Necromunda – 1995s House Orlock Gang

I have finished a Middlehammer Chaos warband, I have finished a 90s Blood Bowl Chaos team and now it is time to jump into Sci-Fi. And what better miniature stock to do so by taking a look at Necromunda?

Necromunda has roots in the Rogue Trader era as well. Not entirely unlike Blood Bowl, it had a predecessor. In this case called Confrontation (not to be confused with the game by Rackham), which wasn't released as a boxed game but as published across multiple issues of the White Dwarf Magazine in 1990 and 1991 (Mordheim initially went for a similar approach and was published across multiple issues in White Dwarf until it was released as a boxed game). Confrontation shared a lot of similarities with Necromunda, like the gang warfare setting in a Hive City, yet had a different design approach, as you can see from the artwork and miniatures.

Necromunda - Confrontation Necromunda - Confrontation Necromunda - Confrontation Hive Gangers

If you have access to classic White Dwarfs and want to give the original rules a read, they were released across issues 130 to 132 (Introduction and Gang Creation) , 137, 138 (Combat Rules) and 142 (Weapons).

But we will take a look into the actually released Hive Ganger skirmish system, named after the planet it plays on - Necromunda. I didn't get into the game when it was released, but was quite interested by it, so once I had some more money during my apprenticeship, I got my hands on the starter kit and some gangs second hand. Actually, if I remember right, when the game was dropped, I used the sale (you paid for the gang box and got two blisters for free or something like that, and I had a voucher from my White Dwarf subscription so I got myself the Redemptionists).

What did Necromunda mean to me? It was bold and colourful, with the iconic yellow-black hazard stripes, the bulkhead terrain and giving you a narrative game play. I really liked the skirmish setting and the development your gang goes through, in campaigns and such. This was something, that probably spoke to me in Inq28 even stronger, but I like the low-tech approach of Necromunda. I own several starter boxes, with the plastic and card board terrain, along with the supplement Outlanders / Outlaws. Most of the Necromunda matches I played so far, were with Christian / Fritz the Brushzerker.

Necromunda - Battles in the Underhive Necromunda Rulebooks Necromunda - Box set 1995

As covered in the articles on the Underhive and Outlanders stock, I am almost complete and it is more than overdue to get painting. But where to start? As there is no Chaos faction (well, some where in the Citadel Journals, yes, but not from stock) I do have to break my current series of painting a Chaos Warband and a Chaos Blood Bowl Team and go for something different. Among the different houses of Necromunda, I like the Orlock probably the most, so why not pick them and give you a brief insight of the miniatures and the gang itself?

They don't have roots in the old Confrontation game, so our journey begins in the mid 90s with the release of Necromunda itself. House Orlock is one of the six houses of the Hive Primus, the capital city of Necromunda. It is called House of Iron, as they mine and process te ore that is mined from the depth of the underhive. They have a long standing feude with House Delaque and battle over production contracts. House Orlock has a good relationship with House Escher, as they cope with the matriarchry better than other houses and the current leader of House Orlock is married to a member of House Ulanti. The lore was further developed over the release of Necromunda 2017, along with the various supplements. So most of the new lore is part of the House of Iron supplement.

The name Orlock could come from Graf Orlok (Nosferatu), yet there are no vampiric easter eggs in the design.

Necromunda - 1995 House Orlock Necromunda - 1995 House Orlock Necromunda - 1995 House Orlock

Similar to Blood Bowl, the starter kit covered plastic miniatures for the game, giving you Orlocks and Goliath and to be honest, the Orlocks aren't that bad for plastic miniatures from that time. Yet, of course you had the option to go for a gang box, covering 8 metal miniatures (about 60 DM in 1998), a blister with a single heavy (16 DM), a blister covering an alternative boss from the one from the gang box (12 DM) and two blisters of 3 gangers or juves each (20 DM). In total you had two different poses for the gang bosses, three different designs for the heavies (flamer, heavy bolter, heavy stubber), eight different poses for the gangers (but you can see they share similar base models) and four different juves.

Necromunda - 1995 House Orlock Necromunda - 1995 House Orlock

Once Specialist Games / Fanatic was sourced out, to cover all the side kick games, Necromunda got a design update in the early 2000s, and so did the Orlocks. To be honest, I don't really felt the design of that era. It neither had the charmingness of the Middlehammer era, nor was it an update that improved the models in a way that would make your jaw drop. It did hower make it easier to change the weapons and gear. These miniatures are rare compared to other releases, but not really sought after because of the points I just mentioned. And with the huge rerelease of Necromunda around 2017, the Orlock got a plastic kit with lots of options, which was followed by even further releases in plastic and resin, and recently even vehicles.

Necromunda - 2003 House Orlock Necromunda - 2017 House Orlock

What am I going for? Well, obviously the mid 90s miniatures. For multiple reasons. First of all - that's simply where my heart is. I love the Perry sculpts, they have lots of character and I enjoy painting them. Is the 2017 Necromunda update a bad one? No, but it just doesn't cut it for me. Necromunda is this multistory underhive battle, and when the updated Necromunda hit, and didn't cover that, it was the first of many things that didn't make me consider a change. The most important thing is probably the vast update in technology Necromunda and the gangs received.

It is a dirty, gritty gang war system. Skirmishers over territory, sabotage missions on facilities and somethings that I would describe as rather low-tech. The update was too techy for me, especially with some releases like the Van Saar, that gave some underhive gang access to more futuristic gear than the regular Guardsmen and partially even Space Marines. That simply felt out of touch with the setting and especially the setting that I would go for.

The game benefited a lot by the updates and addition of ressources via Citadel Journal etc., so I am quite keen to use the Living Rulebook and not the most recent NEC17 rule set. My gangs will be build around mostly 15 miniatures (1 Gang Boss, 2 Specialists, 8 Gangers and 4 Juves). And that's what I went for here as well.

Necromunda - 1995 House Orlock Necromunda - House Orlock

I dropped off the Heavy Stubber specialist for my Orlock Gang and just need to clean up the models and base them, to get going. In my mind, with their denim jeans and leather jackets, they have an italo-american street gang vibe and would take care of mechanical engineering. So I thought about giving them the name like Greasers, and add italo-american names from movies like Goodfellas, Sopranos and such. So expect the gang to have names like Johnny, Paul, Silvio and so on, with the matching nick names - something you have to earn. Perfect to tie in the things that happen during the matches, or to show that a kid has grown to a full ganger.

That's it for now. Searching for mould lines and preparing the bases for my Greasers.

Posted by Dennis B.

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Great article! I feel exactly the same and I’m glad I’ve kept everything ’95 Munda…My Orlocks have their name (Rippers and Nomads) in the back of their denim sleeveless jackets that they wear over leather jackets…Old school bikers style…And they don’t need jump packs!

Leave a Reply

Trackbacks are disabled.