Necromunda One man and his high tech toys - building the hive


Laser Monkey
Nov 30, 2017
Porsgrunn, Norway
I've been playing miniature games and making terrain since the early '90s, but it's mostly been fantasy, since my primary games have been Warhammer Fantasy (Orcs & Goblins, Chaos, Ogres) and Hordes (Circle Orboros). I've always wanted to make Necromunda style terrain on the laser cutter we have at work, and with the new release, I jumped on the opportunity.

I'm not going to lie: I'm mainly into Necromunda for the terrain making, not so much for the models or acutally playing the game. As of writing this, I have not played the new game.

- Software: Corel Draw, Inkscape, FlexiDesigner
- Laser cutter: Epilog Fusion 120 W CO2
- Gaming mat: 4x4' Quarantine mat by
- Fileshare: Some designs have been uploaded to Thingiverse

When starting ambitious terrain projects, there is a very real chance that you're going to start off flying, and then crash and burn before anything is complete. I was determined that I was not going to be one of those. I started by making a list of what a Necromunda terrain collection must consist of as a bare minimum. The goal would be to get those pieces complete as quickly as humanly possible. That way, if I grew tired of designing things, I would still have enough variety that I could simply print more of the completed stuff and fill a table that way. This would be my Minimum Viable Product list:
- modular structures
- walkways
- ladders
- barricades
- containers
- crates
I think if you make everything on this list, and have a bit of variation, you can get by, and everything done after that would be a bonus.

The first pieces didn't have a lot of detailing as I was figuring out the basic shapes of things - details would come later. To start with, I also cut everything from 4mm plywood, since decent MDF is really hard to get a hold of around here unless you want to pay a small fortune in shipping and import taxes. Later pieces added parts cut from MDF, which I buy on eBay. No bigger piece is entirely made from MDF:

For the first parts, I would make sketches on paper first, before drawing them on the computer later. In the beginning I used Inkscape and a program called FlexiDesigner, but I've now changed to using Corel Draw. As this is meant to be a system where you can put things together in many different ways, there was quite a bit of tweaking the design to begin with, to make sure things line up properly and things connect they way they should.

First piece printed - a prototype walkway:

Looking around, I found that the company Warsenal has this nice system for connecting structures and walkways, which I thought was good as a starting point. This walkway is 12 cm long, just three pieces and took about 7 minutes to cut. Later version dropped the circular cutouts, which sliced a minute or so off the time and also looks nicer.
The gothic arches and the cutout pattern on the floor is of course for theming purposes. I'll experiment with other shapes going forward.

The style I'm going for is 'industrial gothic', this being the 40K universe and all. My emphasis will be on 1) playability, and 2) modularity. The terrain must be practical to play on, and it also must be possible to dismantle everything and pack it for storage or transport. Therefore the buildings will come in multiple pieces and the walkways will not be super long.

From the get-go, I wanted to use standard sizes, so the above walkway is three 4 cm squares in a row (the railings are in addition to that). Having thought about sizes a fair deal, I decided to make everything a multiple of 4 cm (at least to begin with), so walkways will be either 12 or 20 cm long, and either 4 or 8 cm wide. Strucures will be 12, 16 or 20 cm long, so if I really wanted I could map out the terrain on graph paper. Levels will be 8 cm tall (counting as 3", so it wins on both types of simplicity!). 4 cm seemed a good size, since the largest normal GW bases are just a little less than 4 cm across.

With ladders and stairs each step is 8 mm tall, giving ten steps to a level. When you make stepped terrain there is always a compromise between what looks appropriate compared to the miniatures and what's practical. If you wanted to be completely to scale, each step would be between 2 and 3 mm and you could never place a model on a staircase. But if the steps are too tall, it stops looking like a staircase and starts looking like a platformer game. 8 mm is on the shortish side compared to what other people are using, but I dodge some of the downsides by having relatively short levels.

I have realized that in the long run, I'm not going to stick to these rules fully - my containers are 6 cm tall, and when I get to making hexagonal structures they obviously won't fit into the grid layout.

Mainly, I'm using something called 4mm 'redtemp', which is a type of three-layer plywood where the center is poplar and the outside layers are Chinese red birch. It's cheap and has a low glue content, which means there's less fumes and sticky residue. On the downside it makes sharing the files trickier as most other people seem to be using 3mm MDF. It's also a bit prone to warping, but I haven't had much trouble with that yet.
I'm also using some 2 and 3mm MDF, which is quite expensive around these parts. In other countries it's very common as a building supply, but up here it seems that almost everyone uses a type of HDF that's only smooth on one side. Naturally that makes it useless for my purpose. Therefore MDF is reserved for details, where 4mm would look too thick. Engraving MDF also looks nicer than plywood.

Painting will happen once the snow clears and I can spray things outside again. I have plans to invest in an airbrush, so any tips are welcome. (y)

(when a size is listed, it's typically the effective size in cm, not including railings and connectors)
Most of my pieces form part of the Nordgrim Colony project. Everything in that project is compatible with everything else, and can be connected by walkways, stairs or ladders. The height between levels is 80mm, and the basic structure is made up of 40x40mm squares.

Nordgrim Industrial
This is a set of modular octagonal buildings of 1-3 levels in height.
- 12x12 cm platform (5 designs)
- 16x12 cm platform (3 designs)
- 16x16 cm platform (2 designs)
- Supports (3 designs)

Nordgrim Tower
This rectangular building set consists of floor plates plus corner pieces.
They can be built to any height desired.
- 8x8 cm corner (4 designs)
- 8x4 cm corner (3 designs)
- 4x4 cm corner (2 designs)
- 12x12 cm floor plate (3 designs)
- 16x16 cm floor plate (4 designs)
- 20x20 cm floor plate (2 designs)

Nordgrim Rotunda
This building set is different in that it's not modular, and consists of standalone pieces.
- 10 cm round building (can be stacked on top of the 18 cm one)
- 14 cm round building
- 18 cm round building
- 16 cm round building with iris opening

- 12x4 walkway w light railing (3 designs)
- 20x4 walkway w light railing (2 designs)
- 20x4 walkway w no railing (1 design)
- 12x8 walkway w heavy railing, uses supports (1 design)
- 20x8 walkway w heavy railing, uses supports (1 design)
- 8x8 walkway platform w 2 connectors, uses supports (1 design)
- 9x4 walkway for connecting cargo containers (1 design)

Walls and barricades
- scrap barricades (2 designs, narrow and wide)
- Zone Mortalis full-length wall (2 designs)
- Zone Mortalis column (2 designs)
- Zone Mortalis column with one attached half-length wall (2 designs)
- Zone Mortalis column with two attached half-length walls (2 designs)
Additionally, there is a ZM set made to be entirely 3mm that's a mixture of my two styles and also includes a half-length wall.

Riser platforms
These are cover plates that fit onto the Zone Mortalis walls and turn them into platforms.
- 20x20 platform (2 designs)

Attachments and accessories
- ladders (3 designs)
- straight stairs (2 designs, short & narrow and long & wide)
- L-shaped stairs (2 designs, turning left and right)
- connection point cover plates (6 designs, narrow and wide)

New Clear Zone
This is a standalone project consisting of a series of smaller, stackable buildings (plus some extra bits, like stairs).
The height between levels here is 64mm (~2.5"), rather than the normal 80mm. They don't allow access to the interiors.
- Hab Unit #1
- Mrs. Lovett's Pie Shop
- Carl's Guns & Drapes
- modular stairs (2 sets)

Scatter terrain
- barrels (3 designs)
- stack of six barrels (1 design)
- pallet (1 design)
- small stackable crates, 2x2x2 cm (3 designs)
- large stackable crates, 4x2x2 cm (1 design)
- small cargo container, 6x6x6 cm (1 design)
- large cargo container, 12x6x6 cm (3 designs)

- Dec 2017: When it all began. Aaaah! :love:
- Jan 2018: Initial goal for the project completed (walkways, octagonal structures, ladders, barricades, crates and containers all DONE)
- Jan 2018: Got a gaming mat. So much nicer!
- Feb 2018: Began using Corel Draw. Started uploading designs to Thingiverse (pics from this time are awful!)
- Mar 2018: Enough pieces to fill a 3x3' table to high density
- May 2018: Rectangular structures done
(Here follows long break with few new designs. Most designs slowly getting uploaded to Thingiverse. New Clear Zone is born)
- Feb 2020: Round structures done
- Mar 2020: Started painting the terrain!

- walkways DONE
- octagonal structures DONE
- ladders DONE
- barricades DONE
- crates and containers DONE
- stairs DONE
- Zone Mortalis walls, first 2 sets DONE
- platforms that fit on top of the ZM walls DONE
- rectangular structures DONE
- round structures DONE
- market stalls and shacks WIP (ended up as the New Clear Zone project)
- stairs that conncect with the platforms WIP (also work with NCZ)
- more walkway designs WIP
- redone ZM set with more options WIP
- tanks and vats
- redone containers
- signs and billboards

- defensive walls and barricades
- redone crates
- more Nordgrim Tower pieces like balconies, pulpit, oriel window

- hexagonal structures (no more room on table for more structures)
- various larger pieces of impassable terrain and obstacles (3d print instead)

Weekly progress photo: I don't really do these anymore

Here's a picture of some gangers

Currently the roundups just show the painting progress. Here's what the table looks like:


All weekly roundups:
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Next up was the first building, an octagonal tower. Initially I was undecided on whether or not to make it modular or just one big thing glued together, but in the end I went with modular. The supports come off and each level is separate. Each level has four connection points and I'll add ladders, panels and other things that slot in later.


The supports have evolved over time, so the two you can see in the back here are very early WIP versions. You can also see the second printed walkway on the right. The first iteration of the floors have the railings connected to the supports, which I later decided was impractical and unnecessary. Later versions will have detailed floors and may also have open centers so that I can have ladders going down to lower levels.


The shape of the supports is inspired by the terrain line from the company called T.J.H. Models.
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Second structure, a small elevated platform.


This uses the same connection for the support and for the walkways, making it really easy to integrate with the first tower. Having cleaned up and improved the supports since last time, it was really quick to knock out these shorter ones. This is the great advantage of doing it digital - once you've done something once, it's dead easy to do it ten more times. If you wanted to, you could take four of these and the octagonal level, and have a shorter version of the first tower. Or you could take two of these platforms and the tall supports and have a tall, narrow structure.
This is making me envious ;) the walkways are off to a flying butress of a start. The gothic idustrial look is a great choice , i often think necromunda terrain lacks in this department . Looking forward to watching this progress. Have you seen the work of nicholas grilette? He has Gothic hive that excels in its scope.
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@ timdp they beat me to it ;-) @sumpdweller cheers spelling is not my strong point :whistle: & @Azzabat that's the talented chap ! , nice find , not sen his mordheim scenery , great stuff.

It's the sort of table where you're careful about what you touch because you're worried you might catch some unknown disease. :D

One of my gaming boards grew mold spores...i was actually weary .. still am :LOL:

your walk ways are how i imagine the under hive to look.. i saw this last night on the recalcitrant daze blog and thought of your terrain.
Thanks for the comments, guys! Here's the second style of walkway I'm working on. This will be wider and also offering more protection - heavy cover instead of light.

The dark areas will be engraved, but not cut out, meaning that they'll be only be cut part way down into the material. The floor of this walkway will also be solid with some engraved detail, instead of perforated like the first style.

Above you can see the first type. The plan is that the heavier type will have attached supports and therefore only be used on the first level above ground, while the lighter walkways can be used higher ups. Therefore if you want to move up to a higher vantage position, you won't be as well protected. I'm also planning a third type entirely without railings.

Thoughts and suggestions?:)
No probs! Sharing is caring. ;)

Got time to do some more cutting during lunch. I think I've settled on the shape for the medium octagonal platform, so I went back and added texture to it.


(railings of course still lacking)

Broad walkway. Sadly, nothing else uses the broad connector, so it doesn't link up with anything yet! :D


The supports are also pretty much done, so I'm working on texture for them as well. This one is apparently made by the Mechanicus.


Next is cutting some more of the finished pieces, making three-level supports, fixing up the railings on the octagonal platform, plus work on the small square platform.