Tag Archives: Orruks

Gonna Smash ’em – Part 2

Roight! How about some more of dem orcs eh! After painting my first dwarf in years I naturally had to balance the scales by with a couple of the big green lads. First of all here’s a brute boss with a suitably wicked looking jagged claw.

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These orcs will be joining my Warcry warband which already has a perfectly suitable leader in the form of “not Gurzag Ironskull”, my personalised version of the Orc boss from Warhammer Underworlds (and if you need a reminder of how he looks here he is!)

That said I’m all in favour of having plenty of options so an alternative boss seemed like a good move. Inevitably I’ll now have to paint an even bigger and badder orc to keep the two of them in line, otherwise they’ll be sure to turn on one another in a brutal battle for dominance. In the meantime however, here’s all the brutes I’ve painted so far.

Orc Brute Group Wudugast ConvertOrDie

Speaking of options I also thought that an ‘ardboy with a shield would make for a nice addition to the crew. I used to really like these models but they’re definitely showing their age now, especially in comparison to the far more detailed and textured Brutes. I still have a soft-spot for them though so I may well do a few more at some point.

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That’s all the orcs for today but I’ve still got a hunger for the forces of destruction, I won’t eat up any more of your time by making a meal of things just now but expect to see another brutish warband lumbering over the horizon in the not-too-distant future…


Iz Dat Da Dokk?

Let’s be honest, some miniatures are just a bit duff. Take the Bonesplitters Wardokk for instance (which used to be a Savage Orc shaman of some description). Let’s not beat about the bush, it’s past its best. In fact, it’s hard to say exactly when it’s best was…

Wardokk

For those unfamiliar the Wardokk is essentially an assistant shaman amongst the Bonesplitters. This faction of Orcs are lead by cabals of savage mystics, with a Wurrgog Prophet (the model for which, confusingly, used to be the special character Wurrzag, Da Great Green Prophet – something I still find takes a little getting used to). Each Wurrgog Prophet has a few acolytes around to assist in imposing his orders (however mad they may sound) on the recalcitrant boyz, to whip the clan up ready for battle and to perform the secret dances by which they channel the power of the greenskin god. One of these so-called Wardokks will go on to become the Wurrgog’s successor, to quote the army book, “should the Prophet fall in battle or accidentally blow himself up”.

At first I found myself wondering why GW continue to give the Wardokk miniature a place in the ranks of the Orc (or should I say Orruk) Warclans range. There’s no denying it’s letting the side down a little, when compared with some of the brilliant models that march alongside it. However after giving it some thought I came to realise that actually they made a smart move here. Keeping the Wardokk around adds another option to the range, and kitbashing your own version from the Bonesplitters set, plus a few odds and ends, is actually pretty straightforward and a lot of fun.

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The key elements to capture were the skull mask (taken from the Ironjaws Brutes), the dancing pose and the bone-fetish rattle (made from bits and bobs in the savage orcs kit, rather than wire wool as the original appears to have been). The army book describes how the Wardokk will do whatever is required to get the boys in a fighting mood (surely not that hard) including, but not limited to, a quick punch in the face – something I thought the clenched fist on his free hand conveyed rather well. I might raise him up on something to make him stand out a little amongst any future boyz but otherwise I’m pretty pleased with him (although as ever I’m open to any and all feedback). In fact he was so straightforward to build that I’m now feeling tempted to make a couple more – the book does describe multiple Wardokks in each clan after all. Not sure when I’ll get around to painting him but he was great fun to make, and he’s certainly given me the itch to tackle some more green boys soon.


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!


Showcasing Sam: The Old World

So, after all that talk about greenskins and the world of Warhammer last week I realised I’d never got around to the second half of my little ‘Showcasing Sam’ mini-series. Strap yourselves in because a lot of pictures lie ahead!

To recap; Sam has been a good friend of mine for over a decade and remains one of the best painters I know. Recently he’s found that time for painting miniatures is hard to come-by. Always on the lookout for content for this blog I took a load of photographs of his models to put together this showcase of his work. This time we’ll be looking at his fantasy models, mostly for the Warhammer world. For his 40k models click here. I’d also highly recommend his blog, although it’s not been updated for a while it’s full of information about how he painted every model.

First up we have Grimgor Ironhide – famously the most warlike of all Orcs (yeah, you heard me Azhag ya mad git!). I really like the pallid skin, especially on the face, and often wondered if this was chosen to reflect all the time Grimgor spent underground fighting the Skaven.

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Of course if you’re going to have ‘da best’ of all Orcs then you need his equal amongst the Goblins; Skarsnik (and Gobbla of course). I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt the loss of Gobbla during the End Times with the kind of intensity normally reserved for family members. I’m also secretly rather impressed that Sam has managed to make the model look so good in spite of painting him with quite a lot of pink.

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Standing stalwart against the depredations of these greenskins we have this impeccably dressed Empire Captain.

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Another of my favourites is this gorgeous skink. Just look at that jewel on the end of his staff!

Skink (2)Skink (1)

I’ve always been impressed with Sam’s range as a painter – everything from that Lizardman to this unit of scabrous Plague Monks.

Plague Monks (1)Plague Monks (2)

Pretty much everyone in the world has converted the Nurgle Lord but Sam decided to break with tradition and painted the fat man as originally intended.

At the opposite end of the spectrum of Warhammer bad-guys from the pie-loving Nurgle Lord is this sleek Dark Elf Dreadlord.

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I love the way he’s leaning into the strike – someone’s going to get their head chopped off for sure.

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For the last part of this showcase I wanted to leave the world of Warhammer and take us instead to Westeros, the setting of Game of Thrones. This is one of my absolute favourite pieces by Sam, a diorama recreating the infamous clash between Oberyn Martell and ‘The Mountain’ Gregor Clegane using models from Dark Sword Miniatures.

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I love all the little details that have been included to set the scene. To my eye the balance between creating context without overwhelming the characters has been struck perfectly. The fallen leaves and tumbled masonry creates a sense both of the changing seasons as the characters prepare for a harsh winter ahead and of the waning of their civilisation, the passing of glory and the inevitable yielding of their endeavours to history.

Prince Oberyn shields his head against the Mountain’s swing, making getting a picture of his face almost impossible.

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GoT 1

The Mountain lines up to do some chopping. Damn but he’s a tall lad isn’t he?

The Mountain That Rides

Finally, whilst I’m allowing the blog to be taken over by my talented friends, allow me to point you in the direction of Iriselsewhere who, inspired by my recent review of the new Orruks, drew the Weirdnob Shaman performing Hamlet. As one does…

Orruks Iris

Until next time, hope you enjoyed this little showcase of my friends’ talents, do check out their blogs and feel free to make any comments in the box.