How To Deal With an Orc Horde (As a Painter)

The Orc Horde is upon us!

Ranking models for Warhammer Fantasy is a much different task than arranging individual models for Warhammer 40K. You have to keep models, in rows of five or ten around four rows deep, lined up in a (near) perfect square. This is great when dealing with models like goblins, elfs, and humans. When it comes to orcs, the process sucks. Big Time. These Goblins have it easy.

40K orks are allowed to be more free-form but in WFB the bulky arms and legs are nearly impossible to keep square without making the models all face the same direction. When Jason and I first started talking about the army, it was clear we both liked the 'chaos' of having spears, swords, and shields sticking out in all directions. Its a far cry from the old days of WFB where metal models all faced the same diagonal direction. Those were dark days of modeling!

The easiest way to make these models form up, is to cheat. By making use of the long bases and and the square bases from Citadel you can break up the boring squares and add some depth to some of the filler models. You can take advantage of being able to squeeze four models closer together than on four individual bases leaving room to rank up all the models around the larger bases. Here I used the 50mm Monster Bases to squeeze these orcs together to protect them from the incoming arrow fire.
"Watch 'ur 'eads mates!"
"Oi, not in me eye!"

With the Savage Orc Boys I need to pull a different trick out the box. Jason wanted to have the ability to run one forty orcs unit or two twenty orc strong units, each with banners and musicians. The problem was that I was only given forty models.  So naturally two, models were taken out as extra musician and banner which allowed me to put one model in a spot for two in the main rank.(Here I used two 25mm x 50mm bases). Because of the chaos from the unit, you don't even miss those two orcs. That is the true nature of orcs I guess. 
Its only kinda cheating. 

So the full squad contains 38 models with two extra stand-ins!

And they get to play king of the hill.
The last thing I wanted to do but just wasn't able to make it work with the orcs is to make a formidable shield wall, like the Greek Hoplites. It was outside of my ability and didn't fit the aggressive nature of the orcs. I compromised.  So the front rank here was pushed far forward to make room for the second rank of models. I also positioned orcs taking the ranged shooting while getting ready for the initial hand to hand combat.
Perhaps another army can hide behind large shields. I'm looking at you Men-At-Arms!
Lastly, I used a number and letter system with stick on labels pasted to the bottom of each model. That way units can be assembled quickly and easily. 

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