One such secret belongs to an estate overrun with escaped creatures, a perfect opportunity to visit a classic Rogue Trader adversary, the Ambull.
There was no way I was going to shell out for a pair of classic metal Ambulls from the 80s, and even if I did, the scale creep of models over the past 30 years would have left them looking very meek relative to the terrifying stat block they have. An alternative was needed.
Cue a quick dabble into the DnD universe for some splendid (and cheap!) pre-built Umber Hulk minis from Noble Knight games. They aren’t perfect, but they’re big, mean and look damn close enough. Plus they were hella cheap, and picked both up from ebay for less than a tenner – a selling point indeed!
The incredible hulks
They arrived quickly, and I was immediately impressed.
I had never got my hands on pre-primed models before, having been skeptical about the quality of such a thing. Given that these were to be my Villains Of The Week, I wasn’t fussed about quality.
I had done some reading about the quality of such minis, some people recommending you remove the primer and add your own, others recommend painting straight over the primer, others suggested priming over the top. The last seemed the least hassle for me, and as I was planning on experimenting with paint techniques on these guys anyway, it made most sense.
Upon having a hands-on with the minis, I also discovered some pretty heinous mould lines running across large sections of armour. They would have to be scraped off – a pretty straightforward job considering it was quite soft plastic, but it meant they definitely would need re-priming.
They were hunched over quite a bit, and I wasn’t keen on the pre-moulded base they came supplied with. A bit of snipwork with my pinchy-grabbers and they were free. Time to build some custom bases!
Using some big bases, presumably lifted from an old Sentinel kit, I wanted them to look like they were lurking in the sumps of an underhive somewhere. At the time of construction, Ambulls were only rumoured to be returning to Necromunda, so I had built this in anticipation of using them in other systems. Of course, now we know about the Am-Bot, which will be an exciting encounter in its own right later on…
The soft plastic took to pinning rather nicely, and I tried to lean them back on their bases a bit to give them more height. They’re described as hunched and gorilla-like in stature, but the amount of stoop the original models had meant their mandibles were basically scraping along the floor. Leaning them back has given them almost an inch worth of height.
Rivets were attempted by snipping up lengths of goblin spear. They came out weird and misshapen, so for the purposes of ‘Finished Not Perfect’ it’ll do, but I’ll have to readdress my tactic for doing rivets in the future.
With both Ambulls pinned, mould lines cleared and bases prepped, they just needed to be undercoated ready for a a different painting technique I was excited to try out.
These guys were painted in record time and I had a blast doing it. They were undercoated in grey, a daring new technique (for me at least) I premiered with my Escher gang, and then attacked them with washes.
The brief I gave myself was; can you paint a big beasty using only washes and drybrushing? The answer was: ABSOLUTELY
I divided the model into roughly three sections, scientifically referring to them as ‘fleshy bits’, ‘armoury bits’ and ‘other bits’. Fleshy bits got two washes of Reikland Fleshshade, armoured bits got two washes of Athonian Camoshade for that dirty green look, and other bits got a thorough going-over with some Nuln Oil.
A quick drybrush of Rotting Flesh across basically everything, with some more Reikland Fleshshade dabbed onto the armour in corners and creases, and the whole weird, disgusting look was complete. Applying the washes took about 15 minutes tops, with the only timesink being drying times.
I picked out the eyes with a nice evil-looking red. Evil beasties always have red eyes, right? I broke my one rule (only a little bit though) and did an edge highlight on the claws and mandibles in Elf Flesh, if only to draw attention to the sharp pointiness of them.
The base was done with a liberal application of Tamiya Clear Green, my favourite underhive gunk paint, and splashed a bit up the legs for authenticity. I could spend ages edge highlighting all the armour plates or adding additional shades to the flesh, but it was now Finished, Not Perfect and I was dead happy with them.
You’ll get to see them in action during this week’s Orthesian Herald, but I couldn’t resist doing a little photoshoot with them anyway. Enjoy!
I got the new Necromunda boxed set back in Christmas and finished the Goliath half of the gangs that come with it back in February. To my eternal shame, the Eschers remained assembled but unpainted ever since. As a break from the Elysian Drop Trooper commission I’m working on, I thought I would treat myself to painting some acid green.
These were the first models I had undercoated in anything under than black, and I wanted to go for vibrant colours to offset the Goliath’s dull metal tones. A nice diseased skin tone would work well for them, as they spend a lot of their time around hazardous chemicals.
As I was going to paint them in light colours, why not undercoat them grey? A splash of Athonian Camoshade on the skin with a highlight of Rotting Flesh gave me the perfect skin tone I so desired.
It took a while to settle on colours other than green – they needed to still be colourful but not distract from the overall greeny-ness, and had to give me enough wiggle room to have some radical glam-rock hair colours without a clashing of colour palettes.
The greys and dark purples worked really well with this brief in mind, and it was only after putting the base coat over all the gang that I realised I had inadvertently picked the Joker’s colour scheme for my poisonladies.
I was also experimenting with a new rust technique. Start with a solid base of a dark brass and give it a liberal wash of Nuln Oil. When that’s dry, stipple on some orange with an old brush, then roughly highlight any edges with a bright silver.
Easy peasy to do, and the bold orange works very nicely with the acid green colour scheme.
I left all the hair until practically the end. I wasn’t sure what colours they were going to be, and I wanted everything else to be pretty much finalised so I could work out what would complement or clash.
Also because I’m a barbarian who holds his minis with his hands instead of using a mini holder, the tops of models tend to get a little wear and tear as I paint them, so I tend to leave those til the last.
The kit was nicer to assemble than the Goliaths – fewer preset options that needed tearing apart just to edit. Without any real games under my belt, I just went with Rule of Cool for most of their equipment.
I did manage a few conversions though, most notably the twin autopistol ganger had a hand swap to allow her to hold two autopistols, and the leader had an arm transplant to give her a plasma pistol. Nothing particularly exciting but they were different enough from the core box to pass muster.
All in all I’m very pleased with how they came out. They were a chore to finish – I was very close to giving up on all that green a NUMBER of times during production but I’m glad I stuck with it. It was only when the black rum went around the base that they looked truly finished, and I think they look absolutely stunning on the browns and reds of the Necromunda board tiles.
I’ve had a lot of fun painting these guys. Normally, muscle-bound knuckle-draggers aren’t my jam – I swerve from barbarians and fighter-types in any roleplaying game – so I didn’t think the Goliaths from Necromunda would appeal to me.
Boy was I wrong.
I got the Necromunda set for Christmas and I had such a great time assembling the two gangs that I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to the painting. I knew I wanted them to be multi-role, usable both in Necromunda and as goons for our games of Dark Heresy or Rogue Trader.
The Longshore Brassnecks were the result – beefy gangers who show off their prowess by hauling cargo around without the need for lifting equipment, and running security for the point defense guns of Mercy. I liked the idea that they made their furnace plate armour out of spent shell casings from macrocannons (if there is such a thing…), so the armour would be painted to look like battered copper.
I think they came out rather well, and I left two models back for the inevitable campaign amendments or new recruits. As much as I’d LOVE to buy another box set of these guys, holding two back for spares seemed like the more prudent idea. Plus, I fancied trying my hand at a lady Goliath, but that’s a project for another time…
First up is the leader, Musgrave. He’s armed with a power hammer, stub cannon and a fighting knife for those delicious extra dice in combat. Sure you have to split your attacks between the weapons this way, but I reasoned it was better to roll more dice at a problem and increase my chances of hitting with the hammer in the first place.
I picked the bulkiest armour, head and shoulder pads for him too so that he would stand out, and slung a stub cannon on his back to make use of that 3+ Ballistic Skill. I did a little conversion work on the power hammer too, swapping the head for the Renderizer gave it the heft I was looking for.
Next is Zastava, a Juve armed with a stub pistol and a spud jacker. As one of two Juves in the gang, his job is very simple – run around and be generally irritating.
He originally had a knife rather than a pistol, but there were so many moments in our test games when he found himself behind cover not able to do very much. Even with a 5+ Ballistic Skill it’s better than nothing, and opens up his tactical options a little bit. I’d rather get one shot at 5+ than no shots at all.
The pistol is from Zinge Industries, as the core Goliath box set sees fit to only furnish you with two stub pistols…
The other Juve is Gat, wielding a brute cleaver rather than a spudjacker but his role in the gang is still the same as Zastava’s. His stub pistol is from Zinge again.
Next up is Roth, armed with a Renderizer and a stub pistol. He had a little conversion work done to him too – swapping the head round with Musgrave’s power hammer so it’s slung over the shoulder instead of wielded two handed. The pistol had to be swapped round with the combi-plasma pistol arm too.
Considering the work that went into him, he’s not actually played in any games yet, he tends to get left on the sideline. Poor Roth.
Next up is my boy Sturm, the Champion of the Brassnecks and very dear to my heart. I’m not sure why the rivet cannon gets such a bad rap among the community, it’s been a pleasant surprise in every game we’ve played so far. Granted, the 9″ range can totally hamstring your plans, but Sturm is a Champion armed with a spud-jacker – he’s got two Strength 5 WS 3+ attacks he can throw out if you think charging him is a good idea.
Opponents tend to underestimate the Goliath ‘heavies’ into thinking that just because they have a heavy weapon they’ll be a pushover in close combat – something Sturm has used to his advantage more than once.
Attaching the spud-jacker was easy enough – the hand that was holding it was carved away with a craft knife. I tried my hand at a bit of object source lighting on the rivet cannon and although I’m not super pleased with how it came out, I’m glad I tried it!
This is Vektor, the cheekiest of the Brassnecks, known for his tendencies to pull off trick shots with his grenade launcher or bounce missed shots round corners much to the frustration of opponents.
He comes with an axe and stub gun too (in a holster on his back), as we’ve played enough original Necromunda to know the importance of a backup weapon if you’re the heavy.
Up next is the dark horse, Pounder. When we were making the gangs as a group, we didn’t really know how silly the combat shotguns were until one of did a double-take on the character sheet halfway through the test game and pulled out the flamer template.
He’s great for in support for keeping a whole bunch of people pinned, and every now and then one of those Strength 2 shredder shots actually does something!
He has a stub gun as well, because let’s be honest – why look excited about one weapon when you can look excited about two?
Finally we have Ruger, a humble support ganger with a stub cannon and fighting knife. The theme for this gang was BIG GUNS, as my aforementioned aversion to muscly brutes hitting stuff meant I decided to take them in a different direction. Their job was to haul big munitions to use in even bigger guns, so it was only reasonable they took a liking to big guns themselves.
After running a game or two, I’ve realised just quite *how* much I like the stub cannon, and there will be several more gangers being equipped with them after this!
It’s the new year, and what a better way to celebrate than with a lovely new box of plastic bits to snip out and assemble? Necromunda always had a place in my heart for the somewhat anarchic rules and huge customisation options, and when GW showcased the new minis for the game I knew I had to pick up a copy.
Luckily for me, my supergreat chums bought me it for Christmas, so I can now no longer use the “I need to get other stuff painted first before I buy it” excuse.
We got heavily into the Community Edition of Necromunda in anticipation for GW’s inevitable re-release a few years back and we’ve clocked up a lot of hours and gang kills, with almost a dozen different gangs between us.
In a cruel twist of fate, none of us made Escher or Goliath gangs, so we’re not able to port over old gangs to the new rules YET. The rumour mill suggests we’ll be seeing Van Saar and Orlock gangs in the next few months, hopefully with a new gang supplement book, and that’ll open up more possibilities for using our older gangs (and lovely photos of our converted gangers).
The box set is, as GW has repeatedly proven with their latest releases, utterly lovely. There is so much stuff crammed into those carboard walls, and even the bottom box itself doubles up as an arena for some of the tutorial scenarios. I also got a lovely shiny web-only event card, presumably from the web edition of the game.
I’ve never really liked the Goliath aesthetic, they’re very traditional Barbarian archetypes that I tend to avoid in my media as (to me) they don’t offer much in the way of depth or a play style I enjoy. Naturally this changed the moment I laid eyes on the gorgeous miniatures that GW has assembled. Stupid giant revolvers? Massive spanners? A rivet cannon? Yeah okay, I’m in.
I had to enlist the help of a comrade to snip out all the terrain parts, there are a lot of flat surfaces that need their mould lines clearing off, so don’t expect to power through this box particularly quickly.
I wanted to start with the Goliath gang first, partly because if I screwed them up, I wanted it to be for my least favourite of the two gangs…
I brought the gang books with me over the Christmas break so I could digest the rules and plan the gang in advance. It all looked fairly straightforward, with some lovely streamlining for the more esoteric rules from the previous editions of the game. Once I’ve played a few games of Newcromunda I’ll write a little suttin’-suttin’ up comparing the two, but for now let’s just look at pictures of models.
I didn’t have much in the way of a spec when I was designing the gang. I’m not 100% sure how progression/adding new gang members/equipment will work in the long run – the biggest change from a modelling perspective is that you can’t change equipment on a ganger once they’ve been given it, freeing you from the need to keep snipping off weapons on your leader as you acquire better stuff.
This time round, you seem to only be able to put new equipment on new hirelings, but with no games under my belt I can only speculate how that works. To give myself some leeway, I decided to only plan a gang using 8 out of the maximum 10 models for each gang, so I can add extra gangers without needing to buy any new gangs (just yet 😉 ).
My biggest mistake was not getting properly acquainted with the sprues before meticulously planning a gang. The combinations of parts are so well executed, it’s really simple to put together a radical, unique gang with the box set, but the way the poses are assembled makes it quite difficult to do anything overly specific.
For example, there are knives and axes available for Goliath melee weapons, but neither of which have any representation on the sprues (aside from a sheathed knife), and stub pistols are super cheap and practical but you only get two in the entire set, and even those are posed in a way to make them only really work with one set of body/legs.
Of course, a sane person would simply readjust their gang list to take this into account. I, however, prefer hours of agonising clipping, sticking and slicing my fingers open to a few minutes of maths.
I wanted to have at least one of everything from the gang list, partly so I could test out the rules for them, and partly so I could make full use of everything available on the sprues. I can worry about min/maxing a gang later on in life once I’ve worked out what works, and when GW inevitably release some conversion packs later in the year.
It was also halfway through construction that I realised I had made another oversight – there is no difference between single and double-handed weapons other than their stats. I had assumed there would be a restriction on using the heavier weapons in melee (improved strength, improved armour penetration etc in exchange for fewer attacks) considering models like the Renderizer (angry skull-axe guy) are using them in two hands.
As far as the rules go, even though the model has a double-handed heft, the off-hand is still free to shank with a knife or pop with a pistol in close combat, earning them an extra dice. This threw me a little bit, and had to reshuffle some credits round to purchase an extra knife on the models I had planned to be double-handers just for the extra dice in combat.
Still, I was determined to build what I’d planned. I just needed to do some jiggery-pokery on the available arms and weapons to make it happen. The big one I wanted to look impressive was my Leader, but I didn’t equip him with the plasma/stub combi-pistol (because holy hell 65 credits), so the default pose was a bit of a waste.
I also had another ganger with a Renderizer and pistol for backup, but after re-reading the rules and realising that would afford him an extra dice in combat, I wanted to model him in a way that I’d remember the guy with the two-handed weapon actually has multiple weapons that he’s juggling like a madman.
A nice weapon head swap between the Renderizer and Power Hammer worked rather pleasingly.
The Longshore Brassnecks
Some whiskey and a season of Parks and Recreation later, and the whole team is assembled. They’re missing a lot of accessories, but the majority of the work is done and I’m chuffed with how they came out.
They’re called the Longshore Brassnecks, a gang of thugs and hoodlums from the exotic harbours of Mercy Longshore, where I was planning on setting most of our games. Not only is it an interesting twist on the setting (Hive City in Spaaaaaace) but gives me a very valid reason to re-use these models as thugs and crims in Rogue Trader.
They get the ‘Brassnecks’ moniker as they run security and haulage for the various defense platforms around Mercy, carting around the ammunition and macrocannon shells for use in the station macrocannons and point defence turrets.
All of their armour will be made of hammered brass from the massive macrocannon shell cases, so the bold black/brass combination should be very evocative on the tabletop.
In addition to that, I also wanted to give them a focus on guns rather than fist fightin’. Obviously they’re going to be very good at that, but I wanted lots of large caliber projectile weapons to reflect their obsession with big-ass cannons.
I found it fascinating that someone took the decision to make the automatic combat shotgun one-handed, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a very silly pose.
For the Leader (as yet unnamed) I wanted to biggest version of the available accessories to try and make him stand out on the tabletop. There was a particularly fancy shoulder pad on each sprue (so two in total) that worked quire nicely when doubled-up, and an imposing respirator head and gorget body fit the bill quite nicely.
He also has a stub cannon slung to his back and a knife sheathed somewhere, but I’ve not got round to attaching those yet.
The other weapon swap was the Renderizer-over-the-shoulder pose, which when combined with a stub pistol and the effortlessly cool cigar-chomping head gave the model bundles of personality.
Taking these pictures earlier made me realise I still need to drill the barrels out of their weapons as well, so that’s been added to my to-do list before they get primed.
Time for Juves! They appear to have been changed in a massive way from the Community Edition, as they narratively appear far more important than regular gangers. Gangers have a much more simplified progression tree but get access to better weapons and equipment, so I have no idea how these guys play out in the long term.
They were also planned to have double-handed weapons, but seeing as there was no disadvantage to giving them an extra knife (aside from the measly 10 credits it costs) and the sprues didn’t have enough two-handed weapons, they were all promoted to Guy With Two Knives.
Big wrench and tiny knife makes for an interesting fighting style, but I managed to squeeze a few extra poses out of the limited ‘free’ arms I had left.
I’m representing these Juves by leaving off any shoulder pads or thigh guards to make them appear a little slighter than their heftier brethren. Despite Juves advancing faster than gangers, and having more varied advancement options, they never ‘graduate’ to becoming gangers like they used to – they stay Juves for their entire careers.
I had to convert an axe-hand for this guy, the first of the two special weapons guys, made from a Chaos Marauder axe and trimming down the handle of the Brute Cleaver arm from the Necromunda sprue.
The second heavy weapon guy was this Riveter. Looks super cool on paper and the model is rad as heck, but I have no idea how it’ll play out in the game as it seems quite short ranged. The skull-faced respirator head was pretty awesome, so that went on as well.
I really enjoyed assembling these guys, even if they did suffer from being strangely restrictive in the poses available. There’s still a bit of extra work to do on them, such as adding spare weapons and accessories, but overall they’re pretty much finished.
I’m looking forward to tackling the Escher gang now!