ORB Killer bird dinosaurs from space

Aulenback

Gang Hero
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Mar 29, 2016
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And as the rules for the list firm up, some more work on the gang:

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Which includes a tiny bit of extra conversion in one of those greenquills - sprinting:

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Yes, out of the gate, the greenquills' main purpose is to act as a screen for the Krootox. Yes, after the first few games the Krootox should get krak grenades since it can throw so far. Yes, this makes them groups of four instead of my usual groups of three. Yes, I have no idea how well this will go.

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Aulenback

Gang Hero
Yak Comp 3rd Place
Mar 29, 2016
1,973
4,049
178
Halifax, NS, Canada
Some more Kroot fluff. Excerpted from War of Secrets by Phil Kelly.

Now the introspection of the void was a rapidly vanishing memory, eclipsed by the immensity in the middle distance.

A kroot warsphere. Part space station, part migratory city, part battleship. And entirely inhabited by ruthless alien cannibals that sought their strength from eating the bodies of the dead.

The xenos ship was slate grey and gunmetal, a little like two ringed city-domes cut from a planet’s surface and welded on either side of a massive spindle. It was oddly fascinating in its ugliness. No hint of streamlining or grace could be found here, nor even the jutting, pugnacious arrogance of Imperial craft. This was an alien vessel in the truest sense of the word, built to satisfy sensibilities and desires that no human could truly understand.
The warsphere grew steadily until it completely filled the viewscreen. She cast a glance down at the recommissioned pulse carbine she had stashed under the seat, reassured by its lethal lines.

‘Oh-kay,’ said Deel, huffing out a long breath through pursed lips. ‘Anyone know anything about kroot that we haven’t already covered?’

Markens spoke up. ‘Remember that water caste operative back on Thetoid last summer, Aggro? As he put it, “they have a distinctive scent”.’

‘So they stink,’said del Aggio. ‘Bad.’

No one laughed.

The warsphere loomed even larger now, the details on its surface visible.

Everything about it was wrought on a massive, crude scale, as if it had been built by some cyclopean race of titans. In parts the outside of the sphere seemed to be overgrown by cables, winches and badly welded girders, a separate and more organic superstructure yearning to get out. It reminded Deel of the pict-captures that had fascinated her as a child, her visualbook images of majestic, column-like arboreals throttled by parasitic vines of bright green.

The ingress lights blinked in series, silently guiding them in to the pipe-lined passageway that led inside. To Deel’s fevered mind, the ingress point looked a lot like the gullet of some strange cybernetic beast.
Deel guided the Arvus lighter further in as the ingress portal led them to a massive, dark hangar. A double set of vault doors irised open and shut as the lighter passed, and the lighter’s pressure gauge flashed as they formed an airlock.

Dimly lit, the inside of the ship seemed half derelict. Around the edges of the wide, low-ceilinged dock were the scatterings of ships from half a dozen races, each dormant and part-disassembled at the edges of sight. A strange black discolouration, a little like the oil mould that clung to the lower layers of the rigs, had claimed a fair few of them, and some even boasted small clusters of vegetation.

Here and there, condensation dripped from the rust-spattered ceiling. The columns of lights that had guided them in turned through ninety degrees and winked towards a wide, empty berth.
Deel unclipped her harness and made her way to the back of the lighter before stepping out into the hangar beyond. The air was humid, horribly so. Already she could feel sweat pricking at her back, her armpits, the old wounds in the backs of her legs.

‘It’s hot as a burnsman’s forge in here,’said del Aggio.

‘Smells even worse,’ grunted Markens, manhandling the promethium barrel they had taken from Thetoid and rolling it out of the back of the Arvus with a loud clang.

Deel waved them quiet, but the big man had a point. The place was truly foul, home to an acrid stink that stuck like rancid fat to the back of the throat. Deel flexed the muscles in her nose to block her nostrils from the inside; an old rigger’s trick. It made her voice sound as strange as if she had ignifluenza, but it had saved her from nausea a hundred times over, especially when mucking out the drops.

‘Just deal with it,’she said in a nasal monotone, ‘and keep your eyes wide.’

The ingress lights suddenly changed, winking in a new pattern that led them into the cavernous rear of the hangar. At the back was a corridor, roughly oval in shape and ridged with thick stanchions that reminded Deel of the rings of cartilage reinforcing a human trachea. Long pipes and ribbed cables ran along its length like tendons and veins, reinforcing the impression they were venturing into the innards of some immense steel giant.
There was a strange, guttural caw from ahead. All three of them stopped for a moment, their attention fixed on a shadow that flickered in the flashing light of the ingress lumens. A hunched avian cocked its head at them, ruffling its mangy feathers. It shook the sheaf of quills behind its beady eyes and a long and jagged beak.

‘Right,’said Deel. ‘Probably some kind of pet–’

There was a flicker of movement.

‘Or a distraction,’ she continued, slowly lowering the barrel of her gun. ‘Don’t make any sudden moves.’

She turned slowly to see four figures dropping down from the pipes above, their olive green anatomies lithe and sparse. Clawed feet like those of birds clanged onto the metal floor of the corridor, and long rifles, each of which was tipped at either end by vicious blades, whipped around to point right at them.

Deel felt oddly proud that two of the four were pointed at her, leaving one each for del Aggio and Markens.

The xenos stared over their blunt beak-maws with penetrating black eyes. The nests of quills that jutted from the back of their heads fanned up, as if to make their silhouettes larger. The quills rattled, whilst some tinkled where nuts and metal trinkets had been woven in amongst them. The kroot were clad in leather and covered in what looked like thick, fatty grease; in places, it was dark, and streaked like warpaint.

‘We are here to parley,’ said Deel in Low Gothic. She felt something lift one of her dreadlocks from behind, and turned just a fraction to see the tip of a rifle blade an inch from her eye. The blade tugged a few more dreadlocks free, its owner making the approximation of a cackle before letting it fall.

‘Par-lay,’ cawed the kroot in front of her, a scarred brute some eight feet in height. He was missing a large portion of his skull, and had a scorched black augmetic in its place. ‘Sal-taw Vec-kas,’ he trilled, his pointed black tongue sticking out from his blood-encrusted jaws.

‘Saltire Vex, yes,’said Deel. ‘We want to hire you.’

The kroot threw back their heads, making shrill cawing sounds that Deel was almost sure were mocking her. She smiled insincerely.

‘Carm toh see mas-tar shay-par,’ said the kroot leader. He shouldered past her roughly, his fellows close behind. The bodily contact left a smear of evil-smelling fat on Deel’s shoulder. Under the grease, his anatomy had been hard, strong; little more than muscle over bone. It felt... hungry, somehow.

‘Deel?’said del Aggio softly.

‘I think he said “come to see master shaper...”’

‘Huh,’ said Markens. ‘That sounds like who we want, right?’ He put his weight against the promethium drum and started rolling it once more. The kroot ahead clicked and cawed to one another, making the shrill mocking sound once more as they went.

‘I hope so, Markens,’ said Deel, noticing a patch of stitched pink leather dangling from the rearmost kroot’s belt. The hairs on her neck and forearms stood up as she realised it had eyes, nostrils and a mouth.

‘I really very much hope so.’

The cavernous space of the kroot leader’s court was huge. Oppressively hot and stinking of acrid xenos flesh, it was lined with hundreds of tall, branching structures, each somehow reminiscent of Deel’s old arboreal pict-book – yet this jungle was made of girders, coiled wire and iron stanchions twisted out of true.

Lithe, quadrupedal shadows slinked in its reaches, jaws agape, whilst dozens – no, Deel thought as she looked closer; hundreds – of kroot-mercenaries leaned against, sat near and dangled from the steel trees. They were hard to make out – deliberately so, for their grease-painted skin was streaked with dark discolouration by way of camouflage. Tendrils of actual vegetation hung from the structures in places, and strange multi-jointed insects buzzed and fluttered in shafts of light that stabbed down from above.

The largest beam illuminated the king of this strange assembly. Seated on an immense pile of captured weapons and bone trophies at the heart of the cavernous space, he was massive even by the standards of his looming kindred. The sheaf of greyish quills that protruded from his skull stuck out in all directions, each spine-like appendage adorned with complex metal jewellery, and his eyes were covered by complex infrascopic goggles that would have looked more suited to a Space Marine Scout than a barbarian warlord.

A hunched, elderly kroot perched on his haunches on a rickety platform at the warlord’s side, wearing a cloak of long feathers and a stylized leather mask holding his own sheaf of quills. He stood unsteadily, propping himself on a gnarled staff of lacquered heartwood.

‘Yu-mans bow bee-fore the Grey King,’ he said in a harsh croak.

Shivering, Deel bowed low. Markens followed suit after shoving his barrel upright with a clang that sent a hundred bladed rifles clattering upwards to focus on him. He froze mid-bow, not daring to stand again.

‘That wun not bow,’ said the feather-clad speaker, motioning at del Aggio.

‘That’s right,’said the rigger loudly, ‘I do not. Far too much–’

A shadow moved nearby. The hilt of a kroot rifle thumped into del Aggio’s gut, hard enough to send her to her knees in a wheezing, red-faced ball.

‘You doo now,’ said the speaker. The Grey King gave a croaking, bass caw that was a little too much like human laughter for comfort.

‘Yoo come as food,’ said the speaker, cocking its head. ‘Small flesh,’ it added, its quills dipping in disappointment.

The pungent stench of the place was getting thicker. It was so foul it was beginning to make Deel’s eyes water. That was what she told herself, at least.

She was definitely not tearing up through fear.

‘We come as employers,’ she said, keeping her voice steady. ‘To enlist your services as mercenaries. All of you.’

A great cacophony of cawing, barking, hooting and clapping of hands came from all around as the metal jungle came to life, the sound deafening in its sudden intensity. Deel waited for it to subside. Sure enough, the Grey King raised a giant clawed hand, and the assembly gradually fell quiet.

‘Yoo want to hi-yer us,’ said the speaker, his tone harsh. The feathers on his back fanned out, and Deel realised with a start that they were not a cloak, as she had first thought, but wings. ‘Watt could you poss-ab-lee offer us?’

Willing every ounce of her self control into keeping her hand steady, Deel held up a finger. She took out the hip flask and tinderswitch she had seconded from del Aggio from her jerkin – a dozen rifles swinging around to cover her as she did so – and unscrewed the top.

‘Al-ca-haul?’ said the Grey King, his posture stiffening in his chair. He snorted like a rhino about to charge.

‘No,’ said Deel, swigging a big gulp from the flask whilst fighting the urge to vomit. She flicked the tinderswitch and, lips pursed, breathed out a great cloud of promethium droplets.

They caught instantly. A massive pillar of flame and greasy black smoke shot up from her lips to the ceiling, sending crazy shadows dancing in the metal trees and sending the assembly into a hooting, cawing cacophony once more.

‘Promethium,’ she said, kicking Markens’ barrel with a steel-toed boot. It gave a pleasingly loud clang. ‘Pure, undiluted firejuice.’

‘We have that,’ said the speaker. His tone was still harsh, but his wings were folded back again, and his eyes were bright. He flung out a hand. ‘We are war-sphere, Vawk Karaow. One bar-ral is nuth-ing.’

‘This is just a quality sample of our goods,’said Deel. ‘We have literally tens of thousands of barrels of the finest stuff. Tens of thousands. All you need to do is land, and we roll it aboard. One berth, one barrel.’

‘One berth one bar-ral,’said the speaker.

‘Yes. Then we debark at the next system along, and leave the goods with you. You’ll have all the fuel you need for years, decades. And there’s room enough on this vessel for all of us.’

‘Isss there,’ hissed the Grey King.

‘Yoo have weap-ons of t’au ser-vant,’said the feathered speaker, pointing at her pulse carbine. He had made ‘t’au’ two staccato halves, and mangled a few syllables, but the more he spoke to her, the better his facility with Low Gothic seemed to get. She had heard of the kroot’s ability to mimic others, but to see it in practice was truly impressive. No wonder they made such adept mercenaries.

‘We are not bound to Great Good,’ the speaker cawed, something close to disdain in his eyes and the cocking of his head. ‘Here away from septs, we do as we see fit.’

‘The T’au’va is a noble ideal,’ said Deel. ‘And it united our planet, once. But there are those amongst the t’au that would see us dead, just for the crime of being human. What kind of unity is that?’

The rhetorical question hung in the air. Deel could not tell if it was the silence of contemplation, or whether the kroot had lost interest and were thinking of their next meal.

‘We come to you as independents,’ she said, pressing on. ‘As a people with much to offer, but no allies to offer it to.’

There was another long silence.

‘One berth, one barrel,’said the speaker, tilting his jaw back.

‘Yes.’

He nodded, running a string of finger bones through his talons. ‘Tell more,’ he snapped. ‘We make pact.’

Deel felt a cold shroud lift from her heart, fluttering above it, but ready to descend once more.

‘Halt it,’said the Grey King.

Down came that shroud, over Deel’s heart.

‘Hau do, we-know,’said the warlord. ‘Hau do you tell truth we know.’

Deel frowned. ‘I don’t lie. Check the quality of that barrel’s contents if you don’t believe it’s the good stuff.’

‘Not enough,’ said the speaker, slowly shaking his head. ‘To risk war-sphere. I say to you, no, we cannot.’

‘Come heer,’ said the Grey King, extending a long talon and beckoning Deel closer. The talon was like the claw of some ancient saurian, scaled and black-nailed. It had three other claws ready to grasp, to rip, to plunge into human flesh behind it. ‘Come.’

Deel stepped forward hesitantly, then caught herself and strode, confidence radiating from her every step despite the fact she felt nothing but pure terror inside.

‘Giffft me,’said the warlord, motioning at her fingers. ‘I will taste-trooth.’

Every instinct in Deel’s mind screamed at her not to hold her hand out.

She held her hand out anyway.

The warlord grabbed it, enfolding her brown digits in his giant claw. His grip was a wrench-vice, inescapable. The warlord leaned in, his acrid stench overpowering. His eyes, though hidden behind the high-spec Imperial sniper goggles, seemed to bore into her.

Then the warlord’s massive, jagged beak, more like that of a snapping turtle than a bird, darted forward and clipped off two thirds of Deel’s little finger in a single motion.

Deel’s lips curled as she fought with all her being not to scream. She yanked her hand back and pinched the stem of her severed finger to save from drizzling blood all over the makeshift throne.

The warlord sat back, licking the edge of his beak clean of Deel’s blood. She heard the crunch of her own fingerbones as the master shaper chewed thoughtfully on her flesh.

‘Hah,’ he said eventually, as if surprised.

The feathered speaker clicked and whistled in the unintelligible kroot tongue.

‘She is, trooth-teller,’ said the Grey King in response, nodding. ‘And psy- spiced.’

‘Psy-ling?’ said the speaker, his eyes glinting as his quills rose high. ‘Good meat, for shay-man.’

‘No,’said the king, shaking his head. ‘Too use-fuel.’

The shaman’s quills drooped once more.

‘One berth, one bar-rel,’ said the giant xenos thoughtfully, looking down at Deel. She was shaking now, uncontrollably.

‘Y-yes,’ she said. ‘Just get us off Saltire Vex, and put us down somewhere safe. Warm. We don’t care where.’

‘You seek warm,’ said the kroot monarch, eyelids lowered.

‘Yes,’she nodded. ‘Please.’

‘Done.’

A flood of relief washed over Deel as she backed away, bowing low. She saw the black spots return at the edge of her vision, and fell back, only to feel del Aggio catch her and carry her back over to Markens.

Whilst del Aggio tore off a strip of cloth from her cuff and bound the finger-stump as best she could, Deel leaned heavily against Markens’ reassuring bulk.

The smell of his stale sweat was reassuringly human after the olfactory assault of the kroot’s stench-grease.

Deel frowned. Come to think of it, she could hardly smell the vile stench of the kroot. It had all but disappeared.

‘Go now,’ said the speaker from atop the podium. ‘Ready your people. We will come for you on fifteen day from here.’

‘Fifteen days,’ said del Aggio pensively. ‘With the evac protocols already in place...’ She paused, counting on her fingers. ‘And by then, the waters around the rigs will already have started to floe...’

Two heavy-set kroot approached Markens and yanked the promethium drum away from him, cawing harshly in triumph as they carried the barrel between them to the rear of the warlord’s throne.

‘All yours,’said Markens. ‘You’re welcome to it.’

Jensa felt her senses swim back into focus as the kroot king waved them away.

She leant heavily on Markens as they made their way back to the lighter.

‘Deel, my girl,’ said del Aggio, the dragons on her eyebrows kissing as she frowned. ‘I think I might just love you a little bit.’
 
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Aulenback

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So with a trio each of Ripperjacks and Milliasaurs:
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I feel the want to build a Beastmaster Wyrd for eventual "hired gun" into my Kroot warband. In truth, Wyrds are some of the few Hired Swords that seem to offer something more than "here is a combination of rare gear on a ganger" that I can hire into an Outlaw gang. Yes, this includes the Beastmaster Wyrds, since both Ripperjacks and Milliasaurs have such unusual rules. My quandary is whether to build a Kroot beastmaster [their stats are close enough to those of humans that it could easily suit], or if I should choose some "unknown xenos minor species" to represent it, or even an abhuman [Ratling Beastmaster, anyone?]. I mean, yes, I could do "one of each," over the long term. But they are not all likely to see table, by any stretch. After getting hounds [see Stay! There's a Good Boy! article in Fanatic Online], and replacing losses, and gearing up, and other expenses, even the amazing scavenging abilities of the Kroot/Ratskins wouldn't afford hiring three wyrds.

Thoughts?
 

Aulenback

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Ooh! Model him like a Halfling or Ogre cook, but Kroot? A bit of a shepherd? Hmm. You are on to something there!
 
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Aulenback

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So having re-based and re-painted my Ripperjacks trio and my Milliasaurs, I have been nosing about the Beastmaster Wyrd rules to see what to build, and where the models default to "staff-club, plus stub pistol," the rules really... don't. Both in N95 and in N03, the beastmaster wyrd [or any really] can be equipped with two from any combination of:
stub gun with dum-dum bullets, autopistol, laspistol, sword, axe, chain or flail, club, maul, or bludgeon

Two pistols likely makes the most strategic and tactical sense, sure, with that being two melee weapons, but also a short-range shooting attack with a back-up pistol. But visually, I am picturing a kroot with a tall staff/spear with a slab of meat hanging from hooks at the end, and a butcher's cleaver. Melee, though, is NOT a place to stick a beastmaster wyrd [since when he or she goes down, away go the beast(s) in question], and with a BS and WS of 2, they won't likely succeed in EITHER melee OR shooting, and a minor power may well replace shooting options. Thoughts? Pistols, or meatstick and cleaver? Which says "rule of cool" to you, Yakkers?
 
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Ben_S

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I think you could have a purely cosmetic staff/meathook on the model, not counting as one of his weapons. Then you could have a cleaver and a pistol (perhaps in holster) for rules purposes.
 

cainex1

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2 guns but go ahead with the meathook. Need be, you can just go with 1 melee one ranged.
 

Aulenback

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So did a print of the forward-pointed "action" boat hook/shepherd's crook body from that set. 0.06 and 20% infill. Turned out surprisingly good, despite the rough-and-ready setting intended to test the print. So I won't bother with a second print with heavier infill. Cut the arms from the sitting torso, and have attached them to a walking Kroot body, and added the head, with the crook thrust forward from overhead. Plan is to also attach the "hooked thigh" from the Kroot sprue gewgaws hanging from near the top of the haft, and equip her with each of the two pistols from the kroot sprue at hips, and lots of the kroot meat and knives bits as well. That could viably represent any combination of Wyrd options, as appropriate. Oh, and a cooking fire on the base - the spare brazier full of bones from the Corpse Cart.

All the parts are sorted, and ready to go.

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Aulenback

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Stumbled on this old White Dwarf again while looking for something else, then hunted up the image on-line. For comparative purposes, this is the studio's vision of this crew.

KT-1.jpg

Similarly muted skin and quill colours, but dramatic face-paint. I think I am loading mine down with more carried gear, and deliberately so. And of course "ash waste/deep under-hive" bases instead of grass.
 

Aulenback

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A small update on the Beastmaster Wyrd hired gun: table-ready painted, though of course never [never!] finished for good and all.

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Dangling [ork] meat to shepherd those "facehuggers." Not yet satisfied with the Facepaint. Aiming to make her less stealthy than the rest, since she can't [as a Wyrd hired gun] get stealth skills. Still intending to build and add a good cleaver to hang from her belt. And the ever-present possibility of getting more "meat" bits for her to cart around likewise. More meat and bones. Because obviously.

Tasty.
 
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Aulenback

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Just a note made on Facebook for the then-planned Adepticon all-Kroot teams. They were looking for fluff from various Kroot bands from different players.

In addition to the fluff for “Legbreaker,” earlier in this thread, here’s the rest:

My own Kroot warbands are for GorkaMorka (using Mutie Raiders rules) and for Shadow War: Armageddon (using Ratskin Renegades rules).

The are the warband Blood Under The Burning Suns, from the Warsphere “Flies The Spear Into The Heart Of The Prey.” The warband is led by Hunter Brighteye and Shaper Songbinder, and are of course entirely mounted on knarlocs and krootoxen.

The second are the warband The Spear Flies True, of the Warsphere “Seven Silent Steps.” Dreamwalker is their shaper, and they use camouflage and ranged sniping.

So that I can remember the Warsphere names, when I 3D print the BFG Warspheres and Demiurge ships (and Fraal and stryxis) to join my dhows and Xenos vessels in a Demiurge pirate fleet....
 
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Love the Kroot beastmaster, but please put the critters on round bases (preferably with the gaps filled in.)
 
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Aulenback

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Love the Kroot beastmaster, but please put the critters on round bases (preferably with the gaps filled in.)
The “face huggers” which will be his favoured beasties are not yet done or based. Their planned bases will likewise be surfaced in a scam of the old card terrain. Old paint on two, the third has some base colours now added and is mounted on a flying stand. Want to convert/craft some more kitchenware (cleaver, frypan) to strap to the beastmaster, and maybe add some critter on a spit over the fire.

She’ll get there. No rush.
 

Aulenback

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GorkaMorka terrain!

After only a year, I have decided what to do with the TableTop Scenics "ork barracks" that I won in their Facebook "comment on this photo" draw.

A Grot garage out in the skids, full of Fallout references, with a Red Rocket for the sign.

Assembly of the TTS MDF kit was ... easy. Like LEGO. Well, LEGO with wood glue. A good kit.

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^ The building will remain sectional, for storage. The door will be attached ajar, after painting, and the hatch above will be left loose, allowing “access” to the interior.
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^ Conveniently, the door handle is already at grot height, no modification necessary.

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^ A 3D printed crane/“grabba claw” will be mounted to the platform. To assist in repair and construction of vehicular mayhem. It will mount at the "corrugated plate" on the top right of the platform in this image. The crane will be made of this armature and chain minus the ball, plus a couple of hooks hanging at the end:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3027321

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^ The door will be glued ajar [after painting], and the roof hatch to the platform will be left loose, allowing it to be open or closed. The corrugated section where the crane will go is in the bottom right of this image.

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^ The obligatory outhouse, made of fungus planks. The ubiquitous printed piece shows up on GorkaMorka and Mordheim and Necromunda tables.
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^ This is the tower that comes with the TTScenics “barracks” kit. Plan is to mount a “garage sign” across the front railing (opposite the ladder), advertising the workshop. The sign will be a red rocket - the red rocket from Red Rocket Truck Stops in Fallout, at an off-kilter angle:
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And it will mount across the front plate of the tower, opposite the ladder:
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^ This side will hold the sign for the workshop aloft. The tower works free-standing, but also fits up against the building itself in two locations.

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^ And, of course, a small house for either a squig or a snotling. Because obviously.

Additional: aim to print a couple of these guys:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2878211

Surrounding tools and detritus to include: vending machine.

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3113927

Workshop table:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2990048

More workshop:

https://www.games-workshop.com/en-CA/Ork-Mek-Workshop-2018

And maybe a couple of these:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2748939

Recycled aquarium aerator end [no, not stolen from our fish tank - the axolotls can't have something with moving sharp corners]:
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What will become the fuelling depot: two empty cans, MDF cutoffs, paper, and an IKEA key. And paint:
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So that will give some "away from mektown" building(s) to drive and fight around and through and over.
 

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