MOTB: Necromunda Ghast deposits

Finished product first!

As part of a misguided attempt to build every kind of scenario objective or narrative prop mentioned in every Necromunda scenario (which at time of writing is about a hundred), this time I turned my hand to one of my favourite scenarios, Ghast Harvest.

Previously known as Spook, Ghast is a combat drug that has existed in 40k lore since the olden times. It varies mechanically in each system, but it always performs the same function. Anyone who huffs it gets a temporary psychic power – anything from shooting lightning from your eyes, to warp strength or time travel – but doesn’t make them any good at it. Good clean chaotic fun.

Ghast Harvest is a scenario where rival gangs race to hoover up loopy juice from deposits scattered across the map. Ghast is incredibly rare and expensive, so the objective is to gather as much as you can without snorting it. Unfortunately some gangers miss the memo and rail huge lines of the stuff straight from the source, the match swiftly devolving into a coked-up fireball slinging contest. This is, without fail, always funny.

The brief

The scenario requires four tokens representing ghast deposits, and suggests using an obstactle-sized piece of terrain to be more thematic. There is basically no guidance on what ghast looks like in its natural habitat and I’ve seen some fantastic conversions using weird mushrooms or gangly radioactive trees made of hot melt glue.

I didn’t want to recreate things I already found on google so I had a dig around my bits box for something that looked really alien and cobbled something together.

Street urchin

I’d been dragging around some old tropical beach detritus since the 90s, some of which had gone into making some weird asteroid fields, and others had been sat in a box gathering dust.

These were sea urchin shells, washed and dried out, then packed with tin foil for structural integrity. I arranged them around some spare pipes and industrial bits to look like they’d been feasting and growing on whatever horrid waste had accumulated there. A bit of crumbled cork placemat for rubble helped blend the larger shapes together.

I also wanted some smaller structures, like they’d been spawning or growing more, but had no idea how to recreate the unique exterior texture.

The end plan was to make lots of little balls of green stuff and texture them with the urchin shells themselves. I had a few broken bits I didn’t have a purpose for, so after letting the balls cure for about half an hour, gently rolled them along the inside in different ways until I got a desired pattern.

I pushed the top of each ball into the exterior of the shell to finish the look, and ending up with something like the facehugger eggs from alien. A perfect look!

Eggshell blue

Once dried, everything got an undercoat of black, then brown. I masked off all the non-pipe areas with masking tape, then gave it a quick blast of grey. I had a colour scheme in mind for the industrial parts, but deciding on how to do the ghast orbs was a real head-scratcher.

I wanted an interior glow to clearly signpost it as something dangerous, and they could also then double up as other hazardous or explosive terrain as future games might require. My initial experiments with bone, green and yellow colours weren’t particularly gripping, but the minty-blue scheme really stuck with me.

It was using Nihilakh Oxide, a technical paint for representing oxidisation on copper and the like. It’s very watery (so not usually suitable for painting block colours with) but over the porous, rugged exteriors of the urchin shells it worked wonders. On with the painting!

Ghastly glow-up

The industrial sections were painted using a technique I’ve used on other projects, the deposits drybrushed various shades of blue, and anything in between was just a block colour with a wash over the top.

For industrial parts, the whole thing is primed grey and attacked with Agrax Earthshade, concentrating on pin washing panels and giving depth to textured areas. Watered down orange paint is applied in select areas to look like water damage from above. Finally, dark brown paint is sponged onto some extreme edges to look like chipped paint.

The deposits and glow effects were painted with layers of drybrushing. The deposits were painted in light colours first (Nihilakh Oxide), then drybrushed with darker shades of blue. The very tips of the ‘spines’ near the top of the deposits were very lightly drybrushed black to create that last bit of depth.

The glow effects were painted the opposite way round – the darkest blue was drybrushed on first, followed by successively lighter drybrushes leading back to the source of the light.

The bases were made from offcuts of MDF cut roughly into shape and bevelled with a sharp craft knife. They got two coats of black around the rim to seal them and tidy up the whole piece. And with that, they were finished!

Overall I’m extremely happy with how they came out. They were assembled from scraps from the bits box and uses some very unique pieces I’ve had for longer than I can remember.

With their eerie blue glow, they absolutely stand out on the battlefield and can’t be mistaken for anything except danger. They’ll be perfect as ghast deposits, dangerous flora, or any other scenario that needs some horrible glowy orbs. Roll on the next project!

MOTB: Forklift and flatbed truck

Finished product first!

Eagle-eyed viewers noticed a narratively-important piece of getaway scenery in last week’s Inquisitor battle report, and here it is in its full glory!

These are MDF kits from the australian company MiniatureScenery.com, which aside from having an awful name to try and remember, has the best MDF vehicle kits on the market.

The two I picked up are the Heavy Industrial Forklift and Humpt1 Mk2 flatbed truck, although I’ve just noticed they now do a Humpt1 Hauler

I picked these because a) they looked really cool and b) they looked completely scale-agnostic. I play lots of Necromunda and Inquisitor, both separate scales, and it’s difficult to maintain separate terrain collections for them. Vehicles are particularly tricky, so when I can find something that looks convincing enough at either size, it’s a must-have.

Assembly

It unsurprisingly took a while to arrive, what with the company being the other side of the world and my silly little island deciding to make all imports harder so we can have a different coloured passport.

I was impressed at how compact the sprues were – the forklift was just over a sheet of A4. I consider myself an experienced builder, and combined with the impressive design and layout of most model kits these days, makes it straightforward to figure out what goes where. This was the first kit in a long, long time I had to knuckle down and follow the instructions step by step.

These were complex. Not difficult to follow mind, just lots of parts that I couldn’t spatially process how they’d go together.

For example, the truck wheels were each assembled from four different pieces, each slightly offset from each other to produce the wheel tread. Of course muggins here didn’t read the instructions and didn’t realise some of the wheels are oriented differently because of the front suspension arm doohickey and had to prise them back apart.

Ultimately though, these were lovely kits to build, and really showing off how versatile MDF can be as a hobby material.

The instructions did say where to pause construction and paint the interior, but sub-assemblies are for cowards and I pressed on.

There was no need to add extra details, so after a healthy dollop of textured paint it was time to hit the rattlecans.

Flat colours

As is now tradition for MDF pieces, I gave them both two coats of black undercoat to start with. MDF is a thirsty, thirsty boy, and saturating it with a (cheaper) undercoat helps the other paints go on easier, and makes washes go further rather than just soaking straight into the wood.

After black, I tend to give a zenithal highlight before painting. The forklift had a simple grey highlight, while the truck took a blast of Venetian Tan by TTcombat, which comes out much more yellow than it appears in pictures. I always intended the truck to be yellow and figured that would be a better starting point.

Both vehicles were painted with a similar technique, just different colours used. First, the entire chassis gets overbrushed with a lighter colour – Averland Sunset for the truck, Horus Green for the forklift

Tyes, tracks and flatbed get picked out with Eshin Grey, metallic parts get Warplock Bronze. Other base colours are layered on to pick out details, like lights or fuel pods.

Everything except the chassis gets a heavy wash of Agrax Earthshade, while the chassis of the truck got a little watered down orange applied to recesses.

The chassis gets an edge highlight of a slightly lighter colour, and then it’s on with the weathering!

Typhus Corrosion gets liberally applied to just about everywhere, concentrated on moving parts or areas likely to get bumped a lot during use.

Once that had dried, the final touch was to apply a very rough stipple/edge highlight of silver to areas most heavily affected by wear and tear. Rough splodges or scratch marks help sell the idea of badly-treated machinery.

Simple and effective, and helps to visually isolate the shape of the wheels compared to the rest of the vehicle.

And they were done! I’m always intimidated painting vehicles – I still haven’t developed a satisfying technique for weathering things larger than single figures, so I fall back on my usual technique and just scale it up. It produces nice results, but it is time-consuming (and uses a lot of expensive technical paints!).

Overall though, I’m extremely happy with how they came out. I used them almost immediately after finishing them in my latest Inquisitor battle report, and they’re likely to get re-used many times over. They’re such versatile pieces of scatter terrain that I can see them popping up in all kinds of scenarios.

Now, about that larger truck they sell…

MOTB: Arvus landing pads

Finished product first!

Many moons ago I was fortunate enough to get an Arvus Lighter kit on the cheap and decided over lockdown to put some colour on it. Getting to the chopper is an iconic moment in many games, and owning the equivalent 40k miniature seemed sensible. Plus, the Arvus is indisputably the best and cutest spaceship in existence, and that is scientific fact.

Having an atmospheric brick is great, but what is a spaceship without a landing pad? I still had a bunch of MDF board tiles from my Celestine Wharf build, and with no intention of building any more Celestine tiles, I figured I could press them into service as simple landing pads.

Cutting corners

The first task was simple – knocking the corners off to make it more landing paddy. I had to google what landing pads looked like and it turns out they’re quite boring, so I took some inspiration from the OOP forgeworld landing pad.

I used a mix of embossed plasticard and modelling mesh to break up the surface, and went for a ‘pad within a pad’ design. Thicker plasticard ran the edges to neaten it up.

When it came to gluing these bits down I roughed up the back of the plasticard sheets and glued them down with PVA rather than waste a tonne of superglue. The mesh went down with PVA as well, although I dabbed bits of superglue in the corners and raised areas to help it dry flat, as getting modelling mesh perfectly flat is a Sisyphian task.

With the ol’ pencil and ruler I knocked up a frame out of plasticard (it took hours, I’m so bad at geometry) to overlay the landing pads.

I wanted big chunky rivets for that industrial feel but I have neither the resources nor patience to glue them on by hand, so I grabbed a pointy-but-blunt coping file and jabbed it hard into the back of the plasticard. It was thin enough to emboss, and stabbing a pair of rivets every couple of centimetres did the job.

Some extra strips of plasticard were cut to make the central frame meet the edges, and a few thin strips were added to cover any holes I made in the modelling mesh during assembly.

I also constructed some ramps out of thick plasticard – I did some slip tests to see what the shortest ramp was I could get away with before models start slipping down, so lots of plasticard strips and mesh were added to help give the bases some traction to avoid mid-game slippage.

It all fit together! At this point the Arvus had been largely assembled (with the canopy kept off to paint the pilot) and awaiting its turn on the paint station. There was lots of time to work on other projects during this build – most of the time was spent waiting for PVA to dry weighted under piles of books.

The ramps were designed to fit any of the sides, and were hollow at one end to accommodate the little lights I glued onto the exterior of the landing pad.

The last thing to go on is my textured paint signature dish – a mix of PVA, brown paint, ready-mix filler, sand, and whatever cuttings I’ve swept from my desk. Globbed on to make it interesting to paint and provide crucial extra grippy material on the ramp. After it had dried, it was time for the rattlecans!

painting the pad

All four pieces got several liberal coats of black rattlecan to saturate the MDF, then the walkway sections got a dusting of grey, and the mesh sections got a blast of red.

After they dried, the red becomes more crimson and rusty, while the grey takes on a ghostly blue.

The whole thing was drybrushed grey to pick out the raised sections, and watered-down orange paint splashed liberally into recesses to emulate rust and water damage. Brown paint was dabbed onto extreme edges and corners to look like chipped paint.

Can’t be a landing pad without hazard stripes! Black paint was sponged on as a base, and the areas to be yellow were meticulously marked out with masking tape.

Iyanden Darksun was sponged on with a small piece of foam, and the tape peeled off while it was still wet.

Halfway through constructing these fiddly masked patterns I always wonder if it’s worth the faff – surely it’s quicker to just eyeball it, or brush it on, or make touchups after you’ve finished?

I can confidently tell my past self (and reaffirm to my future self if you’re reading this) it absolutely is worth it. Once the tape is on, it takes 30 seconds to sponge the yellow, and another 30 seconds to peel it off. You get a wonderful chipped-paint texture and there is never any clean up.

Repeat after me, future self: ALWAYS MASK YOUR HAZARD STRIPES.

The only extra I did was re-up the brown paint sponge chipping from an earlier step – the yellow and black stood out too much and needed blending in with the rest of the piece. A good reminder to paint all your block colours before you do your weathering!

The only bit left to do was stencil on some big letters and numbers to make it look more industrial. I opted for LZ for landing zone, then some other numbers that looked nice. Big numbers help your environmental storytelling, implying there are loads more landing pads just like this.

The Arvus was painted in a very similar manner, lots of drybrushing and sponging on brown paint for chipping. Transfers came from old Imperial Guard tank sheets, and the teeth from an old Warhammer Fantasy Orc transfer sheet.

Finally it needed a name, and knowing that the ground crews tended to nickname the Arvus “little hog” for obvious reasons, the name came very easily.

All that’s left is to roll the gallery!

5-by-5, we’re in the pipe

And to top it all off, while I was painting the Arvus I had a lovely message from the Warhammer Community team to host Lucky Pig on the hobby roundup.

What a lovely time in the sun she’s had!

I’m very happy with this project, both getting the Arvus painted and finding a use for those mdf tiles. Landing pads are a great focus for games so they’ll see plenty of use, and they can act as risers for other buildings if needs be.

And it means I can finally make airplane noises while playing with my toy soldiers – and isn’t that what the hobby is all about?

MOTB: Necron obelisks

Finished product first!

As part of a recent scenery purchase from a local terrain company, I also snagged some obelisks from Wargame Model Mods’ weird and wonderful Necrotech range. I’d been meaning to do some proper weird alien terrain as a palette cleanser from all the underhive grime I’d been building, and these looked just the ticket.

Getting more for your money

I wanted enough to reasonably scatter across a 6×4 board, and one pack of Obelisk blocks would give me plenty to litter the tabletop with. They arrived in a series of neat little bundles, already punched out.

They fit together very pleasingly, and I was surprised at how big they were. I didn’t get much of a sense of scale from the original images, and even the smaller blocks were quite imposing against a 28mm guardsman.

I hadn’t read the description properly and didn’t realise that half the panels had no detail on them – presumably so you could stick them together into a mega-block like the one advertised.

I wasn’t going to do that with this set (although I may do one in future), I wanted as many individual blocks as possible to have as much variation on the tabletop, including some half-buried in the ground.

I’d need to come up with some clever trick to detail the plain panels I had.

The kit came with an assortment of smaller flat spacers for gluing the obelisks together into a mega-lith, but for me they would be extra panels to fill out the flat surfaces.

By taking two detailed panels and cutting them up, I could arrange those cut out pieces across four plain panels. With some help from some spacers, I now have four detailed panels!

As an absolute mad lad I also own an MDF bits box, filled with the weird inserts and offcuts from MDF sprues that I use for detailing and greebling. They came in perfectly handy for this task.

I picked out a collection of necron-looking bits that would give me some nice clean edges to show up the colour scheme I was planning.

All the main blocks were assembled first to get an idea of how much flat space I needed to cover. And then a terrible thought struck me. What if I could make one block… into two?

Several intense hacking minutes later and I’d made four bits of scatter out of two obelisks. I wanted them to look sunk in the sand, either abandoned or just being unearthed.

I stuck them to some round bases and smeared a load of pre-mixed filler around the join to look like a buildup of sand.

Some of them got extra smaller blocks added on top to imitate the obelisks at different stages of decay. It was also at this point that it really hit home how big all of these were going to be, and how tricky they would be to paint…

And that was all of them assembled! A thoroughly enjoyable kit to build and very modular, especially if you’re a hobby sadist like myself who likes to squeeze more content out of their kits.

The only thing I’d like to see moving foward is the option to purchase either/or when it comes to the non-detailed plates. Perhaps an option to upgrade/replace to fully detailed plates so you can build 16 obelisks out of the box, as currently you can only “technically” build 8 fully detailed obelisks, with the other 8 being blank.

Great if you want to build a chunky obelisk with only a handful of outward facing sides, but a fully detailed plate option would be ideal!

Absolute tool

Every artist has their “aha” moment when it comes to new tools. Mine came during this project. Specifically, “Aha, I should have bought an airbrush (and pracised with it) a year ago, because holy dicks this would have been a breeze”.

Instead, I gave myself RSI and several grumpy weeks of not being able to paint anything. Note to future self – when your wrist starts to hurt – STOP PAINTING.

Lines upon lines upon lines

I am so glad I persisted however – the overall effect is exactly what I’d hoped. I must have spent at least an evening on each block, repeating the same recipe over and over. Extremely satisfying to paint, so much so that I found it easy to get carried away into the wee hours and cramp my wrist…

  1. Generous undercoat in matt black, two or three coats in some places. MDF is thirsty for paint, so I did a few passes (letting it dry in between) to make sure it was fully saturated.
  2. Thicc line of Caliban Green
  3. Thin line of Warpstone Glow
  4. Tickle the corners and fill the shapes with Scorpion Green.

The last paint is OOP, but moot green didn’t cut it. I wanted an acidic, almost fluro yellow/green for the final stage to give it a proper glow.

The bases were textured paint, then undercoated with Zandri Dust and drybrushed with Bleached Bone, topped with cheeky grass tufts.

The colours for the base were decided before I bought the battlemat, and given they’ll most likely be deployed against this background, I’m tempted to go back over the bases and darken them down a bit to match. A project for another time, I think!

Megalith

I mentioned previously about making a huge obelisk rather than multiple smaller ones, and it’s something I’m genuinely considering for the future. For now, my existing kits can be bundled together fairly convincingly to create weird looking structures.

And, naturally, it works great at 54mm scale. Perfect for Inquisitor!

Standing Stone-Vation

Not much else to say on the painting – simple scheme, tedious to apply, but looks ace when it’s done. I bet it would have been so flippin’ easy to do with an airbrush too. Oh well, I know for next time!

On with the scale shots.

Wrapping up

What a wonderful little kit this is! Aside from some self-inflicted enthusiasm injuries, these have been a joy to build and paint. They’re ideal for all the games I play – Necromunda, Inquisitor, a few TTRPGs like Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader or Wrath and Glory, and they’re super convenient to store.

I’ve already got my eye set on some more obelisks for future projects, and I’ve got a large necron building from the same range that needs photographing, so watch this space!

I picked all these up from Wargaming Model Mods for under £20, so go toss come coins to a small independent business.

Let’s hear it for the humble obelisk!

MOTB: Twiglet tube silos

Finished product first!

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.

The prototype

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.

Totally tubular

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!

Glamour shots

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.

Oh well, live and learn!

The family photo

MOTB: Chem silo scenery

Finished product first!

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.

pakidge

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.

Internal workings

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.

Penthouse suite

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.

Finishing touches

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).

Final photos
  1. 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.

Glamour shots

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!

MOTB: Crystals

The money shot

I’ve been banging on about the Gorgon Crystals campaign a lot recently, and for it I needed some battlefield tokens to represent the.. uh… crystals. I’ve mucked about with carving crystalline structures out of plastic sprue before, but I didn’t really have the fortitude to create at least half a dozen markers out of the stuff.

Cue Bad Squiddo Games! I’ve been following their stuff for a while now, and even picked up some of their Cargo Supplies and Food Supplies kits to build my market scene (which is still lying unpainted in a box somewhere…), and knew their set of crystals would be perfect.

p a c k i d g e

I put in the order and waited. Even though it was a busy post-Christmas period, it still turned up within days of me ordering. A++ service!

p a c k i d g e

The minis came out the blister perfectly – no mould lines in sight. The only tidying I did was shaving down one or two bottoms where they’d been clipped from their sprue. A two-minute job and it’s time to hit the spray.

Blue tack woes

Now, in my haste, I didn’t give them a proper soapy bath that you should always do with resin minis. This is to clean off any releasing agent to make paint adhere better and make them a little less slippy.

I was too proud and lazy to do this – after all – what’s the worst that could happen?

Turns out, the releasing agent is basically vaseline for blue tack. I had to hold them with needle nose pliers and superglue them to paint pots because blue tack wouldn’t even pretend to hold onto them.

I kept telling myself that yes, this was a far easier and more efficient method than just doing what you’re supposed to do.

Time for the pink

I knew I wanted a purple/pink colour scheme to add that alien quality I was looking for, but I didn’t know how to paint crystals. I knew there was something funny about the direction you blend colours to make them look like prisms, but I couldn’t even begin to figure it out. Time for a tutorial!

A cursory google provided me with this great tutorial on painting gems/crystals, and I just substituted the blues for pinks and crimsons to produce an effect I was really happy with.

It was, however, quite time consuming, and I was sick of the sight of pink and purple by the end of four very long evenings of painstaking wet blending. I’m glad I did though, because I think the results speak for themselves!

They’ll appear in plenty of Inquisitor battle reports over the next few weeks, and hopefully I can get more Bad Squiddo bits to paint up in the near future, so watch this space!

MOTB: Arcane ruins

Finished product first!

I guess there’s a theme with recent MOTBs, so it’s a good time to post ruins! Truth be told, I’ve had these ruins ready for quite some time, but having only just purchased a lovely new battle mat from Pwork Games it was a great time to get some photos done.

Out with the old

I must have owned this kit for over a decade, getting dragged around between uni, house moves and all sorts. A few years ago I had a weekend spare and I wanted to finally get it from sprue to battlefield.

Original box art!

I had a tiny problem – much of the kit had been lost to the annals of time I was missing at least one whole upright pillar, the top of the monolith and at least one bit of broken pillar. I’d need to get creative.

In with the new

Luckily my pals at Hobgoblin 3D had me covered. I’d been doing some work for them and I was paid in scatter terrain (can all my paychecks be in scatter terrain please?) and I found the dungeon brazier fit perfectly in the gap at the top. Result!

I’d been using it for practising painting techniques, so it wouldn’t matter if it was getting repainted.

They were quite impressive all assembled. I’d used a cheap readymix DIY filler and smeared it all over, giving the flat edges a bit of texture and tidying up some of the more heinous mould lines.

It was a shame I was missing a few pieces, but it’s supposed to be ruins so the mismatched appearance would be fine.

Weirdly the bits I was missing the most was upright pillars, and the ones I did have tended to be two of the same half, so they didn’t fit together particularly well. Plenty of hacking and filling was needed to finish them off, and the final upright was made from two chunks of ruins glued on top of each other. It ended up with a very wonky appearance… but ruins!

The final upright didn’t have a back half at all, and with not enough pieces to bodge together a second upright, the final freestanding ruin had to be laid down. I wanted to make it look like it was being reclaimed by the earth, and I had some more plants from Hobgoblin to fill the gap and make it a more rounded piece of scatter.

With plenty more filler applied and a long drying time, it was on to the undercoat!

All white on the night

I wanted to avoid doing MORE grey ruins – my collection of terrain was 90% drybrushed grey over a black undercoat which is incredibly dull to look at. I was looking at some tutorials for painting wraithbone structures for our Rogue Trader campaign at the time and I enjoyed how striking Seraphim Sepia was over a white undercoat, so the plan was set in motion.

All dressed up

They existed for almost two years before the gaming mat was purchased, and it’s such a lovely backdrop for these minis I had to finally take some photos!

The stone was painted with washes of Seraphim Sepia and Agrax Earthshade, with progressively lighter drybrushes of boney colours, finishing on an edge highlight of pure white.

I was playing with my latest new technical too – Nihilak Oxide – to do some patina on the bronze. This was just Warplock Bronze painted straight over the bits I wanted to be metallic with the Oxide dabbed messily into the recesses. With a bit of rag, I wiped it off the most prominent edges and that was that.

The downed ruin had some extra textures to paint, namely the ground and plant. I had another half a dozen plant bits that I batch painted at the same time (more on those in another post), so this was done to replicate that. Otherwise, the ground was a dark brown base with lighter browns drybrushed over the top, with a few select grassy tufts from Army Painter.

When they’re separated, the ruins take up a decent amount of board space. I doubt they’d ever be big enough to use as a focal point, but as some LOS-breaking scatter I think they perform quite well.

Plus, the big bonus is they appear to work extremely well at both 28mm and 54mm – something that is becoming (again) increasingly important to my collection!

A final size comparison with an as-yet un-photographed mini – a Demeten Hastati. Again, more on those guys in a later post. The ruins make great cover!

Very happy with how it all came out! For a weekend’s worth of work, I got something striking and practical for the tabletop using bits that were just gathering dust. I’d been meaning to shoot them for some time, and with the new battlemat arriving, it was a great opportunity to use them as a backdrop for some other minis too.

Watch this space…

MOTB: Ryza-pattern ruins

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.

MOTB: Asteroids

Finished product first!

Big rocks – mankind’s oldest foe. As much a threat to planetsiders as to voidsmen, and despite space being really really big and really really empty, they do have a tendency to turn up in space battles quite a lot.

Given our Rogue Trader campaign is heading back out into the wilderness, we’re likely to come across all kinds of really big rocks. Why not put a few together?

I wanna rock

I’d recently acquired some cork for basing materials. When it comes to cork, a tip I received from a local hobbyist was to pop to Wilko and buy a few place mats and tear them up rather than pay loads for ‘hobby’ cork. It all comes from the same tree!

This was a quick turnaround for construction, so for all my shame I was unable to get any WIP photos of them pre-primed.

Cork is lovely to work with – you can simply gouge chunks out of it with any implement (even fingers) to create great texture. The smaller rocks were made from scraps from the larger ones, carefully vetted to avoid any flat edges.

For the big lads I glued a few slabs of cork together until they were an inch or so thick. Once thoroughly dried, I set about carving huge chunks out of them to create more realistic shapes. Again, great care was taken to avoid any obvious flat edges or glue marks. You can kind of see the ‘grain’ of the cork in the top left asteroid of the photo above, so I was keen to avoid any more of that.

In action!

The support struts were a mix of cocktail sticks for the thicker rocks and lengths of paperclip for the smaller ones. I bent a right angle at the bottom of each paperclip so there was more surface area connection, then padded it out with green stuff anyway. I build for table-play, not dis-play. Aha.

Finally, I applied plenty of textured paint into the nooks and crannies that still had grain on them.

Celestial bodies

Painting giant space rocks was, you’ll be surprised to hear, incredibly straight forward.

Primed black, drybrushed grey, then washed with Nuln Oil. Another few lighter highlights were drybrushed on, ending in almost pure white at the very top.

I did actually (for once!) look up reference images, as I couldn’t remember if asteroids were brown or not. (They’re not)

Finally, using the end of a cocktail stick, dabbed some white dots in a random pattern to simulate the infinite vastness of space (and break up the dodgy sanding job I did on the bases).

Very happy with how they came out! It’s definitely a technique I’m going to replicate in the future. I notice TTCombat has a new ‘modular space station‘ kit that is awfully tempting – perhaps some space stations built into asteroids? Or perhaps.. *gasp*.. a scale model of Mercy?

Omnissiah protect us, for that would be a mighty construction project…