I kicked off my Waaagh! by building my Warboss, Moonkrumpa, back in November, and ever since then I’ve been noodling about how to make him more Mek-y and Warboss-y (and whether or not to magnetize his wargear options). This morning things finally shook loose, and I busted out my bits boxes and kitbashed Moonkrumpa 2.0:
I used a Killa Kan pauldron, a Blood Angels Dreadnought arm plate and Blood Talon, the light from a Space Marine unit (Dread or tank, I don’t recall), and two boss poles from a Nobz kit. He has to compete with an actual Warboss model (Grukk), so my goal was to make Moonkrumpa unmistakably Da Big Boss — but without meaningfully changing his silhouette, or doing anything that could be taken as modeling for advantage.
Not being able to fit the pauldrons under the sides of the Tellyport Blasta was what sealed the deal on 1) not magnetizing him, and 2) committing to the Kustom Force Field. Now all I need to do is practice a bit more armor-weathering — probably on Killa Kans — and I’ll be ready to prime and paint him!
Over the past couple of weeks, I also built a mob of Lootas, Gark’s Git-Blastas:
Getting their massive backpack/frame/gun jobbies to stay put for gluing was a bit fussy, but apart from that they’re a fun kit. And there are enough bits left over to build Burnas (by adding torsos and legs) or make a nice deposit in the ol’ bits box.
I also assembled my first Gretchin, Runt-Eata’s Grots, who are just fucking adorable:
I’d normally grumble about the number of mono-pose minis in this kit — three mono-piece Grots and six mono-pose models, leaving just 1/10 with minor posability — but they give you a ton of extra heads and the models are so cute that I don’t even mind. I might mind if I needed to paint more than 10, but even then the heads and paint jobs would provide a decent amount of variation.
The Grots came up at the same time as I was touching up the rest of my first mob of Boyz, Skrudd’s Krumpas, so I decided to break with tradition and paint 15 models at once. They’re actually almost done at this point, so I should be able to book them all this month.
As I did with my Blood Angels army, I started Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas off with the backbone of any Waaagh!: some Ork Boyz. Six minis at once is about all I can handle, so I painted Boss Nob Skrudd and five of Skrudd’s Krumpas. I finished these Boyz on December 8th.
Krump dat lightbox
As an added bonus, my casual shots can now incorporate a play board and terrain!
The real Orks were the Orks we made along the way
On December 6, I retired my workhorse brush, which no longer has enough bristles to perform any meaningful service. It now rests in a place of honor, cradled in Wolverine’s arms atop the base of my painting lamp.
This brush is most likely seven years old, as I recall buying a pack of Armory brushes back in Utah when I needed to paint some Mercs minis in 2013. (If not, then it’s even older than that.) It’s served me well primarily as my paint-dipping brush, but it’s also done a ton of base-coating, painted the base edges on 50+ Blood Angels, been poked into crevices, and done every job a brush can do.
Before I lose track of it, I want to recap my half-assed method for quickly doing Ork checks. First I establish the grid using 2mm Tamiya hobby tape, and paint whatever’s showing Macragge Blue.
Then I peel away tape and hit either more Macragge Blue squares or the Corax White squares, whichever color is showing.
I don’t have a photo of step 3, but it’s just freehanding the missing squares once all the tape is gone. Every square gets two coats of paint.
A more time-consuming, and neater, approach would be to re-tape and only paint masked-off areas, but I discarded that as too fussy. A steadier hand than mine could use Warhammer TV’s approach, marking the edges of the grid with pencil, then filling in the lines, then painting those squares. But I need the steadying influence of the initial masking-off, and then of the “virtual” grid — and in any case I don’t see how pencil is going to show up on metal or black, which is what I checked here.
Step four is a thinned-down Agrax Earthshade wash, as recommended in White Dwarf #454 (don’t want those checks to be too clean!).
Reflections on painting my first Orks
It was a weird feeling hitting the point when a Blood Angel would have been done, ready for varnishing…and still having checks, rust, chipping, different rust, verdigris, and dirt/battle damage to go. On the one hand I’m setting myself up for work I could certainly get away without doing. On the other hand, I only need to paint them once but I have to look at them forever.
And, more importantly, all those extra steps were a lot of fun. They really only added a couple of hours, maybe three tops, to the finishing process (total, across all six Orks).
I learned a lot along the way, and I see plenty of room for improvement. Here’s what jumped out at me:
My freehand Krump glyphs are terrible, no surprise there; that skill will improve with practice.
I’m pretty happy with my checks; although they could be tidier, at the moment they feel the right amount of messy.
I exercised what I hope was the proper amount of restraint in weathering steps. I’ve seen plenty of Orks online that just disappear under chips and rust and clutter, no longer readable in the way I like my minis to be readable. I want green skin, blue war paint, blue gear, and checks to be what pops, not weathering (or the bases, or clothing).
War paint on arms feels like a struggle, but hands are pleasantly simple — and faces are surprisingly fun.
I love the signature that ties all of Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas together, the single hand painted blue. That felt right at the idea stage, and it feels right now that I’ve painted it on my first six Boyz.
Ditto the looted Space Marine wargear, although I’d like to branch out into other factions for variety.
I need to mix blue into my clothing options (and dirty white into my options for boots), and not hesitate to add more blue to my Orks in general. It’s their signature color, it pops — and since they feature lots of browns and their bases are brown, that pop is important. These first six could use more blue.
My initial 2,000-point list is still in draft form, but currently it only features 30 Boyz and 10 Gretchin. That feels light on Boyz for a horde army, but I’ve got so many Mek-y and Deathskulls-y units to fit in that I’m not sure how I could pack in more Boyz (and, after all, these aren’t the kings of the horde, the Goffs; they’re Deathskulls, the kings of Mek stuff). We shall see!
Picking up a second-wave Indomitus box marks the first time since I got into 40k minis that I’ve bought models outside one of my chosen factions. I know I could Ebay the Necron half of my set and plow those funds into Orks or Blood Angels, but I’ve been looking ahead to 2021 (much of which seems like it’ll be a lot like 2020, isolation-wise) and thinking that a third army might be enjoyable to paint.
And it’s not just the convenience of already owning 36 Necron models: When I was choosing my second army, Necrons were a strong contender based on their sculpts and lore. While the notion of having one force from each umbrella faction — humanity, xenos, and chaos — is appealing, when I browse the chaos units (as I’ve got humans and xenos) I’m not blown away by some of the figures.
By contrast, virtually every current Necron model looks amazing. Based on the pre-refresh sculpts, I’d largely dismissed them; painting the same robot skeleton over and over sounded dull as dishwater. But these evil mofos look like a blast to paint — and they’d have a different aesthetic, vibe, and process to my Angels and Orks.
So while I’m not ready to commit to Necrons, nor give them a page of their own here, I do want to list what I have on hand for future noodling and/or Kill Team use:
1x Royal Warden
1x Skorpekh Lord
20x Necron Warriors
3x Skorpekh Destroyers
1x Canoptek Plasmacyte
1x Canoptek Reanimator
6x Canoptek Scarab Swarms
If my pace holds steady with Orks, it’ll be 10-12 months until Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas are all painted up — plenty of time to ponder a potential army number three.
167 v. 166
Incidentally, this post represents the first past a tipping point on Yore: It’s my 167th post about miniatures, surpassing my 166 posts about RPGs. (As is traditional for Yore milestones, it’s just a plain ol’ post.)
I play/run RPGs twice a week, loving every minute, and if anything I’m more engaged with actual play than I was when I started blogging about RPGs way back in 2005. During those 15 years, I’ve written something like 1,500 blog posts about RPGs, mainly GMing topics.
I’ve found that some topics, especially perennial ones like fudging die rolls or player personality types, just don’t interest me anymore. I’m open to new ideas, but I know where I stand and why I stand there. I haven’t written a dedicated RPG advice blog since 2016, when I left Gnome Stew, and Yore’s occasional forays into advice tend to be one-offs written when some topic really grabbed me.
All of which is to say that I think the joke I made in February that got me back into blogging — about turning Yore into a miniatures blog — has borne fruit. I’ve kept Yore on the web even during its many fallow periods because this is the blog I come back to — the place where I write about whatever I want to write about, usually hobby stuff, and in the past that’s most often meant RPGs. These days, it’s minis.
Next month, or next year? Who knows! I sure don’t. But I hope you’ll stick around, and I appreciate your readership. Thanks for reading!
While puttering away at this terrain, I stumbled across a battle report in White Dwarf #456 which features this same Manufactorum line. The view from above, unlike the photos on GW’s website, finally showed me what was going on with the middle of each ruined floor: hazard stripes!
I laid down some 3mm Tamiya hobby tape and got to work.
After two thin coats of Averland Sunset, I peeled off the tape and drybrushed the entire floor with Celestra Grey (stripes included).
I didn’t worry too much about lining things up perfectly, or the difference between the “horizontal” and “vertical” portions (a natural consequence of my taping pattern). In the grim darkness of the far future, a Manufactorum would be a dreadful place — and an imperfect one.
When I started this terrain, I was listening to Dan Abnett’s Ravenor Returned, a portion of which takes place in an Administratum facility. Alongside the general impression of how miserable the place was, there was a bit where a character complains that his cart has a dodgy wheel — and his supervisor tells him that if he works hard for 10-12 years, he’ll merit a better cart.
That sequence colored my approach to this terrain, just as Brothers of the Snake (another excellent Abnett book) did with Squad Ariete. Those happy coincidences are one of the joys of listening to 40k books while I paint.
Compared to my Blood Angels, there are a staggering number of colors that could go into painting any given Ork. So much variety!
Status and randomization
In general, the lower the status of one of my Orks, the worse his wargear will look: rustier, more weathered, etc. Boyz are just one step above Gretchin, so their stuff should be rustier and less well-maintained than a Nob’s stuff.
After painting my first batch of Boyz, I updated the guide below to be more clearly a mix-and-match affair. I choose skin color, Deathskulls blue recipe, teeth/nails recipes, and clothing colors randomly for any given batch of Orks, ensuring that the whole army doesn’t look uniform (yet also doesn’t clash).
War paint (currently) doesn’t get randomized, because my thinking is that just before a battle the Gretchin mix up a big batch and everyone daubs themselves with it. This also means that the most significant color, and the one that pops the most, is consistent across my whole Waaagh!.
Color guide and paint steps
As always, this is mostly GW’s studio paint guide with some tweaks; in this case I’m also working from White Dwarf #454, which has a whole Paint Splatter column devoted to Orks, and a couple of excellent Warhammer TV videos. (Also as always, washes are in italics and specific techniques like drybrushing are generally called out.)
Skin: Pick a recipe:
Waaagh! Flesh > Biel-Tan Green > Warboss Green > Skarsnik Green
Waaagh! Flesh > Athonian Camoshade > Warboss Green > Skarsnik Green
Checks: Macragge Blue and Corax White; I wrote a little guide for these
Chipping: Apply dots of Leadbelcher on the high points on armor, etc.
Built-up rust: In spots where it can accumulate over a long period, such as on and around bolts, apply thinned-down Skrag Brown
Surface rust: For something that’s just a piece of rusty crap, drybrush Ryza Rust
Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide
Weathering/general grunge: It’s easy to overdo this and darken things up too much, so go easy; sponge on Skavenblight Dinge
As I wrote this post, it felt like a lot. Compared to my basic Blood Angels color guide, it is a lot — and it’s a lot for what’s ostensibly a near-throwaway unit in a faction that’s supposed to be quick to paint up.
But at the same time, on relatively simple models, these steps are what convey the essentially Orky nature of Orks: poorly maintained wargear, random items of clothing, rusty guns that somehow still shoot, and so on. My hope is that, as with Marines, I’ll get quicker at tackling all of these steps on my Boyz as I paint more of them.
Today I wrapped up three small terrain elements, a ruin and two pipes, from the Vertigus set — the first terrain I’ve ever painted.
Weathering is a hoot. Applying Nihilakh Oxide for a verdigris effect just makes me happy. Rust (thinned-down Skrag Brown followed by spots of thinned-down Fire Dragon Bright) is surprisingly interesting to work on.
Adding chipping/scorching/blast damage with a sponge (loaded with Rhinox Hide), though, feels like sorcery.
It’s also more freeing than I expected. I was nervous at first, as usual with techniques I haven’t tried before; intentionally “ruining” something I’ve worked hard on felt funny. But once I was rolling, it was surprisingly easy to pull off a decent job, and it felt organic. Alysia commented that this process seemed “very Bob Ross,” and that was definitely the spirit in which I tackled this stage.
I have my first two larger ruins about 60-70% done. I’m finding that after the initial one-two punch of prime/base coat in one plus a wash — after which they look pretty danged good — the rest of the steps go much more slowly. But I’m hoping to finish those two pieces later this month.
Over the past week or so I’ve been busy with Orks and terrain.
I started off my building the rest of my first 10x Ork Boyz, the “back five” of Skrudd’s Krumpas.
I finally found a head that worked for my “pauldron as a hat” idea, which looks just the right amount of goofy for Orks.
After Thanksgiving, I saw that more sunny days might be in our future and hustled to build my next batch of Manufactorum terrain. Until I put them together I didn’t realize quite how large the two show pieces in the Vertigus box really were.
After spraying all of these pieces, I’m down to three sprues in my Vertigus box: two buildings and a bunch more pipes. I’ve been mulling over ways to combine some of GW’s other industrial terrain, notably the Sector Mechanicus stuff, with my Manufactorum pieces so that they look like they belong in the same place. About half of the Mechanicus stuff looks like I could blend it in pretty well by anchoring the color scheme with Wraithbone/Khorne Red.
With terrain comes the need for more and different ways to store my 40k stuff. I thought about my needs: primarily at home, modular, capable of holding the largest pieces on my radar, not too pricey. Where that landed me was plastic storage tubs and acoustic foam.
The listing for the bins was a bit misleading, as it made it look like the bottom was 12″ wide — perfect for my 12″-wide foam squares — when in actuality that was the width of the top. But a gentle curve to the foam lining the bottom, or a quick trim, should sort that out.
The tiles come vacuum-packed in a foil bag that doesn’t look nearly large enough to contain them. Unpacked, they smelled dreadful. But after a couple days in the garage, they’ve expanded to full size and no longer stink.
Back to the actual terrain, my pot of Nihilakh Oxide arrived, so I got to experiment with applying a verdigris effect for the first time. Like every Citadel technical paint I’ve tried so far, this stuff is great.
Over the weekend, I finished the outside of one Manufactorum ruin (plus three smaller pieces) except for weathering. I’ve never painted terrain before, and I started with a good set; it’s been a joy to paint.
These pieces mark my first foray into contrast paint (on the Cog Mechanicus), the first time I’ve used two washes on the same area of a single model, and the first time I’ve consistently drybrushed stuff twice as well. After the crisp, polished aesthetic of my Blood Angels, painting a run-down, timeworn building has been a lot of fun.
I’m looking forward to applying blast damage with a sponge and making some rust streaks — and finishing the inside, of course.
Back when I got into minis in earnest this past February, I considered magnetization and boring out gun barrels, both of which share the same tool: a pin vise or hand drill. Given the outlay of cash and time to get an army rolling, and my long history of false starts and aborted attempts at getting into this hobby, adding another step (time) that required more tools (money) seemed like a bad idea — and one that might kill my momentum.
I’ve carefully guarded and maintained that momentum for eight months now, and occasionally considered magnetization and barrel-drilling but decided that the time wasn’t right. I also reasoned that if I encountered a need for a different bit of wargear on a unit in the future, since I’m building an army for the pleasure of it, buying that unit again and assembling it a new way wouldn’t be a bad thing.
But as I got my Deathskulls Ork army, Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas, off the ground, I stumbled across the rules for Moonkrumpa’s two special pieces of wargear, the Tellyport Blasta and the Kustom Force Field. With no clear date when I’ll actually be able to play 40k, I’ve held off on reading the rules; they’ll just fade away before I get a chance to play. And I make my choices almost entirely based on the Rule of Cool, so that’s worked out fine so far.
Somehow, though (probably by browsing DakkaDakka), I’ve picked up enough to understand that the KFF is probably a much better choice, mechanically, than the Blasta — despite the Blasta looking cooler. And these two parts both have a flat bottom and sit atop a single flat surface, making them perfect candidates for magnetization.
Further, this isn’t just a random unit in my Ork army — this is my first 40k character with a backstory, and he’s the leader of my entire Waaagh!. I’m invested in playing with Moonkrumpa in a way that I’m not invested in playing with Blood Angel X or Ork Y.
I’d also previously set aside my Contemptor Dread, whose weapon arm uses a ball joint that must be glued into place (rather than a peg, like the refrigerator Dreads, which allows for easy arm-swapping), to consider whether it’s worth delving into drilling and magnets for him. I have no plans to buy a second Contemptor (it’s kind of a bland kit), and in any case they can be expensive and difficult to track down.
So that gives me two units that both have what looks to be a single fairly simple spot on each that could benefit from magnetization — one of which is My Guy, to boot.
I’ll probably bore out a spare Bolter to see how that looks, and if it looks good I’ll have a minor existential crisis and then break down and drill every mini I’ve already painted…or maybe I’ll skip that, and just drill going forwards. We shall see!
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.
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.
Here’s the list:
Freehand checks and dags
Getting skin right
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.
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.)
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?
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.
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
Getting skin right
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.
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.
After assembling, priming/base-coating, and doing the initial wash on my Manufactorum terrain pieces, I tucked into the next steps — and realized it was time for a guide to those steps, and the colors I’m using, so that Future Martin can replicate it all on the next batch.
These videos are a tremendous resource and I love that GW makes them available. There’s no way I could approach the finished quality I want in my terrain without them.
Terrain is a different animal, so it requires different steps in a different order. This looks like a million steps, but it’s really quite a relaxing painting process; I’ve just broken it down, for my own benefit, because the process is different than the one I’ve spent the last nine months employing on my Blood Angels.
Step 1 basically takes the bulk of the terrain piece — the stone elements — to completion, which is done to avoid messily washing and drybrushing other stuff the wrong colors. Step 2 does the same for the floors, and so on. The final step, number 7, involves weathering that goes back over many of the areas completed in 1-6 — and apart from varnish, it’s genuinely the last step.
“Don’t overdo it” is my mantra for most of the steps. It’s easy to want the whole building to look super-grimy at the shading stage — and forget that there’s grime and character still to come, at later stages.
Wraithbone spray, primer and base coat in one
Seraphim Sepia wash almost everywhere; err on the side of “everywhere,” not “almost”
Agrax Earthshade pin wash along the “bands” of the pillars, plus randomly anywhere else that would have gotten especially dirty while these buildings were in use (or weathered after they became ruins), notably under doors and junction boxes, as well as along conduits — and throw in some random spots, too
Drybrush all Wraithbone areas with Tyrant Skull, in a circular motion; this is designed to go everywhere
Then a lighter Praxeti White drybrush over that, in circular motions, pressing lightly and just hitting the high points
Bung Leadbelcher into the holes in the floor (which hits the pipes and suggests that the floors are metal gratings with a coat of paint over them) > Mechanicus Standard Grey on the flat parts of the floor and the entire underside > Agrax Earthshade > Dawnstone drybrush the flat sections of the floor in circular motions, top and bottom
Paint hazard stripes along the centerline of the floor with Averland Sunset (using 3mm Tamiya hobby tape for masking)
Light drybrush with Celestra Grey on the top and edges, including the hazard stripes (skip the bottom)
Other little details (wires, etc.): Base coat in a single color (Averland Sunset, Macragge Blue, etc.) and vary these choices across the buildings (especially duplicates!); it sounds like heresy, but these truly don’t need any follow-up coats/layers/etc.
Chipping and damage: Sponge on Rhinox Hide, focusing on the blasted edges and torn-away elements, but also randomly putting it everywhere that feels right
Rust: Thinned-down Skrag Brown > thinned-down Fire Dragon Bright
Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide in the crevices on bronze elements
This guide is written for the walls, but it applies to the pipes, sacred radiators, and whatnot as well. The only real changes are obvious stuff, like applying the Agrax Earthshade pin wash to different parts of the pipes.