Orkheim Ultraz: Pitch-perfect

It’s time for another showcase post this week, as I have managed to finish another long running project of mine: As some of you may remember, I recently completed the last two Black Orc blockers for my Orc Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz.

With the last two player models completed, all that was left to do was to give the entire team one last round of fine tuning. And that’s exactly what I did earlier this week, during one of my customary joint painting sessions at my friend Annie’s place:

I spent most of the session cleaning up the paintwork on some of the models, adding a few details here and there – especially painting the eyes on all of the models – and, maybe most importantly of all, painting a player number on each model. This turned out to be a slightly finnicky job, seeing how most of the models hadn’t been assembled with this step in mind, but in the end, I was able to wedge the numbers in there somewhere, even if I had to get creative in some cases 😉

So it is with great joy that I can finally show you the finished team in all of its “pitch-perfect” glory. Meet the finished Orkheim Ultraz, everyone:

The Orkheim Ultraz
“Ultra ‘ard! Ultra-violent! Go Ultraz!”

 

I am really happy with the way the finished team looks. It’s also pretty cool how most of this team was basically assembled from leftover models, bits and pieces from my cupboard of shame, and cheap second-hand pick ups. I am not usually an extremely thrifty hobbyist, but this project was very much a case of producing a lot of bang for the least possible amount of buck 😉

So, let’s take a closer look at the various models, shall we? I think we’ll just take it from the top:

 

Star Playa Gitgrim Sharptoof

The official line is that this guy was intended as my version of the “official” star player Varag Ghoulchewer. To be perfectly honest with you, however, I mostly just wanted to build a Blood Bowl model using the highly dynamic feral Orc boss back when I started my team, so that’s what I did. I am still pretty happy with this guy, even though I would probably do some minor things differently if I were to build him today (I think I would be a bit more corageous with the arms).

Anyway, with his eyes painted in and a few tweaks here and there, he is still a very nice focal point for the team, from a visual perspective.


 

For the rest of the team, my plan was to build the models in such a way that each model’s position and gameplay role would be fairly obvious just by looking at them.

Throwers

Gugmar and Rikkit are the Orkheim Ultraz’ Throwers, proud to perform the team’s first move during kick-off — although they are usually happy enough to have seen the last of the ball for that turn…

When it came to actually making these look like throwers, I decided to use pretty light armour and suitably athletic poses. The sports glasses were a spur-of-the-moment idea when building the first thrower, and I was lucky enough to find another head with glasses for the second model.


I also didn’t want to just mimic Rikkit’s pose for the second thrower, so I came up with a model that was preparing to throw a squig — because there are days when you just have to haul an ill-tempered mass of teeth into a gaggle of players, simple as that.

I am still rather happy with the way the squig turned out, by the way:

I just love painting those little guys…

 

Black Orc Blockers

Certainly the ‘ardest hitters in the team, Morglum Bruis’Arm, Grimgork Bucket’Ead, Borzag Ironskull and Azhag Ironjaw (from left to right) are as massive as they are resistant to fun.

The first two Black Orcs I assembled were mainly built right out of the box, with the removal of the weapons the only major change to the stock models. I got a little more adventurous with the other two, both because I wanted to make sure they looked suitably different from their buddies, but I was also influenced by the rather impressive new plastic models that had been released by then.

Anyway, these are definitely one of my favourite parts of the team: They look like a massive wall of muscle, scuffed armour and ill temper, which is exactly the look I wanted for them. The scratches on the armour also make for a rather effective look, if I do say so myself.

Blitzers

Gabnaz, Gorgrim, Gulgrit & Urrzag (from left to right) are the Orkheim Ultraz’ Blitzers and always the first ones into the fray. What they lack in tactical acumen, they make up for in sheer enthusiasm!

The Blitzers were built fairly early into the project — in fact, Gorgrim up there was actually the very first test model for the entire team. This is why they mostly use standard Orc boy parts. At the same time, I used three visual cues to try and differentiate them from the Linemen: The aggressive, dynamic poses on at least two of them. The armoured gauntlets on all models, save for Urrzag. And the American football-esque shoulder armour (simply repurposed vanilla Space Marine pauldrons) on all of them. In hindsight, they may seem just a bit too conservative, especially when compared to the “official” new plastic models, but I am pretty happy with them, nevertheless.

 

Linemen


At the lower end of the team hierarchy, Bolg, Urrg, Hergh and Garg are the team’s Linemen, referred to not so much by actual names, but rather by the amusing noises they make when going down during the game (Young Bolg there seems like he could be Blitzer material, though…).

Blood Bowl provides a great opportunity to inject some humour into the models, and the Linemen were my attempt at doing just that: I loved the idea that Orc Linemen should look like they were fairly incompetent when it came to handling the ball, so I made most of the models look like they were doing their darnedest to catch the blasted thing 😉

Even better was the fact that most of this was mostly achieved by exchanging some hands and carefully posing the models on their bases — it turned out the monopose archers and boyz from the sixth edition WFB starter set were just perfect material for this particular project.

Bolg was built a good while later and maybe just looks a bit too competent for a lineman? I still like the fairly iconic, Blood Bowl-like pose he has, though. And whenever I look at those guys, I just have to smile, so I think I can call this mission accomplished 😉

Goblins


Don’t tell it to the boyz, but these sly little devils probably have more cunning than the rest of the team combined. Zatnig and Nogbli (on the left) are from the old neighbourhood and fit right in with the rest of the team. Snikrit and Skaskul come from one of the shifty underground tribes, and have yet to earn their own player numbers, as some of the boyz just won’t trust them…

…I knew right from the start that I wanted some goblins as part of my team, yet when I started out, I only had the old Night Goblin plastics to work with — which wasn’t really a huge problem, because I still like the looks of them a lot, and their poses worked pretty well for Blood Bowl. Even so, I was happy when I later managed to get my hands on some parts from the vanilla Goblin kit from the same era, as the models already look like they are wearing old-timey sports gear.

Apart from that, I tried a mix of models that look truly, almost comically, determined (Zatning and Skaskul) and two models that channel the rather mischievous nature of Goblins (Nogbli and Snikrit). I really like these guys, and it’s not even that noticeable that the four of them only share two facial sculpts between them 😉

Big Guy

There aren’t many things, on or off the pitch, that Spleenrot has not yet confused with a ball. He is, after all, a troll…

This guy was a bit of a lucky discovery: While searching for suitable big guy models online, I found the old plastic troll from the 7th edition WFB starter set and thought he would be brilliant for the job — only the model was long OOP by that point. So it was a delightful surprise to discover him in a bag with second-hand models at my old FLGS — and for a song, no less.

The model may be a little small by modern standards, but I still think he’s the perfect big guy for the Ultraz. Converting and painting him was also a blast!

 

So much for the actual players — but wait, there’s more!

 

Da Medikal Krew

Doc Nipptakk & Medikal Assistant Whakkit

A gnarled veteran of the infirmary, Doc Nipptakk is an expert when it comes to getting players back on their feet. Whether his success is actually based on his famed injections of “Vitaminz” or players are simply afraid of the monstrous syringes he uses to administer them, and would rather stay healthy in the first place, the results speak for themselves. Whakkit is Nipptakk’s trusty assistant, and a practitioner of the fabled art of “‘Nasty-Easy-o-logy” — whenever he isn’t relaxing during a round of “Whack-a-Squig”, that is…

 

The Goblin medic is a wonderfully characterful Kromlech model and was given to me by my friend Annie. Painting this guy was a lot of fun, even if the many nooks and crannies of the sculpt lead to some swearing on my part 😉

Whakkit, the little grot with the massive hammer, is a very recent completion, even if the model has been in my collection for years: It came from a mostly complete metal Doomdiver Catapult that I picked up as part of a larger job lot, and the model was so characterful that I simply had to rescue it from its somewhat drab older paintjob.

Before:

And here’s the freshly painted model again:



 

Da Ballz

These are actually my only concession to “modern” Blood Bowl models, although this was an easy exception to make: The balls were another gift, for one, plus there’s also the fact that Maxime Pastourel’s wonderful squig ball has to be one of my favourite models from the last couple of years! So including it in my collection was a bit of a no-brainer 😉

 

Re-rolls, tokens and turn counter

The new Blood Bowl teams come with themed re-roll tokens and turn markers, so it was obvious to me that I had to come up with my own versions as well. Building these using all kinds of orcish bric-a-brac was a fun project, indeed!

 

Squig-themed dice/tokens

These, along with the next model, were another gift from Annie. I really love suigs, so those delightful two critters above were a much appreciated additon to my collection, even though they cannot really be used as dice. Oh, Annie basically painted about 70% of them, too, to give credit where credit is due!

Da Fan


Sourbelch is a huge fan of the Ultraz, even though many – if not all – of the game’s finer points escape him. But as long as he can wave his flag, get drunk on mushroom beer and watch some skulls getting caved in, he considers the game a great one.

This massive guy was a birthday present Annie converted and painted for me a couple of years ago. The troll isn’t a GW model, yet it perfectly fits the vintage GW look. The beer barrel and straw setup was the result of an idle conversation about maybe converting a fan model wearing a beer hat. And now Sourbelch is here, proudly waving his flag and waiting to be joined by some additional fanz — hopefully you won’t have to wait for too long, buddy! 😉

 

So that’s it — my entire Blood Bowl collection, at least for now. This project has been running for quite a while, but now I have a finished team. Incidentally, since I have recently started to re-familiarise myself with the rules by way of the Blood Bowl II video game, here are the Orkheim Ultraz in their digital form:

And here they are, once again, on the tabletop:

Of course, as Doctor Manhattan tells us, nothing ever ends. And while I am happy to call the actual team finished at this point, I will just as happily keep adding models to this collection: I still have plans (and WIP models) for some more hangers-on (a “kit-git”, as it were, plus some more fanz), a display base for the team or some smaller or bigger pieces of terrain. Plus there’s also that mystery teaser model I shared with you in my previous post…

And who knows, maybe I will even actually get to play the game again? We shall see… 😉

 

For now, I am very happy with the finished team, however. And I would of course love to hear any feedback you may have! So please leave a comment!

Before I tune out for today, thanks must go to my friend Annie for keeping me motivated during this project and for providing neat little additions to my collection every now and then — one of these days, I’ll know the rules well enough be able to steamroll over that gorgeous Dwarf team of yours, by way of thanks (Ha-Ha, fat chance…) 😉

Oh, and lest I forget: The fact that these guys had been waiting for their finishing touches for years at this point probably qualifies the finished team for Azazel’s “Neglected Models June” challenge as well 😉

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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15 Responses to “Orkheim Ultraz: Pitch-perfect”

  1. Superb mate – awesome looking team!

  2. oliver kemp Says:

    Wow….just a big friggin wow!

  3. dochalf Says:

    One can never paint and play too much Blood Bowl ! 😉
    Congratulations on achieving the team. Your painting and conversions are, as always, very inspiring. Showing that old neglected models can shine again when properly converted is a great plus. I like this nod to ‘the way of the frugal hobbyist’ 🙂 Any plans for another team in the future ?

    • Cheers, dochalf! I would like to try my hand at a human team (based on the new plastics) at some point. Something very straightforward – and almost a little boring, maybe – but with a few tweaks and customisations here and there.

  4. Great team! Well done!

    You’re right about the humour in Blood Bowl. I think an Orc team is a great place to make these funny conversions. Those linesmen trying to catch are brilliant for this, and a great counter to the serious Black Orcs.

    Whakkit is a fantastic funny addition, great name.

    A refreshing change to the grimdark, I bet.

  5. Fantastic to see the team all finished* and arrayed together like that – as well as the individual player profiles with the shots so we can see and admire each of the converted models.
    I’m almost finished with April’s challenge post – you want me to add these guys in for the “army” shot? (I don’t care that it’s now June – I never got my own “army” shot done in time, either). Just LMK and if yes, throw a link to this post in the April Challenge post so my dumb arse doesn’t forget.

    • Cheers for the kind words, mate! Always appreciated! 🙂

      As for the offer, while I like every shout out I can get, it would seem a bit dodgy, seeing how the last models for this project have been completed in May and June, respectively. Tell you what, though: How about featuring the finished models for my HeroQuest project instead? The last monsters were completed in April, so the entire collection of heroes and monsters would probably count as an “army” of sorts, right? Relevant post here: https://eternalhunt.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/heroquest2019-back-into-the-dungeon/

      • Sounds perfect, though the “army” shots don’t matter when the models were painted. It’s more an opportunity for people to show off a group shot. 🙂
        I still haven’t taken one of my own. Despite my recent prolific posting, I’ve had a pretty bad cold that even had me off work.So it’s been a “can’t work, can’t paint properly, guess I’ll catch up on blogging” kinda month..

  6. […] A blog about KrautScientist's wargaming exploits « Orkheim Ultraz: Pitch-perfect […]

  7. Great work, especially fond of the “medical” crew, who I’m sure all went to medical school and definitely know what they’re doing.

  8. […] also served to complete said team, and so we’ve also got a group shot of the completed team and support personnel. Until he adds more, at least… If you click the link, you’ll see clsoe-ups of each team […]

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