Tag Archives: Orcs

Whither Now Destruction?

What with it being Orctober I find myself thinking about greenskins even more than usual, from hulking boyz to stabby little gobbos, and even their big – and distinctly pink skinned – friends the ogres. In combination these form the Destruction Grand Alliance, the warlike hordes who smash their way through the Mortal Realms in a riot of brute strength and low cunning.

Orcs Brutes Ironjaws Wudugast

Over the past year or so Games Workshop have given Age of Sigmar some much-needed housekeeping. The myriad factions of yesteryear have been pared down into something much more manageable and less intimidating to a newcomer. In the early days of AoS each Grand Alliance (for the uninitiated that’s Order, Chaos, Death and Destruction – the overall groupings of factions by which the setting is defined) contained dozens of mini-factions, some of which contained only a single model (the Shadowblades or Firebellys for example). For a veteran of the Warhammer era that had gone before it was totally baffling and formed an almost impenetrable barrier between people like me and the brave new world that GW were developing.

Naturally they wanted to look to the future and to get to work on the new and creative ideas they had been cooking up. However before they could really get on with it they needed to put their house in order. If you want your pudding you have to eat your greens and if they wanted to concentrate on the next Idoneth Deepkin or Stormcast Eternals it was getting harder and harder to do with the survivors of the Old World hanging around and embarrassing GW in front of their fancy new friends.

In order to resolve this many of the small factions, with only a handful of models to their name, were rolled together and, unlike the higglety pigglety, anything-goes approach of the early days, found themselves combined like with like. The humans, elves and dwarves who survived the destruction of the Old World have been clumped into the Cities of Sigmar for example, whilst the disparate clans of the Skaven have been reunited into a single faction. At the same time various models were removed from the range, some not a moment too soon, some well before their time, and some were kept on which surely should have been replaced decades ago. At times the logic behind which models were cut and which were kept was hard to fathom for a fan without insider knowledge of the company. The orc boar boys for instance got the chop as part of the dissolution of the greenskins faction. At the time it made a degree of sense to me, despite being relatively modern – not to mention rather nice looking in comparison to many of the other greenskins kits – they didn’t really fit in with either the Ironjaws or the Bonesplitters, both of which had their own version of boar boys anyway. With the arrival of the Orruk Warclans army book however one wonders if more could have been done to save their bacon. With the orc factions rolled back together again surely the boar boys could have found a home amongst them? Most likely the answer comes down to shelf space, combined with the aforementioned alternative boar boys but I’m still sorry to see them go.

Boared Already

I’m just a boar boy, nobody loves me
He’s just a boar boy from a boar family

However whilst I can suggest a logic behind the removal of the boar boys I’m left confused as to why this goblin shaman was shown the door…

Goblin Shaman 2

… whilst these two weren’t.

Night Goblin Shaman

Is it just the lack of Night Goblin accoutrements like a big hood? If it really bothers you a head swap isn’t hard to accomplish. Speaking as a fan of the Gloomspite Gits I’d rather have a nice looking shaman with a bare head than this duff-looking duo (although looking again the one in the foreground isn’t quite as bad as I remembered him). At least I have a couple of alternative shamen I can call upon however.

Age of Sigmar deserves to tap into its potential for creativity but it was tricky to do that until the ghosts of WHFB were laid to rest. Now that that task nears completion we can turn our attention to the future and start to ask just where that creativity might lead.

Until now GW have reserved the greater part of that creativity for the Order Grand Alliance. In part however I suspect this reflects the ideas of the past and the areas in which they felt their line was at its weakest. After all the Skaven, or the warriors of Khorne, are far more distinct to GW’s IP than elves or dwarves which can be found through fantasy fiction. Thus the company has focused on Order and Chaos, the former requiring perhaps the most work, the latter already well-formed and desperate to stretch its wings in AoS’s new universe and tap into the vast potential which previous iterations had seen stifled. The other two Grand Alliances fell behind although Death is starting to come into its own through the Nighthaunt and the forthcoming Ossiarch Bonereapers. As it stands order contains eight factions, chaos seven and death just four with the inclusion of the Bonereapers*. Destruction also has four at the moment although it’s safe to assume that two of these, the Beastclaw Raiders and Gutbusters will be rolled into a single Ogors faction soon.  Likewise the Orcs of the Ironjaws and Bonesplitters have recently become the Orruk Warclans (with any old Orcs from the greenskins faction herded to the exits). Similarly the goblins, trolls and squigs have been gathered into the ranks of the Gloomspite Gits. The result is three neatly packaged factions; orcs, goblins and ogres.

*For those who want to check my workings, I’m counting as supported those factions which have been given their own section on the GW website and a book – not anything  that’s currently discontinued or anything from Forge World. Based on that we have;

Order – Cities of Sigmar, Daughters of Khaine, Fyreslayers, Idoneth Deepkin, Kharadron Overlords, Seraphon, Stormcast Eternals and Sylvaneth.

Chaos – Beasts of Chaos, Blades of Khorne, Disciples of Tzeentch, Everchosen/Slaves to Darkness, Hedonites of Slaanesh, Maggotkin of Nurgle and Skaven (treating Everchosen and Slaves to Darkness as one faction and leaving Creatures of Chaos out because that’s not a proper faction round my house, that’s just some monsters conveniently gathered in the same place!)

Death – Flesheater Courts, Legions of Nagash, Nighthaunt, Ossiarch Bonereapers.

Destruction – Gloomspite Gits, Orruk Warclans and Mawtribes (or whatever the Ogors end up being called).

Ogre

I’m sexy and I know it

Where do they go next then? There isn’t a natural and obvious answer to this. When Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch were given army books of their own it was safe to assume that Slaanesh would get their turn sooner or later. The same can no longer be said. A tipping point has been reached and we find ourselves stepping off the edge of the Old World’s map and into the uncharted lands of the new Age of Sigmar.

As hobbyists we often pull at loose threads of information, trying to second guess what might be released in the months and years to come. In the past it was easy to say “this faction or that faction ought to be coming soon” simply because they haven’t had any fresh releases in a while. This was never a very reliable way of divining the future but it had its merits, and those who made a habit of such guesses where right often enough to weave themselves an illusion of foreknowledge. Nowadays you might as well try to read the tea leaves in the GW staff canteen.

By naming the Orc faction Orruk Warclans rather than Ironjaws and Bonesplitters (or some more pleasing and marketable equivalent) the implication is that these are all the Orcs we’re going to be seeing for the next little while. Beastgrave contains a rather lovely looking warband of goblin wolf riders (that’s part of the Gitmob in the modern parlance) but my gut tells me – with nothing more than an intuitive guess to go on – that these are more of a nod to the past than a hint of things to come. The goblins certainly have potential for further exploration – I’m still surprised that we didn’t see a new plastic kit for the doom-diver catapult as part of the Gloomspite Gits release for instance – but much like the Orruk Warclans I suspect that the Gloomspite Gits are a packing up of the existing gobbos, for now at least.

Snarlfang Gitbiters

Nor are there any subfactions which seem like contenders for establishing themselves as fully-fledged factions in their own right. The trolls have made themselves at home amongst the Gloomspite Gits and, thus established, have really come into their own. The giants may have enjoyed a brief stint as a one model faction in the early days of AoS but the big oafs have been reined in by their destruction colleagues and I’d be surprised to see them go it alone again.

If it was up to me I’d love to see the snotlings brought back and explored in full but I can’t imagine that anything other than wishful thinking. Then again at least they could double up as Orks in Adeptus Titanicus!

Of course, I can’t miss an opportunity to make my pitch for a Destruction themed version of Warcry. Just imagine the fun that could be had shifting the setting from the Chaos wastes of the Bloodwind Spoil to the rust warrens and dank caves of Skrappa Spill. Instead of Chaos warbands we could see examples of the various types of Orc, Goblin and Ogres that must be found in the Mortal Realms, fighting it out for the sheer joy of it.

Meanwhile, lurking in the corner of the Destruction Grand Alliance, overlooked and underloved, we have the Fimir. These weird cyclopean beasts have skulked on the fringes of Warhammer since the early days, never fully accepted into the game, never entirely kicked out. Every time you think they are gone for good they pop up again, shoving their snouts briefly above the parapet every decade or so before vanishing once more into the gloom. Earlier this year I even painted one, a model from Hero Quest that’s almost as old as I am.

With the launch of AoS the Fimir abandoned the overcrowded Chaos raft and found themselves a new home amongst Destruction (rather than vanishing once and for all, as I was expecting, with the purging of so many other things GW wanted rid of). Thanks to Forge World we even have a few Fimir models and as ever there is speculation that they might make a comeback. Honestly I wouldn’t hold my breath (unless I was standing downwind of a real Fimir that is).

Fimirach Noble

One thing the Fimir do however is emphasise that from here on out we no longer need to expect the Destruction forces to adhere to tradition. For these warlike races things have remained pretty much the same for a very long time. The Orcs and Goblins, and Ogres, were well established in WHFB and stamped into AoS as if nothing much had changed. Whilst a time traveller from a decade ago would barely recognise the flying dwarves and fishy elves as descendants of the game they knew the greenskins and their allies remain much as they ever were, just with a few nice new models to show for the passage of time. It’s easy to believe that nothing need ever really change. Yet a glance towards the Order Grand Alliance reveals this need not be the case. The once hide-bound, subterranean dwarves now zoom through the skies, carving out trade empires above the clouds where once they carved mines beneath the roots of the mountains. Some elves are half snake, others are eyeless and aquatic. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Ulthuan anymore…

I’m not for a moment suggesting that we are about to see aquatic orcs or half-snake ogres, simply that the expansion of possibilities that was applied to Order could just as easily be lavished upon the other Grand Alliances. What is certain is that GW aren’t done with the brutish followers of Gorkamorka, and that, after decades of popularity they’ll be cast aside. Equally we can’t guess with even a scrap of accuracy what form those future releases might take. We could see orcs, goblins or ogres of a kind completely unknown to us, or we could see something entirely new. Good or bad the future is looking like a very different place from the past. After so many years of seeing the same old factions from one decade’s end to the next that’s something that we’re going to have to get used to. I still can’t begin to get guess what it might look like, but I for one am agog to find out!

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Squabblin’ Goblins – Part 9

Not wishing to rest on my laurels – suitably green though they may be – when it comes to my Night Goblin army, I’ve added a couple more recruits, a pair of fanatics whirling destructively into battle. These two were half finished at the end of October and rather than allow myself to get distracted and leave them incomplete for who knows how much longer I wanted to put brush to model and finish them off properly.

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Unleash the fanatics!

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Something I have been keen to avoid, especially after pouring so much effort into the army over the past few months, is allowing progress to stall entirely whilst I concentrate on other projects. Thus, whilst I was working on the fanatics I decided to press on and paint up this goblin shaman as well.

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With these latest additions the heap of unpainted greenskins continues to reduce in a pleasing manner but there is still plenty more to finish and, with signs of a forthcoming Moonclan/Night Goblin release from GW which may well lead to me relapsing into my old goblin-purchasing ways, I’ll keep chipping away at them for now.


Squabblin’ Goblins – Part 7

I planned to paint this very old spider-loving goblin shaman for Neglected Model Month but alas he was so neglected I didn’t even manage that. Never mind though at least he’s done now!

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Oh, and for anyone who thinks that an overabundance of skulls is a modern phenomenon amongst GW’s miniatures there are seven of them on this little dude. Indeed his love of both spiders and skulls puts him on a par with most goths I know (which needless to say is a very good thing indeed).


Squabblin’ Goblins – Part 4

It’s time for this week’s progress report on the night goblins (not including the Battle Standard Bearer who got his slice of the limelight earlier in the week). I’m planning to anchor the army around a horde of Night Goblin spearmen, backed up by a smaller unit with shortbows. Together these will represent the rank and file of the clan, who’ve been driven from their mushroomy lair by the call of the Waaarg! This week it’s been very much a collection of odds and ends as most of the models in these two squads are still halfway through being batch painted (something I would previously have shuddered to consider but I’m giving it my best shot nonetheless).

However, in the interests of having something to show you, I cracked on with these three spear-gobbos to get them finished (which also results in a pleasing, albeit only small, reduction of the pile still to be done).

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I’ve also started work on the unit of archers with six of the little rascals ready for action.

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This chap used to be a spearman but somewhere along the road he got careless and broke off half of his spear. Enter a quick and thematic repair and he’s ready for action again.

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When it comes to Night Goblins there’s few things as thematic as a fanatic (try saying that five times quickly!)

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Night goblins are always looking to even the odds against stronger, braver opponents (that’s basically everyone). Chucking a net over them is hardly honourable but luckily goblins are sneaky gits and don’t get worried about things like that.

Gobbo Netter

And of course any night goblin army needs a few squigs around.

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Overall then progress has been fairly solid, although I could probably have used to break more ground on the spear-gobbos and archers if I’m going to make my target of finishing the unit by the end of the month. We’re roughly half-way through the month now though and, although there’s still plenty to do, I’m pleased with the progress so far.


Squabblin’ Goblins – Part 1

I’ve spoken before about the goblin army that’s been gathering on the edge of my desk, now it’s time to do something about it. In the past, when I was young and ignorant, I would decry people who ended up with heaps of unpainted models cluttering up their homes. “If you’re not going to paint it”, I would say snobbishly, “why are you buying it?”. The target of my ire wasn’t people who only want to game and find painting dull or a chore, fair play to them really. No, I heaped my disgust on people who like to paint but who lacked the self-control to not buy more than they can deal with – people like myself essentially, and probably most of my readers. Naturally, time has made a fool of me and my loudmouth assertions.

Furthermore I claimed that I would never buy any fantasy greenskins because my heart was already sold to the orks of 40k. The goblins, little devils that they are, gathered anyway, a great horde massing in the corner of the room whilst I was busy denying it’s existence and burying my head in the sand. In the end, of course, you can’t keep ignoring it any more, but by that point it had grown so big and imposing I found myself a little frightened to tackle it. Some people call it the grey tide, others the lead mountain, in my case it’s actually a combination of the two, so the question is; what to do about it? Ignoring it has got me this far but that won’t make it magically paint itself. Plus, I want to paint it, it’s just that the thought of starting is quite overwhelming. The tricky part in a situation like this is breaking the inertia. Once an army is underway it’s easy enough to add a few more models as the whole project begins to develop its own momentum. I could try the technique of adding at least one model every month, as has proved so successful with my Skaven but as I’m still doing that with the rats trying to do the same thing at the same time with the gobbos feels like asking for trouble.

How about option three then; taking a run at it. After all they’re only little, and relatively easy to paint. How hard could it be (he said with a note of hysteria in his voice). Plus Azazel has set this month as Neglected Model Month in his series of monthly challenges, and this isn’t just a neglected model it’s a whole neglected army.

Before I launch myself into battle with the little greenies let’s take a look at what’s already been done. First of all here’s the goblin boss I painted earlier this year:

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And here’s the fanatic that escaped from a demolished garage (or, in my mind at least, brought it down around his ears!)

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Then we have all the various goblins I’ve painted in dribs and drabs over the past few years, always during my brief spells of enthusiasm when I would claim that this time I really, really would get them done.

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None of them are perfect but for the moment I’m focusing on the fact that they’ll be hidden amongst a huge mob of their clanmates, and that if I go back to touch them up now I’ll never get anywhere.

I’d also add that these are Night Goblins and not Moonclan Grots. Age of Sigmar is an exciting world in its own right and so was old Warhammer. Few things were as iconic of the old world as the Night Gobbos and although I appreciate why GW transferred them across, indeed I’m glad they did, they don’t feel as comfortable a fit in the new realms as the races which were born there, like the Idoneth, or those which are a bit more generic like the Ironjaws or the Undead.

I don’t really have a defined goal with these, I certainly don’t expect to have everything done by the end of the month, or even by the end of the year. I would like to be able to say, by New Year-ish, “I have a little Night Goblin army” rather than “I have a load of unpainted models I’m faintly ashamed of”. Exactly how many I manage to deal with before the end of September however remains to be seen but I’ll count anything more than a handful as a victory and go from there.


Aren’t You A Little Short To Be A Warboss?

A quick heads up to anyone who’s interested, the third Greenskin Wars kickstarter is now underway. I don’t tend to promote, or even contribute to, many kickstarters, but I’m a huge fan of these goblins and I’ve had really good experiences with Greenskin Wars in the past – which means I’m rather overexcited about it all. I’ll admit however that I tend to find blog posts extolling the virtues of some kickstarter or other tend not to get more than a passing glance from me, so I intend to legitimise the whole thing and explain that the real reason I’m writing about this at all is that the new range of goblin models has me inspired to actually put paint on some of the ones I’ve already bought. For the moment I want to keep focussed on some other projects but at the very least I can indulge my urge to paint greenskins with this goblin hero.

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Most likely he’ll end up serving as a goblin boss when I finally get around to my long planned night goblin army (someone has to contest the Skaven dominance of the Underway after all).


Greenskin Wars

Just before I took off on my holidays I received a parcel. Normally I don’t do ‘unboxings’ and I try to avoid banging on about projects I know I won’t be able to start for a few months. This time however I’m going to break with that because time spent showcasing Greenskin Wars is, in my opinion, time well spent.

For those of you unfamiliar with Greenskin Wars the range incorporates the old Crooked Claw models (good news for those like me who skipped blithely through life, unaware that Crooked Claw even existed until suddenly it didn’t) alongside a range of new models courtesy of “Goblin Master” Kev Adams* and spearheaded by Diego Serrate.

*Apparently he thinks being called “Goblin Master” is a bit silly, but everyone does it anyway, Well if it bothers him he shouldn’t make such amazing looking goblins should he?

Late last summer a kickstarter campaign was used to fund the range, sculpt the new models and so forth, although those who missed it should keep an eye on the Knightmare Miniatures store, soon to be home to the range, as well as various Chaotic creatures from the astonishing Pantheon of Chaos range and various Rogue Trader-esque Space Raiders. Those of you who’re on facepuke (and sadly, nowadays, who isn’t?) would also be well advised to join the Greenskin Wars group to keep up with the latest developments.

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I’ll confess, I’ve always loved the greenskins. They’re not, as such, an evil race like Chaos, the Undead or the Skaven – although undoubtedly it must feel like that when they’re burning down your village. Rather they’re mischievous, always up for some rough-housing or spectacularly destructive practical humour, squabbling amongst themselves, needing to be kicked into line and living by the maxim “to have a good time, all the time” even if that ends up being horribly violent for everyone else. As Warhammer races go they’ve undoubtedly evolved the furthest from fantasy’s roots. Tolkien would recognise the elves of Ulthuan but Sauron would have been lucky to get out of Mordor if his armies had been made up of the squabbling goblins we know and love today. (Digging back a little further of course a norseman wouldn’t have recognised either of them, but that’s a blog for another day). Likewise 40k may have pretensions of grandeur, as a great, decaying dystopia, but the Orks still go roaring through the middle of it on their motorbikes, scattering the serious-faced eldar and space marines, and making fart jokes in front of all the grandiose fall-of-empire sobriety.

What’s more we let them get away with. No matter one’s attachment to the funereal grim darkness of the far future or the grubby madness of the Old World everyone cracks a smile at the arrival of a thuggish ork or a scheming goblin. Perhaps it’s because they’re all, at heart, naughty schoolboys, and most of us discovered them when we too were naughty schoolboys. In the greenskins we recognise ourselves as we would like to be; carefree and burning with the joy of life, not burdened by duty and responsibility like a Space Marine, not bravely facing the yawning grave like the Eldar, but racing through life laughing, never worrying about hardship or want and when we go, going out with a bang that leaves our mates’ ears ringing for a week.

Until recently however I have pretended to myself that I am above such things as fantasy greenskins. My love of Orks in 40k means I’ve tended to focus all my greenskin tendencies in that direction. The orcs and goblins of the fantasy realms would only serve to dilute my creative energy, divide my ideas and distract me from those projects I should be focussing on. How foolish of me – didn’t I see that goblins thrive on distraction and that nothing possesses more energy and (generally destructive) creativity?

It was inevitable, then, that the odd model would start to sneak in. This one was on sale, this one was a good deal, someone was practically giving this one away, and thus they gathered on the edge of my painting desk, pushing and shoving and flicking snot at the stern Chaos space marines who continued to get all the attention. Somehow, whilst I continued to deny to myself that I was even buying them, a sizeable army accumulated. Greenskin Wars has been the final straw, pushing me over the edge and forcing me to finally face the goblin horde, to stand tall and proudly say “I love goblins and I’m not afraid to admit it!” Now I just need to paint them all…

In the meantime though let’s take a look at what actually arrived in that box of exciting metal figures!

First of all we have this raucous band of feral goblins.

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This feral goblin standard-bearer prepares to annoy PETA…

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Whilst his impish-looking mate isn’t much better, he’s wearing a bat!

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As goblins go some of them are quite large, although that’s understandable given the level of detail that’s been packed onto them. I also tend to assume that goblins, and orcs, are all different sizes anyway so it doesn’t particularly matter. Here’s the chief of the feral goblins posing with a GW night goblin and a WIP 40k ork by way of a size comparison.

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As well as the band of feral goblins I also got myself this catapult, originally sculpted for the Crooked Claw range. I’ve not assembled it yet so you’ll have to make do with this picture of the crew, plus a stock image of the catapult itself.

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As usual with kickstarters there were a few ‘bonus’ models to sweeten the deal for supporters, including this (decided non-greenskin) clothes-phobic Conan look-alike.

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On a more goblin-esque note we have this hobgoblin, who’ll probably be serving as taskmaster to the catapult crew.Greenskin Wars Convert Or Die (5)

Again he’s a rather big lad, although as the taskmasters are usually orcs that’s actually quite fitting. The hobgoblin was included in the original kickstarter campaign as a stretch goal which, if achieved (and clearly it was!) would unlock a whole new hobgoblin faction and previews shown over on the facebook group show this to be well underway.

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However my favourite thing has to be these mushrooms. I’ve always liked the mushroom gardening aesthetic of the goblins, particularly the night goblins, and these giant ‘shrooms bring that to the collection with aplomb.

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That’s not all though, we also have these smaller mushrooms, perfect for planting amongst the ranks of the goblins.

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Now I know I said I wouldn’t be doing anything with these for a couple of months, and I won’t – but I couldn’t resist digging around in the bits box and assembling a couple of additional goblins to join the forthcoming mob.

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Now I just need to get some of my other projects finished and I’ll be ready to tackle this rascally green mob. That’s if they don’t steal the brushes and fart in the paint in the meantime…