Dark Imperium — a closer look at the Death Guard models


Hey everyone: Once again, sorry for the lack of updates. I returned from my recent trip to Amsterdam full of new hobby ideas — it’s just the sitting down and writing about it part where I seem to falter. It has also been getting harder and harder to get feedback on my posts recently, which makes it all the more tempting to actually build and paint stuff instead of blogging about it…

Be that as it may, here’s another post at long last. And while today’s update started out as a regular (if very late) review of models that come with the Dark Imperium boxed set, it has warped and mutated into something slightly different for a number of reasons: I realised early that I would need to divide my look at the box in two parts, for one. For talking about the Primaris Space Marines will invariably mean taking a look at their implications for the overall setting, both from a modeling and storytelling perspective. And seeing the additional kits they have been receiving recently, that would make for a pretty sizeable post in and of itself.

At the same time, there’s also the fact that I have been bitten by the Nurgle bug on account of the new Death Guard models, and have started to play around with the new sprues. So for today, let us take a closer look at the chaotic side of the Dark Imperium release: The New Death Guard models, designed by Maxime Pastourel and Aly Morrison:


By now, it’s no longer a secret that Maxime Pastourel, aka Morbäck, is not only one of GW’s sculptors, but also one of the people behind one of the best hobby blogs on the internet, and also the owner of what’s probably the best Nurgle army in existence, the Plaguebones. The army was even featured recently on the Warhammer Community page, yet I would argue that you should really head over to Maxime’s own blog for the bigger picture.

Anyway, back when the first teasers of the new Death Guard models surfaced, I literally made a little squee of delight when I discovered more and more telltale elements of Maxime’s Nurgle conversions both in the artwork and the actual models: I was basically only waiting for him to finally make some Death Guard models, and now they are finally here. And I am more than happy with the outcome! What’s more, I’ve managed to get my hand on most of the Dark Imperium Death Guard models, courtesy of fellow hobbyist BubblesMcBub (cheers, mate!). So let’s take a look at the models and at what I have done so far with some of them.

Oh, and once again, the review over at Convert Or Die should make for some excellent complementary reading — just pointing this out before we get going 😉

 

Lord of Contagion


What a beast! I probably have this semi-conscious shortlist of what a Nurglite warlord should be in the back of my head, and this guy really ticks all of the boxes for me: Massive? Check! Clad in ancient, pitted Terminator armour? Check. Intestines squelching out of the collapsed parts in the armour? Check! Wielding a massive, vicious close combat weapon? Check, check and check!

It’s really cool how close the Lord of Contagion comes to basically embodying the archetypal warlord of Nurgle — to wit, it’s probably no coincidence that he resembles this iconic piece of artwork, courtesy of Adrian Smith, so much:


By the same token, the Lord of Contagion shows one of the main tenets of the new models’ design: a pronounced medieval influence that is clearly visible on most, if not all, of the new Death Guard models (and, in all fairness, has always played a huge part in GW’s approach to Nurgle). At the same time, the fact that the model is clearly wearing corrupted Terminator armour firmly roots it in the 40k setting — an important balance to get right, but Maxime has really managed to nail it here.

There’s also a fair bit of Typhus in there — in fact, seeing this massive guy, I cannot even begin to imagine how impressive the Death Guard’s First Captain might end up looking, if he gets a redesign, that is.

Speaking of which, it would be really easy to turn the Lord of Contagion into a Typhus conversion: It looks like the head comes as a separate part, so using the head from one the stock Typhus models (or converting something similar) would go a long way towards making this guy look like Typhus. The blade of the weapon should be easy to enough with a suitably impressive scythe as well — although I find myself balking at the mere idea of getting rid of that magnificent axe blade…

Speaking about that axe, it’s obvious how it was inspired by the massive axe from Maxime’s incredible Lord of Skulls conversion, and I was really happy to see it make a return on an “official” GW model! 😉

Oh, and I just love those poor little Nurglings being squashed by the Lord’s left food: It’s a neat touch that provides the suitable amount of Nurglite humour without beeing too on-the-nose about it.

My one possible nitpick is the back mounted icon, as it can seem a bit overwhelming. But having seen the model firsthand, it works fantastically well as an ensemble, so consider this a very minor complaint.

All in all, this guy is a fantastic centre piece model for any Death Guard army — or, indeed, any 40k collection, period. Brilliant work!

 

Malignant Plaguecaster

Now this guy was a slightly tougher sell for me, mostly because it took me quite a while to even make sense of the model when first seeing it. If nothing else, it’s clearly obvious that we are dealing with a Nurglite Sorcerer here. And indeed, upon closer examination, the Malignant Plaguecaster shares quite a few visual elements with Forgeworld’s older Death Guard Sorcerer:

And yet, it’s precisely by comparing the Plaguecaster to Forgeworld’s model that we can see the problems: Forgeworld’s take is fairly down-to-earth — almost pedestrian, really. And yet it works so well because the pose is sound and powerful. Whereas the Malignant Plaguecaster is hampered by the way his very pose seems strangely unbalanced. The fact that there’s so much going on with the model – a veritable flurry of shapes and curves – doesn’t help either.

Beyond this main aspect, my other two points of contention are the model’s face and staff: Now the the creepy cherub face is an interesting idea — however, I have to say it doesn’t quite come together for me, and is one of the element’s I would change about the model.

And why is the staff so short and silly — it almost looks like a toy. Why couldn’t it have been a scythe — or at the very least, a good bit longer?

On the other hand, one thing I really like, is something you only see when taking a closer look: The ragged shroud pinned to the Plaguecaster’s backpack:


Now this obviously looks like a deathshroud — but it also recalls an insectile wing, wouldn’t you agree? In fact, taking a closer look at the model’s copious mutations, there’s a very cool sense of something dreadful and insectile just waiting to break from the sorcerer’s body any moment now, while also being barely contained by his still almost-human outer shell. What a cool and creepy concept, indeed! It’s just a shame that so much of it gets lost amidst the flurry of different shapes and clashing design elements…

My own approach for the model, therefore, was to keep the sense of something twisting and gestating just underneath the Plaguecaster’s skin, while cutting back on the clutter. I also changed the face and staff, while I was at it:


The face has been covered up with a Cadian rebreather (the hood even has a small indentation in exactly the right spot, which was an awesome coincidence). The staff was turned into something less toylike by splicing in some parts from the bell that came with the Putrid Blightking kit. And I do think the right arm works better at a different angle, giving the model a slightly more grounded pose. As for the right hand, I experimented with the option of giving him some kind of casting hand, but in the end it seemed like he needed some visual counterweight, so to speak, to balance out the staff, and the clunky plasma pistol from the Noxious Blightbringer just did the job rather nicely.

Here’s the Plaguecaster next to my (earlier) sorcerer conversion:


I actually like him much better now, mostly because the slightly streamlined version should be easier to make sense of. I also hope I’ve managed to keep all the cool parts. All things considered, I love this guy’s inclusion in the Dark Imperium box, because where the Lord of Contagion is a perfect model right out of the box, the Malignant Plaguecaster is a delightful little puzzle to be solved by converters, and I had quite a bit of fun, making some tweaks to him!

 

Noxious Blightbringer:


This guy presents an interesting new character archetype halfway between a sorcerer and a standard bearer, and it seems like the model tries to capture this somewhat new and adventurous concept by having a bit of fun with the established visual language: All of the hallmarks are there, but some get turned up to elevene — such as the bell dangling from the massive, jutting horn growing out of the Blightbringer’s backpack.

It’s also obvious that the Blightbringer leans rather heavily on the medieval parts of the design — or even moreso than the rest of the models, that is. And in fact, this goes a long way to giving this guy his own identity: Between the slightly WFB-styled helmet and the tabard/smock covering the front of the armour, there is something rather darkly medieval and apocalyptic about this guy. Even better then, that he is wearing a clearly identifiable – and mostly standard – suit of Mk. III armour underneath it all!

If I have one piece of criticism, it’s that – once again – there’s almost too much going on with this guy, especially with the massive number of censers dangling from his armour and backpack

All in all, however, it’s a cool and fun little character model, and an interesting exploration of how far the medieval angle can be pushed. I also love the little Nurgling hanging from his shoulder pad 😉

As for conversion options, the model also makes for an excellent Plague Champion (or even Nurglite warlord) with just a minimum of conversion work, as I found out myself: Due to an ebay mixup, I found myself in the possession of an extra Blightbringer model, and having cannibalised it for bitz, I wanted to do something cool with remaining pieces, so here’s what I did:




It was easy enough to carefully cut away the head (while keeping it intact for use on a future project). The weapons were replaced, and I also got rid of some of the censers — while moving one to a different location on the backpack to create a “chain cape” look of sorts:


On a related note, the leftover bell from that same Blightbringer’s backpack turned out to be just the missing piece I needed to breathe some new life into a slightly strange conversion I originally built all the way back when the Putrid Blightkings were released, using some Blightking bitz and an old AOBR plastic Terminator. The model ended up in a strange place between a regular Plague Marine and a Terminator in the end. Pretty cool, but also slightly confusing. Now with the very real scale creep of the new Death Guard models, and with the help of the last leftover parts of my extra Blightbringer, I was able to turn this guy into something that nicely fits the theme of the models I have built so far. An alternate Blightbringer, if you will:




 

Foetid Bloatdrone:


The Foetid Bloatdrone fills the obvious Dreadnought/Helbrute slot for the Death Guard force contained in Dark Imperium, and it’s certainly interesting to see something that’s almost a Dreadnought, only not.

Of course the Bloatdrone channels some of Forgeworld’s own Blight Drone model:


But while I could never quite bring myself to like the Blightdrone, I actually think the Bloatdrone is really cool — maybe it’s the fact that it’s actually closer in design to the rest of GW’s (plastic) chaos catalogue. Maybe it’s because the Bloatdrone almost seems like a missing link between the Blightdrone and a Dreadnought. Anyway, I really like it, with all its nice Nurglite touches (such as the single eye, the arrangement of the thrusters in an obvious nod to Nurgle’s own symbol, and the “garden syringe” look of the weapons. Oh, and the beautifully disgusting, fleshy back, of course:


It’s also really cool that the Death Guard get their first original vehicle/warmachine beyond the stuff we already know. Now the Helbrute was a bit of a standout model in the Dark Vengeance boxed set, and the Bloatdrone mostly continues this trend, giving us a cool model that should be fun to play around with.

Speaking of which, I think converters should find lots of useful conversion fodder on this model: The thrusters whould work rather beautifully on a Nurglite Daemon Prince, while the main body and faceplate could probably be kitbashed into some rather cool Helbrute and/or fiend variants. We’ll see…

 

Plague Marines


Definitely the high-point of the release for me! I really love how these guys breathe some new life into one of GW’s most interesting chaos archetypes. There’s just so much going on here at the same time — and in a good way. To wit:

  • the models have many iconic elements that go back to Jes Goodwin’s seminal Plague Marine from the early 90s and, by extension, his original design sketches from the same time:Take a look: the Pickelhaube-styled helmet, the bloated breastplate, the pipes — all accounted for. By the same token, you can find many more classic touches on the models, such as the backpacks basically recalling classic second edition chaos backpacks. I love continuity porn like that! 😉
  • Once again, there’s a distinctly medieval feel about these guys: You’ve got chainmail, decayed wood, and all of those bells…
  • there are some subtle trencher and WW1 touches, even beyond the spiked helmet, such as some of the Blight grenades being designed like German stick grenades. A very fitting and grimdark touch!
  • At the same time, and in spite of all those different visual touches, I love how all of the models are wearing clearly identifiable Mk. III plate!
  • The models also have a great sense of grim determination, which is very fitting for the Death Guard. Yes, they are decayed, shambling monstrosities. But they are also the galaxy’s most resilient footslogging Astartes troops, and they have been for more than ten millennia!
  • And last, but very definitely not least, Morbäck has succeeded at splicing in some very iconic, yet also completely fitting, elements of his own Plaguebone conversions:The guy in the bottom left is basically a Plaguebone (and also one of the best models of the bunch). The cyclopean head on the Marine with the plasma gun is a dead ringer for the converted head on Morbäck’s Lord of Skulls — the list goes on and on!

What’s even better, however, is that each of them is a character! While two of the models share almost the same body, they still end up looking suitably different that we get a squad where every model is an individual exploring slightly different visual archetypes, while the models still make up a coherent squad. That’s just lovely!

So, is there anything I don’t like? Once again, and this is basically spitballing of the highest order, but maybe some of the models are just a tad too busy and stylised for their own good. I’d feel tempted to maybe take of a chain here and a dangling detail there, just to improve the overall flow of the models and de-clutter them a bit. The champion is also arguably the weakest of the bunch, because he just moves too far away from the Plague Marine archetype and looks more like a sorcerer to me (that being said, on the other hand that means he would make for a sweet alternate Plaguecaster) . And the molten face doesn’t quite do it for me, personally speaking.

As a squad in a starter kit, however, these are an improvement over the – already fairly spectacular – Dark Vengeance Chosen. And they also finally provide us with some excellent Plague Marine models once again, when previous iterations were just constantly getting worse, diluting the fantastic concepts of the early models further and further and relying on mushy sculpting and gooey, nondescript mutations.

When it comes to converting these guys, like I said, I don’t think I’ll be making any massive changes to them, as I mostly like them exactly the way they are. Maybe I’ll take off a detail here or change something small there, but nothing too involved, so as not to mess with the models’ inherent character. However, if you should find yourself with two sets of Plague Marines, cutting them up for extra variety should provide lots and lots of fun: Like the Dark Vengeance Chosen that came before, the new Plague Marines seem like challenging, yet all the more promising conversion material — and that’s without even considering the very real prospect of a multipart kit in the (hopefully not too distant) future.

One thing I found really surprising when working with the actual models, however, was how big they actually are: They seem to be using standard plastic Mk. III armour as a template, but it has been scaled up quite a bit, making the models about 1.5 times the size of standard Mk. III models. So my kitbashed Plague Marines do seem ever so slightly stunted next to the new official models:


For the record, I think they still work pretty well — if you don’t look too closely 😉

However, the real surprise came when I compared the new Plague Marine with one of the Putrid Blightking-based models I converted a while ago: The latter were originally conceived as true-scalish and ended up being about the size of standard Terminators. But now…


…it turns out they would actually work very well as standard Plague Marines: Sure, they are slightly more bloated and a bit more medieval, but that can be explained away as a bit of variation between squads. Seems I have five more Plague Marines now 😉

In fact, Impact1 has found out that the Plague Marines can be turned into rather fantastic Death Guard Terminators with a bit of work, on account of their impressive size.

One last thing that should be mentioned about the new Plague Marines is that there’s also the additional set of three snapfit models:


Now I love the fact that these are actually three more original sculpts! At the same time, their poses are noticeably more rigid and betray their snapfit origins. Still, these should make a nice addition to the seven guys from the Dark Imperium box, and they are already making their way to me as of this writing.

If I have one major complaint, it’s the fact that we actually have to get these models to get our hands on the Blight Launcher, seemingly the Death Guard’s new signature weapon. As it happens, I am actually planning to convert another of the three to wield a Blight Launcher, and I already have the weapon mostly prepared:


Really not brain surgery, this one: Just combine a plastic Mk. IV or Mk. III Heavy Bolter with the barrel from a Cadian grenade launcher, throw on some Nurgly bitz as needed — DONE. I cannot even claim being the first to come up with this idea, either: Credit must go to Satarin, among others.

Let me also point out that DuskRaider has made an excellent conversion for Forgeworld’s Necrosius (their aforementioned Death Guard Sorcerer) using the snapfit champion.

 

Poxwalkers

Now these were the other part of the new Death Guard release that I didn’t immediately fall in love with: The models just seemed too goofy and over the top to me at first. However, I’ve really grown fond of them over the last couple of weeks, so hear me out:

One reason I like them is because the amount of detail on the models is just insane, with their boils, mutations and disgusting textures rendered in a way that is almost sublime — seriously, you have to see the plastics firsthand to realise how sharp and wonderfully gross the detail on these guys is!

There’s also the fact that so much of their inherent weirdness – the strange angles of their limbs and their manic grins, for instance – gets explained really well, for once, in their background: Those are all symptoms of the disease they are suffering from, and it’s seemingly slowly turns them into something resembling nothing so much as Nurgle’s own Plaguebearers — in fact, this is an excellent callback to established background, were victims of Nurgle’s Rot originally slowly turned into Plaguebearers as well!


In another fairly cool touch, the Poxwalkers pick up on something that was already fairly excellent about the plastic Chaos cultists that came with Dark Vengeance: We get to see some remains of civilian life in the Imperium, as the tattered remains of the Poxwalkers’ clothing show their former station in life: There are miner’s suits and uniforms as well as hazmat suits — or even something that might be a medicae coat. There’s something very fitting (and disturbing) about the thought that people might have been infected while trying to fight an outbreak of the disease — or, even more sinister, while trying to engineer biological weapons? After all, this is the grimdarkness of the far future we are talking about here… 😉

A propos of nothing, let me just point out that the guy wielding what looks like a pipe wrench is actually a perfect model!

So by and large, the Poxwalkers have really managed to win me over — or should that be: get me infected? But still, some of the models are still a bit too out there, though, with features that seem a bit too exaggerated and details that are just one bridge too far. Therefore, my own approach with these models will be to prune back some of those OTT touches while keeping the models’ overall strangeness in place.

I’ve already attempted this with the Poxwalker wearing a torn hazmat suit. Here’s the result:




Now this may not seem like a huge change, but I am far more happy with the model now: Here’s what I did:

1. The oxygen tank messing up the model’s silhouette was cut off and reattached to the model’s back.

2. The hand holding the plague knife was rotated, so it looks less weird

3. On the other hand, the left arm and head were tweaked to actually make them look weirder: The disease is what mutates these guys and locks their joints at strange angles, right? Now in my imagination, the Poxwalkers’ movements should be full of weird twitching and spastic cramps — like something out of Jacob’s Ladder or Silent Hill. Which is why I carefully bent the arm to look even more unnatural. And I significantly changed the angle of the head to make it look like it too was subject to the strange cramps and spasms of the body.

As with the Plague Marines, there’s also a second, snap-fit kit of Poxwalkers available:


Yet for the most part, there’s nothing about these models that the guys in the starter kit don’t alreeady do better. The fat guy is interesting, mostly because that angle hasn’t really been explored in the first batch of Poxwalkers, and I really wish the guy with the goggles and rebreather had been included on the Dark Imperium sprues. But apart from that, these guys are really nothing to write home about.

 

So, all in all, I am really very happy with the Death Guard part from the Dark Imperium starter box! The Plague Marines, in particular, are a true return to form after years and years of fairly sub-par models from GW. As a starter army, these actually seem like a refined, even more interesting (if also less versatile) version of Dark Vengeance’s CSM starter force. In any case, it goes without saying that they are terrific value for the model and have really given me quite an appetite for all kinds of Nurglite shenanigans — and I am really looking forward to finally seeing the rumoured multipart kits and *gasp* the Plague Terminators! Fantastic work, gentlemen!


So what’s your take on the new Death Guard models? Are you feeling as enthusiastic about them as I am or do you have any gripes? Are there any cool conversions or additional thoughts you would like to share? I would be happy to hear from you in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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33 Responses to “Dark Imperium — a closer look at the Death Guard models”

  1. Good thoughts mate, and I agree that toning a few of the details down is the key to getting the best out of these kits… they are just too fussy across the board for my taste. IMO, that baby-faced monstrosity is just awful straight out of the box, but you’ve shown that it is a simple job to redeem it 🙂

    • Cheers, Alex. I think the baby face might have worked as a slightly disturbing element on a less cluttered and more focused model. As it stands, however, it’s one more wild idea on a model that is already covered in wild ideas, so yeah… 😉

  2. Mate I adore the sorcerer conversion. You’ve made a model that I find awful to awesome.

  3. A nice write up man. The DG are definitely my favourite thing about the new boxed set. I’ve already converted the plague Marines but have only painted and posted one thus far. Great models with an insane amount of detail. Best release by GW for a long time in my opinion.

  4. I think they are wonderful (except the pox walkers, which I really dislike). They were almost enough to push me over into starting a new army. Your coming versions are subtle yet work very well with the base models.

    As to your comment about struggling for feedback recently, as a fellow blogger I too have noticed this trend, and a lot of it is to with the explosion of social media. It seems Facebook, twitter etc are now the places people visit for their hobby updates, and the humble blog is in decline, which is a shame as I much prefer it for a loasting record of the artist work, rather than the flash in the pan approach of social media

  5. Frothing_Muppet Says:

    I do so love your run down of new releases and where you see them going in your own collection, so please do, keep them up. Although I think NafNaf is onto something with the social media trend. I find myself more often than not looking at Twitter for my hobby fix>

    The sorceror is an interesting model. It took until I read the blurb in the mini Death Guard codex to realise that he is blowing nurgle powder out of the palm of his hand – thats what the cloud thing is, and why his face is puckered. I think that the fact its not obvious that’s what he is doing is what throws the mini off, as well as the odd cues like his small staff/stick thing. I think he is the weakest part of the set.

    I really love the Plague Marines in this, and the 3 extra ones in the other set. I personally like that more static appearance of most as it suits my mental image of slow, implacable advance. Its why I think the chap who is advancing with knife and outstretched boltgun sticks out as the odd one out – he doesnt match the rest of the figure aesthetic. Its also what makes the Champion standout – his cowl makes him at odds with the rest of the unit.

    The zombies are a real odd sort. I followed fellow blogger Wilhelms lead and removed the majority of growths and tentacles from mine, leaving much smaller bone nubs/horns, generally on the head only. I had done the same kind of thing on the Death Guard themselves as in my mind less is more on these guys. I’ve built the first 10 from the starter set, as well as the new 6. In my view they would have been better getting the other 6 zombies into the main set rather than the duplicate sprue, although given there are parts of the Death Guard on the extra frame I can see that would have been difficult. I actually think the extra 3 Death Guard also should have been in the set so you could run 2 x 5 man units from the main set, or a full unit of 10, rather than the way they ended up releasing it – but ho hum, I can see the commercial sense in what they did.

    The scale creep across the box set is quite noticeable and doesnt bode well for many ranges within the various 40K faction – you can see them doing the AoS redesgn/growth with the release of 8th which could (will in my mind) cause problems for those whose collections are homogenised around the current scale. My Mk3/FW Plague Marine kitbashes look puny next to the new chaps. In fact my FW/Terminator Death Guard kit bash look tiny against the new figures. I can’t imagine how large the new wave of Plague Terminators will be seeing how the Blight Kings look compared to the new Plague Marines. I guess the times, they are a changing, and its time to change with them.

    • Thanks for the well considered reply!

      It looked to me like the sorcerer was actually blowing at whatever that is in his hand — which is one of the reasons while I ultimately replaced his right hand, as the effect really didn’t work anymore with the mouth covered by a rebreather. In the end, I am pretty happy with the pared down version, however, as there was just too much going on with the model at the same time.

      I agree that that one Plague Marine seems rather proactive, although I would argue it’s pretty cool how his pose suggests a purposeful walk rather than a run — just look at the way his feet are firm on the ground 😉

      I think the Poxwalkers take some effort to like, but they have really grown on me. That being said, Wilhelm is making some truly incredible stuff on his blog, and his Poxwalkers are another example of that — even if I personally can live with the horns 😉

      As for the scale creep, it seems to me that GW is really in for a penny, in for a pound now, after introducing the Primaris Marines: If they want to keep CSM on par with the new Marines without utterly ruining the background, scale creep really seems to be the only way.

  6. Great conversions! Simple but very characterful. Would love to see how you plan to paint the bloatdrone – stuck at the moment with my own.

    As someone with a barely started blog, I find I do most of my posting on instagram. Part of it is that it’s so easy, and the second part is that I get feedback (likes and the occasional comment) easily too. It doesn’t lend itself for the kind of in-depth analysis that blog posts do, but when someone googles something your blogpost is a potential hit whereas my instagram post isn’t.

    Anyway, please keep posting. Your stuff is awesome.

    • Thanks, man! 🙂

      Unfortunately, the Bloat Drone’s among the models I don’t have yet — I definitely want to get my hands on one of those, however, so stay tuned 😉

      As for Instagram, I definitely get the appeal, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that, like I said above, I feel that the special kind of communication supported by social networks doesn’t really overlap with what I want from hobby-related content and interaction.

  7. Alexander Says:

    Good review. I adore your positive attitude!

  8. BubblesMcBub Says:

    I loves the nurgle so much i gave them away!
    Anyways realy well done the revieuw and the conversions keep it up man!

  9. Hi Kraut,

    I’m sorry that you feel it harder and harder to get some comments on your blogging here. I’m not a blogger myself and my hobby output is really slow and irregular… Yet it is blogs like yours that keep the hobby alive for me, as it is a huge source of inspiration. I really love how you built up not only miniatures, but also stories along them, and hope you will keep on feeding us with your craftmanship.
    You may not be a golden demon winner guy, but this is really what like with you : you show everyone of us how, with work and consistant effort, we also can achieve to create some wonderful and inspirationnal stuff.

    As for Dark Imperium, I totally agree with most of your review. I would like to add smth that I realised, looking at peoples conversion work on these minis. It looks really easy to remove most of the overwhelming details and this is really a good thing as everyone can get exactly what he wants. Whoever like these exuberant horns and stuff, you get even more ! If you don’t like them, it’s easy to chop them away without breaking the overall miniature design.

    I agree with Frothing_Muppet that the slightly over dynamic marine pointing his boltgun out doesn’t match my idea of a slow and purposefull death guard. Yet I’m pretty sure that others will love this miniature which, as you said, is a real character in itself. I feel that this box manages to give absolutly everyone a bit of what we were waiting for and this is a tour-de-force on GWs part.
    (tour-de-force ? …my english seems to trip on this one…)
    Anyway, hail the sculptors and designers of these minis ! It feels like a new era is opening for 40k!

    • Cheers, man! Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere — it’s just that there’s a direct connection between my productivity and the feedback I receive. I’m just an attention whore like that 😉

      As for the models, yeah, I think these will be the new Dark Vengeance Chosen that everybody and their cousin likes to cut up, eh? 😉

  10. Hi Krauty! Great review as always!

    Gotta admit I´m not quite as optimistic as you are about this release. I find the majority of these new nurgly minis way to cluttered and cartoony for my tastes. The deathguard are admittedly the best of the lot even if they suffer from some of said problems. Still wish they could have been closer to Jes´s early 90´s version. A little cleaner and less mutated. You´ve certainly shown that they can be wastly improved though by getting rid of some of the most cumbersome features.

    The biggest disappointment for me are the poxwalkers. They´re horrible – and not in the intended way. What´s worse is that they could have been awesome had they been handled by a better sculptor but as it stands now the anatomical issues, wonky poses and generally crude sculpting make these some of the least attractive models GWs put out in quite a while.

    • Thanks a lot, Johan! I would argue that the Plague Marines are as close to Jes Goodwin’s original concepts as is possibl for a “modern” GW model with “modern” GW design sensibilities – gosh, I sound like an Oldhammerer now, don’t I?

      Seriously, though, I love them because I think they do bridge that particular gap rather nicely, and while being fairly detailed and busy, they show far more restraint than some of GW’s other recent models. But then, like I said, I’m really a huge fan of Morbäck, so there’s that too.

      Regarding the Poxwalkers, I originally felt the same as you, but I’d advise to really take a firsthand look at them (if you haven’t already done just that): The sculpts are really rather lovely when seen up close, and whatever indiosyncrasies may hamper the models, they are easy enough to remedy, as I hope I’ve begun to demonstrate with the hazmat guy.

      In any case, great to hear from you, buddy! 🙂

      • He he. Yeah , well – I would have preferred plague marines with more tubes and less tentacles…But there you go.

        I´ll have a closer look at the poxwalkers but either way I think more of what they COULD have been. And they really could have been so much cooler than what we finally got, even if they may look better up close. The chaos gents from the last box and the new genestealers show how great cultist models GW can produce if they set their mind to it and these are quite frankly nowhere near that quality.

        Love what you have done with the kits in any case! Keep up the good work!

  11. As ever, thank you for the overview – it’s always a treat hearing your thoughts on the new releases.

    Also, apologies if I have been less than forthcoming with feedback – I’m always a little loathe to try an critique something someone’s put so much work into, and that goes double when the work is as good and inspiring as yours!

    I’m definitely more on the side of loving this release. I’ve gone back and forth on a couple of the figures, with the sorcerer my main issue is the pose, though it looks great from the back – you’ve completely transformed the model, in a good way! – and I loved the blightbringer, then wasn’t sure, but now love it again thanks to seeing some of the photos you took – love that censer cape you made 🙂

    Thank you for posting that Adrian Smith art too – I knew the Lord of Contagion looked familiar! I think the thing I like most about that model is how good it looks stock, but how easy it would be to convert into something very different too! Somehow I didn’t quite twig that the axe blade was the same as in Morback’s Lord of Skulls – makes me think there’s the potential for a killer Epic version of Morback’s centrepiece from the buts and pieces in this release.

    I completely agree with you about the bloat drone (would be cool to see the body as a helbrute sarcophagus, or set into the body of a maulerfiend in place of the head), the more I see of the poxwalkers the more I like ’em, but the Plague marines are definitely the highlight for me. Like you, I may have cracked a grin when I saw the references to the 2nd edition backpacks – I’m really looking forward to seeing the inevitable multiparty kit, my gut says that should allow everyone to make exactly the sort of Plague marines (pipes and original helmets? Antlers & teeth? Guts everywhere?) anyone prefers. My only concern is how they’ll look alongside the previous versions! Really looking forward to seeing them in the flesh eventually!

    • Cheers, mate! Agreed on all accounts 🙂

      My educated guess RE: the relationship between the multipart Plague Marines and the Dark Imperium models is that the latter basically serve as an exploration of the various visual elements and archetypes, whereas the multipart kit should allow you to tailor your models to your personal preferences, making them as stalwart or mutated or dynamic as you want — at least that’s what I would hope.

      You may be on to something with the idea of an epic version of Maxime’s LoS conversion: The axe is already there. The cyclopic, mono-horned head on the Plasmagunner perfectly resembles the head of his LoS. Just throw in a Blightking/Plague Marine torso and a Kataphron undercarriage, and you’re almost there!

  12. Yodhrin Says:

    Great summary, and one I broadly agree with – an almost entirely positive release that could have done with being a tad less…busy, here & there.

    I’ll be the heretic and say I actually amn’t the biggest fan of Plaguebones. The skill involved is undeniable obviously, but stuff like the goggle-helmets just don’t do it for me, though luckily most of the Plaguebones-esque details are easily removable or swappable so it’s not a dealbreaker.

    I’ll say that I initially *really* disliked the Poxwalkers, but after seeing Wilhelminiatures version with most of the bony outgrowths trimmed away I think they might end up being my favourite part of the set. It’s amazing how such a simple and, in hindsight, obvious tweak can totally shift your perspective on a miniature.

    I was also pleased that the Plague Marines have been bumped up in scale, indeed so much so that they only need a couple of 1mm spacers(feet & greaves most likely) to be an almost spot-on match for the Primaris, which was enough for me to keep them for what will probably be my first actually-successful attempt at a truescale Chaos force, but I can absolutely understand why it would annoy folk with existing Chaos forces.

    • Cheers, mate! I think I get why so many people are taking the horns off the Poxwalkers, but for me that ends up basically turning them into simple (Plague) Zombies, and we already had all the tools we needed to create those. I actually embrace the Poxwalkers’ weirdness, at least for the most part.

      And yeah, the new Plague Marines are basically true scale, especially if you also swap in a Blightking or two 😉

  13. Excellent review once again. I like what you’ve done with the Plaguecaster (further inspiration for my own attempts to convert the model). Having said that, and without wishing to sound sycophantic, your own sorcerer conversion still outshines it by a country mile, which only serves to remind me of the Plaguecaster’s flaws. I too am enjoying the challenge of trying to improve on it but I do feel it would have been preferable to have a good model to build upon rather than a bad model to struggle with.

    Really like the Plague Champion you’ve made from the Blightbringer, indeed – given that Blightbringers are going cheap on ebay at the moment – I may pick up another one to try out something similar myself. The big horns could come in handy on all kinds of vehicles and someone like myself who indulges in both Skaven and Nurgle can always find a use for a few more giant bells!

    As for the Poxwalker, well there great minds really have thought alike! I like the way you’ve twisted the head, making the weird parts of the model weirder, and I think it really suits it, as though the victim hasn’t just sprouted a few horns but is actually being twisted and reshaped into something even more hideous.

    As ever, looking forward to seeing what else you do with them!

    • Cheers, mate! As is evident from our respective posts, we basically seem to agree about 99.99% on this release, so yeah… 😉

      Regarding the kitbashed sorcerer/Plaguecaster, that is really nice of you to say! I am actually really happy with the conversion, mostly because it came together as a bit of a happy accident 🙂

      Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your own Nurglite models! Oh, and you might be interested in my most recent post as well 😉

  14. […] A blog about KrautScientist's wargaming exploits « Dark Imperium — a closer look at the Death Guard models […]

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