On Parade: 1990s Warhammer Orcs and Goblins


Carrying on with this series of ‘On Parade’ postings in which every army in my wargaming collection is taking its turn to parade for inspection, we come to the Warhammer orcs and goblins, the sworn enemies of the Empire army from my previous posting.

Actually, this isn’t really my army at all, but my son’s.  In the late 1990s I came back into the hobby of wargaming, after having had a two-decades pause since my early twenties. I was drawn back in because my young son had become interested in Warhammer. He began buying and painting orcs and goblins, so I started collecting the Empire so that we could have opposing armies.

Therefore, this army actually belongs to my son, and was mostly painted by him at the age of about 10-12 (with a little help from Dad, who was just as much a beginner anyway!). My son’s in his late twenties now, and sadly didn’t carry on with miniature wargaming after he was captured by computer gaming – but I have kept his army for him!


If you don’t know what orcs are, they’re one of the highly primitive and warlike ‘Greenskin’ races of barbarians and raiders of the mythical Warhammer World.  Orcs are strong, brutish and savage warriors. Goblins, who are smaller and weaker, are cunning and conniving creatures.

By the way, much of the following text is based heavily on (well, copied from)  the Fandom Warhammer Fantasy wiki. I hope I have captioned the photos correctly – Greenskin identification is not my forté!

Oh , and remember the painting was done when we were both beginners to the hobby. But these photos show that even a very basic paint-job can look great en masse.


Orc Boyz – These hard-fighting warriors form the backbone of all Greenskin armies, and often do the bulk of the fighting upon the battlefield. Orc Boyz are generally just simple Orcs who have taken up arms to fight the enemy of his tribe with nothing but ramshackle armour and crude weaponry.

It is possible these models are Big ‘Uns. When an Orc grows to become considerably large, wealthy, and high in status, they form the elite of the Greenskin armies, and are equipped with some of the finest weapons and armour within a tribe.




Night Goblins – Living within the fungus infested tunnels of the Old World, the Night Goblins are renowned for their consumption of madness-inducing fungus that gives them both the courage to fight against foes that the average Goblin would be too afraid of facing. The black hoods are to protect these subterranean-dwelling creatures from the ravages of sunlight. We’ve got two regiments of them, one mainly armed with crude spears, and the other with composite bows. 



Night Goblin Fanatics – A Fanatic is a Night Goblin that wields an iron-ball so heavy it should be impossible for such a scrawny creature to lift. However, once a Night Goblin has consumed large quantities of the deadly Mad Cap Mushroom, he has the uncontrollable urge to spin madly. Once equipped with an iron-ball, these Night Goblins become whirling shock troops that can plough through the enemy lines.


Orc Boar Chariot – By lashing together roughly hewn logs, the otherwise dull-witted Orcs have managed to create through sheer luck and determination, crude yet formidable war chariots. With the weight of both the two boars and the chariot itself, this shock cavalry has the potential to break apart even the thickest of enemy formations so long as the chariot still holds together. This model marks our first experimentation with using ink washes to pick out the woodwork.


Goblin Wolf Riders – These Wolf Riders are the scourge of the open plains, where their swiftness and speed can outpace even the most determined Boar-mounted Orc within a matter of seconds. Equipped with either spears or composite bows, Wolf Riders serve as a dedicated force of scouts and skirmishers for many marauding Greenskin armies.




Doom Diver Catapult – First developed as a means for nomadic Goblin tribes to scout the surrounding areas of their territory, the Doom Diver Catapult has since been used extensively as long-range artillery. A Doom Diver is used as live ammunition for this artillery piece. His leathery wings allows him to glide to a specific target, where he tries to impale his victim with the top of his pointy helmet.


Snotlings – These small and dull-witted creatures are amongst the most mediocre of the Goblin race. Equipped with pathetic weapons such as tree branches, mushrooms or bits of bone, a horde of these little monsters are nothing more than a nuisance or a distraction to even the weakest enemies they face. Fun to paint, but not much else!


(left) Orc Boar Boy – Only the most daring of Orcs have the capability to mount the savage war boar into battle, for the animal’s hot temper often results in the deaths of many Orcs who try to ride them. In battle, mobs of Boar Boyz fulfill the role of heavy cavalry.

(centre) Orc Great Shaman – These psychotic individuals are amongst some of the most powerful spell-casters known to the Greenskins, capable of everything from melting brains to summoning the great foot of the mighty Gork himself, in order to stamp out their foes.

(right) Orc Warboss – The biggest, meanest and strongest Orc within a tribe, being both the supreme tyrant and a hulking behemoth, and considered (by himself) to be the greatest Greenskin warrior around. This powerful individual is relatively cunning, and is an exceedingly powerful warrior, having fought and pummelled his way through his tribe’s hierarchy by winning battles and killing every challenger that would dare to defy his tyranny. Equipped with powerful weapons and armour, this brutish warrior is nearly unstoppable upon the battlefield.


So there we have it, my two fantasy armies. Colourful, imaginative and great fun! But in my next ‘On Parade’ posting, we’ll return to the annals of history. See you then!

Visit my previous ‘On Parade’ postings:

On Parade: 1990s Warhammer Empire army


Continuing my series of postings in which I am doing an inspection parade of every army in my wargaming collection, we turn away from historical Napoleonics, and move into the realms of fantasy.

The figures in this small Warhammer Empire army were the first I ever painted after I returned to the wargaming hobby in the mid-1990s. Like many gamers, I had dropped the hobby in my early 20s because of increasing family and job commitments. But when my young son became (temporarily) interested in wargaming, I became intrigued again myself.

While my son’s futuristic Wahammer 40K Space Marines didn’t really do it for me, accompanying him to the Games Workshop store I spotted the Warhammer Fantasy Battles range for the first time. The Empire figures in particular struck my eye, what with their flamboyant renaissance landsknecht look. So I splashed out on my first box of figures for many a year, and took them home to paint.




Here was the result. This regiment of Averland infantry was the first unit that I had ever painted since my early 20s. This was also the first time I ever used ink, something that didn’t exist when I had last painted model soldiers. The ink gave them depth, especially the faces and the yellow parts of the uniforms.



The figures in the above pictures are the Carroburg ‘Great Swords’ (no doubt named that on account of their blooming great swords). I recall I was relatively new to the internet at this time, and so searching for the flags and uniform colours for the various state armies of the Empire was my first experience of online research. Yes, fantasy can involve as much research as anything historical!



The figures in the above Nordland crossbow unit were an absolute pain to assemble. Whilst all the other figures up till now had been plastic, these had metal arms and weapons that you had to glue to the plastic bodies. And would those very heavy metal arms stay stuck? No way! Even now, I occasionally have to re-attach the odd arm that has fallen off.


I had the same problem with these Talabecland hand-gunners. Nowadays, of course, I know all about drilling in pins to secure such fragile joints, but back then I only knew how to assemble straight out of the box.





I love the Warhammer artillery. The huge ornate cannon, and the intricately diabolical multi-barrel organ gun are terrific. These infernal machines look as though they have just stepped out of a Leonardo da Vinci sketchbook. And one of the organ-gunners even looks like him!



This is the only cavalry unit in my small army. These renaissance-style figures opened up the possibilities for all sorts of decoration, especially the embroidery of the horses’ barding. My efforts were pretty crude, but I think still give a good overall effect if you don’t look too closely. Nowadays I probably would’ve used some of the many lovely decals that weren’t round back then.



Games Workshop do hugely character-filled figures for their generals, as can be seen here in with Marius Leitdorf (Elector Count of Averland) and his fearsome battle standard bearer. In fact, the detail is so intense that sometimes it is hard to see the human being beneath it all! The flag was a printout from some website or another.



So, that’s it … my Empire army. Painted last century, and only ever been on a tabletop once so far as I can recall.

Visit my previous ‘On Parade’ postings:

An unexpected flight safety briefing

The airline my wife works for as a cabin crew member, Air New Zealand, has produced a delightful new flight safety briefing based on ‘The Hobbit’.


The elfin stewardess in the video isn’t my wife – though she too would’ve looked the part!

Here are some screenshots:

My ‘bits and pieces’ display case

Do you find that when you are playing a wargame at someone’s house where they have their other armies in display cases or on shelves, your eyes are continually drawn to their arrayed troops?  Whenever there is a break in the play, I love studying other people’s miniatures collections, no matter what the era. 

Often the most interesting display cases are not the ones with the owner’s main armies, but the cabinets that store all their extraneous bits and pieces.  I particularly like it when there is an element of clutter, where you just can’t predict what units will be sitting beside each other, or what individual figures, bits of scenery or even non-related items get tossed into the mix.   

So that is what I want to show off on the blog today: my ‘bits and pieces’ display cabinet.  I’ve photographed it exactly as it is, without any attempt to tidy up or re-arrange.  So, let’s take a look (and, as usual on my blog, don’t forget to click the pictures to get a closer view!):

[above]  Well, here’s my bits and pieces display cabinet opened up for you.  Later we’ll explore what’s in each of the shelves.  But for now, in this photo you can see that on top of the cabinet itself are parts of the 28mm Spanish town and some 40mm houses I made a few years ago.  A 1:43 diecast Swiss ‘Polizei’ VW Beetle seems to have made it up there, too … not sure why I put that there!  And there’s also an old board game called Campaign that I’ve never played (and is missing some of the pieces anyway).

On top of the drawer unit lies part of the overflow from my bookcase, my beloved Sharpe DVD set, a couple of 1:72 Italeri houses  and a lovely resin La Belle Alliance inn from Waterloo.  Also a baby picture of one of my children seems to have migrated from the dresser in our lounge.  The little parcel on the right is an old one from Minifigs – a friend sold me some cannon still in the box he got them in years ago. 

I can’t recall where I got the American flag that hangs to one side – I’m a New Zealander, not from the USA.  But the flag looks splendid hanging there, anyway. 

[above] OK, let’s start with one of the top shelves of the cabinet.  This one contains a selection of 28mm Napoleonic British and Spanish command bases.  There are also a few British and Spanish figures based singly to act as ‘Big Men’ for the Napoleonic skirmish ruleset, Sharp Practice

In the background there’s a resin house and also a couple of hangovers from my days of collecting model police cars  – a 1:43 Citroen H van of the French ‘Gendarmerie’ (isn’t that shape of van so Gallic?!) and a Dutch ‘Rijkspolitie’ (State Police) Shorland armoured car. 

[above] This shelf contains my 28mm Napoleonic French command bases, along with a unit of voltigeurs that there isn’t room for in my main display case. 

The houses in the background are low relief ceramics that my wife and I bought during our honeymoon in Paris some 20 years ago.  They were quite expensive compared to wargaming scenery, but do look nice, and oh so French!

[above] This shelf has a really eclectic selection.  First, more 28mm Big Men for Sharp Practice, both on foot and mounted.  On the right are several colonial New Zealand wars figures by Eureka Miniatures –  Maori warriors and also NZ Armed Constabulary in their distinctive blanket-wrapped bush uniform.  In the background are some units from the small Warhammer Empire army, which was the first army I painted on my return to the wargaming hobby about ten years ago. 

In the left background is a diorama made up of German 30mm flats, showing the poet Schiller reading to some of his friends – even the tree is a lead flat.  I bought these flats on my trip to Europe in the late 1970s, in the tin figure museum at Kulmbach (Germany) if I recall correctly, and painted them on my return home. 

[above] Another rather odd mish-mash of figures.  On the left are some 28mm Spanish civilians by the Perry twins.  Front centre are a quintet of  cowboys I painted for use in Western games – though sadly they haven’t walked the dusty streets of Laredo yet.  Behind them is one of my favourite pieces, but one that again hasn’t seen a tabletop as yet: my Brittannia Miniatures armed longboat.  Off to the right are a couple of Napoleonic French vignettes, including a rendition of the famous David painting of Napoleon crossing the Alps. 

Sitting at the back are a couple of Napoleonic French vignettes (including a lovely Foundry cantiniere), some of my British rocket troops, and a miscellaneous Front Rank cart.   There are also a few other little odds and sods if you look carefully, including a Front Rank conversion to the Scarlet Pimpernel (wearing a natty yellowish coat), and another conversion to his nemesis French policeman (in a rather fanciful black outfit).

[above] This shelf contains my entire collection of 40mm Napoleonics, made up of a number of makes such as Sash and Saber, Perry Miniatures, Trident Miniatures and the Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company.  You can see French on the left, British on the right (including the ubiquitous Sharpe and Harper figures) and even some sailors at top right.  At the back are a few Spanish guerillas.  The resin windmill is a 28mm Grand Manner piece that really sets the scene for any Peninsular War game.  

[above] The final shelf is again a real mixture of periods and pieces.  Most of the miniatures are 28mm American Civil War by Redoubt.  In fact, this is my entire ACW army!  While it is a period that I like, it is not one that has enthused me enough to continue collecting the armies.  The banknote is an obvious fake!  Also shown are some Conflix resin carts, and a well by the same maker. 

Finally, yes, some more police vehicles:  a Cadillac Gage armoured car of the Los Angeles Police Department (sadly the long ram on the front has snapped off – on the real vehicle the ram was used to smash into crack houses, and was adorned with a smiley ‘have a nice day’ face!), a tiny German ‘Polizei’ BMW Isetta, and a Dutch ‘Rijkspolitie’ Porsche 911 – particularly meaningful for me as I did a police exchange to the Netherlands in 1992 and actually went on patrol in one of these iconic and ultimate patrol cars!

So, there we have it … my bits and pieces display case as it stands this cold and rainy weekend in late May 2010.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the browse round, and do leave a comment if you can.