Wednesday 24 May 2023

Traversing the Ash Wastes

The Call of the Wastes

The Nomad caravan pushes through the wasteland dunes...

I'd been holding off from starting anything new until the Imperator was finished to prevent me from getting distracted and missing my deadline.  Following the completion of my longest running project, I decided to start something entirely new as a nice reward.  Given that I recently starting playing Necromunda, what better palette cleanser than a new gang?!

Caravan of Scrap

I love the new Ash Waste Nomads gang and the thought of a tribe navigating their way across the wastes in a sort of caravan.  This gave me the idea to look at how they would travel the wastes carrying all of their belongings.

The Nomads don't have access to normal vehicles, instead opting to ride the local giant insects, wielding scavenged equipment and weapons.  I wanted to combine these aspects of the gang and so came up with the idea of them combining the local mega-fauna and a scrounged Cargo-8 trailer.

I did toy with making an entirely new creature, but in the end I opted to use the AoS Wardroth beetle as the basis for the conversion as it was roughly the right size and the beetle could conceivably exist in a desert environment.

My initial sketch was pretty close to the final miniature!

The Build

The main components of the build were:

  • 1 Wardroth Beetle
  • 1 Cargo-8 Trailer
  • 1 set of Dustback Helamite riders
  • 1 sprue of 5 Ash Waste Nomads
  • 1 Necromunda Market set
Obviously I didn't use all of the components, but if you wanted to recreate this result, you'd need all of the above kits to do it!

The Basic Cargo-8 Trailer and Beetle body were built to check sizes

Although the Beetle looks small here, once its limbs were on, it would be the perfect size

Once I had the size of the components, I cut a base and started test fitting crew

Once I had settled on the relative positions, I made an imprinted surface for the trailer with baked Sculpey

I started mocking up the tent-like tarp over the trailer

I made the rear ramp so that it could fold up acting as a gate on the Helamite pen 

I decided early on that I wanted a Helamite to be transported in the rear section of the trailer

Half of the trailer is given over to the Helamite and the other half is for junk storage with piled crates and tools

Testing out crew and loading up a critter!

I wanted a couple of features on the base and settled on a dead wild Helamite half buried in the dunes as a nice feature

I assembled the miniature, cut it apart and reassembled it in a curled up pose as if it had died like a real insect, constricting as it dried out

I cut up a lot of Underhive Market stalls to make the trailer canopy and guard rails! 

I made additional support struts with styrene and aluminium tubing

Barbed wire was used to keep the Helamite inside its pen where it could happily munch on its kibble trough

At this point in the build, I'd settled on the crew positions: a nomad on each antler, the chieftain on a small platform steering the beetle and two crewmen in the trailer

Once I was happy with the relative positions of each part of the model, I sculpted the dunes by hand to give me control over how they were arranged and to make sure that they didn't interfere with any low hanging components

Extending the canopy at the front was tricky as there wasn't a lot for the putty to grip onto.  I ended up keying the plastic surface with a heavy sanding to increase adhesion  

The Chieftain was mounted on a platform which was chained to the Beetle's back

The Antler riders were made with a combination of Helamite rider and Nomad War party components with a lot of modification!

The Wardroth Beetle abdomen was re-sculpted as I wanted it to be more spherical like a dung beetle

I had to re-carve a huge amount of the Beetle carapace to remove Sylvaneth details. I painted liquid poly over the surfaces to smooth it out afterwards 

The base was given a layer of sand and gravel - the dead Helamite and other small base features were added at this stage 

Painting Sub-Assemblies

I painted the base in a sandy beige with hints of grey to make it look like tainted ground.  I dotted sickly looking plants around and picked out details like the rusty chain, skulls and tiny beetles

I kept test fitting everything just in case parts had moved while painting - the Wardroth beetle legs kept bending ever so slightly putting them out of position... 

I fully painted the Cargo-8 Trailer top to bottom, giving it a dry, rusty undercarriage experimenting with some yellow rust and thinned sandy tones in the tyre treads

I painted all of the interior details and added the straw bedding for the Helamite before the canopy and crew were glued in place

At this point I had already tested the winch rope and ramp chain to make sure they fit with the canopy.  I painted and weathered them carefully to make sure they would remain operational!

The completed interior components!

I added further weathering such as Verdigris after transfers to give the whole vehicle a very weathered appearance. If you look carefully, you'll notice that one of the crates has been stolen from the guild of coin...

The Helamite passenger

I like to think that he's being transported while his bandaged leg heals!

I painted both of the Helamites at the same time to make sure they matched

The Finished Ash Waste Nomads Caravan

1 comment:

  1. The big beetle really looks right at home here! I do like the notion that the nomads care for their mites and make space for them on the back of their hauler.
    I always dread putting in moving parts - I fear the chipping at the connecting points...
    All in all a nice center piece for a gang or even multiple gangs to fight over!