Ninja Goblins from Space



Some bigger, faster, stronger gretchin and their sensei-shepherd today.

I whimsically picked up a second hand Zodgrod Wortsnagga runtherd special character from one of Blue in VTs clearouts a little while ago.  Historically I never really had a hankering for that model or a particular interest in the character, but after enjoying painting Nazgrub Wurrzag and Mushrööm Klöwd recently I figured that I might have some fun with another highly stylised ork character model from the nineties.

Like all of my space ork types, I painted the model in the straightforward colour scheme laid down for the rest of my Bigdogz ork tribe.

L to R: cureent plastic Runtherd, Zodgrod.

L to R: current plastic Runtherd, Zodgrod.

According to the background, Zodgrod was cast out of civilised ork society due to notions of creating “super-runtz”.  The story suggests that Zodgrod conditioned and bred his gretchin to be more efficient, rather than augmented them chemically or whatever.  What a super runt might look like was left to the players.

EDIT #1: Lack of focus on where I am and what I am doing meant that I forgot all about the image of the Renegade Runtmasters from the old Freebooterz book.  Like Zodgrod, these guys are also disciples of the teachings of “Narflung” or “Narflug” and they ended up with super runts as pictured below.  Thanks to Orjetax for the reminder.

Renegade Runtmasters

Renegade Runtmasters as per “Freebooterz”, 1991.

Fortuitously, Forlorn Hope games re-released a set of Bob Olley goblin ninjas a couple of days after Zodgrod showed up on my doorstep and the strained imagery of the project fell into place.

EDIT #2: These are actually NOT Bob Olley sculpts, they are the work of Pedro Ramos.  Mr Olley sculpted everything else in the range that these gobbos came from and I got my wires crossed.  Sorry about that…

L to R: Squig Eyes, Squig Shadow, Solid Squig

L to R: Squig Eyes, Squig Shadow, Solid Squig

My “super runtz” were quickly painted and look quite amusing to me.  They look a little TMNT simply because of the green flesh I think, but thats sort of unavoidable.  I try to avoid painting duplicate miniatures when I can, but I figured three super runts wouldnt be enough for even the small skirmish games that I like to play, so I painted two of each ninja goblin.


The ninjas are quite large as goblin models go, but as they are super gretchin, a perceived size discrepancy doesnt concern me: its due to selective super runt breeding I expect.  As already mentioned, I stuck to the Bigdogz scheme when painting them: black with red trim is a pretty classic ninja look anyway.

Authentic Ninja Attire

Authentic Ninja Attire

It was more of a problem to get Zodgrod to fit in with the idea of goblin ninjas.  The model is pretty unique with very few features in the “stealthy assassination professional” bracket and lots of elements in the “”ker-azy 1990s GW orks” bracket: huge hair, huge beard, lots of warts, a bag of squig treats for encouraging his student/flock, a massive and decidedly unsubtle looking mechanical crook, a bunch of large keys, manacles, furry boots etc.

Zodgrod Wortsnagga - Runtmaster

Zodgrod Wortsnagga – Runtmaster

I considered a few ways to up-ninja Zodgrod, maybe adding some sort of rolled-down hood, turning the grabba-stick into some sort of steampunk bo staff, modifying his feet into those cool two-toed sock/sandal things etc but rejected them all as too time consuming with little tangible gain in the end.  My heaps of unpainted miniatures encouraged me to just-get-on-with-it, so I did.

Master Pai Mei

Master Pai Mei – a bollocks by any measure.

So I settled on painting Zodgrods beard and hair white (also a minor spot colour in the BigDogz palette) in a lazy attempt to conjure up vague notions of various kung fu movie sensei/sifu types.  Did it work?  I dont know.  I do know that I havent seen a Zodgrod that looks like this one before, which is definitely a good thing.  And the keys on his belt obviously represent unlocked doors to enlightenment.  Or something.

I have a squig hound – Pavlov – lined up to add to these guys as soon as I have converted an old Epic scale ork stompa into a Runtbot to escort the lot of them.  Because nothing says space ninja goblins like a grenade launcher equipped robotic shepherds assistant…

EDIT: Forlorn Hope have used these images of the Goblin Ninjas on their site.  As an amateur hobbyist, I get a kick out of this 😀



12 Responses

  1. Super job, Zodgrod looks the very business. I approve of robot ninja shepherd. Give him a bandana and he’ll look like a ninja turtle. Maybe.


    • Thanks Mr S.

      I have a TMNT project in the wings and this project is encroaching more and more on that ones shtick, but a bandana bot like Metalhead was definitely a consideration:

      I think that I am going to turn an Epic stompa into a fairly old school looking Runtbot. I wa thinking about altering the head to look like a samurai helm though. I havent decided yet.

      I think that we are on the same page though 🙂


  2. Great stuff. They turned out pretty ace in the end, the Bigdogz colour scheme is really proving it’s versatility here. Those Olley Ninja’s are really nicely sculpted too. WANT!


    • Thanks Sean.

      EDIT: the ninjas are NOT Olley sculpts, they are Pedro Ramos sculpts. The rest of the range that they come from is Olley work, thats why I got confused.

      I painted two of each so I am sick of the sight of them for a while, but they are funny. And whats cooler than being cool? Being a ninja, thats what.

      In terms of colour schemes, I had to go through a few iterations of ork when I started painting the Bigdogz. It had to be reasonably fast to apply, pretty vibrant, vaguely plausible (vaguely) and work with green skin. What I ended up with was something really rather Goff as it turns out, but as you say its proving versatile.

      Sometimes the homework pays off 🙂


  3. You, sir, are amazing. I hope Zodgrod visited the 36th chamber of the Shaolin.


  4. They look great. I don’t get any ninja sensei vibe out of Zodgrod, but I think he has enough character to stand on his own. And looking like those awesome Freebooterz (how my teenage self loved that book) is more than compensation. The ninja Gretchin are pretty hilarious sculpts and your painting on them works a treat.


    • Thanks Argent badger 🙂

      Zodgrod as sensei is a bit of a stretch for sure, but the overall look is of a pretty memorable unit I think, which is the important thing. Although I read Freebooterz in my teens, I never had my own copy (I did have Waaaargh the Orks and Ere We Go) so it was extremely nostalgic to reread Freebooterz recently. Absolutely loads of inspiration for upcoming units.

      Thanks for the feedback!


  5. […] Ninja Goblins from Space […]


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