on the bases and a quick blast with some red primer and they were ready to paint!

Red ones go faster

They looked better than I could have imagined after their initial paint job was covered over.

This is just a once over with some red car primer from Boyes again. They actually looked like real models!

I wanted a striking look, so a lighter tummy and dark stripes along the back. Who knows what kind of strange world they herald from where this is their natural camouflage, but sure as hell looks cool!

I started with a light red drybrush over the skin, then a crimson wash over the top. A much lighter reddy orange drybrush on the extremities picked out the details. The stripes were a dark grey, washed black and drybrushed with a lighter grey along the spine.

The claws and teeth were picked out with a bone colour and a light sepia wash, and a sandy hue applied to the base. The best part was a liberal application of Blood for the Blood God technical paint, which is swiftly becoming my most relied-upon paint for the Beast House project!

Pack colours

These guys were really good fun to paint – it’s been a while since I’ve just painted an animal, and the texture of the minis really took to the washes and drybrush so all four were done over the course of two short evenings.

Let’s see some pictures!

MOTB: Hare Mask

Finished product first

Last time I’d finished up some slavers for my Beast House project in our ongoing Dark Heresy campaign, and as our players were nearing the end of their time in the Red Cages, it was time to up the ante.

The players had been stripped naked and thrown in a pit, and after a few sessions of Saw-style hammer house of horror, they had scraped together enough ragged armour and rusty blades to take on the final boss of the Red Cages – Hare Mask.

The module alludes to members of the Beast House wearing different animal masks as a grotesque parody of the riotous carnival going on overhead, so I wanted to take it further by having a different animal mask representing a different boss of the three levels.

The lowest level was guarded by Rat Mask (represented by one of the whippy slavers), who had two pet rats and a tent made of rat skins (surprise, surprise!). As they worked their way up the facility, it was time to face the final lieutenant – Hare Mask.

I didn’t have much in the way of a brief for Hare Mask, other than they needed to be a fairly commanding presence with even halfway-decent armour (ie not just bloodied chunks of animal stapled to you). They were going to have an imposing set of weapons, with at least one of them being a signature weapon stolen from the players to make it even more obvious that this person needs taking down.

Time for a rifle through the bits box!

building the bunny

My preference was for Hare to be another female slaver, and I just happened to have one spare Escher body left from the Necromunda core box set. The big battle boots, animal trinkets and slightly raggedy appearance would make a great start to a Beast House lieutenant.

At the end of our last campaign (before stripping the team naked and leaving them in a pit) I asked them what their favourite/least favourite equipment was. There was little context beyond me trying to get a flavour of what the team have and what they might like more of.

Being an Utter Bastard(tm) this was in fact just a way of me working out what tools to drip feed them. In their first mission, the only equipment they could scavenge was whatever they had told me was their least used/least favourite equipment. It made for some incredibly resourceful moments of creating disguises and distracting guards with bags of spices.

The other less-bastardy intention was to work out what equipment I could use as a reward – something to help them feel less like I’d deleted their character sheets and more emphasis on progression to reclaim what is rightfully yours. The baddies have your stuff – go shiv them in the neck and take it back!

Our preacher’s combat shotgun was the perfect choice – iconic and deadly, and a reminder of just how powerful some weapons can be in the wrong hands. It’ll also give the slavers an opportunity to put out some hurt of their own – the crappy disposable pistols they’ve been threatening the players with so far have been fun, but their threat is limited. Time to burn some fate points.

I needed something slaver-y for a melee weapon that wasn’t another whip, so I went for a shock maul from the Genestealer Cult Neophyte set. It also comes attached to the user’s wrist with a length of chain, which was a nice touch. Stops those pesky slaves trying to disarm you.

With some extra animal gubbins and some fur sculpted around the shoulders to give her a more impressive silhouette, all that was needed was a mask itself. I went to a lot of effort to find anything I could use as a mask that would involve zero effort to employ. In my hubris, I just had to come to terms with the fact I’d need to scratch build it.

The mask was a strip of plasticard cut to shape with a sharp hobby knife and VERY carefully bent around the handle of a paint brush to give it a more natural curve. The details were painstakingly carved out with the end of a knife. It didn’t matter if it looked rough – it would add to the effect!

It did need to look like a hare though, and rather than use an actual animal for reference, I figured I’d borrow from the best…

Would you kindly source your references in future?

And it was time to undercoat!

That girl with five colours in her hare

I tried to stick to the colour scheme I had trialled (surprisingly successfully) with the previous slavers. Light drybrushes, washes and copious use of Typhus Corrosion and Blood for the Blood God to finish off.

All in all I’m very pleased with how she came out. She will make a fine mini-boss, and her statline suggests she’ll be light on her feet and much harder to hit than the usual lumbering slavers (hence her patron animal). Hopefully it’ll give the players a run for their money (and Fate Points).

Now, I think she needs a bit of muscle…

MOTB: The Beast House

Finished product first!

Last time we looked at the Beast House WIP photos for the Beast House project and now they’re finished!

The brief for these guys was very simple: paint them in one evening. I had sprayed them on a Thursday night and needed them ready for an 11am Saturday start. The race was on.

Pigs of the red cages

Building these guys was actually inspired by the head choice – Kolony Feral heads from Pig Iron productions. I had no intention of making specific minis until I dredged through my bits box and found a bunch from a previous project.

In the Dark Heresy adventure, the slavers running the creature-smuggling ring are described as bloodied brutes, covered in gore-soaked leathers and wearing iron pig masks. The mask I used for this guy was perfect, and the ideas flowed from there!

Polearm to meet you

Everything was undercoated in Army Painter Tan Leather spray from my FLGS, Asgard Wargames (support your local!). From there, it would all be completed with washes and drybrushing.

It was the first time I’d attempted to do so many in so little time. Luckily, the nature of the grime-encrusted subject meant nothing needed to be neat, and it would work better if it didn’t!

I have a Bone to pick with you

What came from necessity was a series of really useful techniques I’ve since applied to many projects since, such as not being ashamed to drybrush huge chunks of models (there’s no prize for wet-blending everything) and getting a fantastic metal effect for drybrushing metallic colours overa matt brown base.

The liberal application of Typhus Corrosion and Blood for the Blood God as a final step was particularly enjoyable!

Cool whip

I’ve been very impressed with how effective the ‘splash blood effect on everything’ technique has been across different sections of the models. I wanted the bases to look like the slavers were standing in a vat of something, perhaps on a gantry above a sluice of ground-up gladiators.

I used some mesh and plasticard for the effect, drybrushed it silver and applied a healthy coat of Blood for the Blood God, wiping away excess with my finger.

Barreled over

This double-barreled chap was originally a test model for a genestealer cult from a Feudal World that I never particularly liked. Fortunately the headswap was perfect for the Beast House project, but unfortunately he was already based on something that didn’t fit the theme. The old Bretonnian kits are made of a much softer plastic to modern sprues, and I was worried about the damage it would do to his wee feet if I tried to rebase him.

Luckily some additional scraps of mesh strewn about and a healthy dollop of blood and grim was all that was needed to make him fit right in.

Skin deep

I also stumbled upon a flesh recipe I really like – Pallid Wych Flesh with a Sepia wash over the top, with a very light-touch highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh on the super-raised areas (like knuckles). Definitely one to be using again when I need to batch-paint some more goons!

Through the fire and the flames

Painting fire is harrrrrrd QnQ

This is maybe my fourth(?) attempt at open flame in my ~20 years of hobbying and it’s definitely getting better. Annoyingly, this was my quickest and (I thought) sloppiest attempt using exclusively drybrushing techniques, and is easily the best I’ve produced so far. I think it needs to darken to orange a lot more at the top to take into account the actual heat source of the top of the stick, but otherwise I’m very happy with it.

I’m very happy with how these guys came out – for a cheap and cheerful one-night paint job they’ve ended out more effective (imo) than some of the paint schemes I’ve agonised over for days on end.

They’ll definitely be getting extras added to them over the coming weeks – beasts aplenty and some leadership is in order I think. Plus with the new Necromunda Book of Judgement out, I might have to start thinking how I can work these into a gang…

MOTB: The Beast House WIP

Finished(-ish) product first!

Our long-running Dark Heresy campaign has deposited our mid-high tier characters naked and unarmed in a pit of despair, deep in the bowels of a steel labyrinth. The ‘facility’ is inhabited by pig-masked psychopathic brutes – operatives of the shady xenos-smuggling ring ‘The Beast House‘.

The campaign called for some low-level scrubs armed with a variety of enslaving equipment. It’s a cliché trope to have your characters wake up missing all their weapons and armour, but I firmly believed that if done well, it could add a fresh new perspective on the game. After consulting with some peers, the trope can work if:

  • In medias res – don’t dwell on how they were captured, and definitely don’t play out an unwinnable capture scenario. You’re in a pit, naked, with only rocks and bones, and something wicked is howling down a tunnel towards you. Fight or die. Figure it out later.
  • It’s only temporary – assure them their equipment is safe and recoverable. In this case, I seeded some choice equipment from their character sheets among sub-bosses responsible for their capture, and they discovered the rest is in a lockup held by the end-game boss. They’ll get it all back eventually, but for now – improvise.
  • Started at the bottom – acquisition of new kit comes quite quickly if you’re cunning. By the end of our second session, every character had some patchwork armour, a useful melee weapon, at least one ranged weapon and a few bits of gear or tools.

So the Beast House operatives needed to be low-level thugs who relied on their charming demeanor and powerful musk to get their way, relying little on complex or deadly weapons and more on tools designed to hurt, entrap, ensnare and enslave.

To the bits box!

Cleaver? I hardly knew ‘er

The squad was assembled overwhelmingly from three main sources – old plastic Bretonnian Man-At-Arms bodies, Frostgrave Crewmen bits and Kolony Feral heads from Pig Iron productions. The bases were made by supergluing some mesh to a 28mm base and some plasticard strips over the top.

Snipping the Man-at-arms bodies off at the waist gave me more possibilities for leg and body swaps. I wanted them to look part butcher, part slaver – a huge hooked cleaver and a cloak made from flayed skin would complete this particularly dashing look.

Kill the beast

No group of beast herders would be complete without whips and torches, and I’m always looking for an excuse to use the lit torch from the Empire flagellants kit. A barbed whip from the dark eldar wyches sprue helped round off this guy.

Changing with the times

This guy was actually assembled almost a year before, originally with a Genestealer Cult head. Looking for something to do with all those Bretonnian bodies I hadn’t used, I toyed with the idea of a Genestealer Cult on a feudal world, but it never really got off the ground.

When I was sketching ideas together for the Beast House, a simple headswap was all I needed to give me the inspiration for the rest I had thought about swapping the hands out for something less claw-like, but figured that even the Beast House wouldn’t be that fussed about mutation so long as you were strong, cruel and got the job done.

Packing iron

At some point, the Beast House needed to escalate their efforts to contain the problem the players will inevitably become – that’s when they break out the automatic weapons. I didn’t my players getting their hands on an autogun too early, but they’re too great a staple for any low-life thug kill-squad that I couldn’t resist including them. This guy is also a little better amoured than his co-woerkers, and the bag of bones and body bits on his back keeps him themed with the others.

Crack that whip

Changing up the body parts, this little lady used an Empire flagellant as a base and a pair of dark eldar arms. I wanted a second whipper and that part was easy to source, but the only right arm that fit with the theme was another Dark Eldar one. Cue hacking apart a splinter rifle arm to fit a stub revolver to it. I had a mad plan to keep the stock and have a weird stubby revolver rifle thing and I think it worked quite well.

Add another flayed skin cloak, some severed heads and a pony tail and the freaky look is complete!

Flail forwards

Can’t have slavers without a flail guy! I got a load of random Anvil bits a while back when they were selling bits bags, one of those bits was a set of running legs. Empire flagellant arms and a Neophyte Hybrid autopistol rounds this lad off nicely, with a miscellaneous shoulder pad to hide a particularly ugly join.

Polearm to meet you

The Man-at-arms sprue has lots of exciting-looking polearms with various hooky bits for pulling knights off their horses, or in this case enslaving alien beasts, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about the pose they come in. A quick root round found a set of Empire cannon-loader arms – replace the wadding with the end of a billhook and we’re away! One of the simpler conversions but I think it really adds to the overall feel that these guys regularly tackle stuff bigger and stronger than them as a day job.

Overall I’m very pleased with how the squad came out, and I’ll inevitably be adding to them as the campaign unfolds. They definitely need some kind of leadership or tame beasts, and with the release of the new Necromunda Book of Judgement, there are a WHOLE load of options for using these guys as criminal allies too. It’s never been a better day to be a slaver!

MOTB: Hive Noon final wave

Family photo!

It’s been a long road to Hive Noon. You can catch up on the previous ones here:

Last week I’d put together the last few pieces – a gang relic and a genestealer-flavoured stand-in for the Ogryn-Servitor Brute. Now, with both of them painted up, it was a great opportunity to get a whole family photo as well.

The two newest (and last?) additions

I’m unlikely to add any more to the gang in the near future – I’m very happy with how they’ve come out and I don’t have the time or resources to keep adding bits here and there. Perhaps if they release new Brutes, pets or vehicles I could be tempted to add some more, but the foot soldiers are finished and I can move on to other projects.

Kit Clawson

Quick and dirty! This fella was completed in two evenings with judicious use of washes and drybrushing. The colour scheme was no different from previous ‘stealers in the gang so I didn’t have to come up with a palette, so the hardest part for me was already done.

Which reminds me, I really should start writing down recipes for guys I paint…

Somebody’s watered the poison hole

Straightforward paint job with this piece – lots of browns, washes and drybrushing and liberal amounts of Typhus Corrosion. I obviously wanted to continue the running gag and replaced ‘spawning hole’ with ‘watering hole’ on the sign – despite the “well” being obviously unfit for human consumption.

It also gave me a chance to play around with another of my favourite paints – Tamiya Clear Green. It smells like death, but it it produces one of the most exciting radioactive green goop colours I’ve ever seen.

Final thoughts

I’ve had a smashing time building up this motley crew and getting them onto the table. Playing games with an outrageous cowboy accent and playing the moustache-twirling villain has made it even more fun. I’ve talked before about how Genestealer Cults in Necromunda are at their best when played campy and hammy, and I like to think I’ve camped and hammed these guys to their full potential.

I’m very much looking forward to my next campaign with them (fully painted models for every game, living the dream) as some of the later-wave lads didn’t even get an outing. I’ve even got some terrible plans for running a short campaign set on an arid western-themed penal world, the finale being an elaborate four-way vehicular heist.

The name? The Great Strain Robbery.