Zoat!

Oldhammer Zoat Mage

Another quite old model today – one of the 2-part Zoats for Warhammer Fantasy circa early 3rd Edition. There were at least three designs of the original Zoats – this one, the “Mage”. “The Warrior” with a mace-axe and also the original one-piece casting, which was a fair bit smaller. I’ve just read about the existence of a “Baby Zoat“, though I’m a little dubious, as the sculpt looks a little …modern? There are certainly more modern takes on the concept though, especially with the popularity of “Oldhammer”.

Oldhammer Zoat Mage

While the paint here is nothing special, this guy was actually painted back in the 1990’s, and I’ve learned enough by this time to know when to not strip down the models from my youth – especially when I’m sure I could find another on eBay if I want another go ’round. I don’t think it’s terrible – the drybrushing works on the rough, lizard-scaled skin, and I gave the more coarse scales on his back and flanks a slightly more pale/rough look. All I’ve done “today” was to tear him off the old green-flocked horse base and cut a slotta into a modern AoS-style cavalry base, and add some base clutter. I think it adds a huge amount to the presentation of this old model. I’d love to work out some stats to play AoS with it. That would be awesome!

Oldhammer Zoat Mage

For anyone wondering “WTF is a Zoat?”, they were Bryan Ansell’s attempt to add some uniqueness to Warhammer, back in the early-ish days. Not a terrible motivation, especially given just how cribbed Warhammer is from everything else and how generic it was back in those days of 2nd and early 3rd edition. The story goes that the Design team of the day hated them and instead came up with the almost-as-ill-fated Fimir who were also lost and forgotten, but made a small, Forge World/Warhammer Forge comeback a few years ago. After all, what’s “Dark Fantasy” about a ripped, lizard-rhino-centaur sorcerer who looks he could tear the limbs off your torso without a second thought? Uh-huh.

Zoat Concept Art - Copyright GW

Sure, the concept art looks a little goofy and weaksauce, but the models certainly don’t! It appears that the design team won out, and quite quickly as I cannot find the Fantasy Zoats listed in the old Catalogues at all, even the ’88 and ’89 catalogues list the Fimir, but no sign of the poor old Zoats! (Aside from the 40k ones.) Their genesis and demise is discussed briefly here as a side note to a discussion on Fimir. Worth a read.

Oldhammer Zoat Mage

I did at one point have the 40k Zoat models, which were tied in as larger Tyranid creatures and which recycled the same body piece as the fantasy models, though I thought they were fairly poor executions of the superior-looking fantasy versions, I do at this stage wish I hadn’t traded them away back in the mid-90’s. In fact, after writing the previous sentence, I took a moment to have a quick look, and in a couple of weeks now, I should have two of the three 40k models arriving in my lap. So that’s going to be a thing, then.

C15 Orc “Cyclops” aka Fangor Gripe, Chieftain of the vile Rune Orcs. (Alan & Michael Perry, 1985)

Another seriously Oldhammer blast from the past is this guy. Known as “Cyclops” in the old catalogues for rather obvious reasons, this Orc was sculpted by the Perry Twins, and the earliest reference I can find to it is in the Autumn 1985 Citadel Journal. Thanks to a little bit of extra research spurred by IRO, it turns out that this guy was also the designated model for Fangor Gripe, Chieftain of the vile Rune Orcs in the classic WHFB 2nd Edition Campaign Blood Bath at Orc’s Drift.

C15 Orc Cyclops, Fangor Gripe, Chieftain of the vile Rune Orcs.

I was rooting around in my metal O&G box for some more models to paint after completing the previous batch (which I haven’t fully shown yet, but soon!) and this guy stuck out to me. He’d previously been overlooked as a ratty old figure that never especially appealed, but since Nostalgia is the new black, and more importantly, he’d clearly paint up pretty quickly I fished him out and made him have the colours. I tried to do something interesting with his breastplate and the metals, mixing both a brown and blue tone. but I fear it’s too subtle in these photos, let alone in person. Something to folllow up on down the line, though!

C15 Orc Cyclops, Fangor Gripe, Chieftain of the vile Rune Orcs.

A simple and straightforward paintjob here. It’s not a flashy model, and most of it’s interest comes from its cyclopean nature (*edit: And his named spot in the Orc’s Drift Scenario.) If it had two eyes, it wouldn’t even have a whole lot of that nostalgia-based “character” and would be a pretty unassuming and generic orc for the middle or back rank of some unit. Still, it’s another one down, and it’s enough of a curio that it gets it’s own blog entry today. It’d be pretty funny to use him in an AoS game, though – so I’ll have to do that whenever I get around to trying out the game.

Kev Adams’ Heartbreaker Orc Warlord (1995)

I’d planned to take new, better group photos of the Iron Warriors for today’s post, but unfortunately I was feeling under the weather yesterday, and am still that way now – so it didn’t happen. With a solid week of work ahead of me, it’ll hopefully happen next weekend!

In the meantime, here’s a model where I already had the photographs ready. This guy is another of my renovated models. Having been painted back some number of years ago, the overall palette I’d used was more than a little too garish and had a few too many colours for my modern, more refined taste. The solution? Repaint parts of the model, tone some of it down, and give it a new base. Ergo! A new lease on life for this previously rather sad model.

Kev Adams' Heartbreaker Orc Warlord (1995)

The slotta dates this model as sculpted back in 1995. It’s a hella-chunky model, and the huge shoulderpads really give him some heft. I think the rather plain helmet could have been a lot nicer, though. As with much of the old-school stuff in my collection, I purchased this model back in the 1990’s. Part of Kev Adams’ post-GW output, I find it odd that someone like RPE hasn’t re-released it alongside the other Heartbreaker stuff that they have.

Kev Adams' Heartbreaker Orc Warlord (1995)

Originally I’d painted him as a Black Orc, which means I started him before the current line of plastics or their predecessors that share the current aesthetic in metal. I rebased him onto a 32mm base, which fits the figure much more betterer. I also lightened up his skin from the near-black that it was and repainted many of the “soft parts”, making his leather and cloth accessories much more appropriate. Purple pouch? Yellow wristbands? Ugh! Much nicer this way…

Marauder MM16 Dwarf Slayers …and I guess I have a finished unit now(!)

I have been going back and forth between Dwarves and Orcs a bit over the past couple of months. Well, rather than break that pattern, I’m going to continue with it while I get a bunch of models on my desk completed. Hopefully without adding too many more to the queue.

I recently decided to dig out all of my metal Slayers with the intent on working my way through them. In that batch are a pile more of the mid-90’s range, as well as a bunch from the Marauder range.

Dwarf Adventurer 09, Troll Slayer, Oldhammer Slayer

The Original Troll Slayer “Wild Nyjhul”

I was never a big fan of the Marauder Slayers. They were just a bit random for my taste, and a bit cartoony to boot. While the Slayer look wasn’t as fully defined at that stage, the archetype that will always work for me is “Wild Nyjhul”. The Marauder Slayers were overall a bit far from that.

WD scan via Stuff of Legends

I don’t think the painted examples helped too much either (grey beards and orange hair just looked – and still looks – odd). Finally, I just didn’t like the Morrison’s Dwarf sculpts as much as I did the Perry’s. Some of their other Dwarves are very fine, but their Slayers just aren’t as good. Citadel’s Dwarves have always had wonky proportions, but the Marauder Slayers were overall a step a little too far towards them just being heads with arms and legs attached.

Now that I’ve spent the last 5 minutes slagging them off. The act of painting them has warmed me to these models a bit. I also like the fact that they’re not all armed with the typical axes. After all, Dishonoured Dwarves would have come from a variety of walks of Dwarven life, and so I see the other weapons mixed in – particularly the swords – as a reflection of that. Particularly for the (let’s face it) less impressive models like the Marauder models that can be viewed as representing Dwarves who have more recently taken the Slayer’s Oath.

I’ve included a bonus shot of the naked slayer, to show off his dragon tattoo. I think I may have to go back over it with the blue to redefine it though. The thin layer of flesh to embed the tattoo “into his skin” seems to have worked a little too well…

For the wounded slayer, I considered adding fresh blood to his wrappings after varnishing the models. I decided against it, instead going for more of a dried blood stain on them than a monents-fresh set of wounds. Think David Wenham in 300.

Citadel Dwarf Slayers, Troll Slayer, Giant Slayer, Dragon Slayer, Daemon Slayer, Warhammer Quest Slayer, Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker, Marauder Miniatures Slayers

I decided on a group shot of all my currently-finished Slayers, to see how they looked together. Also including the rebased-on-32mm Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker, who I think looks much better on the larger base.

Then while putting them all back onto the shelf with the new three, I noticed that I actually had enough for a complete KoW regiment, plus the two heroes on their 32mm bases. So, having accidentally achieved Numberwang, I took them down again and mounted them on a unit base and took a couple more photographs. They’re guaranteed to be juggled around as I complete more of the metals. The later Giant Slayers will be condensed into their own regiment along with standards and musicians, while the smaller models – Troll Slayers as well as the Marauder and older Citadel models will end up on their own regiment base. But for now, they’re ready to kick some arse as a single unit!

ORC1 Oldhammer Warrior Orc “Slyss” (1987?)

This time I have a very “Oldhammer” Warhammer Orc Warrior, known as “Slyss” from the 2nd-3rd Edition era, sculpted by Kev Adams. I bought this guy and started to paint him long, long ago and only recently found him in a Chessex case and made myself complete him.

As can be seen, he’s one of those models with the huge, spiky shield boss. A big part of getting this guy finished was simply deciding what to do with it. The easier option would have been to make it a big, nasty spike. The other obvious option, though a little more involved was to follow Oldhammer tradition and turn it into a 3-D shield, and use the boss as the basis for a nose. Obviously, I went with the latter. I built up very slight brow ridges, bridge of the nose, cheekbones, lower lip, teeth and nostrils with liquid greenstuff. Mostly so the shield wouldn’t look like a completely flat piece with a big spike sticking out of it. The Bridge of the nose and nostrils then, were the most important aspects.

The earliest reference I can find of this guy is in the 1987 Citadel Journal, which pretty safely dates the model to 1986-87. He’s an evil-looking bastard, alright – and a good example of the whole “older models have character” thing that people like to bandy around – and overuse at times. With such squinty eyes and a weird-as-hell mouth – he fits in here. He’d work okay these days as some sort of Chaos Mutant, painted in more human skin tones.

Rear view shows the slightly crude, but still detailed sculpting of Kev Adams’ early Warhammer Orcs. Along with the crocodillian mouth and face that is oddly reminiscent of some renditions of trollface. Also, my awesome handpainted woodgrain shieldback. :p

This pic is the money shot – my show-off pic for the freehanded Ogre-Face shield design. No radiating black sun lines or chequerboard on this one. Just the nasty face, scowling at the world in front.

Citadel Oldhammer Dwarf Adventurer and Stonehaven Dwarf Rogue

We’ve got two dwarves today. One old enough to quality as right proper Oldhammer, and the other quite recent.

The first of the two, sometimes called “Dwarf Ninja” and other times “Dwarf Rogue” comes from the Dwarf Adventurers line found in the 1988 Citadel Catalogue, meaning he was released around 1887 or thereabouts. Looking through the 1987 Citadel Journal, the Dwarves in there, also by the Perry Twins are of a slightly different style to this one. I got this figure back in the day, started painting him, stopped, then restarted, did what I thought was a great job, screwed it up with a black wash, restarted and finally finished him recently. He’s got a vaguely middle eastern feel, with the scarf around his head, and so I painted his skin in a slightly different-to-usual tone compared to how I usually paint my dwarves. He also has a nice line in thieves’ tools on his belt.

His partner in crime is another of Stonehaven’s dwarves from their 2012 Kickstarter. I’ve shared a few of these figures before now, and if I ever finish painting the lot of them I’ll do a group shot. This dwarf rogue was started a couple of years ago to represent an NPC in our very, very occasional Pathfinder campaign. She fit the bill perfectly, and so a couple of weeks ago I saw the half-painted figure sitting on my desk and finally made myself finish her off. No thieves tools in play here, just a pair of dual-wielded daggers for some stabby good times.

I think they make quite the pair.

Aside from the obvious use in role-playing games and as a character meeple in various board games, I’ve started to think about combining a bunch of the more out-there Dwarf Adventurer types into a unit for Kings of War. Possibly using the berserker stat line to represent them being a bit more reckless but a hell of a lot more dangerous than your regular dwarf. We’ll see…

Marauder MM27 Giant Black Orc

Marauder MM27 Giant Black Orc

Today’s figure is another that was finished back in 2016, that I’m only just getting around to sharing. Like it says in the title of the post, this guy is one of Marauder Miniatures’ MM27 line of Giant Black Orcs.

Marauder MM27 Giant Black Orc

One of the many ranges released by Trish* and Aly Morrison’s Citadel offshoot Marauder Miniatures were Orcs and Goblins. The Orcs, with their scale mail and Mongol-style helmets were a real highlight of all of their ranges, with a style that remains distinctive even today. Subedai has recently showcased some fantastic looking converted boar boys using these same models.

Part of the Orc range that was a little more limited were the Giant Black Orcs, released around about White Dwarf 128 (August 1990). There were apparently only four sculpts, and so they seem to be designed more as an appendix or supplement to Citadel’s existing line – though back then Black Orcs were an ill-defined thing as far as actual models go. Just pick out your bigger orc models and divide them between “Big’Uns” and “Black Orcs”. I’ve got to say that these Black Orcs were not Marauder’s finest work by a long shot.

Black Orcs of course derive from Tolkien’s Uruk Hai, which GW had a range of, though those seemed a bit “normal sized” even back then. The only distinct Black Orcs to that point were Nick Lund’s Giant Black Orcs from 1985 – also a pretty indistinct set, and Lund’s Regiment of Renown: RR18 – Eeza Ugezod’s Mother Crushers. Citadel’s Black Orcs wouldn’t get their own distinct style again until the mid-1990’s, when they launched that terrible range with the huge horns and ridiculous looking axes. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s when the current, heavily armoured design debuted with the metal range, to be updated a few years later with the current range of plastics – now called “Ironjawz ‘Ardboyz”. The current/2004ish design is easily the best iteration of Warhammer Black Orcs in my opinion, being both distinctive and badass looking.

Games Workshop Black Orcs. Now known as Orruk Ironjaw 'Arboyz. Because of course they are.

Games Workshop Black Orcs. Now known as Orruk Ironjaw ‘Arboyz. Because of course they are.

What does this mean for the Marauder model above? Well, he’ll eventually be rolled into whatever Mantic call Big’Uns in Kings of War (hm… Ax, Greatax, Morax… nothing there that really works for Big’Uns or Black Orcs… I might have to fudge something for our friendly games.) He may occasionally be used in RPGs, skirmish gaming or maybe even Silver Tower. Do they have an Orc character for that yet? I’ll figure it out later…

*Now Trish Carden