torstai 16. maaliskuuta 2017

What I´ve done with them boyz´n gobbos

Almost a year ago I was wandering what to do with a bunch of fantasy regiment orcs and goblins I had bought from a friend of mine. I got some tips both here in my blog and at Oldhammer forum but after starting with the boyz I lost interest in the project and the models lay untouched for months on my paiting table.

A couple of weeks back I won an online auction that had 70+ metal orcs and goblins in it. With some fantasy regiment models I had managed to get from a couple of guys I know I realised that I now had enough models to meet the WFB: Armies troop minimas for an O&G army. Even though I still needed some command groups and a shaman or two that realisation boosted my will to really start painting the army.

This unit of stickas was the first one to get completed. They still need a banner of some sort but that I will deal with later. I´m very inexperienced at painting greenskins. In fact this is the very first unit of orcs or goblins I´ve ever done. My goal is to have a playble force ready by july so rank and file were done as quick as possible with some more love given to command group models. Black base coat, warboss green skin, basic colours for clothing and armor followed by agrax earthshade wash. Quick highlights with skarsnik green and that´s it. Good enough to be used on the battlefield.

 Chief Rhybag´s speshul stickaz. Fantasy regiment goblins, iron claw
goblins, bagpipe musician, a chief and a double snotling as standard bearer.
The upper snotlings face is badly molded on it´s right side but 
will do if you don´t look too close.

The next unit to be completed will propably be this big mod of boyz. Regular boyz are all fantasy regiment orcs and the command group a mix of early nineties orcs from different ranges. This will be the main unit of my upcoming army.

That´s 28 orcs including a boss, a standard and a musician. The boss and standard are
pretty much ready. Everyone else in various stages of WIP. As you can see the
banners are not my strongest area of expertise.

Then there are the arrer boys of which I have close to 40 models. To meet the army minimas I´ve chosen 20 of those to be painted after I´m done with the big mod. They´ve been base coated black and I´ve started working on first of them just to get ideas of how I want them to look in the future.

These arrer boyz will need a standard and a musician. Perhaps
I´ll get a Harboth´s standard for them as those seem to be available
at ebay for reasonable price.

Most far from completion are the gobbos. I have at the moment 19 goblins of which about half are armed with javelins/spears and the rest with various hand weapons. They will need a standard bearer and a musician later on. And some stripping will be required.

Gobbos. Cannon fodder in making.

As last I´ll put a group picture of everyone. I have some wolf riders and a pair of bolt throwers waiting somewhere but as those are not obligatory they will be worked on after everyone else is done.

By july these will be ready to get on the battle field

Just wanted to show that something is getting painted even though I´ve been lately working mostly on the animal handler articles. The next one will be about chaos. Perhaps in a week or something.

perjantai 10. maaliskuuta 2017

Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB: Dark Elf Whelp Masters

This part of ´Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB´ -series of articles is about Dark Elf Whelp masters. It discusses rules, models, tacktics, pictures, links, pro´s and con´s and everything related to Dark Elf animal handlers. Please click here to find the other arcticles.

As described in the WFB: Armies book you can take 0-8 Whelp masters to a Dark elf army. That is two packs more than Wood Elves and same number as Chaos and Skave. Each team is made up of 1-3 handlers each with 2-6 beasts which they lead. A single beastmaster has a normal elf profile and is armed with a hand weapon. Basic cost includes no armor but there is option for light armor and shield. Whelp Masters may lead  warhounds or chaos hounds. Sets for these were produced by Citadel and Marauder.

Whelp masters were one of the units in WFB: Armies that was originally printed with wrong profile. That was corrected in WD107 with a glue-on-errata.

Goblin Lee discusses Dark Elf Whelp masters in his article where he takes a look into the dark host of Naggaroth. I agree on a lot of what he says there. The whelp masters fit well into the background of a dark elf army and they look good on a battle field. A strange thing that Lee also notes is the absence of cold one warhounds as pack beasts.

Having the maximum of only three handler par pack can be a vulnerability and one should propably either take a large number of beasts or give armor to the handlers to give them some protection aganst missile fire.

Whelp master and chaos hounds set from Citadel´s 1989 winter trade catalogue.

 Another add with color pics of handlers and chaos hounds.
I never knew there was a chaos dwarf handler too.

Add from Dec 1987 flyer.

The Whelp master set is a very nice one in my opinion. The master himself has a good pose with his whip laying low and hand pointing to the direction where he wants his pack to go. I just wish there were more options for a handler model available. On the beast side ten different chaos hounds gives you a lot to choose from.

The dark elf handler seems to be a pretty sought after model. I managed to get one for 6€ and a full set of a handler and four hounds was sold in december 2016 for 23€. When writing this article there was an unopened blister in ebay for 115€ BIN. Single chaos hounds were from 10€ up. No examples of a single handler were on sale.

Marauder MM73/3 Dark Elf Whelp master and warhounds.

The first thing one spots here is that the warhounds are actually monted on 25 x 25mm bases and not on 25 x 50mm as wood elf warhound are. At least the walking dog has had a long slotta tab that has been clipped for this picture. Anyways I believe that these hounds can be mounted on the smaller bases and still rank up nicely.

From this picture it is pretty hard to tell what kind of bases there are inside. I believe that the one that is visible behind the dog in right lower corner is a 20 x 20mm for beastmaster himself. And I believe that there are three 25 x 25mm bases under the grey padding as three cavalry bases would show from beneth the badding. What do you think?

One of the Marauder produced masters seems to be wearing light armor but the other one looks unarmored. One could easily attach a shield to their free hand or back. I´ve never had much love for Marauder dark elves and in my opinion this is one of the worst sets for darkies they did. The poses, clothes and especially the hair just rub me the wrong way.

A set of four hounds was recently sold at ebay for 14€ and a set of a handler with three dogs for 17€. Writing this there was a single handler in ebay for 7€ BIN and a full set for staggering 76€ BIN. Asking price for single doggies seem to be from roughly 10€ to 20€.



Normal war hound profile here with no special rules. As mentioned before these models do actually fit a 25 x 25 mm base. The Marauder produced models bear some resemblance to the picture above. Don´t know if it´s a good thing or not - the hound in the picture look quite strange IMO. That´s a chaos hound if you ask me.

Just like wood elf ones, dark elf war hounds can be used for multiple tasks. Threatening enemy flanks, harrassing skirmishers and warmachines, protecting own troops and screening action - they can do them all. But keeping in mind that they are vulnerable and won´t survive long against a stronger enemy. And missile fire can twindle their numbers quickly. Being on a 25 x 25mm base means that they take up a lot less room on a battle field than their wood elf cousins.

Just for 111 points you get a horde of three handlers and eleven hounds.

War hound pack as a part of a Marauder Dark elf army. People
don´t seem to be very fond of the set as it is hard to find painted example of one.
Or of any Dark elf Whelp master team with normal war hounds.

Citadel produced handler is a nice model
A large pack looks good
Good speed
25 x 25 mm basing
Many ways to use in a battle

Not very effective in combat
(Marauder handler models)

Chaos hounds


Once again we meet the basing issue. Rules say 25 x 25mm but models are supplied with 25 x 50mm and propably won´t fit a smaller one less rank up at all on those. The profile is strong for close combat. Chaos attributes can be a curse or a blessing. And in any case should be generated as mentined under GM´s supervision. We don´t want to take the fun away from anyone by some lucky/unluncky rolls before the game has even started.


These dogs are deadly in close combat so you want to get them engaged. They are hard to kill with T4 and W2 but will propably draw missile fire as the enemy wants to take out the whelp masters and send the hound on their way to wilderness. You could concider armoring the handlers to cancel some of the hits they receive.

As chaos hounds are pretty valuable I wouldn´t waste them on harrassing skirmishers or war machines. They are a decent alternative for heavy cavalry so a simple staright forward advance followed by a charge should work. But once again - a large pack takes a lot of space. Perhaps you could support the hound pack with some dark riders who can take on enemy flank after the dogs have been committed.

Chaos hounds are valuable: a pack of ten hounds and three handlers with light armor and shield will cost you almost 280 points. With 18 hounds the price goes up to 462 points.

The chaos attributes might affect the way you use the a hound pack. Most of the dominant chaos attributes (rulebook page 207) are quite helpfull but for example enormously fat chaos hounds would be nearly unusable. GM discretion is definately needed here. Don´t break the game before it starts.

A large pack of chaos hounds from Realms of Chaos blog.

Nice models
Look good in large packs
Very powerfull in close combat
Good speed
Strong overall profile

Vulnerability of the handlers

Evo Von Himmel´s (Dieselmonkey) beastmaster with his chaos hounds.

torstai 2. maaliskuuta 2017

Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB: Wood Elf Beastmasters

This part of Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB series of articles is about Wood Elf Beastmasters. It discusses rules, models, tacktics, pictures, links, pro´s and con´s and everything related to Wood Elf animal handlers. Please click here to find the other arcticles.

As per WFB: Armies book you can take 0-6 Beastmaster (teams) to a wood elf army. Each team is made up of 1-3 handlers each with 2-6 beasts they lead. A single beastmaster has a normal elf profile and is armed with a hand weapon. Basic cost includes no armor but there is option for light armor and shield. Handlers may lead bears, boars, warhounds or wildcats. A dedicated set was produced for each animal type by Citadel.

 An addvertisment from WD96. I just love those Jes Goodwin sculpts.

An another add.

As we see the sets were originally sold with one leader and three beasts except for bear keeper who had just one bear. Later blisters had just the handler and a single animal in them.
Another thing of curiosity is the name- in the rule book everyone is called animal handler, in WFB:Armies we have wood elf beastmasters and the miniatures were sold as elven animal keepers.


Wood elves are the only race that can use bears in beast packs. Looking at the description, rules and profile two think stand out immediately. First the base size. Here it says 25 x 25mm but the bear in the Elf Bear Keeper set is provided with a 25 x 50mm base and is such a large model that it would not fit a 25 x 25mm base by any means sane.

The other thing is movement. In RL a bear can run at 60km/h where as the world record speed for a horse in a sprint is around 88km/h. Usein Bolt can reach almost 36km/h on a 100m dash. He wouldn´t stand a chance agains a bear. At least on a longer distance. Therefore the M4 feels very low. As in real life a bear´s speed should propably be somewhere in between human speed and horse speed. Giving the bear a M6 would have made it a bit more believable.


Tactically bears can be somewhat tricky to use effectively. I would propably use a largeish pack of bears in a straight frontal attack agains enemy infantry. Or as wood elf armies often rely on ranged attacks I could place my unit of bears either in the center between archer unit or to flanks to protect those. They would stay still until enemy moved closer and then engage.

If I chose to go on offence with my wood elves I would propably deploy bears in support of my treemen or warrior kinband. As rules limit maneuvering with packs the attack would be pretty much a straight forward advance and charge.

Keep in mind that the bears cause fear ability is very helpful in many situations and should not be forgotten.

The bears will draw missile fire and that fire is away from the fragile elves. With T4 and W2 you can expect the bears to handle that at least better than elves. Taking the optional armor is a must for bear handlers to give them some protection agains missiles. Having a hero as unit leader would be another thing worth concidering just to add some resilience to handlers.

With S4 and A2 bears are formidable in close combat even though WS3 will force you to pick your opponents carefully. A smaller force of WS4 dwarves could tie down your bears for a long time.

A unit of three handlers with nine bears is around 220 points. If you take a LVL10 hero as the unit leader the price goes up to 300 points. That is quite a lot. You can get a treeman or a unit of eight elven lords including a hero for that. But as wood elf army lacks good infantry with some staying and slaying power bears could be a choise to concider.

A beautiful bear keeper from Thantsants´ collection.

The bear handler set is not very common and you should be prepared to pay around 20€ for a set of a single bear and handler in ebay.

Bear Pro´s:
Jes Goodwin models
No one else gets them
Good S, T, W and A stats
Cause fear

Bear Con´s:
Tactical limitations
Model´s can be hard to get
The Masterwork Guild blog brings us these four bears and their master.


Another type of beast pack that is only available to wood elves. The description says that boars in Old World are much bigger than the ones in RL but that does not seem apply to the Jes Goodwin sculpted wood elf boars. The are smallish especially if compared with orc warboars of the same time. They are mounted on 25 x 50mm bases but will fit 25 x 25mm ones nicely.

The special rules do not apply when boars are in a beast pack. It would be quite logical if the negative leadership modifier for boars being difficult to control would apply to packs too but the rules state that it´s in effect only for riding purposes.

The profile for a boar is pretty close to a human with differences in movement and psychological stats. And as we know all tests are made with the handlers´ profile. So low boar scored here don´t count.

The boars as beast pack animals suffer from their special rules. Their cost is affected by stubborn rule which has no use for them in pack mode. In my opinion their right value should be somewhere around 4 points.


A boar packs best asset is their speed. They can charge 14" which means that they usually can choose to charge enemy infantry instead of getting charged themselves. They are pretty weak in close combat with their average profile. And with T3 and no save thay are vulnerable to missile fire.

Keeping the afore mentioned in mind I still think that there are several ways to use boars in battle. One could sacrifice them to screening more valuable units from missile fire. Or to tie down enemy units to give your other unit time to take them on flank or rear. Or you could send them to a flanking move to harrash enemy war machines or missile troops.

The size of a boar pack depends on how you want to use them. With their 25 x 50mm base a large pack of boars takes a lot of room on the battle field. That might not be good if you want to move fast around enemy flank and go after warmachines. But for screening own troops or delaying action you need some durability. And elf profile should keep the pack from routing even if they losa a round or two of combat.

The maximum unit including three handlers with no armor and 18 boars for screening or delaying action costs roughly 150 points. For flanking and war machine harrassing you could take a more nimble set of two handlers and six boars for just 62 points.

A pair of piggies and a handler from Wee Blokes blog.
They look better on 25 x 25mm base than on the cavalry one.

There aren´t that many painted examples of a boar handler unit in the internet. The set propably wasn´t very popular at it´s time. With some luck you could get a single boar from ebay just below 5€ where as a handler could go for 6€. But it´s more common to see BIN prices of 10€+ for a model.

Boar Pro´s:
Jes Goodwin sculpts
No one else gets them
Good speed

Boar Con´s:
No very effective in combat
Costly compared to war hounds (see below)

Handler and his pack from Lead and Paint.



 Here we meet the 25 x 25mm base issue again. The models produced are on cavalry base and as with bears won´t fit a smaller one. The elven warhoud model is a pretty long one and I believe it would be quite impossible to set them up as a unit if on 25 x 25mm. Orcs and norse are mentioned as users of warhounds alongside with elves but warhounds never made it to their army lists.

Profile is very close to that of a boar. M is one lower and I one higher. Once again there is no reason to look at the LD, INT, CL and WP part. So for two points less than a boar you get a slightly slower beast that can hit a human first with it´s higher initiative. I would take warhounds over boars any day.

Warhound pack could be used in the same way as boars above. Higher initiative given you a bit more room on what targets you should engage. Keep in mind that your dogs won´t last very long with their T3 and no armor. Don´t take both shield and armor for handler as you don´t want to slow him and the pack down.

With just about 110 points you can get yourself three handlers and 18 dogs. That´s 40 points less than with boars.

Thantsants´ war hound pack with their master.

A single warhound can be sometimes found at 5€ or even below. The price for a handler is usually up from 8€. BIN prices for a full set seem to be around 30€.

Warhound Pro´s:
Jes Goodwin sculpts
Good speed

Warhound Con´s:
No very effective in combat
A pack of war hounds from The Masterworks Guild blog.

Wild cats


Another type of animals that is available to wood elves only.
M8, WS4, S4, A2 and leap special rule all means that this kitty is one mean killer. As the text says they are formidable fighters indeed. On the other hand it has T3 and just one wound.

Look at picture from WFB: Armies - does that look like a killing machine? No! That´s the face of a little naughty kitten who has just been disciplined by it´s owner IMO.


You need to get your cats to charge an enemy of lower initiave. You can´t afford being shot at as your costly cats will be killed. Be carefull with your deployment as you can´t maneuver much. It´s pretty much straight forward towards an enemy you can leap at. Against a not shooting enemy you could concider holding back and protecting your archers not engaging but at the latest moment. But make sure you charge and against lower I.
Wild cats can be an alternative for cavalry but they are not as versatile as horse mounted troops. They cost a lot and require quite a lot of concideration on where to use them effetively. But they sure look good as a unit. Taking a hero to lead wild cats could be a good idea as with bears.

A wood elf wild cat handler and his pack by Thantsants.

Perhaps the most sought after of the wood elf animal keepers. But they seem to be a bit more common than the bears. In any case be prepared to pay at least 10€ for a single cat or a handler.

Wild cat Pro´s:
Jes Goodwin sculpts
No one else gets them
Great speed
Killing power

Wild cat Con´s:
Model´s can be hard to get

A big pack of cats from The Masterwork Guild.