Archive for greenskins

An Orc is an Ork is an…Orruk?! A look at the Ironjawz release

Posted in Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2016 by krautscientist

Oh my, it seems like I am really lagging behind with those reviews and in-depth explorations of GW’s recent releases. Sorry for that! In my defense, however, it just takes a certain dedication (not to mention motivation) to sit down and do detailed writeups about new models, particularly when it would probably more instantly-gratifying to build new stuff! 😉

Then again, there are just some thoughts about GW’s recent offerings that I would like to share, so I hope you’ll indulge me, even when the models I’ll be talking about have been with us for a while.

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So for today, let us talk about the Ironjawz, GW’s first Age of Sigmar foray into the greenskin faction: In the interest of full disclosure, let me just preface this post by saying that I have loved GW’s greenskins ever since I got into this hobby: I loved the greenskin models in HeroQuest, even though there were basically only two designs. I loved the greenskin armies back when fantasy armies were still predominantly made from pewter models (so I bought the pretty expensive army book as a lad, only to realise that an army really wasn’t an option, given the limits of my monthly allowance). I loved the fact that GW included an Orc starter army in the 6th edition box and wanted to start an army — it didn’t really happen. But I still like GW’s greenskin designs to this day, whether they appear in 40k or AoS — I even created a kitbashed Blood Bowl team from plastic GW greenskins. So yeah, I am a fan, and have been for quite a while.

For me, GW’s greenskins have always managed to straddle the line between legitimately scary and darkly humorous. I am aware of the fact that some hobbyists, particularly in the Oldhammer scene, prefer the slightly more lighthearted take of the yesteryear to the heavily muscled and more intimidating modern Orcs (or “Orruks”, for that matter), but I like the modern look well enough, and I think having the greenskins be both funny and scary at the same time actually adds to their character.

So this release was interesting for me, both due to my general affection for the greenskins, but also because I was curious about how GW would bring the greenskins over into the Age of Sigmar setting: So far, AoS has mostly seemed like an escalation of vintage Warhammer designs to me: Like a redesigned Warhammer by way of videogame tropes, Masters of the Universe and particularly cheesy heavy metal album cover art — and this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, mind you!

The problem is that Age of Sigmar doesn’t really seem to have found its own voice yet, mostly due to the seeming lack of depth to its lore and setting: So far, it has mostly seemed like “Warhammer turned up to eleven”. This is a problem that should arguably diminish with each army and faction getting more fleshed out, so looking at the way GW has chosen to revisit one of its most iconic factions should be interesting. And, to address the elephant in the room, how much will the new greenkins resemble something out of World of Warcraft?

This is a really obvious question, of course: A wealth of anecdotal evidence suggests that Warcraft was basically born out of heaps of inspiration taken from GW’s greenskin designs. Some rumours even say that the whole Warcraft franchise might been intended as a GW-licensed Warhammer game at some point. Whether or not that’s true, there’s more than a little overlap between both universes, and now GW redesigns its own Orcs, with a feature length Warcraft film just around the corner — interesting times, indeed!

With those thoughts firmly wedged into the back of our collective head, let’s take a look at each of the new kits in turn:

 

Godrakk, the Fist of Gork

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Every new release needs that huge centrepiece model, and the Ironjawz are no exception. They do get quite a beast of a model, though, and one that is, at once, pretty different from the Orc warlords on huge beasts we have seen so far and also fits right in. Allow me to explain:

For the last couple of releases (and, for that matter, editions), Orc warlords would invariably be riding on some kind of ambiguously serpentine reptilian — mostly a Wyvern. During the early 90s, those creatures shared the same precarious posing and general “S-shape” as all of GW’s dragons, and I imagine the similar design outline was mostly due to the problems of producing a huge metal model that wasn’t just a solid lump of pewter while still looking like some kind of dragon.

And somehow it never quite worked out: There was just some kind of visual disconnect between the burly, heavyset Orcs and those serpentine mounts. Which makes me like the new orcish — pardon, “Orruk-ish” riding beast, called the “Maw-Krusha” looks far more massive and imposing, as this just seems a far better match for the rest of the catalogue!

At the same time, it’s great how the Maw-Krusha manages to incorporate elements of various creatures that have been part of Greenskin armies for a long time: It even resembles the old wyvern to some degree, yet manages to replace the slightly awkward, serpentine look with something more fitting. The overall body shape and scaled hide also manages to recall the plastic River Trolls, which makes for an extra bit of visual consistency.

The kit provides two different heads for the Maw-Krusha: The one intended for “Bigteef” is masked and muzzled and features some slightly strange cloth drapings — I originally thought this was supposed to be some kind of enemy banner being devoured by the creature, which would have been pretty cool, but it really seems to be a decorative element. Oh well…
The alternative, unhelmenetd head, on the other side, may just be one of my favourite monster heads ever produced by GW:

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It’s suitably monstrous, sure. Yet it also has that “crocodilian inquisitiveness”, for lack of a better word: You can definitely imagine the creature staring curiously at something before some neural switch at the centre of its tiny, tiny brain goes from “0” to “1” and it just goes crazy — just watch any documentary about crocodiles or alligators, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. Anyway, the head just captures that expression perfectly, while also adding some subtle humour to the whole deal — which is, once again, a great fit for the greenskin faction!

In addition to the huge creatire, we also get an equally impressive Orruk warlord on top, of course. One option would be to use the kit to build Gordrakk himself:

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And he really looks the part: From the massive armour to the impressive twin axes, this guy really looks like he means business! I also really like his screaming, one-eyed face:

Ironjawz Release (20)Greenskin models are often sold by the quality of their faces, really, and this one has a lot of character. Jolly good show! The necklace with the dwarven beard and the back banner may be a tad much, but that’s not really a big problem, seeing how it should be easy enough to just leave those parts off, or replace them with some alternate bitz.

Speaking of which, the kit also provides alternate parts to build a generic Ironjawz warlord, and it’s certainly nice to have the extra options!

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However, the idea of pairing a massive spear/halberd/thing with a monstrous knife/sword/thing (held in a reverse grip, no less), seems kind of nonsensical to me, even for an Orruk warlord (and believe me, as a World Eaters player, I am no stranger to modeling audacious weapon combinations). The alternate face is also slightly less interesting than Gordrakk’s ugly mug, unfortunately:

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Then again, the iconic iron jaw bit and different back banner are interesting enough alternatives. All in all, though, it’s clear that Gordrakk was the focus of this model. And, in any case, there’s only so much leeway and customisation that the kit will allow, due to the specific poses of both the Maw-Krusha and its rider, so building three of these that look totally different would be quite a task indeed!

But all in all, the kit certainly provides a massive and impressive and thoroughly orky – or should that be “orruk-y” – centrepiece model for any greenskin force, and I really like the audacity of this guy. Very cool!

 

Orruk Megaboss

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In addition to the massive warlord on Maw-Krusha, we also get a generic warlord on foot, and the easy way of looking at it would be to say that this is basically the Maw-Krusha rider without a Maw-Krusha 😉

But seriously, what’s great about this model, right out of the gate, is that it marks the concept of huge Orcs (or, again, “Orruks”) finally arriving in the GW’s fantasy setting: In 40k, the idea of Ork warlords being far bigger and more massive than their followers has long been a staple of both the lore and the actual models, yet in the world of WFB, orcish generals weren’t that much more imposing than their soldiers — and it’s great to finally see that remedied with this model.

I really like the look of the massive, crude armour. It seems a bit more extreme than the greenskin armour we have seen in WFB, but it’s still well within the parameters of GW’s established design without seeming as stylised as something you’d see in, say, WoW. Even so, a certain “escalation” is clearly obvious in the design. But it makes for a nice enough looking model.

My one substantial complaint about this model is that it would arguably have needed alternative weapons more urgently than the Maw-Krusha rider, seeing how this guy is meant to represent your generic Orruk warlord. Granted, it should be easy enough to swap in some weapons from some of the other kits, but it still seems like a bit of an oversight.

On a slightly less serious note, don’t get me started on those skulls,…

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Aw, screw it, I just can’t help myself, so here goes: The obvious thing first: The model’s whole silhouette and look is really dominated by that huge saurian skull strapped to its right shoulder, and it’s an element that not everybody will be keen on. I have to admit that I would probably carefully cut it off myself, and replace it with something slightly less ostentatious.

The real headache begins once you start thinking about where that skull came from, however: It looks like the remains of some kind of Lizardma…ehhh Seraphon creature, doesn’t it? But aren’t the Seraphon ghostly creatures now? So how do they leave any skulls in the first place?

Sure, this could be the remains of any huge predator from any of the new realms, and not really a Seraphon skull. But what’s that on the Megaboss’s other shoulder? A Bloodletter skull? But aren’t Bloodletters daemons? Then how do they leave skulls in the first place…? Like I said, it’s best not to even start thinking about it — how can an Orruk Megaboss make creatures without bones leave bones? Because he’s just that awesome! ‘Nuff said! 😉

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Semantics aside, however, it’s a nice enough model and certainly one of the release’s most interesting pieces of conversion fodder. One or two parts of the model may be a bit too cartoony for my taste, but those should be easy enough to get rid of, so this guy gets a pass.

On a semi-related note, wouldn’t you agree with me that the model just looks so much better with red armour…?

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Orruk Weirdnob Shaman

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Shamans and magicians have always been a thoroughly weird part of greenskin society — it’s even part of their name there, see? – and so this guy’s slightly spastic look and pose are a great fit! He really looks as though he were being controlled by powers beyond his control (or by far too much fungus beer, but yeah…), and the model does a great job of communicating that feeling. Maybe the best part of the shaman is the priceless look on his face:

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On the other hand, there are two parts of the model I really don’t like. One is the pair of horns or tusks awkwardly bound to the shaman’s head. A quick look at the sprue reveals that this part should, once again, be easy enough to get rid of, though.

My least favourite part is that smoke effect emerging from the top of the staff: It just seems silly – as sculpted smoke and magical effects are wont to do – and I’d get rid of it in a heartbeat. Kudos to the ‘Eavy Metal Team, though, for managing to paint it exactly like something from the cover of a 70s prog-rock album! 😉

Anyway, all in all, it’s a nice enough model, and having a plastic Shaman/Weirdboy available should be very useful for both AoS and 40k players alike.

 

Orruk Warchanter

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This is probably my least favourite part of this release: The concept of a drummer/chanter/shaman type character seems pretty tired and unoriginal at the best of times. What makes matters even worse, however, is that, while the other models from the release manage to carefully flirt with the cartoony, videogamey Warcraft look, this guy just embraces it as hard as he can and ends up looking like some kind of WoW reject: The armour, those clunky bones — my immediate feeling was that this wasn’t a GW model at all, but a model produced by some other, smaller company during the late 90s. He just seems overly cartoony and bland to me.

The model’s only saving grace is, once again, the face: It’s really rather lovely:

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But all things considered, it’s not enough to excuse the clunky, unoriginal rest of the miniatured. The Warchanter is easily the weakest part of this release, in my opinion, as the model seems more like an afterthought.

 

Orruk Brutes

Ironjawz Release (24)At first galnce, this basically seems like the fantasy version of 40k’s Ork Nobz kit. And just like that kit, this box allows us to build five rather massive …Orruks that are armoed to the teeth — so far, so good!

The bulky models in their massive, crude armour should be quite a sight on the tabletop, and I really like the juxtaposition of the heavily muscled bodies and the jagged, primitive armour plates:

Ironjawz Release (27)These guys really seem tough as nails, and they manage to fit the new Age of Sigmar aesthetic while also fitting in with older greenskin models, which is certainly not mean feat! I also like the wealth of options provided in the kit, at least according to a closer look at the various sprues!

If I have one gripe with the Brutes, it’s that some of the weapon designs just seem a bit too much: That massive, two-handed cleaver? The strange crab-claw? Those look more like toys than weapons, really — like the designers were trying just a bit too hard to make those weapons “uber-awesome”:

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Maybe the problem is that these guys are just a bit too serious: They seem to be trying just as hard as GW’s sculptors 😉

All in all, however, the kit itself seems to provide a lot of options and a wealth of extra bitz, so it still stands as one of the best parts of the release, in my opinion.

 

Orruk Goregruntaz

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This kit seems like an interesting addition, mostly because the plastic Orc Boarboyz are one of the more recent greenskin kits — and arguably one of the coolest. And now we are already seeing yet another escalation of the concept in the shape of even bigger and more heavily armoured Ironjawz Boarboyz — or rather, “Goregruntaz” (*sigh*).

The overall concept of a more heavily armoured greenskin cavalry is pretty cool in and of itself, though, and so are the riders: In fact, they are possibly my favourite part of the kit for a somewhat strange reason: Call me crazy, but their armour seems strangely reminiscent of the vintage Horus Heresy Cataphractii design , complete with the topknot sadly missing from FW’s Cataphractii. The jagged spears are, once again, ever so slightly over the top, but it’s less obvious here than with some of the more outlandish brute weapons. What’s more, the kit also seems to be packed to the brim with excellent bitz and faces. I mean, just check out that guy with the eyepatch. That has to be one of the coolest greenskin faces around:

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The kit’s bigges weakness, on the other hand, are the boars, unfortunately: GW already had the perfect boars with their plastic Boarboy models, but it seems like they needed to turn this design up to eleven for the Goregruntaz, and they weren’t entirely successful with that. Some parts of the boars are quite cool (the armour matching the riders, for instance), but then you get to those enormous, far too large heads with those teribbly clunky beards and OTT dagger teeth, and you just cannot unsee that part.

Granted, the problem is less prominent on some heads. The armoured one is looking quite okay:

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But the one with the wide open maw is easily the worst offender: It just seems clunky and, once again, overly cartoony to me:

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Which brings me back to one of my main points of cricticsm about quite a few AoS kits, really: In order to make them ever more extreme and ultra-awesome, some of the restrain that makes a truly outstanding model is lost. If anything, those models need to be somewhat less extreme and over the top! I would argue that the Goregruntaz would have profited from a slightly more restrained design — or maybe even from reusing the existing boars with some additional armour plates?

As it stands, the kit is hurt by the somewhat silly design of the mounts and doesn’t provide the more awesome version of the Boarboyz it was probably iintended as.

 

Orruk ‘Ardboyz

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Right, these obviously aren’t new, they are merely the “old” Black Orcs with a new name. I’d still like to discuss them in this review for two reasons: One, it’s interesting to see how these originally formed the most heavily armoured, badass Orcs and are now relegated to the position of fairly standard footsoldiers — this nicely shows the kind of escalation we are dealing with, in a way. The other aspect that stands out to me is that, surprisingly enough, they still manage to hold up fairly well, all things considered! I think they would need some leftover trophies and extra skulls to bring them in line visually with the newer kits, but that shouldn’t really require that much work, so the kit still seems to work fairly well!

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Conversion ideas:

Let’s get the obvious things out of the way first: One, even if you have little love for Age of Sigmar and stick to the older rules, many of these models should still work in your army from a visual standpoint, as they are still recognisably GW greenskins. So there’s nothing stopping you from using those Ironjawz models to build, say, a particularly vicious looking Black Orc army — in fact, I like that idea a lot, come to think of it…

The other overarching idea for these kits is that it has never been so easy to create a really awesome Feral Ork army for 40k: Seriously, many of the new kits should be really easy o 40k-i-fy with a chainblade here and an exhaust pipe there, and I can easily imagine a fantastic looking Feral Ork force based on these new kits!

Beyond these broad approaches, let me also share a couple of more specific – if rather rough – ideas:

Gordrakk on Maw-Krusha

I think that Maw-Krusha would also work as a huge Squig (or even a small Squiggoth, maybe?) Anyway, wouldn’t it be fun to use this monster as some kind of Feral Ork attack beast? Or an alternate trukk? Or just mount some crazy contraption on its back and use it as artillery or a war machine or what have you? The possibilities are really endless here! 🙂

Orruk Megaboss

Now this guy is possibly the most versatile and useful kmodel for converters. Possile uses for the model include…

  • using him as an Ork Warboss in mega armour: Seriously, he’s huge and intimidating, and tech-ing up that armour should be lots  of fun! Just add a mean-looking circular saw or a claw and a huge shoota and you’re golden!
  • while we’re at it, why not go the extra mile and turn him into a plastic Ghazghkull? In fact, just check out this incredible WIP conversion by JeffyP to see how well this works!
  • on a similar note, I imagine the model would also work well as a basis for a huge and hideous mutant warlord for all our LNTD players and/or INQ28 aficionados! Sure, you would need to get rid of some of the more obviously orky elements, but the armour definitely looks crude and nondescript enough to work for some kind of big mutant!
  • speaking of INQ28, why not use this model as a “true scale” Ork as a worthy opponent for all those true scale Marines floating around? Or as a suitable end-boss for your Ordo Xenos Inquisitors to fight against?

Orruk Weirdnob Shaman

This one’s obvious: the model provides an excellent plastic Weirdboy for 40k, with as much or as little conversion work as you like involved 😉

Orruk Warchanter

Maybe, just maybe, if one were to get rid of those stupid bones and some of those surplus horns, I think he could make for an intersting gladiatorial type — he does have a suitable “Are you not entertained?” pose, after all. Yeah, on second thought, maybe that would be the best possible use for this model: Use him to convert a particularly huge and ugly pitfighter for INQ28 or Necromunda (Bull Gorg anyone?).

Orruk Brutes

These would be great as Ork Nobz — or even Meganobz, for that matter. I think they more original looking armour could make them look cooler than the stock Meganobz, especially if you take the time to add some suitably brutal weapons and augmetics to them. Once again, by the same token, the model could also become mutant overlords, provided you swap in some less orky weapons and heads.

Orruk Goregruntaz
You know what? I just cannot get that Cataphractii resemblance I mentioned out of my head. Therefore, what I would really love to see is a kitbash using those Goregrunta riders to make a squad of Ork Cataphractii, complete with orkish versions of classic Cataphractii weapons and corrupted Astartes iconography. I think that woul be an amazing project — and arguably a fun way of bringing Orks into the 30k timeframe?! If anyone does this (or discovers somebody else doing this), please feel free to send me a link! 😉

 

All in all, I am fairly happy with the release: There are a few missteps here and there, but what we have here, at the end of the day, are greenskin models that are still recognisably GW greenskins. Now this may not seem like a huge achievement, but I beg to differ: I think there was actually a pretty big danger of these guys basically ending up as Warcraft models. There’s a clear tendency visible in the models created for Age of Sigmar so far to feature designs that are slightly more videogame-y in nature than GW’s classic fantasy models. I am not saying that GW’s sculptors are consciously aiming for WoW as a design template (which would be fairly ironic, giving the somewhat intertwined past of Warhammer and Warcraft), but there is a certain visual “escalation”, for lack of a better word. And maybe the greenskins were in danger more than some of the other factions because Warcraft provides this large cultural influence — or maybe I am just imagining it All, who knows?

What I am getting at, however, is this: The new Ironjawz models still clearly read as greenskin models in the Brian Nelson school of design. They are still their own thing. And I am beginning to see what GW may be going for with the look they are trying to establish for Age of Sigmar, a design eking out a niche for itself between the established visuals of vintage Warhammer on the one hand and the more cartoony visuals you might expect of a videogame like Warcraft. It’s a delicate balance to maintain, certainly, and they may not be getting it right all of the time, but I can repect it for what it is now, instead of just considering it a mere Warhammer-knock-off. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, whether or not you appreciate Age of Sigmar as a setting or a game: If, like me, you enjoy GW’s greenskin designs, then you should find something to like about this release. And you can always get rid of the parts you don’t like with a trusty hobby knife 😉

 

So what is your take on the Ironjawz? Do you love them or hate them? Or something in-between? And is there a cool conversion idea that I missed? Feel free to let me hear your opinion in the comments section?

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

‘Ere we go! A look at the new Ork release

Posted in 40k, Conversions, Orcs & Goblins with tags , , , , , , , on July 10, 2014 by krautscientist

One thing I believe most 40k/WFB hobbyists can happily agree on is that Orks are fun! There’s an anarchic feel to them as a faction that you’ve got to love. Coupled with their penchant for bashing in heads and engineering enormous, barely working death machines, this makes them one of the most entertaining and beloved factions in GW’s various universes. And there is always enough whackiness involved to make for a humorous undercurrent, allowing Ork players to field some pretty funny and strangely endearing models. Sure, there are those who miss the even more openly funny and absurd Orks of the yesteryear, but if you look closely, there’s still enough humour and whackiness to go around.

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The same goes for this new Ork release that has now kept us entertained for the last month or so. Some are already venting their frustration with how drawn out this release has been, claiming they’re already well fed up with Orks. This can certainly serve as proof that GW just cannot seem to escape the ire of its fans and/or mortal enemies (sometimes I wonder whether both words can be used synonymously, not unlike Orks’ own use of the same word for friend and favourite enemy)…

Anyway, I, for one, belong to those hobbyists who have a huge soft spot for everything green-skinned, so I am more than happy with a meaty release like this. So let’s put on our shiniest Mek goggles and appraise this new release. It goes without saying that we will also be looking at some of the possible Konvershun Optionz in the process — after all, most Ork players are also avid converters and kitbashers, not unlike their green-skinned protegés, one might say…
Gorkanaut/Morkanaut

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No 40k release without a new superheavy these days, it seems, and the Orks get the Gorkanaut/Morkanaut kit to play around with. Regardless of which model variant you prefer, I think we can all agree that the kit gives us a suitably orky looking machine: It’s huge, it’s clunky to the point of absurdity and it’s got lots and lots of Dakka. What’s not to love, right?

I never really liked the Stompa kit, because its main body just seems too primitive for my taste. While the design may be totally appropriate from a fluff perspective, it always seemed like a bit of a waste to shell out such a huge amount of money for something that could be built just as effectively with a bit of creativity and panache. The Gorkanaut/Morkanaut kit is better in that regard because it’s just primitive enough to be believable in the background, but also just sophisticated enough to seem like an interesting enough model. I also like the fact that you get quite a few customisation options, such as a couple of freely placeable horns and spiky bitz, several pretty cool heads and just the kind of extra stuff that any Ork player worth his salt will be happy to have in the old bitzbox.

Among the possibilities for customisation presented by the kit is also the option of assembling the kit as a Morkanaut:

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For all intents and purposes, this seems to be the Mekboy version of the machine, draped in all kinds of arcane (and/or outrageous) “kustom teknology”:

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All in all, I have two substantial gripes with the Gorkanaut/Morkanaut kit: One, the transport bay seems slightly problematic, because it doesn’t really seem all that plausible. Take a look:

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There’s the lack of space, of course: Even if can only transport five models with the vehicle, it’s hard to see how even those would fit into that glove compartment. However, this is a problem shared by most, if not all, GW vehicles to some degree: If a Land Raider really needed to be big enough to fit in a squad of Terminator models, it would have to be huge (and probably cost a small fortune), so there is a certain need for abstraction at work here.
Here’s the thing, though: The Land Raider’s just big enough to be plausible, plus you can actually imagine how the Termies are transported using the vehicle. The Gorkanaut’s bowels, however, don’t look like they could actually transport much of anything, at least judging by the picture above. Not a huge problem, but a bit of a design oversight.

I also cannot help wondering how this guy actually manages to walk in the first place: Does it have treads on the soles of its “feet”? Do those legs extend as it moves, lifting the bulky main body clear of the floor? It’s very possible that GW’s designers actually found a perfect solution for this, but it isn’t visible from the pictures, and it makes the model ever so slightly less plausible than it should be.

Such nitpicks notwithstanding, I am still inclined to look on the Gorkanaut/Morkanaut kit favourably: It’s certainly a cool, orky vehicle that looks great in a line of advancing greenskins. And that’s good enough for me 😉

 

Flash Gitz

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Now in terms of bitz and customisation opportunities, these guys are definitely the best part of this release! In fact, GW’s approach seems to have been to take the kitbashing already inherent in most Ork armies and turn it up to eleven, providing hobbyists with the building blocks to create the most outrageous weapons known to Orkkind.

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Having the guns as mix and match constructions that allow for free customisation is a genius idea, again very much in keeping with both the Ork background as well as the average Ork player’s proclivities. Judging by some of the bizarre weapons created by the ‘Eavy Metal team, experimenting with all these bitz should be quite a lot of fun:

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If I do have one gripe with these weapons, it’s that they seem a bit too huge for their own good. Now I do of course realise that this was basically the whole point of the exercise, but some of the weapons are so big that they cover up most of the awesome Orks carrying them. Because the increased bulk of the weapons has also lead to more bulky Orks, very much on par with Ork nobz. What’s more, the Flash Gitz‘ bodies and heads are really cool. The heads alone may be some of the coolest Ork heads currently around:

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Fortunately enough, Jeff Vader’s amazing conversions here show that the weapons look even better if they are slightly shortened, cut back to a more plausible size. Plus you get a better look at the rest of the model as well, which is a real treat in this case!

In fact, what I possibly love the most about the guys are their somewhat pirate-y trappings, nicely fitting both their flamboyance as very rich greenskins and the overall Freebooterz element in the Ork background:

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These bitz mean that a whole, Freebooterz-themed force is now actually possible and fairly easy to kitbash!

All in all, a very cool kit! It may be a bit pricey, but considering the amount of bitz you get out of the deal, this seems like a pretty essential purchase for every self-respecting Waaaghboss: Even if you have not intention of running Flash Gitz in your army, this kit should provide you with some absolutely awesome bitz for your conversion and kitbashing needs.

 

Mek Gunz

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Now here’s one of the slightly divisive parts of the release! The new Mek Gunz kit provides enough part to construct either one of three weapons.  Pictured above is the Kustom Mega Kannon, but you can also elect to build a Traktor Kannon

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…a Smasha Gun

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…or, of course, the fabbled Bubblechukka (whatever that one does…):

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As you can see, all of the weapons are based on the same chassis, and all are suitably detailed and orky — so all’s well with the world, right?
Well, not quite: There seems to be quite a bit of criticism concerning the fact that these new cannons are not only quite a bit bigger than their older counterparts, but also quite a bit more expensive. Both is true, of course. But then, if you really don’t want to purchase this new kit, the good news is that it should really be easy enough for any enterprising kitbasher to come up with their own orky contraptions.

In any case, the kit itself seems well designed and versatile. I’ll also happily admit that the Grot krew is really the star of the show for me, even though some of the models seem to be slightly touched up pieces from the regular grot mob:

Ork release (17)

I really love the guy with the cordless screwdriver! And the little chap with the mechanic’s case on the right would make for a pretty sweet Blood Bowl paramedic, come to think of it…

There’s also this very cool grot with a cable drum…

Ork release (18)
…although the little spotter has to be my favourite, hands down. I can see so many possible uses for this little guy:

Ork release (13)Taking all of the different facts into consideration makes this kit a bit of a mixed bag: Seen on its own, it’s a nice, versatile kit that will give you one huge, orky gun of your choosing as well as a pile of bitz for later projects. If you already own a full set of the old weapons, however, it’s understandable why you would consider this a bit of a ripoff. So depending both on whether or not you’re already an Ork player as well as the size of your Ork collection, you might want to pass on this one — and, like I said, there’s always the option of kitbashing your own weapons at zero extra cost 😉

 

Meganobz

Ork release (19)
Now there’s a kit that has been eagerly awaited for a while, seeing how Brian Nelson’s metal/FC Meganobz have been the official Meganob incarnation for more than a decade. And while the models, like all of Brian Nelson’s Orks, were lovely, both the price and restrictive material had hobbyists eagerly awaiting a modern incarnation of this unit type.

Now plastic Meganobz are here, and above all else, they are basically a slightly modernised plastic version of Brian Nelson’s original design, with the armour basically retaining most of its existing features:

Ork release (20)
I have always loved the fact that, ever since some of its earliest incarnations, the mega armour has always seemed like the Orks’ crude attempts at reverse-engineering Tactical Dreadnought Armour (sticking on some additional dakka while they were at it). This holds true for the new incarnation if the armour as well, and the welded-together look of the armour makes it seem equal parts massive and improvised.

The kit comes with a nice selection of different weapons, heads and spiky bitz, giving you enough options to build a fairly individual set of Meganobz for your army:

Ork release (21)

Ork release (22)
Oh, and let me just take this opportunity to confess that I simply love it when Ork kits contain some kind of circular saw weapons: I just love those!

Ork release (23)
If you liked the earlier Meganobz, chances are you’ll like these as well, because the basic design is so similar. It’s also nice to finally have these available in multipart plastic, of course! I do have a couple of nitpicks with these models, that may be purely based on personal taste:

First up, it maby GW should have made them slightly bigger and put them on the Centurion bases. There’s no other reason for this wish than Rule of Cool, but come on: Wouldn’t that have been awesome? Then again, maybe the designers just didn’t want these guys to seem too overwhelming when compared to every other army’s heavy footsloggers?

There’s also the fact that the models are so very static. Again, this is just my personal taste speaking, but it would have been cool to have some slightly more dynamic parts, if only in order to be able to build your own, suitably impressive Waaaghboss from this kit. As it stands, you’ll be able to build three hulking, tough-as-nails Orks in massive armour. But neither of them will look particularly outstanding next to his buddies, unless you put in some serious conversion work or scratchbuilding in order to create something like Larkin’s fantastic Waaaghboss here.

Sure, there’s always Ghazghkull to lead your army, but it would have been nice to be able to build an equally impressive model in plastic!

Lastly, the biggest problem I see with this kit is that the Meganobz’ shoulders seem a bit wonky. In all fairness, it takes a while to realise this, but if you take a closer look, it seems like the arms are attached to the armour itself rather than to the Ork wearing it. The good news is that this should be really easy to adjust by adding some shoulder pads (or slightly realigning the existing ones), but it remains a bit of a headscratcher…

All in all, this will probably become one of the more popular kits simply due to the fact that it’s a less complicated and more versatile way of finally fielding Meganobz in bigger numbers. And it’s certainly a nice enough, if slightly conventional, kit with some minor quirks.

Oh, but we haven’t even discussed all the contents of the kit! For instance, there’s also a wonderful little Grot Oiler:

Ork release (27)That idea  with the squig just never gets old, don’t you think? This little guy serves as an assistant to a Mek, of course, since  the kit also comes with the parts necessary to build a Big Mek in mega armour…

Ork release (25)
I really love that “tellyporta blasta”, because it’s the epitome of the totally outrageous technology used by the Orks (yet strangely enough, it also seems to echo some of the retro-futuristic touches you see in science fiction from the 50s and 60s). Anyway, it’s clunky and over the top and wonderful!
I am a bit torn about the “welding mask”, however: One the one hand, it’s such a nice touch. On the other hand, though, I prefer something with a little more identity for my important characters, so I would probably go for the second head option:

Ork release (26)
Judging by the pictures in the latest issue of Warhammer:Visions, this last one also looks crazy awesome when combined with one of the Meganobz’ metal jaws!

Now, speaking of the Big Mek does of course make a nice segue to the characters and HQs that are part of this release. So what about them? Well, the release certainly caters to fans of Meks, for one. Let’s take a closer look:
Mek

Ork release (28)
First up, there’s your bog standard Ork Mek, coming as a new clamshell character. Now the model certainly reads as a Mek at first glance and ticks all the boxes. It does seem a little uninspired to me, although that may just be a personal thing. The alternate weapon…erm tool is a nice touch, though:

Ork release (29)
I am not really fond of the head, however, and would swap it out for this head, for instance, easily my favourite mek head ever:

Ork release (31)
Apart from those concerns, what you see is what you get with this guy. A look at the sprue reveals the fact that this guy is modular enough and close enough to the rest of the ork kits in construction that it should be easy enough to further customise him:

Ork release (30)
All in all, it’s certainly handy to have this model available in plastic, but you should also be able to kitbash a serviceable Mek for your army, if you are that way inclined. Nice but definitely non-essential.

 

Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun

Ork release (32)

Yet another Mek character, yet this guy is interesting because he is a mostly accurate recreation of the model’s last incarnation. Take a look:

Ork release (33)
And it really makes sense too: Quite a bit of thought must have gone into the design of a large model like this, so it seems sensible to “recycle” the weapon design in this case. It’s also interesting to note how the recreation of the original model seems almost perfect, with even an added touch here and there (the generator at the front of the weapon trailing warp fire is a nice touch, as is the foot of the unlucky grot already visibly turning into the same kind of ethereal energy:

Ork release (34)
The one part of the model that, in my opinion, has taken a serious hit are the faces: They just seem more angular and comic book-like than those of the older model, especially the face of the Big Mek:

Ork release (35)
Again, there’s an easy enough solution for this: Just swap in a different head (again, the plastic mek head I posted above seems an ideal choice, but then I really love that head, so yeah…).

Having a big and unwieldy piece like this available in – more forgiving – plastic form is certainly a nice bit of service for Ork players, whereas those who are still in the possession of the older model can just keep it without feeling they got the short end of the stick.

In any case, it’s interesting to see GW almost perfectly recreating an existing metal/FC model part for part. Both because it shows how plastic models are growing more and more detailed and sharp, and because it seems like the final piece of proof that GW will eventually endeavour to produce everything in plastic — and I am really all for that!

 

Pain Boy

Ork release (37)

There’s one more plastic character, and one that isn’t a Mek! The Pain Boy is an interesting piece that most people will probably either love or hate.  The ‘urty Syringe is very much the elephant squig in the room here, instantly drawing the viewer’s attention and making for a rather striking silhouette. It’s a cool idea, admittedly, but it just seems a bit over the top to me. While the design of the gauntlet is pretty neat, I think it should have been just a bit smaller in order to make it look slightly less improbable.

The other defining trait of the model for me are the Pain Boy’s features, drawn into a particularly evil grin — certainly an expression you don’t see that often on Ork models! And while it did take me some time to get used  it, the design is surprisingly effective, the longer I look at it.

Ork release (39)

One more thing that really became obvious to me while browsing through Warhammer: Visions, seeing the Pain Boy model in several situations, is that this guy’s obsession with his own gauntlet seems almost comical, especially when you see him in several pictures: Whatever’s going on around him, he just keeps glaring lovingly at that ‘urty syringe of his — now that is true dedication…

Again, the sprue reveals that the model can be customised to the heart’s content. So if you want to swap in a different head or a less ridiculous claw, you are free to do so:

Ork release (41)By the way, that Grot helper does seem a bit …unwholesome, doesn’t it?

Ork release (40)
And are those his teeth, or is his mouth stapled shut? Jeez…

Anyway, whether or not you buy this guy will possibly depend on whether or not you can get behind that syringe hand. Once again, kitbashing a serviceable Pain Boy should be an easy enough task for those who don’t like this model.

 

Conversion,…uh, sorry: Kunvershon optionz

It often seems like Ork players are the most adventurous converters and kitbashers in our hobby,so I have very little doubt that parts of this release will start cropping up in new configurations and unexpected places sooner rather than later. I also won’t delude myself into thinking that I can come up with better conversion ideas for this stuff than dyed-in-the-wool Ork players. That said, I’ll still share some of my ideas and observations with you — feel free to add your own or call me out for a lack of fantasy 😉

Firstly, it’s quite obvious that conversions for Ork armies around the globe will be thoroughly energised by this released, because Ork  players obviously get a plethora of new toys. There’s really no telling in what extraordinary ways Ork players will use these bitz, also one interesting idea that occured to me is this: If someone were of a mind to, say, build a looted Imperial Knight, the bitz from both the Gorkanaut/Morkanaut and Mek Gunz might come in handy for some rather inspiring kitbashes!

Then there’s the fact that, beyond being used for their original function, the various bodies, heads and arms from the Flash Gitz kit should make for excellent conversion fodder when converting Ork Nobz and Waaaghbosses or trying to assemble a themed force of Freebooterz. Jeff Vader has already begun to assemble a gang of particularly ‘ard Orks (linked further up in this thread), and projects like these seem to be the ideal way of making the most of those beautiful Flash Gitz parts.

New conversion projects need not even remain limited to 40k Orks: I think some of the bitz and pieces would be wonderful additions to my orcish Blood Bowl team — especially some of the Grot assistants!

But what about non-orky armies? If used sparingly enough, Ork bitz can also be really helpful for Chaos Space Marine conversions, so I can easily see some of those Flasg Gitz weapon bitz becoming rather useful for hobbyists kitbashing weapons for Chaos Havocs, custom Obliterators or chaotic vehicles.

Some of the parts would also be perfect for converting mutants like the ones in this classic Adrian Smith illustration. Such mutants would make for great NPCs or opponents in games of INQ28, for one. Or they could also be used as Scavvies in games of Necromunda or Inquisimunda!

But there’s an even bigger opportunity here: As of the last redesign of the allies matrix, Chaos and Orks are battle brothers, so if somebody wanted to run an Ork detachment with a bit of a twist (if you’ll excuse the pun), converting them into mutants in order to represent a mutant uprising on an Imperial world or the denizens of some backwater daemon world in the Eye of Terror, that would be an extremely fluffy way of using the Ork rules for a chaos army. This goes for the whole Ork catalogue, of course, but I can instantly see those Flash Git bodies as perfect parts to build mutant overlords. Just remove the ork glyphs and too blatantly orky elements, add those brilliantly disturbing crypt ghoul heads, and you’re there (here’s a look at one of my mutant conversions for reference).

Whatever happens, I think we can rest easy in the knowledge that lots and lots of crazy kunvershonz using these new bitz will be coming our way sooner rather than later — Ork players, you’ve gotta love’em 😉

 

So, what about the release in general? It probably won’t surprise you that I am inclined to call this a rather strong release. All of the kits do have their advantages, with only a couple of minor problems. Ork players have received a big box of new toys and should be happy — and if they’re not, they should start kitbashing better alternatives! Personally, the one thing I would have loved to see that didn’t make it was a plastic clamshell or multipart Waaaghboss — but alas, all we get is a touched-up Black Reach Waaaghboss released as a limited edition model. But you cannot win them all, of course, and this release certainly does a lot right.

So what’s your opinion? Do you like the new kits? Already fed up with all the Orks? Any kunvershon ideaz you’d like to share? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

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

Dere’s no “I” in “Waaagh!”

Posted in Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2013 by krautscientist

To tell you the truth, I am actually quite addicted to painting models for my Blood Bowl team at the moment: Rarely has a painting recipe ever worked so well for me, and the fact that I do not need to be 100% accurate when painting these guys makes this small project a tremendous amount of fun. So expect a rather massive update today, with lots of new players for the Orkheim Ultraz. Here we go:

 

Blitzers

My first Blitzer was actually the first test model I painted for the team. In the meantime, I’ve built and painted three additional Blitzers to bump their number up to four. Here they are:

Blitzers
In order to make them recognisable as Blitzers, I gave these guys quite a few pieces of armour. Not as much as you would see on a Black Orc, mind you, but I wanted them to look reasonably similar to actual football players. As a matter of fact, I did actually use a couple of Black Orc parts to achieve that effect. And I quickly found out that bog standard Space Marine shoulderpads work really well to approximate football gear 😉
I also tried to use what Space Ork parts I had on the Blitzers, since the parts look more heavily armoured and really fit the football look.

Anyway, here’s a closer look at the individual models:

Blitzer 02 (1)
Blitzer 02 (2)
Blitzer 02 (3)
Blitzer 02 (4)
You may have spotted this model during the team’s WIP phase. Since then, I added a couple of the aforementioned shoulderpads to bulk it out a little. I also used a spiked armour plate to make the helmet resemble a football helmet. I rather like the static pose on this guy: He looks like he’s daring his opponents to make their move…

As you can see, I used quite a few more Gorkamorka decals here, and they really make the armour pieces look more interesting and believable. The key point in using the decals was to add them right after the base colours were done, but before the washes and weathering effects were applied. That way, I was able to “age” the decals along with the rest of the model’s kit, making them look quite a bit more realistic.

Next up, this guy:

Blitzer 03 (3)
Blitzer 03 (1)
Blitzer 03 (4)
Since you last saw him during the WIP phase, I swapped the head (which was slightly too large) for that of a Space Ork nob. His right arm (which, looking at it now, is a tad too short, by the way: seems like this player is just a little challenged when it comes to proportions…) came from the Black Orc kit. All that piercings make him look like a pretty tough guy, don’t you think? 😉

Realising that I had yet to add a model wearing one of the Orcs’ fabled metal jaws, I built this guy:

Blitzer 04 (1)
Blitzer 04 (2)
Blitzer 04 (3)
As you can see, he’s in the middle of some kind of maneuvre that is sure to make somebody hurt pretty bad. Getting more dynamic poses on these guys was achieved by simply adding some leftover sprue to their base that, even after being covered in the basing materials, could still be used to glue the model to the base in a more interesting position. I wanted some of these models to be really dynamic, and I guess we can call this particular mission accomplished.

The fact that this model already had that huge metal jaw meant I could assemble him with a helmetless head, to get some more visual variety across the team.

 

Thrower and Linemen

Linemen
When building these guys, my two main ideas behind them were to make them look less heavily armoured than the Blitzers and to pose them rather dynamically (making it look like most of them were trying their best to catch a ball). To achieve those aims, I used more fantasy Orc parts on the models, since some of those are less armoured. I used bowmen from the WFB 6th edition starter box for the models, just replacing a hand or arm here and there and cutting off the bows. By attaching these to the bases at more interesting angles, the poses were really easy to get right and took almost no conversion at all!

Let’s take a closer look:

Lineman 01 (1)
Lineman 01 (2)
Lineman 01 (3)
Lineman 01 (4)
Lineman 02 (1)
Lineman 02 (3)
Lineman 02 (4)
You cannot help feeling sorry for these guys, as one can almost imagine the ball sailing right past their outstretched hands. In any case, they add some goofy humour to the team, so they’re definitely pulling their weight after all.

I also built a thrower, using a very similar recipe:

Thrower (2)
Thrower (3)
Thrower (5)
I wanted him to be striking a fairly iconic, athletic pose, and I think that worked. Plus I finally got a chance to use that old head from a metal special weapons Ork boy from the late 90s — easily one of my favourite heads ever! I even added a touch of gloss varnish to his goggles to make them look more like actual glass.

Thrower (4)
When it came to attaching him to the base, I added a skull to make his pose a little more impressive. It may be Blood Bowl, but it’s still the Warhammer world after all — when in doubt, use a skull! 😉

 

So with that, nine models of my initial team roster have been completed. That leaves only the two Black Orcs and an additional Lineman for now, although I can easily see myself painting some more models for added tactical variety. And I’ll still need to finish those fans, of course. Not a problem, though, since working on these guys is really a blast! Here’s the team so far:

BB_Team_a

C&C always welcome! And, as usual, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

An orky update…

Posted in Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by krautscientist

Last week, I introduced you to two small hobby projects of mine involving greenskins. Now with a couple of models already built, the time had come to actually test the waters and get something painted.

To be honest with you, I was a bit nervous: After all, I had painted my last Orc over ten years ago, and those models haven’t really managed to hold up all that well. Still, I was reasonably sure that my painting had improved a fair bit since then, so I sat down, took a deep breath and started to work.

I started by painting my Mordheim test model:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (3)
Before actually getting some paint on this guy, though, I added a few bitz: Some pouches hanging from his belt as well as a Bretonnian helmet and an amulet in the shaped of the two-pronged comet of Sigmar. And a dwarven buckler, crudely reinforced with metal straps: I want my Orcs to look like they are scavenging whatever they can off the streets, taking all kinds of kit and every trinket they like off their defeated enemies. However, I took care not to go overboard with the additional bitz on this model, seeing how this was, after all, a test piece.

When it came to actually painting the model, I wanted this guy to have a gritty, battle hardened look, in keeping with the game’s background. I also didn’t want the Mordheim Orcs to look too much like something out of a comic book, so I kept the colour palette pretty limited for this project.

The model was undercoated using brown spray paint. Then the skin was painted (more on that later!), and the different pieces of armour were picked out in very dark grey (I’ve found that a pretty convincing start for an area that is supposed to look black or near-black on the finished model). The model’s clothes were either left brown or painted in a slightly darker tone. The weapons were painted silver. Then the whole model was liberally washed using GW Gryphonne Sepia (for the skin), GW Nuln Oil (for the armour and metallic parts) and GW Agrax Earthshade (for pretty much everything). I then added accents, scratches and overall grime (lightly drybrushing the brown areas with GW Graveyard Earth provided a nice accent while also making the model’s clothes look suitably worn and grimy). I even added one of the Orcs’ trademark sawtooth patterns to parts of the armour, using GW Bleached Bone.

So what did he model end up looking like, you ask? Here you go:

Mordheim Orcs test model (4)
Mordheim Orcs test model (2)
Mordheim Orcs test model (8)
Mordheim Orcs test model (7)
Oh, I almost forgot: The base was built by cutting up some piece of old model train terrain to get a couple of flagstones. Those were then combined with cork and modelling sand. The base was then undercoated black, painted dark grey, liberally washed in black and brown and then drybrushed with white. Easy enough, although I could see myself going with something a tiny bit more refined for the next few models…

All in all, I am really pleased with this guy: He looks like you wouldn’t really want to mess with him, which is pretty much the overall effect I wanted to achieve. I also think he seems right at home on the bloodied streets of a destroyed city.

Mordheim Orcs test model (9)
This model basically establishes a baseline standard for the rest of the gang: Some of the other models will probably be looking more outlandish or be sporting an additional spot colour or two, but in the end, all of them will share the overall look established by this test model.

 

So with the Mordheim side of things taken care of, I turned my attention to my Blood Bowl Team: I would of course need to paint a test model for the Orkheim Ultraz as well, and my choice fell on this lucky fellow, one of my Blitzers:

BB_Blitzers_WIP (3)
Since the model had been kitbashed from all kinds of leftovers, it looked a little rough around the edges: As you can see, the right arm had even been painted in my own, early 2000s’ recipe for Orc skin. However, the rather sorry state of the model made it perfect to serve as a test piece, so I got to work.

I initially approached the whole matter exactly like I had with the Mordheim Orc: Brown undercoat, same recipe for the skin. Basic clothes in various shades of brown. However, to add a visual flourish that would be necessary to make the model look more like an actual Blood Bowl player, all pieces of armour were painted with GW Mephiston Red.

Let me take a moment to tell you that this is the red colour I have always wanted, because it produces a strong, quite vibrant red and works without a hitch, even over a black undercoat. It also still looks good after being thoroughly washed with brown, which clearly differentiates it from the old Mechrite Red – oh, and It also lacks the latter’s “chalky” quality, which is a definite advantage in my book.

Anyway, the red made the model pop rather nicely, even after it had been suitably dirtied and scratched up. Take a look:

Blood Bowl test model (2)
Blood Bowl test model (1)
Blood Bowl test model (4)
As you can see, I went for a tan shirt to make the model look slightly less dark and gritty than the Mordheim piece. Oh, and I also added some pretty old Gorkamorka decals to the model’s armour, since the yellow nicely contrasted with the red.

When it came to doing the base, I wanted to emulate the look of a somewhat roughened up football pitch: still grassy enough, but with patches of trampled mud emerging here and there. So I mixed wood glue with small pieces of cork and modelling sand and generously covered the surface of the base in the mix. When everything had dried, the base was undercoated in black, then painted in brown, then washed and drybrushed to bring out the texture. Then I used a generous helping of static grass to actually make it look like a Blood Bowl pitch. Funny story: I actually got that bag of static grass more than ten years ago at the GW store in Cologne, yet I somehow never got around to using it. And while the strong, slightly synthetic tone of green would probably look wrong for 40k or WFB bases, I think it’s a pretty good fit for a fantasy football pitch 😉

Blood Bowl test model (6)

So with that, my two Orky test pieces were completed. Here they are, side by side:

Orc comparison (2)
While I’ll admit that they share quite a bit of common heritage, I think they still look different enough: The Mordheim Orc is slightly grittier and darker, as befits the setting. As I previously mentioned, both models were painted using the marvelous recipe for Orc skin posted by Brian over at A Gentleman’s Ones, and I simply cannot recommend that recipe enough: Not only did it provide me with the perfect skin tone for my models, it’s also possibly the only recipe I ever got from the internet that looks exactly as described on the finished miniature. If my 18 year old self had had access to that recipe, I might have managed to paint a whole greenskin army after all. Go head over there right now to check it out, if you haven’t already!

 

So with my first two models for my greenskin projects such a success, I found myself itching to proceed. So I sat down and painted two more models:

BB_Goblins (14)
A couple of Night Goblins for my Blood Bowl team. These were built from the remains of an old plastic Night Goblin regiment, and while there may be more recent plastic Night Goblins in GW’s catalogue, I still love these guys to bits: Granted, their scale may be slightly off (especially when compared to human models) and the sculpt may seem a little clunky in places, but they are still absolutely iconic, in my opinion: Those pointy ears and huge noses, and those mean little faces — you simply gotta love ’em! I’ve always had a soft spot for Night Goblins, and these models are perfect representations of all that’s cool about the race — whereas the newer models are just looking a little runtish, if you ask me…

Anyway, these were painted using the same recipe as the Blitzer above. In fact, I tried to push myself in order to see how fast I could finish these, using a slightly impressionistic – even slapdash – approach to painting. In the end, I was able to complete these guys in about one and a half hours, basing included. Not bad, huh? And they are certainly good enough for me!

Here are some additional detail shots:

BB_Goblins (1)
BB_Goblins (2)
BB_Goblins (3)
BB_Goblins (4)
I love how this little guy seems to be basking in the crowd’s adoration — you have to wonder though why they would be cheering him in the first place…

His colleague, meanwhile, seems a little more dedicated to the task at hand:

BB_Goblins (7)
BB_Goblins (8)
BB_Goblins (12)
BB_Goblins (11)
And last but not least, here’s another picture of the Orkheim Ultraz‘ humble beginnings:

BB_Test models (1)
So, in closing, my first painting efforts on my greenskins have been both a success and a blast! Expect to see more Orcs and Goblins here pretty soon. Until then, C&C are always welcome!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The future is green!

Posted in Conversions, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by krautscientist

…well, at least in part. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start with a small excurse (as I am wont to do). A word of warning, though: This will be a pretty wordy post, as we take another trip down memory lane…

Anyway, let us talk og Orcs, shall we? My sympathy for Orcs and Goblins even predates my knowledge of Tolkien and his books by a couple of years. Indeed, possibly my first exposure to the concept of the Orc per se were this guy and his kin:

HeroQuest Orc (2)

painted by me during the early 90s

While that approach may seem a little backwards, GW’s concept of what an Orc should look like (along with 80’s fantasy art of mostly British origin) had shaped my view of Orcs and Goblins long before I ever read the Hobbit for the first time. Consequently, when I did read the Hobbit, it was absolutely clear to me that the Orcs and Goblins appearing thoughout the story had to be very similar in appearance to the greenskinned creatures populating the labyrinths of HeroQuest.

Another huge influence in my relationship with the greenskins came when Warcraft and Warcraft II were released: Instead of going for a goofy, idiotic and mostly bumbling race of imbeciles, Blizzard’s Orcs where a proud and fierce warrior race, cunning and powerful, if a little lacking in subtlety. But still, Blizzard’s designers were obviously influenced by both Tolkien and GW, so the image of the greenskinned brute with tusk like teeth was further embellished. During all of this, my love of Orcs and Goblins made me get the 5th edition WFB army book for them, but back in those days, starting a greenskin army was prohibitively expensive, with most models only being available in metal. So I only ever got a few of the models, like these classic Brian Nelson Orcs:

Old Orcs (1)

again, one of my older paintjobs: first painted sometime during the late 90s, then slightly touched up in 2000

Old Orcs (3)

When the 6th edition of WFB came around in 2000, the starter box contained lots of brand-new plastic Orcs, and I decided that this was the perfect time to finally start my own army of Orcs & Goblins. Having just finished school back then, I can remember myself during my compulsory term of community service, walking up and down the corridors of the hospital I was working at, with potential colour schemes for my new greenskin army constantly at the back of my head. I was in love with GW’s Orcs and Goblins, and how could I not have been? From a design perspective, the greenskins have been among GW’s finest offerings for a long time now. And they are one of the only factions always managing to blend the legitimately scary with the darkly humorous.

So I started building and painting, and my first models made me hungry for more. Take a look:

Old Orcs (8)
Old Orcs (10)
Old Orcs (12)
Old Orcs (7)

These were all painted during late 2000 and early 2001, when I was hellbent on starting a greenskin army. Alas, it amounted to nothing: The model count needed for a whole army was what defeated my ambitions in the end. So the models went to my cupboard of shame, there to moulder for eternity. I have loved the new greenskin releases over the years, and they always made me feel slightly nostalgic, but I never felt tempted to actually pick up and finish the army: I couldn’t do it when WFB was still much smaller in scope, so I doubt I’d be able to do it now. So it was always with feelings of guilt that I remembered the greenskins resting in my cupboard, and I always took the time to lovingly sift through the different sprues, whenever I had to nick a couple of Orc parts for some INQ28 project or other.

So why all of this preamble? Well, a short time ago, a colleague told me that she and her husband were quite strongly into playing Blood Bowl. And through her constant gentle niggling, I began to think about actually starting a small BB Orc Team myself, just for the heck of it — after all, I probably had enough plastic Orcs to spare.
And while browsing through my collection of plastic Orc and Goblin bitz, the idea for two pretty different hobby projects was born…

 

I. The Orkheim Ultraz

Like I said, I am going to build and paint an Orcish Blood Bowl team in order to be able to give the game a spin. I have absolutely zero experience playing either football, rugby or Blood Bowl, but I am reasonably sure my colleague will at least be able to help me out with the latter. As I quickly found out, the different Orc plastic kits lend themselves very well to converting Blood Bowl models, and so, after a relatively short while, I had a couple of players tacked together:

BB_Blitzers_WIP (1)
BB_Blitzers_WIP (3)
BB_Linemen_WIP (4)
BB_Linemen_WIP (3)
BB_Linemen_WIP (2)
BB_Linemen_WIP (1)
BB_Throwers_WIP (1)

The Ultraz' star thrower, clearly recognisable by his classic pose...

The Ultraz’ star thrower, clearly recognisable by his classic pose…

A Night Goblin, taking a moment to enjoy the crowd's adoration...

A Night Goblin, taking a moment to enjoy the crowd’s adoration…

...and his rather surly colleague...

…and his rather surly colleague…

All of these were built from leftovers and parts from my bitzbox. I used my usual yellow putty to not only tack the models together but also to show how I wanted them to be placed on the finished base — crucial in most cases, as you can see. Looking at all the Orcs above, trying their darnedest to catch that stupid ball, I think you’ll agree that there’s quite a potential for humor in these models, and that’s what I am going for: I want these to be darkly humorous and slightly goofy.

I also repurposed the members of an old WFB Orc command group to serve as members of the team’s fan club:

Fans WIP (1)

Fans WIP (3)

And a Gnoblar from the Ogre kit was used to serve as the team’s kit man — or “Kit Git”, as it were 😉

Kit Git
I even caved in and finally got the box of Black Orcs I had craved for such a long time. Some of these will be used as blockers in my Blood Bowl Team, and once again, the design of the models made sure that they are looking right at home on a football…erm pardon, Blood Bowl pitch, with only very little conversion work required:

BB_Black_Orcs_WIP (1)

The rest of the Black Orcs, however, will be used in the second hobby project I was talking about. Before we take a look at that, though, here’s the whole team so far:

Orkheim Ultraz Team WIP (4)

 

II. Orcish Gang for Mordheim

Yet another specialist system, huh? Bring it on! While I hope to develop this gang of models back to back with the Blood Bowl team, the project could not be more different in nature. Where I want the BB team to be funny and goofy, these guys will be dark and brutal, imposing and very gothic: I want to channel not only the slightly demented aesthetic of Mordheim itself, but also the dark fantasy tropes present in Blanchian artwork from the late 80s and early 90s — effectively, Tolkien by way of Brueghel and Bosch. This will be quite a daunting task though, so even if I shouldn’t be able to live up to my mission statement, I will at least strive to create a really brutal looking band of Orcs (and, possibly, Goblins). They will have lots and lots of weapons, lots of kit and strange detail, and several models will be based on Black Orcs to begin with, to make them look even more formidable and ferocious. I will probably completely ignore the Mordheim equipment tables and just go with what looks awesome.

And, after all this time, this project will give me the chance of actually using some of the Orcs I built all these years ago for WFB. Rest assured, however, that only the most imposing models will make the cut:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (1)

And even those will probably end up looking like the runts of the litter. Anyway, I also built a first actual test model for the gang, using a mix of Orc and Black Orc parts:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (3)

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (2)

This guy is still missing lots and lots of bitz and strange, gothic doodads, but I think you get the picture.

I cannot even be sure whether these guys will ever end up seeing the gaming table at all — after all, this is just a hobby project trying to express both my love for greenskins as well as my admiration for a certain flavour of dark fantasy artwork. Maybe my buddy Frankie will do me the favour of playing a game of Mordheim against me one of those days, though.

 

In any case, by choosing two hobby projects that are limited, if not in scope then at least in model count, I can finally build some great Orc and Goblin models: A goal that was somehow always lost while frantically trying to finish enough models to make up an army. I am really looking forward to this!

I don’t have a clear deadline for either of these projects: The BB team will probably be assembled and painted rather soon, seeing how I want to try my hand at the game. I can easily see the Mordheim gang taking quite a while to complete, since it’s by far the more ambitious project of the two. For now, I have a pile of bitz and Brian’s fantastic recipe for Orc skin. Let’s see where that will take me…

Oh, and for those of you visiting this blog for my World Eaters, Custodes or INQ28 models — don’t fret! A part of the future may indeed be green, but equally sizeable chunks will remain red and bronze, golden or …shadowy and secretive — yes, I realise that those last two aren’t colours 😉

Anyway, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!