I love the Ork books.
Waaagh Orks is the last RT book that I covet. It shall be mine one day. But I've got the other two and I hug them at night till I fall asleep. The previews that were published in White Dwarf all those years ago, lit a green flame in my heart that, although it spent a time hidden and guttering, has never been extinguished. And now that I am repainting some of those very figures that I painted back then I have begun to pore over the minutiae all over again (time in the drops is very useful for such a project).
The Orks books are, in their own way, as monumental a collection as the two Chaos books. No other single race in the 40K universe got three hardback books covering their entire existence and many a orc player owes their love for the green skins to delights hidden with their pages.
As you may (or may not) know. WAAAGH ORKS! is the book of fluff, full of all the fun details of Orky life and has never really been surpassed for Orky lore. Almost all of what we know about Orks today is passed down to us from this might tome. ERE WE GO, the 2nd book contains the Rules. Oddboyz, Madboyz, Vehicles and Orky event cards are all covered in detail (one day I will have a Madboy mob on the table and 3 and a half days later I be able to tell you how the game ended!) Also included are the Army Lists for Goffs, Blood Axes and Snakebites.
FREEBOOTERS (for it is the book I wish to enthuse about) has the rules for various hilarious Orky heavy weapons (Lifta Droppa, Traktor Kannon, Bubble Chukka and Pulsa Rokkit) and the army lists for Evil Sunz, Bad Moonz and Deff Skulls. But what it also has is one of the sexiest list of mercenary units available in the whole of the 40K universe.
Essentially this is a list of Outcasts and Wierdo's that a Warboss can hire to boost his fighting prowess. They range form run of the mill Ork Pirates to Rampaging mobs of Dredds, from Runtherds that experiment with breeding new super races of snotlings to Ork Genestealer cults. Now, Freebooterz are still a flavour of the orky world, but like most of the 40K universe they have lost their sense of humour over the years to the point where we have the option of buying some expensive Flash Gitz and thats about it.
The variety and richness of the Freebooterz can lead to a wealth of creative and daring modelling projects, NinjaBreads superlative Ork Stealer hybrid army being one that springs to mind.
However thats not what made me bring you here. It was another realisation entirely.
When I started to string some of the units together I realised that building a bunch of units based around a Chaos/Ork theme would lead to some fabulous army opportunities.
So lets look at the Freebooterz that for the theme.
First up are the poor Mutiez.
Oaks that for whatever reason have come out of the ground with one or two 'unique' differences from the other boys. Maybe the planet they were born on is inside a warp rift, maybe they there is some kind of radiation in the soil, maybe they ate some funny looking squigs, maybe they just spent too long fighting the spiky boys. Now the other Boyz don't want them in their mobs so they've had to wander off into the desert (or space or some other desolate emptiness) and have found other boys what are just like them. The foot soldiers of the ChaosOrk war band, these guys provide just as much fun as any other chaos project when it comes to rolling their mutations. They are essentially the same as normal boyz mobs except they don't get the option for Heavy Weapons, ho-hum we'll just have to manage with giving the leader a plasma pistol and a hand flamer and using them as even fightier than a normal boys mob.
Alternatively you can trade the whole mob in for an Orky Chaos Spawn generated the good old fashioned way but starting off as a good old Ork.
Then comes the wriggling squig in the Sandwich.
The Chaos Ork Warband.
Now these guys are basically your common all garden Chaos worshippers who just happen to be Orks. As with al Chaos Warbands, you get to roll for the starting stats of your champion and then festoon him with chaos gifts. In addition to this you gets to roll on a separate table to generate his war band with 90% of the rolls being of the Orky Kind. The other 10% gives you the possibility of rolling on the classic LotD war band tables! Huzzah!
This mob will give you the opportunity to use the classic Ork Renegade figures.
These two mobs would be the backbone of any Chaos Ork army. The Warbands will possible be harder hitting as they will have access to more weaponry and armour. Depending on your rolls you might have a unit of dead hard bosses in power armour or you might end up with a bunch of frothing loonies that are desperate for a fight or even a bunch of normal boys that you buy dead shooty weapons for. So we've got the basic troops what else?
Everybody needs a Weirdboy, but how about a Weirdboy that enjoys using his powers? But how about a Weirdboy that enjoys using his powers and is possessed by a Daemon? A possessed Weirdboy is bloody powerful individual who isn't dominated by the Daemon stuck inside him but instead uses all the power it provides. This would make a really interesting modelling project. Showing a wacked out lunatic that wanders around chatting to himself would make a for a bonkers individual figure and he might be powerful enough not to be tangled with.
A final option should you be aching for something a lot less random, is a mob of Khorne's Stormboyz. These are no longer yoofs rebelling but are mature Orks who revel in marching about and standing to attention. Very un-khorne if you ask me but they seem to enjoy themselves.
The basic Ork army list requires you to have a Warboss, a retinue and a big mob. Everything else can be Freebooterz. This means that you can have a really flexible build to your army. Of course, sticking to army lists is for tournament players but it's always nice to have a framework. I've suddenly gotten really excited about building some Chaos mobs but i'm very aware it's a big old task. There fore i need to temper my enthusiasm with a dose of reality.
As i'm already building up my Ork army, this needs to come first. The figures are built and I just need to work my way through the next couple of units (another boys mob, a big mob, a retinue and warboss and madboyz) and get them all painted. The back is broken as they say. This means that i can start looking at other Freebooterz to add to the army (the Dredd Mob being done already). As I want to do a couple it makes sense to pull them into a theme together. The chaos Ork's therefore become their own little sub-army within the whole army.
It also gives me a small, very characterful, very unique group of figures that I can play skirmish level games with. The next step is to decide how i'm going to go about making these units. The main thing I want is for the figures to look like they could be included in my main army. The mutants especially want to be accepted back into Orky society so it makes sense to have the figures form the same range as the rest of the army. Secondly as I have the Chaos Renegade Ork figure I again want the figures to come from the same sculptors. There is the option to use the old plastic (which I still have my originals of) but I don't want the figures to be obviously different form the rest of the army apart form the mutations. I am, however, shy of hacking up pristine figures but after 30 odd years there must be a skipful of damaged old Orks out there in the world. I just need to start hoovering up these lost and unloved old hunks of green lead and give them a second life thanks to the warm embrace of Chaos.
So. If any of you have broken and unloved single piece Orks from the classic rogue trader range lying around in the pile of lead then get in touch and we can work out how the Gods of Chaos can help them out!