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Oops New Army: Necron Edition

Since I moved house four years ago and seriously re-engaged in this old hobby of ours I have collected six different armies (starting back in 2019 with Da Ork Airforce).  And by “collected” I mean I have at least two thousand points of reasonably balanced models fully painted to a decent standard.  And by “six” I mean six armies of soup, spanning ten different sub-factions.  

I did not set out to do this.  This was a mistake.  I neither condone nor recommend this behaviour.  But if you are thinking of starting a new army as a small side project, you might want to read on…

The Aquisition Phalanx in most of its glory.


Seriously though, why a new army, and why this army?  Like all good stories, this is a love story.  I read The Infinite and the Divine and fell deeply in love with Trazyn the Infinite.  In my defence, I started playing 40k a long time ago when there was a lot more overt humour in it, so I’ve never taken it too seriously.  He is without question one of the more “memey” characters in the setting.  But just like Roboute Guilliman doesn't really have an Aeldari girlfriend, and Ursarkar E. Creed can’t really ambush his foes with an Imperator class Titan, Trazyn doesn't actually have one of everything in his collection and he doesn’t use them like pokemon.  

Trazyn, called by some the Infinite, Chief Archaeovist of the Solemnace Galleries. Master of Scattered Moments. Lord of the Great Library.

As with everything in 40k we find it best to “dial it back to 10”* at which point Trazyn works fine.  I love him because unlike almost every other character in the setting, he’s not interested in the war.  He’s primarily an academic who has his own weird agenda.  Like me, he works in a museum and, like me, can be something of a troll.  As villains go, he’s a fun one that my opponents can enjoy beating but never completely defeat.  And, like me, he loves banter.


I didn’t want to start a new army, and when I realised I was so desperate to inhabit Trazyn that I was going to anyway, I wanted to ensure it would be fairly easy and quick to do.  With that in mind, I planned on doing a fairly simple paint scheme, and set about doing some testing.  There are some very cool looking Necron schemes around, but I always liked the original plain silver look.  I tried out a few techniques on random models and settled on a very simple and quick scheme to make what I think looks like a decent antique metal.  

  • Basecoat Leadbelcher
  • Agrax Earthshade wash (mat, not gloss)
  • Necron Compound drybrush

Congratulations, your Necron is now 95% painted.  Technically Trazyn is part of the Nihilakh Dynasty, and thus his army should be bedecked in turquoise and gold, but I have taken Trazyn’s general disinterest in war and preoccupation with his collection to leave his forces somewhat plain.  The basic warriors simply have a blue cartouche, but the more high rank the more decoration a Necron is afforded.  

A very old Genestealer from 2nd edition Space Hulk sacrificed to the gods of paint testing.

For the blue, I used Talassar Blue, a contrast paint.  Likewise for cables I used Warp Lightning contrast.  These were super quick to apply, and maintained the metallic sheen, and the shading and highlighting I had already applied.

Necron Warriors: Minimal bling.

For the glowing green I used Corax White and Tesseract Glow.  A killer combo of two of the hardest to mix paints GW produce.  My elbow may never forgive me.  Instead of painting the balls in the barrels, which I feared would look like a tube of tennis balls, I opted for the…  weird stack of plates near the bases of the weapons.  I figure this is the source of the energy or…  whatever.  Sci-fi mambo jumbo ahoy.  Whatever the logic, it reads as “this is a sci-fi gun”.  I also used it on anything that looked like a glowy power source, and the eyes.  

Necron Immortals: Slight bling.

Finally gold was the most effort (and that’s saying something), re-basecoated in Retributor Armour, washed in Agrax Earthshade and drybrushed with Sigmarite.  The same effect as the silver but with gold.  

Necron Lychguard: For real yo, they drippin.
That’s it, it is insanely quick to work up, which was a key requirement for me being willing to collect this army at all.  


Humble beginnings

I started small, pulling together a minimal legal list, a couple of troops units, some bodyguards for Trazyn and a Big Gun.  It came together so quickly that I added some more troops, and threw in a Night Scythe to transport them around.  Then the Christmas “Eradication Legion” battleforce box came out that basically doubled everything I had, but in a good way, and was too good a deal to miss so suddenly my army went from a token force to a full sized army.  

Throughout the project I tried to stay on top of it, only buying a unit when everything else was painted.  For the most part I held true to that, the battleforce being the biggest detour and that was somewhat unintended, my accidental new army accidentally doubling in size.

Making it my own

Normally I end up doing quite a bit of converting in an army, or at least some very careful selections of parts, if the range happens to be so extensive I can just pick and choose.  With the Necrons, uniformity and repetition are intended.  I’ve made a few tweaks here and there to change the way a few models look, but largely built the models as they came. 

The Canoptek Doomstalker is a lovely model but extremely monopose, so I rebuilt mainly the base but also the head pose to make the one on the left unique.

I'm not a fan of how the guns are supposed to attach, I wanted the Canoptek Spyder to have more of a threateningly raised abdomen look, so I had to pull the guns up onto the back.

I get that the Necron pilots don't need to breathe, but it still feels weird to me to see them exposed in an open cockpit.  Isn't space debris or atmospheric re-entry a problem?  I covered the canopy with a simple piece of curved plasticard to make a menacing and sci-fi blank cockpit.  

Where I have made the army my own, is in unit selection.  No Flayed Ones, no Destroyers.  No exceptions.  Trazyn is out here collecting, not slaughtering.  Insane murder robots cannot be trusted to preserve the exhibits for the Collection.  If you read the Infinite and the Divine then you’ll understand what I mean when I say that Trazyn is Not A Fan.  I've also included various characters who are named as Trazyn's top henchmen.

Arch-Cryptek Sannet the Light Sculptor, Chief Curator.  He has to write things down because of broken memory, so I felt he was perfectly represented by the anniversary model 'Kamoteph the crooked' Ashkut is Trazyn's Royal Warden, so it took all my ingenuity to represent him using the Royal Warden model. Tekk-Nev is described as a "tactical-cryptek", but since that doesn't exist as a unit I have represented him as a Lord, built here by downgrading the Overlord model.

Most of my experience with Necrons to date has been on the receiving end of Andy’s extremely Destroyer heavy army, so I’ve generally found that Destroyers do most of the actual work in his army, at least against my Space Marines.  My own experiences so far seem to back that up, but I’m still working on alternatives.  Canoptek Wraiths seem not so different to Skorpekh Destroyers to me, save the WS (who needs WS in a pure melee unit?!), and maybe I can make up for Lokhust Destroyers with…   some other guns?

Canoptek Acanthrites: An expensive and fiddly kit from Forgeworld that really doesn't fill in for Destroyers very well.  But damn they look cool...

Whatever the case this has left be with a very unique and personal Necron army, one that feels wildly different to Andy’s in particular.  

Crusading with a Named Character?

As you may have noticed, the Beard Bunker is quite keen on Crusade.  Named Characters are the anti-Crusade, they cannot gain XP or take Battle Scars.  They are immutable.  As such instead of using the Trazyn the Infinite datasheet, I’ve decided to use the generic Overlord datasheet.  The biggest loss here is the “Surrogate Hosts” special rule.  

If you’re not familiar with the character, the reason Trazyn is known as “the Infinite” is because of his tendency to remote control his minions, reshaping their living metal bodies to appear as him.  When killed, the host body reverts to its initial form and Trazyn is free to control someone else instead, or return to his own body.

In-game this is represented by him taking over another Character model on a roll of 2+ when destroyed, but in reality in the very short period that a 40k game takes place in, this simply doesn’t need to happen.  GW tends to turn everything into a rule that affects a 40k game (understandably) but there’s plenty of lore that can simply exsist and not happen on the table.  Instead I can use the Crusade Relic that prevents the Character from ever being able to take a Battle Scar.  That is, arguably, a better representation of it anyway.  

That done, I get to play with even more thematic Crusade mechanics, such as the one where he gets bonus XP if he defeats an enemy Character that bears a Relic in melee.  Very on-brand.  

Trazyn and a Doomstalker, both wounded.  The last survivors facing far too much of Drew's Eldar, but in possession of the Relic.  A very exciting game that came down to the last dice roll to decide.  Naturally Trazyn made it away with the prize, at the cost of his entire army.  Well worth the price...

Drew: I was also introduced to the character through ‘The Infinite and the Divine’ and between Tom’s super fluffy units, the lovely paint job and copious amounts of sass, I almost felt like I was in the room with the rusty old klepto’!  To this day the fight with Trazyn remains one of my favourite games of all time. 

The picture shown precedes a very dramatic escape. In a desperate attempt to stop him leaving in the final turn (after a very drippy shooting phase), I charged everything I had left at Trazyn. Unfortunately all this resulted in was the wiping out of my Swooping Hawks, right down to the exarch. As the Trazyn model comes with his very own little spiritstone, Tom elected to paint it in Iybraesil colours and declared Trazyn had lifted it from the dead exarch’s body on his way out: the bastard. I love it. In fact I loved it so much that I ended up building myself a brand new exarch out of spare parts. A spikier, meaner one, equipped with a sword and hell bent on revenge. Who knows, with Tom’s Necrons entering crusade, I may finally get my chance…

In Conclusion

No regrets.  I’ve only played two games with Trazyn so far, but he’s been an incredibly fun character to inhabit.  I’m not intending to grow the army much bigger, as mentioned I’ve got some Wraiths on the way and I decided to throw in some Tomb Blades too and see if their mobile high AP anti-infantry fire helps against Marines.  One day I’d like to have a Monolith as a centrepiece model to finish off the army, and maybe a C’tan, since the Void Dragon is an exceptionally pretty model.  

If I do add more units as I play with the army more, it will be a bit at a time, and I should be able to turn them around and get them painted in very short order.  I think not having added a chunk to my “pile of shame” and working through them quickly has really been key to me not feeling guilty about this side project.  I have grand plans for my “main” armies, and tons of scenery to paint, but this little side project has been a guilt free, fun activity.  

*A common phrase in the Beard Bunker, as GW seems to always insist on trying to 'dial it up to 11' and we find it best to dial things back down to a more reasonable 10.  


  1. Dear Tom,

    Thanks for your efforts! The army looks insanely good, I couldn´t just believe how good it looks with just a single drybrush layer after the Agrax shade wash.

    Did you use the new "Agrax Earthshade" they launched this year or the old?
    Also, how well do you think your scheme would be if your replaced the shade with "Cryptek Armoushade Gloss"? (the one they use for Szarekh dynasty)

    I have been experimenting a bit with it over Leadbelcher, but I wanted a second opinion. In my case, I have had a bit of problems with the "gloss" part (it interacted badly with pooling), but it was a while ago, and I would like to get it right.
    Reason is, I think it would get the "Oily" or dirty metal for more damaged necrons (like Flayed ones) well, but I have been using it mixed with other Contrasts, and I think it obscured its real performance (and limitations).

    (Full disclaimer: I was trying to dull a "Leadbelcher" spray basecoat to a shiny, dark brown - like getting a "Warplock Bronze" without the hassle, and then drybrush it up to "IronBreaker" shiny, with edge highlights. I should really stop being a coward and restrict myself to a single highlight layer as you do, you seem to get equal or better results in a fraction of the time)

    1. Thanks.

      This was all the older Agrax, before they re-engineered it a bit. To be honest I’ve played with using a glossy wash and it doesn’t look good when you drybrush over the top IMO. You get a very inconsistent effect with very shiny recesses but duller edges.

      Pooling is always an issue, particularly on larger models, so you have to be very careful to prevent them from happening. On one of my Doom Scythes I didn’t do a very good job and it pooled quite a bit, so I did an additional drybrush of Leadbelcher on those areas to break up and hide the marks left behind by the pooling, then do the Necron Compound drybrush over the top as usual.

      If you want to colour your metallics I do recommend Contrast, as I used for the blue cartouches and green cables. I understand inks are even better for it, but I have no personal experience with them.

      Good luck!


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