Everything Old Is New Again…Also, Everything New Is…New, Still…
I have a lot of great memories of the original Necromunda cardboard scenery but also a burning desire to produce the greatest hive city ever known on the tabletop. Lucky (?) for me, there have never been so many quality science fiction scenery kits on the market as there are now…
Somewhere time and space and money will collide though, and I will have to settle…let’s just call it ‘Phase One’. The classic Necromunda look is essential for me, I couldn’t play Necromunda without those old buildings and managed to find a set in very good condition. I then grabbed a few of the new(ish) Warhammer 40, 000 scenery boxes from Games Workshop, these are just amazing and will help to make my table look superb. The plan is to upgrade the classic buildings without molesting the original in any real way, and I have a fairly doable plan. The final ingredients are a few paints, a sponge, magnets, metal bits and sharpies of varying sizes…
Just a quick aside here before I begin. Necromunda can be played in two different ways: Zone Mortalis (a claustrophobic, essentially height-less gameboard) and Sector Mechanicus (vertical height for sloppy falling deaths). The Underhive box comes with some lovely tiles, and the old-school, first edition buildings will allow my group to play both settings. This is one of my favourite features, or guiding principles of the game; there is just so much stuff it is easy to re-visit for endless play and difficult to ‘count cards’, should you be experienced tabletop gamers.
I will use a fine tip and a magnum sharpie to edge both the tiles and the old cardboard buildings. This looks great (all games with cardboard components benefit from this visually) and is a nice, easy start to what has now become two scenery projects. For ease of writing this article and because I think one is a much larger project, I will put aside the Zone Mortalis for now and focus on the Sector Mechanicus.
These buildings weren’t new but they were in very good shape, although they were glued to MDF bases, which were then flocked…with a bright green flock. No worries, it was 1995 and I can fix it. This is, in fact, the perfect time to settle on a rust colour. Necromunda is a centuries-old manufactorum world, so, think crusty industrial nightmare planet of junk and smoke-spewing pipes… everything needs rust!
From a hobby perspective, it is fun to be able to be a bit sloppy. Rust will hide everything!
I’m all about techniques that save time and look good. Sponging is one of these. I had never used sponges before painting Necromunda scenery but it provides a quick and fun finish that has multiple uses on this industrial hell world. Sponging helps to break up the surface detail and give a more splattered or organic feel.
For rust I simply chose a brown and orange paint: sponged the brown, let dry, sponge the orange. Some of the existing flock couldn’t be removed from the buildings, but that’s fine, just sponge over it and it instantly looks like the crusty sort of rust. This technique also works well for other applications. Spray paint is used quite heavily in industry and I see no reason Necromundans wouldn’t mark everything with it, also, the effect looks amazing. Just a quick sponge around the top of smokestacks, on raised details or when making danger-striping, can add to the overall look of your games. Also, I really like imagining that I’m the underpaid scummer, raised on reprocessed food and breathing reprocessed air, who is doing the spray painting. It makes me remember that competency is not the end goal of my work here.
Next is what I like to call ‘the smartest bit’ of the plan. Magnets and the awesome power of magnetizing! This serves a double purpose; I can add new cool pieces to my gaming spread without damaging the old scenery and those pieces will have enhanced playability because they can be reused in different spaces. I’m very excited.
I added magnets, either by drilling or simply gluing and then puttying, to several useful and/or cool looking parts from those GW kits. Then pieces of metal of varying size (I think these were old DBA bases and leftover hinges…) were simply danger-striped and then rusted and weathered to my liking. I tried for a fairly eclectic look here, which I will carry through the whole project. It seems fitting for the setting…and fun.
Painting and sponging bulkheads and adding some graffiti was pretty much all that was left to do. Without too much effort I have a chunk of the hive to play games in and a bit of scenery to spice things up. Overall I am really enjoying the setting and how easy it is to achieve the look of decrepit industrial junkiness.
As you can see, I assembled and painted some Orlock models while I was doing all this other stuff…so? Fight me then!- That was a fun smaller project but even now I must stop writing so I can dig through my bits boxes for enough stuff to get a good start on my Zone Mortalis boards. I’ve got an idea for a great looking set of walls and such which can be cobbled together on the cheap. See you next month when I will try and fit it all into one article…
Crusty Brushes is an Editorial Coloum from Uncle Mike, Uncle Mike is a game designer but more frequently he is a game player.
His specific sub-genre of nerd is miniature games and he boasts a large and varied collection dating back into the antiquity of gaming itself. Here he talks and talks about the things he likes.