Orks · Warhammer 40000

An exercise in patience.


I knew what I was getting into.  I wasn’t looking forward to the process, but I hoped the end result would be worth it.  So before I started revamping my Ork army I had 40 Shootas and 20 Sluggas, and while I like the look of the Ork Boy kit holding a shoota better, the quintessential image of an Ork army to me is a green tide slogging across a table just eager to get up close and familiar.  In 4th/5th edition, I ran them in groups of of 20, which even then was probably not super efficient, but with the 8th edition rules 30 just seems mandatory.

I know you can mix weapons for Boyz now, but I still like the idea of running specialized squads and I did want to keep a squad of Shootas.  With the extras, I had to do a bit of literal arm breaking to convert some of those Shootas to Sluggas because no Ork gets left behind in this WAAAGH.  I picked up an extra 30 Boyz giving me a total of 90 to form the backbone of an army.


As I mentioned in a previous blog, I actually first painted my Orks as Goffs for simplicity’s sake and partially because black just felt safer as a novice painter.  The Ork on the left is pretty much how the army originally looked.  It’s not bad, but it’s not much to look at either.  Luckily, a largely black color scheme makes it pretty easy to repaint an army if you ever feel like it.  Again, yellow was always this kind of intimidating color to paint (as was white) because coverage on older paints was just so poor, but with the release of the newer line of paints and a tutorial on Warhammer TV on Youtube, I felt like maybe I could give it a try.

The technique was basically a yellow base paint, which for me was Iyanden Darksun (or the equivalent of Averland Sunset), a drybrush of Hexos Palesun, and then a glaze of Lamenters Yellow.  And y’know?  Again, not bad, as we can see on the middle Ork, but it’s a very dull shade of yellow and I wasn’t happy with it.  I actually repainted my 1,000 points of Orks with this technique, but ended up shelving it again for awhile.  Finally, the Ork on the right was pretty much a test run for what would be the beginning of an entire army overhaul.


So Games Workshop seems to do this thing where every so often a different Craftworld or Clan or Sept, etc. kind of becomes the new face of the faction.  The Bad Moonz became this a few years back when the new Flash Gitz and other Ork models came out.  They also put out a How to Paint Orks book that I was able to thumb through and it gave me the urge to give Orks just one last shot, and finally I landed on a technique I was happy with.  It’s modified a bit from the book, but here’s how I did it:

  • Basecoat of Iyanden Darksun (or Averland Sunset)
  • Build up to a solid layer of Flash Gitz Yellow
  • Heavy wash of Cassandora Yellow
  • 2:1 mix of Lahmian Medium and Dark Flesh* (or Doombull Brown) into recesses and used to “stain” parts, especially on armor plates.
  • Edge highlight of Screaming Skull
  • If needed, a very fine highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh

Quick note: Dark Flesh is actually kind of a reddish brown, and I at least think Doombull Brown is the closest equivalent in the current range.

Anyway, it took time and quite a few breaks, but I finally did get the three squads done.  Once they were done, not only did I get a really good grasp of how to paint yellow in this way, between practicing basic freehand in the form of checkered patterns, flames and scratches, my brush control actually improved a bit.  It also made moving on to other models a bit more exciting.


For practicality’s sake, I kept the original skin tone of the Boyz intact, adding a few extra highlights to make the old paint job pop a bit more, but for any Ork that might have been around to see a few WAAAGHs — Nobs, Weirdboyz, Warbosses — I decided to go with a more drab green.  I also found the old Scorched Brown / Rhinox Hide base color for bases to be kinda boring, so I went for Gorthor Brown and built on it from there.  I’ll detail those in later blogs.