Sunday, 17 June 2012

Necromunda - Gang WIP

Some fairly memorable things happened in 1995.

White Zombie released 'Astro Creep: 2000', some guy stole a tank and went on a rampage through the streets of San Diego and Games Workshop brought us a game about battles in the Underhive:

Whilst I moshed away to White Zombie and watched in amusement at the yank in the tank, I foolishly failed to buy a copy of Necromunda. How engrossed in Epic 40k I must have been...

Fast forward to a few months back and I took the opportunity to download the free rules on the GW website.

Whilst my sponge like hobby brain had remained up to speed with the releases and developments of the game throughout the years, reading through the rule book in earnest really made me realise what I had been missing out on. When my gaming buddies recently showed me their new Van Saar and Redemptionist inspired gangs, the touch paper had been lit.

Pen and paper in hand, I sat down and started drawing up my gang:

Half the fun of Necromunda is in giving your gang it's own identity - Defining it's individual's colourful and dangerous pasts and shaping it's future ambitions and bloody achievements.

Over the coming months I'll develop and share these with you further and take a look at the list itself and the tactics I have in mind. But for the moment, let's start at the beginning...

Not a very nice man.
This is my Gang Leader. He's a gnarly and mean son of a sewer rat and has carved out a fearsome reputation even amongst the brutal scum and villainy of the underhive.

This tyrannical and violent persona is further re-enforced by his extensive need for replacement cybernetics. Affordable and readily available in the Underhive? Not in this tech-poor excuse for a cesspit! But rather the enforced consequence of slaying a Goliath Gang Leader in a gory and bloody close quarters fight to the least that's what I plan on putting in his C.V.

Conversion wise, the cybernetic leg was sacrificed from this old Inquisitor Terminator model:

Sacrilege I tell ye! Sacrilege!

The Gang Leader's chainsword fore-arm was lifted from the SM Commander sprue and pinned onto the bicep of a bare arm taken from the Catachan Jungle Fighters. To achieve the desired arm position I hollowed out the torso at the arm joint - I'll plug the remaining gap with some green stuff at a later date.


The plasma gun was achieved by removing the bulk of the original arm's las-gun, leaving the butt and handle elements in place so that the newly cut plasma gun casing could be slid into position (you can just make out the white joint 'seam'). A shoulder strap was added for good measure.

Strap on.

Next up is one of the gang's Heavies. Unsurprisingly, he's another nasty piece of work...

Hard Case.

The plasma gun on this model was a little easier to add and was a fairly straightforward job of manipulating it into position with the model's hands.

All the heads used for the Gangers are lifted from the characterful Chaos Marauder Horsemen sprue. GW should really release a range of good quality head sculpt packs shouldn't they? (thank god for the little guy eh?). The legs are from the SM Scouts sprue - helping to give the gangers more physical presence.

And here is one of the gangers:

'Look! It's only Carmen bloody Electra!'

And finally for now, here is one of the Juves:

Kids with guns...

To help distinguish the Juves from the more senior gang members, I've opted to use the standard Catachan Jungle Fighter legs and heads. (The overtly muscly arm sculpts aside) the legs and heads are less bulky in scale and help further emphasise the Juve's yet to be developed physical and metaphorical stature within the gang.

Next time we'll look at the rest of the gang and start preparing them for their first true battle within the Underhive!


  1. Great looking crew! Looking forward to seeing these painted. :oD

    I do feel that it's a pity that you went for the "optimal" loadout weapons-wise though... It kinda highlights Necromunda's worst aspect: lack of real balance between options that are often freely available. Van Saar and Orlock get huge benefits thanks to their skillsets (and Escher are pretty good too if you have lots of terrain), and picking reliable but powerful weapons like lasguns, plasmaguns and autopistols helps to reinforce that. Some autoguns, shotguns, mauls, stubguns and grenades all help to add character even if they are not too reliable/optimal. Many of these guns are now readily available through the Dark Vengeance cultists, who also happen to make very good House Cawdor, and are cheap to purchase too!

    Next up, it is highly recommended that you ignore the House weapon lists in the downloadable PDF of the rules. Aside from the gang member weapon restrictions (eg, special weapons on Leaders and Heavies only, or Juves get only pistols and CC weapons only for example), the House-specific lists are a poor change from the original 1995 rules that are quite lop-sided in their fairness.

    Lastly, if you want smaller muscular arms suitable for hand weapons and pistols on your Juves, check out the WHFB Empire Flagellants. The Flagellants also make a good basis for Redemptionists, Scavvies and the occasional Wyrd Beastmaster hired gun... ;0)

  2. Thanks bud! your right, they desperately need a paint job! (so many other projects on the go at the moment, but they'll get there...)

    In hindsight I think you're right re: choosing Van Saar / double plasma gun. Before I begun building the gang, I'd spent too many weeks trawling the web and being sucked into list optimisation. This may have sucked some of the good ol' Necromunda character out of the project? And I think your right about the down n' dirty character weapons like shot guns and auto guns will bring...

    Great shout on DV Cultist, revised weapon lists and smaller muscly arms! - All very helpful advice!

    On a slightly related note, have you played the Judge Dredd Miniatures Game from Mongoose? I'm thinking of taking the plunge and it has similarities to Necromunda... :)

  3. I do have JDMG (backed the KS too...), but I think Necromunda is actually more *fun*. Plus you can still have both Enforcers and Arbites if you need a Dredd fix.

    Regarding the game balance, Necromunda just gets out of whack very fast because something as trivial as +1BS is huge when you're rolling a D6 and scoring between 2-6 for a hit. I mean, BS3 against a model in light cover (-1 to hit) is improved about 50% in accuracy as soon as you get a bump to BS4! After just a few games (three? four?), if your injuries are low and you are playing a more "optimised" list, you will likely be very hard to beat by greener or less optimised gangs.

    One of the things I never understood, was why GW saw fit to leave the game based around a D6! That's partly why a small stat boost here or there can have such a big impact - because one point might represent a literal 30% raw increase in many of your key stats!

    Anyway, I do love Necromunda despite my grumblings, and always recommend that folks try to have a decent amount of variety in their weapons too. Playing in the spirit of a violent criminal gang helps as well. ;oP

  4. Very interesting with regards to Necromunda's game balance and the impact of the D6 / small stat boosts having a considerable impact. I suppose the D6 may have been a 'sign of the times', what with D10s / 20s being the preserve of role-playing games? Not like games developers' modern, liberalized, cutting edge attitudes to game mechanics these days ;)

    Agree that games like Necromunda will always provide the best thrills when driven by a strong narrative - Particularly when imagining your lads stomping rival gang face in, with merciless abandon!

    The Judge Dredd itch is still persisting... I'm interested as to where Mongoose's partnership with Warlord will take the game (Removal of free rules, to a print only format, will probably be the first decision ;).

    A crew from the Cursed Earth are piquing my interest - lots of versatility and character etc. The only reservation I have is that I'm not that inspired by the CE minis, so I've been thinking about creating some out of GW figs / mutant bits. They could also serve a double purpose as a Scavvie Gang for games of Necromunda...

  5. Well, GW used to do all the old JD figures waaay back when they had the licence (along with a lot of other licences...). You might be able to score some of the old Citadel Dredd figs on EBay if you fancy them as an alternative?

    Also, Foundry do a range of Dredd figs. The scales across the Mongoose and Foundry ranges are both inconsistent internally and with each other though, so be warned!

    But a lot of what makes Necromunda "good" is that it takes the best bits from a lot of other games/worlds - like taking Scavvies and Arbites from JD for example. Or having everybody live in giant cities where life for all but the privileged few is pretty desperate and violent crime is rife. ;0)

    By all means try the game yourself - if you fancy it, why not? But be prepared for a lot of rough edges, both with the rules and the models. I mean no disrespect to Mongoose, but as a *game* it feels much more like a fan-made effort, and much less professional (!) than something like Necromunda.

    Also note that Warlord are only going to be casting up the figs and distributing this for Mongoose; the final decisions will still go to Mongoose as they are the current licence-holder for the miniatures game and have a long and established relationship with 2000AD.

    As for the Necromunda rules... They are fine really insofar as their mechanics go. But they are based on 2nd edition 40k; and that was not a system designed for model advancement. That's where Necromunda mostly failed I think; as a game it should have had more freedom to change things as it needed to (however major or minor those changes were). I mean, they used to use other dice for other games (like Advanced Heroquest, which was D12-based) for that very reason... So why not Necro? =0)

    One last thing; if your books are in as sorry a state as most people's, or if you only had the current "Underhive" set of rules (that was/is free on the GW website), do yourself a favour and grab the full set of original rules in hardback format from EBay. They generally run around £15ish including postage for a decent copy, and are a worthwhile purchase (not least because they won't fall apart on you like the books that shipped with the original game/Outlanders expansion did!). The hardback also has the full rules for the Outlanders supplement it too, which is even better.


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