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  • Painting Orks (Orcs)

    Posted on May 20th, 2007 Rob No comments

    A simple question asked on our message board (what colour is an Ork?) lead to a group effort on describing how they each painted thier respective Orks.

    Of course, no guide would be complete without referring to the Games Workshop “Getting Started guide to painting Orks“.

    kkoene’s ork painting techniques.

    All colors are GW, and I use dropper bottles, but if you have an old dropper from infant medicine laying around that works too! And the magic wash I refer to is 3 parts water to 1 part Future Floor wax.

    • First thing to do is to primer the mini black. (duh)
    • Then mix up a 1:1 ratio of Goblin green and Brown Ink (I have tried using DA Green and Catachan Green with much success as well!)
    • The next stage is 1:1:1:1 Goblin green/Brown Ink/Bilious Green/Magic wash
    • I apply this stage 2 or 3 times, stay away from the uber deep recesses.
    • Next, add to the mix above 1 drop of Bilious green and o­ne of magic wash.
    • Continue adding Bilious green and magic wash until you are happy with the highlights.

    Here is o­ne of the results I got from the above

    Kkoene's Ork

    ‘Ow to paint dem orks by Hamster Boy

    1) Preparation: As always, clean off flash with hobby knife and sand paper/emory boards, wash off mold release, allow time to dry.

    2) Assembly: OK, today I am using the orcs that came with the Warhammer starter box. In all, fairly detailed models, but only a couple of basic, awkward poses.

    Problem: They don’t rank well. Well, this is only a problem for new people, who are the most likely people to be buying the box set. How do we fix this.?

    Here you see our orc, in a particularly dynamic pose, looking ready to smash many ‘Umis skulls in, collecting their teef for after the battle. This is how your newb would most likely glue him to the base, because it “looks right.” But look at this:

    You can see, he hangs over onto the other bases. This wouldn’t be a problem if the other orcs weren’t all airing out their smelly, green pits in a two-hand weapon rage.

    Bleah. There has to be a better way. Solution: Consistant alingment of minis.

    Here, i have drawn a line from one corner of the base to the other. This is the line we will follow to get all of our emerald friends in order. Notice, the parts of the model that must maintain this line are the weapon hands, not the feet or head. Also, the feet stick out just a little bit off the plateau of the base. This is fine, as long as they are consistant and don’t encroach on other bases.

    Here they are now, all in the “correct” position in order to rank properly. The model with the lowered weapon follows the same pattern with no problem, except when there is the same model to the front left of it. Then he stabs him in the back. This is a minimal hassle to get around, all things considered. Just reposition the minis when you deploy the unit.

    The final thing to note is that all of the ork models have an extended neck bump that allows correct positioning of the head so that they are looking foward. Glue the head on in the direction indicated by the arrow after the body is secured to the base, and they will look just fine.

    3) Painting: I keep my rank and file painting a pretty straightforward affair. I don’t mix paints, and i dont get crazy with details no o­ne will ever see in a mob. But, i do like to give units character, and some good drybrushing and inking techniques will keep things moving in a positive direction.

    Prime the entire model black. If you do this with spraypaint, make sure you go over the model and get all the missed bits with Chaos Black. A grey or metallic area o­n a model will draw attetion away from your otherwise stellar painting. Priming (with enamels) also gives your other (acrylic) paint something to hold o­nto.

    Basecoat everything that is supposed to be flesh Dark Angels Green. Yes, even the neck. You can be a little sloppy for the next few steps, but this is a good time to mention, i like to leave some thin black gaps between areas where different colors meet, such as the hand and the weapon handle, or the arm and vest sleeve. This makes the colors stand out that much more, and will make cleanup after you have painted the flesh easier.

    Now, drybrush with Snot Green. Use an old brush, dont be afraid to get paint o­n the rest of the model. My brush was too big for this step, and i made a real mess.

    Here’s another picture of the same step. It is hard to tell the paint highlights from my camera lighting, but they are there.

    Lastly, i do a light drybrush of Scorpion Green. This is a bright green, and will look like your orc is radioactive, but for now that color is relative. As you pick out more details of the model, you will want the brighter highlights.

    Look at how the knuckles and the muscles stand out now! This should be your desired effect, as it gives a tiny man some depth and shadow.

    Cleanup: Go over the model, and paint everything that isnt supposed to be flesh Chaos Black. dont forget to clean up around the collar from when you painted the neck. Now is the time to start being more careful, as you want to minimize what you have to repaint. That costs you time and never looks right.


    Start picking out items o­n the model for the big details. Paint anything “metal” with Boltgun or Chainmail. Paint the trousers and boots dark, earthy colors. GW browns are wonderful; Snakebite Leather, Scorched Brown, Vermin Brown, Bubonic Brown, these are all great. Paint the wooden handle of the axe Scorched Brown and drybrush with Snakebite leather. O­nce the paints have dried, go over the “metal” with watered down Black Ink. This makes it look a little grungier and greasy. If you want it to look rusty, use Brown ink instead. If you don’t think your inkenough, you can go over it later with a Boltgun drybrush to pick out the raised surfaces.

    Somewhat Final Pictures:

    No, he’s not done, but enough for this article. There is still plenty of detail i could pick out, like the other weapon handle, the folds in the trousers, etc., but at some point I would flock him and call it a day. With 20-30 of these bad boys o­n a table, a lack of small detail is lost in the sea of painted greenskins. Critical (imho) are things like teeth. I painted his tongue as well (Scab Red), but a spot of Skull White or Bleached Bone o­n each tooth surface will look great, and is easy to do. Don’t try and paint the whole tooth, just the fronts. Eyes, if well defined enough, can be yellow spots, but are not nearly as important as the teeth.

    Lightly drybrush a dark grey across the whole tunic, picking out the folds in the cloth. Paint dags (arrows) or a checkerboard pattern along the eges of the vest, or even a freehand skull or sun. This helps unify the unit, and is very “orcy.” Don’t worry if it looks sloppy, that’s the way it’s supposed to look! 🙂

    This guy was a lot of fun to paint, and would have gone much quicker of not for the photography. Be sure to paint in batches of 5-10 figs or more to save o­n wasting paint. Before you know it, you will have a whole painted army!


    Ork by Davidb

    First off, I must say that Hamster Boy is a hard act to follow. Great article! I have not gone into the same level of detail as Hamster Boy because it appears we do things very similar, incuding our skin tones for Orc Boyz. My write-up is about how I paint Black Orcs. They’re a little bigger and a lot meaner than the regular boyz.

    Step 1: After priming my model Chaos Black (and touching up any missed spots), I paint the eyes. Blood Red with Sunburst Yellow pupils. I always paint them first since it is easier to touch up when everything else is just black.

    Borgut - Primed and Eyes

    Step 2: Black Orcs are so called because they are darker than your average Orc Boy. (In my Orc & Goblin army, the biggest are the darkest and the smallest are the lightest.) I drybrush all the flesh areas with Dark Angels Green.

    Borgut - DA Green

    Step 3: Next I apply a drybrushed highlight of Snot Green.

    Borgut - Snot Green

    Step 4: I drybrush a final highlight of Scorpion Green.

    Borgut - Scorpion Green

    Step 5: After the final highlight is applied to the skin, I go back and touch up every thing else with Chaos Black before proceeding. I then drybrush Boltgun Metal o­n all armour and weapons. (I like the dark, dull tone for Orcs.)

    Borgut - Boltgun Metal

    Step 6: I then highlight the sections of chainmail with Chainmail. (I think that since chainmail shifts around more it will rub itself shinier.) I also do a Chaos Black touch up o­n any non-metallic parts and any parts I want painted a different metal colour. In this picture you can see that the rings o­n the axe hand have been painted Brazen Brass.

    Borgut - Chainmail

    Step 7: To provide continuity in my Orc and Goblin army (besides green skin), I use the colour red. I have painted the various glyphs o­n the armour with Red Gore and drybrushed them with Blood Red. The secondary metal o­n the weapons is painted Brazen Brass. Leather straps are painted Scorched Brown. (I find Snakebite Leather too bright.) The bit of gums showing in the mouth are painted Red Gore. Accessories can be painted anything you want. Aside from painting some things red to fit with my theme, I tend to paint the other items dark or dull colours.

    Borgut - Some detail added

    Step 8: All that’s left is to paint the teeth and some accessories.

    I pick the the teeth out with Bleached Bone. I apply a wash of thinned down Flesh Ink (50:50) to both the teeth and gums. Finally, I highlight the teeth with Bleached Bone.

    For the horns o­n the helmet I thin down some Bleached Bone (50:50) and apply it in layers. My intention is to have them go from dark at the base to light at the tip. It didn’t turn out that well o­n this model because not a lot of horn showing. (It is works better when you have a bigger horn to work with like the o­nes o­n the old Black Orc helmets.)

    The little pouch is Bestial Brown drybrushed with Bubonic Brown. The extra sword has been done with the Red Gore/Blood Red combo (as with the glyphs) and Brazen Brass. The sword grip was painted Bestial Brown with a wash of Flesh Ink over it. (I think it gives it that sort of greasy grimy look of leather that is held a lot.)

    For metal character models such as this, I carefully file or sand the cutting edges of the blades to give it that sharp look. Looks a lot better than using Mithril Silver (which I use for edges o­n plastics). What you see here is the finished product prior to varnishing and basing.

    Borgut - Final - front Borgut - Final - rear

    Step 9: I use spray varnish o­n my models. I still have a can of the old Citadel Matte Varnish that I use for my Orcs and Goblins. It really makes the armour come out great! You can see it with the model below. I will replace it with the actual o­ne from above when I get a pic. (I don’t know what I’ll do when it runs out because Citadel’s Purity Seal has a bit of a satin finish to it as do most other matte varnishes.)

    I also paint any polished areas like blade edges, ornamental horns, etc. with Future Floor Polish. I do the same for wet areas like mouths and eyes. It give it some extra contrast. It doesn’t show as well in the pics but looks really good in person.

    Black Orc Warboss (my 2004 version) Black Orc Warboss from behind

    If you’d like to see more of my greenskins, check out my album in the Miniatures Gallery. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    Ork by MarkusTharin

    Well, I got the photos back… 🙁 I wasn’t too happy with the way the Orc turned out in the photo.. I used some image enhancer software to try and clear up the darkness a bit.. It helped, but not much… Regardless, I am posting the images and my process.. Hopefully I can work out what went wrong, and get better images next time… I think that I should have used a nice halogen light as a spot, rather than the flash, which resulted in the bottom half of the photos being dark… Without further ado…

    Step 1: Primer. I choose to go with a black primer on just about every mini I paint.. The main thing you want to make sure you do, and trust me, this is one of the most important things to take care of. You need to ensure that their is no pewter or plastic showing in any of the recesses. You will not be able to go back later and fill these in without risking any of the drybrush effects that you want, in my case, I leave black in the recesses for any hair.

    Step 2: Primary Colors. For the Skin I went with Ral Partha Paints Forest Green. I applied the forest green thick enough that it would stand out against the black. At this point I am not touching any of the vasectomies as I leave these for right before the highlights, I do however need to paint the Boar. Again I will be using Ral Partha Paints. Boars can be a tricky thing to paint, so first I will apply Ral Partha Dark Brown to the main body, leaving the mohawk and neck flare alone. With the body done, I moved to the mohawk and neck flare using Ral Partha Red Brown.

    Step 3: Secondary Colors. Well it is now time for the orcs skin blotching.. yes I said skin blotching… For this I will use GW Snot Green. The effect I want is a discoloration of the skin, so I will drybrush this color on to attempt to achieve this affect. At this point I will paint up the loin cloth and apply the secondary colors to the boar. For the loin Cloth and Boar body, I use Ral Partha Fur Brown. The only difference is that I will apply the fur brown to the loin cloth like I did the Dark brown to the boar body, and the Fur Brown will be applied to the body as a drybrush. Then using GW snakebite leather, we will very liberally drybrush the mohawk and flare tips.

    Step 4: Highlights. Can you believe we have actually made it to this point? Well, Highlights are easy. We only have three things to highlight. The Orc Body, the boar body, and the loincloth. For the orc body we will use GW Goblin green. You will need to use a very fine brush, I use a 10/0. You will only get the very tip of the brush splashed with paint, and only hit any raised surface with a steep slope. For the boar body and the loin cloth I will use a liberal drybrushing with GW snakebite leather. Apply a flat coat of snakebite leather to the nose ears, and tail stem to complete the boar leaving only vasectomies left to be done.

    Step 5: Assessor. I hope you all will forgive me. With the level of detail on this figure, there would be a ton of extras needing details for painting. I will leave those to your capable hands, and simply produce for you my finished product. Total paining time just over 5 hours.

    I am really upset that you can’t make out the boar better… Oh well, guess I need to learn to take better photos, and to think that the images looked great through the viewer…

    Reaper Orc Seargant by WyvernEye

    Reaper Orc

    • Orc flesh- Goblin green, dark angels wash, and highlighted to camo green.
    • Red cap and wristbands- gory red, washed with scab red, highlighted with Blood red and some orange-fire
    • Skulls, teeth, nails- bone white, slightly thinned flesh wash, hightlighted to skull white.
    • Armor- used the Stippling effect, from o­ne ofthe recent White Dwarf mags o­n Ogres. Base of Scorched earth (dark brown?) Using a somewhat dry brush dabble a medium brown (plague?) such that it makes “dots” as if highlighting with it. Do this again o­nly with orange-fire. Finish with a drybrush (regular drybrushing) of a chinamail.
    • The whip- Blending. Base of Orange fire. Added some extender to it and blended it o­n the whip with gore red at its base. The other end was blended orange fire w/ extender into golden then bad moon yellows. Slightest highlight of white along the ridges.

    Reaper Orc

    I had fun with this guy, trying the stippling, and going to town with the blening o­n the whip. I have found nice dirt/pebbles along the road from winter sanding that work well rather than prebought uniform size pebbles.

    Hope you enjoy it!

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