There are many wonderful things to enjoy in the Warhammer hobby. Thanks to the different settings, the vastly different factions and armies, and the different characters, there really does seem to be something for everyone. What’s more, if you’re like me, and you like to sample a little bit from each area of the hobby (just call me Mr Magpie), there is so much there to thrill, excite, enjoy and it can be a whirlwind of different ways to play, different ways to paint and so much more. But as with too much of any good thing, eventually, the broad horizons can often mean that there’s too much of a trudge between points. Miniatures that once looked as if they were cast in glittering gold can fade into fiddly, frustrating finecast and laborious lead. You can be overwhelmed by obligation, and crushed by the pressure of the grey tide. It can all get too much, but I’ve found the magic colour – green.
Whether you call them Orcs, Orks or Orruks, I just wanted to write a post about why I love greenskins and everything that they have brought to the game and the painting desk. They are, to me at least, an oasis of perpetual enjoyment when I am lost in the desert of pressure, fatigue and overburden. They are honestly one of my favourite things about the hobby, and I’ve never even painted an army of them. Heck, I’ve only ever painted a small handful and they still find their way to my list of the best Warhammer things ever. And while they may have come from a different fantasy setting, over the years, within Warhammer, they have become something wonderfully unique.
I’ve got a few projects on the go at the moment, and for at least a couple of them, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself. I want things to be perfect in my eyes and that can lead to a lot of time when I should be painting, spent instead worrying and debating with myself – almost a painter’s paralysis. One particularly tough project had me fretting, changing things, thinking I’d found solutions and then finding they caused more problems… it was daunting. So what did I do? I decided to paint something green and now my hobby block has gone and I’m constantly raring to go when I get the time to put paint to toy soldier.
But why do greenskins work like this for me? It’s a question I’ve pondered over several decaf black coffees today and I think it’s a combination of things that I will now elaborate on. I think the first point to make is that all greenskins from Snotling Blood Bowl teams to Ironjawz, from Grots to Mega Nobz, have an inherant sense of humour to them, both in terms of the models and the lore. Oh sure, there are some fierce Orruks and Orks, but even in those we can find humour. Gordrakk may look fearsome on his Mawkrusha, but just try and get the image of that fat dragon trying to actually fly out of your head and I’m sure you’ll at least smirk before it’s gone. They have a unit actually named “Nobz” for Mork’s (and Gork’s) sake!
More over, the humour is usually far more overt. From the gretchin being sucked into the Shokk Attack Gun, to the very idea of a Megatrakk Scrapjet, and to the entire cast of the Gobbapalooza. Tankbustas strapping missiles to sticks and using them as hammers, the gloriously gobsmacking guns of Flashgitz, that rumour that big Ghaz’ name is somehow a riff on Margaret Thatcher’s name… this list goes on. And I like that. I need that. The grimdark can get all too grim and far too dark sometimes and it’s just layer after layer of agenda and one-upping and that gets so dull so fast… and then there are the greenskins. They like fightin’. That’s it. So as well as being funny, they are also not too serious. Sounds like the same point, but I’d argue it was two.
From a converters perspective, they are a gift. Want to turn a Necron Monolith into a buggy? Do it. Want to turn that Dunecrawler into a helicopter? Have at it. Want to turn Nagash into some sort of Squig? …well, I mean if you can do that, I really want to see it! Some might argue that this is converting on “easy mode” but so what? It’s fun! And honestly, when you try and convert with anything else, it’s like you’re looking to create character, but with Or(ru)ks, the character is intrinsic. You’re simply bringing out what is already there rather than trying to implant something artificial. You are only limited by your own lunacy and I love that. Be mad, be free.
The lore is full of gems too, and I shall merely scratch the surface over this paragraph. From Gloomspite Gitz constantly tripping balls as they gobble up mushrooms, to the fact that Ork guns work because they put a bullet in a box with a tube on the end and they believe that’s what a gun is so of course it has to work. I adore the idea that Orks are keeping the Emperor of mankind alive because they believe him to be the biggest baddest boss in the galaxy and so he has to stay around – and their collective will is keeping his withered old heart beating. Humour, often so missing from modern Warhammer, has been allowed to grow and develop in the greenery.
And I will say this too – the game. Like I said, I don’t have an Ork army (which may be another reason why I love them – familiarity breeds contempt after all), but if i did, it would be a hundred Boyz and a load of big stompy shooty things, and I’d get to roll a billion dice and be fine with most of them missing. I’ve never come across an ork player who wasn’t fun to play against. Anyone who could literally use a shovel to pick up their dice for one round of shooting and expect to hit maybe 5 times, and does it with a smile on their face is aces in my book. Ork people are the best people.
That’s all the reasons I have to love greenskins. I’m currently having such a blast working on one of the Gobbapalooza and it’s bringing me so much enjoyment after a week of hobby-struggle. It’s so relaxing and pleasant.What’s more, it makes me smile because it’s bonkers. A real treat, and I hope you’ve enjoyed me extolling the virtues of going green every once in a while. Honestly, if you ever feel stressed out painting, and you want to have fun, pick up an Orruk, or an Ork, or even an Orc and have fun with it. Leave that confusing and frustrating project you were working on to one side, and spend a couple of days just having fun and giggling about “Nobz” – I promise you it’s an excellent tonic. In a hobby that can take itself too seriously by default, the greenskins remind you that you’re meant to be having fun. And with that, this little love letter is done, and I’m going to get back to my brushes. Onwards!