Friday 29 April 2011

Waaagh Da Orcs!

Orcs and Goblins were the third army I started collecting, after Wood Elves and High Elves. The Orcs had always appealed to me, however I was always intimidated by the number of models required. It was only when I took possession of a friend's (rather large) collection that I was able to push past this and have a go with them.

Orcs are the iconic horde army in Warhammer. They are meant to be a green tide rushing toward their beleaguered enemies. As such, it was essential that I own too many of them! Actually, I'm not sure that this was the thought process per se, but it was something along those lines. One does not field small units of Orcs and Goblins. One fields vast units of them to frighten one's opponent, right up to the point where he or she realises they're really rather useless and scares them off with a loud clap or distracts them with a small, shiny unit of Pistoliers.

I was keen to start the Orcs because they are the arch-enemies of the Dwarfs, as collected by my oldest opponent. They would fight endless battles for the control of the mountain Holds, re-enact the Battle of East Gate, etc. Unfortunately we have hardly played since then, but the theory is still good.

For a long time my Orcs were my favoured tournament army, and they got far too much use. I then went the other way, being a bit sick of them and wanting to give some attention to my other armies. This on-again, off-again approach has resulted in some rather disjointed paintjobs and some rather neglected models. I have gone back and refurbished some of them, but given they are still not my main focus at the moment, they still have a long way to go.

My full painted army, as it currently stands. My poor photography doesn't really show the army to its fullest. For instance, that bright green mass at the back is about 80 Orcs all lumped in together. I think there are about 230 Savage, Black and Vanilla Orc infantry there in total

Black Orcs - 65 of them, I think. A sensible unit

My old home-made "ninja" Black Orcs, made basically from single-pose Orc Archers and Ogre swords.

The 3 Stooges

Grom the Paunch rides again!

My favoured Goblin general, Skuzzbutt. He rides Fuzzbutt, his pet furry spider

Night Goblins including my home-made netters, made from flywire

More Orc Shamans than you can points a bony stick at. If you think they look similar, this is an optical illusion caused by them being the same model

Just a couple of birdies

They're like onions

Ogres are like onions. So they tell me, anyway. To be honest, my experience with ogres was that they were a bit one-dimensional. Shallow. Not like onions at all, really. Except thinking about the army book made you want to cry.

I am probably being a bit mean here, but I did find the Ogre Kingdoms army to be rather inflexible. The magic frustrated me, the units didn't fight half well enough to justify how impressive they looked, and my stubborn insistence on using the Thundermace (best thing ever - or it would be if I could ever roll a hit) probably dented my enthusiasm. I also refused to fill the army with Gnoblars, as that wasn't why I bought the army. I wanted a whole army of Ogres. I also planned to use them as mercenaries in other armies, but we'll talk about that later.

Pictures of the army are below. I'm not quite sure why I decided to make an Ogre Baker instead of a Butcher. Maybe I thought he was less gross. I never went through with plans to make the full set of Butcher, Baker and Candlestick Maker. Maybe one day...

The Yhetees did actually start life with the normal heads, however I didn't like the models at all. I was calling them Muppets for a long time, then painted them as such, then decided to go the whole hog and make proper heads for them. This will be the start of a whole new theme for the army. The beginnings have already been made on a Big Bird Slavegiant...

My Ogre army
My characters


Muppet Yhetees


Dwarfs are not one of my original armies. The friend who started playing Warhammer with me has always been a Dwarf player, so for a long time I regarded it as his race, and left it alone. However, I always loved the history of the Dwarfs, with their great fallen cities and bitter feuds. They make for great story-driven games and have a lot of character.

I also love the old Marauder-era models of Dwarfs, with their big noses and serious personality. In my opinion these old Dwarfs are far superior to the current ranges, so it was when these models started to disappear that I decided I had to move if I ever wanted to own them.

Unfortunately when I painted this army up (in 7th edition), the playing style of Dwarfs was not entirely to my liking. I managed to get the army painted for a 2500pt tournament, but stopped straight after that. I have barely even played a game with them since then. This also means that my painted force is really not suited to 8th ed (some of my forces absorbed the change through sheer size, but when it's a bare-bones force to begin with, that was never going to happen here).

This army is somewhat forgotten. Hopefully I will get back to them soon, and they can get the attention they deserve.

My Dwarf Army

Dwarf characters


Old-school Longbeards

Modern Longbeards. In a flash of genius a few years ago, I painted them to match the old ones. Together with the grudge pony to pad them out, it makes for a unit of 50. Huzzah, something 8th-ed compatible...

Old Ironbreakers. Tend to get used as Warriors. Sucks to be them. :-(


Old Bugman's Rangers. Not enough of them to be useful. Need to paint more.


My vast array of painted war machines. Fear them, etc.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Confessions of a Hoarder

I am a hoarder. I like having the option to play large games with my armies, and having a good choice of what to use in smaller games. As a result my armies tend to be quite large. Unfortunately I am not an especially prolific painter, so my collection of unpainted models is sadly more impressive than those that are painted. At last count my armies stood roughly thus (I'll try to get some photos up later):
  • 12,000pts High Elves (maybe 6K painted)
  • 15,000pts Orcs and Goblins (8K painted)
  • 8,000pts Wood Elves (5K painted)
  • 8,000pts Empire (3K painted)
  • 8,000pts Dwarfs (2.5K painted)
  • 5,000pts Ogre Kingdoms (3K painted)
  • 8,000pts Bretonnians (pretty much unpainted)
  • 4,000pts Dark Elves (pretty much unpainted)
Add to that rather silly tally an unpainted Eldar army and a whole lot of unpainted Battlemechs, and my lack of responsibility should be apparent. Maybe having a blog will help this...

I think my hoarding tendencies stem from when I first got involved in the hobby. I was a school kid with no real income, so my collection of models was small and largely driven by birthday and Christmas gifts. My friend and I would gaze in wonder at the large painted armies inside White Dwarf magazines, and dream of the day when we could field such fabulous forces. Such wild dreams as "imagine having one of every unit in your army", and being able to field "huge" regiments of 20 models. These things were beyond our reach and there was something magical about even imagining having such vast resources.

Eventually I got a job and it didn't take me long to splurge on a lot of the things I could never afford before. I bought that Silver Helm unit I had always wanted. And a decent number of Swordmasters. And a chariot. It was quite exciting at the time, and it probably changed the way I played the game. My armies were no longer dictated by the strict limitations of my available models - I had choice.

But something else changed too. It was about this time that my collection of unpainted models started to take on a life of its own. Up until that point, my trickle of incoming models could be matched by my enthusiasm to get them painted, and the bare metal was kept to a minimum. However, with the sudden influx of models that having an income brought, I could no longer keep up. I also wonder if this had the double effect of denting my enthusiasm for painting - having a large pile of unpainted stuff in front of me made the task far more daunting. It is hard to lavish attention on a single model when you know there are so many others waiting (this is still a problem for me today). I had a girlfriend by this point, too - so my time was not as unlimited as it might have previously seemed.

Shortly after these events, I also inherited a large, unpainted army of orcs and goblins from a friend who realised he was not going to use them, and the problem started to spread. Not only could I not keep up with my growing number of High Elves and Wood Elves, but there was another whole army on the scene. The task of painting all these models seemed impossible, and maybe I just sort of gave up at this point.

Like most gamers, I have made various resolutions to paint what I have before buying more, but I have never been able to take such things seriously. My collection having grown to 8 armies, and the availability of cheap second-hand models in some stores and on the internet, has rendered any such thoughts comical.

Perhaps you have heard the old saying that a gamer dies if he paints every last model he owns. From this perspective at least, my immortality seems assured...

About Me

Greetings. My name is Greg Johnson, I live in Melbourne, Australia, and I am a gamer. At the time of writing this I am 31 years old and have been playing Warhammer for about 20 years. I think this pretty firmly places me in the Old Fart category as far as Warhammer players go, although I know it pales in comparison to some. At times I dabble with other games, such as Blood Bowl and Battletech, and less frequently things like Warhammer 40K and Battlefleet Gothic. I also play the odd PC and XBox game (don't we all). I consider myself a Warhammer Fantasy player first and foremost, and I doubt anyone would disagree. This blog will likely be focused on that.

With the help of a couple of friends, I founded the Hampton Games Club back in 1999. I get along there most weeks, and have been playing in tournaments pretty regularly since about the same time. I used to enter them to be competitive, but nowadays I find I am happier floating about on the middle tables, meeting new people and playing some games.

I have the good fortune to be married to a very understanding wife, who not only tolerates me playing with war dollies, but has entered tournaments in the past. We also have a son who does not yet know what a dragon is, but will probably know all too much about such things before he ever makes it to school.

Anyway, enough about me (for now).