After learning the ropes I figured a Necromunda Escher starting gang was in order. As the starter set helpfully provided an Escher gang in addition to the Goliaths, that was ideal.

When I tackled the Goliath ‘Rust Plate Pact,’ I fully embraced Games Workshop’s Contrast paint range, applying it over a greyscale pre-shade. That was the main reason I was able to prepare my starting gang for the inaugural fight night and quickly incorporate new forces as the campaign unfolded. As the campaign progressed, I dynamically added gang members, hangers-on, brutes, and hired guns based on necessity or opportunity, making it impossible to plan ahead for specific additions.

Adopting a rapid painting approach was crucial in breathing life into the gang, and the vibrant pigments found in Contrast paints played a pivotal role in this endeavor. For that reason alone, I adhered to the same method when working on the Escher starting gang, carefully selecting two key colors as the foundation. This strategy allowed me to work efficiently and it really didn’t take long before my fledgeling “Bonaventure Harpies” were ready to play their brand of hive business in the lower sumps.

Pre-shade stage

I have discovered a three-stage process that works well for me. The first stage involves using a grisaille or greyscale pre-shade. Although Games Workshop (GW) suggests using their Contrast range with their white or off-white primers, I personally prefer the color variations achieved with a greyscale approach.

I have become familiar with the unique characteristics of each color in GW’s Contrast range, some of which exhibit intense saturation while others provide a more delicate tint. All of them contribute something valuable to my painting toolbox, but I do have my personal favorites. The reds and yellows, in particular, have become essential elements in my artistic endeavors.

An artist white ink airbrushed in light passes over a flat black primer is what I now use to create the pre-shade. This was a change to the Tamiya flat white I normally use for this task, and still do when it comes to vehicles or where I want a finer graduation. For Necromunda however I like a little more ‘noise’ and texture, so white ink was perfect. I also use it for the terrain as well as I gives me more control than I would get with a rattle-can.

Building up white on areas where I want the most striking colour saturation, these become my midtones. Additionally I picked a few spots on each model I really wanted the colours to pop brightest such as forearms, faces and other upturned surfaces and these got another pass.

Contrast stage

The colour application (with exception of skin tones) was all contrast paints. These did all the heavy lifting to get the gang game-ready. Despite being easy to work with I do recommend neat brush control where possible, as they dry quickly, so any unintended marks can be tricky to fix if not dealt with quickly.

At this point they are pretty much campaign ready to be honest and I would have no reservations pitching them into a fight straight away. In fact I do the bases at the same time using the same method, which gives them a great look over the white ink pre-shade.

The final stage is also worth doing if you want to take it a notch higher. An interesting side note, letting Gryph-hound orange and thinned Rhinox hide bleed together on the bases creates a nice quick rust effect where the dyes in the orange and heavier pigment in the Rhinox mix.

Extra details

For the final step I add edge highlights, noise (posh word for texture) and pick out any metals, such as weapons, grenades, armour or accessories (posh word for bling). By picking colours that were a good value match for the contrast base I gave hair, skin, belts and cloth some highlights to make them pop and sharpen up the finished appearance. By also applying thinned contrast and paint mixes as glazes for faces and arms volumes were boosted a bit more.

But all in all these were just finishing touches to refine the bulk of the work done for me by the first two steps. I actually find this way of working much more relaxing as it’s a lot more organic, picking colours at whim and not really following any plan. Letting the gang colours develop and inform by themselves is part of the joy.

Summing up

Over the course of two evenings the “Bonaventure Harpies” went from boxed to battle-ready and I’m pretty happy with the results. Although the campaign has now finished, my Rust Plate Pact not managing to feature in the final two fight nights, a new season is due to begin. An Outlands season. So now I need to decide whether to continue with the Goliath’s, bring the Harpies into the action, or go with something else entirely. You will just have to wait and find out what I decide.

Oh, you want to know about Ortruum? I found ‘it’ lurking in the lower sumps bits box so figured I should add it to the merry gathering. Not part of the gang, but maybe they will hire its services in the future. The future of this gang is yet to be written. Until next time.