My First Miniatures Army Completed

When I got back into the miniatures wargaming hobby at the very end of 2018, I set myself quite a few painting goals. Firstly I started out wanting to “properly finish” all my incomplete paint jobs that I’d collected for decades and get them all up to the standard that I’d always intended them to be. This reason for their state was that I’d always rushed models “onto the table” as it were, prioritising my gaming needs, even though I’d always intended to finish them off properly – and I’d always left models in an incomplete state to finish how I always wanted, rather than doing them to a consistent ‘game ready’ standard or anything. This time around I was determined not to rush anything though, as I had considered that the whole point to do this kind of gaming, over videogames, or even board games or card games, was specifically to embrace the biggest differences it had. So I’ve really been enjoying the modelling, painting, and even a bit of terrain building – plus buying nice ‘counters’ and markers and stuff for the game – everything about the look & feel of it is quite important to me too as well as the actual gaming element itself. With all the main units I wanted to get to “finished” done, I next moved onto collecting, modelling and painting two Ninth Age Quick Starter armies to play with – as you’ll have seen from my battle reports or army photos of those, I finished that in the middle of last year, and I was pretty happy with them.

This photo even made it into use on The Ninth Age’s website! 😀 Very cool guys!

My next goal popped into my head whilst doing all of that though. Whilst I could try and play the games “first” and then figure out what miniatures I wanted to buy and paint etc, I felt that would encourage me once again to go back to a ‘gaming first’ attitude with this hobby. So, to avoid that, I decided to deliberately forget about trying to quickly paint up ‘strong builds’ or good unit builds or anything like that – even where I could decipher them – which isn’t always the case since I was (and am) still just getting started playing The Ninth Age and Kings of War anyway. Instead I doubled down on the ‘completing my old stuff’ goal, and set a goal of trying to paint up models of the very first army I ever played a lot of games with – way back in Warhammer Fantasy Battle 4th Edition from when I was about 16 years old, and most of my “miniatures” were grey plastic, bare metal, or just squares of cardboard…

Don’t worry, I will re-type the list properly later, I just wanted to show it here in it’s original paper-printed glory!

So here was the list! I still had it, along with some of the older rules from back then, including a fair number of the army books & supplements. I’m missing the main rulebook though, and all of the magic cards, and a few more things besides, so some of this post will be based only on my hazy memory. I should also explain that, not only did we play with cardboard square “proxies” for the majority of our armies, we also played a pretty heavily house-ruled variant of WFB 4th Ed that was significantly different, and we also had quite a different ‘meta’ etc because of all the changes we made and the way we played it. I’m pleased to say that usually, when I describe the tweaks we made, I’ve had numerous players over the years tell me that they wish they’d played this version of WFB 4th than they way they played it.

“Our” Warhammer Fantasy Battle 4th Edition Version:

Firstly, loads of stuff that we thought was mis-costed was fixed & changed. Not drastically at first, but where one Magic item was clearly better than another, we’d always make it cost more – and some clearly weaker stuff was also downcosted. I’m sure we didn’t get everything exactly correctly balanced, as we still stuck to the general level of costings in the official books too, so we were only really adjusting the ‘internal balance’ of similar things, there wasn’t any thought given to ‘what if all magic items are far too cheap relative to other things’ for example. But I’m still willing to guarantee we made a much better job of it being balanced than the mess that GW had printed!

Secondly, almost every monster with a toughness greater than 7 was banned. This was because every army had a basic Strength of 3 back then on the majority of their units, and we wanted to make sure things that could not even be damaged by basic troops were very limited in scope. There were a few “tough” things that we allowed – Chariots, war platforms and various other things with ‘vulnerable parts’ for example. Also a few bigger monsters we did allow (probably re-costed upwards though by a lot!), and some even got their Toughness reduced down to 6, but with an extra wound or two instead, so they could be available, but still a little less invulnerable in battle. Every army could take almost any monster back then anyway, so this affected everyone pretty equally.

I also recall tweaking quite a number of rules things too where we really didn’t like them. One thing that was particularly relevant for my army, Orcs & Goblins, was Animosity. I utterly hated these rules as they were totally random, which for me made them extremely un-fun, and also didn’t even match any of the descriptions of Orcs ‘thirsty for battle’ etc – as it would usually result in your units standing around doing nothing rather than actually engaging with the enemy when they could do. It made absolutely no sense! I’m so glad that neither Kings of War nor The Ninth Age have kept these crappy rules that lived with Warhammer for far too long a time. As Black Orcs negated the effect of animosity if a unit was being ‘led’ by a Black Orc commander, I argued that effect would also apply if a unit was also gaining the Leadership from a Black Orc General. Back in 4th Edition the rules were pretty unclear on this from what I recall, but my friends kindly agreed to it, but I re-costed all Black Orcs to be more expensive too, partly because of this (and also because they were generally undercosted relative to other things). Perhaps my friends were also leaning in my favour, as some were aware that I was playing Orcs & Goblins not by choice, but as a sort of ‘handicap’ (as I was by a fair margin the most experienced & dedicated player in the group) which was originally to stop me playing Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 (as, at the time, Space Orks in 40k were seen as the ‘weakest’ army by my friends). So I’d only picked them up in WFB too as part of that – in fact I generally played as ‘the Orcs’ side from then on in every game we played – the only real exception I can remember being Blood Bowl, since Orcs & Humans were the two ‘default’ teams anyway, and someone else wanted to play Humans, and me playing another team with practically identical stats and abilities would have been a bit dull.

Whilst our house-rules for the gaming system overall put a huge curbing effect on the ‘Hero Hammer’ or ‘Monster Hammer’ that these early editions of WFB later became famous for (so I’ve heard at least!), it was certainly still a factor (as I’ll discuss later looking at my list), and our rules weren’t without their issues when I think back to them. We chose to do a deployment type with “fully hidden deployment” – this meant lining the table with high boxes down the middle of the table, and deploying in total secret from your opponent. We also played with ‘secret lists’ for Magic items and suchlike – only the ‘standard’ equipment was revealed to your opponent until you used something. You also had to design a single list that you could not tailor to your opponents at all; you had to play the same list in a long ‘league’ – that was essentially one very long round-robin tournament, spanning months of gaming! However, one thing you could tailor for in a way, was the battlefield, as we pretty much played out every battle on a very similar tabletop, so you always knew roughly what terrain you were going to be fighting over, and you could even essentially even plan your deployment around it. We likened this to the two generals scouting out each other’s forces etc and finding the best place where they both wanted to engage. We played on a large 9′ by 5′ foot table too, larger than the seeming “standard” of the time of 8′ by 4′, and we also enlarged the standard army size to boot, up to 4000 points than the more common 3000 at the time. We’d made 6 large scenic boards which covered the whole tabletop (which was actually a table-tennis table underneath) and looked pretty cool – but again, this limited our layouts of terrain a bit too. One edge of one flank of the table would always be split off partially by a river running the length of it. We’d generally always place some impassable terrain and/or woods to the non-river flank too, and perhaps some more terrain around the riverside too. Both deployment zones always had hills – one side always had a very large multi-tiered hill and the other had two smaller but still multi-tiered hills. The middle of the table was always clear ground – this made it look quite a bit like a “real” battlefield of course, facilitated the placement of the “great wall of boxes” we needed to effectively do the secret deployment method, and allowed normal units room to manoeuvre ok. Almost any kind of terrain would seriously hamper a regular unit in this rule system – one joke I heard about these old rules was that all terrain may as well be impassable as entering it would effectively take your unit out of the battle for so long. So the idea of this terrain layout was that specialist units would always have some terrain features they could take advantage of – but it would only ever be on the flanks somewhat away from the main battlefield.

Some of the old books I still have around. Loads of scribbles of rules adjustments all over the Magic books especially, and I spotted even more mistakes in them by GW even now, whilst perusing them to write this!

The perhaps unfortunate effect of all of this though, as I am sure experienced wargamers will have already thought of, was that by guaranteeing hill placements and large open areas of battlefield, not to mention the larger deployment zones – we had accentuated the power of missile fire, and maybe cavalry too. As ‘small arms’ unit fire wasn’t exactly that potent back in 4th ed WFB it wasn’t too much of a problem though – as only the front rank of units could ever shoot missile attacks, however it did mean that almost every army capable of it did take a fair number of artillery war machines. Artillery back then was pretty erratic though, and most had to ‘guess ranges’ – which led to that skill being really quite critical in our games, as well as a number of quite comedic attempts to cheat by some of my friends, measuring the length of their forearm etc. Perhaps the emphasis on estimating distances was too much really, given it’s not really a skill that needs to be such a large part of the mix in a so-called “strategy” wargame. In some ways this is analogous to hard-to-execute techniques or large combos in a fighting game for example – not required for the genre at all, even if some people like it. But it was what we played with, and of course, all charges and movement required range estimation as well, so it really was a key part of things back then. Our board layout did actually help with guessing long ranges though as it already had some ‘gridlines’ from the scenic boards. Plus there were all the usual ‘hacks’ of measuring one distance first etc, or correcting shots from the previous turn – to prevent some of that we even added the houserule that all “guess range war machines” had to be targeted and guessed at once before any other firing measurements were made… it didn’t stop me getting very very good at it though. My most memorable achievement of this was a huge cross-table shot from a Goblin Doom Diver along an angle not used ever before in that battle to a freshly moved Skaven war platform where I guessed a precise 60″: and was literally bang centre on the head of the model I was targeting – of course I rolled a Hit and killed him, turning my elation of the range guess being so good, to then feeling a bit guilty about that inordinate moment of luck vs that opponent.

I also played WFB 3rd Edition even earlier too, but only a handful of games. Whilst many of the rules were pretty bad, Magic especially I recall being atrocious for a wargame, designed as it was for a GM’s guidance in a more RPG-style setting, I still really love the 3rd Ed Warhammer Armies book, with nice artwork and every list included all in one book. Even KoW doesn’t do that!

Anyway, this is all a massive digression of course! But I wanted to set the stage with all of this to understand the context and game (& ‘metagame’ if you like) that this army was designed within.

This Army in WFB 4th Edition:

Black Orc Warlord – Axe of Grom, Bow, Armour of Meteoric Iron, Orb of Thunder [262]

Goblin Battle Standard -Light Armour, Shield [68]

Orc Shaman Champion – 2 Dispel Magic Scrolls [166]

24 Black Orcs with Standard & Boss – 2-Handed Weapons, Light Armour, Magic Standard: Battle Banner [432]
Black Orc Bigboss – Sword of Swift Slaying, Armour of Meteoric Iron [154]

23 Orc Warriors with Standard & Boss – Light Armour, Shield, Magic Standard: War Banner [260]
Orc Bigboss – Parrying Blade, Armour of Meteoric Iron [117]

17 Goblin Wolf Riders with Standard, Musician and Boss – Spear, Light Armour, Shield [268]
Goblin Bigboss – Giant Wolf, Ogre Blade, Light Armour, Shield, Crown of Command [130]
Goblin Bigboss – Giant Wolf, Blade of Darting Steel, Light Armour, Shield, Potion of Strength [125]

38 Night Goblins with Standard, Musician & Boss – Spear, Light Armour, Shield, 3 Night Goblin Fanatics. Magic Standard: Dread Banner [337]
Night Goblin Bigboss – Sword of Might, Heavy Armour of Fortune [68]

23 Night Goblins with Standard, Musician & Boss – Spear, Light Armour, Shield [129.5]
Night Goblin Bigboss – 2-Handed Weapon, Light Armour, Shield [38]

18 Night Goblins with Standard, Musician & Boss – Short Bow, 3 Night Goblin Fanatics [164]
Night Goblin Bigboss – Bow, Light Armour, Shield [38]

10 Savage Orcs – Bow

25 Savage Orcs with Standard & Boss – Shield, Magic Standard: War Banner [208]
Savage Orc Bigboss – Parrying Blade, Armour of Meteoric Iron [130]

3 Orc Small Rock Lobbers [199.5]

1 Doom Diver Catapult [100]

Chaos Allies:

Chaos Sorcerer Lord – Disc of Tzeentch, Chaos Armour, Chalice of Sorcery, 2 Dispel Magic Scrolls [451]

10 Chaos Thugs – Bow [70]

Characters: 1747 / 2000
Non-Characters: 2253 / 1000
War Machines: 299.5 / 1000
Allies: 521 / 1000
Total: 4000

The army! Click for full size. Arrayed with a backdrop all the boxed editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battle I played (although I only played a handful of games of 6th and I gave up totally when 7th edition was so disappointing rules-wise to me)

So how & why was this list designed like this, and how did it work? From a strategic point of view the concept was essentially a pseudo-gunline army with an above average amount of artillery and archers, but also with a robust selection of combat infantry to face once the enemy got through the missile fire. There were elements to slow and hinder any fast engagement with my main battleline, and a very fast and powerful strike force, that was almost always positioned on one flank, that would rush out from my fairly slow and static main line, to attempt to turn one enemy flank, and then potentially pincer the enemy line between my super-fast cavalry block and the rest of my oncoming infantry army.

Whilst most of my friends had developed an extremely potent “Deathstar” main combat unit – almost always heavy cavalry where available, and stacking all kinds of characters into these units, my army played quite differently in some ways, by spreading the power about a bit more. I had easily the weakest cavalry of any army in the league, but the one unit I had was large and fast. The enormous 18″ charge range of the big Goblin Wolf Rider block meant it had a huge threat ‘projection’ and, unless I messed up, it would almost always essentially get to win the charge vs whatever was setup across from it when the “boxes were removed” and both players’ deployment was revealed. I was often particularly happy if they got to go forward and engage enemy cavalry units, which often weren’t too strong if they were charged themselves, and were especially not expecting to take a charge that was also backed up by the large static rank bonus this Wolf Rider unit brought with it. They never wanted to go headlong into a true enemy Deathstar of course – but those kinds of units were more commonly deployed centrally anyway, due to our deployment rules, to ensure they would be effective. This unit was designed to very quickly pick off something weaker and unsuspecting, and try to get around the side of the enemy. The “Crown of Command” on one of the Goblin Bigbosses in this unit gave them a fixed Leadership of 10 – basically meaning they could roam independently from my General and Army Standard Bearer, and would still be near-impossible to panic or Break even (yeah we nerfed Crown of Command later on!). So in a worst-case scenario they could also be used to stalemate an enemy unit of my choosing.

Going against the prevailing ‘General in a Death Star unit’ idea, and due to the way the “Look Out Sir” rules worked vs opposing war machines, my General and Battle Standard Bearer were designed to run solo about my infantry line wherever they were needed, helping to prevent routing and animosity, and being on foot, as long as they were near another unit they could not be picked off unless they were really unlucky. They consequently were far more lightly equipped than most other armies “best” characters. This gave me room to instead cram in absolutely loads of characters elsewhere! Every unit essentially was a big bunch of static CR for the “Bigboss” characters which I put everywhere, giving them minor magic weapons or improved equipment usually – very much based on the models I had. Whilst these could technically be solo characters too I think, and I can’t remember the rules for entering and leaving units with characters – but I think it was quite hindering to movement to do so – I always deployed and left them with their specific units they were designated to fight with in the list, as essentially souped up unit champions. All but one magic banner I had equipped on my units was also giving units additional static combat resolution to amp this up further. This main central infantry battle line of units and characters was also designed to be able to “win” in a shooting stand-off, even if it didn’t have a big advantage in missile firepower, simply by offering a lack of really good targets for Cannons etc – sure my slightly more expensive & more lightly armoured Black Orcs would take a beating from enemy missile fire in some games, but I was getting way more out of being able to target their much-more elite cavalry, monsters, war platforms etc, as most of my units were just glorified static resolution blocks anyway – hence why they were generally armoured as much as possible rather than given better weapon options. I think most of the Goblins all had spears though, just because I actually had the models for those.

When it came to Magic, I remember really disliking the “Waaagh” magic that Orcs and Goblins were saddled with. You had to be near other friendly greenskin units to even be able to cast spells, but the more you were close to, the greater the risk of randomly losing your Wizard to an “Eadbang” – especially the cheaper Goblin wizards. In addition the Waaagh spells were also really hit & miss with some incredibly potent ones, but also a lot of very weak spells I would rarely ever want to get. Because spells were randomly allocated from card decks at the start of a game, I could never be sure if I’d get anything worth it for my caster from that deck either – especially given the overall strategy I was using. So I’d devised a way around this – simply avoid using much Waaagh magic altogether. We’d modified the Allied units rules a bit though – instead of a pure cherry picking, you had to bring regular units in from another list as well as characters etc. to make up a somewhat viable ‘allied contingent’. But that didn’t stop me pushing those rules to the limit by taking a cheap unit of Chaos Thugs (with bows of course, just to add more firepower if I needed it), and a very expensive Tzeentch Chaos Sorcerer Lord mounted on a hovering Disc, so he could usually join and keep up in movement speed with the Goblin Wolf Rider unit, and benefit from the Goblin with the Crown of Command too potentially. This added even more combat potential to the unit, as he was ok in melee for a Wizard if I remember correctly, and he was definitely a bit tougher to kill than most Wizards due to his Chaos Armour etc. But the real key to why I took him was not only to avoid the downsides of the Waaagh Magic, but specifically the Tzeentch spell cards. Many were really good, and if I got ones that I thought would be effective vs that opponent and situation then all was good, however if I didn’t, or there was a particular spell I was after, I would go all-in to try to get the “Boon of Tzeentch spell”. This spell was extremely easy to cast, and I would try to cast it every single phase, and it allowed me to randomly select another spell from most of the main decks available in the game. In this way I would keep trying to get whatever spell was specifically good vs that opponent’s army or situation. This was basically the way I’d figured out to guarantee I could “strategically” use magic despite the random magic cards, and it worked pretty much perfectly every game I can recall. The Orc Shaman Champion was there mainly as a “Dispel Scroll Caddy” as pure Magic defence. But sometimes he would get lucky and get a good spell and contribute. He generally snuck about to the sides of the mainline depending on what spells he had, but sometimes would just hide for the majority of the battle and ensure he didn’t get near too many of my own units, to make sure he didn’t ‘Eadbang’.

Some of these Night Goblin and Orc Warrior miniatures above are the ones I literally bought and started painting at the age of 16! So it’s been incredibly satisfying over 25 years later to finally finish the job. Talk about a delayed “Zeigarnik Effect”!

A few more notes about my choices. I was particularly worried about flying creatures “Flying High” and then dropping down on my artillery – as the rules at the time pretty much allowed flyers to ‘teleport’ anywhere on the battlefield if they took a turn to do so. To try to prevent this my General had the “Orb of Thunder” which could either stop them flying high or landing for some time. My General would also potentially prowl around the artillery if this a serious concern – his magic axe doing double wounds and ignoring armour meaning he wasn’t too bad at killing weaker monsters and characters.
I had 3 units of Night Goblins, but only two of them actually had Fanatics, so the third one without them I frequently used as a “bluff” unit and I always positioned it and tried to always make my opponent think I had Fanatics in it by how I acted with it. The Fanatics (or threat of them) was really key to my main line as well, as they were extremely devastating to any cavalry back then. It would force opponents to play much less aggressively with smart ones sending in chaff units to draw out my fanatics first. Still, depending on the luck of their movement, they could still be a huge pain for my opponent – and as all my units were either large with high toughness, or totally expendable, if they came back to damage my units it was rarely any problem for me anyway.
Despite most units having minor “Hero” characters in them, I also had Champions, called Bosses then, in most of them too. That was because we’d figured out the concept of what we called ‘Champion Chumping’ by challenging any powerful enemy character to a duel with a Champion. As there was no ‘overkill’ rules back then, this was especially a big risk to any solo character who tried to engage any of my units, as with the rank bonus and standard, even though the Champion would die, the enemy character was guaranteed to lose the first round of combat by a few points. Also, if I recall correctly, only 4 models were required to make a rank back then, so the unit sizes you see here were even larger than you’d imagine in terms of rank bonus if they wanted to “block” up.
The unit of 10 Savage Orcs with Bows was purely because they could skirmish back then, and so they were the only unit I had that could conceivably manoeuvre within any heavy terrain to either flank, I also even had a few models for these!

This Army in The Ninth Age

Astute observers of the photographs interspersing this post will have noticed the army I have painted up doesn’t quite match my stated goal of doing my old list exactly. This is because I was also painting it up with half an eye towards using the models in both The Ninth Age and Kings of War rules systems too. As I was waiting for a rumoured new edition of KoW to be released for most of last year, the one I had been focusing on the most was T9A.

Whilst T9A started it’s life as a community led follow-up and improvement over Warhammer 8th Edition, it has since diverged even further (all in a very positive way, in my opinion – and it would be good to change it even more!). That said, almost any model or unit from WFB 8th would probably find a nice equivalent home in T9A. However as I was converting from a much older edition than that, I had a few more issues in how to ‘map’ things across. The first thing that had to go was my ‘Chaos’ allies, as T9A, at least played “officially” doesn’t allow allies at all. I could still find some very nice “Evil wizard on flying disc” type of models around that I would have enjoyed painting up, but even if I did that just for casual games of T9A where allies were allowed, there simply wasn’t anything like “Chaos Thugs with Bows” represented in any of the possible lists I could use in T9A – Warriors of the Dark Gods or Daemon Legions. So I abandoned the idea of allies and instead painted up a Goblin Witchdoctor riding a Wolf, alongside a Goblin King riding a Wolf too thinking this could work…

However, as I read the rules further, whilst I could technically make this unit in T9A, there would be no way I could make it into the static combat resolution and huge flanking combat threat it had once been, because Goblin Raiders now always came with a rule of “Light Troops”. Once I understood the implications of this rule, I must admit I was a bit disheartened; it meant that whilst they were highly mobile, they could never get any static combat bonuses from having ranks at all, and all Goblin Raiders are pretty much universally assigned as a chaff/harassment unit in the T9A system. I’ve seen one cool list on T9A forums that does use a medium size unit of Goblin Raiders as a super-mobile roaming “General and Wizard Bunker”, which, whilst really interesting, still didn’t really fit what I was after. I did proposition on T9A forums that they should add some way in their Orcs & Goblins list to make Goblin Raiders into an at least semi-competent ‘normal’ cavalry block, even posting photographs of this completed unit to illustrate my point of why I cared so much, but for now, that’s just a hope for the future update anyway. Another issue was that Goblin Witch Doctors were incredibly vulnerable in melee in T9A and really did not want to be in a unit designated to charge forward into the enemy. It was another case where you technically could do this in T9A, but you wouldn’t really want to. Instead it would be better to stick to just the main Orc Shaman instead, but buff his magic power a little, now that OnG magic is on a par with other races in T9A anyway with no stupid added downsides. The way I felt to use some of the idea behind the Wolf Rider unit though, was to run some “normal” small units of Goblin Raiders as harassment units, and also use what’s referred to as a “Cowboy” type of build for a Goblin King on Wolf to project some kind of combat threat, either alone or joining (or hiding behind) the Raiders units if he needs to.

There’s also much more stringent size requirements for getting Mad Gits in Cave Goblin units in T9A. Unless you dedicate a lot of an army list to them, there’s not really a way to run the kind of amount I had before, so those numbers would have to be cut. The same with the total size of my army really – as a standard T9A list is 4500 points, it generally comes out as a slightly smaller army than I was used to running back in WFB 4th Edition, so I cut the extra “bluff” unit of Cave Goblins too – as a bluff wouldn’t work with open lists anyway. I’d planned to replace them with the Common Goblins you see painted up in the photos, but there just weren’t enough points to take everything. There was a similar thing with characters – there would be no way to stack as many characters about as I used to, I would have to make do with just unit Champions. For what it’s worth I have actually painted up all of those character models from my old force now anyway – some of which are now being used as Champions, although a few unfortunately have been relegated to rank & file duty, but with the good reason being that I have much more impressive miniatures to use as characters now!

The next issue was that, due to T9A’s sensible caps on portions of each list, I would have to adjust the way I put artillery into the list. You can spend a maximum of 675 points on the “Death from Above” artillery category in an OnG list in T9A. Whilst Splatter Catapults run at 165 points currently, and I could squeeze in 4 of them (& I would have only been able to fit in 3 of them until very recent points value adjustments), that would leave me with no Git Launcher (which I had noticed was the most popular artillery choice in T9A lists), and then none of them would be able to take the very useful Orc Overseer upgrade which would allow them to fire over my lines. There was also the minor issue that all my older war machines had Orc crewmen – so whilst I have a ton of Orc Catapult models I could have painted up and made or bought new Goblin crew models for, instead I decided to ‘fudge’ this slightly and instead use some Goblin Skewerer Ballistas that I had collected and painted back in WFB 6th Edition. I felt as long as I was as close to maxing out my “Death from Above” category, I was doing my old list enough justice here.

With no way to take allied Thugs with Bows or a small unit of skirmishing Feral Orc archers in T9A, I instead replaced them with a unit of regular Orcs with Bows, who’d been left languishing in a part-painted state since WFB 6th-7th Edition too, and who were also tabletop veterans of a number of Armies of Arcana battles.

All of the Orc infantry units from the past were easily perfectly matched with a suitable equivalent in T9A. Especially pleasing was that Black Orcs had been replaced with even the beefier ‘Iron Orcs’, now with much more armour, which meant they suited their overall role even more – even if it’s now much better for the Iron Orc General to join their unit now, thanks to the Bodyguard special rule they have.

So here’s something like how I would represent this list in T9A. I am sure I will tinker with it a bit anyway, and I plan to play some much smaller games of the full rules system first (as well as hopefully more of the great Quick Starter Edition!) to understand how some of these things work properly in T9A, before I attempt to play a game with a full-sized list game like this:

Iron Orc Warlord, General, Paired Weapons, Plate Armour (Destiny’s Call), Hand Weapon (Touch of Greatness), Obsidian Rock [450]
Common Orc Shaman, Wizard Master, Shamanism, 2x Binding Scroll [500]
Common Goblin King, Wolf, Shield, Paired Weapons, Light Armour, Hand Weapon (Hero’s Heart) [225]
Common Goblin Chief, Battle Standard [125]
35 Cave Goblins, Spears and Shields, 2x Mad Gits, Standard Bearer, Musician, Champion [420]
24 Feral Orcs, Shield, Standard Bearer, Musician, Champion [356]
24 Common Orcs, Shield, Standard Bearer, Musician, Champion [284]
24 Common Orcs, Bow, Standard Bearer, Musician, Champion [284]
21 Cave Goblins, Bow, Mad Git, Musician [243]
24 Iron Orcs, Standard Bearer (Mikinok’s Totem), Musician, Champion [685]
5 Goblin Raiders, Common Goblin, Shield [130]
5 Goblin Raiders, Common Goblin [125]
Git Launcher, Orc Overseer [215]
Splatterer, Orc Overseer [185]
Skewerer [90]
Skewerer [90]
Skewerer [90]

Characters 1300 / 1800
Core: 1587 / 1125
Death from Above: 670/675

Even without playing any games with this (or something like it) though, I am pretty sure this list won’t work especially well in T9A from what I know about the game system, as I am pretty sure I have a lot of sub-optimal choices here, and likely incorrectly sized units to play best within the system. I expect the missile firepower on offer here to be a lot less than I was used to back in WFB 4th Ed, and of course, it’s just a very different game, with different deployment rules, massively different map layouts, and objectives in battles too that probably don’t suit this style of list usually. I’m still going to try it out though, of course! I’ve also mainly tried to map the models (for obvious reasons that I have them painted now) whereas another idea I thought was to try to maybe map the overall “strategy” more closely, but using the best available unit from all the different options available in T9A now. So, for example for a ‘fast independent strike force’ maybe something like some large monsters like Gargantulas or even Giants might fit the tabletop ‘effect’ of what my old Wolf Rider unit used to have better in this system. And to play more of a stand-off missile line, I might be better served loading up with more magic power than just artillery. Just some thoughts for now anyway, I need to play more of this game to find out first.

This Army in Kings of War (3rd Edition)

As I’ve whined about before, I instantly had a big problem with representing my army in Kings of War, thanks to their, pretty bad decision to me, to split Orcs and Goblins into two separate armies. You can take allies though, but you can only take one allied faction, so whichever army was the ‘main one’, there would still be no way to then get anything into the list to represent my Chaos Sorcerer – so this again contributed to me abandoning the idea to find and paint up a model for him. There didn’t seem to be anything appropriate for him or the Thugs in the lists I’ve seen yet either anyway – perhaps there might be something in the Varangur list that would be suitable, so I will check that out when my copy of Uncharted Empires finally arrives anyway.

Despite the ally options, the points and unit selection limitations of the ally rules are pretty harsh on my attempts to map this army to Kings of War really as it’s almost a 50:50 split of greenskin types which is just how I enjoyed playing them. I thought the split between Orcs and Goblins in KoW was fine at first and from some standpoints made sense, especially since you can use allies… until I read the army lists! The lack of options in the Orc list in 2nd edition was immediately noticeable, although 3rd ed improved it quite a bit. Then when I read their 2nd ed “Elf” list it really annoyed me, as it had about 4 times the options that the Orcs had, as it essentially was all the units from previous WFB Wood Elves (including trees and elementals etc) and all the High Elves units too! To me, one of OnG’s big selling points was always the variety of stuff you could field (even if a lot of it was sub-par versions of things), whereas in KoW, both Orcs and Goblins seem to suffer in terms of variety due to being split up, and, worse still there’s still even quite a bit of crossover between the lists like Trolls. To be fair they have balanced the amount of options between lists out a lot more fairly in KoW 3rd edition now, but I really hoped they would have brought back a proper “Orcs and Goblins” army instead, but it turns out that wasn’t the case.

Once I started to think about playstyle of my old army though, the decision was really made for me – only Goblins have artillery in KoW, and as that was such a focal point of the list – being very “shooty” I really had to start there. Also, amusingly enough for me, from my online following of the tournament ‘meta’ and lists for KoW, Artillery-based Goblins, at least when optimised, is one of the top performing lists right now! However my list will be far from optimised for tournament performance of course, in fact I don’t even have enough Goblins here to make a proper regular sized KoW list (2000 points according to the rulebook, although I’ve seen quite a few tournaments run bigger numbers than that too). Luckily I do have quite a few more painted that aren’t part of this list, so if I throw them in too, I’m starting to get there. So the Goblin infantry is pretty much sorted by some blocks of Rabble, Sharpsticks, and Spitters in KoW, and as for the Goblin Mad Gits, it’s not a perfect match, but they should work pretty nicely as a Luggit Gang I think.

Luggit Gang Regiment
I’ve already stuck magnets to their bases so they can stick to a movement tray just like this in fact.

Or maybe they could represent Goblin Blasters even? Although the Height: 3 stat doesn’t really match up very nicely for that.

The Goblin Wolf Riders are very well represented by Fleabag Riders, although I have a feeling from what little I know about how KoW plays, that, as a Horde-sized block of them has to be seriously wide rather than deep, they might be rather limited in the kind of ‘manoeuvre around the flanks role’ I put them in that kind of formation. That’s easily solved by splitting them into two medium sized units though, and it’s also easy enough to put some Goblin characters on Fleabags to fight alongside them rather than in the units. I could even put some of the “magic upgrade” options onto these units potentially to represent how I generally beefed them up for combat, relatively speaking, in the past.

Ok just one more army shot! I actually have loads more photos that mostly looked quite good, but the ones I thought that looked best when going through them all afterwards were the ones I’ve used here, where I also had assistance to hold my ‘daylight’ lamp I usually use for painting in the perfect position to light them all nicely. I’ll put a larger set of images onto my flickr page in due course though anyway.

As mentioned for T9A, I can easily match all the artillery options in KoW too, except for the Goblin crewmen, so again I’ll likely take a slightly different mix than my original WFB list had, just so my painted models match up a bit better for now. I really like the idea of my Doom Diver representing a Mawpup Launcher though, even if it doesn’t exactly match the concept… which doesn’t totally make sense even in KoW anyway to me.

The biggest issue for me is how to represent the Orc “allies” though. I need to add some just to have enough painted troops to make it to 2000 points. I’m still really disappointed though that whilst the Orcs in KoW have a huge array of infantry options, there’s really nothing that matches the classic “elite Orc”or “Greater Orc” (Uruk-hai if you prefer) or in my case, the Black / Iron Orcs! Sure you can add a magic item to a standard Orc infantry unit to try to make them beefier, but that isn’t that satisfying to me in terms of flavour – and worse – since I was taking them as allies now, I discovered I wouldn’t even be able to even do that. So I couldn’t really figure out any way to represent the Black Orcs well. I could call my other units almost any mix of Orc Infantry really though in the list. What I am tempted to do at the moment though is just take a single Longax Horde and instead use some of my Orc Spearmen models I have painted as part of my “finishing my half-done stuff” task earlier, that aren’t from this particular old army. This seems to be the “toughest” single Orc unit I could add as an ally that fits the lists overall ‘feel’ and strategy pretty well, and it also hopefully has different enough stats to feel different enough from my Goblin infantry units.

So here’s a rough idea of how the 2000 points would look in KoW. Again, I may well make quite a few tinkers to this anyway, even without needing to paint any more models, I still have a lot of options, especially with how I could potentially implement the many “spare” Orc models I’d have when running this:

Army: Goblins
Ally: Orcs (13.0%)
Points: 2000
Unit Count: 18
Unit Strength: 26

Sharpstick HordeMawpup [165]
Luggit Gang Regiment [160]
Fleabag Rider Regiment [155]
Fleabag Rider Regiment [155]
Sharpstick Regiment [95]
Rabble Regiment [75]
Rabble Regiment [75]
Spitter Horde [160]
Mincer [90]
Big Rocks Thrower [90]
Sharpstick Thrower [75]
Sharpstick Thrower [75]
Mawpup Launcher [75]
KingJareth’s Pendant [85]
KingFleabag [105]
WizBane Chant (2) [65]
Flaggit [40]
Longax HordeOrcish Skullpole [260]

Likewise with T9A, I know from what I’ve seen of the most “powerful” lists for KoW, this is probably not very optimal. How to decide what size of blocks to run for KoW is also a bit of a mystery to me currently, so I just took a few differently sized units for the sake of it. I could easily reconfigure lots of them of course simply by breaking them up into smaller blocks or combining into larger ones. Although I’m wary of abilities that are opponents-force dependent (they are also very difficult to balance, so like a lot of things in KoW it is very “risky” design for balance), I still really like the way the Phalanx rule works on the Sharpsticks and Longax’s as it can sort of represent the additional threat to a Cavalry charge into my main line that my Fanatics used to in the days long past.

Mincer - left side
In case you were wondering why I included a Mincer in the above list… that’s because I’ve also got this bad boy painted up and ready to go.

I’m also not sure how well this list will play in the more objective based system of KoW, and also again, I might be better off representing the “spirit” of my old list with very different troops in KoW these days. Maybe a Goblin Slasher and a Giant would better represent an independent mobile strike force, or for the speed to out-charge range almost anything, maybe an Orc Krudger on Winged Slasher should be included as an ally? I also missed out on having a mobile Wiz as I was running out of points and felt once again that a standard Wiz on foot would actually work better with this list in the KoW system, and again I have a number of suitable models already painted.

Fight for the Future!

If you’ve made it all the way through this massive post then congrats! I just really wanted to write something lengthy (& take a load of photos) to mark the accomplishment I felt about all the painting I’ve done over the last 15 months, and really go into depth through all the nostalgia of the past as well as looking forwards and thinking about the modern day games I like the look of. I hope it’s an interesting insight into how gaming and modelling and painting tend to mix, and it’s been incredibly fun & satisfying to finally get these guys “done”. I’m already onto new challenges in both playing and learning more games with them as explained above, and also of course, I’ve not stopped coming up with new painting goals to keep me entertained. In fact, I wonder what these Goblins are waiting for?

14 thoughts on “My First Miniatures Army Completed

  1. It’s always hard to answer to your posts – they’re so long 😀 so I’ll have to pick favourites before I forget all the stuff.
    I remember the not measuring rule for war machines even from 7th edition. The cheat I saw most often was of a different nature though: target a unit you could see and “misjudge” the way to it so the artillery would hit an otherwise illegal target… We ruled that out eventually.

    If I think about it, I haven’t painted my first army for so long either. I played quite a lot of games with just the Battle for skull pass box and 3 fanatics and while I have painted 60 Night Goblins with the appropriate weapons ages ago, I only have enough of them painted to an ok standard since last year.

    I’m doing something completely different right now – limiting myself in a slow grow league to only play with painted stuff. I guess there’ll be a post on it somewhere this week. It’s a bit demotivating, that two of my opponents use armies they already have (well as have I – but with the additional caveat only to use miniatures not previously painted) and one paints to a near professional standard with NMM and whatnot even for his basic troops. So no progress from two people to compare with and slow but impressing but not really comparable progress from the other. I’ve painted around 150 infantry Goblins plus a bit of reinforcements right now though, which is nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks CG! 😀 I guess I could break it down into multiple shorter posts but I kinda prefer all the things in one place for future referencing. Take your time and feel free to answer with a blog post of your own too, that would be awesome.

      150 Goblins is also a great accomplishment in it’s own right! It’s a shame you don’t have other players in a similar situation to yourself though, but it’s true what they say about “look but don’t compare” when it comes to other people’s minis. Gotta do it all your own way! (There are just too many song lyrics I could quote here, so I’ll leave that for once 😛 )

      I can remember the “flagrant mis-guess” issue too with the old rules, but I can’t remember if we ever had to do anything about it. Maybe because our artillery usually was on hills with great lines of sight anyway, it just didn’t come up that much. If I had all my old rules I would check back to see, but sadly I don’t have them (unless an old friend tells me they have them somewhere maybe!). I did find a bunch of notes about how we were planning to adjust war machines balance further by giving them a cost multiplier the more of them you took, as we’d noticed guess weapons clearly became better when you had a large number of them to mitigate the guessing issues. More on this when I get onto a future epic post about my 2nd army 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, it’s not a completely different army though 😀 I just mean the next army list I played a lot of games with back in WFB 4th Edition. I also had a few lists from WFB 6th, WFB 7th and Armies of Arcana, but they aren’t as exciting really, as I only played a handful of games with each, changing my list too much for me to have had much ‘attachment’ to it.

          For AoA in particular I used to change my list pretty much every game (even proxying a lot of stuff at times, as we were trying to ‘break’ the game to an extent), and as it got very monster-heavy due to the balance issues with AoA, I couldn’t take any of that kind of stuff into any modern game anyway… yeah I have a half-finished Dragon model and not-started Roc and Giant Scorpion and things like that. Some great models, that I sadly suspect I will never get to as I’m not so motivated if I know I can’t really use them for a game system I like too.

          So I suppose I’ve got loads of “old army lists” really! But only two real ones that saw a lot of battles as the same list.


  2. Going to paraphrase some comments from friends from elsewhere here so they are referenced with this article in future (damn social media!).

    My friend Moley found this amazing photo from an old White Dwarf that proved we were not alone in our deployment method:

    It was an actual suggested way to do it in the rules from what I can remember too. It also lent itself to advanced bluffing techniques we did, like quickly setting up models in one location, then spending ages ‘faking deployment’ making it look like you were loading one flank etc. (You quickly learned it was better to totally ignore what your opponent was up to rather than fall for this).

    My friend Neil (who used to game with me back in WFB 4th ediiton too) said “Wow that’s a long detailed explanation Rik can see why you pounded us all!!! Who’s army worried you the most?” to which I answered Greg, who used to play mostly Empire and dabbled in Chaos. I noted looking through or old battle results and army lists that Greg frew a game with me very early on when he used a Chaos list vs be with loads of Harpies and flying stuff. Its probably why I was so scared of flyers after that. I also noted that Greg had a talent for finding the most overpowered stuff that our re-balancing attempts had missed, like Volkmar on a War Altar – he was really silly and near broken at times. But another thing that worried me vs Empire or anyone with a lot of Cannons they would try to shoot my Rock Lobbers off the table in a form of “counter battery” fire that could have ruined my overall plan – but luckily no one ever really tried that. It was quite tricky to hit small targets even with Cannons back then, although I think with good guesses the odds weren’t bad if you dedicated to that plan.


  3. In the last few weeks I got all the movement trays I wanted for KoW and magnetised all my bases for them…

    So I could finally put this whole army together in it’s current KoW configuration as described above.

    Time for a KoW focused photoshoot of the whole lot of ’em:



  4. Pingback: The Painting Grind

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.