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Finished miniatures Kill Team Lightbox photos Miniature painting Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k

Five Hive Fleet Balaur Genestealers wrapped up

Last night I finished my first minis since May 20, 2021: one Hive Fleet Balaur Fire Team for Kill Team, a unit of Genestealers. These guys were a ton of fun to paint, and given that I started them on April 8, went on a short vacation, and worked on my Warriors during the 16 days it took me to finish them, I feel pretty much back on track with painting.

Hive Fleet Blue Steel

Their underbellies creep me out a bit
Golden angles
Front
Back

I figured I’d shoot one with some terrain, too.

Hive Fleet Balaur scuttling through the ruins

And why not take advantage of the rare opportunity to do a before/after? I painted the blue/pink Genestealers (from Space Hulk) in 2012. It’s not quite “10 years later,” though, because I didn’t paint anything from 2012 to 2020, when I got back into painting and starting both taking it seriously and actually enjoying it. So it’s really more of a “two years of progress” before/after, since this is how I was painting in 2020.

Current way vs. old way, front view
Rear view

Nid thoughts

This was my second time glazing, and the first time I haven’t painted over my efforts and gone with a different technique. (I tried glazing a Custodes sword several times, but just couldn’t get it right.) My glazing isn’t great, but these first four Scything Blades taught me quite a bit; I’m hoping to improve my technique as I work on my Warriors.

I’ve also never used dotting tools before. Still room for improvement there as well, but there’s just not that much surface to work with on Genestealers and I didn’t want to overwhelm their shading. The Warriors’ carapaces are a larger canvas, so I’m looking to step up my game on them.

As a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Leviathan, I like how my twist on Leviathan’s color scheme turned out. There are at least two official Leviathan color guides out there (one in White Dwarf and one on Warhammer TV), but the main differences between Leviathan and Balaur are the toxic green claws and spotted carapaces.

My goal for these Genestealers was to evoke brightly-colored bugs and poison dart frogs, and to combine that with a “snake’s underbelly” body color for an unsettling — maybe even unpleasant — look that befits the terrifying nature of Tyranids.

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Kill Team Miniature painting Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Genestealers

After letting the glue on the Genestealers I built last night cure overnight, finalizing my color scheme this morning, and writing a color guide for Hive Fleet Balaur, I sprayed these five bad boys:

Even though it was only about 40 degrees out, the rattle can still worked great

While they were drying (Citadel’s rattle cans really are paint-ready in 15 minutes; I love them), I nipped out to Mox for the four paints I was missing. Then I got my ducks in a row for a painting session.

I’d say pardon my dusty desk, but I hate dusting so my figures are almost always dusty

I’ve seen Genestealers painted basically all one color (like the current studio paint jobs for Leviathan) or about 50/50 (like the old Space Hulk models, with their blue bodies and pink hands), and I decided to split the difference. I’m giving them carapaces on their backs, basically from the tail joint up, and treating the rest of the body — including the carapace-like tail and chest/belly — as skin/body tone (whitish-pink).

Among other things, that will let me practice my mottling on these guys before doing it on my Warriors, who are larger and have more carapace areas to paint. I also don’t love the studio Leviathan scheme for Genestealers, which I find too monotone; expanding what counts as carapace lets me avoid that.

First wash applied; I love this unwholesome pink!

Post-drybrush, they’re not as off-white as the studio models, but they’ve definitely changed:

The main body now only needs its final Pallid Wych Flesh highlight

I decided to go back and re-reestablish the Carroburg Crimson in their vents and joints, but that didn’t magically make my drybrushing as adept as a GW studio painter’s work. Maybe the final highlights will balance things out a bit? We’ll see.

Base elements now finished, texture paint applied and drying

I took a closer look at some Leviathan nids in the 8e codex and White Dwarf #463, and I’m pretty sure some of them have a Pallid Wych Flesh drybrush over their Screaming Skull drybrush — so I gave that a shot. It makes a difference! In natural light, this guy reads much whiter:

After the second drybrush was applied

I’m going to call that “close enough for splinter fleet purposes” and move on. Time for some Naggaroth Night!

Quickly checking the compatibility of my two other primary base colors

Once I had the carapace roughed in, I threw a quick coat of Incubi Darkness — my other primary base color — on the claws so I could get a feel for how things will look down the road. Both colors will get darker before they get highlighted up, and I’m hoping the final layers will bring them tonally in line with the flesh while still keeping them dark enough for satisfying contrast.

Heck, how about a quick and dirty test to see what Warpstone Glow and Sybarite Green might look like?

I’m not sure glazing is worth the effort on small claws like these — simple layers look pretty solid

Oh yeah! It fits Balaur’s origins, the colors work together — I’m digging this. I can’t wait to see it with the mottling on the carapace!

This is the most painting I’ve done in about seven months, a full day of thinking about, writing about, and painting Tyranids. It feels good.

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Kill Team Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k

Hive Fleet Balaur lore

Armed with their name (in Romanian, a multi-headed dragon associated with weather manipulation, and pronounced like the “ba” in “bad” plus the word “our” with an L in front of it: “ba-lowr”) and my decision to make Hive Fleet Balaur a splinter fleet of Hive Fleet Leviathan, I noodled about why they were a splinter fleet and what caused their coloration. Dipping into the 8th Edition codex gave me the rest of what I needed to come up with Balaur’s origins.

Genestealers of Hive Fleet Balaur (April 24, 2022)

After the war in Octarius, Hive Fleet Balaur — though not yet called that — was one of several that split off from Hive Fleet Leviathan, using the biomass it had consumed to venture into new territories.

The splinter fleet’s first contact with the Imperium was in the Venenum System (Latin for “poison”), which was anchored by the teeming industrial world of Balaur. Balaur was a wretched hellhole, a hive of factories and chemical plants which transformed the toxic and venomous local flora and fauna into rare and useful acids and other industrial materials.

Most notable among the fauna of Balaur were the Balaur Worms, titanic beasts that looked like a cross between a bat and a crocodile (only much, much larger), their brightly spotted hides warning other creatures to steer clear — much as poison dart frogs once did on Terra.

When the splinter fleet arrived, it probed Balaur in various ways: spore clouds, scouts, tunneling creatures, and so forth. When the end came for Balaur, it came on all fronts at once. The Astra Militarum garrison never stood a chance, and the same was true of the Ultramarines dispatched to Balaur in a last-ditch effort to save the planet.

The splinter fleet consumed all.

And when it left, it teemed with Tyranid organisms bearing the toxic green protrusions and bright spots of Balaur’s dangerous fauna — and its own spin on Leviathan’s adaptation- and swarm-heavy tactics.

Two unsettling (hopefully) buggy dudes (April 24, 2022)

Like the many sinuous heads of its namesake, Hive Fleet Balaur tends to begin its assault on several distinct fronts, some subtle and some less so, rather than focusing on any single approach. Once its “heads” have done their work, the “body” follows swiftly, overwhelming the prey world with the numbers and adaptability of its parent fleet, Leviathan.

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Kill Team Miniature painting Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k WIP it good

Testing Hive Fleet Balaur color schemes

After an evening of assembling Genestealers and thinking about paint schemes, I spent the rest of last night leafing through back issues of White Dwarf for Tyranid content.

My initial idea for Hive Fleet Balaur’s color scheme was the bi pride flag: pink, purple, blue. Along with the symbolism and the colors, I also like that it includes 2/3 of the classic Genestealer colors.

But the more pictures of gorgeously painted Tyranids I looked at, the more I found myself drawn to Hive Fleet Leviathan’s paint scheme: off-white body with unsettling pink undertones, like a snake’s belly; deep purple carapace; and dark red claws/weapons. No surprise from GW, but that is an outstanding color scheme with fantastic contrast and perfectly matched tones.

This gorgeous spin on Kronos on DakkaDakka gave me the idea to try green weapons/claws. A CatgutPainting video on patterned Tyranid paint schemes sold me on mottling, which I first saw on Javier Del Rio’s stunning Hive Tyrant in White Dwarf #463:

Miniature painted and photographed by Javier Del Rio, from White Dwarf #463

So I started pondering making Balaur a splinter fleet of Leviathan, and using Leviathan’s colors as my starting point. GW has done Leviathan at least two ways for their studio paint jobs, so I blended ideas from both of them for the body and decided to test Wraithbone base > 1:3 Screamer Pink:Lahmian Medium shade.

Still thinking about bright colors (something I haven’t yet done for 40k) and wanting to see how that would look next to a vibrant purple carapace (with pink dots/mottling still in my brain) and medium-to-bright green claws, I slapped some paint onto a piece of terrain. (I’ll be repainting this area whenever I circle back to terrain, and conveniently it’s already primed with Wraithbone spray.)

Here’s Wraithbone base coat, the Screamer/Lahmian wash, Xereus Purple, and Warpstone Glow.

Test colors

And here it is with a quick and dirty Screaming Skull drybrush over the body color, bringing the body closer to Leviathan:

Getting closer to “snake’s underbelly” whitish-pink

Now to test out mottling the carapace. I did some research and found that some folks do this with a toothpick or a dotting tool; this Doctor Faust tutorial is a good demonstration of one approach. My kiddo has a stash of dotting tools, so I borrowed a few different sizes.

Small and his buddy Real Small

Here’s a Genestealer Purple base mottled with Genestealer Purple and then Fulgrim Pink, with purple done using the larger of the tools above and pink done with the smaller one:

Mottling

Genestealer Purple isn’t much of a contrast (although for adding depth to mottling, that’s probably good), but Fulgrim Pink sure pops. It’s also clear I’m not good at this yet! But I do like the effect.

I threw Khorne Red into the mix and polled my wife and kiddo, and we all liked both options (red or green) but agreed they each give the model a different feel.

(optometrist voice) Green, or red? One, or two?

The more I look at the toxic green, the more I like it. The Leviathan lineage is clear from the identical body color and the mottled variation on the carapace color, the toxic green (coupled with the mottling) cements Balaur as its own thing, and the whole scheme should contrast nicely with my basing recipe: Stirland Mud texture paint, Reikland Fleshshade wash, Astorath Red drybrush (from the ever-amazing White Dwarf Basing Cookbook in the November 2016 issue).

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Kill Team Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k WIP it good

Hive Fleet Balaur’s first model

The best way to get stuck in is to get stuck in, so after noodling about Hive Fleet Balaur, I got stuck in and built my first nid.

I think this is an older kit, but it’s a really good older kit
At first I wasn’t sold on the 25mm base, but once I got rolling I started liking how nimble it makes the Genestealers feel
All done! No names (which feels super weird!), so since I want to always be able to identify my first Tyranid I added a unique skull to his base.
I went for a wide, sprawling pose; the posability with four arms is a ton of fun

And a little while later, I’ve got a whole Fire Team built: 5 Genestealers, including some equipment choices (Feeder Tendrils on second from left, Flesh Hooks on fourth from left). I built the first two without even realizing that the Rending Claws on normal Genestealers never appear on all four arms — but in 2021 Kill Team, they can! A happy accident, as Bob Ross would say.

5/8 of my Kill Team

I already love these guys. This is going to be fun!

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Kill Team Miniatures Tyranids Warhammer 40k

Fighting the mini-painting doldrums: Hive Fleet Balaur

I haven’t finished a miniature since May 20, 2021, when I wrapped up Stikkit and Skraggit for my Deathskulls army. Almost a year![1]

I’ve done “miniature stuff” since then, including assembling, priming, base-coating, and basing a 2,000-point Adeptus Custodes army, and made it about 80% of the way through my first squad. But pootling about isn’t the same as finishing models.

A big part of that comes down to losing a major motivator: In the two years since I started painting 40k minis, I still haven’t actually played the game. I could be playing it, pandemic notwithstanding, but I’d be simultaneously trying to learn the game, play the game, and make friends, all while wearing a mask for 2-3 hours. Maybe that’s what I should be doing, but my gut says I want my first 40k game in 20+ years to be played unmasked, which means waiting until I feel comfortable doing that.

So I’m trying something else.

I know the 8th Edition codex will be obsolete in literally a week, but having bought a couple codices in both editions I’ve found that I often like some of the 8e stuff that didn’t make it into the 9e version. (Also pictured is the Citadel bottle-holder, which will pay for itself in, like, two paint spills.)

I’ve got a few days off, and I’m going to ease back into things by working on a Tyranid Kill Team: 5 Genestealers and 3 Warriors (the latter of which hasn’t arrived yet).

Me being me, I picked Tyranids half on a whim and half because I’ve loved Genestealers for 30+ years; I have a tentative paint and basing scheme in mind; and I’ve spent a few hours finding a Hive Fleet name that feels right — one that sounds like it came straight from, say, an Eisenhorn novel: Hive Fleet Balaur.

The typical canon Hive Fleet is named after a mythological beast, a practice I love, and a balaur — pronounced like the “ba” in “bad” plus the word “our” with an L in front of it, “ba-lowr” — is a multi-headed dragon from Romanian folklore. They’re also associated with weather, and both metaphors, the multi-headed serpent and a force as inevitable as weather, feel particularly apt for Tyranids.

And, to the best of my searching abilities, it’s almost unique. I can find just one reference to someone else working on a Hive Fleet Balaur, from an abandoned forum thread in 2011. Given the relative paucity of names of mythological creatures which feel right to me for a Hive Fleet and which haven’t already been used in canon or widely used online, this is probably as close as I’m going to get to a unique name.[2]

The mists of time

Funnily enough, the first game of 40k I ever played, back in the early 1990s, pitted my Squats against my then-girlfriend’s (now ex-wife’s) Tyranids. For a myriad of reasons, my poor Squats didn’t stand a chance.

So while I wait for Squats to return — and they are, as the just-announced Leagues of Votann! — it seems fitting to come full circle and give Tyranids a whirl.[3]

Like every other GW faction I’ve explored, Tyranids are more interesting than they seemed at first glance. The longer I look at these ravenous space-bugs, as pure as the Xenomorph from Alien, the more I like them. They’ll also be a pleasant counterpoint to what I’ve painted so far — humanoids in armor, humanoids in fancier armor, and green humanoids with lots of teef. Maybe I’ll bring drybrushing back into the foreground, or take another run at glazing (for their claws and bony swords and whatnot), or trying feathering or stippling my carapaces.

Kill Team

But for now, at least, they’re just two things: a fun, simple way to try and jumpstart my miniature-painting engine again, and my first foray into Kill Team. I’d originally planned to use my boards, terrain, and a subset of my 40k armies for Kill Team, but the new edition of KT makes me want to branch out and explore small forces I haven’t painted for 40k.[4]

Eight rad minis (with 32 arms between them!) is a quantity I could paint in 2-4 weeks if I set my mind to it. I’m tucking into my Genestealers tonight, so that makes April 8 my official start date for Hive Fleet Balaur. Time to get snipping!

[1] I knew this would happen eventually, which is why I write down all my half-baked ideas, half-assed plans, and color guides.

[2] Which, of course, doesn’t matter at all — except that it makes me happy to feel like I’m carving out my little corner of the 40k universe.

[3] I suspect I will be all in for the Leagues of Votann. I’ve wanted to paint a Squat army for years, and if they’d been an active faction when I started up again I likely would have gone with them. I’ve told my wallet to start practicing weeping uncontrollably now so that it will be ready for preorder day.

[4] Like 8th Edition, which I bought into when I started painting, I picked up the previous edition of Kill Team as well. Both games changed editions before I got a chance to play them — in the case of 40k, that change also prompted some midstream rejiggering of at least one army. But as pandemic-related complaints go? That one is beyond minor.

Categories
Miniatures Warhammer 40k

A strong contender for a third 40k army, Necrons, and a Yore milestone

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:

  • Indomitus:
    • 1x Overlord
    • 1x Royal Warden
    • 1x Plasmancer
    • 1x Skorpekh Lord
    • 20x Necron Warriors
    • 2x Cryptothralls
    • 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!

Categories
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!

Categories
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.