A Trio of Classic Kev Adams Citadel Greenskins

Just as with the dwarves I’ve slowly been cranking out, I’ve been trying to keep a few old-school goblinoids on my painting plate. I’ve tended to choose them based on the criteria of how easy they look like they would be to get painted, so simple clothing and/or lots of armour drives them to the top of the list when I browse my box of metal greenskins.

C12 Goblin, Oldhammer Orcs, Kev Adams

The orc on our left is one from that crossover period between WHFB2nd and 3rd editions. A Kev Adams sculpt with the fetching identifier of “Orcs with Dual Weapons 05”. Despite his rather awkward posing, it’s a decent model. I used some ochre brown in the skin mix of the two orcs here in an attempt to start varying the skin tones of these guys a bit. While it (obviously) adds more yellow to the overall look, I’m hopeful that it’s not too garish. I’ve opted to use a metal Foundry Viking shield instead of a plastic, though I’ve kept the design to simply block colour.

C12 Goblin, Oldhammer Orcs, Kev Adams

Speaking of garish… the Goblin is from the C12 range circa the mid-late 1980’s, though I’m not sure of the exact year as the catalogues are spotty from that era.the cast I have here is pretty rough, so it was a matter of doing the best I could within a reasonable amount of effort for a tiny model. It’s a Kev sculpt, but predates his “signature” goblin look, with smaller, tighter facial features and an integral shield rather than a boss for plastic ones. He actually sat in a case half-painted for many years before I noticed him recently and decided to get him done. Which also took awhile…

C12 Goblin, Oldhammer Orcs, Kev Adams

The central model on the 32mm base is the newest of this trio – a 4th Edition Orc listed in the Black Catalogue 4 (1994 filled with 1993 models) as “Orc with Sword 3”, though he’s a bit bigger in stature than his fellow, “Orc with Sword 3” painted awhile ago which is what led to me mounting him onto the larger base. He’s not as big as the actual Big’Uns, but he’s not far off.

…which kind of leads to my question for you, dear reader. While I’ve been working casually on these Fantasy Orcs, With the promise of 8th Edition looming, I’ve also been eyeing off my old-school RT Orks and the more recent 40k Brian Nelson Orcs that I started working on in 2005. (OK, recent is relative). The 40k plastics I mentioned, being larger certainly overhang their 32mm bases, though the “official” size remains 25mm. I feel that they’ll look better on the 32mm bases, just as their classic counterparts, Space Marines do. I’m not yet convinced either way on which way to go – the better aesthetic choice? The “official” choice? Wait and see what conventions on basing that 8th brings on release? At this stage it would not involve a terribly large amount of rebasing. Any thoughts?

Another pair of Kev Adams’ Citadel Orc Boyz (WHFB 4th Edition)

Today we have a couple more of Kev Adams’ Orcs that I’ve recently painted. These figures are from the 1992-93 period, or the early days of WHFB 4th edition.

Orc with Sword 1, Oldhammer, Kev Adams

Orc with Sword 1, Oldhammer, Kev Adams

Unlike the big’uns that I painted a little while ago and placed on 32mm bases, these figures fit nicely on standard 25mm bases.

4th Edition Kev Adams Oldhammer Orc

4th Edition Kev Adams Oldhammer Orc

I’ve painted them to broadly match the other Orcs I’ve been painting recently. Once again, the grinning goblin-faced shield is from the Warhammer Fantasy Regiments plastic boxed set from early 3rd edition. I haven’t got a lot of other commentary on them for the time being. A couple more orcs for the pile!

Oldhammer Orc Champions (1988, Kev Adams)

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1988, Kev Adams

Yes, believe it or not, these rather weedy little fellows were originally sold as Orc Champions. From the old WHFB days when command group blisters included a Standard, Musician, Champion and a Leader. From the 1988 catalogue, who we have here are two of #13 Champion and #14 Champion. They were obviously sculpted by Kev Adams once he had started to hit his stride with the consistent Warhammer Orc style that pretty much continues to this day. The days of experimentation with really weird concepts were now over. Not counting what they did with squigs for everything in 2nd Edition 40k, at least…

RTB02 Space Ork Raiders Advertisement from Chapter Approved. Image from Stuff of Legends.

The interesting thing (possibly the only interesting thing) about these sculpts is that they share a “base” model with the troopers from the RTB02 Space Ork Raiders boxed set, which was the first ever Space Ork boxed set for 40k, also released in 1988.

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1988, Kev Adams

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1988, Kev Adams

I painted the duplicates of #13 with slightly different coloured gear, and different shields. I do intend to use several different styles to paint my orcs’ green skin over time, and a more coherent plan would have had me hold off painting one of them now to do later with a different shade of green, but frankly there are so many of these figures to do, that doing near-identical figures in pair or trios is simply much more efficient in getting me to actually start and finish the models. As in, I’m great at starting models, but not quite as good at finishing them off. The more complex something becomes, the longer it lingers on the desk – and regular readers will have seen how often I write about figures that got started months, years or even more than a decade ago before being finished. I don’t need to add to that particular pile more than I already do…

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1988, Kev Adams

Oldhammer Orc Champions,1988, Kev Adams

Now that they’re done, they’ll be dropped into the small but slowly-growing “unit” of old-school orcs that I have, and be used in KoW, AoS or whatever else I happen to be playing that needs some less-imposing orcs.

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…

Kev Adams’ Heartbreaker Orc with Scimitar (RPE 2004)

The next Orc off the rank is this guy. A Kev Adams sculpt from shortly after he left GW, and originally from Heartbreaker in the 1990’s (when I purchased it), this figure is still available today from RPE/Ral Partha Europe as “2004 Orc w/scimitar” for a very reasonable 2 quid.

Kev Adams' Heartbreaker Orc with Scimitar, RPE 2004

I’ve painted him with quite dark skin, though he’s nowhere near the size of a Black Orc. It’s a fairly simple paint job that gives him a little bit of individuality compared to the Citadel models I’ve been painting lately while being similar enough for him to fit in wherever I need to drop him down.

Kev Adams' Heartbreaker Orc with Scimitar, RPE 2004

It’s a simple figure, all in all – but I think it’s a cracking sculpt that doesn’t need to reply on the character of old-school models, nostalgia or the act of painting it to endear it. Those things all add to this model, but I think it stands confidently on its own even without those additional elements.

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.

ORC1 Oldhammer Warrior Orc "Slyss"

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.

ORC1 Oldhammer Warrior Orc "Slyss"

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.

ORC1 Oldhammer Warrior Orc "Slyss"

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

ORC1 Oldhammer Warrior Orc "Slyss"

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.