Big Billy and Crackers: Troll and Parrot Space Pirates


Skabsquigs Skallywags add some muscle (and a tiny bit of aerial reconnaissance) today.


Nobody knows where Big Billy came from.  Speculation on origin ranging from…

  • a-feral-ogryn-and-a-dirty-toilet-seat
  • selective-breeding-experiment-by-Mad-Dok-and-Renegade-Runtmaster
  • daemon/ork/Hive Tyrant-spitroast

…always ends in the same conclusion: dismembered speculators.

Billy isnt the sharpest barnacle stuck to Da Dirty Doubloons rudder, but a combination of brute strength, impressive endurance characteristics and a vehicle grade, unshielded energy weapon has made him an anchor for the team.  Sometimes literally.


Billy is a “Marauder Hulk” from Mantics Deadzone range.  Hulks are some sort of space troll and despite the quite static pose I find something appealing in the goofy, almost action figure like model.

The head supplied with the original model is perfectly adequate, but for laughs I decided to add a Kromlech Greenskin Cyber Pirate head instead, to tie him in a little better with the rest of the Skallywags.  I will likely paint a vanilla Marauder Hulk at a later date.


“Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah yeaaaaaah!” etc.

I considered using a different flesh tone on this model to the one that I have been using in the rest of the orks in the force, just to make him look more like a troll or some other creature, different to the rest of the orks for some conceptual reason, but sanity won out in the end and I decided against it.  Sticking to the scheme was more likely to get a good result.

Keeping the skin colouring the same also keeps Billys origins uncertain, which suits me.


Unsurprisingly Billys armour looks like the armour on some of the other Deadzone Marauder miniatures, the Ripper suits in particular.  With that in mind I chose parts of the model to paint red that corresponded roughly with similar areas on the Ripper suits.

The palette for all of my orks is identical, with some minor variations here and there to represent sub groups, like the yellow and black stripe motif generally being part of the trousers on the pirates.  Striped trousers were not going to work on this model in my opinion however.


Image from jnewts.blogspot.

Image from jnewts.blogspot.  This isnt actually a design fron the District 9 film, just one that Mr. John C. Newton did as a project.  Pretty cool.  Image used without permission (but I hope that John doesnt mind)

I decided to use the same striped patterning in a slightly different way to draw attention to Billys freakin’ massive, high-tech looking weapon.  I went with a District 9 sort of pattern, rather than true hazard lines.  I like the look, its pretty cool I think, even if its a bit wobbly in places.


Crackers the Space Parrot

Although I have covered many pirate cliches in this project, I had yet to add a parrot (or spaaace equivalent) to the Skallywags.  I thought that it would be fun to add Crackers as Billys familiar – with Billy being so big it’s more like a the bird is perched on part of a vehicle when it’s on him – so I took the parrot off a Ramshackle game miniature and added it to Billys shoulder.

Note the bird poo down Billys left side.  I dont figure that Billy is a particularly concerned with that sort of thing.

A dearth of peg legs in the Skallywags remains.  I will have to sort that out.


Billy is the final model that I will get finished on time for my trip to BOYL this weekend.  Plenty more ork pirates to come in future however.


12 Responses

  1. Adding Crackers was a good call…really makes for a fine mini. Nice job! 🙂


    • Thanks 172fixer. I threw caution to the wind a bit and varied the palette a little via Crackers too. Appropriate under the circumstances I think.


  2. Absolutely wonderful, fits the project perfectly.


  3. Big Billy looks great, he fits in the group with no effort, nice addition. But Crackers the parrot… Oh, sir, that is simply pure genius!


    • I got a game in with the Skallywags over the weekend (more to follow). Billy/Crackers featured heavily and became something of a narrative lynchpin. That game clarified the relationship between the parrot and the ork: Crackers is the one in charge.

      Thanks for the feedback Suber 🙂


  4. This guy is all win. The head swap worked great, and the parrot, well, cherry on the bun really.


    • I painted another copy of the model that donated the parrot a few years ago and I have never been happy with the plumage. Going for an approximation of the Scarlet Macaw was the right move I think, it presses the right visual shorthand buttons.

      Im going to take a leaf out of your book Mr Saturday and strip the parrot part of the first model and repaint the parrot on the earlier model in the same fashion.

      The parrot makes the model in my opinion. Thanks for the feedback 🙂


  5. Fantastic stuff. Well done.


    • Thanks Conrad. I think that my enthusiasm for what I regard as more fun figures comes through when I paint them. None of the components of this model are particularly exceptional individually, but when they come together they make something more entertaining 🙂

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂


  6. I love him & the rest of the crew, but please tell as I’m new to you site & as of yet haven’t gotten around to back tracking your blog what game are you using these in is it deadzone or is it the game you guys played at brocon which is btw the only other post I got to read as I went on hols after that.


    • Hi Frank.

      I do have a force of Deadzone Marauders painted but as yet I have only played a single game of that system. I do hope to get to play some more in future, but as yet the game has not had its time in the sun.

      While I occasionally paint wargaming models for a specific system, I generally just paint skirmish sized forces with specific themes that I enjoy and then work them into whatever systems I happen to be playing. Pulp Alley – the game that we played at Brocon that you mentioned – is my favourite tabletop system at the moment. I cant see that system being knocked off my number one position any time soon, its fantastic.

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂


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