Old Worlders: A Tale of Five Gamers

Brettonians ride out. The legions of Khemri awaken. Everything Old is New again, and what better way for us to mark the occasion – and bring you along with us – than to embark on a new adventure in an old style.

Five intrepid Goonhammer writers have taken up the challenge of new Warhammer Fantasy Battle armies for the new edition. We’ll be collecting, painting, playing and writing monthly, growing our armies towards a final apocalyptic clash. Just like the first time round, we’ll be building these armies sustainably, month on month, showcasing the many ways you can build a fantasy army in the modern age. This month we’ll be talking about our ideas and aims, how we’re planning on building armies – and why! We’re starting off nice and simple so let’s see how everyone is getting started! 


Tomb Kings

Warhammer experience: Started in 7th, played 6th the last few years

My journey with Warhammer Fantasy started when I was 12 years old when the Battle for Skull Pass set came out September 2006. Being at that age these were also my only Warhammer Fantasy minis for…quite some time. I took the dwarf half, and my friend that I split the box with took the goblin half. Always loved the dwarfs. I also definitely didn’t fully understand the game, either. I got out of the hobby for a few years when the local shop in Bel Air, Maryland shut a couple years after that and stuff sat in old GW cases; some was sold off on Craigslist. 

After moving over to the UK for University I moved into a student house my second year. One of my housemates played 40k and I thought “oh maybe I could get back into Warhammer” and, well, here I am. It was 40k at first and then, at this time in late 2014 and early 2015, 8th Edition Warhammer Fantasy in the End Times. I was playing Ogre Kingdoms for the low model count considering the mess 8th was and I did not have a good time generally. I wanted to play Tomb Kings but being a student on a student budget I just couldn’t afford the 100+ skeletons + chariots + other stuff that was needed to play the army. Then I started working part time in the Kingston Games Workshop store. Then Age of Sigmar came out. I do love Age of Sigmar but working in a GW at that time was not always fun! 

Fast forward to now and I’m finally in a place where I can financially collect and play Tomb Kings in the Old World. Do I have the time? We sure will find out. I have a massive dwarf collection that I’ve been working on for a few years, mostly in metal, that’s already been rebased to the new, correct, base sizes but that’s an old project and I want something new. Enter: Tomb Kings. Starting with the big new army box with bone dragon was a no-brainer since it has all the basic skeletons I’ll ever want.

Bair’s start to Tomb Kings

I’ve also got 2 Warsphinxes off-camera that I forgot about; they won’t be painted up until this lot is done anyways so that’s fine. I’ve started putting down some primer and the start of bone before realising I didn’t have a shade of teal/turquoise that I wanted so got back to building. You can see a few converted characters in the front there for my High Priest and Necrotect, and a BSB on Chariot using Warsphinx, Tomb Guard, and Bone Dragon kit leftovers. Tomb Guard on chariots just look a lot better I’ve found, too.

Overall this is going to be a “what do I want to build/paint” kind of army largely based on what I think looks cool while also building a playable army with the right amount of Core units and get it on the table. Already it’s shaping up to be a Royal Host army which I think would be very fun to run. Very excited to share progress pics as I go! 


Army: Orc & Goblin Tribes

Warhammer Experience: 5th-7th edition

Warhammer Fantasy wasn’t my very first game, that would be the Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game (as it was known at the time). But after playing a try-out 500 point game of Fantasy at my new school (Dwarfs vs. Tomb Kings), it immediately became my main game. The aesthetic of 40k just never did it for me. I could never quite visualise what was happening on a 40k board, it all seemed so abstract and small. But with Fantasy, my imagination went into overdrive. The big massed units sent my tweenage brain into elaborate recreations of pitched battles, normally heavily inspired by those in LOTR, because old habits die hard.

I started with Dwarfs but never got very far before pivoting into Orcs & Goblins and Bretonnians. I had a particular love for Night Goblins, and for Skarsnik, their duplicitous overlord (still my favourite Lord to play in Total Warhammer!) I eventually drifted away from WHFB as my friend group shifted and I got increasingly into historical miniatures, but I’ve always felt a wistfulness about the demise of WHFB, especially given that AoS just never really appealed to me. As you can imagine, I am quite excited for rank-and-flank to be back on the menu, boys (that’s foreshadowing). I had a couple of potential projects in mind for The Old World as soon as it was announced – an Empire Pride Parade, a Bretonnian Peasants Revolt (which would be a recreation of my second ever army – they had just the sickle on their shields, no industry you see), a cavalry-heavy dwarf army; but my first love was O&G, so that feels appropriately full-circle as my first Old World project. Unfortunately for me, years of financial turbulence have left me with very little of my original collection left, just a handful of Brets and some obscenely poorly converted orcs in a shoebox. So, new models are clearly required.

Full plate of Orcsies. Credit: HardyRoach
Full plate of Orcsies. Credit: HardyRoach


I’ve been too long a historicals player to feel very comfortable paying GW prices for anything other than small model count stuff like Blood Bowl. Thankfully, I have a weapon that child-me could only have dreamed of: a 3D printer. I’ve also been a long-time Patron of Highlands Miniatures, who, in my humble opinion, make the best fantasy 3D print sculpts available on the market (check them out here). Though their O&G range is not yet complete (new models will be dropping on their Patreon in March and April, thankfully), there’s plenty for me to get started on. Their Night Goblins are swamp themed, with giant frog squigs, so I thought I’d lean into that aesthetic for the orcs as well. The orcs are decidedly retro in style, more reminiscent aesthetically of ’70s and ’80s fantasy, but the sculpts are modern and detailed. Highlands models are scaled for 32mm, but no problem there, I just scale them down to 87-89%.

We iz bein cleaned. Credit: HardyRoach
We iz bein cleaned. Credit: HardyRoach

Before I even knew all the base sizes I thought I’d get ahead of things and print a unit of Boyz, I can be reasonably confident that I’ll find a use for them. I have a fairly large printer, so I can print a full complement of 20 boyz, with command, in one go. I also printed some arrer boyz, characters and trolls. In future articles I’ll break down the print times and costs in more detail.

I then sat down and had a think about theming and colour palette. Given this is something of a throwback to my earlier experiences with Fantasy, I wanted to go for something more like the artwork I remember – gritty, filthy, desaturated; essentially, a John Blanche colour palette. I pulled up an old piece of John Blanche art and pulled some colours out. After chatting with some people about my ideas, somebody asked “have you thought about oil washes?” Well gosh, another outlet to pour money and time into? Sign me up. After watching some excellent videos on painting with oils I one-upped this suggestion. I’m not just gonna do oil washes, I’m going to do the majority of the painting work in oils. I may not have spent much in resin so far, but believe me, I made up for it by splurging on oil paints.

Blanchian colour palette. Credit: John Blanche
Blanchian colour palette. Credit: John Blanche

For basing, I want this to essentially be like an orc army wandered into Turnip28 – swampy, sticky, slimy, shiny, gross. I’ve printed a big batch of swampy base toppers, now that I know what base sizes I’ll need, and am planning to use a mixture of oils, gloss varnish and water effect to get them good and slimy. Unfortunately I ran into some problems with getting the toppers coming out right, but with a bit of trial and error, all is well. I then ordered a big batch of bases in every conceivable size from Warbases, who I heartily recommend for your basing and movement tray needs.

Batch of swampy base toppers. Credit: HardyRoach
Batch of swampy base toppers. Credit: HardyRoach

So, the first order of business will be to get a unit of Orc Boyz, a character, and maybe some trolls based and painted. We’ll see how I get on in the next article, where I’ll also break down the printing process and costs.


Army: Bretonnians

Warhammer experience: No WHFB experience, but many years of Age of Sigmar

The life-cycle of a Warhammer obsessive is a classic tale. Wide-eyed wonder at the pages of your first issue of White Dwarf turns with haste into scraping together pocket money for that next army project until, some months or years later, dedicated evenings and weekends battling at the Games Workshop store fall by the wayside in favour of cinema trips and first dates funded with the proceeds of that classified ad in the local paper: “Warhammer for sale”. In time, the chrysalis of performative coolness cracks to reveal a hobbyist in their mid-20s, cognisant of the idea that embracing one’s deeply-held interests and loving ourselves for who we truly are is the real path to enlightenment. I live, I die, I live again.

For me, the world of Warhammer Fantasy Battles occupies a strange space in my hobby timeline. I’ve never played the game, I’ve never owned or painted the models beyond a couple of ill-advised Empire purchases in my later teen years, and I have certainly never lamented its destruction in favour of my beloved Age of Sigmar, a game that I’m deeply familiar with by comparison, in both lore and rules terms.

High Elf (aka Swifthawk Agents in AoS) Swordmasters. Credit: Rich Nutter

 WHFB is nothing short of intensely nostalgic for me. Armies of perfectly ranked warriors wheeling and flanking, battle lines crashing together, battle reports in White Dwarf laid out on that very particular shade of fuzzy green cloth, it all comes together to make me feel wistful for that bygone era. And so here Old World presents an opportunity – dive into the game whilst it’s newly supported by GW, buy the nostalgic models straight from the source rather than trawling eBay for a single metal elf, and complete the hobby project I’ve been dreaming about for literal decades. I won’t lie, the Old World renaissance falling under the banner of the Specialist Design Studio inspires a less than stellar amount of faith, but for me this is about an army-building and painting project first and foremost, and I’m going in with the knowledge that if I don’t enjoy the game then I’ve hopefully still gotten what I wanted out of the endeavour.

My first issue of White Dwarf (that I remember well, at least) was issue #256 from April 2001, filling 10-year-old me’s head with dreams of the newly announced Vampire Counts range refresh. Despite the compelling combination of the cover art, battle report, and model previews still being seared into my mind’s eye 22 years later, the combination of Vampire Counts’ positioning as a legacy faction and an ongoing Soulblight Gravelords project for AoS mean that I won’t be summoning the dead on the fields of the Old World. Instead, I’ve decided to give myself an easy ride (ha) and dive in with the Brettonian army box. Brettonians are another one of those factions that instantly jump into my head when thinking about the WHFB of my childhood era, and with rules and the core of an army all packaged up neatly together it seems like the ideal way of taking the plunge.

Vampire Lord. Credit: Rich Nutter

To fulfill the brief of our first installment, I’ll be painting up the Duke on Pegasus, as well as a unit of both Men-At-Arms and Knights of the Realm. The big question for me now is how to paint them – do I lean into bright colours and individual heraldry, or go for the modern studio approach of unified colours across the army? I love both visuals, and although the individual method is a compelling hobby project I do worry about the amount of time it could take given the relatively large size of Old World armies.I don’t think I’ll know for sure until I put brush to model, which might have happened by the time this article publishes – you’ll just have to come back next time to find out.


Army: Beastmen

Warhammer Experience: 2 games of 8th edition in 2015 right before they blew it up, 6th edition starting in 2021

I have been a long time fan of Warhammer Fantasy ever since playing Warhammer: Mark of Chaos when I was like 8 years old and obsessed with Medieval 2: Total War. I have been foaming at the mouth waiting for Old World to come out for a while, so I jumped on the opportunity to get involved with any sort of article series. 

I have a few fantasy armies, a Nurgle Cult that I run as Empire, some unpainted Skaven, and a roughly half painted Warriors of Chaos army. To put off rebasing anything for as long as physically possible, I am going to do none of these. I have always loved Beastmen in Warhammer, big swarms of fairly tough goat men with a lot of tricks and options. So, why not dust off a few random old plastic Gors I have bumping around and get goated?

Taking stock of what I have, I have 4 assembled and painted Gors that I used as goons in a D&D game a couple of years ago. They were painted in a really simple grey skin and brown fur paint scheme, which I really like and will probably be using on all of my beastmen for this army. It paints easy and looks unique compared to the standard pink and brown that beastmen usually are. The bases are a bit crude, just some mud texture, so I plan on flocking it up and adding some tufts, for spice.

Gore’s Beastmen Guard

In addition, at the store I work at I found a really cheap box of what are labeled as “Gore’s Beastman Guard”. I think these are old proxy models from the 90s, and they have been rotting on a shelf, more than likely, since the 90s. I feel bad for them and want to give them a good home. They came on 25mm bases, so they will fit perfectly fine in with the rest of my Gors to bulk out a unit. I don’t have my hands on a rulebook yet, but I can’t imagine that running a 19 Gor block with a character is going to be a bad decision. I love old metal models like this, they are so chunky and weird compared to more modern models, and they rank up pleasantly.

Gor Herd made from Gore’s Beastmen Guard Credit: Perigrin

I also have 3 unbuilt Ogroid Theradons from Age of Sigmar, which I will probably be basing up and using as Minotaurs. They are a little more high detail than the other models that I have built up for this so far, but it should be fine. The faces on these models are contentious, but they have been growing on me more and more. I might greenstuff some helmets or masks on them, but I will have to think about it. I have been on a huge minotaur kick lately because of an Elder Scrolls lore binge a few days ago, so I plan on getting a lot of the Children of Morihaus for my army. I love the vibe that both Fantasy Battles Minotaurs and Elder Scrolls Minotaurs share, as abandoned children of mankind. Cool vibes all around. Minotaurs are a very strong unit in 6th edition, so I hope they don’t disappoint me in Old World.

For characters, I have an old GW Beastlord that I got in a lot of oldhammer stuff I picked up a while back. He will make a nice leader for this little force. In the long run I would love to add a Minotaur Lord to this army, and possibly a demon prince if Beastmen are allowed to take one. Like I said, at time of writing I still don’t have a copy of the list, so I don’t know one way or another. In 6th they could take one with the “Master of Beasts” demonic gift, so we will see.

On top of all of this, I have just, so many Warriors of Chaos. In the long run I would love to add a little allied force to my beastmen made of some Warriors of Chaos. I’ll need to run some games and figure out what my army needs. If Beastmen are a bit too fragile, I can bring some warriors to give me something rugged, and if they end up too slow or too low damage I have just a complete mongol horde of Chaos Knights. I also would love to add the contents from the recent Vanguard box for the Beastmen in Age of Sigmar to this army. I have heard that Dragon Ogres are really good in Old World, and you can never have too many Gors. I would also love to get those Ungors. I love having, you know, some bows and ranged capacity in my Fantasy lists, going pure melee makes me anxious. I have big plans for this herd of irate farm animals, but we will see how things pan out. I am so insanely pumped to get some games of old world in with them, and I will report back on how the list is holding up and what sort of things that Beastmen actually need in this new edition.


Army: Orc & Goblin Tribes & Assorted Warbands for Oldcry

Warhammer Experience: 3rd-7th edition

I started fairly late with late 3rd edition, and my first big Warhammer Fantasy box was the 1993 Elf vs Goblin box. I painted up Goblins and Elves and had as much fun as you could with what you got, adding the Orc and Goblin models from Mighty Empire, Heroquest and the plastic Orcs GW produced at the time to get a respectable force. 

I took a break for 5th edition, and came back in 6th with Dwarfs. By then I had less free time, and I chipped away collecting a Dwarf army over 6th edition and a Southlands Skink based army, and a Night Goblin army in 7th to oppose them. 8th was a damp squib for me, and I never got into it (playing 8th with a Goblin army just wasn’t fun unless you bought a bunch of stuff I didn’t have, and Dwarves had a very static playstyle, and GW eliminated the Southlands list I was playing with). 

I ebayed my armies after the death of WFB because it seemed like they’d never be used again, and while I dabbled with AoS (I bounced off hard from AoS 1st edition, got the 2nd ed starter but never played a single game, and got nothing for 3rd ed) I only really got Warcry stuff. 

I got into Warcry with first edition, and enjoyed it, but took a break for the global pandemic as I was in one of those pesky jobs where it meant significantly more work and no downtime. Now things have calmed down a little I’ve got more time and I’ve used it to start getting things painted up. I still don’t see myself getting into AoS due to the time commitment and number of models to paint, but Warhammer Fantasy is different, because it’s vastly more models and expense than an AoS army and it lets me relive my adolescence now I have money to get what I actually wanted. What I don’t have is anywhere near as much time, so I’m going to need to be disciplined about getting this stuff painted. 

I’m splitting my Old World project into two streams. 

One is an Orc and Goblin army which will be a mix of currently available and old kits, as well as whatever new comes out, and will involve at least one of every unit available in the army book (should get me to 2k points easily). This starts with some Night Goblin fanatics, which I picked up with Issue 45 of Stormbringer magazine (congrats to the people who get ten copies each of Issue 31 to get themselves 200 Night Goblins). I plan on getting a unit/monster a month done to slowly chip away at the army and finish it at some point in 2025. I fully expect this to take ages, and paint 1-20 figures per month. 

The modern goblin fanatics and some Mordheim figures for Oldcry – credit Thundercloud

The other stream is Oldcry. I’ve wittered on about doing it for a while, as a way to play 1st/2nd ed fantasy style games using the Warcry rules, and using a mix of current models, classic GW, mordheim models and whatever else I fancy to explore the Old World through skirmish gaming. I can write any rules that don’t exist myself, and just go from there. I don’t expect to really play it often, but there’s no harm in it and I’ll rope in anyone else interested. If people don’t want to collect a full WFB army, then about ten models is a hell of a lot more manageable. 

Chaos Legionaires and Royal Beastflayers for Warcry – Credit Thundercloud

For this I’ve got three warbands built and undercoated – Chaos Legionaries (which make very nice Chaos Thugs, with a Chosen included to be the Chaos Warrior leader), Royal Beastflayers (which make very good ghoulish denizens of a dark forest) and the metal Mordheim Marienburgers with a halfling scout and dwarf trollslayer (to be the human mooks fighting these horrific monsters). In the future I’ve got my eye on several Underworlds bands to add, as well as more Mordheim humans and dwarves.

As I’ve now finished a set of Ghur scenery to give me a fully painted Warcry board, I have something I can put models on that looks nice. What I want to do is add the scenery from Crypt of Blood (and possibly the Vampire models) and slowly build up a Warcry table of Old World themed terrain. I’ve got some pieces to start this off, but they aren’t built and on the paint table yet. 

Together this is a WFB army, a bunch of Warcry warbands and enough terrain for a Warcry board (which will at least partially cover a fantasy table as well). It’s a huge project, and I fully expect to still be chipping away at it well into next year. 

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