Brumbaer / 3D Printing / Epic Ork Army

In that article I described the army just as an army. In this article I take a closer look at the 3D design aspects.

I always wanted to do an Ork army for Epic, and had already bought many models on ebay. I realized that some models would be hard to come by in numbers and some might not be available at all. So I anticipated that I would have to do some models on my own. The step from this insight to the decision to do all the models was not that big.


IMHO the most important thing to make a good miniature is plausibility.

We judge the plausibility by comparing it with things we expect, know and are familiar with.

The first step in checking plausibility is context. 

If you glue a straw to a lego brick and paint it, it's just a painted lego brick with a straw.

When we look at a tabletop game, we expect buildings, hills, woods, soldiers, tanks and so on. So when looking at our lego assemble, we would not think "hey a lego brick and a straw", but we would think "what a badly done factory".

We'd think about factory because of the general shape - blocky building with a long cylinder - and because we would find it more likely to see a model of a factory on the tabletop than a lego brick and a straw.

What's missing to make it a plausible model and to turn the brick into the model of a factory  is detail.

If you sand off the lego print on the nobs and paint them as vents or lights, paint a door to the sides and call the straw a funnel, you have a more convincing factory. And some might think what a clever sod you are.


Doing miniatures brings the printer to it's limits. 6mm even more so. Too small a detail just can't be printed. On the other hand some details can only be seen when oversized anyway. 

This leads to the insight, that you will have mainly to rely on general shape and pose to create a convincing miniature. On the other hand some things that you would call general shape on a 28mm miniature might be taken for detail on a 6mm miniature because of it's minute size.


The common Ork

All models of your army will be compared and sized vs. the ordinary creature. So it makes sense to start with that.

In this case it's the common Ork. It's 1:300 scale, so the ordinary Orc should be 6mm or slightly larger.

I looked at an GW Epic Ork with it's wide face and started doodling. Not on paper, but in the 3D program.

I used basic shapes for body and limbs. The result looked like an Fantasy Orc - Fantasy in the sense of Walt Disney not GW :( (Ork to the left)

So I thought about what general shapes should be visible on my Ork. 

That would be muscles, muscles and muscles. To make them stand out I made them  balloon-like. This looks weird in the rendering, but will, because of the scale,  look ok when printed. I did also a test-shape for a new head. (Second Ork from the left)

The pose of the body didn't do much to convey the image of an Ork, so I tried the standard pose of the 40k Orks - you know the Gorilla pose with the hollow-back and the bum stuck out.

The Ork is plausible, because it has the basic physiognomy of an human and the standard pose reminds you of an sumo-fighter, gorilla or 40k Ork.

I would want to be able to pose the model. There are basically two easy ways (I'm aware off) to do so. One is rigging. You create a skin, put bones within and connect the skin to it. When you move the bones the skin moves with it - the important thing is the skin moves changing it's shape. The advantage is that you can get really good and natural results. Drawback, you have to invest some time to do so and if you don't the results can be not so convincing. Also the thickness of limbs can change, which isn't usually a problem, but in this scale it can be a question of to snap or not to snap or even print or not print.

I took the second approach, which is probably not possible with all 3d software packages. The body is segmented and the segments are put in a hierarchy. So fingers are below hand, hand is below forearm, forearm is below elbow, elbow is below upper arm, upper arm is below shoulder, shoulder below torso etc. When you turn one segment all segments below it will turn with it, keeping their relative position. Also when the segments turn or move, their shape will not change - the segments will keep their size under all circumstances.

When looking at the renderings keep in mind that the printed and painted models will look different. Features will be more blurred and less pronounced not only because of the printing and painting process, but also by the fact that the miniatures are only a tenth of the size of those renderings (might vary depending on your screen).

The body looked ok, but the Fantasy head didn't really fit. So I refined the quick head and that led to the final design dubbed Shaun.

Shaun went through different revisions, one of the reasons the teeth were too small when printed and the eyes did not hold enough paint/wash to stand out. I enlarged the eyesocked and the "round" teeth got replaced by "angular" teeth, which have more volume with a bounding box of the same size.

There are other variants, with a bikers-helmet, glasses, goggles and hair squigg.

You will realize that there is no neck and the head is rather deep and is "shoved" into the body. For one that looks orky, but it also ensure that the head is sitting firmly on - or better in - the Orks shoulder.

All Orks in the army are a combination of the standard body and one of those heads. There are some simple accessories to be added to some. Remember too fine a detail will not show/print anyway and sometimes the parts have to be made ticker and/or embedded into the body to prevent the from breaking.




Than it was time to look at the bike. I checked some real bikes to get a feeling for the proportions and designed a bike around the driver. The guns would be like the GW warbike guns put just behind the saddle.

Looking at the design, it is easy to see that the guns can only be operated with the hands in the air. If the hands are on the handlebar the driver will shoot them off. So I tried to move the guns lower, but that wasn't just convincing enough. At last measure the handle was raised, which also gives the driver a more relaxed pose.

Last not least I did an even more ordinary looking bike, which has the guns to the front.

The tires with or without cleats just do not offer enough surface for glue to bond securely and keep the bike standing, so all the tires are flat.

The drivers' poses differ by some margin. The second from the left is mainly used for bikes making making a wheelie.


The Skorcha was the quickest model to make. I just knew what it should look like - like a Wartrack with a bin that has some barrel sticking out.  As you can see the front assembly is identical to that of the Bike. The turret has a hole so it can be stuck on the peg and pivoted, but for gaming purposes it's more sensible to glue it on.

Big Gunz

I wanted to have some Big Gunz in my army so these were next. The basic design is rather simple, just what you would expect from an Ork design. By adding different types of shields the gun changes it's characteristic. I like the rightmost design best, it just looks like the Ork version of a WWII PAK.

I wanted to have some Soopa Gunz and as they would be Blast Weapons, I decided to make them more Howitzer like, so the will be easy to reckognize and their looks will hint on their use. Later after I did ZZap Guns for the Gunwagon, I also designed a Big Gun - Zap variant, which uses the ZZap Gun from the Wagon and the carriage from the Big Gun. Nothing complicated.

Oddboy crew and ZZap Guns ready to be printed. 4 sets can be printed at once and will be finished after roughly one and a half hours.

There is need for some supports to get them printed.

Death Kopta

The Death Kopta was also quickly done. I hadn't any concious plan what it should look like, but when I started, I just added parts and suddenly the thing was finished.

After some fine-tuning I added a ring between the runners. This can take a 3mm magnet, to allow mounting the Death Kopta on a flight stand while playing and dismounting it for transport.


Gunwagons - I wanted lots of Gunwagons. My first idea was to use tanks. Something like an early WWII tank seemed quite Orky to me.

But my first design (the leftmost) was just looking like an early WWII tank, so I did a second, more compact but higher design, which looks in fact a bit more Orky, but it does not look like a 35cm fast vehicle.

So I decided to take the wagon in Gunwagon literally and designed a Wagon. It should be fast, so it would borough the smaller front wheels from Formula 1. It would have some load on the back axle, so I did twin rear wheels.

I decided on the size (bounding box) first, which with hindsight was a mistake. Next were the wheels, and after that the cabin. I realized early on that adding a gun that shoots over the cabin would sit very high and give some weird proportions - and it would make the wagon fall over when cornering fast. So the gun would sit beside the cabin, giving an asymmetric design. But this made the cabin look too small, as the leftmost wagon shows. So with each variant the cabin got beefed up a little bit more. First extending onto the car wing, than getting a motor compartment and finally adding more depth to it.

The Wagons with turrets or ZZap Gun are of the same design. They just have a tower for mounting the Turret Gun on the cargo floor, and the cargo area is enclosed on all sides.

The wagon have a crew of two or three. The legs/feet position, except for the loader, look a bit weird, but it's fitting as they usually stand with one foot on a board.

The AA gun is just an ordinary Quad gun design, based on the Vierling I designed as part of the airfield defenses. Overtime the barrels grew in size to make them more robust.

It's mounted on a wagon without walls.


Usually I try to make my designs recognizable, but different to GW designs. The Stompa is a bit closer than the others, because it is just such a nice design.

I have three slightly different body designs. The differences being more obvious on the screen than in reals life. The bodies are complemented by two types of heads, each available with and without crewman.

The weapon arms designs had to be more robust than I liked to have them, but otherwise, they would just break. The ammunition belts are still very fragile and prone to break if not handled with care. 

Fighta Bomma

I kept the planes to the end as a treat. But whatever I designed it looked like the Forgeworld Fighta Bommers. Which is a fantastic design, but I wanted to have something more unique.

So I did it the Ork way. Take the biggest jet engine you can lay your hands on, add wings, add weapons, sit on top and fly away.

So I took the engine of the Epic Saracen Bomber added wings and weapons and sat an Ork on top. Add it looked good.

The engine looked so fuselage like that I did a variant, where I cut out some space for a cockpit and added struts for a canopy.

To make the model more convincing I added some patch plates and Bowden tubes.


And than I realized I had some additional points to spent. Just enough to get an other activation in, if I'd choose some Stormboyz. 

So I did. Stormboyz need goggles, so I designed the two goggle-heads. The backpack, would be a rocket strapped on the back and I wanted the Stormboyz to ride on fire and smoke.

The smoke posed the biggest problem. For one getting it in the right shape and second it proofed to be to weak when only connected to the rockets small exhaust.

So the smoke now covers the exhaust to prevent the miniature from snapping.

Some of the poses are quite nice and the renderings do not really do them justice.