I’m in my sprint to see how many minis I can book in 2020, and this ruin — the largest piece of terrain I’ve ever painted (although it’s a medium-sized piece) — brings my December total up to 25.
I’m not sure how best to photograph terrain. My lightbox wasn’t going to work because the ruin’s floor would block the light — so I took it outside for some shots in natural light.
I started this piece back in November, and it took me so long to paint the details that I took a break…during which I assembled oodles of models and painted 11 Orks and 10 Gretchin. So not a short break. But, recharged and refreshed, I pushed through the final details and then the weathering — and on the whole, this was a really fun project.
Painting this piece also helped set my expectations for painting more terrain, notably in that I now know just how long it will take me to fill a 4’x6′ Strike Force-sized board. I’m going to start with trying to fill a Kill Team board, then a Combat Patrol board, and then see where that takes me. There’s no pressure, really; the odds I’ll need it in the next 12 months are slim, I’d say.
Next up is a Killa Kan, and I’m pushing to see if I can finish it by 12/31. This Kan, Mukkit, was primed on 12/28 and based and partially base-coated on 12/29, so it might be doable!
I wound up working on a box of Gretchin at the same time as five Boyz (not my usual approach; it’s too many at once!), so they got wrapped up on 12/27 as well.
Do Gretchin know they’re adorable?
Like the Orks I painted at the same time, these Grots use three different skin recipes (1, 2, and 3 on my current list). I can’t wait to see how this approach looks across a larger force.
I love these models, and they’re quick to paint up. Every step feels like it takes about half as long as an Ork Boy, so a box of 10 (excluding the Runtherd) takes about as long as a unit of 5 Orks; that makes doing 10 at a time pretty manageable.
With these 10 Grots plus 3 small terrain pieces and 11 Orks, December’s tally of 24 models is my new record. I think 16 was my previous record, and the Grots being so small helps a lot here. (And who knows, I might sneak in one more terrain piece this year; I have one that’s pretty close to done.)
Having made the questionable choice to work on the “back five” of Skrudd’s Krumpas at the same time as an entire unit of Gretchin, 12/27 was a record day for me. (The Grots have their own post, just to keep things organized.)
Wot’s dat funny light?
First, the new five on their own:
And then the whole mob, including Skrudd and the five I painted up earlier this month.
There are three skin recipes in this mix (1, 2, and 3 on my current list of Ork recipes. My hope is that sticking to a single recipe for war paint, which every model in Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas wears, will unify the larger army.
I overcooked the weathering on a few bits on these guys, notably the checked shoulder pads. I wound up repainting those, which is never my first choice, but it was worth it. I’m pretty happy with them overall — I just need to remember to go easy on the grit and grime!
Orks are as fun to paint as I’d hoped. I enjoy having multiple recipes for their skin, Deathskulls blue, etc. — and the mix of skin tones works as well in practice as it did in my head. I’m not sure my attempts to punch these five up (more checks, more blue and white, more lighter-colored boots for contrast with the terrain, etc.) were as successful as I’d hoped, but it feels like I’m moving in the right direction.
Currently working on a few too many Boyz and Gretchin at once, so I’ve been taking breaks to do some assembly.
First up, a Killa Kan:
Mechanically, Killa Kan mobs don’t have a leader, so perhaps it’s more apt to say that Mukkit considers himself the leader.
I’ve heard these are terrible units, but damn this is an incredible kit. 100% of the parts are interchangeable, and they ooze character from every rivet. I was going for a sort of “Rarr! Mukkit stomp you!” pose, but wound up with more of a Macarena/posing for a tourist photo kind of deal…and I’m not even a little mad. Love this dude.
Alysia got me an Age of Sigmar Weirdnob Shaman for Christmas, so I spent a couple of pleasant hours today figuring out how to kitbash him into my Weirdboy.
On the AoS model, I test-fit the cape to see which of my arm swap ideas might work, and I trimmed off the smoke and shaved the spot under it flat. Everything else stayed.
I used the arm from the standalone Mek kit, which I snipped at the wrist; a standard from the Meganobz kit, which I stuck where the smoke used to be; two shoulder pads from the Boyz kit, which I used to camouflage the kludging I did around the smoke; and a jaw plate from the Nobz kit, which I used exactly as Gork (or is it Mork?) intended.
As befits a Deathskulls army in general and Moonkrumpa’s Megalootas in particular, “Warpmek” Nakk is both a Weirdboy and a Mek (achieved by taking Da Fixer Upperz for him).
Since I’d destroyed the Mek kit’s clamshell packaging to steal one of his arms, I decided to just slap him together as well.
Alysia also gave me a new paint storage solution, a nail polish rack that can swallow 100% of my current paint library. I believe it’s this model on Amazon (not a paid link), and as the reviews show it’s been battle-tested by fellow hobbyists. I can confirm that it does a bang-up job of holding Citadel paint pots.
I’ve seen folks organize their paints by color, but I alphabetized mine by type instead. I mainly follow GW recipes, so this makes the most sense for my approach. The top row is Technical paint and some non-paints (glue, etc.). The second row starts with shades/washes on the left and then jumps into base paints, which run another full row and the first couple slots of a third. After that come all of my layer paints.
I’ve mounted it with room for a second one, which I’ll need at some point. (I’m currently storing all my backup pots somewhere else.) I loved my previous paint storage solution, but my paint supply had outstripped its slots and I wanted to free up that corner of my desk.
Having started my paint collection back in February with the bare minimum I needed to do parade-ready Blood Angels, it feels funny to be actively using 85-90 paints now.
Happy holidays, merry Christmas, and I hope to be back in a few days with some finished Orks and Gretchin.
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
Actual skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
Tongues/insides of mouths and pink topknots: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
Orange topknot (hair squig): Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Troll Slayer Orange > Fire Dragon Bright
Bullet belt links: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Nuln Oil > Dawnstone
Weathering and embellishments: These steps all happen after the rest of the mini is 100% done (including highlights); not every Ork uses all of them:
Stitching: Pick whichever of Zandri Dust or Dryad Bark contrasts best with the clothing item and do a single coat, no highlights
War paint: Caledor Sky > pin wash in the crevices with the same shade used for the skin (Biel Tan, etc.) > Teclis Blue (Warhammer TV reference video)
Checks: Macragge Blue and Corax White > very thinned-down Agrax Earthshade wash (or use the armor’s base color in place of Macragge, e.g. Kantor); 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
Rusty hot garbage: Typhus Corrosion > Ryza Rust drybrush
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.