Kustomizationz: The Ork Shield-Wall

When I started playing about with Orks again a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but notice the number of bare plastic and undercoated boyz. I wanted to paint them up quickly, and was going to do just that, with a quick ‘how to:’ post and video. Instead, I became distracted.

One of the greatest things about being distracted on Instagram, is that you often find things you think are awesome and cool, and they inspire you to try something different. I came across someone who had used Bullgryn shields on her Ork Nobz, and they looked superb – I’ve linked her in our Instagram post with thanks for the inspiration. I’d never considered Orks with shields, but now I’d seen them, and there was about to be a crunch as Warhammer 40k met with the Dark Ages at a rapid rate of knots.

I dug out all my spare Rhino and Land Raider Cuppola hatches and started to play around with them, working out how I could get them to fit in a Last Kingdom (awesome series of books, and TV – read/watch it) or Vikings (also watch this, it’s awesome) shield-wall. If you’ve read the blog for a while, you’ll know that a few of us love Saga immensely, and this all ties in together. I wanted round shields interlocking like the dark age style. What I discovered was, that it’s not possible.

Sadly, rigid plastic bodies and legs in set poses leave little room for manoeuvre, Without cutting up each leg at each joint and greenstuffing them to death, there was no way it was going to happen. My greenstuffing skills are appalling, and my ability to slice myself open like a big idiotalways makes me wary.

Instead I went decided that the best course of action would to go for a Roman style shield-wall, the Testudo, where the front, sides and top are all covered.

I was quite happy with the first three, using spare parts from the Storm Talon Gunship and Redemptor Dreadnought, as well as something more Ork-made – the engine cover from a Dakka Jet (or one of it’s builds). The left arms had to be rebuilt so that they were raised with the fore arm at a right angle to the body, the shield was then glued to the forearm, while the right arms were mainly chopped at the wrist or elbow to allow the weapon to be poised just by the gap in the shields. This allows for plenty of ‘snik’ing when the shields meet the enemy.

The second rank were similar, in that the left arm needed more repositioning and chopping than the right. I wanted the left arm to run flat under the shield, as though the Ork was supporting the shield with the metal strip across his shoulders, one arm, and the boy in front, who, if he’s on the front rank ready to get choppy, should be ‘ard enough to support the extra weight.

I worked on the second rank one at a time, making each boy (and the Nob) specific to the boy infront. Because the arms and forward shields are all different, it meant that one standard pose wouldn’t do for the second rank, as some boyz were further forward or back than the boy next to them. The boyz at the end of the front rank had corner shields to stop any sneaky gitz popping holes in the side of the Orks, while the boyz at the end of the second rank also had some side armour on their shields. I used a pin vice to drill a few holes into the shields to give them a ‘well-used’ appearance.

Once built, they looked something like this. The second image has them sprayed with Macragge Blue on the front and top, and Caliban Green from the sides/rear. You can also see the ‘soon to be ‘ard boyz’ in a third rank at the back.

Despite the Ork boyz being very few points, I’d put some effort into the shields, so wanted them to look good above all else. I’d given the Orks behind the shields a reasonable paint job, base-wash-colour for the clothing, and the skin in the same style as the skin from my post here. By doing some of the smaller details like the skin and blades, and giving a good paint job on the shields, it takes the eye away from parts which may not have received the same level of work. Again, this is all down to points cost, and because there’s thirty boyz to paint in this mob alone. If SOPs are followed, the mob will be wiped out within two turns as they’re the most recently painted.

To paint the shields I followed the method below. While the front rank look as though they are stored (or dumped) upright, on the top shields were painted to see how they would best stand and the rust and runs painted accordingly. The Imperial Fist door was painted as though it’s left upside down, in a show of contempt for the boys in yellow.

Once finished, the front rank looked better than I’d anticipated…

Shield-wall front rank

… so I carried on and painted up the second rank straight away.

The second rank look slightly less impressive than the front rank, as they’re supporting their shields, rather than bracing against them. For that reason there’s not too many photos underneath the shields. One thing I made sure I did, was paint any bionic eyes, etc so that details would be picked out.

With the second now completed, it was time to fit them all together. I was really happy with the way they turned out, and how dirty and grimy things can be made with very little effort.

With that, the shield-wall/testudo was complete, with just the small matter of painting up the ten ‘Ard boyz who’ll make up the final ten in the squad.

Shield-wall/Testudo complete

I was asked whether they’d be played as ‘Ard Boyz in 40k as they hadn’t been around in the previous Edition, and I’d noted they weren’t in the Index: Xenos 2, but that doesn’t bother me too much. I love Orks, and just having a boyz mob behind shields will fit with the narrative behind my Clan.

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