Kommandos #1

There is something about orks that makes them well suited to “pasted on” themes.

Give a space marine a sombrero and he will look like he has unresolved emotional issues… but give a space ork a sombrero on the other hand (or even better, on his head) and narrative starts to shoot out of him like fireworks.

And that’s my badly stretched simile driven lead-in to why late 20th century style S.A.S. orks in Martian camouflage that I wasn’t keen on in 1994 are what I like right now.

Ork Kommando by GW

Like Shadow War: Armageddon last year, Kill Team (2018) simultaneously spoiled and paralysed me with the range of factions available. I found it very difficult to settle on even a single grimdark spec-ops project shortlist to work on.  With twice monthly gaming having kicked off with The Bazpaz this Autumn, I needed to settle on one faction, for the time being at least.

Ork Kommando by GW

The Bazpaz is playing with an Imperial Force, primarily Scions.  That ruled out Deathwatch that I have been planning for ages (don’t want to fight Imperial vs Imperial or Deathwatch vs non-aliens).

Regardless of that, the thematic vibe of elite human spec-ops vs elite alien spec-ops has a vaguely relatable draw all of it’s own.  I can easily imagine a comic, cartoon or movie telling the tales of these forces, told from either side.  After a bit of dithering, I decided to work on new ork models initially, but play the first few games with Deflesh Mode Drukhari.

For ork black ops games, it had to be Kommandos.

Ork Kommando by Mark Gibbons

The Blood Axe Kommando miniatures released in 1994 didnt really do much for me at the time. They looked to me far too human, with very direct references to contemporary military. The sculpts also looked a little odd to me back then, as they were Perry sculpts, not the more familiar Kev Adams ork sculpts.

On top of that, the red camo scheme didn’t look good in the photos, it looked very flat.

Counterintuitively, almost a quarter of a century later I sort-of copied that colour scheme that I didn’t originally like (as the palette matched my other orks) onto the figures that I didn’t originally like.  I know, right.

Considering that I have very rarely copied a studio colour scheme on any of my miniatures over the years, it was slightly odd.  But being in my early-almost-mid forties, slightly odd is my prerogative.

The Action Force SAS Colour was scheme originally considered.  I was going to go for red hats, to tie the palette back, but I felt that it was still going to be too dull, so I went for the Martian Camo. The red camo that I never liked before. I’m a mass of contradictions.

Mantic Deadzone Marauders, deep behind enemy lines since 2014.

Bizarrely, and to add to the general sense of middle aged bewilderment in this post, I remembered part way throught the project that I had in fact already painted a number of spec-ops orcs a few years ago, some Deadzone Marauders in 2014.  I even painted them in black with red hats. #dementiaawareness

So I decided to fold those into the project, adding the Marauder with the big shoota equivalent to the group.

The guy with the brighter green skin in the moiddle of the front row, wearing the different hat, is new.

In addition to the Deadzone guy, I got around to painting three of the classic Kommandos…

…and a gretchin from the same era plus two more little green guys from a few years before that.

The gretchin in the middle will be used as a member of the force. The other two will more likely be used as objective markers or something. I havent decided yet.

Whenever I go back to painting orks I enjoy it, I should really probably paint orks more often.

I’m planning to add a few more of these before I wander off to the next project, assuming that I dont just forget where I live or accidentally join the circus or do something else senior.

Visual proof that Martian camouflage could potentially work, in the right circumstances.


S.K.W.I.G Force, so far.



38 Responses

  1. (Que dramatic slow clap)
    Well done sir, well done indeed! I have my eye on painting up a full squad of those old Perry classic models. They were my favorite ork unit back in the ’90s right down to the Swiss Army knives.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Neverness!

      I’m a recent convert to their charms, but I have enjoyed painting those three so far, so I reckon that you should give it a go.

      I painted the Swiss Army Knives with yellow housings to fit with the army palette, but managed to keep them hidden in shot I’m afraid.


  2. This group has really come into being in a nice organic way. It feels like you had them in a couple of boxes waiting for the motivation to build the crew and paint them. And of course now you have painted them, it’s difficult to imagine them being presented in any other way.

    I very much like the inclusion of the big heavy weapon bruiser and the sneaky grot specialist. Character diversity in a small group like this is really important I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is exactly how those particular figures have come to be used in this Axiom: selected individually from various bags of sub groups in my “orks” box. I have a few more nice selections planned for the force before I finish it.

      Although I have enjoyed converting many models in the past, I dont currently have the enthusiasm for that sort of thing that I used to have. Therefore making sure that models are easily identified is a matter of (hopefully) deft miniature selection and possibly paint jobs.

      More to come one way or another.


  3. Since Kill Team came along I’ve been waiting to see quirky takes on the various factions available. This has been the first one I’ve seen. There’s so much opportunity to theme up a nice little group. S.K.W.I.G Force fits the bill eminently.

    You’ve done a great job on the kommandos. Back in the day I dismissed them, but most minis that are a little off the norm for the faction/race pique my interest now. Your fine paintwork has also made them something I want to see on the tabletop.

    Top Sekret grot is a winner.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m with you entirely on the garotting, fence cutting, searchlight avoiding 1980’s movie vibe with these guys. I didnt like it back then, but in 2018 I like it.

      I hoping to mine a few other tropes before I finish the project.



  4. This is such a cracking gang. Your signature acid green Ork skin makes these look really quite different to the 1990s ‘Eavy Metal examples with their very mid-green skin. I really get a kick out of seeing these, almost as much as if I’d painted them myself.

    I think these would work a treat converted with the grapple-guns from the modern Primaris Reiver Marines.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Curis! I’m hoping to add a fair few more before I finish up.

      The grapple guns would look pretty nifty, although the long, mid-flight one is a bit too brittle for my tastes. I will look into it.

      I’m glad that you like some of the differences between this batch pf models and the similar, but certainly not identical calssic studio batch. It was important to me to change some of the things that I didnt like about that scheme, even while largely aping it.


  5. These are great! The current Ork painboy with the improbably large surgical hand would also seem like a great addition to this team… possibly he could be the commander if you get around to that expansion? He has a sneaky look about him for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lasgunpacker!

      I hope to add a Commander or two to this project before enthusiasm ebbs. If I do, it will likely be older metal models though, to fit visually with most of the figures in the force, rather than the modern sneaky plastic guy.

      I don’t imagine that the Commanders expansion will get a lot of use in our games – introducing ready made, fixed stat guys to skirmish games where the characters advance tends to take some of the fun out of it for me. But it could happen. Maybe even a Mek.


      • I think that the pre-packaged figures are fixed, but the ones the book are more of a build your own experience. Not sure though, since I have not even started Killteam at all.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yup, the individually packaged guys are named, “Special Characters” essentially.

          The rulebook allows characters that are tailored, but they remain fixed at that point AFAIK. They don’t gain XP like the regular KT members.

          I think. I haven’t read the commanders book yet.


  6. That’s one nice looking KT. Aside from the influences you cited, they remind me of the the original Merc team with Arnold in The Predator.

    Great Stuff

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cheetor is on record for absolutely adoring the film Predator and gets a real kick out of it whenever his projects are compared to that film favorably, so you should do that a lot. Definitely.

      As for me, I’ve always liked these minis (except for the weapons, which don’t really match the very realistic and detailed outfits and look a bit hastily added), however, you have made them shine in a way that makes me love them all the more. Your choice of accompanying models are spot on, and the scheme makes them look like they were sold as a set, probably with some sort of 80’s looking action figure type artwork on the front (‘SINGLE POSE ACTION! UNNECESSARY BATTERIES SOLD SEPARATELY’).

      Liked by 3 people

      • I would demand that a set of absurd ork spec ops like these gents would be packaged exactly like this, if I were in charge, thats for damn sure!


    • As Captain Crooks helpfully pointed out, I’m in the minority of toy soldier enthusiasts, in that I’m not a Predator fan. That said, the merc group in that movie is certainly a go-to group for the trope.

      I was thinking about the special forces troops in Patriot Games and in The Incredible Hulk (2008) when I painted them, to an extent, so pretty similar really.

      Thanks for the feedback Will!


  7. I hadn’t seen these models for quite a while, and I have to say they look gorgeous, even in that 90’s cammo -or maybe specially because of it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The last thing that I thought that I would do when painting these figures was go for something like the classic studio uniform scheme… but I did. Like you say, all these years later, it works for some reason.

      Thanks Suber, I’m glad that you like them.


  8. Excellent work mate – looking good and very ‘you’ 🙂
    Isn’t it strange how some minis don’t really click when we’re younger, but then suddenly make sense when we have a few more miles on the clock!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alex.

      Yeah, that does seem to happen a fair bit these days. Nostalgia for miniatures that I used to like back then almost always remains, but nostalgia for miniatures that I wasnt keen on back then might even be stronger for some reason sometimes.

      Odd, but in this case, it worked in my favour. Although in saying that, a guy in his late twenties at work realised that I was into toy soldiers and started talking to me about it a week or so ago. I showed him WIP of these figs. He politely tried to cover up his disgust at the old sculpts, but he obviously hated them. Quite funny.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve always liked those old ork kommandos and you’ve done a fantastic job of painting them!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Looking wonderful, great job here.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Don’t fight it, Paul, just embrace the classics. Nice work on these cool old figures…always liked the Perry Commandos even though they are a but out of step with the rest of the range, as you say. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. For some reason all I can think about right now is an ork wearing pink face and a wig (or fake askew moustache) infiltrating an IG faclity.
    Well done avoiding the Christmas trap with a red and green combo.

    Liked by 2 people

    • AMAGA! That’s actually not a terrible idea… I’m seeing Homer Simpsons make-up gun…

      I didnt even think about the Xmas tree palette actually, although its usually something that I am wary of. That’s probably because I locked down the fairly familiar palette on my orks back in 2011 or so, after several different test pieces. I have stuck with it since, so I didn’t even consider the festive trap, which is a relief!

      Thanks for the feedback Asslessman!


  13. I can barely remember what I painted last month. Lovely job on these. The scenery reminds me that I need to purchase some aquarium plants. I had an epiphany yesterday. I should do my Diehard Space Eru-kin for Kill Team.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I always felt 40K Orks were engineered for thematic openness, when you think about how whole clans are a subculture or (unfortunate) racial stereotype of humanity’s. They’re a great way to do this kind of lighthearted conceptual work: something recognisably historical or contemporary, but also definitely alien and weird and fun.

    Good job on getting the camo to work. I tried something similar but on a mob of 30 Boyz and a Battlewagon; it wasn’t fun. Modelled after the most garish army surplus trousers I’ve ever been prevented from buying.

    Never twigged that these were Perrys but it doe feel right somehow: the quite faithful reproduction of a recognisable, real uniform should have clued me in.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. As wise men once said:

    Outer defences neutralized
    Lessons in munitions are reprised
    Lancet never hammer
    Caution must prevail
    Concealment deep inside the wire
    Where instincts never fail

    I feel like Ork Kommandoes’ biggest challenge would be being stealthy in any way.

    OK, something else slightly off topic here: I heard about a feudal Japan figure KS you might be interested in. These seem rather up your alley… It’s Bad Squiddo Games too, they’re always nice figures.


    Liked by 2 people

    • I googled those lyrics and then, about thirty years after hearing that they existed, I listened to my first ever Bolt Thrower song. It was as I suspected 😀

      I imagine these Kommandos as being a bit like airsoft enthusiasts, striking action movie poses and imagining themselves in a Tom Clansork story. Ork warriors cosplaying as black ops types.

      Part of how I see it is long suffering gretchin havng to carry the various requirements of the mission, while the boyz engage in theatrical shatner rolls and the like. Hopefully that will become more apparent as I add more overburdened gretchin.

      I’m keeping an eye on that Kickstarter, and the Bad Squiddo figs are always nice, but I’m not sure if I can spare the cash at the moment.

      Very tempting though. Thanks for the heads up Al!


  16. These look great. The highlights and shading are truly expert. Had to laugh at the video, GW loves to invent new words don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mark, very kind 🙂

      GW has been engaging in specific branding exercises for a while now. Regardless of the names of the products and how you might feel about them, the tutorials really are very good. I have learned a lot of tips and tricks from that channel over the last few years.

      Worth a look if you can handle the terminology 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree on the channel, it is helpful. I have used it especially for their technical paints. I have not painted much GW mini stuff as their universe seems too constrained for my tastes. Plus I am still digging out from buying other stuff, so by the time I might get into their stuff they will have 5 new sets of rules! Still, glad to see what you painted here, lots of fun truly!

        As for the branding, I get what they are trying to do, but seriously, it does drive me to other companies’ paints as I prefer plainer English. I like Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil for example, but what an Agrax or a Nuln is who knows? I still buy their stuff but its aggravating, I still order a “30 ounce iced tea” at Starbucks, I won’t say “Trenta”, so maybe I’m a bit of a nascent grognard!

        Liked by 1 person

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