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Friday, August 12, 2011

A Tribute and Final Salute to the Orkmeister

These are very sad days for our gaming group. Mr. Carl E. Cordell, our beloved and revered Orkmeister, also known to us as Karlmek, passed away on July 31st. It was not unexpected, but nevertheless we never gave up hope that he would be with us for many more years. He never gave up hope either.

Carl was the consummate hobbyist and wargame enthusiast. Not only was he an extremely brilliant tactician, he was also one the best model builders that we have known. His achievements in this area were many, but the one thing we will always remember best were the Space Ork vehicles he scratch-built for playing Warhammer 40,000 (40K). We spent many hours over the 12 years that we knew Carl playing in huge elaborate battles, both 40K and WWII in 28mm scale, that he staged and directed. We spent many hours trying to defeat his vaunted force of orks and their beautifully hand-crafted battlewagons, wartracks, guntracks, stompas, and trukks full of the best close combat specialists in the universe. We rarely won.

Carl was one of the best 40K players on the East Coast. He frequently competed in the Games Workshop Grand Tournaments in Baltimore and Philadelphia. In 2003 the Games Workshop staff at the Grand Tournament were particularly struck by the appearance of Carl's army and his scratch-built vehicles. They decided that some photos of his models would go nicely with an article they were preparing about Ork Speed Freaks; an army list that Carl truly loved using. So they took some photos of a few of his models and they ended up on page 72 of issue 279 (April, 2003) of their "White Dwarf" magazine (middle photo). This was truly a unique honor for a hobbyist who had not sought out any recognition or publicity for his modeling skills, but it was very well deserved.

Carl was also a master at designing and making scenery for our games. As can be seen in the photo above he made the most beautiful 40K city that anyone has ever seen. In this case he actually used Games Workshop's "Cites of Death" building models, but of course nothing out of a kit was ever good enough for Carl. He took the basic kits and added his own plastic pieces to them to make them even more imposing and impressive.

I also need to mention that we also spent a very large amount of our gaming time on World War II. This was another aspect of the hobby that Carl loved. We were always amazed by Carl's encylopedic knowledge of World War II, especially the North Africa campaign. Along with this, he seemed to know everything there was to know about WWII armored vehicles and trucks. We used to talk on the phone frequently and listen to him talk on this subject for one to two hours at a time. Everything we did in the WWII area was always done with 28mm infantry figures and 1/48 or 1/50 scale vehicles. Carl had a flair for dramatic effects and as far as he was concerned any models in scales smaller than that were lacking in visual impact. It was an expensive way to do it, but there was no arguing with the approach. Every time we set up our WWII stuff at the local hobby shop we always drew a large crowd of envious onlookers!

We had a great time using all the wonderful scenery sets that he created. We had a lot of fun over a period of 12 wonderful years with Carl, and because of Carl. We of course are very grateful for the time we had with him but we are sure we will never see his like again and we feel very empty.


Dangerous Brian said...

It sounds like gaming has lost a truly lovely guy and a great star. I'm sure he'll be missed.

sirlarkins said...

I'm sad to read about a loss of what sounds like a great friend and gamer. I actually remember that WD spread very well, and my current 40K Ork project owes much to the visual inspiration Carl's work provided way back then.

Weird WWII said...

I am truly sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great wargamer, hobbyist and all around great guy. May his exploits and collection continue on with his family and friends.


Ruggerroadster said...

Carl was a very close family friend; groomsman at my parents wedding and best man at my uncle's. Carl taught me how to play and love 40k and its community. Every time I pick up my orks I miss the hell out of him. He was great.

Ruggerroadster said...

Carl was a very close family friend; groomsman at my parents wedding and best man at my uncle's. He taught me how to play 40k and love the community. Every time I pick up my orks I miss the hell out of him. He was great.