Bair’s Dwarf Army Showcase – Warhammer The Old World

Dwarfs are simply the greatest Warhammer army that exists. Well, not just Warhammer, but any game system that includes them. They rule.

Small Origins

I’m of an age that my first Warhammer Fantasy set was the Seventh Edition Battle for Skull Pass in 2006 when I was a ripe 12 years old. I started about a year before that with the Battle for Macragge (why don’t Games Workshop call starter sets “Battle for X” any more?) when I started, and soon after stopped, painting Ultramarines. Battle for Skull Pass, for anyone unfamiliar or simply too-young to know, had dwarfs and goblins; some of which are still available to purchase today.

Just look at it. A thing of beauty.

So I split this with a friend at the time (Brian, if you’re somehow reading this, it’s been a long time I hope you’re well!) and I took the dwarfs. I’ve been a dwarf-man ever since. My dad showed me Lord of the Rings soon after this and you’d best believe Gimli was (and is) my favourite.

Covid and Dwarfs

When Covid hit and we were all thrown into lockdown I was furloughed (here in the UK) from my mattress sales job for a few months. I also had an incredible opportunity to live incredibly cheaply for London, thanks to a good friend having a spare house for a year. What did I do with all my newfound time? Dwarfs.

Specifically, mostly, metal dwarfs. Also writing weekly Warlord Wednesday articles with Soggy and Condit for the best game (play Titanicus).

Early on in the lockdowns I had some kind of existential hobbyist’s breakdown (and non-hobby related ones, too) about what I actually wanted to do. Before this I would buy and sell armies before I even got paint on most of them and just did the simplest paint jobs if I was going to an event. With events and gaming generally gone I started actually doing some painting and discovered I could do it pretty quickly and to a level I was also happy with. One Kharadron Overlords army later and I found myself pining after the Warhammer Fantasy dwarfs of my youth. So I went to eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and a number of buy/sell groups. I traded minis that I already had, the 3DS I’d had but hadn’t used in years, and bought job-lots of dwarf minis. Many of these were poorly painted or just caked in so much paint you couldn’t see any detail and they were almost all metal. This was a collection, not an army to play with; no aim of using it for any game system, just something that I wanted for myself.

Biostrip20 very quickly became a very good friend to me. As mentioned I had a lot of time so I was able to spend days just stripping the paint off of dozens and dozens of minis. It was great. I didn’t paint any, though. It was a daunting task looking at the newly-stripped 200+ dwarfs on my shelfs.

Then I was informed that I’d lost my job, the shop wasn’t going to re-open, and I found work on the NHS 111 Covid Support Line contracted out to Sitel. That was an incredibly interesting year of working from home. That’s a whole other story, and probably not right for this site either.

Painting the Bastards

It wasn’t until November of 2022 that I actually started painting all of these models. With Old World happening at some point in the future and having gotten in touch with the London Sixth Edition group, I decided to just start painting and playing some older Warhammer. Like I said before, I started with Seventh Edition so Sixth wasn’t even something that I did for nostalgia, it’s just what the group was playing but I found out quickly that the dwarf army book of my youth did come out during Sixth. Suddenly maximum nostalgia. At this point in my hobbying I had gotten pretty comfortable in my quick painting technique: straight out the pot, no palette, quick and neat. They went on very simple bases using a cheap brown texture paint and I lazily added a couple tufts to some of the larger bases. It was not very inspired but I was just happy to have a fully painted Dwarf Throng!

So I primed the dwarfs. In black of course, and then with heavy drybrushing of Corax White for proper underpainting. Throw on some contrast, metallic paints, touch up with some “normal” colours and then cover it all with Nuln oil. Boom. Bosh. Done. From November 2022 until the end of December 2022 I painted roughly 200 dwarf infantry and like, six(?) war machines plus of course the Anvil of Doom and Thorgrim Grudgebearer. And Felix, cause he’s not a dwarf but a dwarf-friend and so deserved to join Gotrek.

I ended up with a collection looking like this, which isn’t even quite all of them but I didn’t realise that until after I put them all away at the time and was not about to get them back out again.


The Great Rebasing

For a short while I wasn’t going to rebase my dwarf army. Then I realised (with the help of some friendly advice, thanks Joe) that I would prefer to play the current game, that there was a whole new larger scene around than for Sixth, and that anyone that I wanted to play against would likely be at least open to Old World anyways. So I went for it and think you should too if you’re on the fence about it!

Honestly this wasn’t that big of a deal, really. When people talk about the hassle and struggle of rebasing a whole army they make it sound like a massive chore that’s incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Maybe they do much better basing than me which makes that true, because I found this task to be fairly cheap and surprisingly quick to do. The entire collection was done in one sitting, across the majority of a single Saturday, with some war machines needing to wait until their bases arrived a few days later.

To remove the models off their old bases I just used a pair of old GW cutters and either cut away at the base around the feet or popped them off the base with a small amount of force. Then glued them to their new, larger, bases. Cover the base in Mod Podge and they’re ready to be dunked into the Geek Gaming Scenics (not a sponsor or anything just a good product) Mediterranean Small Scale Base Ready stuff poured out into a small tub. I chose the “small scale” version because I wanted a classic fantasy look without any large rocks mixed in and was very glad I did, they came out great! It really is just a good product that looks really nice. I prefer to use Mod Podge to regular PVA because it at least feels like it gives a stronger bond, I don’t even know for sure if it does but it seems like it. All in all this rebasing cost me around £40-ish between cheap bases and the basing material.

The Army Now

So after all of that, whether you’ve actually read it all or just scrolled right down to the images, please enjoy my rebased dwarfs!

It’s a collection that I’m very proud of and happy with. Putting any amount of it down on a table for gaming has brought me a lot of joy, and even though I didn’t photograph quite all of the units with their new bases I think this gives more than enough of an idea of how they all look now.

You can check out all my dwarfs and much else of what I paint on my Instagram. Or don’t; I’m not your dad.

Love dwarfs? Hate dwarfs? Don’t email that in, leave a comment below, but if you do have anything else to email us about it’s