Monthly Archives: June 2014

Escape from New Orks

The first Games Workshop miniature I ever painted was an Ork Nob in Mega Armour. I still have him around somewhere, but unfortunately can’t put my hand on him at the moment or I’d upload a photo of him to the blog. Suffice to say I’m thrilled that, at last, the Meganobs are back with a nice stompy new plastic kit. Unfortunately my old metal Meganob always looked a bit runty next to the newer plastic Nobs so it’s great (if not unexpected) to see that the new Meganobs are an altogether larger and more imposing beast. The option to turn one of them into a Big Mek is also good news, and (in spite of some early misgivings when blurry photos appeared online) both the Kustom Force Field and Tellyport Blasta look excellent.

The kit also comes with a cracking new oiler grot, a nice touch and a fitting replacement for the (now discontinued) metal version. Not wanting him to feel entirely disposed by this swanky newcomer I dug out my old Oiler and fixed him up with a slightly nicer paint job.oiler-grot-convert-or-die-1

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oiler-grot-convert-or-die-3Meanwhile, my other efforts to restore my Ork collection are still rumbling along, although I’ve also got a few Chaos projects in the works (hopefully more on them next week). First off here’s a couple of Meks, the first one built straight “out of the box” using the parts in the Burna/Loota kit.ork-mek-boy-convert-or-die-4

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ork-mek-boy-convert-or-die-6This second Mek Boy is a conversion based off a spare Runt Herd. Not sure if the helmet is supposed to magnify his ideas or stop the other Meks stealing his thoughts . You can’t be too careful with those sneaky Deathskulls around after all.ork-mek-boy-convert-or-die-1

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ork-mek-boy-convert-or-die-3I’ve also worked on restoring a few more boys. Rather pleased with the kill markings on the first boy’s helmet. I wonder if, rather than simply representing enemies slain, these markings might be specific to the weapon, in this case the number the boy has head-butted to death.ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-7

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ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-30I’m also really pleased with this mad-boy – I built him years ago and he still looks suitably deadly and demented now.ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-9

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Wot? More Orks?

After last week’s release of the Mek Guns I uploaded some pics of my own Lobba conversion (to be found here). Afterwards, digging through the boxes where my Orks have been stored, I found these three disreputable characters; the Lobba’s crew.gretchin-convert-or-die-17

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gretchin-convert-or-die-13I’ve also been working on a few more restorations for my Ork army, including these two Nobs.ork-nob-40k-convert-or-die-13

ork-nob-40k-convert-or-die-7And also a few more Boyz.ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-2

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ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-18Today also sees more boyz joining the Waaarg as the Ork release from Game’s Workshop proves to be a gift that keeps on giving.
First of all we have the Painboy, a model I have rather mixed feelings about. His face in particular bothers me. I rather like long-faced Orks – that is to say, the style used by Rackham for their Orcs, or in Game’s Workshops venerable Waaargh The Orks* (of course you don’t remember it, you weren’t even born). However not giving this guy a surgeon’s mask has to be the most spectacular missed opportunity of this batch of releases. The bladed peg-leg is a solid, if slightly obvious, move – perhaps unfairly let down by comparisons to the (rather better executed) Dark Elf Fleet Master. The hand however is (literally) the biggest issue – it’s disproportionately huge and the pose emphasises this, making the whole model look skewed. Overall then this is a model the sum of which sadly does not match the quality of its parts.

*Not really a surprise as Paul Bonner has an artist credit for both.

There’s no such worries with the Mek, a cracking new model bursting with character. Last week I criticised the Big Mek with Shock Attack Gun for its rather gormless face. This new Mek sets that right in spades. He’s covered in great little details (the bolt in his teeth making him look like he’s paused mid-repair to get some extra killing in, the excellent augmetic goggles and other gubbins, the tattered wiring). This is a great addition to the Ork range and should be a lot of fun to paint.
Comparing these two miniatures however it occurs to me that the Mek features a lot more “safe” design choices. There’s nothing radically unusual here, as compared to the Painboy which features all kinds of characterful elements – just a shame they don’t always work really.

The other major “release” this week (apart from the Codex itself of course, which also went up for pre-orders) is the Looted Wagon. Having apparently been cut from the codex this most classically “Orky” unit makes an immediate return by way of White Dwarf magazine. Personally I think this is rather exciting although some raised voices online have complained about it (usually the same voices which attempt to suggest that 6 releases (and counting) over the past weeks represents a half-hearted coverage of the Orks… but I digress…). From Game’s Workshop’s side the argument seems to be that units without models will be cut from codexs, as we’ve seen with Tyranids, Astra Militarum, etc. Mostly this has seen the demise of various special characters and frankly it’s a shame as these units not only added to the richness of the army but also provided people with a gateway into the world of converting. It’s this that makes Looted Wagons so important, you can’t buy them as a kit and hopefully you never will. What you can buy is an Imperial (or for that matter Eldar, Tau etc) vehicle and get looting with the best your bitsbox and imagination can conjure. In the end then, although I’m disappointed that they ever planned to drop it I’m glad to see the Looted Wagon back (before we even knew it was gone). To lose it would have been a great shame, and whilst in the old days one would have had to rush out and buy White Dwarf within a month to get the rules now the digital magazine keeps it safe into functional perpetuity.
Hopefully this trend will continue and the Looted Wagons and Exalted Flamer will not be the only units without codex entries saved by the White Dwarf safety-net. Perhaps they could even make a feature out of it, combining official rules for these lost units with a gallery of conversions from around the Internet. Come on, a man can dream can’t he?


I Fought the Waaagh (and the Waaagh Won)

Last week saw the release of the Flash Gitz, the most preposterously and excitingly overarmed Orks of all. Seeing these smug show-offs finally getting the miniatures they deserved fired me into action and I decided to dig my own converted Gitz out of the box where they were residing and get to work restoring them. Chaos fans shouldn’t despair though, although I’m currently riding a wave of Orky enthusiasm I’ve got a few Chaos projects on the go as well, so I’ll be back to posting about spiky warp-worshippers in no time.
flash-gits-convert-or-die-orks-1This was the first Flash Git I made. I’m still not sure if I like him or not. At the time I didn’t really have a plan, or much idea of how to make a suitably snazzy gun, so I decided to make him a gunslinger, making up for having more “normal” guns by giving him two. He’s still one of the squad that I’m least sure I’m happy with (although I love the cheeky grot in his backpack).
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flash-gits-convert-or-die-orks-6This is more like it. I even tied him into my Space Marines army (then in its very early days) by giving him a suitable trophy. I decided that at least some of my Gitz would be former Bad Moons, known for having more teef than sense and a love of outsize weapons. Back then the rules didn’t call for one of the Gitz to be a Kaptin but I always reckoned the pilfering skills of this guy’s monkey sidekick might be enough to keep him one step ahead of the other ladz.
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flash-gits-convert-or-die-orks-3This one started life as a standard nob but as I added extra gubbins to his gun he evolved into another Flash Git. The Parrot Squig is another favourite component of mine.
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flash-gits-convert-or-die-orks-5Flash Gitz should have the biggest guns around and it’s hard to get bigger than a cannon. It also fits in nicely with the pirate theme of the Gitz. Take that ‘ummie scum!
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flash-gits-convert-or-die-orks-8This chap, with his outsize arms, was a bit of an experiment. My idea was that, wanting to increase his personal firepower, but already struggling to lift his own monstrously proportioned snazzgun, one of the Gitz decided to recruit himself an “assistant”. After one of his mates suffered “a little accident” and ended up minus his head he hauled the body to the nearest bad-doc and they set to work customising. Adding some vat grown arms allows the unfortunate “recruit” to carry his spare gun into battle whilst the inclusion of a cybork brain stops him from getting up to any treacherous high-jinks. His favourite grot perches on his shoulder to work the controls. Of course, grots being naturally disloyal, it’s only a matter of time before he starts taking on airs and graces and commands his Orky steed to blow their master to bits. For the Flash Git this element of risk only makes the relationship more exciting!
Flash Gits
I also notice that the new Flash Gitz come with larger bases than the Nobs. At some point I may upgrade my Gitz to larger bases, especially if I buy new Gitz to add to the squad. If nothing else it might stop them falling over all the time under the weight of their guns.

Mek Guns/Big Mek
As I have over the last couple of weeks I’m also going to talk a little about the new Ork kits which have just become available for pre-order; the Mek Guns and a Big Mek. Unlike the Gorkanaught/Morkanaught – where all we had to compare it to was the Stompa – and the Flash Gits – an all new kit – the Mek Guns (formerly called Big Guns) and the Big Mek with Shokk-Attack Gun both replace miniatures previously available. In the case of the Big Mek that miniature is one of my favourites in the Ork range (and one that I’d never actually got around to buying for myself). Let’s take a look at it first. I certainly like the new body more, covered in cables, dials and other gubbins it goes a long way to making him look suitably like a master of all things mechanical. The head looks pretty gormless though (having said that the old head wasn’t amazing either). I’m also really not a fan of trailing smoke, fire, electricity etc on a model so that would probably have to go if I was painting one of the new version. Overall though, for the fairly minor hassle of clipping off the trailing electric currents and replacing the head it’s pretty exciting to have this most iconic Ork model in nice, easy-to-work-with plastic. By and large, I’m happy.

No such conundrum exists with the Mek Guns – the old models were nothing to write home about with their only real Orky character coming from the grot crews. Those however are utterly outshone by the grots that crew the new kit. The one wearing a welder’s mask is a particular favourite, although I’m also really taken with the spotter and the foreman leaning on the drum of cable. The weapons themselves are also cracking, really capturing the Orky vibe of high-tech equipment badly constructed out of scrap.
The old Big Guns came in three flavours; kannons, lobbas and zzap guns. The rules still allow all three options, as well as adding some new alternatives, all matching the faintly-ridiculous character of the Orks. Take the Traktor Cannon for example, a weapon capable of dragging aircraft out of the skies and smashing them to scrap in an instant. It’s utterly typical of the greenskins that such a weapon, which would grant anyone total control of the skies were it crewed by a team of disciplined soldiers, is instead left in the care of bickering grots.
As it happens I already have a Mek Gun in my collection, having made a Lobba of my own a couple of years ago. Obviously it’s a lot smaller than the new Mek Guns but I’m still rather pleased with it and its comparative lack of scale won’t really matter much in a ramshackle Ork army.
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lobba-convert-or-die-orks-6On a final note regarding the Mek Guns it seems there’s still no sign of any new Warbuggies being released, which is rather unfortunate as the current models weren’t so much sculpted as hacked out of the rock sometime in the early Mesolithic. However should none appear the Mek Gun chassis should provide a good starting point for creating home-made alternatives. Anyway, with the codex still to arrive let’s keep our fingers crossed for more cracking Ork miniatures next week.


This Blog Belongs To Da Orks

So the Orks are on the warpath, not merely in Games Workshop stores around the world but also all over my painting desk. As I mentioned last week I’ve been trying to restore my old Ork army, touching up and improving paintjobs, fixing broken models, making improvements and so on. Over this last week or so work on my Laughing Faces tribe has continued to accelerate, fuelled by excitement about forthcoming Ork releases.ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-33

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ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-6Here’s the mob I’ve updated so far. All together now boyz; WAAAAAARGH!!!Ork Mob
Flash Gitz
This weekend we also got a proper look at a new Ork kit, the (very, very long awaited) Flash Gitz. Flash Gitz are everything an Ork should be; loud, crude, ridiculously over-armed and utterly lacking in any approximation of common sense. Even at first glance this kit has that by the bucket load. Some people have already bemoaned the fact that this isn’t a dual kit (that is to say, one that produces two different units by exchanging different components on the same base model). I’d say this is even better. With all the spare gubbins in this box you could spread good humoured (small c) chaos through a whole army. For an Ork fan (or even, in the case of some of the components, an Orc fan) looking for the sort of boisterous, over-enthusiastic good humour that makes the greenskins great this kit looks like being a real treasure-trove.
Anyone can kitbash, it’s no longer the case that converting unique miniatures is the sole preserve of sculpting geniuses with a natural affinity for greenstuff (they’ve moved on to even wilder, weirder and more inspiring projects as a quick glance around the internet will affirm). Option laden plastic kits like this have democratised the hobby to a truly wonderful extent. No matter your skill level the models you want in your collection are increasingly within your reach. Thus whether you want Flash Gitz in your collection or not there’s something for every Ork fan here. Oh and the targeting squig is just amazing, my favourite element of the old metal/finecast model reborn in plastic. And there’s a mechanical arm holding a cutlass? Need I say more?
What are your thoughts? Are you painting yourself red (so you can work on your army faster) or is this release too weedy for you? Get your comments in the box below.


Return of the Ork

When I first got involved in the miniatures hobby it wasn’t through Games Workshop but one of the smaller companies, with which I maintained a close relationship for several years. When I decided to stop purchasing their products – for personal and ethical reasons – I wanted something new to fill the gap. As the biggest show in town GW are pretty hard to avoid and, pressing my nose against a store window, I found myself drawn to those quirky, fun-loving hooligans, the Orks. I may have moved on since then, falling utterly under the insidious influence of the ruinous powers, but my heart remains green.ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-26Time, however, has not been altogether kind to da boyz. My skill as a painter has improved, perhaps not radically but enough, that now they look a little lacklustre next to their Chaos counterparts (I could say they’re green with envy but you’d stop reading, and you’d be right to). Recently, however, I’ve been drawn back to them, dusting them off and giving them a second look. Almost in keeping with the character of the armies my Chaos collection has grown slowly, gestating in the Warp and slowly producing models over the years, whereas the Orks – in a burst of rough enthusiasm – went from nothing to their current strength in less than twelve months. Since then progress has been – frankly – nonexistent. An Ork, however, may get knocked down but it’s not in their nature to stay out of the fight forever. It’s time for my boyz to come back for another go.ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-19

ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-41I started working my way through them, improving the bases (which were frankly awful) and toning down some of the more garish elements (I know they’re Orks but I have my limits). Progress remained pretty slow and haphazard until, over the last couple of weeks, I got a burst of enthusiasm resulting from the increasingly concrete rumours that new Ork models were on the way.ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-21

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ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-35Gorkanaut/Morkanaut
Those rumours have now solidified into the new Gorkanaut and Morkanaut. Overall I rather like them, although I’m not sure I’ll be running out to buy one yet. When the rumours about this kit started to circulate I admit I was rather sceptical. Obviously I was excited at the prospect of something new for the Orks, and a big kit was always going to be on the cards, but surely big mechanical walkers represent an area in which we’re already well served (from Killa Kans to Stompas via Deff Dreads, Meka Dreads and Mega Dreads). Did we need two more stompy idols of Gork (and Mork) on top of all that?
Well, maybe we did. The answer lies with the Stompa. When it was first released many people bemoaned the dawning of an age of soulless Stompas, that the art of scratch-building your own – once a rite of passage amongst dedicated Ork fans – was dead. At the time I was contemptuous of such statements, now I’m not so sure.
The fact of the matter is that although some of those scratch-built Stompas amazing some certainly weren’t. For the record I didn’t even dare to try, or get beyond saving up bits of cereal box and scribbling crude diagrams, so I still salute anyone brave enough to give it a shot, regardless of the results.
We live in an age where miniatures can be customised straight out of the box, where anyone can buy a kit off the shelf and create a finished piece completely different to that owned by their friend. Once you start mixing in other kits the options are practically infinite, and the examples of creativity to be found online are simply stunning. However it’s easy to include tons of options in a kit (alternative weapons, heads and quirky extras) when you’re producing a squad of infantry sized models, quite another with something already enormous. The kit will already be big and expensive, adding (large) optional or alternative pieces will only make it more so. This is doubly true of the Stompa, a kit produced back when Games Workshop was still finding its feet in the world of huge plastic vehicle kits. The resultant model is nice enough but certainly doesn’t match my image of the stomping, clunking idol of Gork (or possibly Mork) that my boyz would want stamping alongside them. Orks never build anything the same way twice and so the option to customise the Stompa more easily would be extremely welcome.
This brings us, in a roundabout way, back to the Gorkanaut/Morkanaut. Compared to the Stompa I certainly prefer it. For one thing this is a much more customisable beast. It will also act as a great source of bitz in a size easily translatable to the Stompa.
Overall then it looks like it’s not a bad kit at all and, although it didn’t grab me at first sight its growing on me, and it certainly opens up a whole wealth of conversion opportunities. Will I buy one? I guess I’ll wait and see. In the meantime I’m looking forward to finding out what else the Orks get over the next couple of weeks (hint – take a look at the picture of the red Morkanaught on the rules page of the new White Dwarf…). But with this kit alone likely to spark some fantastic Ork conversions now seems like a great time to be reviving my boyz.