The Dragon Ogres were always a unit I wanted in my Chaos army of old but never bothered for two reasons. One, they were expensive and looked shit. Even all those years ago when standards were lower, they were pretty awful models. The situation was only exacerbated when the Shaggoth came out what must be knocking on a decade ago.
So there was much rejoicing in the streets when not only were the Dragon Ogres re-released but re-released in plastic. The price hadn’t got any better more on that later.
Whilst the overall look of the Dragon Ogres hasn’t changed much – it’s an Ogre torso on Dragon legs – the design has moved on by huge zero gravity moon steps. For a start the lower half feels reptilian. Not dragon-like as such, but the subtle scaling of a crocodile rather than the ugly, angular scales of the recent plastic dragons. These are just little flourishes instead. The effect is quite striking and highlights that these creatures aren’t Dragons, or the result of a drunken night between a Dragon, an Ogre and a condom past its expiration date. These are a breed of creature given the name of Dragon Ogre. It’s an important point of difference. It just makes them more, if the word can be used, believable. However, for all that very organic looking design, including the distinctly crocodilian, rigid, tales the feet are pretty poor. They kinda look like latex boots worn by the poor bastard forced to wear the alien suit in Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. To be fair, it’s a minor grumble, but something that probably shouldn’t have made it past the prototype because they do look a bit odd.
But on to the Ogre half. Of the design evolution this was the part of was happiest about. The huge and stupid looking great weapons have vanished along with the huge stupid looking face that looked like they’d come off worse in a game of chicken with a castle wall. But instead of making them look like Ogres (because they’re not) they refined the original, making the features more human, whilst retaining the bestial feel. The under bite, orcish ears and flat features are all inspired improvements from the previous model. Throw in the spine spikes and slight scaling on the back and you have something that feels like it was born rather than created, if that makes sense. The weapons and armour are also a perfect balance between crude yet crafted. You get the impression they were gifted but not maintained rather than crafted by crude, ill-educated hands as in the case of Ogres and Orcs. But most importantly they look cruel and brutal, much like their owners.
Whilst a lot of the newer kits tend to give you lots of air in the middle of your model, rather than plastic, the sculpt on the Dragon Ogres is a little more generous. Everything slots together rather well and gives quite a nice feeling of solidity which makes up for the fact that at full retail each model is over £11. So roughly how much the metal model was before it came off the shelves… But at least you won’t have the frustrations and heartache of the old models that would either shed their base or their weapon between games.
In the game Dragon Ogres are, at first glance, a bit of an odd fit. They’re hugely hard-hitting, like the rest of the army and can keep pace with the likes of Knights, Skullcrushers and Warhounds, but they suffer from Initiative 2. You’d be forgiven for thinking they serve little purpose in a Warriors of Chaos army considering the army relies on the ability to deliver a devastating barrage of attacks before their opponents get the chance. However, it’s the one unit in the game you can give great weapons to without any penalty what-so-ever as they’re going to be striking after 80% of the units in Warhammer. Which is fine. Because the other thing to remember is that Chaos don’t have a lot of very high strength units. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t lack punch, but having a unit of 3 Dragon Ogres running around at Strength 7 with 3 attacks each is tasty. It means you have something in your army that are a threat to Steam Tanks and monstrous cavalry. The 4 wounds is handy too and slightly offsets their below average (for Chaos) base save. Unfortunately at 60 points a model they’re too expensive to be used as a distraction or sacrificial unit but that will be an inevitable side effect of using them along side other units as opponents will be forced to choose between damaging a mortal unit or trying to soften up the Dragon Ogres before they get to attack. Despite the aforementioned 4 wounds does make that tough but it’s offset by the fairly low toughness of 4 as well. Although if you’re sensible and use them to deliver the flank charge you’ll mitigate that somewhat.
Dragon Ogres are possibly one of the most important units in a Warriors of Chaos army. Their obvious hammer blow tactics means Warriors of Chaos have something to deal with the really nasty stuff in other armies. Granted they’ll need support thanks to the low initiative and relatively low toughness but adopt a combined armed approach and they’ll just devour everything.
Dragon Ogres are available from Firestorm Games priced £31.50.