Thor’s Workbench: Repainting Orks

Ork - Sun'z KillazI apologize in advance if you were hoping to see some pictures of what I’m working on. Today’s workbench is just ramblings of some proposed work.

I started playing Orks in 2006 and the army was built using a core of models from the awesome game of Gorkamorka. Those Gorkamorka models were already painted when I got into Warhammer 40K and they were the first models I ever painted back around 1996. Needless to say they are not my best work.

I then began adding in more models and building up my army all the while learning how to paint. For the most part my early work on my Orks is reasonable, at least the infantry. At the time I had no idea how many bodies I would need so I spent a great deal of time on Boyz, practicing and learning the paint. The vehicles are another story though. Most of my vehicles are passable but are definitely lacking. I mostly painted them metallic, washed them and dry brushed dirt and grime on them.

Other than questionable paint quality, which I could honestly live with, the bigger thing is consistency in the color scheme for my army. I intentionally painted everything very rag-tag. The color choices are consistent, my warband’s colors being black, red and yellow, but how they are applied is varied. Again, this was intended at the time. I figured Orks aren’t a race prone to ensuring all vehicles are one color, clothes on Boyz always the same color, etc. Since then though I have built and painted three other armies, all of which follow a consistent color scheme thoroughly. I have also seen many Ork armies over the years that follow a consistent paint application and I admire the cohesive look of the army when done that way. It may not be Orky in a fluffy way for everyone to be very uniform appearance but it looks great none-the-less.

As the title of this article suggests, and by my ramblings, I’m looking to do some repainting on my Orks. It should be a whole lot less painful than it sounds though. I will not be repainting all the infantry in its entirety. What I will be doing is deciding what color I want the armored parts on the Boyz (shoulder pads, random metal plates strapped onto them, etc), and painting just that on them. That will give me units that look cohesive with minimal work. It’s just too much to go in and repaint all the pants, shirts, etc.

The vehicles will be the longer process. Most of those will need to be entirely redone so that they are all the same base color. It shouldn’t be too bad since most of my Trukks are the old school tiny ones, so not a ton of surface area there. My Battlewagon and two Looted Wagons will take longer to do but they deserve a better paint job anyway.

Ork Warboss for Sun'z Killaz
Here you can see the “current” basing method. Very plain and dull.

Lastly, my basing needs some touch up. Once I figured out how much basing I would be doing with Orks I opted for a simple rubble basing method. By simple I mean glue on rubble and call it good. I later changed it a bit and used a finer loose rock-like material that has natural color variations. That is also just glued on but looks better because of the variation. I’m certainly not rebasing around 200 models but I plan to clean it up some and add some small touches like dried static grass, vegetation, something to just give it a little bit of life.

This is going to be a bit of an undertaking but I think it will be worth it. Normally I wouldn’t consider doing something like this but I’ve come to realize that even with the new Ork codex that I don’t need to add a lot to my army. I already have the core of stuff I enjoy using so I may as well spruce it up some. I really want to paint the new stuff I buy to a higher standard, something I’m now capable of where I wasn’t back then, and I want the new stuff to tie-in with the old, hence the renovation. The basing I need to think on a bit. I want to do new units with better basing but also not so drastically different from the old that it seems out of place.

I will be documenting the arduous process as well so look for those articles coming soon.

Have you bothered to go back to an old army and refresh it some?


  • Sin Synn

    This actually got me thinking ’bout Orky color schemes and uniforms and whatnot.
    How color-coordinated ARE Orks?
    They don’t strike me as being overly concerned ’bout stuffs like that.
    Still, it’s kinda a thing us hobbyists do- come up with the ‘color pallet’ for our models and apply as needed to give the army some visual cohesion when viewed on the tabletop.
    Iz like, a time honored tradition…but do Orks really rock a recognizable ‘uniform?’ Maybe- cuz it’s prolly a good idea for Orks to know who’s who, maybe, to avoid excess friendly fire casualties?

    Sounds like a fun project, Thor. Orks have gotta be fun to paint. Nevertheless, as a (former) ‘Nid player I sympathize with the number of troopies you’ll hafta re-do.

    • Orks are more likely to display the colors of their clan affiliation than that of their army. Waaaghs come and go but an orks clan is forever. Of these the Blood Axes are most likely to be uniform since they have more military discipline than other clans, followed by Goffs who are likely to match because they wear black and are relative minimalists with their decorations. All that aside, wot da boss sez is wot ya does! If the warboss wants all his boyz in the same color they’ll do it for the chance to fight in his Waaagh!

      As for friendly fire, the orks don’t think anything is more friendly than firing on your mates!

      BTW, Thor – this is my least favorite thing about digging out an old army. I have all these fond memories of finely painted models until I pull them out of their cases and realize how many I left unfinished or just didn’t paint that well. Get plenty of pics though, it’s fun to see these reconditioning projects come together!

      • Fortunately they are all painted, they have that going for them at least. All-in-all it’s not terrible either. I’d love for all my armies to have the best paint job on them I can manage but that’s a never ending process as you always progress as a painter. I’ll content myself with some manageable updates.

        I’ll definitely take pics as I go. The infantry will be minimal updating but the vehicles will be more interesting with before and after shots.

    • Yeah, I don’t picture Orks as being terribly uniform. They strike me as color coordinating in the manner I did do them, having the appropriate colors but in a very haphazard manner. Like you said though, we hobbyist have ideals though even if it isn’t necessarily in the “real” manner an army may do things.

      It shouldn’t be too bad. Like I said, I won’t be repainting them entirely but just picking out some stuff to bring it together. Still, it is a lot of models.

  • BenitoSenence

    From the old days the color often represented the clan an Ork belonged to. A blue skinned Ork was with the Deathskullz. As GW moved forward those clan names became after thought so you can uniform to be old skool or be random. Whatever you do I know they will look great

    • They do still push the clans heavily seeing as it’s the only consistent organization that Orks maintain. In fact, unlike Space Marines where things are open with so many chapters, it’s hard to do Orks in a DIY fashion, at least I think because the clans are so heavily pushed.

  • Warren Falconer

    can’t wait to see it I am starting to do the same thing with my scars, just updates on things i know i can do better. trying to have something special for the fall event.

    • Oddly, I’m looking forward to updating the army. At one point I never thought I would go back and work on completed models, there’s always something needing to be built or painted, but here I am.

  • When I first started playing 40k, I picked orks. I couldn’t decide at the time whether to do bad moonz, or red sunz. I came up with the idea that my forces were part of a warband where two warbosses were constantly fighting for supremancy. One bad moon, and one red sunz warboss. As such the two factions were being constantly forced to repaint their vehicles. As such, everything is part red, and part yellow :).

    This has the added benefit of enabling you to distinguish individual squads easier. (one squad of shoota’s red sunz, one bad moonz, etc).

    I think the bad moonz are winning though…more yellow is creeping in.

    • I’ve seen armies like that and I think it’s awesome. If I weren’t such a stickler for doing my own thing I would definitely do various units in various clan colors. Deathskull Lootas, Bad Moons’ Flash Gitz, Blood Axe Kommandos, etc.

      • I was originally expanding my idea to have 1 of goff, bad moonz, and red sunz of each unit in the army…then I decided buying three of everything would just screw me when GW updated the codex. (I try to stick to no more then two of any one thing cept for troops these days…helps keep my tears to a minimum).

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