Monday, October 10, 2016

Wayback Machine: United Greenskin Postal Service

"So do you work for the post office or what?" This is probably the most common question I get when I bring out the UGPS.  Well the answer is no, I don't.

I started playing Warhammer right after 6th edition came out (my first miniature war game - yes I started much later than most people) in late 2000.  I did not realize when I picked up the starter set that it had just come out.  I had a friend who played, and while I liked Orcs & Goblins, he played them already - so I went with Vampire Counts as that book was just about to come out.  After playing a while, I realized that it didn't matter if someone else played the same army - each one was still different.  So in 2003, after getting my butt kicked with a non-vampire Vampire Counts army for several years, I decided to do a new army.

At the time I just figured I wasn't very good at the game, so my goal was to take as many decisions out of the game as possible by maximizing the randomness in my army.  With everything going on in an Orc & Goblin army this was fairly easy, and even better when I went with all goblins (no orcs to attempt to actually maintain order or anything).  Lots of magic, fanatics, squigs and war machines.

If you want to see how I converted this army into a Kings of War army check out my Moving Armies pt4 : Goblins w/Orc Allies post.  It has more recent pictures of many of the units that would be reusable in Kings of War.

I had two ideas to make a mostly random army - a circus theme, or use the idea of going postal and do a post office theme.  I went with the later, and am glad I did as I eventually saw a beautiful circus goblin army (and I like being unique).  Thus the United Goblin Postal Service was born.

Original United Goblin Postal Service
The display board was made to be a post office taken over by the goblins - but the sides of the board were painted up to look like a mailbox.

The core of the army was four units of night goblins, each with three fanatics.  Each of these units used a specific model for fanatics.  I covered the ball on the fanatics with greenstuff to make a box, wrapped them with string so they were hurling around packages.

I always felt like this was one of the best names - giving them blue robes and a FedEx banner - to make them Overnight Goblins.
Over-night Goblins
Over-night Goblins command
The next unit is the opposite of the first - from being fast they were the traditional Snail Mail.  I used sea shells for shields and spar tips, and even found a snail delivering a letter for the banner.
Snail mail
Snail mail command
In order to actually be able to send a letter - you need stamps.  So I made a unit of stamp collectors - each of their shields is a picture of an actual stamp.  I've always felt that their name sounded a little dirty, but philatelists works for them.
Philatelists
The final unit was inspired by the companies logo.  UPS basically uses a shield as their logo, so I thought it would be fun to have a unit all with the UPS logo as their shields.  Thus were the UPS Boyz born.
UPS Boyz
UPS Boyz command
Next up were some wolf riders - these were based on the Pony Express - so each one had saddle bags with letters falling out, and I replaced the head the champion was holding with a package.
Gobbo Express
Gobbo Express command - no standard as they purpose was to bait and flee.
I also made up some snotlings, but never finished the conversion (they need to each have little envelopes or packages) - they were to be the mail sorters.
Mail sorters - they need to get to work
For special units - the first was the dog pound.  This was a squig herd with riders in it.  The theme worked, but never figured out how to convert them - maybe put snout 'masks' on them?

Dog pound - squig herd
squig hoppers
squig herders - some of the most characterful GW night goblin models - I loved these and used them for command and anywhere else I could.
I have always been a fan of war machines, and goblins have plenty.  Plus at the time they were all had no armor save ( I liked to think of them as can openers ).

I created a battery of 4 spear chukkas.  I found several grots from the 40K range and carefully posed them on the bases to make little dioramas.  Each one had someone specifically firing it, most had a loader, and some had a spotter.  I added letters tied around the bolts and named them special delivery. At they time they never misfired and I liked that they would not explode on me.

This one was my favorite
My goal was to make each one different - so I had 12 different crew models and played around with the front of the bolt thrower
Another 40k grot, I really like the guy with the spyglass
It is hard to see from the pictures, but the goblin with the topnot is actually scratching (or picking) his butt
I also had a fragile package handler - which was a rock lobber.
I turned all the rocks into packages, and made a mailbox for the weight
I think the guy with the flag on top was a snotling from the pump wagon, though by now I'm not sure.
Then for rare units - well of course more artillery.  The doom diver also took on the Fedex Theme
The envelopes helped their wings.
I also had a pump wagon as the mail truck - this one did get the letters all over it.
a fun model covered with snotlings
The final rare choice were giants.  I took the two Albion giants and added metal river troll heads to them and painted them with green skin - because why would pink colored giants be working with greenskins?  To one I found some pictures of white dwarf for him to hold (and a snotling to hand off the tree branch), the other I made a GW mail order box.  I took an actual box and used a copier to reduce it down four times (after taking off my address).  I think it came out well.
Giant w/ club
giant with package
Lastly were the characters.  My general was a lord level night goblin shaman, and I had three more night goblin shamans with him (because they got magic mushrooms to help their spells).  I searched the web to find mail man names for each of them as well.
Potter - after John E. Potter - Postmaster General from 2001 to 2010 (i.e when this army was made).  He was painted with a grey cloak to go in the Snail Mail unit.
Clavin - after Cliff Clavin from Cheers.  He was in black to go with the philatelists
Beasley - after Mr. Beasley the mailman from the Blondie that keeps getting run over. His cloak is brown so he fits in with the UPS Boyz
Nicholson - after Jack Nicholson in "The Postman Always Rings Twice".  Blue means he goes with the Overnight Goblins
At the time, if you had an Orc & Goblin army and only took goblin heroes, you could take an extra Goblin Big Boss per 1000 points of your army.  At 2000 pts, I took two.  To make them more useful, I mounted them in maxed out chariots (extra crew, extra wolf).  I magnetized them as the chariots could be destroyed and they could survive unmounted.
Franklin - after Benjamin Franklin, the first Postmaster General of the United States
in his converted chariot with an extra wolf and extra crew (and great weapon to give him extra strength as well).  This chariot was full of letters
Costner - from Kevin Costner in "The Postman"
Decked out just like Franklin.  This was actually the chariot from Grom the Paunch.  His chariot was filled with packages
The chariot without the removable character.
I enjoyed this army, though I did end up having the two WORST games ever at the Columbus GT with them in November of 2003.  After that I changed it up a bit (removed some magic mainly)to be a bit less "cheesy" (people complained about 4 wizards (1 of which was a lord who could cast the same spell twice with a magic item (yes, I loved getting Gork's Warpath off twice on the first turn, squishing units all over the place))).

The main change was to replace the great shaman with a goblin lord, and add a goblin BSB with Rowdy Grots Red Raggedy Banner.  This ended up giving me LD 9 for my general if he was in the same unit, which he was.  Of course he had to be named Potter now (he was the general after all). After this however I think I quit trying to name everyone (or if I did, I don't remember the names).

To make the goblin big bosses a bit bigger, I used some metal 40K orc torsos I had in my bits box, so they did stand a little taller than the shamans.
The new Genrl Potter
The Battle Standard Bearer
A new goblin shaman - painted with black robes so he could go with any unit.
Ok everybody - group shot.  All nine goblin characters.
One thing I needed in this new version of the army however was a unit of 'normal' goblins (i.e. not night goblins) for the general and bsb to go into.  I had a hard time coming up with an idea - so eventually I just went with email - all the goblins had an 'e' on their shields.  I made this bigger so it took much longer to lose the rank bonus.
email unit
email command.  Of course the bane of any email user is spam - and they hated it.
One of the things you have to deal with in an Orc & Goblin army is animosity.  This is where your units may decide to do something other than what you want - generally squabble and fight among themselves.  For fun, I used regiment bases and showed some of the goblins fighting.

Of course when I played with this unit - it was a magnet for failing animosity tests.  I guess it makes sense however.
punching and threatening
more punching, and the one on the far right is actually NOT glued to the base, but glued to the spear that is hitting him so hard in the 'gnards' that he is lifted off of his feet.
When the seventh edition Orc & Goblin book came out they made a lot of changes - most of which (to me) seemed to weaken the idea of an only goblin army.  Extra heroes - gone.  Goblin shamans now only had access to little waaugh spells (no more gorks warpath) - the big waaugh was for Orcs.  They did add forest goblin spider riders however.

So I bit the bullet and added orcs.  This did mean several other units had to go.
The units that didn't make the cut:
Goblin warlord
Goblin BSB
Night Goblin Shaman
Night Goblin Shaman
Extra Goblin Big Boss on chariot
Extra Goblin Big Boss on chariot
Goblin Rock Lobber
Overnight Goblins w/fanatics
UPS Boyz (goblins) w/fanatics
Goblin email unit
Squid herd
Goblin Doom Diver
Half the wolf riders
One of the giants.

Looking at it now, that was a LOT of stuff

I changed the name from United Goblin Postal Service to United Greenskin Postal Service.
Display board after army shakeup for 7th - showing the sides
Closer version of the army
So the core was now two units of 30 night goblins with fanatics.  These were the Snail Mail and the philatelists units
Snail mail - rebased with 10 more models
The philatelists were rebased and also got 10 more models
Over time some of the fanatics had broken, so I replaced them.
The goblin UPS Boyz were replaced with Orc UPS Boyz Big Uns.  One thing I made sure of is that all of them are wearing shorts - because it seems that the UPS delivery men always wear shorts.  These had 2 hand weapons each, so the shields were gone and now just on the new banner.
These were quit a pain to get to rank up
Fron the front
and a shot of the command for the unit
I rebased the wolf riders, and cut the unit in half
The new, leaner, gobbo express
a shot from the back shows the saddle bags and mail sticking out of them
 With the email gone, it was only natural to add some spider riders as a web mail unit.
web mail
and from the back
For special units, I added a unit of black orcs for some punch.  Since they are covered in armor, I painted them all up to be mailboxes.  Both of these orc units were a real pain to get to rank up - when I did the next Orc & Goblin army (Da Beech Boyz) I actually numbered each model and the movement tray so that they would always go back in the exact same spot.
Mailboxes from the front
and from above.  Again quite a pain to rank up.
and the command
The dog pound was changed from a squig herd to just a unit of squig hoppers.  Some were actually hopper models, others were ordinary squigs that I added riders to (these were all done with wire rope, and are actually not glued directly to the squig.  I also added letters that they were chewing up.
New and improved dog pound - squig hoppers
my favorite is in the moddle - with his butt handing out
I kept the four spear chukkas (because they still didn't misfire - that wasn't until eight edition)

The crew came from 2 different 40K Ork war machines
I just love the one yelling at the other, while he is covering his ears.
This has two crew firing it
I love the spyglass - he makes sure it hits where it is supposed to.
I don't have a closeup of that (you're welcome :-) )
The only rare choice I kept in the army was a giant (I love giants).  GW had just come out with their new plastic giant kit and I had to get one.  It was a great idea.  I used the final metal river troll head on him and painted him green as well.
Disgruntle, the giant
From the back
He has "Return to sender" on his belly
I added a mailbox to his club, with a snotling holding a letter hanging on for dear life
For characters, the army was now led by an Orc Warlord and an Orc BSB.  He was bigger so he got a new mailbox, and the shaman got his old one back (even with the demotion).  I liked having all the characters standing on something to make them stand out.
Warlord
His nasty shield and tusks
BSB - with a new banner of course
closeup
former goblin great shaman, now demoted to normal shaman, but back on his original mailbox
the black shaman was rebased and made the cut.
Well I must have done something right with this army - because I actually won a few awards with them.
Origins 2007 Best Appearance
Ohh - got a little plaque as well
Hoping for maybe best appearance again - instead I went and won the whole shebang at Gencon 2007
Then I got one of the big ones - at the Marauder's Mayhem I won general's choice.
Since then, the army has been retired except for some new pictures in my post last year about converting warhammer armies to kings of war (link way at the top).

I like that the army is still remembered by people and enjoyed putting it together.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

1 comment:

  1. fantastic work, Mike. This definitely deserves it's own corner of the Internet. I am particularly impressed by the work rate involved. This is work is clearly the result of thousands of hours of modeling and painting. Fantastic!

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