More Orcs from Imperial Games – Warhammer

Imperialgames.co.nz Now I’ve painted my Orc Border Patrol force, I’m looking to expand it to a full Orc and Goblin army. I was steeling myself to pay full retail prices, until Daniel pointed out Imperial Games sell Games Workshop below retail in New Zealand. To my knowledge that makes them the only discount Games Workshop retailer in New Zealand. They carry the entire Games Workshop range, not to mention several other superb independent companies like Pig Iron, CNC Workshop and Ziterdes (excellent for terrain) and if you order more than $75nz worth of goods they’ll ship for free within the country. I had a few questions about my order so emailed them and was pleasantly surprised to find Imperial Games are also run by professional and responsive folks, which is exactly what you want from an online retailer.

I’ve ordered the following from them to bulk out my Orc’n’Gobbo force. I’ve put the GW NZ retail price in italics for comparsion:

$49.50 ($55) Night Goblins Regiment
$22.50 ($25) Night Goblin Fanatic Box
$49.50 ($55) Orc Warriors Regiment
$36.00 ($40) Orc Warboss
$67.50 ($75) Warhammer Giant
$225.00 ($250) Total

That’s a 10% discount on GW retail and free shipping. I’ll be using Imperial Games from now on for most of my hobby purchases, particuarly since they carry several other lines I’ve mentioned in the past and the Ziterdes range includes lots of useful terrain.

I also have no problem recommending them to any gamer based in New Zealand. It’s fantastic to finally have a professional, discount Games Workshop web-store based here in New Zealand.

Dipped Zombies – Warhammer

Custom Green Dip Mix As dipping Orcs in off the shelf pre-stained wood varnish worked so well I thought I’d try some different coloured dip. Unfortunately Wattyl don’t make a green all-in-one varnish product so following Dustan’s advice again, I mixed my own. I picked up some Tamiya X-25 ‘Clear Green’ enamel paint from a local hobby store, a pot of clear satin floor varnish from the hardware store and combined them with a little ‘ebony’ oil based stain in an old, clean mint-jelly jar (which seemed appropriate). The dip was made by pouring two thirds of the Tamiya X-25 in and then slowly adding the satin floor varnish until I had a tone I was happy with, then I darkened the dip down by slowly adding small amounts of the ebony wood stain. Essentially I was trying to match the depth of colour of the wood stain product I used on the Orcs.

Dipped Zombies I dusted off some of the fifty assembled but unpainted Zombies I made for my Vampire Counts force, base coated them and dipped them into the new, minty green dip. Here’s the first four, matt varnished and ready to shamble. I’m not entirely satisfied with the results though, they’re passable for a gaming paint job but I think they’re not as successful as the dipped Orcs.

The green dip works well over the Games Workshop Camo Green that was used as the basic flesh tone, but don’t think it works that well over the brown tones on the figures. This is unfortunate because it’s earthy tones I typically paint with, which is obviously if you look at the Orcs I’ve been dipping, or any of my Pulp figures from the past. Ah well, perhaps it’s time to expand my repertoire and the green dip certainly works over whites like Skull White primer, off-whites like Bleached Bone, Rotting Flesh and yellows and yellow-browns like Khommando Khaki and Bubonic Brown. I’m also very happy with the way it’s worked on the Boltgun Metal chest plate and suspect it’ll go quite nicely over Shining Gold as well.

So I think I’ll forge ahead regardless of my reservations. I’ve tidied up half of my 50 Zombies ready for base coating and dipping so I might as well keep painting. It’s been suggested that I try varying the skin tone a little and I do wonder how the green dip would go over light blue or even purple tinged flesh. I suspect you could probably end up with some quite delightfully fetid looking Zombies… (cue rolling thunder, lightning flash).

Dipped Orc Border Patrol Complete – Warhammer

Dipped Orc Border Patrol Last weekend I finished the last five Goblin Wolf Riders to complete my Orc Border Patrol force. Each figure in this force has been painted the same way – primed white, base coated with flat colours and then dipped in an all-in-one varnish and stain product. I think they turned out quite nicely, and that’s certainly the fastest I’ve managed to painted this many figures. I started dipping them at the end of March, so they’ve taken me about six weeks in total. I found at most I could finish around five man sized figures every two evenings of painting. At that rate I could paint a 1500pt Warhammer Orc army in less than a year.

Once again I have to thank Dustan for his invaluable tips regarding dipping, without them I wouldn’t have bothered trying dip. Experiments with dip continue in both our houses – I’m looking to mix a good green dip for Warhammer Zombies and 40k Plague Marines while he’s trying for a blue dip for 40k Eldar.

Dipped Goblin Wolf Riders Here’s a close up of the last five Goblin Wolf Riders. I wasn’t quite so heavy handed with the matt varnish this time and their paint jobs look a little crisper on the table. Since this is a Border Patrol force, both Wolf Rider units lack Standards and Musicians. There’s little point giving these speed bump units Standards of course, but their poor Leadership would certainly benefit from Musicians, which may get added in the future.

Next I’ll look at expanding this force with the existing figures I already have – another Boar Chariot, 30 Orc Arrer boys (I’ll probably paint 20), about another 10 Orc boys in parts and then it’s time to spend some money! It’s been years since I’ve been into a Games Workshop store, and I’ll probably end up buying additional Regiment boxes from Vagabond in Auckland city.

Dipped Goblin Wolf Riders – Warhammer

Dipped Goblin Wolf Riders As I mentioned in the last post, Goblin Wolf Riders were the next into the dipping tin. Here’s the first small ‘speed bump’ unit of five Wolf Riders for my Border Patrol force.

The wolves were based, primed white and then quickly painted with a watered down Scorched Brown. Their ears, snouts and tongues were all lightened with a mix of Scorched Brown and Dwarf Flesh. The teeth were just left as white primer. The base and wolf was then dipped into an even darker mix of the already darkened Wattyl stain + varnish product I’m using. Painting the wolves with dip was so easy I painted ten of them to completion in two evenings. This means I’ve got five Goblins left to paint to complete the second small unit.

The Goblins themselves were just primed white, painted in base colours and then dipped into the same mix as the Orcs. They didn’t turn out quite as well as the Orcs in my opinion. I suspect it’s something to do with the figures being simpler, and much less textured that the larger plastic warriors. But once again the speed of getting them painted outweighs the slight loss of quality from dipping. I also went a little overboard on the varnish for these figures and they’re extremely matt, and the spray varnish is thick enough to obscure detail in places. I must remember a light dusting is all that’s required.

Once I’ve finished the five remaining riders I will have completed my 500pt Border Patrol force. Then I’ll look at pushing the Orc unit out to 30 figures, and assembling the second Orc Boar chariot I have. I also have 30 Orc Arrer Boyz that I may or may not use. Orc archers are pretty worthless in my limited experience so if I’m going to use these figures I’ll probably try some conversions – Aaron made the excellent suggestion of replacing their bows with spears for example.

To get the force to 1500 points I’m considering purchasing a Games Workshop Giant, a couple of regiment boxes (Night Goblins and Orc Warriors) and a box of Fanatics. To save some money I may also try scratch building a couple of Goblin Spear Chuckas from balsa and plasticard.

Dipped Orc Chariot – Warhammer

Dipped Orc Boar Chariot I completed this Orc Boar Chariot over the week, painting and dipping the boars, riders and several parts of the chariot separately before putting it all together. This turned out to be something of a mistake because evidently you’re supposed to build the boars into the chariot before painting. Ah well, a sharp xacto blade and a little minor surgery on the chariot body got the boars into their harnesses with no obvious damage.

I have to say I’m pretty pleased with the end result. In particular the wood effect is superb considering it’s just a coat of dip over a Graveyard Earth base. I used to get much the same effect by messing around with several layers of drybrushing and an ink wash. The boars also turned out well I think, considering they’re painted with only three colours prior to dipping.

The next task is to find a reasonable way to dip Goblin Wolf Riders. The challenge is I’d like the wolves to be quite a dark tone. I’m considering mixing a small amount of darker dip and using a lightened base coat of Scorched Brown. Even though I bought the smallest tin of stain available, and I’ve dipped 20 Orcs and this chariot I still have plenty left in the tin, so dipping is not only easy it’s also economical. The wolf riders will get the same treatment as the Orcs and once I’ve painted ten wolf riders I will have completed a 500pt Border Patrol force.

Dipped Orc Unit Completed – Warhammer

Dipped Orc Unit Detail I finished my unit of Orc Warriors for Border Patrol earlier this week, but didn’t get a chance to photograph them until today. Due to an inability to count I’ve actually finished 21 Orcs for this unit of 20. I also have another 4 ready to paint if I want to take the unit to 25 Orcs, which is the upper limit on unit size in Border Patrol. However a unit that size is a fairly large chunk of a 500pt Border Patrol force, and I’d still like some room to experiment with other Orc or Goblin units.

Dipped Orc Unit The standard bearer in the front was partially tin dipped and partially brush dipped as I discovered my cheap tin of stain wasn’t quite as deep as I thought it was. It turns out that there are no problems brush painting dip on, which is not much of a surprise but still good to know.

I’ve also prepped an Orcish Boar Chariot for painting this week and while the Boars, Orcs and chariot wheels are all small enough to dip separately, the chariot body isn’t so it’ll be brush dipped. Hopefully it won’t be too hard to paint either since there’s not much to an Orcish chariot, just wood, metal and a few cloth tones to paint on before dipping. Once that’s complete I have ten Goblin Wolf Riders to paint to complete the 500pt force.

Although I doubt I’ll stop at 500 pts since I have another 30 Arrer Boyz I could assemble into two units and a second Boar Chariot as well which would get me up around 800 points.

Dipping Orcs Ranked Up – Warhammer

Dipped Orcs, detail It has been a week since I posted my first dipped Orc, and now I’ve almost completed two ranks of five – bar edging five bases and some varnishing. These Orcs just look better and better to me as they start to rank up and I’m left wondering why I didn’t try dipping years ago. I’m certainly not going to win any painting prizes using this technique, however it results in very passable gaming figures, and it’s so fast that it actually seems plausible to paint a 1500pts Warhammer army before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

This first shot is just detail from the end of the rank. You can see I’ve finished the first rank completely, but the second rank are still noticeably shiny, particularly if you compare their raised weapons. As per my last post I’ve tried leaving several different areas on the figures primer white. Most obviously teeth – both in the mouths and worn as decoration – and horns, but also the windings around their feet and some of the pants and shoes. I’ve discovered that this technique really only works for teeth and horns, so for any future Orcs I’ll be painting an entire base coat over majority of the figure.

I’ve also discovered that dipping is fairly forgiving of poor painting, specially around deep undercuts and recesses. For example I’ve stopped bothering worrying about the hilts of weapons embedded in gnarly Orc fists. Many of the hilts are simply painted Goblin Green along with the rest of the hand because once they’re dipped the stain settles naturally in those deep recesses, hiding the sloppy paint work. The same is true around the necks of the Orcs where the deep seam makes it hard to apply paint properly once the head is glued on. Don’t bother! The dip will hide any patchy primer left behind.

Dipped Orcs, ranked up Here’s the two ranks shot in autumn morning sunshine and I think they’re looking pretty good for a few evenings of work this week. You may notice the original test Orc, in centre front rank. He’s actually looking a bit dark now and I think I may have been a little generous with the amount of dip left on the figure. I’ve also based and primed another ten as well, so I’m set up to paint another two ranks this week.

Anyway it’s fair to say I’ve caught ‘dipping madness’ as I’ve also spent the weekend reviewing all the assembled, unpainted armies I possess both for Warhammer and 40k. I’ll keep dipping the Orcs to a 500 point Border Patrol force and then review them from there, but I’m also stripping a bunch of old 3rd edition 40k Tyranids and various Pulp giant insects I’ve partially painted. I want to experiment with a few Tyranids to come up with a passable speed painting scheme and dipping should be a good way just to knock the Pulp insects out.

Dipping Orcs – Warhammer

Orc Dipping Products After assembling 500pts of Warhammer Orcs and discussing dipping for speed painting with Dustan and several site visitors I thought I’d give it a try and found an Australian supplier of Army Painter ‘Quick Shade’: Battleline Scenics. However instead of resorting to $38AUD + shipping for tin of Quick Shade, I went to the local hardware store and picked up a couple of wood staining products on Dustan’s recommendation: Wattyl Colourwood ‘All in One Stain – Dark Mahagony’ and an tin of ‘Charcoal’ oil based stain from the same manufacturer. That set me back a total of $26NZD.

The ‘All in One Stain’ is a satin varnish that has been pre-mixed with an oil wood stain. ‘Dark Mahagony’ is the darkest product colour, and is a red-brown tone, very similar to Games Workshop’s Chestnut ink in the tin. I test dipped a primed Tyranid Spore Mine from my collection of unpainted miniatures and unsurprisingly found it a little red for my tastes. I typically mix GW’s Chestnut ink with a little India ink just to move it to an earthier tone, so thought I’d try the same with the stain. Mixing in a small amount of the ‘Charcoal’ oil stain into the tin darkened the tone to my tastes and I test dipped my first Orc.

Orc Before Dipping Here’s the figure prior to dipping. The base was covered with a mix of kitty litter and model railway ballast, glued down with PVA. The whole figure was then white primed and a simple base coat of colours painted with Games Workshop paints in an evening.

Then holding the figure by the base with a pair of pliers it was test dipped into the well stirred tin. I let the excess dip drip back into the tin until I was satisfied with what was left on the figure. It was then given a few quick flicks into an old cardboard box to remove even more dip and then I let the figure settle for a few minutes before touching up various areas with an old modeling brush. The stain tended to collect pretty heavily into deep folds and undercuts, particularly around the figure’s legs and base. I just used the brush to remove the excess in these areas, as well as a few minor air bubbles.

Orc After Drying The figure was left to dry overnight, the base black edged (I do this to all my figures, I forget why I started) and the lot varnished with Moana Matt varnish. The ‘All in One’ is a varnish too of course, and it really seals the figure very nicely once it’s dry. However it’s satin and not matt, so the Moana was just used to cut the shine down on the final figure.

Initially I wasn’t that impressed with the results, but now it’s been a few days the effect is starting to grow on me. The stain has really worked well on the metal surfaces like the weapon blades and plates on the Orc’s armor, as well as treating the wood and leather toned surfaces too. It was primarily the skin and base I didn’t like originally, but for the amount of painting effort involved I can live with them. I think my results are comparable to the Army Painter Quick Shade product too, at around half the cost – although their figures are better photographed.

Now I just have to factory line a handful more Orcs to finish a rank and see how they shape up. I notice the Army Painter figures have been base coated with fairly light tones. In fact it looks like they’ve mostly been left primed before dipping! This is something I’ll try on a few figures I think since it will obviously cut down the painting time a lot. Finally I have to say thanks to Dustan for his Wattyl suggestions and other dipping tips, and to Monty for directing us all to the Army Painter system.

Update Jan ’15: I’ve since discovered that Wattyl make that ‘All In One Stain’ in a colour called ‘Kauri’ which is actually the darkest tint it comes in. The Kauri tint is almost exactly the shade I mixed the ‘Dark Mahogany’ down to. Now I just use Kauri straight out of the tin, without altering the tint.

Orc Border Patrol – Warhammer

Unpainted Orc Chariot I had a bunch of plastic Orc and Goblins on the sprue in my garage. As they’ve been there since late 2006, they’ve definitely met the mandatory 18 month post-purchase stand-down period. So in the last week I’ve been throwing them together while watching BSG Season 2. They’ve initially been assembled as a Warhammer Border Patrol force consisting of:

– An Orc Hero on foot as the General,
– 24 Orcs with double hand-weapons,
– Two units of 5 Goblin Wolf Riders with spears,
– And an Orcish Boar Chariot with two riders.

That lot comes to around 500 points depending on whether you use the 6th or 7th Edition Orc and Goblin army book. To be honest looking at the two I don’t see a lot of difference force wise either, so it’s kind of hard to tell why Games Workshop bothered with the latest Orc army book.

I doubt these figures will see any paint in the near future. I’ve just assembled them so I can play them ‘in the gray’ with friends. I am mildly tempted to try speed painting the rank and file, which isn’t an art I’ve mastered as I typically take days to paint a since 28mm figure. I also white prime rather than black, which complicates things too. I’m considering trying a couple of green ink washes for Orc and Goblin flesh and simply scorched brown basing the rest of each figure and painting a coat or two over that. Basically that would give me ‘brown lining’ which is how I paint 15mm figures where it works reasonably well.

Anybody got any tips for speed painting white primed Orcs and Goblins?

Dustan: HeroQuest Redux – Part 1

Stu: In this post a gaming buddy Dustan, talks about his current project – painting a set of HeroQuest figures for gaming with his young son.

Way back around 1989 Games Workshop and Milton Bradley got together and produced HeroQuest. Set in GW’s Warhammer Fantasy world it recreates the adventures of four Heroes who battle the minions of the evil wizard Morcar (Zargon in America). I decided to paint up this set as something to play with my son who is turning six soon. This is the fourth set I’ve painted, for some reason they always seemed expendable when it came clearing out the cupboards, now it’s out of production I wont let this one escape me!

HeroQuest is a game for 2-5 players and comes with 35 miniatures, 15 pieces of furniture, 20 doors, a large game board and a host of cards, counters and dice. The rules are brief and simple and the quest book contains 14 Adventures. There is no system for creating dungeons as you go however a blank game map was supplied and later an adventure design kit was released.

The board consists of a grid of floor tiles with fixed walls, rubble tokens would block access to some areas to help change the shape of the map. In later expansions overlays were used to radically change the map by adding grassy caves, chasms and other special features.

The Heroes (Barbarian, Wizard, Elf and Dwarf) move around the board with 2d6 movement and are able to search for treasure, traps and secret doors. Combat is resolved using a special set of combat dice, the number of dice thrown in attack or defense was dependent on the combatant’s stat lines.

Searching for treasure allows the players to draw a random treasure card which could be anything from potions, gems, gold, items and even traps or wandering monsters. Each quest has an objective for the Heroes to complete, if they failed either by leaving the dungeon or being killed the Evil Wizard claims victory.

The game is not without its flaws. These issues were addressed by the later GW release of Advanced HeroQuest, which sadly is a little to complicated for casual play. HeroQuest’s flaws are:

  • It’s designed more as a board game rather than an RPG it seems to suggest the Heroes  are competing against each other for treasure, this is of course dependant on your players.
  • The random movement distances can really slow down this game, particularly if you are a low roller.
  • Due to the use of equipment and treasure playing cards expanding the game relied on MB releasing expansions.

Despite this HeroQuest is a good gateway game and I hope it will encourage my son and later my daughter into the hobbies that have permeated my life.

There are many resources out there with new quests, printable tiles and house rules. I have included a few of my favourites to get you started.

In the next post I’ll show you my work on painting the Heroes and furniture.