West Side Story 1
If you are unfamiliar with West Side Story, it was the modernization of Romeo and Juliette done in the 50s. To make it more accessible it featured street gangs, musical numbers and dance ensembles. Needless to say, this resulted in the greatest mockery of gangs until the 80s rolled around and numerous movies took it even further. I think Mad Max has given the weirdest version of a dark future and the most laughable villains. This was so much a factor, that it heavily influenced Games Workshop in designing their “grim-dark” future. I have given this brief history lesson as I believe I have surpassed that level of ridiculous with my Necromunda gang.
I have done this project to show the local club how easily a gang can be converted and get some interest. So although my guys are a bit comical, it is to keep in character with the theme of the game…and make them blend in with my other gang models.
To start off with, I had to know where I wanted to go. So I quickly built a gang using the latest version of the game – the Necromunda Community Edition rules. I wanted a mix of melee and shooting as I know going one-sided is a good way to lose. I also knew I wanted to use a flame thrower. First I had the bits from another kit and second they are just a silly weapon in the game. From there I also wanted a good firebase to do shooting so I found the shooty-est gun my leader could have and gave it to him. I also combed my bits box and found lots of heavy bolter bit…another really good shooty gun. This gave my gang two guys with a lot of firepower. I fiddled with numbers and came up with a 9 person gang, including a juve (pledge, not a fully indoctrinated member), and 5 gangers. I intended to use the Catachan Jungle Fighters box set as they all have headbands (in character for the Orlock gang) and no body armour.
The first model I built was the flamer. I didn’t think it was lining up properly, so I cut the fuel line intending to sculpt it back later. After glue was curing and I fiddled with the back pack more, I realized it would have lined up.
Oh well. I chose a torso with a vest as the arms have sleeves and shoulder pads. Once painted, this will give the roadwarrior look of a leather jacket with metal shoulder pads. The head has been repositioned since this picture was taken.
The next model I chose was the leader. I had traded bits to get a giant Ork pistol (yes that is a pistol for another model) and converted him to hold it. All in all, I think he looks pretty badass. Why his arm is on top? Well I mis-measured and the hand couldn’t hold underneath. So I chopped the wrist and had him caressing his gun. Or maybe he is fighting the recoil pulling it up. Or he is just trying to look intimidating…I’m not sure. This pic was taken before I repositioned his hand as the wrist was slightly out of alignment. And yes, that is medieval leg armour. The bits and bobs make the character for these guys. Plus, I knew I was already going to have metal armour with the shoulder pads.
For the heavy bolter, I had to do the most work. I had to chop off hands to match the grip and build a swivel handle our out a knife handle and plastic rod. The final version does have a metal gauntlet sculpted to cover the giant hand and the ammo belt was shortened by one round: the last bullet actually raised the model up.
I chose the shouting face as this giant gun will definitely be a rush to fire. He also has a pistol as with how ammunition works in the game, he will only fire the thing once most games.
For the other gangers I chose a mix of shooting a melee. The weapons have come from a variety of sources including fantasy models and very old school guns kicking around. The sword was a more involved conversion as I chopped hands from arms to match up the grip I needed to give him a pair of swords. I am not sure if he is more or less scary than the guys with the over-sized guns, but I am happy with the pose and facial expression.
The game itself starts with a pre-determined number of “Credits” to build your gang. As the gang progresses you can earn more credits to recruit more gang members or give them better equipment. The gang consists of 9 models right now, but I will grab a few more to build some options for gang progression. This gang is very diverse in capabilities with a lot of firepower at range and some ability to fight in close quarters. This is not the final stage of the gang. In fact all the green-stuff work I have done gives them the 80s style hair and silliness plus the fixing of a few gaps and details. I am sure I will convert more as time progresses as these guys make good fodder for two of my 40k armies (either Chaos Cultists or Guardsmen) and are just fun to build. The only frustrating thing with this build is that I couldn’t find my old Necromunda bits. I have a couple of sprues of various pistols and rifles that would have saved a bit of time. On the other hand, my autogun conversion will have an EO-Tech sight (red dot) and will look pretty cool (even if a bit plain unpainted).
Hopefully this post inspired you today, if nothing else it gives you an idea of how you can mash together various kits to make your own piece of 80s nostalgia.