Ghazghkull Thraka

He’s the biggest, the toughest, the meanest and quite possibly the greenest. He’s the Beast of Armageddon, the Prophet of the Ork gods, the warboss’s warboss, the bringer of the Great Waaaagh! He’s a force of nature, a figure of legend, and one of the most important characters to stride the galaxy in the 41st Millennium. No I’m not talking about my fellow Ork enthusiast IRO, although many of these things are true of him as well. Instead I’m talking about Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, undoubtedly the most famous Ork to have been (allegedly) named after a British Prime Minister.

Ever since I was a yoof Ghazghkull has been my hero, his struggle to unite the warring Ork tribes of his backwater planet and unleash them upon the galaxy at large reflected in my own struggle to paint a mighty greenskin horde of my very own. Sadly the model for old Ghazghkull really wasn’t all that, it appeared to be showing its age even when I discovered the Orks all those years ago (although in fact it hadn’t actually been released that long ago) and time didn’t really do much to put a gloss of nostalgia on it. Thus it wasn’t until early in 2020 that I seriously considered adding Ghazghkull to my own army. That was when a new model was released for him (stalled slightly by the outbreak of good old Covid but even Nurgle can’t halt our boy for long).

Ghazghkull, you see, is hard to kill. Shot through the head by a space marine when was just a young Ork he came back swinging, inspired by the voices of the Ork gods (that only he could hear) to spread the word; it was time for the boys to stop messin’ about and get on with the job of stompin’ the universe flat! During the Psychic Awakening series of books Ghaz went up against the legendary Ragnar Blackmane of the Space Wolves in a fight so ludicrously over-egged and heavy on hyperbole that both characters needed new miniatures afterwards. This time Ghazghkull ended up decapitated entirely and even that wasn’t enough to slow him down for long, soon his head was found and sewn back on and he was ready to roll up his (heavily armoured) sleeves and get back in business.

One of the main things I wanted to do this Orktober was add the big man to my army, even going to far as to paint up his little sidekick Makari in advance. Now, with the month almost over, the big man himself is finished at last. He’s a big lad so the pictures are a little larger than normal, give them a click to see him at his full, imposing, size.

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Did I mention that he’s a big lad? Here he is towering over one of the ordinary boyz.

Ghazghkull Thraka Ork Warhammer40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (9)

And of course, here he is next to his little buddy and personal flag-waver Makari.

Ghazghkull Thraka Ork Warhammer40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

I wanted to give this one my best efforts so although I was keen to get him finished this month I didn’t want to rush him. In the end I’m very pleased with the results, there were some tricky moments (the less said the better about the night spent painting stripes on all the cables only to realise in the morning that it looked terrible) but I got there in the end, and just in time for the end of the month.

Incidentally, if that’s still not enough Ghazghkull for one day I highly recommend you check out this version painted by Mcmattilaminis, it’s a real thing of beauty and was a big inspiration as I tried to get the big man finished myself.

Is he the last of the Orks on my painting desk? Not even close! That said he may well be the last one I paint this Orktober, although the month isn’t quite over yet so who knows…


24 responses to “Ghazghkull Thraka

  • davekay

    I was going to say what a great way to end the month, but it sounds like you may have more orks to come! Great work on this huge model though!

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! Well, no promises on getting more Orks done this month. I certainly had eyes bigger than my stomach when it came to how many models I wanted to paint, even though – by my standards – I got a hell of a lot done there’s still plenty more I’d have liked to get painted. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do any more before the month is out but much of what has been achieved this month happened because I soldiered on when logic told that I was probably biting off more than I could chew so we’ll see – I guess we’ll find out in the next 24 hours or so! 🙂

  • John@justneedsvarnish

    So, a real larger than life character then! 🙂 Brilliant!

  • Pete S/ SP

    Fantastic work- you saved the best till last.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

  • Alex

    Oh, yeah baby!!! Great way to round out the month mate, superb job!

  • Argentbadger

    Superb. Thraka is one of the most memorable characters of 40K and it’s taken 3 iterations to get a suitably imposing / scale-crept mini for him. Your paint job more than does justice to him; great work!

    • Wudugast

      He’s one of those characters that really stood out to me when I got into 40k all those years ago. Ghaz, Yarrick and Abaddon were the big three for me. Classic 40k. It was an absolute joy to paint him at last, glad you like him. 🙂

  • theimperfectmodeller

    Wow that is some Ork! Taking your time really paid off on this one, the awesome looking chap looks truly excellent. A good way to end the month, if indeed you have! 🙂

    • Wudugast

      He’s a real monster isn’t he! Glad you like him, I’d have been happy to leave things there but as it turned out I managed to squeeze a few more hours out of the day and spent them painting a few more Orks. 🙂

  • Kuribo

    He’s a bigg’un, to be sure! One of my mates painted this in NMM and really sunk some time into it. This may sound odd but it is cool seeing someone paint it a lot quicker in TMM. It shows you how versatile this mini is as I think most of GW’s larger minis take forever to paint well with all of the details they have but I think you’ve proved the opposite here.

    You certainly finished Orktober off strongly and that was a mean trick baiting IRO into a competition and then burying him with this painting output. The poor bloke never stood a chance 😉

    • Wudugast

      Haha – you say that, and I must admit I was starting to feel a little guilty about the way I was pulling ahead of him towards the end, but go and take a look at IRO’s latest post and his monthly total – I think you’ll be surprised – I know I was! 😉

      As for Ghaz; thank you! I think there is often an assumption amongst miniatures painters that taking a long time = doing a good job. There’s certainly a correlation there, and it’s emphasised by all the stories we hear about the ‘eavy Metal team, Golden Daemon winners (and people like yourself) who pour months into individual figures and produce mind-blowing results. However I’d say it’s more a case of “it takes as long as it takes”. The trick isn’t in taking a long time, it’s in not rushing. I know I’ve painted models which took me a very long time, I agonised over every brush stroke and the end result was a bit duff and quite disheartening. It was when I moved away from doing that and freed my painting up that I improved a great deal. I’m a much better painter as a result of being a more relaxed and happier painter, and by riding that wave of enthusiasm I’m able to paint things much more quickly than I would if I was – as I did in the past – deliberately making a chore of things just to spin out the time. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with taking your time to paint something – like I say it can produce some spectacular results (look no further than your blood elf for example) but I’m on a little crusade against the idea that it’s always a necessity. 🙂

      • Kuribo

        I haven’t caught up yet but I was mostly taking the opportunity to give you a hard time! 🙂

        I appreciate your thoughts on all of this and I wasn’t aware of this misconception. I don’t know exactly what Golden Demon winners do but I believe they glaze most of their minis to achieve smooth blends and strong contrast. In that sense, it does take a lot of time to create those amazing pieces we see but that’s not the whole picture. You’re right that spending lots of time painting something doesn’t guarantee much of anything. You have to know and master techniques and employ them effectively to win a competition. I would imagine less experienced painters don’t really know what processes professional painters use so they equate time with results. You have to put a lot of time into the hobby learning all of the different techniques and pushing yourself to improve, THEN it is about putting tons of time into a single project. You also have to be patient and keep working on various parts until each one truly looks as good as it can too. Though what do I know? I’ve won zero awards and entered in zero competitions for that matter 🙂

      • Wudugast

        Well I’m sure you could win if you wanted to enter, depends if that kind of thing interests you or not. You’ve certainly got the skills for it. 🙂

        I think you’re spot on that time in itself isn’t enough (I’ve got miniatures that have been sitting unfinished for decades at this point, if time was all it took they should be bloody masterpieces by now!). It’s how you spend the time that matters. When people ask me how to get better at painting I always say “find ways to enjoy it”. If you don’t enjoy painting you won’t paint so you won’t improve. If you do enjoy painting you’ll paint more, so you’ll get lots of practice and you’ll be more confident to try new things. Everything else follows from there. 

      • Kuribo

        You’re too kind, mate! I will enter one of these days I imagine and I expect to be humbled 🙂 That is good advice to pass on and I would agree that you have to enjoy it to get good. Trying to find small ways to improve with each project would be my advice. That will add up over time and help you get better as well.

  • imperialrebelork

    Oh cool man. He looks as mean as mean can be. All the little details you’ve picked out are top notch.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers dude – he’s a proper nasty looking brute isn’t he. You got one yourself? I imagine you’d kitbash the hell out of it and make something awesome. I was tempted to do something like that myself but for me he’s such a classic figure, I had to paint Ghaz himself at least once in my life!

  • mcmattila

    Congrats on finishing Ghaz, I’ve been waiting all month to see him! He came out great! The black metallic armor looks very good and I’m a big fan of those freehand skulls. Makari looks great alongside Ghaz, which reminds me to get on painting mine!

    It’s funny that you don’t much care for the old model for Ghaz. Me, I still quite like it and painting the new model kinda made me want to add the old model to my collection as well. The model’s tiny, of course, and the proportions are better on the new one, but I really like the pose of the old one.

    Thanks for the shoutout!

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! I’m very pleased with the skulls myself, freehand isn’t my strong suit but I wanted to push myself and I thought Ghaz was worth a little extra effort.

      I do love the pose of old Ghaz in fact, I would like the old Ghaz model if only he wasn’t so tiny. For me it’s the size I can’t get past, he’s the meanest Ork in the galaxy and yet the old model made him into such a little dude. I did like the force of expression on the old model though, he looks like he’s marching straight towards you and you know that whoever is on the end of that stare is about to get a serious kicking. That’s the one thing I wish they could have carried over from the old model to the new one, new Ghaz looks angry but old Ghaz looked intense.

      Looking forward to seeing what you do with the old Ghazghkull if you get one, maybe you’ll change my mind about him. Of course at that point you’ll have to track down one of the really old Ghazghkulls so you can complete the set! 😀

  • Mark A. Morin

    Wow👏👏👏👏👏👏. Really cool work and I, a non GW guy, am totally impressed with the detail on this one. Kudos

    • Wudugast

      Thank you very much! Some miniatures transcend the company or setting from which they originate and for my money this is one of them. Of course there are really only two kinds of miniatures, “ones I like” and “ones I don’t”, but some really demand the best of you as a painter and this was one of them, he was a real joy to work on and I’m very proud of the results. 🙂

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