Home Forums Fantasy General Fantasy Should fantasy orcs be green?

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    Avatar photocraig cartmell

    I have never seen any reason why every time you see a fantasy orc it is green. Just because Games Workshop back in the eighties decided to paint its orcs green just about everyone ever since seems to have followed suit.

    Well, personally I think they look ridiculous, like a tribe of would-be-Hulks. For my Dead Simple RPG campaign, I have decided to buck the trend and paint my boys in flesh tones and, honestly, they look far meaner as a result.

    Here are some links to pictures of them:

    The orcs are Warhammer 40K ork boyz converted with spare parts from Ogryns.

    And if that wasn’t enough I did the same to my goblins too:


    The Goblins are Warhammer Fantasy Night Goblins.



    Avatar photoFredd Bloggs

    Actually green orcs comes from D&D originally.


    I tend to paint mine in all sorts of colours.

    Avatar photoAngel Barracks

    Must confess it has never really bothered me, but we all know the darker the skin the more primitive the person right?
    (not my belief you understand, but could that be a factor from back in the day?)

    I would be tempted to try a pale, almost translucent albino colour.

    Avatar photocraig cartmell

    Actually green orcs comes from D&D originally.

    Really? Back in the late seventies when I began playing D&D everyone’s orcs tended to be flesh coloured or black (following Tolkien’s description).

    Avatar photoPatrice

    I painted mine dark green / brownish. Some of my friends disagree on the green too.

    However, I painted all my Goblins in brick red and/or yellow ochre, following the old AD&D Monster Manual.


    Avatar photoMike Harrop

    A lot of my Orcs and goblins are yellow, brown, orange, pale skinned, dark skinned, grey and black, whatever I feel like at the time – I think I’ve got 3 green goblins in my entire collection of miniatures. When I paint my Hobgoblins for alongside my chaos dwarfs they may be getting done goblin green….maybe.



    "This lighthouse is under attack, and by morning we may all be dead!" The 4th Doctor - Horror of Fang Rock

    Avatar photoMr. Average

    I think your fleshy orcs look terrific! And frankly, once you’ve bought the miniatures, they become your property, and you can do with them as you wish!

    Avatar photoSteve Johnson

    Funnily enough I’ve been having an internal debate on whether to go green or not for my Dragon Rampant Goblins. In the end I’ve decided to go with a pale flesh colour. It fits in more with Tolkein’s background and I prefer the look.

    Avatar photowillz

    Heads up men its fantasy, it is all made up go for whatever colour you think is best or like.

    Avatar photoyorkie

    Looking good, i prefer them to the normal green.



    Avatar photoSpurious

    I think ‘should’ only applies to Warhammer fantasy and Warcraft orcs.

    Pretty sure John Blanche specifically is to blame, I remember an article in White Dwarf from way back where he wrote something along the lines of him deciding to paint the orcs green to make them different. Kinda ironic really that it became the default.

    I think a rusty red/orange can also work for orcs quite nicely too.

    Avatar photoLagartija Mike

    I could never get into the Warhammer concept orc. One of the few things the Peter Jackson LoTR films did very right (he righteously botched the elves) was the big diversity of orcishness, even within distinct subgroups. And this is coming from someone with little patience for the Professors steroidal fairy tale. The grimy, louche orcs that want to barbecue Pippin and Merry’s legs on the edge of Fangorn are small masterpieces of fantasy design.

    Avatar photoAlvin Molethrottler

    Must confess it has never really bothered me, but we all know the darker the skin the more primitive the person right? (not my belief you understand, but could that be a factor from back in the day?)

    I always got the impression that when Tolkien described a creature as “black” that he meant jet black to contrast against “white” as in pure white (somewhat like a chess set). As opposed to the misappropriation of both words in a modern racial context to describe people that are actually brown and pink.


    Avatar photoAlvin Molethrottler

    Heads up men its fantasy, it is all made up go for whatever colour you think is best or like.

    With respect, unless you are making up your own fantasy world then this notion is wrong. There is no reason that a fantasy army cannot be as well researched as a so called historical one and in some cases I am sure there is more information available to the gamer attempting to be mythologically accurate than there is for one trying to be historically accurate.

    Avatar photoJoe

    Yeah I guess.
    I mean if you are trying to be true to an authors work then painting hobbits orange would be wrong to Middle Earth but could be very right for your own setting.
    No reason you cant your romansn in pink and grey if you like but dont be saying they are authentic romans.

    whatever makes you happy though eh?

    Avatar photoirishserb

    Before GW, I painted my orcs and goblins with a light grayish “dead” skin.  They were shaded with a very pale gray-green.   When we decided to try a little Warhammer, I painted them green.  It was something different for me, and I went with Testers old Beret green in the little bottles as my base color, which was a little darker, less yellow, than most of what others around me were doing for orc skin.  I caught some crap for it at the time, for not painting them properly.

    They are a fantasy race, in a fantasy game, I figure anything goes.  If I were going to paint them today, it would probably be my old gray-green dead skin.  That’s the right color according to my inner orc.



    Avatar photoMike

    according to my inner orc.

    That is a worrying concept right there!


    Avatar photoPiyan Glupak

    I think that shades of pale to dark normal skin (preferably with a greyish tinge) probably looks better, but have to admit that I have tended to paint mine a dull, brownish green.  If I was to start a new fantasy army, I don’t think that I would use green.

    Avatar photoGeneral Slade

    The original AD&D Monster Manual orcs were described as being “brown or brownish-green with a bluish sheen” but at the time everyone seemed to interpret this as green – at least that’s the colour everyone painted them when I was a kid.

    AD&D Orc

    When Minifigs re-released their Pig-Faced Orcs (Porcs) a few years ago I bought a bunch for reasons of nostalgia but this time I painted them a pinky-flesh colour because it seemed to make more sense to paint them to look like pigs.


    Avatar photoMartinR

    Back in the 1970s, I painted my Orcs (for Skytrex Middle Earth, although we also played White Box D&D and even Chainmail)….. green. Because they were Orcs.

    I was probably influenced by goblins, or perhaps Fungus the Bogeyman, although he was a bit later in the 1970s.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    All my orcs are brownish, and goblins have an orange-flesh tone.

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