Sunday 12 May 2013

On the Tangent of Goblinoids

Chaos fills my painting area. Both literally and metaphorically. You see, I am an untidy artist who leaves paints, brushes, new lead, off cuts, half finished miniatures and more littering my table. My wife contributes further, dumping anything she considers 'not her's' on the heap. Around this chaotic clutter I work.

On chaos models.

Occasionally I paint something different. Like the Tzeentch daemons I painted a few months back or an undead character. Yesterday, I found myself wanting to paint something different alongside the chaos thug unit I am working on. Now I have a varied and copious lead pile.

So what to choose?

Inspired by a thread on the Oldhammer Forum, I choose a simple goblin. It had been awhile since I had painted a greenskin so the prospect was an attractive one. I was also interested in working on painting different shades of brown leather, and Goblinoids are usually bedecked in browns, so I selected a model, cleaned, based and primed it.

But what of the colour scheme? I knew that I wanted to try out some new basing ideas, especially after the fascinating discussion we had a few posts back and that brown would be a key colour of the clothing. How was I going to paint the goblin's skin?

Obviously, I was going to go for colours sympathetic to my Old School approach to painting. So I flicked through a couple of 80s White Dwarfs for inspiration for greens. I soon realised that there were as many interpretations of how to paint a goblin as there are shades of green, though yellow seems to have been a popular choice in the mix back in the day.

I had a look over my previous efforts of greenskin glories and realised that I had used a range of different colour schemes over the years. Here are some of them.

In the end I went for Goblin Green as a base. Over this I washed old Citadel Green Ink from the Expert Paint Set. Once this had dried, I picked out the details of the skin using the base colour once again. Into this base I mixed Sunburst Yellow and a little yellow ink, building up the highlights until I added a little white for the final highlight. This gave the skin a greeny yellow hue which satisfied me. For the eyes I used Blood Red and the lip Liche Purple. Over both I washed diluted Purple Ink to give the face some sinister depth. The eyes were tidied up with Blood Red once more before I painted a dot of orange as a pupil. The lip received a highlight of white and purple... And it was done. All I had to do was paint the clothing and weapon and I was done!

Now, I got a huge amount of inspiration from the bases discussion and hope to start another one about painting orcs and goblins, so I am going to ask you to contribute your recipes for painting green skins below. Additionally, if you are one of those LURKERS who keep themselves to the shadows and you have some nicely painted old school Goblinoids that no-one gets to see then email me at or provide us with a link below.

So then... Orcs and gobbos... how do you paint them?



  1. He's raiding the Cheerios! I like the thick purple lip you've given your gobbo. Just plain malicious looking. And in reference to your article a few posts ago it really is all about the simple bases, as your goblin shows. I recently discovered that a nice sanded base with a couple if careful highlights can work just as well as a full on scenic one. Save the scenic bases for mounted characters and larger bases is my opinion as basing an entire army with etched brass and flowers just looks fussy and detracts from the overall coherency an army should have.

    Can't comment on my goblin painting method as I've not done one for over 15 yrs. More of a flesh tones man myself but I seem to remember using goblin green as a base and attempting to emulate the skin tones of the orc rock lobbed crew from the very early 90s. You know, the red one with the gold claw. I liked the soft green that was achieved especially on the guy with the loin cloth and hammer (or was it an axe?).

    Anyway keep up the good work Orlygg. I thoroughly enjoy your blog especially with coffee in a lazy Sunday morn!

  2. Out of interest what post inspired you to paint that Goblin (Bloody good job on it too)

    1. When someone, I forget who, sorry, wanted help identifying a goblin similar to the one I painted.

  3. Apparently Citadel goblinoids were always brown... can't remember who painted them green first but hew as going for a wacky effect and it stuck. Or so I was told.

  4. Lovely subtle shading and color choice!

  5. Here are some older Fanatics, I bought them in around 1993, not sure when they were first sculpted. Not my best work, but if I have any hopes of getting the goblin horde finished I have to keep my painting standards low. They along with the 100s of identical posed plastics are in storage mostly.

    I sent you the link to my Flickr last time you asked. I paint my eyes yellow so I can have my tongues red. I never have done the purple or blue lips you see on Greenskins and I've been painting orks since the early 90s.

  6. Great Paint job.I use a similar method when painting Gobbo Flesh but without much yellow for the final highlights.

  7. My favourite recipe ever for orc and goblin skin is the one Brian posted on "A Gentleman's Ones":

    Not sure whether it's suitably retro, but it's easily my favourite painting tutorial ever, since it's 100% possible to reproduce ;-) Used it on my Blood Bowl team:

    That's a fantastic looking Goblin, btw! ;)



  8. Reddish brown! I go into it in detail here:

    Though I use craft paints (Americana acryllics, quite good, quite cheap,) so the color references aren't very useful.

  9. Very cool goblin, I like your recipe. I answered you in my blog where I am showing a unit of orcs.

    The old O&G have so much more characters than the new ones, they are what o&g shoudl have never stop being.

  10. The picture isn't great, and they're 40K, but:

    For Orcs/Orks I go with Catachan Green as a base, with Camo Green on top and Elf Flesh as the extreme highlights, with an Ogryn Flesh Wash and a Thraka Green Wash.

    With Goblins I use brighter, less 'realistic' greens, such a goblin green, rather than attempting a 'green flesh' look I do with the Orks.

  11. Great post. I don't really remember how I did it exactly, as almost all the labels have fallen off my paints. I did some kind of green (maybe goblin green) followed by a green ink wash and then gobbo green drybrush. Eyes were always red and teeth were an off white. I need to dig out my figures and take some pictures.

  12. Great post, and very nice work achieved on the Orcs and Goblins. Really brings out the character of the goblinoids, and is very evocative of the 1980's citadel style. I really like the sheen on the gong too.

    Painting wise, my 1980's Citadel Orcs (and Rogue Trader Space Orks) are goblin green or equivalent base, highlighted with Vallejo Lime green, then a mix of Vallejo lime green and white, then wash with Agrax earthshade. Coincidentally I have posted some today on my blog at .

    I think it creates a bright look, and fits the style of the citadel Orcs, although never liked when I painted some goblins in it. I preferred the Labyrinth/Fairy Tale look for them.

    I do have seperate Mithril and Grenadier Orc armies. The Mithril Orcs will be a dark earthy grey, the Grenadier Orcs will be the lighter brown, probably Hobby Paints Earth Brown, similar to some of my goblins. Both armies are a low priority on the painting list though.

    My goblins are a range of colours but usually a mix of browns and human flesh colours with occasional grey/olive green ones,to give that Labyrinth goblin feel to them.

    The range of Goblin colours are, Citadel: Mounfang Brown, Rhinox hide, Dakarth flesh, dwarf flesh , Elf flesh, Tallarn sand, , Graveyeard Earth, and White for use in some highlighting;
    Vallejo: light brown, medium flesh, rose brown (great for pinkish noses and ears! ), stone grey, english uniform, grey-green;
    Hobby paints: Earth Brown.

    I use Rhinox Hide and Vallejo light brown, lightened with white for Ogres and Giants, and random paint schemes for the Trolls. I have never painted Black Orcs, but might go for a darker grey green colour, although Vallejo Brown Violet is a versatile colour.

    1. ....and the Snotling on my blog is the only one I have ever painted.
      He's Vallejo Lime Green base, then Lime Green/white mix highlight, and Agrax wash (with Vallejo Rose Brown nose ! )

  13. Man, I love these old Orc and Goblin models. Way more evocative and personalized than the the bland and uniform ones they have these days.

  14. Love that Ceral stealing Gobbo, I think his leathers are amazing, the rest look great too!