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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Orky proofs of concept

Ever since I built my first Ork — Moonkrumpa, the Warboss of my Waaagh! — on November 16, I’ve been nervous about actually painting my initial mob of Boyz.

Which sounds kind of silly after I’ve just spent nine months painting 2,200 points of Blood Angels, right? Especially considering that Orks are a faction for which folks regularly kitbash stuff out of toilet-paper tubes? Well, yeah…except that Orks require a lot of painting techniques with which I don’t have much experience, including some — like freehand — that I’ve assiduously avoided attempting.

Getting the Boyz up on the handles for the first time to work on their bases

But at the same time, I sensed that I was stalling. So I took stock of what, exactly, I was nervous about trying and then decided to see what shook loose while painting one Boy.

Texture paint drying on bases

Here’s the list:

  • Freehand checks and dags
  • Freehand glyphs
  • Getting skin right
  • War paint
  • Weathering
  • One shade of blue vs. several shades of blue
  • Mixing layers and drybrushing on the same figure
  • Not yet having a brand/spot color that identifies Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas as my Orks

That last one was the biggie. I’ve seen two fantastic examples of personalized Ork armies in White Dwarf, one Goff army where every Ork has a red stripe painted across one eye, and one Freebooterz army whose theme is “rust and hazard stripes.” Both are brilliantly simple choices, allowing room for creative expression and variations between models, and neither requires any real additional steps (green stuff, adding bits, etc.). I’ve had a few ideas, but none have felt like The One — and this is an important conceptual step for me.

So I went into my test Ork hoping that the big question mark would sort of shake loose as I painted — and figuring that even if it didn’t, I could resolve some of the other list items in the process.

Putting paint on my first Ork, one of Skrudd’s Krumpas

Freehand…yes?

A few months ago, I read a heartening comment (I can’t recall where) about freehand that was along these lines: People will respect your attempt at freehand even if it’s not great. To which I’d add, maybe more importantly, I will respect my attempt at freehand, even if it’s not great.

With that in mind, I tried freehanding the glyph for “krump.” (I used a Princeton Velvetouch #1 round for both glyphs.)

The “krump” glyph

That’s…not terrible! Separate the two elements a bit more, and it’d be totally serviceable. It looks like I tried, and didn’t just phone it in. What the heck, can I do “moon” so I can have moon + krump on Moonkrumpa’s banner pole?

The Naz glyph (“moon”)

Yes, apparently I can! Again, not going to win any Golden Demons here, but it gets the job done.

War paint…also yes?

Bolstering by not embarrassing myself with the glyphs, it hit me that my simplest idea for establishing “Waaagh! identity,” painting one hand white on every Ork (as white is a Deathskulls accent color), had a logical iteration that was better in every way: paint one hand blue.

It’s the Deathskulls’ primary color. There’s a Warhammer TV video that features Duncan doing blue Deathskulls war paint, so I have a guide. It fits their lore, as they often apply blue war paint before going to battle. And, for good measure, testing out blue war paint would also help me answer the question about mixing shades of blue on the same model.

Caledor Sky war paint and Macragge Blue helmet

Well, shit: check, check, and check in my book. Even with only base coats — no washes, highlights, or weathering — that reads as war paint, and the clear difference between that blue and the darker tone on his helmet feels like an appropriately Orky mismatch (it’s not like these guys are nipping down to Pottery Barn with fabric swatches to get the blue juuust right; they’re kicking the nearest Gretchin and shouting, “Oi, make dat blue or I’ll krump you.”).

And fuck my ass, I even like the blue hand. Really like it. I’m going to add it to the bits of lore I’ve written about my army: Moonkrumpa’s original tribe was the Blue Handz, and their tribal identifier became a mark of membership in his Waaagh!. This is seriously as big a moment for me as coming up with Moonkrumpa; it’s the missing piece of the puzzle that clears my path to painting Orks that feel like mine.

How’s the list looking now?

  • Freehand checks and dags
  • Freehand glyphs
  • Getting skin right
  • War paint
  • Weathering
  • One shade of blue vs. several shades of blue
  • Mixing layers and drybrushing on the same figure
  • Not yet having a brand/spot color that identifies Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas as my Orks

Based on how freehanding glyphs went, I’m no longer nervous about checks and dags, either. My first few won’t look great, but I’ll improve with practice and experience. Ditto weathering, which I may also get a crack at on my terrain before I try it on my Boyz.

I have a hunch that skin and mixing layers/drybrushing will sort themselves out, too. Skin is basically cloth, and there’s an excellent article in White Dwarf #454 to use as a step-by-step reference.

Skrudd and half of his Boyz with their green, blue, and brass base coats done (plus some other random colors)

So all in all, I’m feeling pretty good about my list, much less nervous about painting these Orks — and downright excited to see how they turn out. Sometimes you just gotta paint it and see what happens.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Deathskulls Ork base color guide

The other night I painted the rocks on my first Orks’ bases…and realized that after ~9 months painting grey rocks on grey Blood Angels bases, I’d painted these rocks grey. Time for a color guide, and in this case time to test some shading options.

Testing time

First I grabbed a larger rock and primed it.

I got a rock.” — Charlie Brown

The rocks on my Blood Angels’ bases are grey with brown undertones/shadows, and a bit lighter than the lightest part of the landscape. I could see doing my Orks’ rocks as grey, too, but my instinct says to go for a brown that’s lighter and more bleached-out than the underlying landscape. So: Zandri Dust for the base coat.

So next I tried three different shades on my rock — Agrax Earthshade, Reikland Fleshshade, and Seraphim Sepia (in that order, left to right) — with a Screaming Skull drybrush over that:

I got a rok wiv stripes on it.” — Moonkrumpa

Reikland is right out (too red), but I’m torn between Agrax and Seraphim. Agrax matches the terrain better, but Seraphim contrasts with it better. “Contrast without looking dumb” is what I’m after, so I think Seraphim Sepia is the winner.

Update: After washing and drybrushing my first batch of Orks’ landscape, the rocks didn’t have nearly as much contrast as I would have liked. I drybrushed them again in Praxeti White, which is brighter than Screaming Skull, and that did the trick. The guide below uses the correct color.

Deathskulls Ork base color guide

Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas are thundering across dry, flat badlands on some anonymous, soon-to-be-devastated world (washes in italics, as always):

  • Terrain: Armageddon Dust > Agrax Earthshade > Tyrant Skull drybrush
  • Rocks: Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Praxeti White drybrush
  • Skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
  • Tufts: Army Painter swamp, winter, or both

I may also randomly vary the rocks, even using grey/brown/white like I did on my Angels, with the idea being that the Megalootas are a much larger force and therefore spread over a wider area with more natural variation in its terrain. Not sure about that yet.

I’m going to keep the ground clutter to a minimum on these guys, so that should mostly cover it.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Terrain Warhammer 40k

Trying out two ideas on Brother Test-Mech

My first 40k scenery just arrived, the absolutely massive Vertigus set. I’ve been kicking around the idea of Zandri Dust for the stone and Khorne Red for the metal, the former coming from a Warhammer TV video aimed at the Kill Team Imperialis terrain (rather than this Manufactorum set) and the latter being the studio color for this set. But I wasn’t sure how it’d look — a job for Brother Test-Mech!

Spray-painting the base coat is going to be a must for this much scenery!

I did two panels of his skirt armor in Zandri Dust, bracketing one in Khorne Red. Neither is the final color either of those would be (no wash, no drybrush, etc.), but this should be in the ballpark.

Zandri/Khorne/Zandri

I like it, but I’m not completely sold. How about Zandri/Leadbelcher?

Nope!

Yeah, that’s not enough contrast — and it’s the color I’d expect, which is less fun than an unexpected one.

Literally as I was writing this post, I found a Warhammer TV how-to for this exact terrain, which told me what color to swap for the studio-recommended base coat: Wraithbone, which comes in spray form. There’s more steps in the floors than I’d like (easily replaced with “bung on some Mechanicus” from the other video), and a different recipe for the red, but seeing “aged white stone” in action sold me on the white/red/metal scheme.

Oi, dat’s mine

While I had him out, I figured I’d try another half-baked idea: Having my Deathskulls Orks mark their looted wargear by sloppily painting over Space Marine colors and heraldry. As it happens, most of Brother Test-Mech’s painted bits are dark red, so I half-drybrushed, half sloppily painted it with Macragge Blue.

Hmm

That…kind of looks like ass. I can’t decide if it’s an Orky amount of ass or too much ass. I’m not loving it, in any case. This idea’s going back in the oven to bake a little longer.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k WIP it good

I built my first Ork, Moonkrumpa

There’s an element of ritual and ceremony to The Building of the First Miniature in a 40k Army. When I started my Blood Angels army, I built Sergeant Karios first (on March 10, 2020). I deliberately didn’t hedge my bets with a vanilla Marine I could mess up — but I also didn’t go straight for a big, fancy figure. It was a perfect starting point for me.

But with Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas, my Deathskulls Ork army, I had to start with the Warboss himself, “Moonkrumpa” Grutnik. Last night, after a rather long day, I assembled him:

Warboss “Moonkrumpa” Grutnik and his Grot Oiler

No surprise, really, that I’ve essentially picked the Ork equivalent of a Terminator as my starting point! But it makes sense: The rest of this Waaagh! will flow from Moonkrumpa, since it’s his Waaagh!. He sets the tone.

The Waaagh! begins here

The Meganobz kit is an excellent and involved one, with plenty of customization options. From sprue to fully assembled, it took me about two hours to put Moonkrumpa together. (The other two models, both Meganobz, will stay unassembled until I buy a second one of these kits, as their minimum unit size is three and I’ve just peeled one off as a Big Mek.)

Moonkrumpa, both wargear choices, and his Grot Oiler all laid out

I’ve left his two wargear choices, the Tellyport Blasta and Kustom Force Field, off so that I can — probably — make them a magnetizing project sometime down the road. Because while I wanted to build Moonkrumpa first, to mark the official starting point for my Ork army, I’m not going to paint him first.

That first will go to Boss Skrudd, leader of Skrudd’s Krumpas, closely and some of his Boyz. I need to practice my Deathskulls color scheme, get used to drybrushing again, try out some weathering techniques, and consider whether this army will have a unifying mark that ties them together (beyond Deathskulls colors) — and then I can start tackling bigger, fancier models like Moonkrumpa.

Let the krumpin’ begin.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Painting tools Warhammer 40k

Into the badlands: testing an Orky base recipe

I’m pretty sure I’ll like the basing recipe I’m using for my Deathskulls Orks, which comes straight from White Dwarf #161 (also the source of the recipe I use for my Blood Angels), but a bit less certain about the tufts. So I figured I’d do up a test base and see how it looks.

Armageddon Dust base coat

Fresh and creamy

I use the skinny end of the Citadel texture spreader for Astrogranite Debris, which is much thicker than this stuff. For Armageddon Dust, I’m liking the wide, flexible end — it smears on really easily.

Dry and ready for shading

No surprise, I guess, but this stuff dries much faster than Astrogranite Debris. There’s a chunky version of the Armageddon color, Armageddon Dunes, but I wanted the flatter bases on these guys to contrast with the hillier ones on my Blood Angels. With less aggregate in the mix, it dries faster.

Agrax Earthshade wash

Taken after the wash had mostly dried

It looks much too dark now, but I remember that stage from my “plains of Armageddon” bases. Until it’s drybrushed, it ain’t gonna look right.

This dries quickly, too — so quickly that I think I might be able to take a base from bare plastic to finished in a single day, rather than needing 1-2 overnight drying sessions like I do with my Blood Angels’ bases.

Tyrant Skull drybrush

Not too shabby!

Mine looks a bit darker than GW’s, but close enough — and I like the look.

Right after I took this photo, I realized that I’d never primed this base. D’oh! That probably explains why it looks darker: it’s riding on black, not white.

Baneblade base edge

That’ll do, Baneblade

Ignoring the crappiness of the edge (no primer…), that looks solid! Same tonal step-down as the grey-to-grey shift between Astrogranite Debris and Dawnstone on Sergeant Dolos’ base, which is exactly what I was after.

Army Painter tuft options

My brain said swamp tufts would look good; kind of a mix of green and brown. I like the contrast between my Angels’ gray bases and pale brown tufts, so brown/badlands bases with green tufts — though deliberately not bright, heavy, or totally green — seemed like a good route.

But I also wanted to try Army Painter’s winter tufts, which look more badlands-y — and look like they could pair well with swamp tufts. A mix of grasses could be nifty.

Swamp tuft
Winter tuft

They’re quite similar, as both are pale brown and black — just with the swamp tuft replacing some of the winter tuft’s brown with a splash of green.

I showed this test base to my wife, Alysia, and she said she had trouble telling the two tufts apart at arm’s length. I totally agree — in fact, I routinely forgot which one was which while writing this post.

Winter (left) and swamp (right) tufts

Gun to my head, I’d pick the swap tufts — my original idea — because they do stand out more clearly from the terrain.

But I like them both, and I like them together. Unlike my Blood Angels, who are fighting their way across a plain that has been leached of all life, my Orks are on a normal planet — so it makes sense that the grass might not all be the same color. Unless one definitively looks better with an actual Ork standing next to it, I’ll probably just use both types at random.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas

After a few days of turning over different ideas about my Deathskulls Ork army, the idea for my Warboss finally settled into place this morning: “Moonkrumpa” Grutnik, Warboss of Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas.

My Blood Angels army includes a bunch of named characters, and I’ve thought about their personalities and approaches to warfare (and carried those themes across their squads, where applicable), but Moonkrumpa is the first 40k character I’ve created who has a backstory.

I aimed for something brief, light, flavorful, and iconic, just like my two favorite Warboss backstories in the Codex: Grizgutz, a Warboss who accidentally travelled back in time and decided to kill his past self so he could have two of his favorite gun, which so confused his Boyz that his Waaagh! came to an end; and Tuska the Daemon-killa, who flew into the Eye of Terror, pleased Khorne, and now has his entire Waaagh! resurrected every day to fight daemons.

Grutnik “Moonkrumpa,” Deathskulls Ork Warboss

Warboss Moonkrumpa’s claim to fame is that he once krumped an entire moon.

He originally wanted to steal it, naturally, but it was too large. So he krumped it instead, blasting it into huge chunks, and then looted the largest pieces. Moonkrumpa and his Mekboyz hollowed those moon-chunks out and turned them into a fleet of Roks.

As the story of “da moon wot got krumped” spread, more and more Orks wanted to fight under Moonkrumpa’s banner — and a Waaagh! began to take shape.

Wot’s in a name?

If you know me, or have spent some time here on Yore, you know I overthink things. But this is perhaps the most important name, and decision, involved in making my Ork army! It bears a bit of overthinking.

So, “Moonkrumpa.” I wanted it to be distinctly Orky. “Krump” is an Ork word. This name is instantly recognizable as a 40k Ork name. And if you know your Orks, you can probably guess why he’s called that — like one of my favorite Ork names, Krooldakka.

Add in “Megalootas,” and you get alliteration (always fun), more Ork-ness (“loota” is an Ork word), and a pretty clear clue to the clan I’m playing, Deathskulls, as they’re known for looting and scavenging.

“Grutnik” was tossed off, literally the first Ork name I came up with — but it’s got a couple fun layers that work for my Warboss. “Nick” is another word for stealing, so “-nik” evokes that meaning. And it sounds like Sputnik, so Sputnik > space > moon is a fun little connection.

My original concept for Moonkrumpa was “Moonsteala,” famous for stealing a moon, but as soon as I thought of that idea I realized it was just the plot of Despicable Me. Nothing wrong with that, but not ideal — and “Moonsteala” doesn’t feel as Orky as I’d like.

So I thought, “What if instead of stealing the moon, he krumped it? And then stole the pieces that blew off?” That led to Moonkrumpa, which needed a modifier that made it clear he was a Deathskulls Ork, which begat Megalootas. And so Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas were born.

Now it’s official: Waaagh!

This is something I was excited about doing for my Orks, as it flavors the whole army and, when combined with typical Deathskulls traits (looted wargear, looted and converted vehicles, Lootas, lots of dakka, and more Mekboyz than most clans), gives me a solid foundation for making future choices about my army.

The model for Moonkrumpa, a Big Mek in Mega Armour, should arrive today, and while I won’t build him first (I’m likely to start with Boyz, just as I started with a tactical squad for my Blood Angels) I’m excited at the prospect of painting my first full-fledged 40k character.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

And so it begins: Orks incoming

My first Ork kit, Lootas/Burnas, arrived, along with my Deathskulls and Orky paints!

Lootas, my four basing colors, and the mini-rack for my Orky paints

My main paint rack is full, so I’ve filled up my sidecar rack with Ork-specific paints.

Codex: Orks, 8th Edition

My Codex came in the mail, and I’ve had a chance to read all the parts of it that interested me most. I know I’ll need to replace it sometime in the next few months when the 9th Edition version comes out, but that’s fine; I need the lore and imagination fuel now.

I’ve also hit the point in my BattleScribe musings where I need to start firming up my initial army list. For example, I didn’t realize that Lootas, Killa Kans, Deff Dreads, and Mek Gunz were all Heavy Support units, only three of which can be fielded at Strike Force strength. I like all four of those kits, so I’d been planning to stick all four into my initial army.

So I’m noodling, trying to balance my favorite units visually against a fuzzy sense of what Deathskulls might be like to play — and deliberately trying not to learn too much about their rules, so I’ll still paint my first 2,000 points largely based on the Rule of Cool (which is my preferred approach). I’m also jotting down army notes, conversion ideas, and other details on my dedicated page for this army.

This is a fun stage of the process, and at the moment I’m only lacking the core concept for my Warboss. Once that shakes loose, things should start to click into place.

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Blood Angels Space Marines Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

A quick note about three 40k pages on Yore

This past week, most of my writing here on Yore has been on three pages, rather than in posts. That’s because I’m partway through the shift from painting one army to painting two — and terrain — and need to do some planning. Planning, which benefits from centralization, is sometimes better done in pages than in posts.

My Blood Angels army got the first “omnibus page” I created for my 40k hobby activities, and as I’ve been painting Angels for eight months now it’s the most developed of them. It features links to each post showcasing finished minis, my current 2,000-point army list, my larger force organization, and links to color guides for each unit type.

My Blood Angels army as of…a month or so ago, I think?

The moment I decided to start a second army, I created a page for my Deathskulls Orks. That’s a big ol’ mess of ideas, plans, and half-baked notions at the moment, but it will firm up over the coming weeks and months as I finalize things about my army and begin painting Orks.

The cover that, unbeknownst to me, planted the germ of the idea “You’ll start a Deathskulls army someday” back in 1990

Today’s addition was a page for my 40k terrain. I don’t even have any terrain yet — that’s how fuzzy and notional this page is, really just a skeleton. But I’m gathering references for painting and weathering, and jotting down thoughts about the amount of terrain I might need. Eventually, pictures will follow.

An article on weathering I’m planning to try out (White Dwarf #457)

I don’t know if this is the best way to structure the site, but at the moment it’s working for me. If you’re reading my hobby posts, take a peek at these pages; you might find something fun or useful there.

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Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

The Waaagh! is in the mail

After doing some serious noodling yesterday, I decided today to start a second 40k army to paint alongside my beloved Blood Angels — and after much decidedly un-Orky consideration, I chose Deathskulls Orks.

Why Deathskulls?

Lots of reasons! Some are purely practical, like not wanting to paint a second red army (ruling out Evil Sunz) and having some reservations about painting yellow (striking out the Bad Moons), but most are all heart.

One, blue looks like fun to paint and isn’t the color I see most often on other folks’ Orks. “I like painting red” was a gut-level motivator that helped me pick Blood Angels for my first army, and it absolutely applies here as well. And two, I love these filthy looters and their fascination with stealing, using, and converting other factions’ stuff — so many opportunities for kitbashes and character!

There’s also a sentimental reason, one that I didn’t even realize until I’d already mostly made up my mind about my clan choice: White Dwarf #121, from 1990.

My copy is in storage, so this stand-in image will have to do

More than perhaps any other single factor, this issue of White Dwarf is responsible for me starting my first 40k army — albeit on a 30-year time delay. (It’s also a big reason why I dreamed about Space Hulk for that long, and eventually painted my set — which is what got me properly into miniatures.) It features many of my favorite models in the 40k universe, and I spent literally hours poring over this issue as a wee lad — heck, I even brought it places, like the theater, so I could read and reread it while I was supposed to be paying attention to other things.

Look who’s on the cover. Deathskulls Orks! Thirty years later, it was meant to be.

Orky plans

Still a draft, and I still have plenty of paint to order, but if I don’t write this stuff down it drifts away into the ether.

Bases

To contrast with my Blood Angels, because the Ork figures have so much character (and I’m planning to customize to my heart’s content), and because Orks somehow just look right to me on dusty badlands, I’m going this route for their bases:

  • Armageddon Dust texture paint, an Agrax Earthshade wash, a Tyrant Skull drybrush, and Baneblade Brown for the base rim — a recipe that comes straight from the same excellent White Dwarf basing cookbook (#161, Nov. 2016) as my Blood Angels bases
  • Limited clutter, mainly Army Painter swamp tufts, small rocks, and the occasional Citadel skull or piece of scrap too rusty for even the Deathskulls to loot

I’ll probably glue my good buddy Mr. Test ‘Mech to a base and subject him to this color scheme to see how it looks, but in my head it seems solid.

Deathskulls blue

Based on a Warhammer TV video, I’m going to test out this recipe:

  • Macragge Blue base coat
  • Agrax Earthshade pin wash (not my usual all-over wash)
  • Chronus Blue drybrush
  • Weathering with Rhinox Hide, dots of Leadbelcher, and possibly Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust (not all at once, of course)

I’ve also got a weird idea rattling around in my head about Ork skin: adding a random splash of a lightening or darkening color each time I base coat a new batch of Orks, to ensure that their skin is both consistently green and varies the tone a bit between figures, just like real skin.

Da first Boyz

I’m starting my Waaagh! — still unnamed, haven’t even picked a leader yet — with three kits: Ork Boyz, of course; Gretchin, of course; and a recommendation I gleaned from Reddit, Warboss Grukk’s Boss Mob, which gives me five Nobz and a plastic Warboss with a great sculpt (unlike the other options). From reading folks’ recommendations, Boyz + Nobz will provide tons of options for kitbashing and customization, which I’m quite excited about.

I fiddled with some Kill Team lists and found that a leader, some Boyz, and some Gretchin seemed like a fine starting point, so that second track is also supported by these initial 40k Ork kits. By the time playing either game is an option, I’ll probably have more Orky options ready, too.

I’m considering “horns” as a theme for my warband, but I need to bounce my ideas off of the Codex and that hasn’t arrived yet. But if I go that route, I’ll probably convert the Ironjaw Warchanter or Weirdnob Shaman, both from Age of Sigmar, as a Weirdboy. I’ve got some conversion ideas for looted Marine vehicles which count as Ork Trukks, too, and I’ll probably build one Trukk kit without a looted vehicle so I can make sure that the looted ones are roughly the same size (for matched play fairness).

And now…it’s time to paint some more Blood Angels!

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Blood Angels Space Marines Deathskulls Orks Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Pondering a second 40k army…Orks, maybe?

Ever since I decided on Blood Angels for my 40k army, back in February/March of this year, I’ve had the vague notion that it might be fun to have a second army on a back burner of my brain. I’ve kept the flame on that back burner quite low, if you will; I know how easy it can be to kill my own momentum.

But I’m one squad away from 2,000 points of Blood Angels, with another 700 points assembled and in various stages of priming/basing/painting, and as of November 8th my hobby streak stands at 260 days. My careful, flexible approach to building and maintaining my momentum has been successful for months now, and I think it’s resilient enough to handle a second force.

The siren song of Kill Team

I’ve been curious about Kill Team since February of this year, and like the idea of painting small numbers of one or more factions to use in that game. That seems like a good way to back into a second army for 40k, too.

And ditto with terrain, as while my plan remains to play primarily at my local shop (post-pandemic, of course), on a longer timeline — and with two armies, so I can loop in friends who might like 40k but don’t want to paint — I can see building up a stash that includes terrain and one or more play mats at home. Starting with a small Kill Team board worth of infrastructure sounds like a solid baby step.

Waaagh!

Bringing me full circle on this noodling was remembering how close I came to picking Orks back when I got into 40k. Adeptus Custodes came close as well, and the new Necron stuff looks so amazing that it’s prompted me to look into their lore — which is amazing. And, of course, Indomitus coming with a basic Necron kill team (all Warriors, kind of boring) and the solid foundation of a Necron army gives them their own appeal.

But right now the Orks are really calling my name.

Several months of painting clean, polished, bling-covered, aesthetics-first Blood Angels makes the idea of doing up some proper dirty, weathered Boyz sound like a fun palate-cleanser. I’ve enjoyed experimenting with weathering on my bases; applying those skills to a whole force seems like it’d be enjoyable. Same with their skin, which is quite different than Space Marine armor; learning to paint that well sounds like fun.

Similarly, I’ve enjoyed assembling a bits box and using it to convert minis, create scenery for bases, and build out my Marines in different ways. The notion of painting an entire army that thrives on stealing and converting other factions’ crap is pure catnip.

Ditto the amount of variety, messiness, and character of the Orks: starting my own Waaagh!, creating characters rather than following lore, theming my force, creating tribes, and on and on. I love working on Blood Angels, following their lore and force organization and whatnot; that was a conscious choice (I could have created my own chapter, etc.), and it’s enjoyable. But a contrast sounds fun, too.

And while Orks do have faces, something I’ve studiously avoiding painting, 1) they’re not human and are free to look cartoonish, and 2) their eyes can be a solid color, without pupils. That second one is a biggie, as eyes intimidate the crap out of me; bad ones can ruin the whole mini.

Plus it hit me that it could be fun to give them hive world-themed bases, flat with no texture paint but lots of details, which would match many Kill Team boards (with their buildings and ruins) and be a change from my “plains of Armageddon” bases on my Blood Angels.

So now I’m reading about Orks, diving into the various clans and their lore and color schemes, and looking at how big a commitment an Ork kill team would be — and how fun the KT-eligible units would be to paint.

Deathskulls?

I’m instinctually drawn to Evil Sunz, who love going fast and fielding converted vehicles, but I don’t want to paint a second army red. I also love the color scheme of the Bad Moons, since most of the Ork bits I’ve weathered have been yellow and it turns out great, but their lore is a bit less appealing.

Which has me considering Deathskulls, the looters who love converting stuff and have blue as their dominant color.[1] It’s my understanding that a Waaagh! can loop in multiple clans, too, so perhaps I could splash in some Bad Moons and Evil Sunz as well; I’m not positive how that works rules-wise.

That would give me blue to contrast with red, vehicles to contrast with assault troops, Ork skin to contrast with armor plating, and a force that makes sense as opposition for my Blood Angels (for hosting battles at home where I provide both sides). The logic tracks.

I also often have bad luck with die rolls, so Deathskulls are fun there as well: I like the idea of Orks painted in their lucky color having bad luck with dice. The conversion possibilities seem endless, too — like this Reddit poster who is outfitting his Deathskulls in looted Space Marine armor. Or sneaky Orks in barrels. I could do a squad of Kommandos that are all stuck inside Imperial crates and barrels; the crates could be half-open, wrapped around each Ork. That stuff is a hoot, and sounds like so much fun to work on.

This bit from a Warhammer Community post on the Deathskulls really grabs me, too:

You never really own a gun in the 41st Millennium – you merely look after it for a bit until an Ork takes it from your cooling corpse. No Ork clan demonstrates this shamelessly larcenous quality better than the Deathskulls – avaricious, superstitious Orks who’ll steal anything that isn’t nailed down… after which they’ll steal everything that is nailed down. Including the nails.

Clan Fokus: Deathskulls

Plus Squigs. I love Squigs.

Right now I’m just in the noodling stage, but I’m also at the point where the culmination of months of gentle noodling has given me a lot of tools with which to firm up my ideas.

[1]: Based on this Warhammer TV video, for a color recipe I think I’d try Macragge Blue > Agrax Earthshade wash, possibly as a pin wash > Chronus Blue drybrush > weathering. Lots of ways to do that weathering, but Duncan’s sponged-on Rhinox Hide followed by dots of Leadbelcher looks quite nice.