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.

Orc Big’Uns with Axe and Sword (WHFB 4th Edition)

Keeping up the tradition of Orcs vs Dwarves, today we have some more of the mean, green boyz. Specifically a trio of Big’Uns from the early 90’s – 1992-93 to be more exact, or the early days of WHFB 4th edition.

Orc Big'Un with Axe, Orc Big'Un with Sword 2

As befits orcs of this size, I’ve rebased them both on 32mm bases. They’re both just too big for 25mm bases – round or square. With a pair of duplicate sculpts here, I had the options of painting them the same, mass-assembly style, converting one for proper uniqueness, or giving them different shields and simply painting them a bit differently. I went with the third option, both because it’s an acceptable compromise and because these days I’m really loath to chop up old figures that aren’t already broken for conversion purposes. I mean, I cut a slotta out of all of these flat-topped 32mm bases rather than snip the slotta off the model!

Orc Big'Un with Axe, Orc Big'Un with Sword 2

The ogre-sun-face shield is (I think) from the goblins in the 4th Edition WHFB starter box, while the grinning goblin-faced shields are positively ancient – from the PBS3 Warhammer Fantasy Regiments plastic boxed set circa the late 1980’s. Damn, I wish I could buy a few of those boxes today.

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


A pair of Kev Adams’ Citadel Orcs (and a little rant!)

Today I have a couple more orcs to share. These were started god-only-knows how long ago (seriously, I have NO idea) and finished during the long period recently where I was too busy and burnt out by work to post much – but still doing what I could to get some painting in.

Citadel Kev Adams Orc with Sword, Big'Un with Mace

The smaller one is from 1993, so the early days of WHFB 4th edition. He’s definitely a variant sculpt to the commander to the 1992 Rock Lobber. I’ll have to find, build and paint it. I may have even painted the other crew in the past few years, so that should theoretically be an easy unit to reunite and complete. Anyway, he’s listed in the Black Catalogue 4 (1994 filled with 1993 models) as “Orc with Sword 4”.

Citadel Kev Adams Orc with Sword, Big'Un with Mace

The larger orc is found in the same catalogue. Called “Orc Big’Un with Mace”, this pair is clearly from the period where the interesting names of 3rd edition and before had been dropped to be replaced with upfront descriptions. I actually rebased him recently onto the 32mm, as there was quite a lot of overhand on the 25mm round I had him on. I plan to continue to drop large orc models onto the 32mm bases.

Both will eventually find use in various games including Kings of War, though I’m not sure what as exactly for the big guy. Their orc list is lacking pretty severely in decent analogues. When I recently read that KoW plans to add more units to the Orc and Goblin armies, I suggested to some members of the RC that they add something to represent the archetypes of “bigger meaner orcs” and “barbarian/berserker orcs” I was brushed off since they were clearly analogues to Big’Uns/Black Orcs and Savage Orcs, while they want to go in a more original direction. This from the people who started out by bringing us a range of alternative WHFB models for Orcs, Dwarfs, Elves, Chaos Dwarfs and followed up with the highly original Space Orx, Space Skaven, Forge Fathers (Space Dwarfs/Squats), and the Uncharted Empires book filled with rules to use your formerly-WHFB armies. I mean, I appreciate the rules, but don’t even pretend that there’s a precedent of being particularly original.

No, instead, they’re going with this:

The RC wants to do a new unit for each of the core races (main rulebook + Trident Realms + Nightstalkers), but also bring them all up to the same number of units. This means some armies, such as Orcs and surprisingly Goblins, will get multiple new units. This hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Ronnie did agree to flying gore riders for Orcs.

and later:

Also, I should clarify that flying pigs = flying gore riders. Background wise something along the lines of an Abyssal Dwarf interbreeding experiment (like ADwarf halfbreeds) that was uncontrollable by the ADwarfs and a flock escaped, but they’re now bred extensively by Orcs.

Yep. No orc berserkers or bigger, meaner orcs. Those are too derivative! Instead – flying pigs!

Oh, Mantic...

Oh, Mantic…