My Warhammer 40k Deathskulls Ork army

After doing some serious noodling the day before, on November 9th, 2020, I decided to start a second 40k army to paint alongside my beloved Blood Angels — and following some (decidedly un-Orky) careful consideration, I chose Deathskulls Orks. It’s early days, but they still need an omnibus page to keep me on track (this one, as it happens).

And as of November 14th, they have a name: Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas!

This is a long page, so here are links to jump right to different sections: my initial army list, Orky plans, color guides, and unassembled kits.

If you enjoy this page, you might also like my other 40k pages: my Blood Angels army and my 40k terrain.

A sampling of the Orks I’d painted as of January 2021: Facepeela, Mukkit, and some of Skrudd’s Krumpas and Runt-Eata’s Grots

Space fascism vs. actual fascism

This is more applicable to the Blood Angels, but there are enough douchebags in 40k fandom that it bears repeating here: I don’t take anything about the Warhammer universe seriously, but in real life? Fuck Nazis, fuck fascists, fuck bigots, fuck racists, fuck sexists, fuck misogynists, and fuck hatemongers of all stripes.

40k should be an inclusive hobby, diverse and welcoming for all — except for bigots and other hateful fuckwits. And as Games Workshop says, if you disagree you will not be missed.

Da Fancy Wun, my Taurox Prime Trukk conversion (April 2021)

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!

Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas as of December 2020 (two finished units: Skrudd’s Krumpas and Runt-Eata’s Grots)

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.

Five of Skrudd’s Krumpas (December 2020)

Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas

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.

Moonkrumpa’s original tribe was the Blue Handz, and their tribal identifier — painting one hand blue — has become a mark of membership in his Waaagh!.

(If you want to read a bit more about Moonkrumpa’s name, I wrote a blog post about it.)

“Moonkrumpa” Grutnik 4.0 (assembled November 16, 2020, kitbashed a bit more on December 19, re-based on January 3, 2021, and extensively kitbashed on April 10)

My initial 2,000-point army list

I’m drawn to the heavy support units, and as always Rule of Cool is in full effect, so I went with two detachments so I could squeeze in a bit more big stuff. With a Big Mek Warboss, a Weirdboy who’s also a Mek, a standalone Mek, and a Spanner, I feel like I’m covering that iconic aspect of the Deathskulls pretty well. This list is still a draft, but as written it’s just under 2,000 points under 9th Edition rules (depending on how I equip the Nobz, etc.).

  • Battalion detachment:
    • HQ
      • Warlord, “Moonkrumpa” Grutnik, Warboss of Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas (Big Mek in Mega Armour, Kustom Force Field, Inspiring Leader), accompanied by 1x Grot Oiler
      • Weirdboy, “Warpmek” Nakk (Da Jump, Da Fixer Upperz; converted Age of Sigmar Weirdnob Shaman)
    • Troops
      • Boyz, Skrudd’s Krumpas — 9x Boyz (Slugga and Choppa; 1x Tankbusta Bomb) and 1x Boy with Rokkit Launcha, led by 1x Boss Nob, Skrudd (Slugga and Power Klaw) [mob glyph: Krump]
      • Boyz, Thragg’s Deff Ladz — 9x Boyz (Shoota; 1x Tankbusta Bomb) and 1x Boy with Big Shoota, led by 1x Boss Nob, Thragg (Big Choppa, Slugga) [mob glyph: Gul]
      • Gretchin, Runt-Eata’s Grots — 10x Gretchin (“Runt-Eata” Grukk and his Squig Hound not included, but I’ll build him at some point)
    • Elites
      • Meganobz — 2x Meganobz (Kombi-Rokkit and Power Klaw, Kustom Shoota and Power Klaw) led by 1x Boss Meganob (2x Killsaws)
      • Nobz, Ogrok’s Manglerz — 4x Nobz (Big Choppa and Slugga x2, 1x Power Stabba and Slugga, 1x Kombi-Skorcha) led by 1x Boss Nob, Ogrok (Killsaw and Slugga), and 1x Ammo Runt
      • Mek — “Sawfasta” Grunk, 1x Mek (Kustom Mega-Slugga, Killsaw)
    • Heavy Support
      • Battlewagon, Da Skullwagon — 1x Battlewagon (Deff Rolla, Grabbin’ Klaw, Kannon, Big Shoota; looted Rhino conversion)
      • Killa Kans, Mukkit’s Murda Mob — 3x Killa Kans (Mukkit, Big Shoota and Kan Klaw; Skraggit, Scorcha and Buzzsaw; Stikkit, Rokkit Launcha and Drilla)
      • Morkanaut (Kustom Force Field)
    • Dedicated Transport
      • Trukk, Da Fancy Wun — 1x Trukk (Big Shoota, Wreckin’ Ball; looted Taurox conversion)
  • Patrol detachment:
    • HQ
      • Warboss, “Bigtoof” Skragga (Kombi-Rokkit, Power Klaw, Attack Squig; Warboss Grukk model)
    • Troops
      • Boyz, Deff Metal Mayhem (vintage ’80s/’90s metal minis) — 9x Boyz (Shoota; 1x Tankbusta Bomb) and 1x Boy with Rokkit Launcha [mob glyph: TBD]
    • Heavy Support
      • Deff Dread Mob, 1x Deff Dread, “Facepeela” Snarg (Dread Klaw, Dread Saw x2, Kustom Mega-Blasta), and 1x Deff Dread, “Ripfist” Gorg (Dread Saw x2, Kustom Mega-Blasta, Big Shoota)
      • Lootas, Gark’s Git-Blastas — 4x Lootas led by 1x Spanner, Gark (Kustom Mega-Blasta, Choppa)

Lore-wise, this army is composed of elements of Moonkrumpa’s original warband (mainly the heavily armored units and Mek-oriented stuff) and Warboss Bigtoof’s warband (Lootas and more Boyz). Logistically, the whole army is part of Moonkrumpa’s Waaagh!.

Anything can be a hat if you believe (November 2020)

Color guides

My color guides are largely based on Citadel’s studio guides and Warhammer TV videos, with some tweaks. Washes are in italics, and techniques other than “put paint on it” (drybrushing, sponging, etc.) are called out as applicable.

Prepping to paint Mukkit’s checks (December 2020)

Lore and guiding principles

Many of my army and modeling choices flow from this list:

  • Every model has one hand painted blue (war paint on models with hands, and whatever hand-analog makes sense on those that don’t)
  • Pupil-less red eyes; green lips; teeth, horns, and nails are visually identical
  • The shade of green for their skin varies randomly across the Waaagh!
  • Every base includes at least one small scenic element, usually a rock or tuft (but less stuff than my Blood Angels’ bases)
  • No two figures are exact duplicates (even with identical poses, at least one thing is different)
  • All “special” figures, unit leaders, and mobs are named
  • Wargear is WYSIWYG to a reasonable standard
  • Looted wargear from other factions is common
  • I follow the rule of thumb that 90%+ of the mini is GW parts
Mukkit the Killa Kan, my final mini of 2020, ready to Macarena (December 31)

Orky plans

One of the reasons I wanted to play Orks is because they’re so ripe for kitbashing and conversions. Here’s what’s been rattling around in my brain, jotted down for posterity and future use (and in no particular order):

  • My first Battlewagon is going to be Da Skullwagon, inspired by this Reddit post of a skull-festooned Knight pauldron. The driver is obsessed with skulls, so at least one major portion of it is fully covered. Daub them in blue war paint.
  • As seen on Reddit, Deff Dreads look great with looted arms from Space Marine Dreadnoughts, and entire looted Marine Dreadnoughts look great with Deff Dread bits on them. I bet the same would apply to Killa Kans — and I know I’ve seen Astra Militarum Sentinels converted to Kans, which also sounds like fun.
  • Convert Boyz to Kommandos (avoiding the resin kit) using the barrels and munition crates from the Battlezone: Manufactorum Converters kit (which is readily available, unlike the Armoured Containers kit). Each Boy is “hiding” inside a barrel, with his arms and legs sticking out, or inside a half-open crate (vertically or horizontally).
  • A Trukk where the body is the Ork kit but instead of tires it rides on two Space Marine Assault Bikes. (Or if I wind up taking Squad Caedes to a full 10 battle-brothers, leaving me one leftover bike, maybe it’s tires on one side and a bike on the other.)
  • A Trukk made from a partially blown-out Rhino, facing backwards because it’s funnier, and possibly with one end dragging on the ground (using treads or bare wheels) and the other supported by tires.
  • The Goliath Truck/Rockgrinder, Skorpius Dunerider, and Leman Russ kits also look ripe for Trukk conversions. Heck, most Militarum vehicles seem like good options.
  • This awesome Battlewagon (see also posts two, three, and four) uses the stock kit as its baseline, including the bed and wheels/treads, but converts the cab to be 2/3 of a Rhino. I’ve seen many other cool Battlewagon conversions, but they all involve extensive sculpting, plastic card pieces, etc. that look entirely outside my skillset. This one seems like something I could attempt and it doesn’t involve chucking most of a $65 kit, as it’s primarily the actual Battlewagon model.
  • Age of Sigmar Orruk Ardboys look ripe for the bits box, with alternate heads, cool bits of armor, etc. Based on a White Dwarf article on converting Orks that I read, they should be readily compatible.
  • I saw a post where someone created a warband that was obsessed with the Blood Angels, so all of their looted gear was BA stuff. That could be fun to implement as a one-off for a melee-oriented mob of Boyz or Nobz.
  • There’s an Ork converted to use the guitar and parts from a Noise Marine in White Dwarf #454, and it’s stupendous.
  • I’ve lost track of where I saw it, but in a comment about a mini composed of Nurglings in a Tempestor trench coat (pretending to be a human) someone mentioned trying it with Grots. I dig it.
Runt-Eata’s Grots (December 2020)

Unassembled kits

No Waaagh! is every truly complete.

This list helps me keep track of my future Orky plans, figure out what I’m missing, and avoid accidentally buying duplicate models.

  • Battlewagon upgrade kit
  • Gorkanaut: 1x Morkanaut or Gorkanaut
  • Gorzag Gitstompa and Nikkit: 1x Ork Nob with Choppa and Slugga, and 1x Ammo Runt
  • Gretchin: 10x Grots and 1x Ork Runtherd
  • Gretchin: 1x Ork Runtherd remains
  • Kustom Boosta-Blasta: 1x Kustom Boosta-Blasta
  • Ork Boyz: 11x Boyz, one of which can be a Boss Nob
  • Ork Lootas: 4x Burna Boyz or Lootas, 1x Spanner
  • Ork Lootas: Leftovers from building Lootas are 4x Burna Boyz arms, Burnas, and heads (plus the Grot backpack and two weapon options for a Spanner); with 5x Boyz legs and 5x Boyz torsos, I could build a complete Burna squad from these bits
  • Ork Meganobz: 3x Meganobz or 2x and 1x Big Mek in Power Armour, 1x Grot Oiler
  • Ork Meganobz: 2x Meganobz remain
  • Ork Warboss Grukk’s Boss Mob, remaining:
    • 5x Nobz
    • 1x Ammo Runt
  • Squig Herd, remaining: 9x Squigs, 2x Squig Herders (Age of Sigmar models for kitbashing/adding Squigs to stuff)
  • Start Collecting: Orks, remaining:
    • 1x Painboy
    • 5x Nobz
    • 1x Ammo Runt
  • Stompa: 1x Stompa
The first Boy I hit with paint, one of Skrudd’s Krumpas (November 2020)