Last week I put the finishing touches on a gang hideout in an abandoned chemical facility and I happened to have some snack tubes leftover from various Christmas indulgences. They can’t be recycled, but they can be reused, and with a few extra bits here and there, would look very nice in my weird chemical facility family.
I made this one long before Christmas to use up some bits from the box and loved the design so much, I put off finishing it until after the inevitable holiday crispageddon furnished me with excess foiled tubes.
Simply put, it was just about finding interesting-looking parts that worked well with together. I talked about the design flow of scenery in last week’s Chem Silo article, and although putting it up on stilts looked cool and gave it the underhive water tower aesthetic I was going for, functionally it was a bit weak. The legs don’t provide much cover, the bulk of the tower doesn’t block much line of sight, and the whole thing was a bit wobbly.
Luckily for me, my partner had just finished up their subscription to Conquest magazine and had a bunch of random battlefield scatter they weren’t using soooooo……
I experimented with a single ladder to the ground and didn’t like it. Adding a platform with a railing meant models could be placed halfway up if they don’t get all their movement, and provides a modicum of cover at the expense of field of view.
I was in love with the design, and ate many more baked snacks over the next few weeks. I had to draw the line at the number of silos I was going to make however – I already had boxes of scenery piling up in my bedroom, so I had to start being choosy about the volume of scenery I was making.
Three more silos built – this time of varying heights and playability. I wanted them to look of similar design but with slightly different purpose so should the need arise to have a scenario about poisoning water tanks or destroying fuel supplies, they all present different challenges.
Big shout out to this Gothic Upgrade Pack from MAD Gaming – you get a huge number of interesting buttresses, uprights and other greebling for your money. I had some for a specific hab project, but kept buying more becuase they’re so useful for sticking onto literally anything to make it look 40k.
Other features were made from bits of plasticard or random scraps from the bits box. I’m not the proud owner of an MDF bits box too after a particularly long and wood-filled pandemic spent hobbying, so there was a lot of spare bits to arrange in interesting ways.
Once everything was dry, it was time for a hearty dollop of my homemade textured paint – a mix of ready-mixed filler, modelling sand, PVA glue and a splash of poster paint for colour.
Once dried again, everything got undercoated in black, zenithal highlighted with a grey rattlecan, and key areas picked out with a rusty red colour from my local hobby shop.
A series of tubes
Painting was straightforward, and used the same recipe as the Chem Silo, the main difference being a lot more flat surface to paint. On one hand, it meant I got to experiment with masking tape and sponging on the red decal, but it also meant a lot of manual brushwork.
I’m sure there’s a technical name for the technique I use for walls and panels in this style, but it’s basically very heavy drybrushing. I get a natty old brush, wipe a lot of paint off it, and roll it round on the surface to create uneven, patchy layers. Over a dark-ish undercoat, it creates a nice weathered effect, looking like actual paint that has worn off over time.
I think this worked best on the tall silo, I went too heavy on the pair of medium silos and lost a lot of the texture around the corners of the panels. I tried to make up for it during the weathering stage, but it wasn’t the same effect. Shame really!
On with some closeups, with our classic bickering couple to give a sense of scale and how the silos might be used in game.
Overall I’m happy with how they turned out. I’m a little disappointed that one of them came out much better than the others, something I only really noticed when I put them all together and started taking photos of them. I liked the effect up close, but it was only when arranging them on the tabletop I realised what I should have done.
I recently discovered a local scenery company called Wargame Model Mods and put an order in over lockdown. They did some of the better mdf xenos scenery on the market, and picked up one of their (very reasonably priced) Chemical Silo to see what it was like. I had a few tubular buildings of my own built from Christmas snacks, and thought this would round out the collection very nicely.
I barely had time to clear some space on my bench before it arrived. My house was soon awash with the blissful smell of lasercut wood once more.
Such neat little packages! Most of the components came pre-punched, bundled and baggied for ease of identification – something I’d not encountered before in my many years of scenery building. I’d ordered three kits – two of them filthy xenos technology – so I set the extra pieces aside while I worked on the silo.
Quality and quantity
I was impressed by the quality of the kit (especially for the price!), and the material was thinner and denser than other mdf kits from other suppliers. It made the whole kit much lighter than I expected, and the smaller pieces were much less liable to explode into dust.
The only real criticism I’d make is the instructions were a little sparse. It asked for certain named parts from the sprues (like walkway railings) but didn’t suggest which ones they might be.
There are three simililarly-shaped walkway sections – two of which I put the wrong way round. It was straightforward to fix as the glue hadn’t dried yet, but some clearer images on the instructions or website would be a very easy fix to this problem.
Removable roof you say? I’m a sucker for a good building you can put little toy soldiers in, so of course I’m going to assemble it with the optional removable roof. I laid down some textured plasticard to act as a floor.
All those little holes are for LEDs – you can spend a few extra gold coins on the webstore and get a fully-working lighting kit thrown in too. Nearly all their kits are designed specifically for moving parts or fancy wired lighting – how cool is that!
In my excitement, I fear I lost a vital piece of the puzzle. I must have misplaced a piece to use as the actual floor, so the plasticard just sat over a void in the base board. This isn’t particularly durable and sounds like a drum when you put a mini on it, so I reinforced it with bits of offcut sprue from the kit.
I had also taken it upon myself at this point to overcomplicate the task at hand. I had been sizing up different bits of plastic scenery to help blend this kit in with my collection, and although the kit came with its own mdf door, I had a neat GW pressure door from the (sadly discontinued) Rogue Trader Killteam set that looked perfect.
Unfortunately it meant hacking a huge hole in the side of the building and carving massive gouges from the door frame to fit.
When building scenery, I like to design with playability in mind first. Why would players want to send their gangers into/on top of these overly-intricate creations? Usually for buildings, it’s because they have windows or ports to shoot from, giving them decent protection from any return fire.
There aren’t any windows on this little hut and I didn’t feel like agonisingly cutting into the dense fibreboard any more, so a new plan was concocted.
I kept it open enough so objectives could be placed inside – it’s a secure enough location, and gangers might want to stash things inside. A couple of tubes and consoles gives a loose implication of the shack’s original purpose – perhaps some kind of monitoring station for whatever is in the silo? Whatever it is probably isnt working any more, and the silo has been repurposed by entrepreneurial individuals.
A few bits of plasticard stuck around help break up the flat wall panels and I installed a ladder to the roof.
After a lot of deliberation, I decided the main draw for the terrain would be a hideout installed on the roof. I’ve been obsessed with people’s conversions of turning GW containers into living spaces and wanted to do one myself. I found the container was the perfect height to match with the top walkway on the silos, and an idea formed.
I added some gothic buttresses from my personal collection to help blend it with some of my other buildings and fill out the dead space on the baseboard.
I’m generally not a fan of scenery on bases unless the base can help tell the story, so I planned to fill it with spare barrels and pipes to provide more cover and allude to what the site was once used for.
I built a little shack on the roof, furnished it with odds and ends from the bits box to make it look more lived in. I’ve mentioned playability of scenery before, and the key principle of that to me is flow – gameplay should be able to flow across the scenery.
Going with the flow
Height and cover are the mechanical benefits for using scenery in games like Necromunda, so you want to encourage players to seek out those benefits by making them enticing and interesting.
By building a walkway from the top of the container to the silos and adding a ladder to the roof, fighters can now traverse the entire structure without touching the ground. It would have been easier for me to stick a ladder on the outside of the building and call it a day, but that would relegate the building to a boring wooden box that serves only as a spacer for the diorama on top.
By building the ladder inside and adding a hatch on the roof, the fighters naturally have to enter the building to access the roof. This creates natural chokepoints and opportunities to use in-game mechanics – a rickety walkway, an open hatch, a lockable door. A ganger has sealed the hatch and is using the vantage point to pick off members of the rival gang – will they risk trying to unseal the hatch, or take the safer (but longer) route round the back to take her out?
Rather than just being a simple line-of-sight blocker, the flow of the scenery now creates interesting situations that sparks exciting narrative and (hopefully!) thrilling gameplay.
Of course, no scenery piece is complete without lots of little details to make it feel lived in -some chimneys, an oil drum bbq, a sack, some candles on a crate, a mattress in the container. Some pieces are there to form cover, while others are just there for worldbuilding.
A piece of tissue paper soaked in watered-down layers of PVA formed the tarp over the propped-open container door, a neat little visual short-hand for “someone probably lives here”.
Small squares of plasticard were stuck haphazardly about to simlulate repairs or access panels and helps break up large flat areas when painting.
Once it was dry, everything got a liberal dousing with my Secret Scenery Sauce. This is just an extremely low budget textured paint, consisting of PVA glue, ready-made all-purpose filler, a small dollop of black paint, and mixed modelling sand. I tend to shake off my cutting mat into my modelling sand after building things to help vary the size and texture of the particles too. Waste not!
Painting the silo
The entire piece was undercoated in matt black, with a zenithal grey spray highlight. Key areas were picked out in a rusty red colour (also rattlecan), such as roofs and walkways. I was working on some other silo projects alongside this, so I sprayed them all up at once.
It never ceases to amaze me how much a piece comes together ocne you’ve undercoated it. Painting it was straightforward, as I already had a recipe from the Mercy scenery I finished last year (but have not got round to photographing because I’m a monster).
Drybrush all raised edges with Dawnstone/light grey.
2. Tear off a little bit of sponge (rougher edges work better, I find) and sponge on some light brown around the edges of metal sections to emulate paint chipping. Concentrate it around areas most likely to be touched or roughed up. I use a pair of tweezers and a little cube of sponge about a half-inch thick, but I’ll use a bigger bit for larger scenery pieces. Repeat with a darker brown around concentrated areas to look like deeper chipping.
3. Paint blocks of colour – orange and silver for barrels, bone colour for the tarp, grey-green for the container, pale green for the wall panels, some yellow/black hazard stripes around key areas.
4. Liberal application of Agrax Earthshade, usually splashed into recesses and corners to create depth/dirt, but some bits get completely covered (like metals, boxes or tarps). The barrels got a wash with Nuln Oil, and the tarp got a second wash with Athonian Camoshade.
5. Once that’s dry, I get a mix of very watered down orange and apply rusty streaks where water from above would naturally pool. I used to do multiple extremely thin layers of orange, but who has the time for that?
6. Decals! I have a collection of little posters I’ve acquired from across the internet (usually by googling 40k posters) and made a few myself related to our own games, which will get a blog post of their own at some point no doubt.
I download them and print them out on regular paper. Once they’re cut out, I tear off a corner or two, scrunch them up real good, then paint some PVA onto the reverse and attach them roughly to the intended surface. The trick is not to make it look too neat – they look best when they’re folded over on themselves, slightly peeling away from the wall, and overlapping each other.
7. The final touch is some good ol’ Typhus Corrosion. This is usually applied with a big stiff paintbrush, and either flicked or stippled on to surfaces that are still too flat or boring. Typically posters get a little attention to help blend them in with their background.
And that’s it! It can take a few evenings of labour to get them finished, but having the recipe in place makes it easy to paint large batches of scenery without too much thought. I’ll be inevitably acquiring an airbrush in the near future to help me deal with some other bits of scenery, so it’ll be interesting to see how much this recipe changes once I’ve got the hang of my new toy.
You’ve read enough words by now, time to roll out the pictures. Enjoy!
Two thumbs up
Overall, the Chemical Silo kit was a delight to work with. It comes with enough detail that you cansplash a few colours across it and use as-is, or you can fill in some of the gaps with other bits of scenery from your bits box to blend it in with your collection. There are loads of other kits with similar designs so you could easily fill a board with various factory pieces, silos, conveyor belts, etc.
If you haven’t checked them out yet, go buy some stuff from Wargame Model Mods. They’re a small company with a huge range of stuff (battery-powered mechanised scenery anyone?) and could absolutely use your Imperial Credits over some of the larger companies.
I had a blast working on this, and it sparked enough creativity that I wanted to see the project through as quickly as possible. I’m really looking forward to playing with it now!
In the World That Was, I was involved in a Necromunda campaign where I unlocked the Slave Guild as allies to my gang. Aside from a few perks and pitfalls, the Guild and Criminal Organisation alliances also grant you a small mini-gang to deploy along with your regular gang. You get 3-5 extra characters (using pre-built statlines and equipment) and only take the place of a single ganger, so they’re something you want to convert up and get to the tabletop quickly!
At the time, there were no miniatures announced or released for any of the ~10 different Guilds and Criminal Organisations. Inevitably, the only thing that has ever been released since then has been the “official” Slaver Guild Entourage on Forgeworld, so my enthusiasm for painting them after I’d assembled them diminished.
I got involved in a painting competition earlier this year with my local FLGS Asgard Wargames and it was a good excuse to bust out the old minis and slap a coat of paint on them.
Bits box only
When I decided to build the Entourage, I wanted to only use bits from the bits box. It’s getting dangerously full and I didn’t want to spend any (more) money on something that might never see the tabletop, so this little creative exercise was perfect.
There are four characters in an Entourage – the Chain Lord, the Shakleman, and two Pit Fighters. Their equipment was set apart from the Chain Lord, who had the option of chain glaive or whip and chain axe. I can’t resist a good sword-on-a-stick, so chain glaive it was.
I’ll try to identify all the bits as we go, but some are so eclectic even I can’t place them!
Chain lord WIP
The big boss man, described as bloated and hedonistic, but also juiced up to the eyeballs on combat drugs. The head from Neferata had this wonderful Pharoah vibe that I couldn’t turn down, and the little pointy goatee had to come with it. The head is from Anvil’s Bionic Heads collection, shaved down a bit to fit the new headress.
The body is from three generations of Chaos Warriors – the breastplate from a Khorne Knight, the cloak from a previous generation Chaos Warrior, and the legs from the classic plastic Chaos Warriors from the 20th century.
The arms and staff came from a Nurgle plague lord(?) left over from my Jackal Mask conversion with the chainsword blade from a Khorne Berserker. I wanted to pick a kind of chainsword I had three of so I could duplicate the look across the whole Entourage. The pommel(?) of the chain glaive came from a Tau Battlesuit, some kind of radar gubbins or something.
The rest of him was adorned with various chains from the Empire Flagellant kit and my personal favourite bits, some vials from a Dark Eldar Talos Engine to represent his combat drugs.
Everything was blended together with green stuff, there were some gaps where the body halfs met each other and some damage around the fur on the cloak. Nothing fancy, just rough and ready.
I had a lot of classic plastic Marauders in my box from an old ebay lot I acquired a million years ago, and with their hilariously buff physique, scant clothing and two-handed weapon grip, they were the perfect base for some chain glaive-wielding pit fighters.
The heads are from the plastic Blood Angels Honour Guard, a set of heads I’d kept for a while for their creepy cult death-mask vibe, and they’re a perfect fit for this! They needed something to represent all their combat drug injectors, but I didn’t want to use all my good Talos vials for these scrubs.
Super-conveniently I had a bunch of smoke launchers from various tank kits I’d owned over the years, and angled correctly (and with the right paintjob) they could look like a little peacock fan of injectors, and make the models’ silhuoettes more interesting.
I’m a dummy and didn’t get a closeup of the Shakleman’s WIP but you can scroll down for the finished photos and piece it together with the power of imagination.
This guy was the hardest to figure out – he had a lot of weird equipment and seemingly not enough hands – a cult icon, a shock stave and a harpoon gun. Two of those have been modelled as two-handed weapons, so unless I could come up with a very convincing argument why this five-armed guy wasn’t a genestealer cultist, I’d have to get pretty creative.
I went for a hunched Ork body to make him more distinct from the other ‘fighters’ – he’s described as a weasly character who preys on the weak, and I couldn’t shake the image of the cackling jailer from Life of Brian.
I found an old skaven back banner that would work for the cult icon (I had no idea what I’d paint on it, but that was a problem for Future Me) and a cool Ork Nob arm with a built-in harpoon gun thing, so that was a definite. The head came from a classic plastic cultist who’d been decapitated for another project.
I take umbrage with weapons that are described as having a 2″ reach and then being the same size as the regular zap-stick on the official models, so I wanted something long and archaic-looking. Something you could really stick between the bars of a jail cell or use to keep the Talent at a safe distance.
I had loads of Khorne Knight lances lying around, and I’d sequestered the blade on another project, so this was begging for some kind of zappy bit on the end. A skitarii electro-prod fit the bill, and it was finished off with some chain heraldry from the Bretonnian Men At Arms kit.
A small pauldren crest helped hide the join between the knight arm and ork body and I can punish myself with more freehand later. More skulls and chains and the Shakleman was finished!
Painting the entourage
As part of the competition I was in these guys needed to be painted in under a week, so naturally I decided to try a new painting technique and a colour palette I rarely use. Why not make things harder for myself?
I wanted a dark purple/scarlet colour scheme, and wanted to experiment with coloured washes over metallics. I went through a different variations, but settled on Ironbreaker silver with Carroburg Crimson splashed over the top. This was then weathered with chips done in Rhinox Hide and Ironbreaker and a healthy dollop of Blood for the Blood God.
I’ve got an enthusiasm for banners and heraldry (directly in contradiction with my disdain for painting banners and heraldry) so I wanted to tie these guys into my larger universe. Some chrono-gladiators have appeared in other games I’ve run, including Inquisitor, so I wanted to build on that.
In that warband, ‘Aries’ is a callsign for an old Chrono-gladiator, and I picked Leo (or ‘Lio’ to High Gothicify it a bit) as the symbol for this group, with a two-tone banner and the Deathclocks guild logo appears on the Shakleman’s banner.
Everything was done with a base colour with a wash, very little was highlighted afterwards – quick ‘n’ dirty. There are a few exceptions here – the fur lining on the cloak was picked out and the flesh was blended up from its original colour, but I didn’t waste any time trying to highlight the metal or armour.
The themes of purple and dark grey were the unifying colours across the Entourage, represented in his armour and both sides of his cloak. His ‘Lio’ symbol was painted a few times on his shoulderpads and kneepad, although they didn’t come out very well and just look like dicks, but the one on his cloak I’m quite proud of.
The vials were painted with this classic Duncan tutorial, and the green is a good spot colour that contrasts nicely with the dark red/purple of the rest of the model.
This fella took the most re-working out of the four. It took me several attempts before I was happy with the exact combination of light grey/dark grey/purple for his various straps, belts, and bits of clothing.
I tried not to go overboard with the freehand, as despite hating it, I can get very carried away once I start.
He has the most heraldry, and is the only one sporting Deathclocks colours too, rather than just the purple and grey Lio colours. I figure he’s Geoff from Corporate, here to keep an eye on things down in Lio branch.
My favourite boys! I enjoyed painting these guys the most, I think because they were the most dynamic of the four and the ones I’m most likely to get use of outside of Necromunda.
Similar techniques were used as above, except there was a lot more flesh on show, which gave me an opportunity to do some Bane-like green veins pulging through the skin to help integrate the combat drug design a bit more.
Side note, these guys had their trousers repainted three times, and they’re back at the colour I originally decided for them. It was a surprisingly hard colour scheme to work with, Ikept changing my mind on how to implement the limited palette. I only mention this as I forgot to wash one of their trousers after painting them back to original purple, which I’m not only noticing in editing… It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in Dreadquill Towers!
All in all I’m very happy with how they came out. I could easily have spent more time on them and had them on my bench for a month, but getting them finished in under a week was a very satisfying experience. I’d got to experiment with some new techniques and generate some content for the ol’ blogaroo too.
I’m so happy with them in fact, I’ve been eyeing up other sidelined projects due for a lick of paint…
This is a rarity – I buy something, I build it from the box, and it gets painted. No conversions, no elaborate paint jobs, no carving it up for bits… What’s got into me?
When the Ambots were released in the World That Was almost two years ago, I fell in love with them. Multi-part plastic robot alien kit? Sign me the heck up. I split the box with a friend and took home my very own am-bot.
The ambot was introduced before the Ambull miniature from Blackstone Fortress (sadly discontinued already), and the first in-game mention of Ambulls since the Dark Heresy RPG reintroduced them in the Creatures’ Anathema monster manual back in the noughties.
The model went together very pleasingly, with lots of little odds and ends that make it so great for conversions.
I didn’t realise that each sprue comes with two sets of legs, so I assumed one of the sets of legs I had belonged to my friend, so I soldiered on with the goofy set. Had I known, I would have likely picked the other set to avoid the slightly awkward tick-tocking stance.
It’s not the end of the world, and it does mean I have another set of cool heavy industrial legs for use in other projects.
Sadly it sat on the shelf for another two years. My Necromunda campaign at the time never had an ambot crop up in it (there were lots of converted Ogryns though!) and without it having a “purpose” it never found its way to the top of my to-do list. Then of course 2020 rolled round and everything ground to a halt.
Aside from all the awfulness of 2020 (and 2021 aka 2020 2: Electric Boogaloo) it has helped give me some breathing room and perspective on my hobby. Previously I’d been creating and painting for a purpose – deadlines to meet, games to run, villains to put on the board for regularly scheduled RPG nights. I’d never painted anything solely for display or fun – having a competition run at my local FLGS Asgard Wargames helped kick me in the pants and start painting things for the hell of it again.
And it’s been a hoot!
I wanted a “normal” paint job for this guy, which meant no elaborate backstories or freehanding iconography or trying to tie it into an existing gang colour scheme. I also wanted to try using colours I don’t normally paint with – namely blue.
It was undercoated Army Painter Tan Leather and all the metallic bits were roughly drybrushed with Ironbreaker. Block colours went on next – Cantor Blue for the panels, Brass Scorpion for the tubes and cables, Iyanden Yellow for the hazard panels, a cheeky bit of Mephiston Red for the eyes and buttons. Black stripes are painted onto the hazard panels just before washing.
Everything then gets washed! Agrax Earthshade for the metals and hazard panels, Nuln Oil for the other areas.
Once dry, the panels get wet-blended back up to their original colour with the help of my new love, Lahmiam Medium. I used to use water for wet blending, but this stuff makes it so much simpler. The blue edges get highlighted with a lighter blue and the hazard stripes get touched up with their original colour. I never claimed my process was fancy!
Then my favourite part – weathering! I kept it dead simple this time – tear off a bit of sponge about the size of a fingernail and dip it in Typhus Corrosion with a pair of tweezers. Wipe a bit off, then gently dab dab dab on corners and edges.
When that’s dry, I touched up any edgees with Ironbreaker again to look like exposed metal, and the job was done!
I finished off the base to match my other Necromunda minis – a variety of metals and greys, washed black, then brown/orange/pale flesh stippled over the top to look like corrosion.
It took me about 2-3 evenings, including drying time, and I’m very happy with the outcome. It’s not something I spent ages on, I didn’t go the extra mile to painstakingly convert it to something unique, and I didn’t agonise over the paint job.
My local FLGS Asgard Wargames is running a competition on its Facebook group to get a new unit painted every week for a month. Motivated by the prospect of material reward, I figured it was also an excuse to clear my grey mountain and splash some colour on miniatures I’d otherwise never get around to painting.
Since their creation, they’ve been incredibly versatile for not only being civilians in games of Necromunda, but also as hired guns, NPCS, and stand-ins for RPG characters.
They needed to be painted up in just over a week, which meant no dilly-dallying and lots of easy techniques, but I also wanted them to be vibrantly coloured. It would be easy to do another Beast House of grey and brown, but I didn’t want any two to look the same.
So, just come up with a dozen different easy-to-paint colour schemes in a week… sure…
First on the table was this religious-looking chap (although the least nutty of the religious bunch) because his character spoke to me the most.
I hate painting yellow, and the thought crossed my mind to attempt some OSL from the lamp but quickly remembered my brief – I coudn’t spend all week on this guy.
His clothes were a technique I’d use on 90% of the rest of the gang – drybrush a colour over the brown undercoat, wash it, then roughly highlight. I went for a Jedi Robes colour scheme to get that itchy hessian sack kinda feel.
This guy was popular on the internet when his WIP photo did the rounds. His truths seemed to resonate with people.
Another simple colour scheme, but with a splash of Blood For The Blood God on his headband as a spot colour. The real pull was his crazed sandwhich board message, for which there were too many great options to choose from.
A close third place was “Heresy is stored in the balls – change my mind”, and was rejected solely because it was too long to squeeze onto the tiny sandwhich board.
The Water Carrier
I liked making minis that looked like they were out on an errand and got caught short. This one in particular has some nice movement to it, and I tried to tell a bit of a story with the colours.
He’s wearing Orthesian colours and has a faded ‘7-B’ on his back, implying he’s a docker or rating working on a ship somewhere and had just popped out to grab a can of something before it all kicked off.
The off-duty guardsman
As detached as Mercy is from the rest of the universe, it’s fun to sprinkle in some mainstream bits from time to time. News of Cadia’s demise would have reached Mercy eventually, along with numerous refugees, AWOL soldiers or old veterans who find themselves without a home.
This was also my first Cadian I’d ever actually painted(!) and only realised halfway through that I didn’t have the correct colours for the armour. I tried mixing my own but I’m not super happy with how it came out.
I still like the overall mini, I like the little touches like the helmet on his belt and tattoo on his arm, and his attitude of “Oh I guess we’re fighting today huh”.
The hammer priest
Although I initially envisioned her as a kind of blacksmith, the idea of making her another member of the cloth was more enticing.
A neatly painted hassock with some rough Aquila freehand was enough to sell the idea of her being a low-ranking priest of some kind, and a touch of blood effect paint on the hammer, robes and face gave her added menace. It changed the body language from “Over there!” to “You’re next!”
I wanted at least one mini in hazmat colours, and this chap’s metal arm and waistcoat was a good opportunity to try out a new recipe for yellow – using an orange wash instead of a brown or black one. I wanted his bionic arm to have the same yellow as his clothes, as though his arm is company-owned.
I tried to turn his waist sash into something like a ticker tape, or somewhere he wrote things down, but it ended up looking like a religious garment.
You couldn’t have some citizens of a mining space port without some old retired prospectors, and I’m getting real Stinky Pete vibes from this guy. His arms were from the Genestealer Cult Neophytes, so have very mutant vibes to them. I wanted to make them as human-coloured as possible, as making them purple or green would give them a GSC/hidden alien flavour that I didn’t want.
Some of these minis were so fast to do, many of them didn’t even get a highlight stage. I’m following my 2019 mantra of ‘finished, not perfect’, and I think it really works when painting up minis like this!
I definitely wanted one mini in an orange jump suit, as I really like the aesthetic that many GSC colour schemes have. Unfortunately the minis I used didn’t lend themselves to jump suits, they are all leathers, pelts, tunics etc, so I had to improvise.
Double-unfortunately I didn’t have all the orange paints I wanted either, so I had to make do with a drab foundation orange. It gets the message across, but it wasn’t the vibrant jumpsuit colour I was looking for. I painted a few lines on to try and make it look more like a uniform, but I don’t think it worked very well. It’s a good proof of concept for future miner endeavours.
The old captain
One of my favourite of the bunch – he’s got a lot of character and I wanted to give him a mysterious past too. Painting his tattered clothes in noble, luxurious colours implies he’s come from wealth and privilege, so how did he get here?
Lots of opportunities to use him as a fallen Noble or old Captain, missing plenty of bits of himself but could still take your head off with that spade if you pushed in line at the bar.
This was a simple guy with a club and a sack, perhaps he’s out clubbing vermin for dinner or something, you can’t judge him. His only tell is a pistol on his hip, which implies he’s in a dangerous line of work. Perhaps he’s a pressganger?
As I was splashing some basic colours on him, my mind wandered to a hitherto unmentioned project involving circus clowns, and I couldn’t shake the image of having him in classic circus attire.
A quick red and yellow quartered pattern and he looked much more interesting. Why is he dressed like that? Is he moonlighting as a pressganger? Perhaps it’s a guild of pressgangers that have adopted a strange uniform? So many narrative threads from a simple change in colour scheme.
The closest to a ‘normal’ citizen I made, this one had an air of youthful energy around them – they bring a gun and a knife on their errand runs.
It was probably the simplest colour scheme too, and I was in danger of falling down a classic grey-and-brown hole with my colour palette, so I threw a dark green in there to visually distinguish them from the rest of the citizens.
I assumed the head had some kind of headband or braid running around the crown, but when I was painting it I realised it was a kind of beanie hat. This gave them a pleasing old fisherman vibe which helped tie them to the theme of ports and docks.
I like painting red, what can I say.
I wanted to do a kilt pattern on a miniature, this semed to be the best bet. I used my own family’s tartan as a pattern, which got a bit lost under the wash. A matching red face covering and arm band gave her strong anarchist vibes, so naturally she needed the black leather jacket to match.
Bright hair really set off the look, and I think she is one of the more striking miniatures in the bunch.
The gang’s all here
Overall I’m very happy with how they came out. Without an arbitrary deadline I don’t think I’d ever have gotten round to painting them, and for them to have come out so well in such a short time gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
With my rough goal for this year to complete more projects than I start, I think I’m off on the right steps.
I was lucky enough to get on board Anvil Industry’s Daughters of the Burning Rose Kickstarter back in 2018 and thanks to a birthday present top-up found myself with a decent amount of credit to spend on toy soldiers. I didn’t need any squads at that time, so fancied picking up a load of the special characters to supplement the various games we play as NPCs.
Excitingly, many of the special characters were still in the concept art stage when they were ordered, so it was a crapshoot as to what would turn up. One set that I knew I definitely wanted was the “Cyborg Surgical Assistants”, as at that point I’d lost count of the number of games I’d set in a morgue/hospital or with a Boss NPC surrounded by legions of assistant servitors.
The horde arrives
I ordered a bunch of minis and promptly forgot about them for a year until a large box of resin arrived on my doorstep.
What a mystery! Half of the fun was figuring out what I’d ordered (looking at the invoice is for casuals), and luckily Past Me had furnished Present Me with plenty of fun new toys to play with.
I had a Dark Heresy finale coming up that required a pair of medicae servitors, so I assembled those first, popping them on small Necromunda bases to fit in with my other minis.
As with other Anvil Industry stuff, they were a dream to put together. Minimal mould lines and everything fit together without any pinning. Out of the two claw hands and two chainblade hands, I opted for one on each servitor. As much as the idea of Mister Clamps and Mister Stabs appealed, the practicality of having two chainblades on a medicae servitor was a little suspect.
I knew I wanted a sterile, hospital-themed colour scheme to help visually set them apart on the tabletop, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Luckily, a video on how to paint UR-025 from Blackstone Fortress was doing the rounds at the time and the minty green was perfect for what I wanted – and I had the paints to hand!
An undercoat of white then a layer of Nihilakh Oxide gave me hospital scrub green, with another pin wash in the recesses, then edge highlighted with a very light grey.
Metal bits were simply painted metal, then given a brown and black wash to make them really mucky. Chips were painted on with a little line of dark brown, then highlighted underneath with a little line of light grey.
Flesh was Ironrach Skin, washed purple and Ironrach layered over the top again to give them a very unhealthy skin tone (plus a little dab on the corners where flesh meets metal – gotta make it look inflamed as well).
The goop tanks were painted red, stopping roughly horizontally to look like liquid in the tank. A thin line of lighter red as a highlight, then a healthy coat of gloss varnish to finish off the look.
And they were done! I’m very pleased with how they came out – the colour scheme was simple to do but incredibly striking on the tabletop, and stands apart from other minis they might be deployed next to. I’m already planning my next Anvil build, so watch this space…
New year, new scenery! I’ve had a quiet spell for hobbying over the past month or so, the time I’d usually spent painting is time I spend buying cheese, eating cheese, or planning how to get 12 people round an 8-person table to eat cheese.
Luckily past me grabbed loads of photos of projects I hadn’t showcased yet, so I’ve got lots of material to work with while I get back in the hobby groove.
Older and ryza
I acquired some of the Ryza-pattern ruins completely by chance, having been decidedly indifferent to them when they were announced. When a sprue was included in Conquest magazine last year, not only did I get one for free from someone who didn’t want it, but the price of them dropped through the floor on ebay the week after the issue hit doormats. Crazy how nature do that. I figured two sprues were better than one (and could get reasonable coverage on a table) so I picked one up for about £6.
For my sins, I took absolutely zero WIP photos. Imagine then, if you will, the above and below photos but TOTALLY NAKED. They were uncomplicated to build – the only assembly required being where two sections slotted together. The hardest part was cleaning the darn pieces up – one of the ruin sections has no less than 28 points of contact with the sprue, so that was a LOT of plastic nubbins to clear up.
All painted up
As with all my scenery schemes, the technique I used was far too complicated for how they came out. Everything got hit with a black undercoat, then a grey zenithal undercoat. The ‘panels’ got a pale flesh drybrush with a sepia wash, and the ‘uprights’ got a boltgun metal drybrush with a brown wash. These got a rough edge drybrush with boltgun metal again to make them look chipped and worn.
The red horizontal sections were mephiston red, black wash and edge drybrush with a lighter red, and the yellow and black stripey cables got a black wash as well. My two favourite technical paints were then liberally splashed on afterwards – Blood for the Blood God and Typhus Corrosion to mucky them up a bit.
They’ve already been super handy in games of Necromunda to expand the pool of scatter and cover terrain, and they scale up well to 54mm too which makes them double-useful for my nefarious 2020 plans!
For now though, simply enjoy these unbesmirched images of good, wholesome background terrain in its natural environment.
I recently got involved in a Dark Heresy 1ed game (and not one I was running for once!) which gave me a great excuse opportunity to buy another mini.
I’m obsessed with the Adeptus Mechanicus, and always excited to explore more facets of them. As the Mechanicus are basically space wizards (simultaneously hoarding secret knowledge but desperately wanting to show off how smart they are by building giant towers filled with weird inventions), I wanted to make a quintessential wizarding archetype – the doddering old genius.
I’m also a huge fan of Futurama, so after watching Bender’s Big Game, I knew what needed to be done. I set about finding a mini to perfectly represent Hubert Farnsworth in the 41st millennium.
My experience with Artel was superb, starting at the point my delivery arrived.
Look at it! Having ordered a couple of things from Russia with varying levels of sturdiness, I was delighted to find a hand-wrapped brown paper box plop out the jiffy bag, with a red wax ‘Artel W’ seal.
Mini companies take note – customer experience starts from the moment the parcel arrives!
Inside was another box, clarifying the ‘W’ stood for Artel W.
Very delicately packaged, and lots of lovely bits.
The second heap of praise I have is the quality of this fella is unparalleled – I’ve never put together anything quite like it. The mini is exquisitely detailed, there were no mould lines at all, and only a couple of bits of flash that needed trimming off. The actual mini itself went together like a dream, everything fitting precisely where it needed to.
I’d assembled him within half an hour, no need for anything to be pinned. Everything felt sturdy. He even came with multiple arm options, and although I had planned on converting him somewhat (I wasn’t sure what, I just have a compulsion to change things to make them my own), I couldn’t bring myself to do it – the mini was just too lovely!
He scales up nicely to other GW minis too – here he is hanging out with the rest of the party. Enough dilly-dally, on to the paint!
He’s an old-school Magos so he needs some old-school threads. Classic Mechanicus red, with black and white checkerboard trim (none of this fancy new cog trim).
Everything was painted with the same technique – base colour > wash > base colour > lighter colour. It’s simple, easy for me to remember what I’ve used, and works well with my high contrast/cartoony style of painting.
I love all the little details on the mini – I’m pretty sure all those heads are supposed to be the other Planet Express crew. He’s even missing a shoe, perfect for a forgetful old Magos.
I’ll definitely be using him as a hanger-on in Necromunda too… perhaps a Heretek or Rogue Doc. Maybe even as a VIP in a scenario? Always good to add to the catalogue of Citizens!
It took me a bit of trial and error to work out how the hood and mantle worked with each other – there was lots of repainting sections trying to figure out where the red bit ended and the black and white bit started.
Typhus Corrosion was applied around the bottom of the robe and shoes to help mucky him up a bit and tie him into his Zone Mortalis base a bit better.
I think this was my fourth (?) time at painting fire – somehow I’d escaped almost 20 years of mini painting without having to learn how to do it, then a bunch of fire-based projects come along at once. I think I’m getting better at it, I just need to practise my Origin Source Lighting to help give it that warm glow. I tried it a bit here, but I chickened out before doing too much.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do on the banner, so I went for a cog design. I’m not super excited about how it came out, so I’m blaming the waviness of it. Yeah. Finished, not perfect, right?
Very happy with how he turned out! It was a bit of a slog to get through, especially all the little fiddly technical freehand bits (and painting fire – boo hiss), but I’m glad I did.
Good news everyone – I will DEFINITELY be going back to Artel W for more minis in the future!
Originally introduced for Dark Heresy, the Gloomhaunt is a classic fantasy beastie effortlessly inserted into the abandoned corridors, dank caves and hissing service tunnels of the 41st millennium. I needed some winged beasties for our Dark Heresy campaign for the Beast House section and thought Gloomhaunts would fit perfectly.
As they’re ambush predators they’re not much of a threat if you catch one of them sneaking up on you, so I’d need a bunch of them assembled in case I needed a swarm for some of the higher power games, like Rogue Trader or Wrath and Glory. They’d even be interesting carrion creatures for our games of Necromunda, so having a few singles and some swarm bases would be helpful for ease of play.
Bats out of hell
The project kicked off with remembering I had almost a dozen classic warhammer fantasy plastic bats – the same bats that came in the ‘fantasy swarms’ box, with bats, rats, spiders and snotlings. They’re an easy start – an all-in one mini that I just need to horrify up a bit.
The official artwork for the Gloomhaunt shows them more like angry Golbats than regular winged rodents, so I wanted to do away with any of the obvious bat-like features on the body. I ground down the face, carving a hole in the body where the new mouth would be.
I trialled a few types of mouth – top left was the fiddliest experiment with tiny bits of thin wire and a very dainty face. I settled on gluing snipped up bits of paperclip haphazardly around the holes I carved, then greenstuffing a mouth-hole over the top. You could call them lips I suppose, but my partner referred to them as ‘gross flying foreskins’ so clearly the transformation from bat to horrible xenoform was complete.
Many of their pre-moulded plastic bases had snapped off over their 20+ year incarceration in the bits box, so they all got a bit of paperclip at varying lengths for a stand, attached to a mesh/plasticard base to fit the aesthetic of the Beast House.
I might need them as single opponents or massive swarms, depending on the game system and power levels, so I made two ‘swarms’ of multiple Gloomhaunts on a single base.
Other than the fiddly part of attaching tiny chunks of paperclip, the conversion was relatively straight forward and I was looking forward to getting them painted up!
Painting the swarm
I started with a brown undercoat, then the bodies were drybrushed and washed to give a light brown fur texture. The wings vanes were painted dark grey, drybrushed and washed again for a dark, bat-like wing leather.
The flesh around the face was painted in a flesh tone, the teeth picked out in a bone colour and the whole lot given a heavy crimson wash inside to emphasize the horrible fleshy maw that clamps around the head of the unwary.
A heavy application of gloss varnish in and around their toothy maws helped give them a freshly-squeezed-ganger-head look.
The bases were drybrushed silver (straight over the brown undercoat) and given a healthy brown wash. Then, my favourite part, a liberal application of both Blood for the Blood God and Typhus Corrosion to give it that grimy meat-processing facility aesthetic.
The teeth and claws were carefully highlighted with a light bone colour to finish them off. Cheap and cheerful, I was impressed with how well they came out. For the cost of some superglue and a few evenings, I suddenly had a swarm of flying critters I could use to harass a party of any size in basically any indoor evironment.
They might not be particularly dangerous one-on-one, but the first time someone gets one of these horrible flappy bois latch onto their head, you bet players will start checking ceilings a lot more in future…
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!
“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:
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!