+ conceptinload: Iron Sleet Invitational +

+ Iron Sleet Invitational II – The Thorne Moons +

+ The chaps over at the ever-inspirational Iron Sleet [+noospheric inloadlinkembedded+] have thrown open their region of space for other blogstronauts to explore. Their evocative setting is the Thorn Moons [+noospheric inloadlinkembedded+], which they summarise as 
[T]he Thorn Moons are a secluded region in the Crataegus Fragmentum, an area that has been cut off from the Imperium of Man for ten millen[n]ia. A route from Terra was only recently discovered, and still passage is uncertain and can take anywhere from a few months to decades. The Moons themselves are a cluster of over a hundred astronomical bodies, orbiting an incalculable center of gravity. Whatever caused the Thorn Moons to be rediscovered now, can only be guessed at.
+ More information on the Invitational can be found here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], but suffice to say that entrants have been asked to:
Study humanity in the eternal war – the imperial guard and its many regiments sent to bring the moons to compliance, their rogue brethren set to burn all, the Thorn Moons twists in their corrupted millions and Green Mechanicvm and their planetary defense skitarii in desperate defense of their realms, the human foot soldiers of the inquisition in their esoteric glory… 
Build and paint five human sized models that beautifully and fittingly describe the humble human in the galactic war and show of your original ideas and understanding of the Warhammer 40000 universe.

+++

+ Acedia Desmesnes +

+ Those of you familiar with my take on 40k will know that I'm a big fan of the Imperial Guard as they best sum up the 'pathetic aesthetic' of the universe – that is; imagery that champions 'making do with what is' and the abandonment of ambition and idealism in favour of pragmatism and resignation.  It's a concept that runs right through 40k – best summed up in the thought for the day: for every battle honour, a thousand heroes die alone, unsung and unrememebered. +

There's a rather good thoughtpiece from the LA Times here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] that does a good job of summarising the concepts behind the pathetic aesthetic; but suffice to say that what we're doing here is looking at all the little people who pop up in the background of artworks – the thousand souls that provide the contrast for the heroic Space Marines and puissant monsters of the universe. +

+ So, with this in mind, I got my conceptulising-cogs a-whirring. I'v always liked the sheer variety of the guard, and a PCRC campaign of a year or so ago saw me make a few one-off models to represent the many regiments of the Antona Australis [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] sector:

Metis Light Foot infantryman

Lieutenant of the Aldebaran Regiments

Blenheim 2nd Expeditionary


Throngsman of Biffi-Clylon

Lamb's Worlder

Selenian Outernaut

 The underlying idea of this was similar (though less ambitious!) in some ways to the Invitational; though the examples I've posted above are more conservative in style than what I imagine will turn up through in the Thorn Moons. This is lucky for me, as I've been starting to explore the more grotesque possibilities of 40k through Court of the Sun King [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], and being able to combine the two in one small project seems like a great opportunity. +

+ Theoretical: Starting points +

+ I like to start by putting a few parameters in place for myself. The Invitational is pleasingly open, and I find that can lead to moving away from actually 'answering the question'. So, while I haven't given myself hard limits, I have looked at a few loose boundaries to help give me a focus:
  • Human
  • Pathetic aesthetic
  • Underdogs
  • Fitting for the Thorn Moons
  • Story is King – a guideline from Iron Sleet itself
+ From reading around the Invitational, I saw three main possibilities – a group from the Thorn Moons themselves, a group from the invading Imperial Guard, or a group of Inquisitorial troopers. All would have to be human – though defining that concept in 40k is itself a very broad canvas! +

+ I suspect that the defenders of the Thorn Moons will see a lot of wildly creative and inventive pieces; as will the Inquisitorial forces. Sticking with my boundaries, then, I want to see what I can do with the most 'normal' option – the Imperial Guard invaders; as I think these will be the least popular option, and I've always liked the underdog. +

+ Of course, in 40k terms, normal isn't shorthand for being unambitious; nor does it translate to 'vaguely sci-fi soldiers'. In an Imperium of a million worlds and billions of military traditions – some of which have evolved and developed for ten thousand years – there is no such thing as a default for the Imperial Guard. +

+ Theoretical: Na Phom +


+ One thing I've never tried with my Guardsmen is a swamp style of warfare; but it's one I've flirted with over the years – Cambylon and Veet Ling; planets involved in the Court of the Sun King project, were to involve swamp-fighters. This seems a great chance to scratch the itch. +

+ What would a force sent to fight on the Thorn Moons be like? The sense of cyclical creation and decay is an important theme for the region – I get the sense of a warm, roiling, turbulent and vivacious sector; so it seems fitting for the invaders to represent the opposite – a cold, frigid, reactionary and dependable counterpoint. That seems to fit with the existing narrative – Space Wolves and their allies fit that description to a tee. +

+ So, to fit those concepts together, I've created the Nor of Na Phom; a warrior-caste from a culture of stultifying, oppressive resistance to change. Their world is mostly covered with foetid swampland and open moors, full of corruption and disease. In order to survive, the settlers – far back in the depths of history – turned to malchemistry and gene-manipulation, forcibly carving out great chunks of their own DNA in order to create a specialised – in their view – 'perfected' human stock, highly resistant to mutation, and illness. +

+ Of course, this being the Dark Millennium, I can't simply let them be superhumans. The fallout of such alterations were simple – by removing ingress for disease, the Na Phom condemned themselves to an eternity of changelessness and facelessness. While not strictly clones, the DNA of the populace is so restricted and limited that most look alike. The world suffers from genetic instability and low birth viability, and is harshly divided into a caste system, maintained to keep the limited breeding pool genestock divided and thus partially viable. +

+ Secondly, while the humans were able to save themselves, their livestock were not so lucky. As domesticated animals failed to adapt, and limited understanding prevented the populace from adapting them, one group of animals after another fell extinct. During the Dark Age of Technology, therefore, the missing animal groups were hardbred from humans; creating variant morphs to fill various roles. +

+ Being naturally resistant to swamp-borne illnesses, and close enough in genetic stock to enable retrovirals to be rapidly synthetised, the Nor Na Phom made an obvious choice to accompany the expeditionary fleet to the roiling worlds of the Thorn Moons. +

+ Practical: The Nor of Na Phom +

+ My group, then, is going to consist of one Martinet (an individual with breeding rights), three Gelds (the regular infantry) and a Unman (a steed). I hope to have some time to work on them tonight, so hopefully a pic-inload in the morning. +

+ inload: The Sleep of Reason – first Night Lords Claw

+ The Sleep of Reason +


Commissioned as another Shadow War: Armageddon team, I had a lot of freedom in design and layout, which I always appreciate. A very enjoyable challenge, this mini-project had me diving into the Night Lords, a Legion that I've never really looked at in much detail. I've aimed to give each of the models a sense of individuality but keep a sense of ochesion – the VIIIth might owe as much to gang culture as modern military concepts, but I wanted to be sure they all remained immediately identifiable as Night Lords, with the individual character coming out through a closer look. 

To do this, then, I scribbled down a few key concepts that made me think of Night Lords – judgement, horror, and so forth – and then built models using those concepts as touchstones. I wanted to nod to the classic bat-helms and similar terror markings, but to rein them in and make them a little more practical. You'll spot that one of the group has some budding wing/horns on his helm, picked out in a muted red. Another has a trophy rack that gives him a bat-winged silhouette, but leaves his helm free. Similarly, the terror markings appear on all of them, but vary. Rather than painted masks, the markings are either sculpted armour – ribs on Fidanza, a custom helm on Avellon – and lots and lots of severed body parts, from ears to feet, strewn over the figures.

Aaron Dembski-Bowden's influence is, predictably, not far from the surface. I enjoyed the adventures of Talos and First Claw so much, but I I felt it would be a better homage – and more personal to the commission – if I used the concepts behind his characters as a springboard to develop a group of my own. The concept of the red hands of censure was a real temptation, for example, but I decided to riff on the idea of gang status it suggests and instead run with honorific skinning knives, which appear on every figure. Thanks for the inspiration, A D-B! Hope you approve.

I hope the owner is very happy with them; I certainly am.

+ 'Kivigilitha Ve Zah Jass.' +


+ With few of the trappings and advanced equipment of their loyalist brethren, experience and a willingness to use scavenged armour and weaponry makes this group of Night Lords – a warband styling itself The Sleep of Reason – as versatile and deadly at the end of a long campaign as at the beginning. +

+ The four collected here operate as a squad or 'Claw'; and are unified by shared aims – symbolised by the poison daggers they wear as a crude gang-sign – and, perhaps, by fragmented recollections of a lost dream that they bitterly wish to spoil for those 'still sleeping'. +

+ Their battlecry – or perhaps more accurately, the last phrase whispered to their victims – is Kivigilitha Ve Zah Jass – which loosely translates to 'We bring A Rude Awakening'. +



+ Shullat Avellon (judgement) +


 + Representing what remains of the VIIIth Legion's original aims, Avellon acts as the unifying figure of the group. Through dominance and tactical ability, he is begrudgingly regarded as – if not the leader, for the warband bristles as such terms for all save their warlord – at least first-amongst-equals. Perhaps more importantly to the Claw, he is a neutral party, whose decisions ensure the others can indulge their predilictions. +

Gaining the lion's share of the spoils of war, his armour is good quality, largely (thought not wholly) unmarked by the taint of chaos. He bears echos of the trappings of rank – a trophy rack in place of a banner, a defiled tilt shield from a defeated enemy (or rival), and an artificer-modified terror helm. Despite his status, the collar of his breastplate is raised – all the better to ward off a blade at the neck. +


+++

+ Creo Fidanza (arrogance)+


+ Such is Fidanza's belief in the inherent superiority of the Astartes that his fighting style is swaggering and ostentatious; deliberately alerting the enemy once there is no escape for them. After all, the prey should spend their last moments in fear, not ignorance. +


His armour, a well-maintained hybrid of mark IV and scavenged mark VII plates, is thus embellished and decorated with ritual terror markings; not least of which are his flamboyant trophy racks, which cast an inhumanly long, bat-eared silhouette. +



+++

Isimud Vologda (horror)


 + Colossal, debilitating, overwhelming horror is the Night Lords' modus operandi. For some, it was less a strategy and more an art to be savoured. For Vologda, it became an obsession. +

 + Tactical expediency and teamwork simply does not factor into his crystally straightforward mind; merely the act of spreading individual terror. Draped in skins and pelts, covered with chains and trophies, Vologda's method of waging war is plain and simple; and always, always, secondary to his true aim – sadistic, systematic and excruciating murder. +

With a talent for infiltration and stealth, he usually operates at the forefront of the team – all the better to scatter and unnerve the defenders for the others to terrorise; and all the less likely that his individualism will compromise the team. +


+++

+ Basmu Seachild (dishonourable conduct) +


+ The only non-Nostraman of the group, face-to-face conflict is anathema to Basmu Seachild, recruited to the Claw many centuries after the Legion Wars. Why confront the enemy head-on when you can finish them before they know there's a threat? A creeping, lurking and knife-strewn monster in the dark is how Seachild prefers to operate; his movements sinuous, coiling, and silent. +

Barring a Mark IV helm; only now beginning to warp under the influence of his incipient voidcraft, he wears a relatively crude suit of Mark V armour – the best he can hope for as the junior member of the team. +




+++


+ inload: #PolyphyRises – Ecce +

+ An invitation +

+ You may have noticed that the top bar of this blog is getting increasingly crowded. Recently I have added an invitation to join in with the Court of the Sun King by populating Cepheus. Have a look, and if you'd like to join in, I'd be delighted. +

If you're on mobile, there'll be a little button at the top right to click to move away from the Active Feed and find the project tabs, but if it's playing up, try this [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] to take you right to the heart of the action. 

+ I'll be adding a few prompts or kicking-off points every so often, but do feel free to do what you want to on the backwater world. +

+ The first of these loose ideas is as follows:


A handful of Sky

All of the figures in my project are identified by card in a mythical traditional Cephean deck; the suits of which are Beasts, Cups, Collars, Hands and Suns. Roll a D6 to discover the suit.

Suit
  • 1 Cups – symbolising enjoyment, civilisation, comfort.
  • 2 Suns – symbolising glory, life/death, royalty.
  • 3 Hands – symbolising manual labour, intrigue, integrity.
  • 4 Beasts – symbolising nature, horror, fruitfulness.
  • 5 Collars – symbolising acceptance, resignation, clarity of sight.
  • 6 Tarot – a unique creation.
Next, roll a D20 to find a number. Numbers above 10 are face cards – above 14 and the suit becomes inverted: start counting back down – sixteen is thus the Queen inverted. Inverted suits begin to represent the inversion of their symbols. Inverted hands, for example, symbolise corruption, idleness and polemicism.
+ Feel free to use this or ignore it for your first Cephean figure(s). +

+ If you'd like to use a hashtag, try #PolyphyRises to tie back in. +

+++

+ Ecce: the Sun King's coterie +


+ A (long-delayed) continuation of an inload covering the WIP stages of the figures [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], the Eight of Clubs and Four of Suns mark another two members of the Sun King's own group, Ecce. Dernledger (the regular human) is the finished version of a concept mooted in the very first inload of this blog [+noospheric inloadlibnk embedded+]. He represents the Soldier archetype detailed there. Along with the Rubricist and the Autoscribe, that's three of the figures completed... +

+ I don't think the final paintwork is my best work, but sometimes it's better to leave things as they are and move on. In the grand scheme of things, I think they're perfectly acceptable, and have a little robust charm. +


+ What I am pleased with is that Dernledger seems to have captured the spirit of the Court of the Sun King project. Ruffed and uniformed, he's also dirty, desperate and slightly lost-looking. +



+ Threack is similarly brutally opulent – mostly due to the gloriously baroque sculpting of Bob Olley. His sculpts are always a pleasure to paint, rewarding a wandering and playful painting style. +



+ A hint of Adam Ant, Bladerunner and Sláine pops up with the addition of facial paint. Freehand details like this can suggest the wearer's culture – Threack might be dressed up like a fourpenny rabbit, but his tattoos and choice of weapon are facets of his own upbringing. Stuff like this helps me feel the figures – however minor to the story – have their own part to play, and often lead down a rabbit-hole of inspiration. +

+ The Sun King's sigil – a blazing, rising sun – is also marked on the new figures. Both the sigil and the warpaint are motifs that have popped up on other members (known or unwitting) of Ecce:


Two of Beasts: Thorna Tempest [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]
Four of Cups: Vanya de la Oawadh [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]


King of Collars: Sebastian Ottavus Arcimboldo [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]


+++



+ inload: Sephran Mawl – villainy in the 41st Millennium +

+ The Sünñe Çyng +



+ Every good hero needs a good villain, and Unfortunus Veck's nemesis is (in my opinion at least) the most compelling character I've ever been able to come up with. +

+ He's serves as a mirror to Unfortunus Veck himself [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]; but as Inquisitors aren't exactly shining paladins of light, his nemesis is equally a rather ambiguous and mercurial character. +

+ Polyphy. Sciriusc. Sephran Mawl. + 

+ Sephran Mawl popped up way back in 2008 [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] as a mention in the PCRC's Mellissan Secession campaign. The campaign itself fizzled, but the idea of a beloved and heroic general starting to disobey orders in order to wage a more efficient, pragmatic war; and one less costly in terms of his soldiers' lives, got my mind turning over. +

+ Over time, Sephran Mawl began to develop into a character who would do anything to advance human influence from the Sector (and, in theory, the galaxy); with little respect or recourse for the demands or traditions of the Imperium – not a renegade so much as simply bypassing the usual channels. Such a character is not unusual, even in 40k, but Mawl is not merely a rebel; he is, in terms of the Sector, a visionary. +

+ At root, Sephran Mawl is a great believer in humanity. In many settings, he'd be the hero. He invigorates and encourages his followers, believes in defending the weak, and has a charismatic and compelling personality. Pragmatic enough to disobey orders and wily enough to avoid sanction, he is capable, energetic, resourceful and charming. Sephran Mawl has, over the course of a decade, managed to rally the resources of three planets (Veet Ling and Camyblon in the Cambyses system [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+], and Cepheus in Port Cassian [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]) and extended his influence over countless more. +

+ However, he is also a high-functioning psychopath; owing as much to Colonel Kurtz and Hannibal Lecter as to Alexander the Great and the Emperor Constantine. He is both willing and capable of infiltrating and manipulating those around him in order to advance his cause, and – if he believes the sacrifice is worth it – is more than willing to commit genocide; as witnessed on the atomic wastelands of Cambylon and the events on Cepheus [+exloadref: Court of the Sun King++

+ Even within the Warhammer 40,000 universe, he's very much the sort of chap who ends up in the Inquisition. His philosophies – of a manifest human destiny and the supremacy of man – tally closely to the Monodominants, and his methods are much the same as the Recongregators. +


+ So why is Unfortunus Veck after him? +

+ Sephran Mawl and Unfortunus Veck represent what I consider the two options for humanity in the Warhammer mythos. Veck symbolises authority. Oppressive and watchful, his galaxy would see absolute control (and safety) at the expense of humanity's creative urges and spiritual potential. On the flip side, Mawl represents freedom – the opportunity to pursue your own destiny and right to privacy; though not without danger. +

+ In short, they represent authoritarianism against liberalism; fear against hope; worldliness against naivety; cynicism against romanticism; and, ultimately, law against chaos. That's got obvious connotations in the 40k universe, but I wanted Mawl to be more than just a caricatured megalomaniac, pursuing pure power for selfish means. The moral grey areas of the Inquisition are far more interesting to me, as they let us explore real-world considerations of right and wrong, how opposing philosophies can both have appealing and repulsive aspects; and how appealing or trusted ideas can be revealed to have unintended consequences. +

+ This is all quite heavy for a game of toy soldiers, but I hope that when you read the Court of the Sun King, on some issues you will side with Veck, on others with Mawl. They're not intended as goodies and baddies; except in concert with each other. Both would be horrendous monsters in the real world, but when you see what Papakakek Pemeras (remember that name!) is bringing to Cepheus, you might see why they have to make tough choices! +

+ My intention is for the project to explore Veck and Mawl's relationship, not to follow either character arc to completion – the end result of that is Mawl discovering the Fell Powers (like most inhabitants of the Imperium, he's largely unaware of them) and either becoming a spawn or daemon prince; while Veck either succeeds in apprehending Mawl or dies. For me, it's far more interesting to have them dance within the moral grey area than to give a neat answer. +

+++

+ Making the model +

+ I rather had the wind knocked out of me with Sephran Mawl's model. I'd spent ages planning and creating Sciriusc the Sun King (that is, a pseudonym for Sephran Mawl in his augmetic heirloom power armour) only for Games Workshop to reveal the Stormcast Eternals the following month. The enormous plate-armoured figures with impassive masks just made Mawl – who I think was quite an interesting and distinctive model – look derivative. + 

+ With a year or two having passed by, I've come back around to him. Sure, he's no longer as striking and impressive as I felt he was when I made him, but he's a solid model, nonetheless. After all, look how many wonderful conversions have been based on the Nurgle Champion! The pose – had raised in a mercurial gesture that might suggest the offering of hope as much as a raised threat – is strong, and the distinctive banner should help him stand out as something a bit special. However this model turns out, I have a feeling I'll return to Mawl in the future – perhaps in his guise as Polyphy. +

+ The conversion itself was deceptively complex, as it involved a hell of a lot of removal of detail and reshaping of the distinctively chaotic armour. The silhouette remains sinister – I want him to look impressive and opulent, but subtly evil-looking. I left the detail on his left shoulder pad as I want to incorporate the hands of the Cephean card deck I created for the project (cups, suns, hands, beast, collars); that pad represents the suit of Beasts. +

+ In terms of painting, I'm going to avoid metallics. I want to distance the figure from Stormcast, and I already have a Blood Angels Captain to paint in opulent gold. I'm toying with oranges and pale greens for the Sun King Sciriusc, as these will complement the overall palette for the project. +


+ inload: Adeptus Titanicus – Legio Sumer +

+ Legio Sumer + 

_Strike the first rune upon the engine's casing employing the chosen wrench. Its tip should be anointed with the oil of engineering using the proper incantation when the auspices are correct.  _Strike the second rune upon the engine's casing employing the arc-tip of the power-driver.  _If the second rune is not good, a third rune may be struck in like manner to the first.  _This is done according to the true ritual laid down by Scotti the Enginseer.  _A libation should be offered.  _If this sequence is properly observed the engines may be brought to full activation by depressing the large panel marked "ON"

+++

The hall echoed to the sounds of industry. Restless turbines roared, sirens rang out intermittently, and the ring of hammer on metal – a steady, mechanically perfect beat – was, quite literally, deafening. Stummers built into her augmetics kept her ears from being damaged, but she could feel the rolling, endless noise as physical pressure. Rolling her shoulders, she continued her walk down the Via Diluvian; the great arched corridor into which the Titan hangars opened. 

Ignatzya looked about her as she walked, trying to keep her pace measured and dignified. Quite aside from the noise – the hall was overwhelming. Colossal pistons paced inexorably up and down, brightly-turned-out serfitores and overseers scuttled about, delivering, repairing or retrieving armaplas elements and piping, and great banners – many tens of yards long – moved reverently in the heat that arose from the minor forges. As the great piston nearest her reached its nadir, a slam of air pressure made her torso shake even as her group was swallowed up in the mist it released.

The cloud flashed with the oranges and reds and neon greens of the industrious hall, and Ignatzya breathed in the acrid-sweet flavour of burnt zinc and oil.

+++

It carried her back to the Arvus that had carried her – years before – from the orbital to the Field of Portonus, where she would be harnessed and trained. As the door had opened, her blood was up. She was half-turned, in a crouch that was part wariness, part readiness to fight. As the air equalised between the shuttle and the new planet, she had been enveloped in a similar swathe of mist, similarly lit from without by mysterious coloured flashes.

As that cloud had cleared she had taken her first breath of the air of Slav Nasr. Titan-forge. Not the world of her birth; but then, the qualifications to become a Godrider necessitated a net thrown wide: system-wide.

+++

As they marched out of the cloud, she saw a rank of perhaps two dozen Princeps and Moderati a hundred yards or so in front of her group. The senior crew's backs were to the advancing helots, and they were swathed in their own cloud – this bleeding from the great censers swaying from the augment-Magi. The figures were ranged in front of a God-machine's head, which was underlit by stablights, suspended on colossal chains above the altar. 

Ignatzya's chest tightened and her pulse began to race as Princeps Berossus turned to watch her and the others close. She clenched her teeth to dismiss any nervousness, her hands closing into fists. 

She would be part of the crew of a Titan. Godrider. World killer.

+++

+ Sons of the Temple +


+ I've been collecting various Titan crew models for a few years now. They're unlikely to ever take the field in 40k, but would make for great Inquisimunda/Inq28 personalities. The main reason I've been collecting them, however, is simply because they're lovely models, and I fancy painting them up as a set. Since there's not that many of them – I think a dozen or so in total, it's a realistic ambition for me to try to collect the whole range over the next few years; something I've never really tried before. +

+ Anyway, with an updated Adeptus Titanicus coming out, I wanted to develop a background for my own Titan Legion from scratch. I've started with their homeworld Slav Nasr, jewel of the Antona Australis sector. It is a Forge World and home to the so-called Sons of the Temple, the Legio Sumer, under Princeps Senioris Berossus. +

+ inload: Inspiration, idea and resources for 40k, Inq28 and Inquisimunda +

+ A source of ideas and inspiration +


+ A quick inload to say that the Antona Australis page of this blog has gone up – you can see it in the bar above, so click and have a look. +

+ Sector Antona Australis is a resource the PCRC – our gaming group – has built and uses to inform and inspire our games. The name is faux-Latin for Southampton, where most of us met. +

+ Of course, one of the great things about the hobby is sharing, so I'd like to invite you to explore the sector and see if anything sparks an idea for you games, or perhaps inspires a model or a warband. If it does, please let us know – or better still, send us a picture or two. +

+ The sector is fairly capacious, so if you're ever stuck for an idea in your 40k or skirmish games like Inq28 or Inquisimunda, try exploring and see where it leads. There are literally hundreds of settings and story threads for you to pull on and follow. +



+ I'll leave you to dive through the [+noospheric inloadlink+] and wish you luck. Remember, it's a big sector, and whatever happens, you will not be missed...! +

+ inload: Scenery building for Necromunda +

+ Scenery for Golgotham +

This one's name was Viggsy Carbolic, a verti-docker working the breach from the filtration districts down to where the Chemsalt Opens began. Every morning he woke up to the distant cry of ratowls out over the cavernous sea chambers; eyes sore, muscles tight across his back.

Muscle. That's what Carbolic could provide. He'd be introduced to me as a useful man to have in a tight spot; ex-ganger, ex-dealer, ex-enforcer – in-house, of course; the 'Ficials wouldn't have taken a second-look at him – and ex-criminal. 

'That's a lot of exes,' I'd commented, when we'd met at last. His scarred old face had pulled up into that sad, distant half-smile I'd later remember him by.

'You should meet the ex-wives.' 

I'd grinned. In truth, Carbolic was over-the-hill – an old man of nearly thirty, and already showing the greying skin of oxide build-up that takes us all in Water IV. Still, there was something about him; and the Throne alone knew that I couldn't afford to turn down a proper ganger; not when the rest of the block was skinny, excitable juves and a few loosescrews who couldn't make ends meet elsewise.

'So why the change of heart, Carbolic? What makes you want to get back into the game?'

Again, that sad smile. He didn't catch my eye; kept looking down at the pitted old table.

'You don't choose gang life, Fito. Gang life chooses you.'


+++

+ Water filtration district +

+ A small gathering of the PCRC at the weekend saw us beavering away to build some terrain for the upcoming release of Necromunda. +

+ Between Warmtamale, grahamgilchrist and myself, we've put together a very dense little 2 x 2 board – or more likely, enough to cover a 4 x 4 in a more practical fashion. +



+ The core of the water filtration district is one of the individual Sector Mechanicus boards that GW sell for their Armies of Parade event. A swift bit of hacksawing down one side of the road gave us an imposingly large wall [+vis-ref above+], which we then built up into a box with a spot of impromptu carpentry. +


+ The concept for the piece is a water-processing facility; one of thousands in the hive. Wickerwater, in the Vice IC district, has been loudly chugging away for the past four millennia or so, converting chemsalt- (and worse) polluted water that condenses and trickles and collects down the hive into potable (well, 'potable') water for the industrotech workers nearby. +


+ There's still a lot to do – greebling on the 'top deck', tidying, and of course painting, but we're really pleased at it so far. +



+ The underlying structure is essentially a huge pipe that just out of the wall, passes in front of the huge aquila – for, after all, the water must be purified spiritually as well as physically. +




+ We wanted to create a sense of 'monolithic claustophobia' – huge basic structures that are covered in a tangled wormery of pipes and walkways that have grown up like weeds over the centuries, so we included bits from a variety of sources to give a hotch-potch feel of varied tech-levels. +

+ Timber repairs – perhaps once temporary, but now as essential to the structure as anything else sit alongside the crumbling mechanical sections and dangling chains. +

+ There's a lot of height here – I think the highest point is about two foot off the surface! – which I hope will make for fun gaming. There's a balance to be struck between spectacle and playability; so a number of large chunks of the piece are separate, so that we can disguise the underlying pipework structure to a greater or lesser degree. Thus, Wickerwater will be able to double up as other areas; and is also practical for full scale 40k games, where such dense terrain is not always so desirable. +