Archive for orcs

#HeroQuest2019: Back into the dungeon!

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2019 by krautscientist

It’s back to HeroQuest this week, as my #HeroQuest2019 project slowly but surely reaches the home stretch, and I have some new models to share with you. So let’s not waste any time and get right into the meat of things, shall we?

When we last talked about progress on my HeroQuest set, I still had to paint two more monster types: the Goblins and the Fimir (Fimirs? Fimirach?). I won’t lie, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to painting yet more green, but I also realised that I had to power through those models before ending fatigue set in.

Fortunately enough, fellow hobbyist Weltenlaeufer provided me with the perfect kickstart to my efforts over at the Ye Olde Inn forum: He inquired after my recipe for painting greenskins, and in order to answer him, I posted a step by step tutorial for my Goblins and also used this as the perfect opportunity to actually get those Goblins painted at the same time — pretty smart, eh?

[In case anyone’s interested, the full tutorial can be found here. I don’t really want to reproduce it here, mostly because it’s mostly based on A Gentleman’s One’s fantastic greenskin recipe anyway).]

And so a short while later, the Goblins were finished:

While the recipe for the skin and weapons is very similar to the approach I used for my HeroQuest Orcs, I decided to paint the Goblins’ clothes in a slightly more colourful manner — it makes for some added visual variation, for one, and also helps to differentiate the Goblins from their larger cousins. I think it also fits that the small, wily Goblins should be a bit more into fashion concerns than their lumbering Orc relatives… 😉

So here’s a look at all of the HeroQuest greenskins:

So that left just one type of monster, and I had good reason for leaving this one for last: the Fimir.

Now the Fimir are an interesting colourful touch in HeroQuest’s bestiary, in that they do fulfil the role of the classic lizardman, but with a twist. They are cyclopean, for one, and their armour has always struck me as interestingly mesoamerican — but maybe I am just overthinking things here. Anyway, my main point of reference for the models’ paintjob was, once again, the classic Mike McVey approach, seen here on a prototype model that also appears on the back of the quest book:

This is the prototype Fimir as he still looks today, in Bryan Ansell’s private collection. I nabbed the picture from RealmofChaos80s.

But the truth is that the actual Fimir models contained in the HeroQuest boxed set are not quite on par with the prototype. Now this is definitely true for some of the other monsters as well, but by and large, most of them work really well on their own, especially given the relatively unsophisticated one-piece mono-pose nature of the HeroQuest models.

The Fimir, however, definitely get the short end of the stick in this respect: The models are weirdly clunky and ungainly, with lots of weird angles and strange lines. To wit, the mere act of cleaning the mold lines off those models was an exercise in frustration! Some of the detail from the prototype model is either far softer on the production models or nowhere to be seen at all. So I would have to deal with that issue during the painting process.

At the same time, finding an actual painting recipe that worked also took some doing — in hindsight, it’s funny how I actually have so many different test models for painted Fimir in my collection. In fact, for an extra bit of fun, here’s an evolution of my various Fimir models over the years:

I and II weren’t even painted by me, but by the first of my friends to dabble in miniature painting, back in elementary school. I think he was onto something with the red Fimir, though, and if I should ever paint another set of Fimir, I think I’ll be going for an alternate scheme like that (this would also be a cool way of suggesting different tribes or broods of Fimir, seeing how they are lizard people and everything…). III was the first Fimir I painted (with scale model acrylics, no less). IV was painted with Citadel colours, but I’m not quite sure what I thought I was doing there — I seem to have had a pretty bad painting streak during the early-to-mid 90s, in hindsight. V and VI are my modern attempts that we will be taking a closer look at in a second:

So here’s my first “modern” Fimir model painted some time last month, in order to nail down a painting approach:


The main colour I used for the skin was GW Moot Green, and it ended up looking…very green. I also became too greedy for a quick recipe during the painting process, and didn’t spend nearly enough time carefully layering on the skin colour, adding some pretty slapdash higlights on top, instead. All of this lead to a pretty rough looking model, at least where the skin was concerned.

At the same time, there were also some parts that I was pretty happy with: The golden armour works pretty well, as does the obsidian-style axe, if you ask me. And I think the red jewel that adorns the belly plate actually came out pretty well. But whichever way you want to cut it, I would need to tweak the recipe on the second attempt. Which is what I did this past weekend. Take a look:


The difference seems subtle at first, but I would argue the skin works quite a bit better: The higlights have been layered on more carefully (and in several steps), and the overall skin tone – created by mixing GW Warboss Green and GW Elysian Green in various ratios (starting with 70:30, then 50:50, then something more like 30:70) – makes the Fimir look a little less cartoony and more like a somewhat crocodilian swamp dweller. At the same time, I kept most of the touches that had worked well before, such as the golden armour and the axe looking as though it was made from some kind of obsidian or volcanic glass.

I also painted three models at the same time, in order to finish the last missing monsters for my HeroQuest collection:


And while the test model does look a bit different, it can still be used to fill out the ranks:

As a matter of fact, fellow hobbyist PDH has offered to send over three more Fimir models from his own collection, which will give me the opportunity to either tweak the recipe yet again or – more likely – go for something completely different to hint at a different subspecies of Fimir.

In any case, that means all of the “green” monster models from the base game are now officially complete:

And, even better, with that, I have actually managed to paint all the models in the classic HeroQuest Game System:



And here’s the entire HeroQuest collection so far, with some extra monsters to round out the bestiary as well as the added characters, such as Sir Ragnar and the Witch Lord. Quite a few models, if I do say so myself — and almost all of them have been painted in 2019! Take a look:


Honestly, I never thought I’d see the day — this project has been thirty years in the making, and it’s also a bit of a childhood dream come true, to be honest. When lining all of those little guys up for the photo, I couldn’t stop grinning 😉

And still, that’s not quite the end of this project yet: I do have a couple of ideas for additional models (and there are still those Master Edition men-at-arms to take care of), for one. Before that, however, I’ll have to deal with all of the HeroQuest furniture — something I am actually looking forward to quite a bit, and I am in fact already hard at work on the first pieces!

For now, however, I am incredibly happy with the models I have managed to complete so far:


Also, on a related note, my friend Annie was wonderful enough to let me have some more leftovers from her extra copy of HeroQuest, namely the monster cards and Master Edition questbook, which brings me one step closer to owning a complete set again:

So that’s another huge chunk of #HeroQuest2019 out of the way — it actually looks like I may get to take the completed set for a spin this very year — who would have expected that, eh? 😉

Of course I would love to hear any thoughts or comments you may have, so drop me a line! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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#HeroQuest2019: Into the breach…

Posted in Conversions, heroquest, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2019 by krautscientist

Work on my current endeavour to paint a complete HeroQuest set continues, and while today’s update may not be the most exciting one, it was always clear that this project wasn’t going to be all shiny hero models — no, a true dungeon master also needs enough monstrous henchmen, so I continued the project by painting some of the HeroQuest monsters:

During my previous attempt at painting HeroQuest models (back in 2014), I had already finished a couple of test models for some of the monster races included in the game, so I already had a basic idea of what I was going for:


While I knew I would have to slightly tweak some of the recipes, this was still a solid base to start from, if nothing else.

For starters, I chose to work on the Orcs, the most numerous monsters to appear in the HeroQuest box. The base game comes with eight of them, I already had the one test model (that would only need a few minor touch ups), and I decided to throw in an extra Orc to bring the overall number up to ten. Ultimately, my goal is to have the sixteen Orcs that are required to also be able to run the “Kellar’s Keep” expansion, but for now, nine Orcs to paint seemed just tedious enough for me 😉


Like I said, my test model seemed like a good place to start, with a tweak or two. I definitely wanted to keep the recipe for the skin — it’s an approach I discovered a couple of years ago over at A Gentleman’s Ones, and it has served me really well over the years, making for a convincing looking green skin that also has a certain warmth and organic look to it. So that was definitely a keeper. I also wanted to keep the overall, slightly grimy and dirty look, mostly because it just seemed like a good match for Orcs.

Now the basic sculpt of the HeroQuest Orc is pretty cool, but the models are also all virtually identical, except for their weapons: There are four different weapons and I had nine models left to paint, so I decided to go with differently coloured smocks for every three models or so, just to add a bit of variety. Apart from this variation, however, I basically stuck to batch painting the models:

While this worked fairly well, I discovered once again that batch painting simply isn’t for me. There’s also the fact that the HeroQuest Orcs are just complex enough to be slightly irritating when you batch paint them, but I gritted my teeth and soldiered on. And here are my finished Orcs:

Now these guys certainly aren’t award winning material, but they work well as a group, and I’d say there’s just enough colour variation to keep things interesting. I also changed my recipe for painting the weapons a bit when compared to my test model, and I think the dark metal look, with added scratches, works better than the initial approach.

Two quests in the standard HeroQuest questbook call for an Orc warlord, who uses the model with the curved, notched Scimitar, so I gave that particular model a red jacket, to set him apart from the rank and file. While I may end up creating a dedicated warlord model at some point, this guy should work well enough whenever I want to stay within the framework provided by the classic models.

So here’s a closer look at the different weapons and fabric colours:

Oh, and I guess it’s pretty obvious how, like my previous HeroQuest models, these ten should also definitely count as contributions towards Azazel’s “Neglected models” community challenge for February 😉

 

Anyway, with ten models completed, I felt I had earned a little fun for myself, so I ended up creating a custom model for a HeroQuest NPC: The second quest in the classic quest book is about rescuing an Empire Knight captured by the Orcs, one Sir Ragnar (or Sir Manfred, in the original UK version. He’s Ragnar in the German version, though, probably because Manfred is a pretty common German first name — a name suited to your dad or uncle, however, not to a mighty Knight from a fantastic realm. Just saying…).

Now the actual game doesn’t feature a dedicated model for Sir Ragnar, as he is intended to be represented by the Chaos Warlock model — but, come on, I couldn’t let that stand, right?

While doing a bit of research, I stumbled upon this custom model for Sir Ragnar/Manfred, commissioned by fellow hobbyist Lestodante:

And while this basically seemed like the ideal solution – the model actually looks like an actual, official HeroQuest model, the chances to get my hands on one of those seemed slim to nonexistent, so I had to get creative myself.

Taking quite a bit of inspiration from Lestodante’s model, I kitbashed my own Sir Ragnar. Seeing how the character is an Empire Knight from the (almost-) Warhammer world of HeroQuest, I mostly used plastic Empire bitz, some of them rather vintage, which was key for achieving that slightly clunky, vintage HeroQuest look. So here’s my version of Sir Ragnar:

The conversion is actually really simple, combining a set of legs from the old Empire state troops with a torso and arms from the – still available – flagellants and an old plastic Knights of the White Wolf head. I wanted Sir Ragnar to look like he had spent quite some time in captivity, hence the shaggy beard and tattered shirt. Both his hands and neck are also manacled, which I think is a good way to represent both this captivity and his less than stellar stat-line in the game.

I also did my best to make sure he matched the rest of the HeroQuest models in scale. Oh, and I gave him a proper HeroQuest base, of course, salvaged from a heavily damaged Skeleton model.

All in all, I am pretty happy with the finished model — and building a character to match the classic miniature style was a neat little creative challenge!

So yeah, if nothing else, you can see how I am taking this project rather seriously 😉 I would love to hear your thoughts about my progress so far! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Orkheim Ultraz: New signings

Posted in Blood Bowl, Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2019 by krautscientist

Now I don’t know about you, but getting back into the swing of things in a new year always takes me a while, and this holds doubly true for the activity of painting models. So I spent quite some time in the last weeks hemming and hawing and choosing which model(s) to paint next. I am now in full swing again, I am happy to say, but it’s always a messy start. What helped me, in the end, was to have a bit of fun with the lighter, more comedic side of our hobby, as I added some models to my bumbling team of Blood Bowl players, the Orkheim Ultraz. So let’s take a look at the latest additions to the team:

The first two models have actually already made a small appearance on this blog, as part of my 2018 recap, as they were the very last models I painted last year. But I think they deserve their fifteen minutes of fame, so here they are: Two Goblins with a mean streak and a chip on their shoulder:

Both models were built after I played a round of Blood Bowl 2 on the Playstation 4: I really liked the endearingly mean look of the Goblins in the game, so I decided I needed some more of those evil little guys. The model on the left was very much inspired by the fact that the armour on some of those old WFB Goblins already perfectly looks like some kind of old-timey sports gear — I just had to swap in some Kroot shoulder pads, and the look was all there. His buddy is daring you to kick that ball, and he’s definitely not going to pull it away — grot’s honour 😉 Seriously, though, I think I owe the Charles M. Schultz estate some royalty fees for the character concept…

All in all, this brings me up to four Goblin players for my team:

The first two were built as Night Goblins, back in the day, mostly because I still had a lot of bitz for those knocking about. I rather like the added variety, though — and my troll now has more playfellows to chuck at the opposing team. Sounds like WIN-WIN to me 😉

Oh, and for the sake of completeness, let’s not forget the Goblin Medic, of course, another 2018 addition:

While the two goblins were the last models of 2018, I’ve also managed to complete some more members for the team in the new year — two Orc players originally converted back in 2017:


These are actually a part of my plan to round out the various player types in order to give me enough flexibility in every given situation. On the left is a thrower, on the right a fourth (and likelyfinal) Orc Lineman.

The thrower was basically a fun attempt at creating a model that suitably resembled my previous thrower to instantly communicate the fact that these two share the same role:

At the same time, I also wanted him to be his own man, err, Orc, so I thought it would be fun if he were in the process of lobbing a squig — either at a waiting teammate or at member of the opposing team…

In any case, the squig seems less than thrilled at the prospect…

I really like painting squigs, by the way, and think they are one of the best parts of GW’s greenskins — I may need some of those brilliant new plastic squigs, come to think of it…

My Orc Linemen all have a very dynamic, if bumbling look — as though they were desperately trying to catch the ball. By comparison, the new guy seems just a tad more focused:

I am rather pleased with the action-filled pose, to be honest.

So with four new models, that leaves me with only two Black Orc Blockers left to paint, and then my Orkheim Ultraz should be completed:


I still have a couple of ideas for accompanying models, hangers-on and small terrain pieces, however — it’s always great fun to explore the somewhat more humorous side of our hobby, and like I said, a Blood Bowl Orc team is the perfect occasion of doing just that!

So three cheers for our latest transfers! I would love to hear what you think about the models, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

State of the Hunt, Week 50/2018: Blood Bowl markers

Posted in Blood Bowl, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , on December 15, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone,

my original plan was to have a closer look at Blackstone Fortress as my next post, but seeing how I have decided to give myself the box as a Christmas present, I think this will have to wait until I actually have the models in front of me and can mess around with them a bit. For today, allow me to share something I painted earlier this week: When another joint painting session with my good friend Annie came up earlier this week, I knew I really wanted to bring along something for my Blood Bowl team, the Orkheim Ultraz:

As I have mentioned before, Annie is a huge Blood Bowl fiend, so getting her input on something related to the game was really helpful. Plus there’s an inherent goofiness and irreverence to the BB setting that can serve as a rather nice palate cleanser, every now and then. Fortunately enough, I had just the thing for our hobby session: a set of counters, re-roll markers and tokens I had converted earlier this year:


When the new Blood Bowl was released, I really liked how the team sprues include those nifty little counters and tokens. Now my original impulse was to just grab the Orc tokens via ebay, but in the end, I decided it was much cooler to create a couple of custom markers for my own team — I certainly did have enough Orc bitz knocking about, after all (granted, I caved in regarding the balls and just painted the new ones. But I did get them as a present, plus that squig ball is just too good…).

Anyway, the markers were already sitting in a drawer, all prepared and undercoated for an eventual painting session, so I was ready to go:


I was even able to add yet another marker to the collection, finding a bit that I had thought lost for good. Anyway, here’s what I had after our painting session:


A nice little collection, wouldn’t you agree? Let’s take a closer look:

First up, a couple of tokens based on fantasy orc shields. These are fairly close to the coin-like tokens that appear on the new team sprues as well. Nothing too complicated, really, but it was nice to find a use for those old orc shields at long last:


I also made two tokens based on a nifty troll-skull bit that originally came with the “Battle for Skull Pass” WFB starter set, and it looks like it was actually made to be used like this:


These are also a good match for my team because the Troll serving as a Big Guy in my team actually has the same design (as he’s from that same starter box):

You better give it your all, buddy, or your skull could end up right next to the others 😉

Now on the last counter, I probably got a bit carried away, but I wanted to build something a bit bigger and more ostentatious, basically somethings the Ultraz use as a totem (to invoke the spirit of Nuffle, perchance?) as well as a trophy collection:


Again, this is really just a small collection of leftover bitz, with a WFB Black Orc standard at its centre — this also provided me with the chance to finally paint the iconic Evil Sun as part of one of my models 😉

I also had a bit of fun adding the head of an unlucky human player to the base:


Seems like this guy has had his last Blood Bowl game…

Of course I had to make sure the markers fit the rest of my team, so muddy brown and static grass it was for the basing. I also replicated the colours and markings of the players’ armour on the bigger totem 😉

When all was said and done, this was a really refreshing little hobby project, and a lot of fun to work on: Custom markers, objectives and similar objects often fall by the wayside in favour of “actual” models, but it can be supremely rewarding to give a bit more attention to creating them, making something that really rounds out your collection of models.

So that’s it for this week: I’ll be heading back to the painting desk to finish a few models for this year. And, of course, we’ll be starting with this year’s Eternal Hunt Awards next week, so keep watching this space!

Until then, I would love to hear your feedback, so leave me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

The State of the Hunt, Week 43/2017: I Aten’t Dead

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings, state of the hunt, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2017 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, it’s been quite a while since my last update, for which I apologise. There’s been a lot of RL related business keeping me occupied, plus I have also been in a bit of a hobby slump for quite a while now, unfortunately. Oh, and did I mention I’ve also managed to catch the mother of all colds yet? Because that happened as well, during my annual seaside vacation a fortnight ago:


As always, sitting by the seaside and relaxing was rather lovely, indeed. Unfortunately, though, it also happened to be pretty rainy and cold this year, so the minor cold I had already brought along to my vacation flared up again with a vengeance, turning my head into something that felt very much like a Nurglite blight grenade — very fitting, considering I had brought the recent copy of WD with me to take a closer look at the new Death Guard models (full review forthcoming). And I am still dealing with the fallout of that, as the Grandfather keeps lavishing his gifts on me…

Anyway, for these reasons, I haven’t been doing all that much hobby related stuff recently. However, I did want to post an update to demonstrate the blog is still going, and I also actually do have something new to show you, even if it’s nothing earth-shattering. So what is this about?

 

My friend Annie hasn’t given up on wanting to teach me how to play Blood Bowl quite yet, so she recently made another attempt at slowly walking me through the rules of the game — this time, with the help of the Blood Bowl II videogame on PS4, which actually helped on several levels: One, I am a huge videogame fiend, so wrapping something in a digital game will usually make it easier to get me interested. Two, it was good to be eased into the game via a slowly building tutorial campaign: It’s a format I am fairly familiar and comfortable with, and it happens to parse out the information slowly enough for my mangled World Eaters mind to hold on to 😉

I’m not going to lie to you, though: It was still slow going. But I do feel like I actually have a far better grasp of the game’s interlocking mechanisms and systems now and can actually make some simple, albeit tactically sound, decisions. Go me, right? 😉

Playing the game was also pretty great for yet another reason, though: It was really cool to see it all in motion and to get an actual idea of what a game of Blood Bowl would actually look like in-universe. There’s a great sense of physicality (and brutality) to the animations, and seeing it all play out like that really gave me an appetite to go and build some more Blood Bowl models…

Now of course the obvious way would have been to just go and get some of the new, shiny Blood Bowl models, but then I am really fond of my already existing team, the Orkheim Ultraz, mostly kitbashed from leftovers before a re-released Blood Bowl boxed set was even a thing:


I also think those guys are a nice enough match for the look of the Ork Teams in the Blood Bowl videogames, to be honest.


So I went back to them in an effort to add some more team members to the Ultraz and sticking to using what was already in my bitzbox instead of rushing out to buy yet more plastic crack. So here’s what I came up with:

First up, the appearance of the goblin referee kinda inspired me to come up with a goblin model of my own. I mean just look at this delightfully evil looking little guy:


So I dug through my bitzbox to find some spare goblin bitz I could use to build a gobbo to accompany my two Night Goblin players:


Here’s my WIP attempt:



The old multipart goblin plastic kits are among GW’s earliest multipart regiment kits from the late 90s, but they still work like a charm for building Blood Bowl models. Plus some of that armour really looks like old timey football and rugby gear, which is a great coincidence! I would love to build another goblin like this, but alas, I find myself lacking a single torso piece to make it happen. Oh well…

 

I also built another thrower for my team. Now my first thrower was already assembled in a suitably heroic (and archetypal) pose:


So I knew I needes something slightly different this time around. So the new guy is actually throwing a squig now…


…because, let’s face it, sometimes an orc jus’ gots to throw one o’ them squigs 😉


The thrower itself was mainly made from leftover WFB and 40k orc boy parts, with most of the conversion work focused on splicing together a suitable arm and hand to hold the squig. The squig itself is a part of a goblin character from the old “Battle for Skull Pass” WFB starter set.

All in all, I am pretty happy with this WIP: The thrower is similar enough to his buddy to make both of the read as members of the same character class, while they are also different enough to read as characters.

 

And last but not least, I also wanted some additional heavy hitters: One of the only things I actually bought for my Blood Bowl team was a box of Black Orcs, so I wanted to make some more Black Orc blockers as well. The first two I built and painted are pretty cool, if I do say so myself, but they are also looking a bit cookie-cutter: They are basically standard Black Orcs with their weapons snipped off:


One thing that struck me when playing Blood Bowl II, however, was how massive and slab-like Black Orcs seem in the game: You really get the impression from watching them that there’s not much they couldn’t happily slap around all day:


So for my next two blockers, I wanted to add some variety (in order to suitably differentiate them from the already existing models) and also make them look dead ‘ard. So I went for a mix of suitably interesting bitz and spliced in some ogre fists and additional armour plates here and there. Take a look:


The first guy’s pose is basically identical to one of the finished model’s, but I think the added bulk and spiky fist make him look just different enough to be interesting. I also used an Ork Nob head (and steel jaw) for that extra bit of character.

The second Black Orc I built turned into an even more involved conversion, as I really wanted his pose to go beyond what the two basic body layouts for Black Orcs can do. It ended with some serious tweaking to his right arm — and with replacing his legs with those of an 40k Ork Nob:


I am really happy with this guy, to be honest: He’s rather massive and very close to that implacable look and feel I loved about the Black Orcs in the videogame.


So yeah, here are the new additions to the Orkheim Ultraz’ team roster:


Painting these guys should be enjoyable enough — I think I’ll be saving them for Annie’s and my next joint hobby session 😉

 

So there, nothing too spectacular for now, but I’m still at work. And it goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Orkheim Ultraz: Don’t feed the troll, pt. 2

Posted in Blood Bowl, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2016 by krautscientist

It’s been a rather long while since I have last talked about the Orkheim Ultraz, my Orc & Goblin team for Blood Bowl. And as luck would have it, I now have a new model to show, right around the same time that GW is putting their redesigned Blood Bowl starter box up for super-secret sneak-peek pre-order 😉

This is no clever strategy on my part, however, but rather a bit of a happy accident, because I have wanted  to get today’s model painted up for ages — ever since I picked it up in a secondhand deal, back when my dear FLGS was still alive and kicking (*sniff*). I am referring to this guy:

Lucky purchase (2)
Most of my Orc Blood Bowl team was assembled using leftover models and bitz from an old WFB greenskin army project that never quite materialised. But while that gave me enough parts for most of the boyz, I needed a suitable model to serve as a big guy in the team. And I was fortunate enough to find the model you see above in the deal bin at my FLGS one day. The model was originally a part of the “Battle for Skull-Pass” starter set for Warhammer Fantasy:

skullpass-boxed-set

Made of only two parts, it’s a pretty cool (if slightly dated) example of the time when GW started to do really clever things with their snap-fit starter box models. At the same time, the troll also struck me as a brilliant base model for a Blood Bowl player: The pose is already perfect, and it only took a few orc armour plates to mock up some reasonably convincing football armour for him.

So anyway, to make a long story short: I’ve had this guy for years now, and when I recently sat down with my good friend Annie for a painting session, it was actually a matter of honour to finally complete the model (keep in mind that Annie was the one who got me involved in Blood Bowl in the first place).

I did some research online to decide on a general approach for painting the troll, but when the time came to actually get started, I surprised myself by going for a pretty spontaneous, fairly loose painting recipe. This made for a very entertaining painting session with lots of impromptu experimentation. At the same time, I also tried my best to both make the troll look suitably toadish and swamp-ish while also trying to maintain some visual coherency, in order to tie the model together with the rest of the team.

So here’s what I came up with:

blood-bowl-troll-2
blood-bowl-troll-1
blood-bowl-troll-3
blood-bowl-troll-4
I am really happy with the finished model, and it’s a great feeling to have finally completed this particular piece. And even though the troll’s a fairly old model at this point, I still think he holds up rather well, to be honest. Here’s a comparison picture showing the troll next to one of my Black Orc Blockers and one of my Orc Blitzers:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-4
The photo shows the progression of skin tones and model sizes between the various team members, from the standard orcs to the bigger (and ever so slightly darker-skinned) Black Orcs. And there’s the troll, of course, serving as the biggest model in the team. Granted, he could be bigger, but I think the model has loads of character and makes for a perfect addition to my Orkheim Ultraz.

While the models are quite different in size and bulk, the dented and scratched red armour still manages to pull them together into a visually coherent theme. In fact, I really like the look of the finished team. So here are the Orkheim Ultraz in their 2016 incarnation:

orkheim-ultraz-2016-6
Back when I first started painting the army, some of the concepts and designs from the Blood Bowl video games really helped in developing the look for my team. And I think there’s a clear resemblance between my models and the look of the greenskins from the current Blood Bowl game — even if GW’s new models are arguably even closer to this particular look:

pc-blood-bowl-orc-team

Oh, and here’s the Orkheim Ultraz with their star-player, based on one of GW’s clamshell characters for WFB/Age of Sigmar:

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It is with a certain feeling of bemusement that I realise that this team might actually be the closest thing to an actually finished hobby project I have – at least where the last decade or so is concerned. And even so, I have ideas (and bitz) for at least half a dozen additional models knocking about, from two more Black Orc Blockers to some fans and a “Kit Git”. We’ll see…

Speaking of fans, however, let’s not forget the amazing Fan-Troll Annie created for my birthday two years ago:

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Anyway, while I didn’t really plan to return to this project right in time for the new Blood Bowl, building and painting some models for the Orkheim Ultraz always provides a nice occasion to return to the more humorous side of GW’s intellectual properties. Plus it feels good to channel the spirit of the WFB greenskin army I could never finish every now and then 😉

So that’s it for today. It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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‘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:

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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…

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…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

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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…

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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:

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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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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

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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.

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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?

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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!