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.Time, 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.
I 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.
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.