Whew, I definitely wanted to put this review up much sooner, but there was just so much to do! And there was also the fact that I really wanted to do the second End Times release justice — because GW really seems to be on a roll with the latest WFB releases. But all in good order:
It seems pretty obvious that the first End Times release has thoroughly renewed interest in the WFB setting — and rightly so: Not only does the End Times scenario present a pretty substantial step forward when it comes to the backstory, but the release was also accompanied by a slew of rather excellent new kits, first and foremost among them the much-lauded new model for Nagash.
It’s a small surprise that GW would try their best to keep people interested in the End Times setting, so the next wave of releases deals with chaos — they had my interest before, but now they have my attention ;)
The End Times: Glottkin and its accompanying models focus on the god Nurgle, which initially seems to have provoked a bit of skepticism among some hobbyists: I’ve been hearing complaints online that, whenever GW puts out a new chaos release, Khorne and Nurgle really get all the love. But I would beg to differ:
When looking at the servants of chaos, especially in WFB, Nurgle has really been the least represented chaos god — at least when it comes to modern plastic kits: Sure, there’s that Nurglite Chaos Lord everyone (myself included) loves to convert. And a couple of heads and mutations hidden away in several kits. But there’s never been a dedicated kit for Nurglite chaos warriors or something similar. What’s more, followers of Nurgle would really profit from their own kits, since Nurgle may be easy to do, but is really rather hard to do well: Sure, you can slap some GS on your models and call them finished, but producing Nurglite models that really do justice to the bloated, festering and rotting image that appears in the backstory has really been quite a bit of work so far.
Enter the End Times: Glottkin release, which gives us three rather substantial new kits as well as an additional clamshell plastic character. Allow me to walk you through the kits and discuss them one by one — and, of course, we’ll also be focusing on some of the possible conversion ideas involving these new kits. Step this way please, and remember to disinfect your hands at regular intervals ;)
The release managed a very strong start with the Putrid Blightkings box: Fellow hobbyist PDH has called these guys the “definitve chaos warriors”, and I am tempted to agree with him. But I am getting ahead of myself!
Let’s start at the beginning, or rather: At something that really seems like the beginning for this particular kit: The enormous popularity of the plastic Nurgle Chaos Lord cannot have escaped the folks over at GW –maybe this is an explanation for the fact that the Blightking kit gives us five rather massive models that look like they are taking quite a few design cues from the aforementioned model, allowing us to field a unit that effectively consists of five plastic Nurgle Lords.
What’s more, GW’s designers seem to have gone through the last twenty-odd years of artwork and model releases depicting servants of Nurgle in order to include some of the most iconic and popular visual elements in the new kit, creating what amounts to a “Best of” collection of Nurglite design (as Eric Weir posits in his own, highly recommended review of the kit).
In addition to featuring some of the most beloved design cues from two decades of Nurglite models (the antlered, cowled head, the mono-horned facemasks and helmets, the bells and rusted blades,…), the Blightkings are also rather impressive, massive models (although not quite as massive as some people would have liked…). And one thing I particularly like about them is how most of their mutations eschew the often rather cartoony look in favour of something more realistic: The distended, swollen limbs look like something that might really be physiologically possible. Sure, there’s the odd insect leg or tentacle, but they don’t look nearly as hokey as some of the mutation bitz GW has produced in the past.
Each of these guys really looks like a champion, a warlord in their own right. And each model also fits the massive, swollen and distended glory that has been a part of Nurglite artwork for years, but has only rarely been represented in model form. So the Blightking kit will give you a great new unit for your army, but it also seems like the perfect box of conversion fodder when it comes to converting your own Nurglite warlords, champions and characters — both for WFB and 40k.
The best part of the kit, however, has to be the amount of variety: The box comes so chock-full of bitz that it really allows for lots of variations, meaning you’ll be able to get a whole lot of very different looking models out of this kit without even having to resort to more involved conversions — just check out this picture:
Granted, they snuck in Gutrot Spume there, but the picture demonstrates how you can easily construct ten completely different looking Blightkings without even resorting to kitbashing or cutting up the models. And as soon as you take those additional approaches into consideration, your options multiply exponentially.
If all of this sounds like gushing praise to you, that’s because it is: In my opinion, the Putrid Blightkings are an almost compulsory purchase for both WFB and 40k Nurgle players, and a perfect resource for conversion bitz. At the same time, they are also a stellar kit on their own, and easily one of my favourite GW releases this year, as well as one of the strongest parts of this release!
Along with the Putrid Blightkings, GW also released a new clamshell plastic character to lead the hordes of Putrid Blightkings on the field: In some ways, Gutrot Spume almost seems like an “upgrade” to the Blightking models. And sure enough, this guy is certainly massive and imposing enough to look the part. He is also rather hideously mutated, and that element actually makes for my main gripe with the model:
I have mentioned above how I especially like the fact that the Blightkings – mostly – manage to eschew the classic (and really rather tacky) “animal limbs a mutations” shtick. Not so here: The hideous, tentacled mess that makes up Gutrot’s entire left side may be an important part of the model’s backstory, and the tentacles themselves also look suitably disgusting. But one problem is that they don’t strike me as particularly nurgly. I also remember that one line in WD where one of GW’s designers said that tentacles are pretty hard to do, both because you have to avoid going for an obvious octopus look, and because it’s easy to make them seem so debilitating that the model ends up looking weak because of it, and I cannot help feeling like that’s exactly what happened here: This guy would have seemed more impressive with a less “creepy-crawly” look, if you ask me…
Granted, such things always come down to personal preference. And seeing how the model is made from plastic, it should be easy enough to tone down this element (or remove it outright), if one so chooses:
But that’s really where the other problem sets in: The Putrid Blightkings are such an excellent and versatile kit that it seems quite possible to come up with a conversion that looks equally impressive and fitting as a warlord, raising the question why one would even need to purchase the Gutrot Spume model in the first place: In a way, the availablity of the Blightkings turns into Gotrut’s biggest competition here, because he mostly looks like a unit champion when compared to the Blightkings:
When all is said and done, what we have here is a massive and imposing Nurglite warlord with a enormously noticeably mutation that you may or may not like. On his own, he’s a well-designed and impressive centre-piece for your chaos army. When compared to the Blightkings, he seems a bit lacklustre. A nice enough model, but certainly not one of the defining parts of the release.
On a related note, if you want to see some absolutely gorgeous painted Blightkings accompanied by Gutrot Spume, definitely check out ThirdEyeNuke’s models over at the Tale of Painters — spectacular stuff!
The End Times: Nagash had the Mortarchs as the Great Necromancer’s very own “quirky miniboss squad”, and the new release follows that formula, giving us a multi-kit that will produce one of the three Lords of Icehorn Peak. So let’s take a look at each of them in turn:
The Nurgle release seems to have a bit of a triptych leitmotif going, with the archetypes of “warrior”, “sorcerer” and “beast” appearing in several of the kits. Orghotts Daemonspew clearly fits the “warrior” archetype, as the model represents a massive, Nurglite chaos warrior mounted on one of the new “pox maggoths”. Looking at his body, Orghotts’ look fits the design introduced by the Blightkings, and he seems believable enough as a champion of Nurgle. His main defining feature is the hideous mutation warping his head and face, however:
It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but in the end, I like it well enough: It’s suitably gross and he’s looking rather tortured. Servants of Nurgle are usually described as being a rather jolly bunch, and I think it’s a nice bit of variety to encounter a model where the blessings of the Grandfather seem to have produced a result that is, at the very least, ambiguous!
The one thing I find legitimately terrible, however, are the model’s twin axes: They just don’t work for me — and on several levels, at that: Reversing the heads just seems gimmicky and impractical. The length of the hafts also seems ill-considered, given the fact that the character is supposed to wield both weapons silmutaneously: If it had to be twin axes, I guess I would have preferred a more vicious, hatchet-like setup. The weapons are really my main complaint here, come to think of it: They just stick out like a sore thumb, in my opinion.
As for Orghotts’ mount, the Pox Maggoth Whippermaw, let us also take a closer look at it:
Generally speaking, I think GW’s designers have done a fine job with the general design of the pox maggoths: Sure, they may seem slightly more conventional than the Mortarchs’ Dread Abyssals, but I like the way the magghots seem to occupy a strange and slightly disturbing niche between a lamprey and a …dinosaur, I guess?! Anyway, their alien look really works rather well. The fact that they are essentially faceless, except for their hideous maws, also helps, of course…
As for Whippermaw itself, the advancing pose nicely complements Orghotts’ warlike look. The tongue almost seems a bit much, but I still like it.
Oh, and the…ahem…Vagina Dentata provides a beautifully Freudian touch, of course. Extra kudos to GW’s designers for getting crap past the radar in this case ;)
Once again, ThirdEyeNuke has produced an excellent paintjob for the model, really bringing it to disgusting life!
The second Maggoth Lord cleanly falls into the “sorcerer” category — but with a suitably icky touch: According to the character’s background, Bloab Rotspawned essentially serves as a mostly hollowed-out vessel for all kind of maggots that eventually turn into Nurglite blowflies — ewwww….
Great concept, but it falls a little flat in execution, I think: The idea of a guy basically serving as a vessel for maggots and insects is very icky and disturbing, but Bloab’s actual face really makes him look more like a fat guy who has just puked all over himself — maybe it would have been cooler to have his face less visible: Just a deep and empyt looking cowl with a stream of maggots emerging from it — nothing is scarier, sometimes.
The face is really my main complaint about the model — the rest of it seems rather well realised. The huge warscythe is a classic touch, of course (and will probably become a highly coveted conversion piece), and the idea of some grownup Nurglite flies making up a portion of Bloab’s back banner is really a wonderfully creepy little touch.
Bloab’s mount, the pox magghot Bilespurter, may just be my favourite of the bunch: The rows of tiny eyes are very disturbing, for one, adding to the eerie deep sea creature feel, and there’s also that extremely disgusting stream of puke:
The fact that the paintjob is rather brilliant helps, of course: The model really looks like it’s fit to burst with vile fluids and bilious acid. The sickly colour of the upper body beautifully complements the effect — thumbs up, ‘Eavy Metal Team!
And finally, the bestial archetype: Morbidex Twiceborn serves as friend and foreman to all Nurglings — which is probably the reason why, depending on your perspective, he looks like a huge Nurgling or a tiny Great Unclean one himself:
But regarding the model itself, I guess I’ll call Morbidex the weakest of the three: Sure, the GUO look is a nice idea (and one that harks back to the good old days, no less), but I have to say I prefer a bloated, heavily armoured Nurgle champion over a half-naked Nurgle-expy any day of the weak. The design of his left arm also seems like a bit of a mess and lacks direction — in fact, that’s the feeling I get from the entire model: Morbidex looks like the sculptors had just finished Orghotts and Bloab and were rapidly loosing steam when they got around to him.
Certainly a question of personal preference, but to me, Morbidex seems like a bit of a letdown…
The same also goes for his mount, the pox maggoth Tripletongue, unfortunately: The model looks like GW’s designers wanted to explore the body horror angle some more, but all the good ideas had already been taken: The tongue seems too stylised and strange for its own good, and the gaping stomach wound seems almost crude in its execution:
Looking at the entire kit, there’s light and shadow: I love the fact that, like the Mortarch kit, the Magghot Lord kit gives us the opportunity to build one of three different characters from the same kit — and that’s not even taking into consideration the opportunity of mixing and matching. However, where each character in the Mortarch kit seemed like a very different archetype, bringing something entirely new to the table, the Magghot Lords seem to be loosing steam somewhere along the way. For me, the main attraction in the kit is the option to build a huge and rather disturbing monster from it — there’ll be quite a few uses for the pox maggoths, and I’ll be outlining some of them when we are talking about conversion ideas. The riders, on the other hand, especially Bloab and Morbidex, seem far less impressive to me.
There’s also the fact that the kit seems to be suffering from a similar problem as Gutrot Spume: On their own, the Magghot Lords are a nice enough addition to the catalogue of Nurglite models. However, boxed-in as they are between the excellent Blightkings and the really rather spectacular Glottkin (which we’ll be getting to in a second), they somehow seem like slightly deluted versions of either concept. And as a final factor, let’s not forget that fellow hobbyist and all around great guy PDH already created a pitch perfect mounted Champion of Nurgle quite a while ago, before the new kit was even released.
So, all in all, the Magghot Lord kit seems like a solid part of the release, but unfortunately it gets overshadowed by the release’s more spectacular kits. Oh, and one last thing: Those character names are really ATROCIOUS!
Let’s not mince words: This kit is certainly the star of the show! GW really managed to knock it out of the park with the new Nagash model, and I am sure everybody was looking forward to finding out whether they would manage to come up with something equally impressive for the Nurglite part of the release — hence the Glottkin.
Well, if you ask me, we can call this particular mission accomplished: The Glottkin are one of those kits that left my mouth hanging open when I first saw them.
Granted, the model is not as elegant and strangely beautiful as Nagash — quite the opposite in fact: The Glottkin embrace everything Nurglite to create what may just be the ultimate centre piece for every Nurgle army. What’s more, the kit actually consists of three characters, the fabled Brothers Glott, who once again fit the three archetypes of warrior, sorcerer and beast, so let us look at each of them in turn:
First up, Otto Glott, the warrior:
The model shares several design cues with both Gutrot Spume and Orghotts Daemonspew: What we have here is a massive, bloated warlord of Nurgle. Actually, Otto looks pretty much exactly like you would imagine a “leveled up” version of the popular clamshell plastic Nurgle Lord!
The distended belly may be a bit much, and I am not a huge fan of the hand clutching the entrails, but I’ll let it slide because the kit provides a separate hand holding a severed head that mostly gets rid of that particular gripe. And while I love the bare head that comes with the kit, there’s something really striking about Otto’s helmet, because it almost looks like a Nurglite crown. The huge warscythe is also an excellent touch — all in all, Otto really looks like the quintessential Nurglite warlord!
Then there’s Ethrac Glott, the sorcerer:
I have often stated my relative dislike for models that are too heavily mutated, but Ethrac is really a perfect example of how to make it work: Sure, there’s the hideous lump of twisted flesh erupting from his back, a mutation so spacious that it gets to house its own brazier. But the shoulder area is at least partially covered by Ethrac’s tattered cowl, which renders the precise form of the mutation ambiguous enough to make it even more disturbing. We also get to see a bit of Ethrac’s face, but again, it’s obscured enough to actually improve the ominous effect. Bloab Rotspawned’s face was too extreme – and to visible – in a way, and that made it look cartoony. With Ethrac, we only get glimpses at his countenance, and what we see is hideous. However, what we don’t see could be even more disturbing — the perfect way of pulling off this effect, really!
I also really like his staff — the severed hand of a follower of Tzeentch is a wonderful little touch! And while the skulls and smoke wafting up from Ethrac’s left hand may seem a bit tacky, the skulls forming Nurgle’s own symbol is a cute little idea!
And, last but definitely not least, there’s Ghurk Glott, who serves as the beast archetype and who is really the main attraction of this package:
Both Otto and Ethrac are wonderful sculpts, but Ghurk really seals the deal: He’s a hulking, massive monstrosity, covered in boils and signs of decay. The sheer texture of the skin is astounding, with so many little details that are equal parts impressive and disturbing — I imagine this model should be a joy to paint!
A couple of elements still manage to stand out, however:
First up, there’s the tiny Nurgling on the base, mimicking the pose and design of Ghurk Glott himself — I just love stuff like that! Then there’s the hideous, maw like right arm: Once again, the design picks up cues from lampreys and similar, hideous creatures, making for one scary looking orifice…
In fact, the whole Glottkin model has something painterly about it: There’s an almost artwork like quality to the model’s composition and silhouette, and the Glottkin really recall some apocalyptic paintings and pieces of art. Several elements (like Otto’s pointed crown and Gurkh’s tentacle arm) underline this effect even further. And there’s something subtly but palpably Blanchian about the whole model, if I am not mistaken: The Glottkin look like a creature from the old Realms of Chaos books, translated into 21st century plastic model form by way of Hieronymus Bosch. In a way, the art and design underlying the whole WFB universe have really come full circle with this piece!
Recalling what I said further up in this review of the Magghot Lords, it’s also interesting to note how each of the brothers seem to present a more realised, better executed version of each of the archetypes also embodied by Orghotts, Bloab and Morbidex: In a way, the Lords of Icehorn Peak almost seem like early demo versions of the characters that would eventually become the Glottkin.
All in all, the model is a triumph, both for GW as a company and manufacturer of plastic tabletop models as well as for Mark Harrison, the designer! He has been working on chaos kits for quite a while now, but this latest creation of his is one for the ages. Congratulations!
One closing word that should illustrate how blown-away I was by this model: I don’t want to pre-empt my own review of the new Tyranid models, and there’s certainly quite a lot to like about them. But when I recently picked up two issues of WD Weekly at my FLGS and saw the Glottkin and new Tyranid Maleceptor/Toxicrene back to back, as it were, they almost seemed like models from different decades at first — that is how good the Glottkin kit is, if you ask me.
Oh, and ThirdEyeNuke has managed to produce a particularly fitting paintjob for this model as well! Check it out here!
What would Nurgle be without conversions? So it shouldn’t surprise you that some parts of this release lend themselves rather beautifully to serious converting and kitbashing. So allow me to share a few conversion ideas of my own — and the one good part about this review going up so late is that I can also incorporate some of the excellent work by fellow hobbyists that has begun to show up online. Let’s take a look:
First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room: If you were waiting for a new plastic Great Unclean One, Gurkh Glott is definitely your best bet — at least for now! A very helpful size comparison by the good folks over at the Tales of Painters blog shows that Gurkh’s size rivals that of the FW Great Unclean One, so he should make an excellent replacement for your Apocalypse gaming needs or your Armies on Parade display board.
Granted, the back would probably look very empty without the two other brothers placed there. But who is to stop you from putting some Plague Marines there? Or a couple of Plaguebearers and Nurglings happily cavorting around? In fact, wouldn’t such an addition make the model even more awesome and fitting? as it happens, Lucky No5 has made a Glottkin model that allows for Ghurk to be used as a Greater Daemon on his own, with the other two brothers magnetised for optional use.
Then there’s skrundle87, who has already expressed interest in building a Glottkin/Imperial Knight kitbash — I am really looking forward to seeing the results! And you want to hear something really crazy? Seeing how big this guy is, he could even be used as a Daemon Prince or Greater Daemon at the INQ 54mm scale!
As for the other Brothers Glott: Otto would certainly make a convincing Nurglite warlord on his own! And with a bit of work (and a few additional pieces of armour), he could be made into an excellent Death Guard lord for 40k!
And Ethrac could become a great Nurglite sorcerer in WFB — or a suitably impressive Demagogue in a Nurglite Traitor Guard army!
Whatever happens, I am really looking forward to all the crazy projects involving the Glottkin we will definitely be seeing online. Let me just point you towards TJ over at DFG, who points out some pretty interesting uses for the kit in 40k, along with a rather convincing calculation about all the money you actually save ;)
It goes without saying that each of the three Magghot Lords can provide a tidy pile of bitz to provide conversion parts for your own Nurglite characters. However, the truly interesting resource here are the pox magghots: These ugly monsters could be used to convert convincing Greater Daemons or Daemon Princes of Nurgle, of course. They could also be used as Maulerfiends, could be combined with Defiler parts to make alternative Plague Hulks or even be used as giant Chaos Spawn. Just check out TheNickeninja’s particularly disturbing, Magghot-based spawn creature for reference. As it happens, TheNickeninja has also come up with a very interesting alternative use for these guy in WFB: Just put them on a big base, add some Chaos Dwarves (or similar attendants), and you have yourself an excellent (and rather disgusting) Hell Cannon (look here for an excellent example).
And maybe these guys could even be interesting beyond chaos armies? They would make for perfect monsters from the Underhive in Games of Necromunda or INQ28, for one. And maybe they could even be converted into huge mutants or be used as the base for Squiggoth-like beasts of Burden for an Ork army?
These guys are certainly the most versatile and interesting conversion resource to come out of this release — at least in my book! They share all that was cool about the Plastic Chaos Lord, so they should become similarly popular with converters! But what can we use these guys for?
The obvious answer is to turn them into Plague Marines and Plague Terminators, because they are simply fantastic for such conversions! I myself have tried that approach, and with some success, if I do say so myself. There are also the wonderful conversions by Jeff Vader (the first one’s already painted, too! Check it out here!)
While both of us have gone for true scale Plague Marines, you can take the Blightkings even further, as evidenced by Adam Weir who is currently working on some very promising Blightking conversions, splicing in parts from FW Cataphractii Terminators in a very seamless and ingenious way, in order to actually make Death Guard Terminators — excellent job!
There’s also the option of turning the Blightkings into big mutants for your Necromunda/INQ28 needs: Jeff Vader’s latest Blightking conversion would work really well as an addition to a rough band of twists or a Scavvie gang. And the rather realistic looking mutations on some of the Blightking bitz make them ideal for all kinds of twists and mutants, both of the chaotic and non-chaotic variety.
And the list goes on: Just imagine the nearly naked Blightking with a piece of cloth barely covering his naughty bitz: Wouldn’t he make an excellent eunuch-like Harem Guard character, with a bit of work? Just get rid of some of the open sores with GS, add a curved sword and a Blood Angels Deathmask, and you’re almost there — come to think of it, you could even turn the model into a follower of Slaanesh!
Moving away from the evil and the hideous,consider EdT’s very promising attempt at turning the Blightkings into Thunder Warriors. And WFB/Mordheim fans might find the option of building huge, imposing and slightly sinister Knights/Pitslaves out of these guys interesting — Bruticus is blazing a trail for you here.
And finally, we shouldn’t forget all the leftover bitz that come with the kit: Even after building five fully kitted-out true scale Plague Marines, I still have a pretty huge pile of bitz left: Some of these will be used as decorative parts on different models, some may be used on vehicles. So far so good.
But you can even use the leftover bitz to build more followers of Nurgle! Here’s my attempt at using Blightking bitz to convert a humble AOBR snap fit Terminator into a Death Guard Terminator. Take a look:
As you can see, I haven’t decided on a head yet — but the above pictures should still show you how well the Blightking bitz work with a plastic Terminator: All it took was some cutting and a bit of GS work!
And it goes without saying that most of the ideas outlined above would probably work on Gutrot Spume as well, at least to some degree. Although I’ll say it again: In many ways, the Blightkings just seem like the more versatile version of Gutrot Spume.
While the Glottkin may be the star of the show in this release, the size and scope of the model do somewhat limit its usefulness. The Blightkings, however, will probably become the kit everybody will love to convert — and the one I can easily see hobbyists buying multiples of! I predict a huge wave of Blightking conversions in the near future — just you wait! ;)
So, what’s the verdict? I’ll call this an excellent release, albeit with some small caveats:
Both the Glottkin and the Putrid Blightkings are absolutely fantastic kits, and easily some of GW’s best releases this year! They alone make sure that this release is excellent — and a worthy continuation of the End Times releases so far!
The Magghot Lords are slightly less impressive, but still a fairly strong part of the release. It’s their bad fortune to be released alongside a kit that one-ups just about everything they bring to the table.
This goes double for Gutrot Spume: On his own, he would be an excellent plastic character. Compared to the fantastic Putrid Blightkings, he seems a bit lacklustre.
But it is a spectacular release indeed where even the weakest link in the chain manages to stand strong on its own! I for one cannot wait for the next End Times release — and I am not even a WFB player! This release has been excellent, and it provides us with lots of new toys and almost endless conversion possibilities — what’s not to like?
But what’s your take? Do you love or hate the new models? Or something in between? Have any conversion ideas to share? Did I miss something? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!
In any case and as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!