The moment has finally arrived! I fell under the sway of the Orks over a decade ago and the love affair has yet to end. Back then I came across two, entirely separate pieces of information which over time combined into one of the largest hobby projects I’ve ever undertaken. The first was a White Dwarf article (don’t ask me which issue now, I haven’t the foggiest) in which someone described how they had made every Orc boy in their WHFB army unique, swapping heads and so on to create the appearance of a truly ramshackle barbarian horde. I loved the idea, and the aesthetic it created, and was determined to do the same with my own 40k Orks.
At around the same time a friend gave me a copy of the rulebook for the first edition of Apocalypse. I’ve often joked that my preferred scales for 40k is Kill Team or Apocalypse, if it’s not a case of a small band of heroes undertaking a dangerous mission then it should be warfare on a truly grand scale. Not that I’ve ever played either, as regular readers will know I’m not really much of a gamer, but when it comes to a visual image it’s hard to beat huge armies of models carpeting the landscape.
My friend, incidentally, got the copy of Apocalypse from his brother who’d ordered a load of miniatures and received it by mistake. When he phoned GW to complain they sent out his correct order and told him to hang on to the book, which then made its way to me. If you happen to have ordered Apocalypse back then and ended up with a load of Imperial Guard instead, and have been wondering ever since what happened to your book – I have it. And no, you’re not getting it back. 😉
Anyway, getting back on topic, in some of the Apocalypse rules released around that time there was a formation called “The Green Tide” in which at least one hundred Ork boys swarmed across the battlefield. Here’s what the accompanying text had to say about it.
Again the image spoke to me, partly because it captured the sea of angry green flesh that the background describes as an Ork invasion and partly because it sounded so ludicrously out of reach. After all we were in the middle of a recession and jobs for newly graduated students were like hen’s teeth. The thought of having the money to spend on buying all those Orks was simply ludicrous, not to mention the time it would take to paint them all.
Time, however, tears down all barriers. Recruiting an ork here, and a couple more there, the army has grown until, earlier this year, I released that I was within reach of victory, that long aspired to goal hovering mirage-like on the horizon. At that point various readers of this blog got involved, generally cheering and cajoling me into action and, as of a few weeks ago, I had only five boyz still to go.
First things first I turned my attention to my squad of shoota boyz. I’ve added the odd model here and there over the last few months, with the aim of completing a nice round twenty of them, and this next finishes off the squad nicely.
With him done here we have them, twenty boyz ready to unleash a raucous hail of bullets at anyone unfortunate enough to wander into range.
After that it was the turn of the slugga boyz. I already had two squads of these completed, each one thirty strong (this being the maximum size for a squad of ork boyz). By way of a reminder here’s the first squad…
…and here’s the second…
Meanwhile the third squad has grown to sixteen boys strong so four more would not only give me a round twenty (which sounds very organised for the Orks but there you go) but would also complete the hundred to boot.
This one was a real nightmare to photograph, the way he’s holding his weapons meant that his face was almost constantly in shadow. He actually has a lot in common with the ork on the cover of the current codex, both in appearance and pose, not something which was a conscious decision. The artist has also clearly struggled, rather more successfully than I, to avoid the subject’s face being in shadow – something for which I now feel a huge amount of sympathy!
The squad also needed a boss-nob, otherwise the boys would spend the whole time fighting each other trying to work out who’s in charge.
Here he is next to his peers, the boss nobs of the other two slugga squads. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the names I gave the leaders of my three squads – but if I have I’m not above telling you again. When Warhammer Total War was first released I played a lot of it (by my standards at least, I don’t usually play computer games very much but this one hooked me entirely). Whilst playing as the Orcs I recruited three warbosses in quick succession, each of which the game gives an automatically generated name. Unfortunately it named all three of them Krugga, which soon became exactly as confusing as you’d imagine. Luckily the game allows you to rename your characters so I changed them to be called “Krugga”, “Da Uvva Krugga” and “Da Uvva Krugga’s Bruva” – names which I then recycled for these three brutes.
Anyway, here’s the third squad of slugga boyz, now twenty strong and probably feeling mighty pleased with themselves.
Which means of course that it’s time to discover, at long last, what one hundred ork boys actually looks like…
Of course having gathered them all together and stood around admiring them and generally feeling smug and self-satisfied, I thought “why stop there” and broke out the rest of the army as well. The horde has now reached the point where it only just fits into my photography area, I’ll need to make some adjustments before I take next year’s group shot (in fact I may need to make some adjustments before I photograph the completed Skaven army at the end of the month…). I would have liked to showcase the army a bit more, rather than just cramming everything together into one mass, but in the end there really wasn’t space for anything else.
Out of interest I ran the numbers and was pleased to discover that this little lot comes to 2336 points (or 171 power in new money) overall, although of course there’s a lot more I’d like to add in the future.
So there we have it, one hundred entirely unique ork boys and a long-standing hobby ambition achieved. Finally I’d like to say thank you to everyone who commented on this project and generally prodded me into action, if you hadn’t it might well have been a few years yet before I finally got myself into gear to finish it. A special shout-out is owed to Azazelwho’s been painting his own set of twenty-five orks alongside me – I highly recommend you take a look at them, especially if you enjoy an old-school greenskin.
Naturally this isn’t the end for the Orks, I still have plenty more greenskins and their wonderfully ramshackle death-dealing contraptions to work on. Plus I can hardly leave Slugga Squad 3 at ten boys short of the others can I – they’re bound to be picked on as weedy by the others if I do. I just need to dig around in my bits box to manufacture some more unique ork heads…