"The rag-tag followers that trail after an Orc & Goblin army are vile, destitute and quarrelsome beyond even the disgustingly low standards set by Orc warriors. Heavy and multiple-dugged Orc womenfolk make up the majority of the baggage train. Their mewling off-spring, the aged, whelps and assorted hangers-on make up the rest."
Thus reads one of my favourite passages of writing in the entire body of Warhammer literature: the description of Orc & Goblin baggage trains contained in Warhammer Armies (1988) by Nigel Stillman. It embodies perfectly the colourful, grotesque and wry world of classic Warhammer.
As I've written before, I think a fantasy army is incomplete without a proper baggage train -- there's no better way to give your force its own unique personality. Certainly, my hapless and profoundly inebriated orc army, Krapfang's Backwood Bandits, deserved a suitably sordid group of camp followers. I wanted to give them a carnivaleque feel... one part Bruegel the Elder and one part Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
An orc army is spoiled for choice. The starting place is the range of Orc Villagers (C46) released by Citadel in 1988. Trish Morrison (now Trish Carden) is sometimes maligned -- and Crom knows, I've never loved her work for Marauder. But these Orc Villagers are the bees knees. They are especially gangly and awkward sculpts, even for orcs of the Kev Adams era. For Krapfang's army, I was immediately drawn to the blind drunk orcs, which I put together in a mini-diorama. I also wanted some looters, so I chose a male orc stealing a ham and a female orc stealing a halfling (it's the other white meat).
I rounded out the booty with one of the rare miniatures sculpted by game designer Rick Priestly -- a strong box from the C39 range of Treasure Chests. Who knew RP could sculpt very tiny furniture? The man's talents never cease to amaze.
But I wanted something special for the centerpiece of the baggage train. And that's when I hit on the idea of putting together a pathetic gang of human captives that the orcs are getting ready to sell for beer money. The slaves' presence would lend Krapfang a much needed air of cruelty -- and they can also function as a nice objective for any opposing army. The slave-master was an easy choice: a Goblin charioteer (from Marauder MM33), wielding a highly motivating whip. But finding the slaves was a harder matter - eventually I settled for some non-Citadel miniatures to fit the bill... some lovely sculpts from Iron Wind Metals.
Thrown together, I think they make a fairly unsavory tribe. The little touches in the sculptures are what I love the most: how the captured halfling is wagging his little legs, or way the eating orc wraps his lips around the leg of ham, like an octopus absorbing his prey.
Now, won't someone come and rescue those slaves?