Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle

Themed Army Ideas
Armies of the Jungle
List of Armies

Armies of the Jungle: Sho T. BigHed’s Blood Axes (updated 10/2010)  by Patrick Eibel
In the From Idea To Reality series, we chronicled the process of creating an army from scratch. In this series, we will showcase the finished results of our labors – the completed armies (as much as any 40K army can ever be considered “completed”). By detailing how the army was collected, how the background and color schemes were developed, and how the army is used on the battlefield, we hope that this series will provide inspiration for those interested in collecting similar armies.

Back in June of 2010, I posted the write-up here for my massively huge Ork army.  When you have a large army, rarely does it undergo much change other than adding additional units here or there as new models are released. As I noted in the previous version of the article, my army featured Ork models from all the generations of 40K and my list tried to coordinate them into a coherent force.  However, I have always thought that it would be nice to have the army completely done in the current range of figures.  Aside from the uniform look the army would have, it would be much easier to add units rather than scouring eBay for out-of-print figures.  Of course, the cost of replacing all of those models prevented me from ever seriously considering such a wholesale change.

Enter all-around-good-guy Bryan Layton, who was unloading an Ork army that he had purchased awhile ago.  Last year at Counter Offensive time, I got a few new things from Bryan’s trove of Orky goodness (new Deff Dread, some Wartrakks, and Stormboyz).  This year, he brought the rest of the trove, which turned out to be quite sizable.  There was no reason for me to add all of those figures to my existing army (10,000 points is quite large enough, thank you), but I realized I could achieve my goal of having a coherent army.  All I needed to do was to find someone to take the old Orks off my hands, and long-time Jungle Friend  Ken Lacy was more than happy to step up to the plate.  Once the plan was worked out, it was merely a matter of allocating the new models to my army and see what changes occurred. 

Collecting Sho T’s Blood Axes 
Some figures and units stayed the same, some changed quite a bit. My Orks consist of three detachments, as described below. 

Ork Warboss Sho T. BigHed  w/ mega-armor, cybork body, bosspole, attack squig.  One of the problems with mixing old and new minis is scale.  While I could use the new Ghazghkull Thraka model, he is huge when set next to 2e models.  To solve this, I use a regular Ork Nob in Mega-armor as the Warboss (more later under Meganobz).

Big Mek Sprokkits  w/ kustom force field, 'eavy armor, power klaw.  I use an old Mek with a Shokk Attack Gun to represent the KFF.  Even though the SAG is back in the codex, it is merely amusing, whereas the KFF is nigh essential.

Sho T. BigHed (his name ["shorty big head'] is an Ork insult) at left, with his faithful Big Mek Sprokkits
Big Mek Speedo  w/ Kustom Force Field, burna, eavy armor, bosspole.  I used to use a converted Ogryn model, but the figure did not have a very compelling equipment load-out.  I replaced the figure with the current Big Mek with KFF, but converted the left hand to have a burna (culled from a Deff Dread).

Dr. HooGee-Bob Jeep  used to use a very old Weirdboy figure, but I have since swapped that for the current one, which is a great sculpt.

Mad Doc Grotsnik fills one of the two open HQ slots and adds some cool abilities.

Underboss Moe Z Bopp.  Bryan had three different Warboss figures, so I took the biggest one as a right hand man for Sho T. 

Meet da new Boss: Sho-T's right-hand-Ork, Moe Z Bopp

Two mobz of 15 Kommandos each.  I use to have mostly old-school Blood Axe Kommandos, but I replaced them with a mix of current Kommando models and old Tankbusta models (I needed a place to use the metal ‘bustas, and they work perfectly as Kommandos).

Meganobz.  I used to have 7 old Orks in mega-armor, all 2e models, but Meganobz aren't all that, so they're gone.

Two Nobz Mobz. One mob uses Ork Nobz from Black Reach and a box of plastic Nobz.  One uses older metal Nobz that are still slightly larger than the average Ork boy, led by the Black Reach Warboss.  I used to have another unit, but I got rid of it.

My Loota Boyz used to be a variety of 2e Deathskull Lootas and 3e Mekboyz with big plastic plasma cannons used as megablastas.   I replaced them with current models.  This allowed me to purchase another unit, so each has eight Lootas and two Meks with megablastas.

Loota Boyz led by Mek with a megablasta, represented by a Rogue Trader era plasma cannon

Burna Boyz.  I previously had one Burna mob, but I supplemented them so that all of the boyz have the same pose (makes it easy to distinguish on the field).  The remaining Burnas were rolled into a second unit supplemented with new Burna models.  Each unit is led by Meks with big shootas (because I gotta find a use for them).

Tankbustas.  I debated including a unit of these in the army, but Orks need all the tank-hunting they can get.  I use a new Tankbusta boyz box supplemented with 3e Boyz with rokkit launchas.

Three mobz of 30 “Slugga Boyz” each, including a Nob with power klaw and three Boyz with rokkit launchas in each mob.  Basically the same as before, but each unit gained 10 more guys.  I use rokkits in my Slugga squads to help pop tanks, though with Ork shooting, it doesn’t work too often.  Since my army is based on Blood Axes, I try and use Imperial bits a lot, and so all of the rokkits are old Space Marine missile launchers.

"Slugga Boyz." The helmets on the Nob's bosspole are from a certain overhyped chapter you may have heard about
Three mobz of 30 “Shoota Boyz” each, including a a Nob with power klaw and three big shootas in each mob.  Same as before, but gained another unit of 30 boyz.

'eaps of Boyz with right proppa shootas and big shootas make Sho-T's vile black heart swell with pride
Two mobz of 30 Gretchin, each with 3 Runtherds.  Back in the day, the basic game set came with grots and Orks, so I have had these guys for a long time. 

Sho-T say: "Look at all dem wee gobbos. Ain't dey kute?"
Five mobz of  “Trukk Boyz,” all replaced with new models.  Three units have rokkits, two have big shootas, and a previous 6th unit has been deleted.  Of course, the Nobz have power klaws for right proppa krumpin'.

Two mobz of 20 ‘ard Boyz each, including a Nobz with a power klaw in each mob.  Yes, I know you can only have one per army, but technically, one detachment of mine is the Kult of Speed, which can count as a separate army.  The 'Ard Boyz are regular Ork models with shoulder armor bits on them. 

Ork Deff Dread R2Ork2 is a Rogue Trader-era Ork Dread painted up like R2D2 (which, for some reason, I think is funny). I've had him from the very beginning of my Ork army, back in the late 1980's, and he's one of my favorites.

Ork Deff Dread.  This is a metal 4e Dread that I got from Bryan.  If I'm fielding Speedo's Kult of Speed, then Dread counts as Heavy Support. 

Nob Bikers.  These are 6 new-style Ork Bikers with variety of weapons, including a converted Waaaugh! Banner.

One mob of 18 Stormboyz, led by a Nob with a power klaw.  These models are 4e Boyz with the giant rokkits on their backs.  I used to have another unit of 3e-era figures, but I traded them.  I also used to have ten Boarboyz that I was going to use as Nobz on bikes, but I traded them, too.

Three mobz of 8 Warbikes each.  Each squad is made up of 7 old-school bikes led by one new-school Nob.  I haven’t decided if all the Nobs will have klaws, because they are so pricey.

Two squadrons of 3 Deffkoptas each.  These are the old metal ones from the Gorkamorka game.  I may expand each to five now that I can use two units.

Buggy Squadron of 3 Warbuggies with twin rokkits converted from old zzap guns.  I used to have two units of old metal buggies, but I sold them off on eBay because they really didn’t go with the look of the army anymore (small Orks = okay; small Ork vehicles = not okay).

Wartrakk Squadron of 2 Wartrakks and a Scorcha. 

Two Looted Wagons.  Each wagon is an old Rhino with two big shootas mounted where the storm bolters used to be. 

Looted Wagon with boomgun.  I used to use a Basilisk for this, but when the IG Codex came out, the Bassie got turned into a Medusa.  Now I use a converted Chimera that has a turret with a battle cannon.  Boom!

Four Battlewagons.  I have a variety of Battlewagons: two old Armorcast resin models, one original plastic model, and one new version.  I still need to order the deffrolla sprues from GW to upgrade them all.  I may end up replacing the oldest plastic Battlewagon with a new one.

Two mobz of 3 Killa Kans each.  One unit has rokkit launchas, the other will have grotzookas (converted from IG missile launchers).

Two units of 3 Big Guns each.  I have already assembled a unit of three Kannons, and am hoping to exchange three Lobbas for more Kannons (I need all the anti-tank I can get).

Gargant.  I bought a scratch-built Gargant from my friend Brian Collett, and I can’t wait to see it in action in an Apocalypse game.


Auros IX, the desert home world of my Orks, is more than a wasteland.  The planet is rich in mineral wealth, particularly sulfur, magnesium, and crude oil.  Before the Orks took the planet, Auros IX was garrisoned by the 563rd Planetary Defense Force, which guarded the mines and refining facilities.  Sho T. BigHed, a relatively new Ork Warboss at the time, assembled a raiding warband and began harassing the human outposts.  While the Orks were ruthless in killing the human soldiers, Sho T. loved human technology, weapons, and even their uniforms, and began using them.

With each success he had, more Orks were recruited to his cause: Goff mercenaries, greedy Freebooters, Deathskull Lootas, and even an entire Kult of Speed.  Eventually, the planetary forces succumbed to the massed Ork might, and the 563rd’s commander, Ludlaw Traylor, surrender control of the planet to Sho T.  Sho T. quickly set Snotlings and Gretchin to work the mines, doubling production and the prices he got for the resources.   He also began strategic raids of nearby planets to increase his personal wealth and power, and make his name feared throughout the sector. 

The Imperium was, needless to say, not amused at the loss of such a rich world, and the Fighting Tigers of Veda were dispatched to take back the planet.  A great, prolonged campaign ensued that strained the resources of both armies, until finally the Fighting Tigers had to withdraw or be left unable to deal with other threats.  In the aftermath, the Ork warband fractured into two groups, as Speedo the Big Mek decided to strike out on his own.  This will be the setting at the outset for this year’s campaign, Return to Auros IX.

Modeling and Painting
The color scheme for the army will stay pretty much the same (brown and tan), though there may be some units that are slightly off.  About half of Bryan’s figures were already painted, and I am not one to needlessly recreate the wheel.  These figures will eventually be brought into line with the overall scheme, but for now they will be used as they are. 

Now that my army is made up of mostly current generation figures, I realize how few different bodies the Orks have to choose from.  The same torsos,arms, and legs are used for Lootas, Burnas, and Boyz of all stripes.  I don’t particularly mind, since I was going for the homogeneity, but it is quite a change from the previous version of the army.  I particularly miss the Freebooters, who I had painted in resplendent pirate theme, and I may have to select a unit to represent them amongst the new boyz.  Also, Kenton was sad to see the rokkit launcha carrier with the Pittsburgh Steeler helmet go, so I will have to use that idea again somewhere.

My old-school Freebooters. They're gone now, but I may have to paint up a new version of these guys....

Using the Army
The army easily fills three detachments, with two devoted to Sho T. and one to the Kult of Speed.  In practice, I field whatever units I need for the game at hand regardless of which detachment it comes from.  I generally field two kinds of Ork lists: massive amounts of footsloggers supported by vehicles, or speedy-fast vehicles supported by slower vehicles.  I have toyed with the idea of making a Wazdakka figure so that I can field a bike list, but I have to figure out how to make one that won’t break the bank. 

The massive footsloggers list uses the large Shoota Boyz mobs, the Gretchin, the Killers Kans and Deff Dreds, the Lootas, and Stormboyz.  The object is to present too many targets for my opponent to kill.  The speed list fields Trukk Boyz aplenty, Sluggas or ‘Ard Boys in battlewagons, and Burna Boyz in a Looted Wagon.  Obviously, the idea here is to target a part of the enemy’s army and use speed to overwhelm it.  Both lists rely on Kustom Force Fields for protection, and can take other units as points allow.

Final Thoughts
I have known players who periodically sell off their army only to start a different one (or even the same one) again within a year.  While I may not have traded out the entire army, I do feel somewhat re-inspired about my Orks after the influx of new figures.  Sometimes change can be therapeutic.  While my army may have lost some of its distinct flavor, I have gained a bit of inner peace knowing that I can swap Boys freely between units and have the whole army look really cool when laid out on the table.  

Related Pages 
Blood Deserts of Auros IX Campaign
Return to Auros IX

First posted June 2010. Updated October 2010.


Fighting Tigers:
Codex<> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle