Tuesday, March 03, 2015

More Epic Orks: The Death Skulls

[This was my ninth entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

My Epic40K project rolls on.

This week, we have the Death Skulls clan, which I consider the "core" of my army in the bit of background I've worked up:

On the planet inhabited by House Beaumaris (my friend's Imperial Knights army), tech levels remain medieval outside the centers of civilization. In addition to primitive humans, there is a feral Ork population that still wields axes and spears, rides around on giant boars, and breeds massive Squiggoths to perform manual labor. Recently, however, a mysterious Death Skull warboss known only as "Da Blue Baron" has arrived planetside. Inspired by the Knights and Titans of House Beaumaris, he has started building Stompas and Gargants in imitation. (Indeed, it is rumored that he even stole his exalted title from Baron Beaumaris.) As the Waagh waxes strong within Da Blue Baron (who previously was content simply to steal stuff from his fellow Orks while they were off doing the fighting - as evidenced by the presence of Goff Gutrippas and Evil Sunz Scorchas in his army - then leg it to another system before anyone noticed), he has contracted with some stinking Blood Axe mercenaries to bulk up his forces. The rising Waagh has also attracted the local Savage Ork population, who have flocked to Da Baron's banner (and his idol-like Great Gargant, which they worship openly as a god), forming a Wildboyz horde (like Snakebites, only more primitive).

And so here we have the Death Skulls and Da Baron, along with his escort of Stompas, plus the looted tanks referenced above. (Once again, my lightbox proved too small to get everyone in a single shot, but this is everyone sans Stompas...)

Like the Blood Axes, the Death Skulls are usually something of a second-tier force, but I liked the idea of being able to take other clans' special units as my own, and the idea of making these guys my "core" had a certain perverse appeal that led directly to the whole Blue Baron background.

(Plus, mechanically, I love the fact that when a Death Skulls unit is out of command, its default action is to drop everything and start looting--so Orky!)

Death Skulls often don blue and white face paint, so I gave about half of the figures that treatment, which was an interesting exercise in such a small scale!

Da Baron himself, along with his Nobz, a Painboy in blood-spattered smock, and a Mekboy wielding a Shokk Attack Gun, probably my favorite bit of Orky tech.

You just cant go wrong with a gun that teleports a gaggle of Snotlings (dumped into the machine through a funnel, no less) through the Warp and into the delicate workings of tanks and Titans!

The looted Goff Gutrippas. I considered giving them a Goff paintjob with blue stripes slapped on, but I decided in the end that the Death Skulls would have sandblasted the Goff paintjob away and applied their own slapdash colors, similar to what we see with photos of captured enemy tanks in WWII.

I was quite intent on giving the tanks a real "lived-in" look, with plenty of rust streaks and chipped paint, and I'm happy with the results.

And here are the looted Evil Sunz Skorchas.

There's something quintessentially Orky about a massive flamethrower spigot located directly above the exposed driver...

And finally, the Stompa mob.

I got these off of eBay, and the original owner had done a fun little conversion to indicate the commander of the mob. Da Blue Baron's second-in-command, no doubt...

One of the things I absolutely love about the Stompa models is their little slate-roofed shacks on the back. It's strangely homey in a way.

Last, and certainly least, a Gretchin mob to act as a meat shield for the clan...

And we'll leave off on that anti-climactic note. Next week: some odds and sods plus...the Gargants.


  1. I scrolled the pictures before reading all the captions, and figured the Stompa with the guy on it must have been the gargant because I didn't see any other ways to really differentiate them.

    These figures are really, really small. Looking at them makes my eyes hurt in imagined squintery. They look great, of course, just...wow.

    Gutrippaz are something I haven't seen before! I don't think they have an analogue in modern gameplay; Goffs are much more about close-in fighting at this point. A major character from a recent campaign/supplemental release is a Goff, but the focus was on Nobs and all the Walkers. Gargants aren't really available in standard 40k, but Stompas officially are as of the new book (if not widely accepted on the table itself, given how superheavies interact with the rules) but the new "extended cab" walkers, the Gorkanaut and Morkanaut, fill the massive fire platform role.

    Will the odds and sods include the Snakebite fellas?

    1. It's been a lonnnnnng time since I painted figures in this scale. It's been an interesting exercise. It's not nearly as eye-straining as you'd think. The payoff, of course, comes on the game table, when you get to see your teeming hordes spilling across the battlefield.

      As for Goffs and their love of close combat, that was the case back in the day as well (their clan has the best "Close Combat" score in Epic40K, for example). The Gutrippaz are no exception; those giant claws are there so the tanks can get stuck in alongside the troops!

      As for your speculations regarding Gargants and the odds-and-sods, check out the latest post that just went up! :D


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