MusingWarboss's 40k 2nd Edition Orks.


Hive Guilder
Oct 31, 2013
Orks were the army that got me into 40k. I loved the goofy nature of them, the crazy sculpts and even odder gameplay. In the 1990s I collected and traded (swapped) models fairly regularly - this meant that my Orks grew and depleted in numbers all the time as new crazes came along and I started and abandoned armies regularly. I still kept some old favorites though and thanks for the money-sink that is eBay I have been able to get a few boyz back that I used to have but parted with for some other ill-advised venture.

So what's with all this blathering? Well, I've been meaning to do a restoration job on my classic Orks for quite some time now. I was going to integrate them into my modern 40k Orks but the styles and sizes just didn't mesh well enough for me and I found that I preferred the classics to the aggressive looking modern green Gorillas. I've still got the modern ones and will continue to play with them but I really want to get my classic army back up and have something that gives a real flavour of what a 90s era Ork army was like.

Not a classical restoration project:
"A Flavour" is precisely just that; I've seen enough meticulous Oldhammer projects to know that they're practically museum display quality recreations of the exact era they're from. I'm not really after that, I'm quite happy to make some nods to modern practices which I think will enhance the project rather than make it a slavish recreation of 1993-1998.
So first off the Golden Rule:
  • If it looks cool - its allowed in the army!
Quickly followed by the next:
  • This is not a Museum Piece!
This is most important; age of models doesn't really matter. Sure I can restrict myself to a specific range of miniatures from 1993-1998 but really, what's the point? It'll just be a ballache to collect extra bits on eBay.
So you might think "Why are you even bothering then?", and you'd be right to ask. It's about tone. The crazy, goofy sculpts of those early Orks, the bright colours and silliness are a world away from Games Workshop's current output, though occasionally they do put out something that is a bit silly its few and far between. Then there's the sculpting style. I fell in love with the originals, while I merely like the new ones.

So I'm putting into place a few, not rules but guidelines, for myself with my Classic Ork Army.
  • Basing scheme: Green. Sand covered green bases. It simply can't be a 90s inspired Army without the astroturf.
  • Basing sizes: Whatever looks right. 25mm round for the vast majority of them. Occasional larger Orks (Ghazghkull) on new 32mm round bases for status.
  • Square and Cavalry bases: On the Boar Boyz and Snotlings. I've experimented with ovals and rounds and it just doesn't feel right. Ogryn too on 40mm Squares to add to the flavour of the 90s.
  • Primer: I'm torn between White or Grey. I shall experiment to see what looks the best.
  • Nice bright colours! I'm not bothered about using 90s era pots (though I will when I can) but the ethos is colourful - with REDS that punch you in the face!
  • Lots of Clanz!
  • Rogue Trader: Obviously a lot of models come from that era too and are cool as hell! They're allowed in as I had them back then anyway!!
  • GorkaMorka: It drifts in towards the tail end of the 90s. I like GorkaMorka but its the middle man (middle Ork) between the crazy Kev Adams sculpts and the Brian Nelson ones we have now. They will exist... in their own little force of models as the scale and tone is ever so slightly out. Also they shall have sandy bases. It has been decreed. They are not part of the project and will exist in their own bubble. I may take them as a load of Evil Sunz though. Their vehicles though actually had Vehicle Cards for 40k 2nd so shall be accepted into the fold (Wartrakk particularly but also Scorcher).
  • Modern Oldhammer: There' some cool Orks out there sculpted in the old 80s/90s style which have been made relatively recently, often by the same sculptor as the originals. If they fit (in tone) they sit (in line with the classics). They're in.
  • Codex Compliant: I shall use the 1993 Ork Codex as the basis of my collection. It's not the totally definitive guide though as there are a few oddities which wont fit. I'm primarily thinking the scratch built Gobsmasha of the RT era White Dwarf (of which I have made and lost several over the years) and also there's a cool BowelBurna from Ramshackle Games I covet. All awesome goodness designed to fit into this era of models. Anyway, there was a resin Gobsmasha from Armorcast in the 90s! Dunno if it had any vehicle cards though. I hope so!
  • Banners: If required I shall have back banners!
  • The "Nigel Stillman Effect": Once these models are painted, they get several coats of varnish and they're done! NO going back. Finished. I want to play games with them, perhaps admire them in a display but what I don't want to is to rush through and then feel like I'm unhappy and want to strip the paint and re-do them. Again.
  • Varnish: Yes. Two coats gloss car lacquer followed by two coats matte car lacquer. It works, looks good, is tough, UV resistant and can stand outside in all weathers (not applicable).
While I think this is a noble aim, to get to BOYL at Foundry Miniatures next year, I doubt the project will be 100% complete. I do have Necromunda Gangs to do and they're totally a priority. I will aim to have a playable force though. I've no idea how big. I would like to get a game in though so @CaptainDangerous even though I've not played 2nd in years, I accept your challenge!

Where's the photos? Isn't this a Plog?
Haven't really got any yet. They'll come along in future posts though. I may edit this and add a photo of the state of the army so far. As in, its disrepair. If it's painted its most likely going to be stripped back to plastic or metal. The only exception may be a plastic WarTrakk which I quite like...
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The only surviving WarTrakk in its original paint job:
Goff clan branded. Very RED (they so much fasta!) and sporting the "dark grass" basing scheme I had at the time.

This model will probably stay as-is for now. I think the paint job is ok for the era (around 1998 - whenever GorkaMorka was released) and it gives you a glimpse of the brightness of this project. Sadly the highlights on the red doesn't show up well on camera. It's there, its orange and probably masked by the gloss Humbrol varnish.
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That is a good colour scheme. I will be watching this with great great interest!
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Iv got the red lasguns, but I’ll have to go back and paint the bases green, the only colour that the orks truly respect!
Got the 2nd ed rules saved too, so when I get 5 minutes I’ll work out how many points Iv got so far!
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I shall be posting up some experiments with "Goblin Green" basing soon-ish. It's one of those phrases everyone uses BUT when you actually look at photos from that era, or inspect actual models in glass cabinets in either Warhammer World or Foundry Miniatures what you will discover (as I did) is that the colour in the magazines... isn't the same as in real life. Maybe its a quirk of the CMYK processing or maybe that particular colour fades weirdly over time??
The colours were never the same after they got rid of the white flip lid range! Goblin green was one that lost its way, but the worst for me was enchanted blue! Used to love that colour before they changed it! (...or maybe I just didn’t shake em enough, who knows?)
"Goblin Green Bases"
"It's so simple. Paint your bases Goblin Green, then drybrush with Sunburst Yellow!" - yeah thanks 1993.
I remember doing this back in the early 90s. What happens is you can't see the translucent yellow very well at all! If ever there was a colour not to drybrush over a darker one its Yellow. Particularly 80s/90s era Sunburst Yellow.

Plus these colours have been OOP* since Games Workshop moved over to the small screwtop design made in France (apparently) which had a shift in hue of quite a number of colours in the range.

So here I am in the 21st Century about to recreate a classic 90s colour scheme as close as possible without being to slavish. I really do want that "flavour of" without it being too clinical.

So I present my first (and so far only) image - an exciting line up of paint pots and bottles!
L > R
  • Original Citadel Goblin Green (dried up due to cracked lid)
  • Foundry Russian Gun Apple Green
  • Screw Top Citadel Goblin Green (dried up ... I know! Who would have guessed)
  • Vallejo Game Colour Goblin Green
  • Army Painter Goblin Green
What you'll see is that it's really hard to photograph this bloody colour! They all look... similar. They're not.
The Original Goblin Green was quite a creamy colour, though oddly dried to have a mild shift to a colder tone.
Foundry R.G.A.G. Is pretty close actually to the original - plus it comes with a much darker shade but more useful a paler light colour too in a set.
The F-U Top Citadel one is really bright green!
Vallejo also looks bright, quite bright but lovely under daylight, very grassy.
Army Painter is almost exactly the same as the Vallejo.

Now I understand that the Vallejo range of Game Color was produced to match the GW range - suspect the screw top range - due to the brighter tone. AP seems to have followed on with that. All three have a yellower dried tone.

I will try to get some bases painted up and highlighted for you to see soonish - what strikes me though is that the old method as spouted occasionally was just terrible. I've since learnt that there were several versions of Goblin Green highlighting, the crucial one seems to be the interim highlight which is always omitted in painting guides - bilious green. Whack a drybrush of that over the Goblin Green and a whizz of Yellow on top if needed. Bilious being very bright yellow-green but also not translucent.

You may also wish to add some grey into your Goblin Green and use that to highlight the grass. That's the 'pale' ones you occasionally see.

Why is this important?
Well, it isn't per se, its just that I intend to paint these models once and be done with them, happy that they look like the 90s. So I want to get this right! I want grass, not Chernobyl.

I'll also note that so far I've been talking about painting over sand. If you check old magazines, codexes and rulebooks you'll see a lot of that, it's the classic staple I've been doing since... well, back then. There was also model railway flock or scenic scatter used too. I'm not doing that though, the stuff can look great freshly applied but after about 2 days of exposure to daylight it seems to fade to sawdust. Which is all it is. I don't know what they use to dye the dust but it certainly isn't colourfast or very resilient. I prefer sand. Sweet painted sand.

Playing with colours (procrastinating)
As I've picked up quite a stock of greens over the years want to make sure that my basing is somewhat consistent. So I tried to develop a little process to produce a nice looking Green base. I think I succeeded, but I didn't write the formula down. What. A. Fool.

So I had to retcon my own formula again and ... look, who wants to be dry brushing five layers on a green base? Me, apparently. As I have Vallejo and AP which is consistent with each other I planned to use that.

So here is Mr. Test Based Eldar (ignore him).
This is where I am. For whatever reason it does not photograph well at all! I'll try and get better snaps at some point.
I quite like the look of him in person, the rim maybe a bit bright but the grassy part looks good. Here's the formula if you're insane enough to try to replicate it:

  1. Base with sand+PVA.
  2. Base coat and rim in Vallejo Goblin Green
  3. Thin wash with Vallejo Dark Green (or AP Angel Green)
  4. Drybrush #1 Vallejo GG + AP Necrotic Flesh
  5. Drybrush #2 Vallejo Livery Green
  6. Drybrush #3 AP Demonic Yellow (or something like old Sunburst Yellow)
  7. Final very light drybrush Vallejo Livery Green + AP Necrotic Flesh.
Madness complete.

Foundry Russian Gun Apple Green
As I said earlier, this comes in a triad of colours, a shade, mid and light. What concerned me is that the above is a quite intensive process, wouldn't it be easier to find from-the-pot colours to whack down and call it done? Something closer to that colder look on actual old Goblin Green bases? That's why I picked up this set. Three colours, drybrush a bit of Yellow on top to brighten it up and with those 4 from the pot colours maybe it'd be quicker and more consistent? I dunno. Experiments will continue and I'll update here with as base-off.

*A company called Warcolours now has a Nostalgia 88 range which apparently replicates these original Citadel paints to about 98% accuracy. I believe a few of the more fluorescent ones used a chemical which is now banned, so can't be produced 100%. Almost everything else is spot on apparently.
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Apparently they mixed colours on-site back in the early days so pots could differ depending on how they mixed them! My only pot of (dried) Goblin Green from that era does indeed display separation so you can see darker and lighter shades in it.
Have you tried Coat d'Arms? They're supposedly old GW paints (not sure which 'old' range).
Have you tried Coat d'Arms? They're supposedly old GW paints (not sure which 'old' range).
I haven't tried their Goblin Green or whatever it may be called. It's the same boat as the warcolours one really - it may well be perfect as the base green - but as I don't have any it means ordering it in, which means more waiting if I run out or spill. The beauty of the Vallejo, AP or even Foundry is that I can get hold of some tomorrow if wanted. Unlike Games Workshops ever-shifting paint ranges it's usually consistent too.

What I've discovered though is that to really sell that old look it actually the highlights on the grass that does it. The rim or base colour actually could be any of these - but if that grass gets too bright it looks very nuclear if its not bright enough it looks like there are no highlights at all!
With my phone cam and lighting its hard to see in photos what it looks like in person.

Sorry for invading your thread like this, I hope sharing these pics here fits in!

Here's some old (late 90s') Orks I recently got off my parents attic. Goblin Green basing, sometimes with sand. Looks like I didn't always bother even painting the sand. The boss nob got a layer of diluted PVA as a varnish. All are very dusty now.

Minor Update.

I’ve not had a lot of time to work on this project BUT I did pick up a rather cool looking Orc from Foundry Miniatures (sculpted by Kev Adams) last November which I wanted to include.

It was cool, I wanted to use him in the project but he’s not 40k enough. He could be though. He could be.

So I decided to make this fantasy Orc a 40k Ork! Snakebites were the obvious clan choice so with that in mind I added a back banner pole, including an original top! Plus Greenstuff. Lots of Greenstuff.

So far, success! I think he’s been 40k’d enough. Though I may have to sneak an old style bolt pistol on him somewhere.

Here’s the back view:
As you can see I added the roundel on his back, which was actually an old piece from an Imperial Fist upgrade kit from wayyyyy back then.
The rod is actually an old nozzle from a dead polycement bottle. Works well and is sturdy. I will now have to upgrade all my snakebites from their original bendy back poles to this sort of thing.

Still maybe one or two tweaks to do but so far I’m happy. He’s on a 32mm base.
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Whaaaaaaaaat, these aren’t Orks!!


Ok, I’ve got in my stash of stuff my 90s era Eldar and a load of marines that I’m going to make into the Space Wolf army I always wanted! And as I have these things once cleaned up they should paint up nicely.

These two, well, I went to Warhammer Socially-Distanced World today and Jain Zar was on Last Chance to buy and Ragnar had been pulled from their website when the Primaris Plastic was released.

But I don’t want those new plastics - I want the 90s ones so they match my retrohammer stuff, and now I have them. Sure, sure I could get them off eBay but honestly - these are brand new, so... look it’s my money, right!

Best bit about Jain is I had all the classic banshees, including the boss with a power axe but I never got Jain. Now I have the full set - and we know how much we all like a full set!!

With Raggy to lead the Wolves I’m pretty happy. And no, I don’t care he’s Resin.