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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!