Tag Archives: Warhammer

Games Workshop Skeletons – 1991

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned my love for the original Games Workshop plastic Skeletons from 1991 before. I bought the Skeleton Army box (that included cavalry and a chariot) sometime around 1993 and it formed the basis (with Kev Adams metal Zombies and various other metal Wraith/Vampire/Necromancer miniatures) for my Undead Army of that period.

Yes there were only 4 bodies and 2 skull choices which limited options somewhat but it was a triumph for fantasy plastic which up to that point had struggled to be taken seriously. Previous attempts that included Fighting Fantasy 60mm, Drastik Plastik Orcs, Pychostyrene Dwarves and the Warhammer Regiment box designed for padding out WFB 3th Ed units had all been failures but the Skeletons marked a turning point in what could be possible.

I recently managed to pick up a few sprues worth on eBay along with a complete box of later Skeletons copyright 1999 on the box (presumably released in the 5th Ed period just prior to 6th Ed in 2000) which, although slightly chunkier, are fairly similar so I’ve now got plenty of bones to play around with. Expect more of these to show up periodically on the blog in future...

Here’s 3 of the original 1991 Skeletons quickly rustled up as extras for my D&D game. A Cleric PC has gained ‘Animate Dead’ spell and so insists on raising corpses as disposable ‘trap checkers’. I decided not to bother adding shields and just left them ‘as is’.

Citadel Dwarf Troll Slayers

Dwarf Troll Slayers. The Warhammer fluff went something like this – 

“Disgraced and outcast from Dwarf society for some misdemeanor over pride or honour they took an oath to become Troll Slayers. They threw aside the conservative conventions of Dwarf life and instead sought an honorable death at the hands of the largest monster they could find.”

Basically the punk rocker of the Dwarf world they adopted dyed spiky hair, chains, leather, apathy and probably safety pins if you looked closely enough. Very 100 Club circa 1976.

Dwarf berserkers were already a thing in WFB and make an appearance in ‘The Magnificent Sven’ scenario included in 1984’s 2nd edition ruleset. They were subject to ‘alcoholism’ and ‘frenzy’ rules and even had a hint of the morose about them in times of peace and sobriety, however the full transformation into what famously became the Troll Slayer happened a little later.

For older Grognards their first introduction probably came with WFRP in late 1986. The Troll Slayer was a PC career for Dwarfs and one individual famously featured on the front cover illustration by John Sibbick.

This wasn’t the first mention of the doomed and disgraced vertically challenged. That came in 1985 with the Dwarf Lords of Legend boxed set that included Kimril Giantslayer. This is possibly the first use of Giant Slayer in a Warhammer Dwarf context. I also think he’s the Slayer Sibbick used as the basis for his WFRP cover. Throbin Death Eye came in this set too and looks like a Troll Slayer however with no mention of Trolls at this stage I suspect he was still technically considered a Dwarf berserker.

By 3rd Edition WFB (late 1987) the berserker had been sidelined and the Troll Slayer was firmly planted in the game. The later Felix and Gotrek novels ensured it’s lasting popularity. Even today it’s still in AoS – albeit under a different name. 

Like most things over time with GW the Troll/Giant/etc etc Slayers became more and more ridiculous, a parody of themselves with impossibly coiffured Mohican haircuts and gigantic battle axes. And of course they all started to look the same; much as the Punks of the early 1980s who, protesting their individuality, were really just tired clichés; emulations of 1976 wearing what had become a universally recognised uniform of Punk.

Anyway here’s some Dwarfs I’ve painted.

The first photo is mostly older berserker miniatures including Juggo Jorikson of ‘The Magnificent Sven’ fame (and also included here is Kimril Giantslayer). The Dwarf on the left is the oldest GW Dwarf berserker miniature I know of and is pre slotta.

The next photo are early 1990s Troll Slayers from GW’s offshoot Marauder Miniatures. You will notice the size creep in these miniatures compared to the early berserker models. Later Troll Slayer figures were even bigger.

Obligatory unit shot.

Frostgrave Combatants Pt7 – Knight

This model came in the same job lot purchase from eBay as the AD&D Assassin shown previously. He is of course Harald (Harry) the Hammer.

There’s been three versions of him over the years that I’m aware of. An early 80s pre-slotta version based on the WFB 1st Ed box cover art, a 2008 25th Anniversary limited edition Chaos Warrior and this one from the ‘Heroic Fighters of the Known World’ box set circa 1987.

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I’ll count this as a Knight for now rather than a standard Soldier although I do have boxes of both Fireforge Deus Vult Templar and Teutonic Infantry to make up which probably fit the bill better.

The dip

Long time no speak! Last time I talked about my desire to try and play KOW this year.

My gaming group all regularly play RPGs, boardgames and the occasional card game but never wargames.

The group have expressed interest in playing but none of them paint or collect miniatures. I don’t mind painting whole armies for them to borrow for our games but getting so many miniatures table ready in the time I have is a daunting prospect.

I’d seriously need to increase my painting output to facilitate this any time soon. The sensible option would be drop scale to 15mm or even smaller to 6mm and play HOTT but I can’t bring myself to do it. I want to play KOW or Warhammer in 28mm.

Back in the mists of time when I painted in my 20s I didn’t have the commitments that I now have having reached my mid 40s. Whole evenings, weekends and holidays from work could be utilised for hobby time if I wanted to – and particularly through winter I did.

By contrast my real life now is infinitely richer but it’s left me time poor from a hobby perspective. Any painting I do is limited to the hours after my young kids have gone to bed, and that includes weekends too. My breaks from work coincide with the school holidays and my wife so I can obviously spend time with my family.

Given the time constraints above the quantity I’ve produced since starting painting again has been okay. However, I know it’s never going to increase substantially without some serious changes to increase productivity.

I suspect I’m at the limits of my output with the style of painting I’ve adopted:-

1. All my kit is packed in storage boxes dependant on which stage of the miniatures I’m at – assembly, painting, basing etc. I also have a few duplicates like brushes, knives etc in these kits so I don’t have to stop and pull stuff out from elsewhere.

2. I construct units in one sitting so there’s no half made figures hanging around, the glue has chance to dry overnight and the whole unit is ready for undercoating when I start again the next night.

3. Spray undercoats save time against hand painting.

4. Employing batch technique for painting colours, basing and varnishing saves time too.

5. I utilise drying times by having something else ready to do but without overstretching myself. That way things I start (usually) get finished.

As you can see I’m not really painting individual miniatures but utilising wargamer style ‘regiment’ mass production. From an individual model point of view I’m not entirely happy with this. There have been miniatures I’ve painted that I feel deserved more time and effort than I’ve given them. With this in mind I’ve decided to continue treating rank and file troopers for games like Frostgrave to this type of approach but to spend more time on ‘character models’.

With regards to rank and file wargaming troopers I’ve been intrigued by the ‘Dip Technique’ for some time now.

Part of me feels it’s a bit of a cop out, especially as I have managed to paint several large armies in the distant past of the late 80s to late 90s in the ‘traditional way’.
Other parts of me, the pragmatic and realistic sides, realise it clearly has its place for putting large quantities of figures on the table in double quick time for wargaming.

I don’t think this technique is something to be attempted with expensive resin or metal miniatures – to be honest I don’t think I’d like to do it with some of the decent plastic kits out there either.

So what would be the best type of miniature for this technique? Enter my favourite love to hate miniature manufacturer – yes, you’ve guessed it – Mantic!

As has been noted before on this blog Mantic’s output has been (to put it politely) inconsistent. Issues with moulding quality, consistency of scale and badly fitting parts are inexcusable complaints, something you’d probably expect from plastic models thirty years ago rather than modern companies like Mantic.

That said there’s something about their ranges I find endearing in a ‘wargamer way’ so I’ve decided to experiment with some of their models using Army Painter Strong Tone dip.

Here are results, and the start of my Undead Army…

Werewolves. I got these on a whim really, the paint job on the Mantic website makes them look awful but they’re really not that bad. With a simple change of tail and trimming of ears I think these would make decent Rat Ogre alternatives.

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The skull chucker was too big to dip in the quickshade tin so I had to paint it on by brush, which worked out fine.

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The Wraiths obviously aren’t dipped but are just simply washed with GW Nihilakh Oxide verdigris paint over a white undercoat and quick dry brush mixes of Vallejo verdigris glaze and white.

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Mummies. Pretty crappy but cheap. This was the first unit I tried dipping so I timed the whole process. From assembly to final varnish they took just over 6 hours (minus drying times). So just over 2 of my painting sessions to complete a unit of 10. Not bad in comparison to my normal painting output.

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Ghouls. 3rd time this sculpt has featured on my blog. Apologies.

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Skeletons. These are quite nice sculpts, among Mantic’s better efforts.

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Zombies. The weird couple of spinal stumps used as regiment fillers should really have gore splashed over them. Must remember to do that…

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My output hasn’t been too shabby since my last post but only another 50 skeletons and 40 zombies in the plastic pile to go before this army starts to look complete. Then I’ll need to add some cavalry of course…

Frostgrave Combatants Pt5 – More Soldiers

I managed to pick up the following four figures off eBay at a reasonable price a few weeks back, obviously with my ongoing Frostgrave project in mind.

They’re all Citadel metal slotta based miniatures mostly meant for Warhammer. They span an interesting few of years of production. We start at 1985 and the 2nd Ed of WFB, through 1986 and the 1st Ed of WFRP and then beyond that into 1987 and the 3th Ed of WFB – aka ‘Oldhammer’.

First up is one of the ADD 6 Paladins from the TSR licenced AD&D miniatures range from 1985. These Player Character packs were obviously meant for AD&D rather than Warhammer and sold in blisters of 3, representing the same character from low to high level as they developed in the game.
I say that like it was actually a possibility. Most people played RPGs in the 80s with a GM who was a total dick and TPK after every session was the norm. That meant the other 2 better equipped miniatures were never needed…

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I’m quite nostalgic (unusual for me) about this whole Citadel AD&D range however I disliked these Paladin figures at the time and I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to painting one now. I’m not totally happy with the finished paint job but it’s useable so I’m glad I completed it.

Next up is this C01 Fighter – ‘Aldred Fellblade’ from early 1986. This figure is probably best known from his depiction by John Sibbick on the cover of WFRP 1st Edition – presumably using all his fate points just to survive up to that point and run through the Ogre. He probably got finished off by a goblin in the next round…

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I’d never really paid much attention to the miniature when it came out and remember the Sibbick illustration more. After looking properly at it now it had escaped me just how ‘Jes Goodwin’ the sculpt actually is.

The final couple are F2 Fighters from 1987 – ‘Ernst Stoutheart’ and ‘Altdorf Sergeant’.

Both these miniatures are from a time when the WFRP and WFB backgrounds were finally starting to mesh together in an uneasy union. Although the RPG game was a fully fleshed out ‘realistic’ world of socio-economic political intrigue, the wargame of fantasy battles struggled to find mechanisms to cope with the vast injection of fluff from the roleplay game.
So 3rd Ed WFB always felt stuck in the vein of classic fantasy, heavy with the presence of Orcs, Elves and Dwarfs rather than the grim dark Human centric Renaissance Period feel of WFRP. For this reason the two games sat uneasily side by side in my view despite their supposedly shared background.
Even the later Realms of Chaos books put the WFB action at the furthest points of Human influence – the chaos wastes or in the deepest of Empirical forest rather than the backstreets of Altdorf like WFRP had.
By the time WFRP was finally sidelined in 1992 GW had already taken the opportunity to pluck the easily workable bits from it to use with the forthcoming 4th Ed WFB (Bretonnian Knights for instance) whilst other concepts were slowly spoon fed back into the game as new additions (such as Tilean Mercenary units).

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Anyway, both of these miniatures painted up okay and will work quite well as murder hobos in Frostgrave.

Games Workshop Chaos Knights – Full Unit

This is a unit I bought at the end of last year cheaply off eBay – I paid about half what GW charge so I felt like I got a bit of a bargain, although I have to admit I’ve kept putting off making it up.

The box sat on the shelf staring accusingly at me every time I passed it but it’s time finally came for assembly and paint to join the Chaos/Evil Warband.

I had an extra metal Chaos Knight that I’d experimented with the metallic finish on prior to painting the whole unit. I was quite happy with the result, just the final glaze on the armour needed a bit of a tweak but the rest of the colour scheme was good to go.

Extending the recipe out to the rest of the unit I loosened the glaze mix with Lahmian Medium to help tone down the glaze pigment to avoid the overly greeny finish that the experimental model’s armour had in places.

They’re quite imposing as models, this is mostly due to their size though as they are massive in comparison to other horse mounted troops.

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I only have another regiment of Chaos Warrior infantry and a Chaos Chariot to paint to complete my Chaos/Evil Warband. It could technically use some more Chaos Warriors but I think I’m going to call it a day after painting what I have rather than buying more to add to it.

Hopefully I can paint these two boxes of models up well before the end of December which will mean I’ll have plenty of time for a few smaller painting projects before I start with my Nick Lund Orc Army next year – time will tell!

Games Workshop Chaos Knight

British summertime. In the past I used to hang up my brush through July and August until the heat dropped off but this year I’m trying to paint right through. I realise some of you who read this would consider 30°C glacial for summer but for me, happier with lower UK temperatures, this increase brings two big problems for painting.

The first is that I find paint dries a lot faster than normal so I struggle to keep anything on my palette usable for any length of time. I need to dig out the Tupperware tub wet palette I made last year and see if this helps.

The second problem is heat induced lethargy, which explains both my lowered painting output and procrastination towards actually digging out the wet palette…

Anyway, the next Evil/Chaos Warband regiment I have ready for painting is a set of GW Chaos Knights. Rather than getting bogged down in the heat trying to start on all these at once I decided on taking my time and painting just one initially, experimenting with a slightly different approach to the armour and barding which if successful would be applied to the rest of the unit when the temperature drops a bit.

This figure is a late 90s metal GW Chaos Knight mounted on a modern plastic GW Chaos horse. It’s an extra figure I had, the rest of the unit are the modern plastic boxed set of 5 knights, armed with lances rather than just a hand weapon like this guy.

The models in this unit (both mounts and riders) have LOTS of plate armour. A basic leadbelcher/black wash/chainmail/silver highlighted metallic steel paint job, although incredibly quick, would also be incredibly boring.

I decided on an attempt at a more weathered antique look utilising bronze and brass metallics with washes and glazes to incorporate a more complex set of browns, greens and blues into the mix.

I was tempted with red for some of the cloth/leather but didn’t want to fall back on GW Khorne Red. Instead I used GW Screamer Pink as the base colour to give more purplish/pink tones.

Although black horses are of course the preferred mode of transport for Evil Knights everywhere the pale grey here works for me.

Overall I would describe it as a very subtle version of a Nurgle paint scheme – just a hint of sickly without going over the top. I’m quite happy with the result, although next time I think I’ll thin the glaze rather than using them straight from the pot to make the effect even more subtle.

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Some thoughts on Age of Sigmar (and a Grenadier Troll)

Lots of people seem to be trying the new GW Age of Sigmar game. I decided to let the dust settle and see how people found it before making any comment. Many of the reviews I’ve read are from people willing to cast aside their old GW prejudices with a genuine want to enjoy and engage with AOS.  A new game that players can get in on from day one – a fresh start so to speak.

I’ve found that both positive and refreshing, two words often missing from the closed ranks of gamers, some of whom are all too fearful and suspicious of change within their favourite rulesets or game worlds.
Admittedly these suspicions have sometimes proven correct when armies that people have invested serious money and time in have been rendered obsolete or unplayable by simple codex changes between Editions but at least AOS is a clean broom at this point.

I couldn’t comment on how AOS plays as I’ve only given the rules a cursory glance but the reviews by people who have all mention either a lack of balance between opponents, low complexity or a sense of ‘can you remind me again why we started playing this?’

Whereas they all seem to agree that the game is lacking depth, hardly surprising from a 4 page ruleset, the real worry for GW should be the apathy some players have felt towards it MID GAME.
As a company they rely heavily on player’s enthusiasm for their game worlds and systems, encouraging them to come and play regularly in their stores and pushing new models for players to add to their forces.
This becomes an impossible task if players can’t even get half way through a game without caring anymore. I’m sure GW have plans to rectify the short comings of the rules with additional updates. Keeping players interested in the system as a whole will be the real test. Time will tell.

As far as the models go I certainly wasn’t the first out of trap to notice that the majority of these models are basically Space Marines without Bolters. I found that disappointing but not unexpected. Everyone else seems to really like them.

What is a shame, although again not in the least bit surprising, is that with the arrival of AOS Warhammer Fantasy Battle has finally expired. The spasms of it’s 8th Edition death throes were seemingly it’s last.
I’m sure most gamers have a soft spot for whichever Edition of WFB they first played when they entered the hobby, even if they haven’t actually played it since those days. But hey, 33 years and 8 Editions was a bloody good production run and I don’t think it’ll sink into obscurity any time soon. If something as wearing to play as 3rd Edition can create a movement as well populated as Oldhammer I can only assume the later, less clunky versions will still have active fan bases for years to come too.

For now I’m giving Age of Sigmar a miss. The starter set seems reasonably priced to begin a new game and start afresh, something that GW haven’t attempted for many years now, but the game system seems seriously flawed. The models alone could warrant the £75 price tag but despite the large number of miniatures in the set I’m not keen on any of them.

As much as I’d love to be counted in I can’t bring myself to overlook any of this to take the plunge. Sorry GW I’m out.

Anyway, as the title implies I’ve also finally gotten around to painting the third troll in my collection to finish ‘The Triumvirate’. He’s painted up to match the other two trolls I’ve done and will eventually form a unit in the Nick Lund Orc army that’s planned as my main project for next year.

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The Cult of Khorne

Last time I posted about my Evil/Chaos Warband I mentioned the next unit for it would hopefully be some cultists.

Units of religious zealots spreading the word of the Dark Gods through murderous deeds has always been a favourite concept of mine in fantasy worlds.
No self respecting evil horde of chaotic crusaders would be complete without a set of crazed lunatics chanting unholy prayers and bludgeoning anyone in their way.

I’ve blogged before about an old Regiment of Renown set called the Disciples of the Red Redemption. This set and the fluff written for it in 1985 finally stirred some great game ideas for me 30 years later.

My modern version of this regiment based on the Ral Partha Chaos Monk model is on my project list along with the Avenging Knights of the Cleansing Flame using Mantic Basileans. I don’t really plan to incorporate these Monks into my Evil/Chaos Warband though.

For the Warband I wanted something a bit different from just the Chaos Marauders and Warriors (infantry and cavalry) that are the mainstay of GW Mortal Chaos armies at the moment.

Searching the internet for inspiration I came across this blog post:-

https://xenite.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/chaos-cultists-work-in-progress/

These models pretty much summed up how I wanted my Cultists of Chaos to look. To be honest even before seeing these I’d considered using the Empire Flagellants as a basis. I dismissed it because the models didn’t look particularly conversion friendly. As proved above all the extras (hairy heads, Sigmar scrolls, burning braziers, figures walking in stocks, etc) are just additional pieces that are glued onto the main robed figure.

The other problem I noted was the rather chunky looking flails that come with the Flagellants, some with symbols of Sigmar. The only option I could think of was replacing these with the flails from the Chaos Marauder set. On pulling these from the box to examine them they were pretty awful too – which explained why I hadn’t use them for my standard Marauders unit. The overly muscular arms of the Marauder flails wouldn’t really have worked either with the smaller Empire Flagellant bodies.
Using twisted wire to replace the clunky chains and adding some 3mm metal beads as flail heads solved that.

Rather than rag masks I wanted my figures to have heads with a shaved and tattooed look. Each Empire Flagellant box only has a total of 4 bald heads so I needed to find more.

The closest in the Marauder infantry box is the shaved head with a top knot. This can be cut off leaving a bald pate. That supplied a few heads.
Searching my bits box for extras I only found 1 more suitable head from a GW zombie so I set about buying a set of 12 bald Sci Fi heads made by Scibor off of eBay.

This became a saga in itself when they went missing in the post, but they finally arrived 3 weeks later than planned, in the same postal delivery as the replacements…

Some of the Scibor heads are a bit large but I really didn’t want to wait any longer to finish these or have to purchase more figures just to use the heads. In the future I might replace these with some Mantic Ghoul heads if they start to bother me.

I’ve obviously gone for the ubiquitous colour scheme of maniacal despots, evil priests and Dark Gods everywhere – red and black.

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The musician has a horn from the Marauders Cavalry regiment and the arm with the morning star was originally a Marauders infantry axe arm.

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More Marauder bits were used on the standard bearer, the standard (with added bells from the Flagellant set) and an axe arm converted into a mace. I’ll paint something suitable on the standard at a later date.

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In a nod towards The Disciples of the Red Redemption and Darkhoth’s ‘Darkhold’ (a transcript of the original scriptive book of Khorne discovered by Eroneus Balbadron) I decided I wanted to make use of the books in the Empire Flagellant set for the leader.
I used one of the hands from the head in stocks piece so he could hold the book above his head.

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Half Orc on Pony

One of the ‘creations’ from AD&D that made it’s way into Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) was the Half Orc.

Supposedly a product of *ahem* ‘union’ between Humans and Orcs, there was also the possibility of gene pools being mixed further with Goblin and Hobgoblins also supposedly able to procreate with Humans. These individuals still tended to be classed as Goblins, Hobgoblins or Half Orcs in Warhammer terms, Gary Gygax would have written them up as eleven new races for AD&D if he’d had the time…

In WFB Orcs and Goblins raid Human settlements and take cattle and captives for food, often to take back to their homelands. It appears in the earlier editions though that Goblinoids weren’t as asexual as later incarnations and it was implied that some of the female captives suffered fates worse than death by Orcish cooking pot.

Tolkien had Half Orcs in his stories of course but these creatures were created by Saruman to work as slaves and warriors for his own nefarious purposes. Tolkien’s stories aren’t known for their high copulation count so I think it’s fair to say he envisaged Saruman’s Half Orcs being manufactured by some sort of magical in vitro process rather than by the violation of women by Orcs.

The Half Orc PC in 1st Ed AD&D typically became a bit of a one trick pony, the stereotypical fighter hampered by low intelligence and even lower charisma. They weren’t particularly liked by other PC races. They weren’t particularly liked by anyone.

The Half Orcs of 1st and 2nd Ed WFB were also outsiders used to fighting against the world, unwelcome in both Orc or Human society. They formed Mercenary units like RR9 Regiments of Renown ‘Mudat’s Mercenary Half Orc Maniacs’ – incidentally the fluff for which includes the first possible mention of the city of Nuln, later detailed extensively in WFRP and later Editions of WFB.

The Half Orc found itself relegated in 3rd Ed WFB. Small numbers were allowed in Orc and Goblin armies and they were still available as Mercenary units – I didn’t know anybody that used them and I never had any despite owning a large Orc and Goblin army at the time. Miniatures were still being produced, although nothing new was added to the range.

By 4th Ed WFB they had completely disappeared, probably due as much to their unpopularity with players as to the uncomfortable back story of how they came into existence being too difficult to explain to the younger audience 4th Ed was aimed at.

I always had a soft spot for them. The use of mercenaries seemed under explored in WFB at the time despite several of the Regiments of Renown being pay sword units. I think Half Orc mercenaries would be perfect in narrative based skirmish games and an uneasy alliance of Humans paying for their services against an Orc raiding party could have all sorts of twists and turns – not just financially but also possible intrigue from filial, agnate or cognate relationships.

Here’s a Half Orc mounted on a pony quickly painted up as part of my ‘break from regiment painting’.

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The observant amongst you will notice that this isn’t in fact a Half Orc at all but was sold by Ral Partha/ Elmore Masterworks/Dark Sword Miniatures as a Chaos Warrior, originally mounted on a lizard. I bought it as I wanted to use the lizard for another project but the Chaos Warrior is very Goblinoid. The pony is from Citadel’s C33 Half Orc Hero set. I bought the pony on it’s own cheaply to use with the Chaos Warrior rather than consign him to my bits box.