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Redbeard's Horde Orks

Full Army Photo

Army List

For the Adepticon Gladiator in 2008, I ran the following list:

  • HQ
    • Warboss on Bike, w/ powerklaw & Cybork Body
    • Big Mek w/ Kustom Forcefield
  • Elite
    • 5 Kommandos w/ Rokkit
    • 5 Kommandos w/ Rokkit
    • 5 Kommandos
  • Troops
    • 30 slugga boyz, PK nob, 3 rokkits
    • 30 slugga boyz, PK nob, 3 rokkits
    • 30 shoota boyz, PK nob, 3 rokkits
    • 30 shoota boyz, PK nob, 3 rokkits
    • 30 shoota boyz, PK nob, 3 rokkits
    • 22 shoota boyz, PK nob, 2 rokkits
  • Fast Attack
    • Death Kopta w/ Buzzsaw
    • Death Kopta
    • Death Kopta
  • Heavy Support
    • One Kannon
    • One Kannon
    • One Kannon

I playtested many other options, including several HQ choices, as well as units that didn't make the cut, such as stormboyz, lootas, and Snikrot. They're pictured with the army.

Unit Photos


A couple of biker bosses. I had a fantasy warboss kit and decided to make a cyboar boss, which can count as an attack squig if needed.

This is one of the few models from my kult-of-speed army to make it into the new army, albeit with new skin.

This guy was featured in a White Dwarf issue a while ago, as I'd left him at the local GW when their photographer came in.

A couple of Kustom Forcefield Meks:

One standard model (these new ork boss models are soooo nice, I don't want to convert them)

One conversion - another refugee from my kult of speed army.

Kustom Mega-Blasta mek. I have no intention of ever fielding this guy, but I liked the model.

Shokk Attack Meks - Didn't make the cut for the gladiator army, but are lots of fun.

Weirdboyz - See comment for Shokk Attack Meks


Kommandos - Notice Snikrot hanging with the nobs:

Lootas: The Death Skulls have recently looted Imperial, Tau, and Eldar weapons, and are saving up for a Mek to build them propa deffguns. The Bad Moons, wealth gits, of course have the new deffguns.


Boyz: The core of the army. You'll notice most of the mobs have both rokkit and big-shootas painted.

Death Skull Shoota Boys:

Evil Suns Shoota Boyz:

Blood Axe Shoota Boyz:

Goff Shoota Boyz:

Bad Moon Slugga Boyz:

Evil Suns Slugga Boyz:

Look, a trukk:

Fast Attack




Heavy Support


Here are some other cool models. These were all gifts from my wife. I considered trying the squiggoth and the gargant (as a stompa) in the gladiator, but felt that it would dilute the meta-game effect of the army.

The squiggoth has zzap guns. These were left out of its options in the new apocalypse rules.

Gargant! Yeah, it's huge.

The battlefortress may well be the least impressive super-heavy ever made. Cool model, awful rules. For 325 points you get...2 random strength BS2 zzap gun shots, and one S8 kannon shot each turn. No 'primary weapon', no big blast template. You don't even get the deathrolla, you have to pay more for the upgrade.

Why I Started This Army

I have been playing orks since shortly after I started playing 40k. Previously, I only played Kult-of-Speed, but when the new codex came out, my early games didn't play like I remembered. Rather than just make a few changes and try to get by playing Kult-style with the 5th ed codex, I instead opted to take advantage of what I think is the real strength of the ork army now, the 6 point ork boy.

With the codex coming out in January and the gladiator in early April, I pretty much spend the next three months working on this army to the exclusion of anything else. I was either playtesting various configurations, or painting.

Designing the Army

In designing a horde army for the Adepticon gladiator, my initial thought was to have a mix of the 'good' units from the new ork codex. A couple units of stormboyz, a couple units of lootas, Snikrot's kommandos, and fill in the extra points with shoota boyz.

But, as the event drew nearer, playtesting led me down another path. Stormboyz proved to be a risky, expensive alternative to regular boyz. At twice the cost, per boy, I'd expect them to do twice the lifting. But, they typically just drew enemy fire faster than the normal boyz. It was not uncommon to see my stormboyz outpace the forcefield, and get mowed down. On the occassions that they made it into combat, an enemy counter-assault unit would see them off, and my opponent would get another shooting phase against my footsloggers.

Lootas, too, proved disappointing. There were playtest games where they absolutely owned lanes of fire. They blew away Dark Reapers and Devastators that had been firing on my boyz. But, after I'd play an opponent a second time, the lootas were suddenly a high-priority target. And, when they drew fire, they died, and ran, quite easily. So, that was problem number one. Problem number two was that I expected to see AV14 targets at the gladiator, and lootas are useless against those targets. A mob of boyz with rokkits can keep a skimmer stunned, and can also score some hits on a AV14 vehicle. A loota mob may drop the skimmer, but that's a lot of points to lose when faced with the AV14 targets that really give orks problems. So, at a cost of more than two boyz per loota, they got cut.

Snikrot stayed in my list longer than either the stormboyz or the lootas, but eventually, his price tag, and the number of lists that he'd either do nothing against, or even worse, die rapidly, led to me cutting him.

That meant that the goal of the army was to overload my opponent's ability to kill models, while simultaneously not giving him anything to shoot at that would earn many victory points. I also knew that objectives were a big deal at adepticon, and so having units able to claim them matters. So, to that end, I wanted to have all of my force org slots filled with scoring units. That led to the use of lone kannons as heavy support choices, deathkoptas for fast attack, and minimum-sized kommandos for elites. Those units would be responsible for holding quarters and claiming objectives while my opponent was focused on killing the 180 ork boyz coming his way.

Playing the Army

The army works by applying pressure across a broad front, forcing your opponent to either stay away from your horde, or be overwhelmed in numbers. There are only a few keys to making it work.

First, you need to keep your boyz protected by the forcefield as long as possible. Only one forcefield is needed, as the cover save provided by the Kustom Force Field protects any unit with a member within 6". Each unit needs to leave a tail of boyz back to the forcefield Mek, until they charge.

Second, you want to make sure that your rokkit boyz and nobs are in the second row of advancing boyz. It's too easy to have them sniped out by ranged weapons otherwise. This should go away in 5th ed.

Finally, you need to play quickly. See my article, Playing a Horde Quickly, for more details on that.

Painting the Army

My previous ork army focused mostly on the vehicles, so this time, I wanted to really feature the ork skin. I had some stormboyz and a couple of HQ choices that were making the transition to the new army, and they all got a new skin paintjob as well as some touchups.

My ork skin consists of:

Basecoat: Knarloc Green foundation paint Wash: Mix 5 parts Green Ink with 1 part Purple Ink. Dilute 50/50 with water. Mix in a little PVA glue. Drybrush/Layer: Camo Green (rank&file boyz get a drybrush, HQs and 'fancy' models like kommandos get a properly painted layer) Highlight: Rotting Flesh (on the majority of the boyz, this is only done on their faces and knuckles)

Teeth: TauSept Ochre basecoat. Brown Ink (non-diluted) wash. Bleached Bone highlights Eyes: Blood Red (mostly just a dot)

So, how do you paint 300 models (including the stormboyz, kommandos, and lootas that didn't make the adepticon list) in three months?

Well, first, you need the right tools. By tools, I mean paintbrushes. I used a #2 Filbert brush (Princeton Art & Brush Co.) extensively while painting these boyz. It's a wide, flat brush (not a round), that tapers to a point. I also used a lot of foundation paints. Combining the coverage of the foundation paints with the width and precision of the brush, I was able to do things like arms and legs with a single brush stroke.

Second, you need a method. Some people advocate painting a model from the 'inside' out. My method was, instead, to paint the biggest surfaces first and move progressively to the smaller space. This allows maximum usage of larger brushes, and lets you clean up any mistakes you make as you move on to the smaller details.


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