Monday, April 27, 2015

How "Black" are your Black Orcs?

Prufrock got me thinking about Black Orcs and how to paint them. Do you remember that picture from Warhammer Armies?

I remember originally planning to paint my black orcs in black skin tones, but honestly back then I'm not sure I would have known exactly how. In looking at this picture he has almost the same skin tone as my 40mm zombies. That is all shades of grey with a slate green top highlight.

I generally try to do my goblins lighter than my orcs and I did my "black" orc general a tad darker. But they are all green.

So let's look at how I do it, sort of a painters note book if you will. (In doing some research for this I am finding it maddeningly difficult to find what look like the right names for the paints. Of course all of mine have had the labels fall off.)

So lets try some look at it forensically. If I recall correctly, when I started out it was with a base green, green ink wash, followed by a brighter green dry brush. I want to say Goblin Green as the base and Bilious Green as the highlight.

Now I use these paints mostly:

The three Hauser greens are what I use the most. For 20mm (1/72) I have used the Anita's Olive green as the base. I'm pretty sure that for Nar (Eeza Ugezod) I used the Black Forest green to go darker. Of course a year later I think I used the middle three Hauser triad for the rest of the Mother Crushers. For many of the goblins I used just Hauser Light green with a grunge wash and then Hauser light green highlights. For some I think I used medium green, grunge wash and Hauser light highlights. This method tends to look a little too similar to the Hauser green triad.


So here we see the old school Orc Musician, painted with the aforementioned citadel paints and Winsor & Newton ink. Then the two "Black Orcs" painted about 9 months apart. Next is the regular Orc, painted somewhere between the two "Black Orcs" and finally two goblins who were painted in separate batches with slightly different techniques. The one on the extreme right is only Hauser light green with a wash and re highlight of the base. The one to his left is Hauser medium green, wash and thinned Hauser light highlights.

For completeness I have also included the 20mm(1/72) Orcs and Goblin. The Orcs have a base of the Anita's Olive green, with perhaps a highlight of Hauser medium green. I think it is more evident on the rider. The Goblin is in the still of the last 28mm goblin with only Hauser light green. The main difference is all these figures were undercoated Black, while the 28mm were all undercoated White.

I'm also trying out adding my blog logo to pictures. I'm not overly fussy about copyright, but do think maybe I should "sign" my images.


Perhaps in the future I will try using white, black and flesh colors to mix into these greens. I still need to do some Half Orcs and need to figure out how to do a greenish cast to normal flesh paint.

If you have any tips or tricks, or any questions for me, feel free to ask.

I'd also like to welcome two new followers to the blog.

Lee Brady of Harold's Revenge, whose blog is not listed in his friend connect but I think is mentioned in his profile. A fellow Oldhammerer who was lucky enough to go to Salute and looks like he's playing some fun games of Saga with zombies.

Blue in VT of Blue's Marauding Miniatures who really needs no introduction. Great painter and early self identified Oldhammerer. Looking forward to meeting him at Oldhammer USA Weekend.

I'll have some amazing finds from the Box of holding next.


  1. What no minis?!? LOL

    Got to love those Americana paints...which reminds me I need to refill my Americana Black.

    1. Doh! I did realize it after I published it. I'll whip up a quick comparison pic when I get home.

    2. No worries I was just being humorous.

  2. Hey thanks for the shout out Sean...I'm sorry it took me so long to follow your blog...a sad oversight on my part.

    the question of skin tone for black orcs is one that has vexed me as well...which is one of the reasons I have yet to paint any. But like you I think I will go for a very Dark green on them...but that makes them difficult to highlight properly without ruining the whole "dark Green" effect...I imagine will will turn out to be a course of trial and error...but one I am looking forward to giving a try soon.

    thanks for your thoughts on colors.

    1. Hey Blue, no worries. There are so many blogs out there, it's hard to keep up with them all.

      Yeah, the highlighting is the real trick. Go too light and the fact that you started darker gets lost. I haven't hit the sweet spot yet. Maybe I can figure it out on those Marauder Giant Black Orcs.



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