Thursday, April 11, 2019

Free and Green

In the distant fantasy future that the Tartarus Rim inhabits the more green bipeds we know as "orcs" (or orks) have largely taken the place of the outsiders. They are the howling blue painted primitives charging the unholy Space Romans, the crazed witches in the wasteland that eat unwary colonist children. But reality is always more complicated than that. Maybe Caesar picked the fight with Vercingetorix for political reasons back home. Maybe the cowboys aren't exactly the good guys settling a fertile and empty land full of hostile natives waiting to ambush them. (Anybody see the contradiction here?)

So what if orcs aren't really bad? What if they're just different? (It's not easy being green, I'm told.) And what better way to illustrate that than with the most oppressed group of greenies, the greenest of the green, the greens even the other greens beat down on: the gobbos? Enter the "free grots." In the Lord of the Rings in Space as told by Jervis Johnson and Rick Priestly "grots" or "gretchin" are the smaller mostly slave race of the larger "space orks." But there are always outsiders. Freebooterz are orks that have decided to give up on the ties of tribe and strike out on their own. Free grotz are space goblins that have somehow thrown off their chains and made good. Good enough, even, that their former masters will occasionally hire them. (Assuming "bullet catcher" is a job worth having, that is. In canon the orks are pretty one-dimensional. Which . . . we're trying to walk away from here. Let's get at least to the level of cardboard.)

To add depth, of course, I'll have to manage to tell better stories. Which . . . yeah, that's trickier. Especially when it's so much fun having them as hyper-violent foils. And this is a war game, so they're still ready for a fight with guns and chainsaws and cute things like that. Which . . . is almost literally everyone, really. And those as aren't obviously packing can be assumed to be concealing. Or maybe they just break you with their brains. Or their ear judo. Or whatever. This isn't going to be easy. But it's a goal. And thinking from the green perspective will help. For which you need miniatures. Which brings me back to the point here: painting small things I like for complicated and sometimes contradictory reasons.

So the idea of "free grots" tickled my humor. I began a (very) modest collection of interesting space goblins. Lately I've added a few examples from outside the GW milieu: most notably a small selection originally from Grenadier and one from the Upstream Games House, best known for the Zombies of Karr-Keel.  (In fact, this one was given to me by the owner of that company, the great lord of Karr-Keel himself. And he's also a zombie. Sculpted by Kev Adams. No. Not Brian. He's not a Kev Adams sculpt. Or actually a zombie. I am, until I get my coffee, but I digress. It's the goblin. He's a zombie. Just like the dolphins on Plants vs. Zombies.  A goblin zombie. By the great master of zombies and goblins.  Perfect!)

Anyway . . . without further ado, let me introduce the newest free gobbo boys to join up with the band. (Ignore the corvid. He only looks like he's eating that poor sap's eye. It's a sign of affection, really. For a poor kid with a bad skin condition who really needs some love.) I digress. Again. 



Okay, that's thew world's longest post about two very small miniatures. But they're AWESOME miniatures. If you like zombies (and who doesn't?) then UGH's Karr-Keel clan is very much the way to go. (More later.) Sadly, Demonblade is presently unaccounted for. You can find them on the bay every now and then, but they're oddities these days.

So thank you for coming along on my journey of the greens. I hope you had fun. Maybe liberate these poor lovely miniatures from their plastic cells and give them the glory they deserve. (And realize that real people really are suffering real stupidities and horrors and deserve our sympathies even more than gobbos. Punch up, as it were, and not down. Hard to always get it right, but freedom and justice and equality are good quests. Free and green, boys and girls. Let's all be free and green.)

Until next time.

The Composer


  1. I really like your take on these, nice job, and of course it'san enjoyable read :)

    1. I get a little windy sometimes. Glad you enjoyed it. They were both fun to paint. And I loved deciding how to paint the logo and the rockets. Great fun! Cute little goblins.

  2. Only thing that orks made wrong is that there always not enough dakka!!!

    1. I'm really deeply torn on my orks. I really really enjoy playing them in wargames since I don't much care if I win, I can just charge in and have fun. But in more story oriented games I'd like them to be more subtle. Actually trying to step away from the "more dakka" model, but . . . the siren song of the fun-fire is strong. Waagh!

  3. Another interesting post, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you! They're gorgeous little gobbos, really. Lot of fun to paint.