Archive for warhammer fantasy battles

At the end of an age — some rather jumbled thoughts on Warhammer and Age of Sigmar

Posted in Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on July 8, 2015 by krautscientist

Oh boy, where to start…?

I am not the first blogger faced with the task of writing something about the Age of Sigmar release — people who are far smarter than me have already talked about the subject, and yet the challenge remains a rather massive one.

If nothing else, this release seems like a rather gutsy move, doesn’t it? Age of Sigmar has a very real chance of alienating an enormous part of the traditional WFB user base. Then again, it seems like the dwindling sales are what led us to this point in the first place, so maybe GW is even prepared to lose a hefty chunk of that very user base, trying instead to get some new people interested in the game’s latest incarnation?

In any case, it’s safe to say that the discussion about Age of Sigmar is raging like a wildfire on the various blogs and forums, and it’s easy to get burned.

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Tell you what, I’ll try to make my life easier by focusing on the models and staying clear of the whole rules brouhaha. Although I have to say I am rather flabbergasted by the viciousness of the debate, especially when it comes to the utterly new and shocking concepts of having to agree with your opponent about the kind of game you want to play and not being a dick when it comes to army composition — in a way, the rules do seem like a return to more innocent RoC and Rogue Trader times, don’t they? And there’s certainly a lot to like about that!

But like I said, let’s take a look at the models: We’ll be doing this in the usual, tried and true fashion — and it goes without saying that we will also be looking at the conversion options (oh my, the conversion options!). So fasten your seatbelt, and we’re off!

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The starter box comes with a whopping 47 models, giving us two core armies for the Stormcast Eternals and the Goretide of Khorne. So let’s take a closer look at the two factions in turn, starting with the completely new army: Sigmar’s Stormcast Eternals, obviously the poster boys of the new Warhammer:

 

Stormcast Eternals

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These guys are possibly the big surprise in this release, mostly because they initially seem like such a radical departure from the old WFB style: At first glance, the army seems to mostly do away with the zaniness and steampunk/medieval mashup of armies like the Empire and Bretonnia, introducing a more heroic and somewhat videogame-y look and feel in its place: Instead of roughly armed peasants, steam-powered contraptions and medieval knights on speed, we now get hulking, heavily armoured warriors that seem to be taking design cues from several factions at once (at least it feels like there’s a subtle but palpable High Elf influence there, as well as more than a passing resemblance to 40k’s Space Marines). At the same time, I cannot help feeling reminded of designs from video games (like World of Warcraft or Diablo) — which is interesting when you consider how Warhammer obviously inspired the Warcraft universe to begin with, but yeah…

Anyway, let’s take a closer look:

 

Lord-Celestant Vandus Hammerhand

Age of Sigmar starter box (5)The Stormcast Eternals’ army commander seems like GW’s attempt to win us over with shock and awe tactics: What a beast of a miniature! If nothing else, there can be no doubt that this guy is commanding the army, right?

I had several inital reactions when first seeing the model. The first was: “Oh look, it’s GW’s version of He-Man on Battlecat!” Then I thought: “It’s GW’s version of a high level Alliance character from World of Warcraft! And I think you’ll agree that both are pretty obvious associations. I mean, when all is said and done, what we have here is a massive guy in ornate golden armour riding a dragon…cat…thing while wielding an enormous…Warhammer (I see what you did there, GW ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

What’s really interesting, though, I how the model clearly recalls the sources mentioned above, yet also reads more and more clearly as a GW (and Warhammer) piece the longer you look at it: There are several elements recalling the style of the Empire, for instance, hinting at a common cultural heritage: the Dracoth’s armour looks similar to that of the Demigryphs, Vandus’ helmet being cast in the shape of a snarling lion or panther recalls a similar helmet from the Empire General kit. And the overall composition and detail are very Warhammer-esque in a way that seems rather complicated to explain, yet easy enough to see — in the end, it’s probably the designers’ talent that did the trick ๐Ÿ˜‰

Maybe it’s a very eclectic piece, maybe it’s all a bit much. But it’s a bold statement in that it tries to nail down the entire new Sigmarite look in one model. A model that still looks like it was made by GW, in spite of the new direction — and I think that is no mean feat.

I do have some minor quibbles, though: The Dracoth’s right foreleg does seem a little precariously balanced atop that piece of ruin, while the left foreleg hanging in the air like that comes across as a bit half-baked. The tip of the Dracoth’s tail may also be a tad too toylike for my taste — like the straw that broke the camel’s back, in a way.

But when all is said and done, I cannot help liking this guy. He’s massive and ostentatious and over the top and everything a the champion of a god serving as the army general should be.

 

Lord-Relictor Ionus Cryptborn

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The case seems slightly less clear-cut with the Lord-Relictor, as the WoW influence seems to have been dialed up to eleven with this model: the spiky halo and pauldron decoration seems very videogame-y to me, as does the parchment running down the model’s back. What’s more, the design of the model’s head makes it slightly difficult to decide whether it’s a stylised death’s head or the character’s actual, desiccated face. While it does seem to be some kind of facemask upon closer examination, it remains slightly ambiguous, and it’s not an abiguity that works in the character’s favour for once — maybe it’s simply the fact GW has managed to come up with better skull faces on other models?

The scrolls forming the model’s cape also show another visual change that seems to affect the entire range: Where the Empire models were covered in faux-German or Latin scripture, we’ve now moved to mysterious, meaningless squiggles that don’t look like any particular language — or like anthing much really, beyond a clearly discernible “Sigmar” here and there. I actually liked the older approach better — not neccesarily because I am a huge fan of faux-German lettering, but rather because this new design doesn’t really read as scripture quite as easily — it could also just be some kind of squiggly design.

What actually brings this guy back into Warhammer territory for me is that enormous standard: It’s totally over the top — and totally awesome because of it! I like the reliquary look with the candles (although I am pretty sure we’ve already seen that little bag dangling from the standard on the Skaven Stormvermin standard ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). All in all, I like the model slightly less than the Lord-Celestant, not because it’s badly designed, but rather because it looks less like an actual Warhammer model, lacking some of the trademark visual cues to bring it more firmly into the setting.

 

Retributors:

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These guys look like a more ornate version of the Liberators, and they are really rather lovely for it: I guess I am not the only one who instantly felt reminded of the Legio Custodes when looking at the models ๐Ÿ˜‰

It seems like different helmet designs are used to denote different unit types for the Stormcast Eternals, and I think it works to great effect here: The stylised thunderbolts combined with the horsehair crests work really well! I also like the flow of the armour, especially when it comes to the enlarged left pauldron — there’s just something instantly likeable about these guys ๐Ÿ˜‰

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One particularly nice detail I would like to point out to you is the cloth draped around the haftย  of the hammer wielded by the guy in the middle in the above picture: such a small detail, but beautifully executed!

The models strike a better balance between the WoW influence and the Warhammer look than the Lord-Relictor, mostly because the more outlandish elements of their armour seem to have been applied slightly more thoughtfully. At the same time, these almost seem to be the most Space Marine-y Stormcast Eternals, probably due to their silhouette and the strong Custodes vibe — it’s easy to imagine these guys being used in 30k and 40k.

All in all, these might just be my favourite iteration of the new armour design, mostly because the balance seems to be pretty much perfect here: The amount of detail and ostentatiousness is just right and, combined with fairly static but very strong poses and some flowing cloth to break up the static silhouettes, makes for a visual strongpoint in the army — very nice!

 

Prosecutors:

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Where the Retributors are closer to the “classic” GW look, these guys come down more on the side of the World of Warcraft (and general videogame) influence — with a vengeance! The wings are something GW certainly hasn’t tried before, yet they also seem instantly familar to someone who regularly plays videogames. At the same time, it’s also nice to see how the designers have managed to work Sigmar’s iconic comet in there ๐Ÿ˜‰

When it comes to the rest of the models, the armour seems similar to that of the other Stormcast Eternals, with yet another helmet design to point out the models’ different role. The idea of having the models kept aloft (in real life, not in-universe) via the flowing pieces of parchment is a very cool idea and adds to the distinct silhouette. However, it does seem ever so slightly strange to see these rather massive guys floating through the air like that — maybe they just seem a bit too beefy for that kind of motion, maybe it’s the pose of the legs. It just feels like the illusion doesn’t quite work.ย  I also think they would have profited from a different kind of weapon — a lance or spear, rather than the omnipresent hammers. I get that hammers are Sigmars shtick and everything, but the blunt shape of the weapons doesn’t work all that well with the elegance and finesse of these models.

come with their own champion, Anactos Skyhelm who, in all fairness, doesn’t seem all that different save for his extended wingspan:

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All in all, these feel a little more adventurous than the Retributors, yet also somewhat less balanced. They should make for a rather stunning presence on the table, certainly, but I cannot help feeling that some minor tweaks would have gone a pretty long way here.

 

Liberators:

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These are possibly the new bread-and-butter infantry for the Sigmarite faction or, as some have called them, the new Sigmarite Space Marines or “Sigmarines”. And indeed, there are quite a few parallels between these models and the warrior monks of the 41st millennium: the stature, for once. Or the massive pauldrons. In fact, fellow hobbyist weirdingway had this pretty interesting idea about the new models:

I’m tempted to read the Sigmarites as a version of how GW wishes they could reboot the space marine model line if they weren’t (rightly perhaps) afraid of invalidating such a huge line of kits and alienating so many fans. In the 40k background and artwork marines have slowly transformed from the hunched, human-sized ex-convicts and psychos of Rogue Trader to the giant avenging noble knights of today, but because space marine model releases have been sequential updates they’ve only been ale to increase the scale by such tiny increments, leaving a big disparity between the models and the background. Exacerbated by how much baseline human models have grown over the years. Maybe if the Eternals are a huge success GW will be emboldened to redo the whole marine line in similar proportions and size? Probably not, but fun to speculate about.

Whether or not there is any truth to this, the similarities are too obvious to ignore — maybe these guys are GW’s attempt at replicating the Space Marines’ success in their fantasy setting?

What strikes me about the Liberators is how similar they are in layout to the Putrid Blightkings and Skullreapers/Wrathmongers. Sure, the final look of the models is pretty different, but both the size and stature are very similar — maybe models of this particular size and layout are WFB’s new mainline standard for footsloggers?

One problem I have with these is that while they are looking pretty cool on their own, they do end up seeming a bit samey as a unit. Maybe it has something to do with these models being starter minis, but it feels like the army could do with something to break up the ranks of huge guys in mostly identical golden armour — or maybe that was the whole point…? In a way, they share this flaw with the Space Marines — but make no mistake, the models are still pretty cool! They are just less interesting than the flashier parts of the army.

The unit champions are doing a good job of providing some extra bling, though:

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All in all, these guys make for rather impressive soldiers, yet they are also a massive departure from most of the human factions in the “old” WFB — although their armour (and by extension, the entire faction) seems to take some visual cues from the fully armoured version of Valten. While the Stormcast Eternals move far beyond that particular model, it’s still nice to see a bit of visual consistency like that in a faction that seems entirely new at first glance!

One last thing to point out about these models are their masks: Many people have likened these to the deathmasks of the Sanguinary Guard, and there are some clear parallels, of course. However, I actually think the Liberator masks are more versatile and interesting because the heads are more delicate and less clunky — which makes them far more interesting for all kinds of conversion projects, seeing how you won’t need to shave them down as much as the Sanguinary Guard heads, if you want to use them on human-sized modeld.

Anyway, as far as starter box models go, these are certainly impressive. It’ll be interesting to see whether an army completely composed from huge golden dudes ends up looking interesting enough, though.

 

The Goretide of Khorne

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There I was, trying to sit this release out, and then they went and included an entire freaking Khornate army in the starter set — yeah, thank you very much, GW! ๐Ÿ˜‰

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I am pretty much in love with this part of the boxed set, yet I hope I’ll still be able to remain fairly unbiased when looking at the models. One thing I am definitely aware of is that many people seem to be pretty tired with Khorne as GW’s default chaos faction — and I can definitely see where these people are coming from: Tzeentch and Slaanesh have yet to receive their own dedicated WFB models, and here we are, getting even more followers of Khorne once again. But you’ll have to forgive me, I can never get tired of Khorne, and I love these guys! Ahem, sorry, moving on ๐Ÿ˜‰

What’s interesting about the chaos models is that they almost seem like the WFB version of Dark Vengeance’s chaos models. Just do the math: A Chaos Lord, check. Second champion, check (if we consider the re-released Dark Vengeance with the additional champ, that is). Helbrute-sized abomination, check. Five Chosen, check. Twenty cultists, check. It’s really rather uncanny!

The other thing that occured to me is that these models seem like the “safer” design when compared with the Sigmarites: While the latter can be a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, the Khornate models basically follow the look that has been established for followers of the blood god ages ago. I’ve seen some people state that they find this look too ostentatious, but I’ve really wanted Khornate warriors of chaos to look precisely like this ever since I laid eyes upon this Adrian Smith illustration from the 6th edition BRB (this particular look was also heavily featured throughout the entire army book from the same edition, by the way):

Adrian Smith Warriors of Khorne

So if you’re a chaos player, you won’t have to get used to a totally new design paradigm — as it happens, this seems to extend to the entire faction, seeing how Daemons and Beastmen seem to have been folded back into one army with chaos warriors (as per the older editions), and Skaven were added on top (as per Realms of Chaos, I suppose…?).

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the models, shall we?

 

Khorgos Khul, Mighty Lord of Khorne

Age of Sigmar starter box (14)I’ll be perfectly honest with you: In many ways, this basically seems like the perfect, quintessential Khorne lord to me: The pose and armour are excellent, and I really love the flesh hound, especially since I’ve wanted some new plastic flesh hounds that are less clunky than the Finecast version for quite while now, and this beast gives rise to the hope that there may be more plastic hounds where this one came from. The inclusion of a hunting hound in this way also makes me stupidly happy because it’s so close to the image I have of Khorne’s followers as relentless hunters. The two also make for a smashing ensemble, don’t they?

Khorgos’ axe seems slightly reminiscent of Skarr Bloodwrath’s weapons — fortunately, the stupid flails have been ommitted this time around! And the rather subtle mutations have also been implemented rather well: Both the chitinous looking claw and the disturbing, fleshy stomach are not immediately noticeable, yet only make the model even more sinister once you notice them.

There are merely two very minor points of contention I have about the model: One, I am not 100% sold on the helmet yet, although that may just be the angle of the photo. Using a skull-like facemask like that seems like a cool enough idea — I’ll just have to see whether the actual head really works for me. It’s a bit hard to make out in the pictures. The other thing that does get some getting used to is the icon of Khorne on the model’s back — it’s pretty cool, but seems ever so slightly too big to me. I may get used to it, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

So what can I say: Khorgos Khul is an excellent Khornate Chaos Lord and makes for an exciting centrepiece in every chaos army. He’s certainly on par with Kranon the Relentless, which is no mean feat. Excellent job!

 

Bloodsecrator Threx Skullbrand:

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The Goretide’s “Bloodsecrator” (I swear to God I am not making these names up!) seems to be a mix between an army standard bearer and shaman. Threx goes for a more gladiatorial look, with a mostly unarmoured upper body showing off his impressive physique. While the overall model is pretty cool, he is somewhat less well designed than Khorgos Khul, though:

First, the good stuff: I love the collar around the model’s neck and the collection of skulls hanging from it. The leg armour is also very nice. And I love the weapon, which seems to be a 50:50 mix between an axe and a mace. The spine forming some kind of braid seems a bit much, though — it’s simply one of those things that seem slightly too juvenile to me.

The biggest problem is the icon, though — in a very literal sense. While it’s beautifully designed (and actually perfectly mirrors the design of the smaller icon Khorgos Khul is wearing — a nice bit of visual consistency there), it’s simply too big for the model: While it would probably look excellent on a 40k Chaos vehicle or walker, it does seem too massive and cumbersome on an infantry model, even on a beefcake like Threx here.

The good news is that all of these problems should be easy enough to solve with a bit of converting, so the model is still a very good base for a suitably impressive champion or standard bearer. It just takes some minor adjustments to make him even cooler, if you ask me.

 

Khorgorath Skuldrak

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Oh my, this big guy certainly was a surprise, wasn’t he? The Khorgorath basically seems to be a massive, chaos spawn-like beast composed of mutated flesh, bone and, well, lots of skulls, basically. The first thing that struck me is how similar the model’s pose seems to the Helbrute included with the Dark Vengeance boxed set — seriously, that cannot have been a coincidence! The second thing I noticed: Whatever is the deal with that head…?

Let’s see if we can make some sense of it:

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Okay, it seems like the lower jaw is actually an original part of…whatever the creature was before it became a Korgorath. Then we have a crossbar decorated with icons of Khorne, and atop that a blackened skull that may or may not be the creature’s original skull — or maybe this skull is some kind of chaotic artifact that has been placed there to work as the creature’s head…?ย  And on top of that, a strange, warped bone crown that looks like Khorne’s rune while also looking like a secondary face…? I give up! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The head is certainly a case of “love it or hate it”. Some will love it, precisely because it’s so strange — it recalls some of the utterly inscrutable mutations from the Realms of Chaos books. Personally, I think it’s a little too abstract for my taste, but I will reserve final judgement until I’ve seen it firsthand. In any case, replacing it with something a little less out there would probably be easy enough.

The rest of the model seems like a massive, heavily-muscled and gruesomely mutated chaotic monstrosity — which, I guess, was the entire point of the exercise. While I am not a huge fan of rampant mutations, I think it really works here, because it provides a nice contrast with the more restrained infantry models in the army. Even if I am not 100% sold on the model yet, I think it will at least make for perfect and very promising conversion fodder!

 

Bloodstoker Vekh the Flayer:

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It’s great how the Khorgorath comes with its own minder, and Vekh the Flayer really looks the part. Rather atypically for a servant of Khorne, this guy seems to be rather corpulent. But the look works very well for a beast herder like this. Plus there are still enough clues as to this guy’s allegiance — like the trident shaped like a Khornate rune that has been brutally rammed into Vekh’s right arm or the multiple runes adorning his armour. The model’s increased bulk makes it seem almost Ogre-sized, which I think adds some nice variation in height and build to the Goretide.

The one thing I don’t particularly care for is the exposed lower part of the face — I think the model would be more menacing with a completely covered, utterly expressionless face. In fact, I think there’s quite a resemblance with God of War’s version of Hades, and like that character, the head would work so much better if it were completely closed, obscuring any facial features and making the model look even more inhuman and implacable.

Once again, though, this should be easy enough to remedy. What we have here is a pretty interesting addition to the core army, when it comes to the visuals. And he looks great together with the Khorgorath. Very cool!

 

Blood Warriors:

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Well, we can keep this short: These guys are basically the stars of the show for me, period. But then I already told you that I simply love this particular kind of Khornate warrior: It’s the look I have always wanted for champions of the Blood God, and it seems just about perfectly realised on these models. Some people may think they are too ornate, but I would argue that they are dialed back when compared with the totally OTT weapons from the Skullreaper kit — in fact, these guys seem far more believable and less creepy-crawly, which I love! Each armour is a work of art, while also looking functional enough for a follower of Khorne: Each decoration also works as a blade (or, at the very least, a hideous spiky surface). And while GW seems to have been trying new iterations of this particular helmet design for quite a while now, the heads on these guys are pretty much perfect: Even the visible mouths perfectly complement the helmet design. Sure, the bearded guy may be a bit of an acquired taste, but all in all, the heads are fantastic!

There is also something wonderfully disturbing about the gaping maw the unit champ has been gifted with: Ewww!

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These are possibly the models from the starter box I am looking forward to most — it’ll be great to finally get my hands on them (and to promptly turn them into members of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt, in all likelihood).

 

Bloodreavers:

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These are very interesting in that they seem like mix between the older Chaos Marauders and the chaos cultists from Dark Vengeance — seriously, I don’t think these guys would look out of place next to the cultist models.

And right enough, the design seems to be going for a look between Chaos Marauder and cultists, which works well enough. But while the models sport many cool Khornate touches, some of them do look a bit rough around the edges: The naked torsos seem a little dubious from an anatomical perspective, and some of the poses could have used some fine tuning.

On the other hand, I really love some of the helmets, and having the added benefit of a standard bearer and musician is also a nice touch. When all is said and done, I suppose these could become just as versatile and prolific for conversions as the Dark Vengeance cultists — at least when it comes to converting all kinds of Khornate madmen. They would also make for teriffic chaos cultists in 40k with some added autopistols — but we’ll be getting to that in a minute.

All in all, these are pretty cool. They have a bit of a hard time against spectacular models like Khorgos Khul or the Blood Warriors, though. Even so, pretty good.

 

 

Conversion Options:

Stormcast Eternals:

As has been pointed out by many people before me, the Stormcast Eternals should lend themselves especially well to any number of true scalish conversion projects: Custodes are the very obvious (and very awesome) idea here, seeing how the models seem to be halfway there anyway: Just add some White Lion helmets and Nemesis Psi-Halberds, and you have yourself some pretty convincing (and rather correctly scaled) Custodes — there’s even the new golden spraypaint to make painting even easier for you.

An equally interesting idea would be to use the models as base models for Thunder Warriors: Their less tech-y and more medieval armour and size make them ideal for the Emperor’s Proto-Astartes, and I am looking forward to seeing Mikko Luoma’s Thunder Warrior project take shape — the Stormcast Eternals seem like a brilliant resource for such an endeavour! And as Eric Wier has pointed out very recently: Don’t those Retributors slightly remind you of one of the vintage Mk 1 Terminators? Maybe that could be a very cool conversion project as well!

And while we are on the matter of power armoured characters, I am pretty sure the models could be used to kitbash a Space Marine hero or two wearing Artificer armour — although the differences between the Stormcast Eternals and Astartes are certainly big enough to make such a conversion challenging.

Speaking of Space Marines, wouldn’t you agree that the Dracoth might make a pretty cool mount for a Salamanders Captain — and speaking of Salamanders, all those massive hammers would be a perfect fit for the army. Just sayin’…

And finally, a slightly more out-there idea: What about using some of the Stormcast Eternals for a Mechanicus-related project: Wouldn’t it be cool to use some techy bitz and turn the towering Stormcast Eternals into massive clockword automata? They are looking like tin men anyway, and I could really imagine some of them as the personal bodyguard of a particularly powerful and eccentric Archmagos.

Oh, and let’s not forget Inquisitors of course, because who else would wear ostentatious armour like that. As it happens, I have already started messing around with the freebie Liberator that came with White Dwarf, starting to build an Inquisitor of the Ordo Malleus or Hereticus (or maybe even an Inquisitor Lord?). Here’s a very early WIP:

Stormcast Inquisitor
In fact, the very straightforward way the Liberator models are designed makes them very easy to use for simple conversions like head and weapon swaps, so I think we can look forward to all kinds of crazy projects involving these models. And regarding head swaps, I believe those Liberator masks would work like a charm for sun cultists, death cult assassins, Navigators who have to hide their deformities and similar denizens of the wonderful world of INQ28…

 

Goretide of Khorne:

For those of you who are playing a World Eaters or Khorne:Daemonkin army: Good news, everyone! We now have our very own starter box army: Just add some backpacks and bolt pistols — BAM! Instant Khornate CSM army ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously, though: These should mix wonderfully with the CSM catalogue. I already pointed out the structural similarities with the chaos side of Dark Vengeance, and I think both core armies could be combined perfectly into a Khornate army: The Chosen and the Blood Warriors seem like they would be really easy to mix and match, and with some CSM weapons, backpacks and (for the more adventurous) lower legs) spliced in, the Blood Warriors would make for excellent World Eaters Chosen and/or champions.

The same goes for the Blood Reavers, as they are looking like the chaos cultists’ Khornate cousins. Combining both kinds of models multiplies the variations we can get out of our cultists, and I imagine the Bloodreavers would also work really well for INQ28 conversion projects, such as chaos cults (DUH!) or something a little more original — like Necromunda-styled Pitslaves, for instance!

Khorgos Khul seems pretty much perfect the way he is — just slap on a pistol holster, and he’d make for a wonderful World Eaters lord.

The Bloodstoker seems almost Ogryn-sized — which would make him an interesting option for a traitor Ogryn (or even a – slightly smaller – plastic version of this Forgeworld model).

The Khorgorath could work as a pretty convincing Helbrute stand-in, a huge arena beast for a World Eaters army, bigger chaos spawn or even as a base model for a Daemon Prince conversion. One thing I will have to figure out is how to make sense of that head — or else, I guess I’ll have to replace it with something a little less abstract.

The “Bloodsecrator” (I still cannot get used to actually typing that out) would make for a fantastic World Eaters arena champion in 40k, while his standard would be great for accessorising a Khornate Landraider or Knight Titan — or any other kind of chaotic vehicle or walker, really.

Whatever happens, I think we can really look forward to seeing an amazing plethora of conversions involving these kits sooner rather than later — I, for one, can hardly wait!

 

 

So, what to make of it all? The starter box is pretty spectacular and certainly a highlight after last month’s rather lacklustre Space Marine release. The models are excellent and provide lots of value for the money. GW’s designers often seem to be at their best when designing starter boxes, and Age of Sigmar is no exception to this rule!

But while the set is chock full of amazing models, I cannot help coming back to the question as to how this will change the landscape for Warhammer. One thing I think we can all agree on is that the new direction constitutes a pretty big shift in many ways. Jeff Vader’s own, very succinct piece on the matter here perfectly echoes some of my own thoughts, although I would like to expand on one particular point. Jeff writes:

The average thirteen year old given the choice between an army of bad ass armoured Space warriors and an army of toothless men with pantaloons and floppy hats is most likely going to leave the store with a box of space marines. I may think the Empire and Bretonnia has their merits now that I’m older, but I remember how godawfully boring I found them as a kid… (I played nightgoblins).

And I think this changing of the watch, if you will, between the heroic and the pathecic really sits smack-dab in the middle of a rather massive paradigm shift — and by “pathetic” I mean a certain kind of style that has always been a cornerstone of GW’s particular treatment of low fantasy: There were always mighty heroes, true enough, but many of the models ended up looking like frightened everymen utterly ill-suited to face the murderous challenges of an entirely hostile world. Just look at the Empire State Troops (as outlined in the citation above), the Bretonnian Men-at-arms or some of the older, more humorous greenskin models. This aesthetic of the pathetic has been written about a lot, especially in Oldhammer circles, and while it has been slowly dialed back over the last few years, I think we can safely say that it’s probably gone for good now. And in a way, and in spite of everything that may be awesome about these new models, it’s sad to see Warhammer getting rid of one of the things that made it so great. Because, at the end of the day, the old toothless men were very much at the heart of what made the setting unique.

In an interesting twist,ย  the Old World and Warhammer basically started as a mashup of every fantasy race ever in one game, continuously waging war in a battle royale event. But over the years, the setting became less generic and established itself as its own thing: The low fantasy undercurrent really transformed it into something interesting. Granted, not all of it may have been equally fascinating, but there was a lot of narrative potential in places like the Empire (I still think Jack Yeovil’s classic Warhammer novel “Beasts in Velvet” serves as perfect proof of this).

The new narrative doesnt seem quite as compelling – yet – but seemingly goes back towards a more generic approach: Sigmar meeting and befriending a huge dragon? Sigmar raising up the mortal tribes over millennia? So far, it all seems like a severe case of “tell, don’t show” — we have very little attachment to this new setting, mostly because we haven’t seen all that much of it. The different realms sound like a concept that could be interesting, but with so little backstory in place, it all seems more like all the colourful backgrounds from a 90s 16bit fighting game of the Streetfighter II variety: In that game, we also get to visit all those countries, but they never provide more than a highly stylised background to the fight — the analogy seems rather apt, I think.

The treatment of WFB’s established armies is another interesting point: There are rumours about one reason for this rather radical revamp being that concepts like “Lizardmen” or “High Elves” are simply impossible to trademark — often because they weren’t even GW’s idea in the first place. I don’t know whether that really was an important part of this redesign, I don’t know much about copyright law, but Warhammer as an IP must have been a nightmare to protect sometimes. So now we get the “Aelf” instead of the Elves and the “Orruks” instead of the Orcs, and the new Lizardmen are called Seraphon,…and while it may make the IP more solid (in legal terms) and while it’s a nice service for WFB players to be able to hang on to their armies in AoS, it also seems a little hokey right now, at least until we know what the long term plan is — will there be more support for those races, or is their inclusion maybe a way for GW to cut its losses (revamping that entire Dark Elf catalogue, for instance, cannot have been cheap)? We don’t know yet.

Which, I guess, leads us to my main criticism: One thing I would really have loved to see accompanying this release is some proactive communication on GW’s part: There are probably many reasons for them having taken this route, and it should be no dark and dirty secret that some of those reasons are probably business-related. By the same token, it’s easy now to see a lot of what they did during the End Times releases as preparation for this: The End Times got players used to combining different armies into bigger alliances, something that is now turned up to eleven with AoS. The WoW aesthetic is also something that has grown more and more noticeable during the End Times. And finally, looking at the size and basic design of the Stormcast Eternals and Khornate warriors in the AoS starter set, it almost seems like the Putrid Blightkings and Skullreapers/Wrathmongers were basically a test run for this new kind of infantry — or, at the very least, designed with AoS firmly in mind. In hindsight, things fall into place rather beautifully.

But I think this would have been an excellent time for a bit of a “fireside chat” with the customer. So instead of glossing this all over as the next great thing and an option for having even more amazing battles, they should have been a bit more open about it: “Look, guys, we all love WFB to bits, but it just didn’t work any more. It didn’t sell well enough. The rules became more and more cumbersome. We felt like there was nowhere else to go. Which is why we decided to try something new. You might initially dislike our approach, but please give the game a go before you ragequit!” I think some of the hatred and frustration we are seeing from WFB players right now stems from the feeling of being ignored and/or not really addressed at this time.

The models are certainly looking fantastic, though, which is why I am at least willing to hear them out on this. The Khornate part of the deal is basically a compulsory purchase for me, and chaos seems to be closer to its prior incarnation, if a bit more ostentatious. In fact, I have preordered the box merely on the merits of the models, without even knowing whether I’ll ever play the actual game. In that way, I am probably GW’s ideal customer, because the one thing that will always win me over are cool models. And a game that allows enforces army selection based on the models I like is certainly more interesting to me than one where I have to field lots of stuff I find dull.

But it’ll be interesting to see whether this move wins GW more patrons than it alienates. Some of the visual influences make it obvious that Age of Sigmar may have been designed to appeal to additional demographics — videogamers, for instance. I think people who grew up with tabletop based roleplaying and wargaming naturally fell in love with MMORPGs and console RPGs because, well, these were their fantasy world come to life. The same may not be true in the opposite direction: Why would a WoW player go through the drag of having to build up an army. And time will tell whether or not the market can sustain another faction of massive, heavily armoured dudebros, however cool the models may be.

When all is said and done, I can watch all of this unfold from a fairly comfortable position: It’s been years since I last played WFB, so my attachment to the section is mainly nostalgic. I don’t have 15,000 points of models that have been invalidated by a change in rules. And if nothing else, the new release will provide me with lots of lovely conversion material. I do realise of course that other people stand to lose more from this than me. So for those you who are veteran WFB players and who are – maybe rightly – furious that GW killed of “their” game, let me tell you this – and I am utterly, deadly serious here, this is no attempt at being snarky or condescending:

This may feel awful now, but it could be a blessing in disguise. GW has killed off systems before (older editions of WFB and 40k as well as the specialist games like Necromunda, Gorkamorka and Inquisitor). Yet those systems now enjoy a second lease of life because they have been given over to the fans, to do with as they will. And it works! One need look no further than the brilliantly creative and highly prolific INQ28 scene as proof. Granted, games that have been officially cut loose will probably never be a mainline game again, but there is something very reassuring in the knowledge that the game is “finished” in a way. It belongs to you. Take a look at the Oldhammer community and rejoice: You can pick any version of Warhammer you like and play it. Will it be less comfortable than before? Peobably. But it’s possible. And nobody can ever take that away from you, whatever happens next. And who knows, maybe Age of Sigmar turns out to be a fun game after all? Then you will have even more options at your fingertips. Keep calm and carry on, as they say ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

So yeah, this is all my terribly wordy and rather roundabout way of saying that I think it’s a brilliant starter box, once again, and certainly some excellent value for the money (as long as you buy into the thought that little plastic men can be excellent value for the money, that is). But it might take more than a sweet starter box this time around, and as for Age of Sigmar’s future I think the jury is still out on this one…

That new logo is pretty awful, though…And to the person responsible for all of those names: Please just stop! Please…! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

So, what is your take on this release? Are you happy with the new direction? Are you frothing at the mouth with rage at the new game and the new designs? Do you love or hate the models? Or do you want to share some additional conversion ideas? As always, I would love to hear from you in the comments section!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

 

There will be blood — a hands on with the Bloodthirster and Skullreaper kits

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by krautscientist

In my last post, I promised you an account of my first practical experiences with the new Bloodthirster and Skullreaper/Wrathmonger kits, and today’s post will deal with just this subject. So you may look forward to quite a bit of kitbashing. Huzzah! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But all in good order: Before we do anything else, there’s something that I absolutely need to share with you guys. It would probably be far more modest and professional not to talk about it at all, but I am just too much of a blabbermouth — sorry! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So yeah, here’s what happened over at Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s blog a while ago:

YES!

I was chuffed to bits, as you can probably imagine! Unbelievable! I just couldn’t stop grinning afterwards!

But enough about my ego: I promised you Khornate WIPs, and you shall have them. So allow me to show you what’s been happily bubbling away in the depths of my kitbashing laboratory for the last days and weeks. One last warning, though: Beware ye, who enter here: There be lots of unpainted grey plastic ahead!

 

I. Bloodthirster

I bought my own Bloodthirster on the day of the release, although I hadn’t even planned to: I just couldn’t resist when seeing the box at my FLGS, and seeing how there was still one of the kits available for purchase, I jumped right in. So far, building this model has been a lot of fun, since it continues the trend of well-planned huge kits begun with the Imperial Knight. But let’s take a look at some pictures, shall we?

Bloodthirster Impressions (1)
This is my Bloodthirster after an hour or so. Now I did take it fairly slow, even though it may not look like it: Like I said, it’s a wonderfully engineered kit, and it went together extremely well, for the most part.

For those of of wondering about the size of the model, here he is, next to a standard Space Marine:

Bloodthirster Impressions (2)
The Bloodthirster could always have been bigger, of course, but I am rather happy with the model’s size and bulk. There’s also a very handy scale conversion pic here, for those of you who want to know how the model measures up next to the other Bloodthirster models released so far.

One interesting thing is that nobody forces you to build your Bloodthirster all armoured up: Here’s what he looks like with all the armour plates removed:

Bloodthirster Impressions (4)
In fact, Noctus Cornix’ Bloodthirster conversion (which I already recommended you check out in my last post) goes for a mostly unarmoured look, and it works like a charm!

The only armour you will positively need is that belly plate, since he’ll have a pretty big hole in his torso, otherwise.

Oh, and I know you all want to know about the size of that axe, so here’s another scale comparison for you:

Bloodthirster Impressions (6)
Pretty big, huh? I added some measurements, for those of you who are planning a conversion involving the axe:

axe_measurements
So, what’s in the kit beyond that? First and foremost, you’ll get the option to build either of the three advertised variants, of course. You also get to mix and match between them to a certain degree. I suppose it should even be possible to create new weapons setups (twin axes, for example) with a bit of cutting and gluing. Now when it comes to extra bitz, here’s a a quick overwiev of my observations so far:

  • You get an additional set of arms (for the two handed axe) plus an additional left arm, depending on whether you go with the whip or that – very ridiculous – meteor hammer.
  • There’s an alternate breastplate, loincloth and belly plate. You can mix and match between different setups with these.
  • You get three complete heads (except for a tongue bit that is shared between two of the designs). The leftover heads are slightly larger than those in the plastic Daemon Prince kit, so they might even be usable on your DP conversions.
  • There’s a bunch of chains and talismans of Khorne that you can use on the wings or be used on different models
  • you get two axe heads for the one-handed axe.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the bitz:

Bloodthirster Impressions (5)
I. The optional skull shoulder pad is interesting in that it would possibly work as a facemask on a daemon engine or *gasp* even an Imperial Knight conversion (it works fairly well on an Imperial Knight head — I checked ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

II. If – like me – you think that flame pillar is a stupid way to elevate the model on the base, you’ll get it as a leftover bit that might make a cool objective marker or something similar…

III. Here’s the alternate armour set you get: Those belly plates work pretty well as bespoke pauldrons for Chaos Terminators. And the breastplate could be used for an Imperial Knight, with a tiny bit of bending.

IV. The chains and talismans for the wings — I think I’ll rather be using these on a couple of different models, as the Bloodthirster seems cluttered enough for my taste ๐Ÿ˜‰

In closing, let me point out two more interesting bitz:

First up, the chaos icon used on the Bloodthirster’s whip:

Bloodthirster Impressions (3)
I think this would make for an excellent squad standard or a back-banner. I also decided not to use it on my Bloodthirster, because I preferred a whip without a bulky object on its end, but the part is still very cool on its own. More on this in a minute!

There’s also the Rogue Trader-era styled bone crown:

Bloodthirster Impressions (7)
As you can see, it comes as a separate bit, so you could also use it on your DPs, juggernauts or even on a Terminator lord (it almost looks like the top of a Terminator torso front anway…).

So, what about my own Bloodthirster, then?

The model is still in its building stage, and I have settled on the axe/whip combo now, because it’s just so brilliantly iconic that I couldn’t resist it. Here’s what the model currently looks like:

Bloodthirster Impressions (10)
Bloodthirster Impressions (8)
I’ve glued the model to the fantasy base for now, so I can have it upright. A couple of observations:

  • As you can see, this guy is fairly massive, even without his wings. I really like that!
  • After much deliberation, I chose the asymmetrical axe head: While the other axe is beautifully designed, it just looks slightly wrong to me, held at that particular angle — more like the ‘Thirster is presenting it to the audience. The asymmetrical version doesn’t have that problem, at least not to the same degree, and looks like he is actually preparing for a swing, so it was definitely the way to go for me.
  • You wouldn’t believe how much messing around it took to sort out that whip arm — the instructions are slightly ambiguous, with pictures that aren’t all that helpful, so getting the whip into a position where it both cleared the floor and didn’t interfere with the head did take some doing. In all fairness, however, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you use something to elevate the model a bit on its base. As you can see, I also left off the chaos star, shaving down the whip so it tapers down into a pointy end instead — this seems more natural and plausible to me, plus I got to keep that burning chaos star for something else ๐Ÿ˜‰

Most of the assembly work has been completed at this point: Only the wings remain, and they seem like a fairly straightforward affair. All in all, the model really went together very well for such a huge piece, with well-planned seams making the model look organic and natural — well, as natural as a daemonic killing machine the size of a house could ever realistically look, at least…

That’s not all though: At the same time, I have also been using some leftover bitz on some other projects:

Since I knew I wasn’t going to use the meteor hammer weapon, no matter what, I used the chain from it to add a final, gladiatorial dash to one of my Daemon Princes:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (34)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (32)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (33)
Some leftover icons of Khorne (and two runes from the vambrace of a leftover Bloodthirster arm) were used to add some extra oomph to his armour and make him look more Khornate. The main attraction is his weapon, though: Both hookswords are now joined by a length of daemonic chain, courtesy of the Bloodthirster’s meteor hammer:

World Eaters Daemon Prince (30)
World Eaters Daemon Prince (29)
I think this pushes the gladiatorial look even further, which I really like! And while we are at it, here’s a scale comparison picture with the WIP Bloodthirster and the Daemon Prince:

Bloodthirster Impressions (9)
I also promised you that I would be using that flaming chaos star for a conversion, right? Well, I did:

Dark Apostle Belzas Azalon (3)
As you can see, it makes for a teriffic Crozius Maul for my Word Bearers Dark Apostle, Belzas Azalon (I also touched up the right shoulder pad, while I was at it).

So in addition to the Bloodthirster itself, the kit has already provided me with a way to make two models considerably cooler — very nice! ๐Ÿ˜‰

II: Skullreapers/Wrathmongers

I have also started experimenting with the Wrathmonger/Skullreaper kit.

First up, take a look at this scale comparison between a (slightly modified) Chosen model and a Wrathmonger:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (1)
While the Wrathmonger may be slightly taller, the scale is still pretty similar — so similar, in fact, that parts from the Chosen will fit the new models without much of a hitch. It’s also important to stress that the guy on the right doesn’t even qualify as an early WIP — I just tacked together some bitz, in order to show you the scale.

I also find it interesting that some of the – almost comically brutish – Skullreaper heads work much better when used on “regular” CSM models. Take a look:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (2)
Much better, don’t you think? I’ve merely shaved off those stupid “cheek horns”, but now the head makes for a very fitting World Eaters berzerker!

Oh, and one thing that really excites me is that you basically get twice as many torso pieces as you need: One set for the Skullreapers and one for the Wrathmongers. And each of those pieces has its own breastplate, which can be used as intended or cut apart to use on your other WoC/CSM models — all in all, this kit provides an enormous pile of leftover bitz for conversions, which makes it a pretty good purchase, if you are not totally disgusted by the look of these guys.

I also decided to follow my idea above, playing around with a combination of Skullreaper/Wrathmonger parts and Dark Vengeance Chosen. Let’s start with something boring: The same Wrathmonger pictured above, now with a tacked on Chosen arm:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (3)
Everything’s just tacked together for now, in order to show you how well those Chosen arms work with the models.

And here’s something more involved: A mix of Wrathmonger/Skullreaper and Chosen parts:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (4)
Wrathmongers_first_impressions (5)
Once again, all the parts have only been tacked together with modeling putty for now, but there’s something suitably gladiatorial and feral about this guy that I like. I also think the model serves as proof that those leftover Wrathmonger chests can really be put to good use!

One important thing, though: Once again, the stock Wrathmongers/Skullreapers are a bit taller than the DV Chosen:

Wrathmongers_first_impressions (6)

So the best approach would probably be to save the Wrathmongers/Skullreapers for unit champs, Chaos Lords etc. Or you could choose an approach similar to that of Wonkobaggins and use the Skullreapers as counts as chaos spawn and/or Red Butchers. Check out his first experiments with the kit here.

One last thing I did was to play around with the reverse-jointed set of legs for a while: I think it would make for an excellent start for building a plastic Herald of Khorne — or even a counts as Skulltaker! After a bit of messing around, here’s what I ended up with:

Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (1)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (2)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (3)
Plastic Skulltaker counts as WIP (4)

All in all, this has been a surprisingly easy conversion: Most of the model is simply a stock Skullreaper, with the arms and head replaced with Bloodletter (and Bloodcrusher) bits. The body already has the characteristic, pocked skin, so it looks like it belongs to a Bloodletter anyway. And the armour is jagged and organic enough to pass for daemonic, don’t you think? One thing I did was to graft on a Bloodletter neck, so I would have a more natural way of attaching the head.

I am still thinking about adding a cape like the one the original Skulltaker has: On the one hand, it seems like a fun challenge (and I do have an idea that might work), but on the other hand, I am really happy with the dynamic posing and striking silhouette the model has right now, and I fear an added cape would just overclutter the model…

And finally, in an act of nearly unprecedented heresy, at least for my own standards, I used some of the hip plates from the Skullreapers’ armour in order to make the armour of a true scaled Slaaneshi Marine I built at an earlier point look more, well, Slaaneshi:

Emperor's Child (3)
Emperor's Child (4)

So far for my first round of experiments with the Skullreaper/Wrathmonger kit. In any case, I’d like to point out that I am really going to take my time with these guys, so it will probably be a good long while before I complete all five models. Even so, I’ll be using some of the additional bitz from the kit for all kinds of projects, so you’ll be seeing a lot of stuff from this kit making an appearance in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt! ๐Ÿ˜‰

III. Generosity

In a move of nearly unbelievable generosity, Commissar Molotov recently sent me a huge pile of stuff, including a lot of leftover Dark Vengeance Chosen and Chosen parts. It’s his generosity that has made my experiments above possible, for which I am very thankful. But that’s not even all: Mol provided an amazing bitz drop with lots and lots of fantastic contents. For instance, he sent me this wonderful Kharn conversion: Malthus Dire, a champion of Khorne:

Model converted by Commissar Molotov

Model converted by Commissar Molotov

Mol informed me that this conversion is actually about ten years old! Which goes to show that good, clean conversion work never goes out of style. It also goes without saying that I’ll make sure to paint him up to the best of my abilities, in Mol’s honour!

I have also used yet another Chosen from the batch he sent me for a different conversion: Taking inspiration from DexterKong’s brilliant World Eaters counts as Huron Blackheart, I have created my own version of the character for Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. Now my version is certainly somewhat less impressive than Dexter’s, and it’s not a true scale model either, seeing how it needs to be scaled correctly to fit the rest of my army, but I am nevertheless very happy with it. Take a look:

Counts as Huron WIP (7)
Counts as Huron WIP (8)
Counts as Huron WIP (9)
As you can see, most of stock Huron’s characteristic elements are there — I even got a bit of a kick out of having the model in a pose similar to that of the stock model, albeit more dynamic. Oh, and let me just add that the axe was inspired by a similar (albeit much more elegant) weapon conversion done by Biohazard!

One thing I really like is how carefully shaving off the original head allowed me to keep some of the cabling from the stock head and make it look like they are feeding into the bionic side of the head:

Counts as Huron WIP (6)
The model’s pretty much finished at this point — although I am still considering whether or not to add some longer claws to the left fist…

 

So, as you can see, the great forges of the Blood God are running hot right now! I’d be happy to hear any feedback you might have about these models! Just drop me a comment and feel free to share suggestions or ideas of your own! And expect more Khornate madness soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Plastic for the plastic god! A look at the new Khorne release

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2015 by krautscientist

Those of us familiar with the Realms of Chaos know that all blood serves Khorne in the end, so it is only fitting that, at the end of the huge maelstrom of bloodshed that is the WFB End Times, there should be the servants of the Blood God. So we get a release in red and brass, adding some substantial new material to the legions of Khorne in WFB and, with a little cutting and gluing, 40k. It should not surprise you that I consider this a pretty good month, and will only be too happy to walk you through this release. Yay!
Khorne End Times release (1)
This is only one way of looking at it, of course: Fans of Tzeentch and Slaanesh are rightly annoyed that Nurgle and Khorne seem to be getting all the love, once again. But with a plastic Greater Daemon forming a substantial part of this release, I think it is safe to say that followers of the other chaos gods are probably not all that far behind. Take heart in that conviction, brothers and sisters in chaos! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Until then, however, let us focus on the hordes of He who hunts at the head of the pack: The release brings us one huge kit, one clamshell character and one multi-kit for rather monstrous infantry. So let’s take a look at each of the kits in turn and talk about their strengths, their shortcomings and, of course, their glorious conversion potential. Grab your axes and step this way, please!

 

Bloodthirster

Khorne End Times release (2)
To say that this has been a hotly anticipated model would probably be quite an understatement: People have been beggingfor plastic Greater Daemons for a very long time now — so long in fact that it seemed almost guaranteed that GW could never possibly do all the expectations enough justice. And some people even stepped up to fill the void, among them Creature Caster, offering some very impressive alternate Greater Daemons as part of their Kickstarter campaign.

I’ll be honest with you: I was very impressed with CC’s Warrior Demon when I first saw it, and I actually asked myself whether GW would be able to produce a new Bloodthirster to match. Sure, there was the amazing Forgeworld Bloodthirster, but the presence of that model only made the designers’ task yet more difficult. And when I saw the first few fuzzy photos of the new Bloodthirster appearing on the internet, my biggest fears seemed to become reality.

I was wrong, fortunately: Once the official pictures appeared, along with the release of the kit, I really fell in love with the new Bloodthirster. After taking forever to redesign the model – and I don’t even hate the old Bloodthirster, mind you. It’s just that it’s very much a product of its time – GW’s designers have really managed to deliver an amazing new version. And we get three different variants out of the kit, no less! Let’s take a look at each of them in turn:

The Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster, pictured above, does not merely have the most idiotic name of the bunch (seriously, guys: Whatever happened to adjectives?), it’s also my least favourite version by a few degrees. It’s still a pretty stunning model, make no mistake, but it has a couple of elements that don’t sit well with me:

The meteor hammer, for one, seems like a somewhat counter-intuitive weapon choice for a horned, winged daemon, because wielding it effectively might be quite a bit of a task with all those extra appendages in the way, but that in itself would’nt be too much of a problem. What I really don’t like though, is how the head of the hammer seems just about to smash down onto the daemon’s own head:

Khorne End Times release (3)
Sure, the model just serves as a kind of “freeze frame”, but that detail really stuck out to me. There’s also the fact that I think the pillar of flames that comes as an optional part is a pretty tacky and goofy way of elevating the model’s height:

Khorne End Times release (16)
While the bit itself has been beautifully sculpted, there’s something ever so slightly off with the whole concept. And it doesn’t really work all that well on the Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster specifically, because it makes the already slightly awkward pose created by the weapons even stranger, making the whole model seem as though it doesn’t know whether it’s landing or taking flight.

There are really cool things about this specific variant, though: The axe head is a work of art, even though it looks slightly wrong held at that particular angle — more as if the daemon were presenting it to its opponent instead of preparing for some actual chopping action. The HeroQuest and Oldhammer inspired head with its stylised headdress is a wonderful idea, though — what a fantastic shout out to the vintage models! And the armour worn by the Bloodthirster is also wonderfully detailed and very cool. All in all, even the weakest variant of the kit is a massive, threatening and highly dynamic daemon, and certainly a centre piece for any chaos army.

So let’s move on to the next model in line, the Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage:

Khorne End Times release (6)
This guy supposedly works as some kind of hero and character killer, and what better way to go about that task than to be wielding an enormous axe, right? The axe is very much the focal point of the model, and it is a truly awesome piece:

Khorne End Times release (7)
The design of the weapon manages to balance daemonic/organic and metallic elements perfectly, for once, giving us something that looks like an organic chain axe, without being too creepy crawly. I also love how the arms and axe give the model a very striking pose and silhouette — I still don’t like the flame pillar on this model, but it works much, much better with this weapon setup!

The partly bestial face may be my least favourite part about the model:

Khorne End Times release (8)
It’s not even bad, mind you: It just seems like the designers could not decide whether they wanted this guy to look like a daemon, a dog or a troll. Even so, the detailing is top notch, and the icon of Khorne dangling from the head’s chin as some kind of piercing is a very cool touch.

And finally, the third variant of the kit: The Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury:

Khorne End Times release (9)
This guy is described as the weakest kind of Bloodthirster in the background, but you know what: He is by far my favourite of the bunch! Maybe it’s the fact that he hews so closely to the original, iconic Bloodthirster design? He also happens to be a pretty good representation (at long last) of one of my favourite pieces of artwork by Mark Gibbons:

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

Artwork by Mark Gibbons

For me, the Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury is just a perfect representation of what I want a Bloodthirster to look like: I love the iconic combo of axe and whip, for one. And this particular axe head works better than the more ornate one used on the Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster, if you ask me: Due to its asymmetrical, more workmanlike design, it actually looks as though the Bloodthirster is preparing for an attack with it.

But the face really has to be my favourite part of the model: It’s just perfect, a brilliant mix of bestial, skeletal and human. The quintessential demonic face, if you ask me:

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The fact that the ‘Eavy Metal paintjob on this guy is pretty much perfect helps, of course. This version of the Bloodthirster is really close to Tolkien’s seminal Balrog as well — and I’ve always imagined Bloodthirsters as the Warhammer version of Balrogs, anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also like the highly detailed whip, both for its iconic quality and for the depth it adds to the model (even if sorting out the whip arm is a bit of a pain, as I can say from painful experience). Maybe my one small gripe with the model is the chaos star used as a tip for the whip, though:

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It looks really awesome, but it may just be a tad much. Plus it actually changes the whip into more of a flail, doesn’t it? Anyway, adding that chaos star may have been overdoing it a bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and the model also serves as proof that the Bloodthirster’s running legs work really well without that stupid flame pillar: In fact, the model seems to be more aggressive and have a greater sense of agency without it, if you ask me.

When all is said and done, I think you should just choose your favourite visual elements from across all three variants of the kit and then happily mix and match. If anything, I actually dislike the fact that GW chose to create different rules for the different Bloodthirsters: In my opinion, the different weapons, heads and pieces of armour should have been a visual choice, above all else. But that’s just me.

In any case, there are some strengths and weaknesses shared by all three versions of the Bloodthirster:

First up, the amount of detail on this guy has to be seen to be believed. Every part of the model is beautifully and lavishly detailed: Seriously, just take a look at that armour:

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You even get several optional parts and variants to mix and match, which is amazing (on a related note, those breastplates would look great on a Chaos Knight, and they are just about the right size to replace a standard Imperial Knight breastplate too — just sayin’…).

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What may be even cooler, though, is that the skin beneath the armour is fully detailed as well, allowing you to build your own Bloodthirster as armoured or naked as you like!

Another thing I have ended up liking quite a bit is the model’s size: Sure, the avatar of bloodshed and war could always have been bigger, but at least it seems like the designers put quite a bit of thought into this particular choice. As a consequence, the model works really well from a scale perspective when compared with some other models: The Nemesis Dreadknight, for instance, was created to go toe to toe with Greater Daemons. The new Bloodthirster finally looks like it would make a worthy opponent for the machine! The Bloodthirster also looks perfect when placed next to a bog standard plastic Daemon Prince (or the more impressive FW Daemon Prince of Khorne). And while the model is noticeably smaller than an Imperial Knight, it still looks like it could give one of these quite a headache, thanks to the bulk added by the wings.

As for things that I didn’t like, I have already touched upon that (optional, thankfully) flame pillar, but there’s more: The wings take some getting used to. For quite a while there, I just kept referring to them as “mac & cheese wings” when talking about the model, due to the somewhat gooey looking texture. That was something that I grew used to over time, but one problem remains: Who ever thought the addition of chaos stars and icons of Khorne to the model’s wings would be a good idea?

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Seriously, this is just overdoing it a bit for the sake of coolness, isn’t it? The best way to deal with this particular detail would be to just paint it to look as inconspicuously as possible, if you ask me, in order to make it look like these were brands of some kind.

All in all, however, I’ll have to call this model a triumph! I wasn’t sure whether GW would be able to produce a Bloodthirster that could live up to the fans’ expectations, but this kit just delivers. Small gripes aside, I would call this a landmark release, and if this model is serves as the standard for the new plastic Greater Daemons, then chaos players will have a lot to look forward to!

Oh, by the way, allow me to share one small anecdote: When talking to Jeff Vader about the model, Jeff complained that the Bloodthirster even had horns and spikes on his arse — and he was right, too:

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Jeff pointed out that no Bloodthirster would ever be able to sit down because of this — and I was just about to agree with him that this seemed pretty stupid. But then the fridge brilliance kicked in: If there is one daemon in the warp whom his patron would never ever want to merely be sitting around, it would be this guy, right? So maybe those spikes are not such a bad design idea, after all…

 

Skarr Bloodwrath

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We have grown accustomed to each (End Times) release providing us with at least one new clamshell character, and this time is no exception. Giving us something more interesting than just another towering, fully armoured chaos warrior, though, was a very good call! In fact, Skarr Bloodwrath reminds me of Haargroth the Blooded One, a converted champion of Khorne from the 6th edition WFB WoC army book (and subsequent Storm of Chaos campaign).

The model itself is looking excellent, with its twisted and mutated body perfectly straddling the line between a mighty warlord of chaos and a daemon of Khorne. Let’s just address the elephant in the room, though: Removing those stupid chain flails should be the first order of the day! Seriously, they just don’t work. Even the description of how Skarr uses them in GW’s own materials doesn’t work. Imagining these weapons in motion actually makes my head hurt. They also completely ruin the model’s silhouette and composition. It’s really hard to understand why someone would have considered this element a good idea. Off with them, I say!

Beyond this very obvious gripe, the weapons themselves are rather stunning:

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The model’s armour is also very cool, with lots and lots of detail, and a pretty cool and rather original horned helmet to match. What’s more, we even get a bare headed option for Skarr:

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Granted, the bare head does seem a bit …challenged, for lack of a better word, but maybe that’s just the unhealthy red skin tone? In any case, it’s great to have the additional option — maybe this would make a pretty sweet plastic Abaddon head, come to think of it?

There’s one more thing beyond the chain flails that I don’t like: If you take a closer look at the way Skarr’s legs interact with the base, you will see that his reverse-jointed daemon legs are posed on a bit of rock:

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So far, so good, right? They even added some skulls to the base of the rock. Good job! My only problem with the whole arrangement stems from the fact that this seems to be the only rock of that size in the immediate vincinity. So Skarr seems to have carefully picked a suitable rock in order to perform his little charging forward pose, doesn’t he?

Seriously, though: This would be easy enough to solve with some additional rocks on the base, but it does look a bit strange on the stock model, if seen from the right angle.

A glance at the sprue reveals that…we actually get two sprues this time around. This might actually be a first!

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Beyond that particular novelty, the model should be easy enough to convert. You can even leave the chains off from the start — what a relief! And it looks like you could possibly replace the legs with something less mutated (or more 40k).

All in all, a very cool and original Khornate warlord with some pretty minor shortcomings.

 

Skullreapers/Wrathmongers

Khorne End Times release (24)Okay, these guys are an interesting case. And also a fairly divisive kit, as evidenced by the rather mixed reactions all over the blogosphere. Let’s take a look, shall we?

In many ways, these can be seen as a Khornate version of the brilliant Putrid Blightkings — and those guys are certainly a tough act to follow. What both kits have in common is that they provide us with massive warriors of chaos pledged to a particular god. The Blightkings’ approach seems to have been to work as a “best of collection” of everything that has ever been cool about a Nurglite model. And on the face of it, the Skullreapers/Wrathmongers seem to be going for a similar attempt.

So we get huge weapons, lots and lots of skulls, horned heads, helmets with bunny ears and yet more skulls, an unbelievable amount of Khorne runes and some mutations resembling Khornate daemons and/or daemonic hounds. And two ways of assembling the kit, no less. Sounds great, right?

Yes, well… Let’s just say that not everything works out quite that well. But all in good order. First up, let’s take a look at the Skullreaper variant of the kit:

Khorne End Times release (25)Let’s point out the good things first: These guys are pretty massive, very threatening and do look pretty Khornate, too! So far so good! The bare arms are a nice shout out to the look of Kharn the Betrayer, and combined with their size, this should make them stand out from regular warriors of chaos. The amount of detail on the models is also rather stunning.

But it seems if the designers weren’t quite content with that alone and just kept adding stuff until they finally snapped and lost their minds. And that’s when those mutated weapons happened. I mean, just look at them:

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The weapons are certainly one of the divisive elements of the kit: In addition to the extremely organic and mutated swords and axes shown in most of the offical photos, there’s also a slightly less OTT set of weapons included in the kit — but even those are extremely ostentatious and decorated to the point of ridiculousness. They are almost too ornate to be considered Khornate, but they might still work if used sparingly. But using two of these on each character in a unit? Definitely overkill!

There’s also the fact that the organic weapons remind me of nothing so much as the demon blade SoulEdge, from the Soul Calibur series of video games:

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And that’s not where the parallels end, either. I mean, just take a look at the Skullreaper with the pincer claw in the picture below:

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That guy is about one helmet and a bucket of blue paint away of looking exactly like Nightmare, from the same series:

SoulEdge (2)Sorry, but this cannot have been a coincidence. Recent WFB model releases have occasionally been slightly videogamey in their aesthetics, but this is certainly a new milestone when it comes to that particular development!

All in all, it just seems…a bit much. As if some of those ideas should better have been left on the cutting room floor. Each of the visual elements could probably have worked on its own. But the bare arms, hooligan heads, mutations, organic or highly ostentatious weapons and super-spiky armour just seem like overkill if appearing on each of the five models. Where the Putrid Blightkings work as a collection of awesome, Nurglite elements while also looking fairly cohesive as a unit, the Skullreapers just seem a bit over the top. Like the designers were possessed by their 12-year-old younger selves. Which leaves us with a kit that provides some absolutely amazing conversion fodder, but will also produce some fairly …eclectic models if assembled as intended.

But wait, there’s also a second variant to build the kit: The Wrathmongers.

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If you can get behind the idea of followers of Khorne swinging around huge hammers, these guys are actually slightly less silly than the Skullreapers. At the very least, they do seem a little more balanced and less cluttered.

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There are some pretty brilliant touches, too: Those helmets may just be some of the very best Khornate helmets currently available! And I just love the idea of the champion’s torso being studded and quasi-metallic, like the body of a juggernaut!

Yet there’s also a bit off silliness here and there: Some of the hammer poses do seem a little too stylised for their own good (the unit champion is a prime example). And let’s not get into that three-armed Wrathmonger: He’s just silly, really. Although maybe I just dislike guys with three arms?

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All in all, this kit is extremely interesting, because it combines some of the best Khornate bitz released in the last decade or so with some of the worst clichรฉs I’ve ever seen on a wargaming model. The resulting models seem a tad…uneven, to say the least: They make you want to facepalm and pump your fist in excitement at the same time — which is a pretty rare feeling…

On its own, this kit is a bit of a mixed bag: Almost great, but with some dubios design decisions and questionable visual influences. If seen as a conversion kit, however, this becomes and almost compulsory purchase. Seriously, use this as a conversion kit and a toolbox to customise your warriors of chaos, chaos lords or 40k berzerkers, and this should become one of the best purchases you’ve ever made. Use the kit as intended, and you may just end up with a unit that you hate. I’ve never seen anything quite like it (with the possible exception of the warhsrine of chaos kit): The mind boggles…

 

Conversion ideas:

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I have been thinking about possible conversions involving these new kits for quite a while now. In fact, I think that converters with a Khornate army of any kind will probably be the most happy with this release — and with good reason! So allow me to share a couple of ideas with you:

Bloodthirster:

This guy might be quite a bit more interesting for converters than seems obvious at first glance. The first thing that really warrants some exploration is the amount of customisation options, giving you the chance to build your very own, personalised Bloodthirster:

First up, you can happily mix and match between the three different kinds of Bloodthirster, combining different configurations of heads, armour plates, horns and weapons. And while the kit is constructed in a fairly straightforward way, there may be yet more options for possible customisation: What about using the lower part of the two-handed axe’s handle (or the hand holding the whip) as a base to convert a second hand axe, building a ‘Thirster equipped with twin axes (Skarbrand, anyone?). And while we are at it, it should definitely possible to use the Bloodthirster as a base for a Daemon Primarch Angron conversion. In any case, when it comes to customising the Bloodthirster, you should really head over to Noctus Cornix’ thread over at The Bolter & Chainsword: He is currently working on an amazing Bloodthirster conversion and is really putting the kit through its paces. Highly recommended!

But there’s more: Whatever configuration you choose, there will be a pretty tidy pile of leftover bitz to use on different conversions: What about using the two-handed axe on a World Eaters Contemptor (as Augustus b’Raass is currently planning to do)? Or using the head of the big axe as an alternate weapon for a Chaos Knight conversion? And speaking of Chaos Knights: Those Bloodthirster brestplates and the skull pauldron would definitely work as armour plates (and, in the latter case, an additional facemask) on an Imperial Knight!

It would also be really easy to cut apart that meteor hammer and use its head as a weapon on a Khornate Dreadnought/Helbrute, while the chain would look great on prettyย  much any chaos vehicle (or bigger model).

Wrathmongers/Skullreapers:

While these may be a bit of an acquired taste if seen on their own, I will go out on a limb here and claim that these guys will become a highly popular conversion kit when it comes to spicing up Warriors of Chaos, Chaos Space Marines and Chaos lords of every stripe. Just off the top of my head, you could use the kit in order to…

  • convert champions for your warriors of chaos or Chaos Space Marines — it goes without saying that the Skullreaper bitz will look excellent on World Eaters champions, Lords and Chosen.
  • they are also big and intimidating enough to work perfectly as stand alone Chaos Lords in both WFB and 40k
  • some of them would make a great base for custom Kharn the Betrayer conversions…
  • …or for actual true scale World Eaters: They may seem slightly too small for that at first, but these guys are easily as tall as Terminators! And they will look great when combined with parts from the Dark Vengeance Chosen — trust me on this ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • the running, mutated legs could form the base for a very interesting plastic Skulltaker conversion for those of you who would like a slightly more massive, muscular Herald of Khorne. Skarr Bloodwrath would also work wonderfully for this!
  • If I didn’t already have a squad of gladiatorial World Eaters, I’be be building one now — based on these guys!
  • And finally, the models could be combined with the Skullcrusher kit to either make more ostentatious Skullcrushers or slightly less OTT Skullreapers: The two kits should work really well together, giving you the option to make massive, Khornate warriors that are as detailed or as simple in their design, armour and weapons as you want. And it goes without saying that just a few additional touches will transform the models in question into suitable 40k characters as well.

There’s nothing stopping you from using these for other chaos gods, either: While they may seem utterly Khornate at first, just leave off some of the icons and more Khornate bitz, and they could just as well work as huge, hulking champions of Slaanesh of Chaos Undivided. Oh, and even the INQ28 crowd may find something to like here: All those fleshy, organic weapons would work really well as daemon weapons for particularly radical Inquisitors (or downright heretics). The head that has been partly flayed would be great for a death cultist, a chrono-gladiator or a similarly unsavoury type. And the mutated, dog-like head might make a cool xenos mercenary.

All of this is really just the tip of the iceberg, and I should add, in the interest of full disclosure, that I already own two kits from this release (the Bloodthirster and Skullreapers/Wrathmongers), so you may look forward to reading some in-depth observations about both kits and my first conversion projects involving them on this blog in the very near future!

 

When all is said and done, how could I not call this a strong release? I am heavily biased, after all. Even so, I think the Bloodthirster alone is very exciting, while the other two kits may indeed be a bit of an acquired taste. For converters and kitbashers and for owners of chaos armies, however, this release contains an enormous pile of new toys and conversion options — it’s just a shame that some of the models, especially the Skullreapers, are a bit problematic in their standard configuration. I am also not actually sure whether the general development towards a more videogamey look for certain characters will really pay off in the long run: Will the World of Warcraft crowd really start liking Warhammer if the designs are just zany enough? Those seem like long odds. We shall see.

I, however, am pretty happy with this release and shall keep tormenting you with projects and conversions stemming from it for quite a while to come. But what’s your take on the new kits? Are you happy? Are you disgusted? Or would you like to share some additional conversion ideas that I might have missed? I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments!

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

Breaking the mould – a look at the Nurgle End Times release

Posted in Chaos, Conversions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2014 by krautscientist

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Putrid Blightkings

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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:
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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!

Gutrot Spume

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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:

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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:

End Times Nurgle Release (5)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:

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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!

 

Magghot Lords

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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:

 

Orghotts Daemonspew

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:

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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.

End Times Nurgle Release (15)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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once again, ThirdEyeNuke has produced an excellent paintjob for the model, really bringing it to disgusting life!

 

Bloab Rotspawned

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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….

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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.

End Times Nurgle Release (18)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:

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What really sells the creature, though, is the pose: The magghot looks like its body is actually absorbing the recoil from puking…

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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!

 

Morbidex Twiceborn

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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:

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From the above picture, it’s also obvious that Morbidex seems to be one of Nurgle’s jollier servants: I can always appreciate a fellow who finds joy in his work!

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:

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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!

 

The Glottkin

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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:

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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:

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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:

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What a soulful look for such a hulking monstrosity, don’t you think?

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…

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I also really love the tentacle-like left arm, both for its texture and amount of detail and for its artwork-like, almost surreal quality.

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!

 

Conversion options

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:

 

The Glottkin:

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Magghot Lords

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?

Putrid Blightkings

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:

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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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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!

Totally rotten – a hands on with the Putrid Blightkings

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2014 by krautscientist

There I was last week, talking about my ambitious goals for this year’s Call of Chaos — and already, I have been distracted. But worry not: I am still reasonably optimistic about my ability to go through with my vow, and there’s also the fact that the new Putrid Blightkings are the kind of kit you just have to start working on right away — and I would like to show you the results of that work today:

The basic idea with these guys seems to have been to collect all the best elements and details from every cool Nurgle model and piece of artwork so far and mash them into one box of plastic crack, thereby creating a bit of a “Best Of” collection. It works surprisingly well, though, finally giving us a way to emulate the hulking, pustulent characters that have only ever appeared in the artwork so far.

When it comes to actually reviewing the kit itself, Eric Wier of Between the Bolter And Me has put together a very concise and informative piece that I can only recommend. So with the hard work of reviewing the kit already out of the way, I am free to get my hands dirty and dive right in! Before we do that, though, I’d like to add a few observations of my own (in some cases reiterating what I said in my last post):

First up, I already commented on the size of these guys, and if anything, this aspect seems to have become even more relevant since my last post: It looks like many people were planning to use the Blightkings either as Plague Ogres and/or chaos spawn, yet the scale comparison below shows that they are not all that well suited to either function:

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Many people seem to be disappointed about this. And, indeed, if you are looking for a way of converting Plague Ogryns, I’d suggest looking elsewhere: It would be far easier to just get a box of Ogres or Ogryns, the mutants from the WFB Warshrine of Chaos or a couple of Blood Island Rat Ogres and convert them accordingly. Some of the weapons and armour plates from the Blightking kit might come in handy for that kind of conversion, but I don’t really see a readily apparent way of making the heads, bodies and most of the arms fit Ogryn scale — unless you’re going for vestigial and/or atrophied limbs, that is…

But in my opinion, the glass is really half full rather than half empty: We really have enough possible conversion fodder of Ogryn/chaos spawn size readily available, as it stands! The Blightkings, however, are interesting in that they provide models that would work well as alternate Plague Terminators or, and this may just be the most interesting option, true scale Plague Marines — and without much need for making them bigger or bulkier. In fact, that’s the route I’ll be taking for my own Blightkings for now.

As people are beginning to work with the new kits, the first conversions are beginning to roll in: The spectacularly talented Jeff Vader has been working on some truly excellent Blightking conversions of his own that have been a huge inspiration for me. PDH has built some equally awesome Blightkings as an addition to his Realms of Chaos Nurgle warband (which, by the way, gets a feature in this month’s Blanchitsu, if the teaser on the GW website is to be believed) — I hope Peter will be showing his models to the general public soon. And I imagine other talented artists, such as JRN, migsula and the Spiky Rats, won’t be too far behind — I think we can look forward to a world of rot ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, allow me to add my own pound of (maggotty) flesh: Let me walk you through my first couple of (mostly) finished Blightking conversions.

It shouldn’t surprise you that my basic approach was to bring the models into the 40k universe. I am not 100% sure what the function of these will be (or whether or not they’ll ever see the gaming table), but for now, simply exploring the kit and trying to bring it into my favourite grimdark universe is very much its own reward. So, without further ado, some pictures:

Here’s my first Blightking model. You already know an earlier incarnation of this guy:

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This may still be my favourite of the bunch, although that doesn’t have anything to do with my conversion, but rather with the fact that the champion model is pretty much pitch perfect right out of the box. I chose a helmeted head (easily the coolest head in the kit) over the Plaguebearer face, because I liked the ominous look created by the helmet. Apart from that, the model was mostly assembled according to the instructions that came with the kit. To be honest, I did struggle a bit when it came to making this guy look more like a 40k model, but in the end, I think I came up with a pretty good idea: I added a cracked CSM breastplate to the model, making it look like the armour had burst under some hideous internal pressure. I am really happy with the result, because it adds a 40k element, leaves the hideously wonderful belly completely visible and, if anything, makes the model even more gross!

I also gave this guy a slightly modified backpack from the Dark Vengeance Chosen. I think the slightly twisted look is a great match for the overall Blightking aesthetic, plus the champ now has a bolter:

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Several people have suggested using more futuristic weapons — but in the end, I just couldn’t go through with it. There’s just something about the sword and axe combo that I really like, and I just couldn’t bring myself to cut them apart…

The second model started out similar to one of Jeff Vader’s conversions, although I tried to take it into a slightly different direction. Take a look:

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The base for this conversion was one of the (almost) fully armoured Blightkings, which made it much easier to turn this guy into a 40k model: The right arm was replaced with a Chaos Terminator arm (which also provided the gun). The left arm is from the Blightkings kit (although I used a bone from the WFB Crypt Ghouls to add a crossguard to the sword).

After quite a bit of deliberation, I chose a WFB chaos warrior head for the model: Not only is this one of my favourite heads, but it also fits Nurgle rather nicely, I think. Several people pointed out that the head was a bit of a missed opportunity, because a more Marine-like head would have helped making the model more futuristic. While I did want to keep the head, I also agreed with their point to some degree, so I added an array of tubes and pipes to the helmet, with some of them feeding into a custom backpack that I spliced together for the model:

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It goes without saying that the backpack does have an ominous tank on top — par for the course with Death Guard models, really ๐Ÿ˜‰

I also added some more detail to root the model more firmly in the 40k universe: some grenades and gear as well as a washer screw (painstakingly shaved off an Ork boy weapon). All in all, while the model still retains quite a medieval look and feel, I think it’s definitely futuristic enough to work in the context of 40k!

And finally, my third model so far, and possibly the most involved conversion of the three:

Once again, Jeff Vader provided the inspiration here (I shudder at my derivativeness… ๐Ÿ˜‰ ): I wanted to build a Blightking conversion wielding a heavy weapon — but I did want it to look markedly different from Jeff’s approach, rather going for the classic pose of a heavy bolter being held in front of the body. Now let me tell you: The Blightking kit does not exactly lend itself spectacularly well to shenanigans like that, and getting the arms and pose to work out turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. I persevered, however, and after much cutting and gluing, I ended up with this:

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The model ist still missing quite a few details, but I think it already gives you a good idea of what the finished model will look like. The arms holding the heavy bolter were painstakingly spliced together, using bitz from no less than four different sources (a WFB Chaos Knights right arm, Space Marine Sternguard heavy bolter, Space Marine Terminator left upper arm and, finally, the actual Blightking’s shield arm. All in all, I am really extremely happy that I went through with this idea, even though it was a lot of work! And even though I only realised it after the fact, the model could even be seen as a small tribute to this illustration by Adrian Smith.

I also think that the clunky heavy bolter backpack does a nice job of bulking out the model. I have begun converting it into a more Nurglite form, with yet more tanks welded on beneath the main body of the pack:

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This is certainly the most WIP of the three models at this point, so there’ll be more details to come. But, again, I am really happy with this guy.

All in all, I’d like to quote an excellent point made by Eric in his review of the Blightking kit:

Games Workshopโ€™s new approach ย with the Blightkings provides some freedom to the consumer, while also letting the sculptors truly explore and convey their own creative vision. ย And while some may argue that it makes conversions more difficult because you cannot simply swap an arm or body, I think it just encourages people to step out of their comfort zone and attempt more elaborate conversions, ones that are more than simply kitbashes.

This is so true! It took me quite a while to get started with these models, because the specific way the models were constructed seemed a bit intimidating. I was also forced to come up with at least a rough idea beforehand, instead of just seeing where the conversion took me. But in the end, this more involved and conscious way of working was a lot of fun, and I am really happy with the models I have managed to produce so far:

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You can probably guess my verdict: These guys are excellent, and quite a lot of fun to work with. That said, they demand more work and more planning ahead if you want to make the most of them than, say, a Space Marine kit. They are a very interesting resource for true scale (Chaos) Space Marines. And they’ll give you a huge pile of Nurgle-y bitz (and then some) that you can use on your Death Guard or Chaos Daemons. Oh, and just a word of warning, perhaps: Once you’ve hit your stride, working with them gets quite addictive ๐Ÿ˜‰

As for my own models, so far I’ve managed to come up with three characters that I am thoroughly pleased with. I am not sure whether these will be used as counts as Terminators in a small Death Guard detachment, as villains for INQ28, a Killteam or if I am just going to build an paint them for the heck of it, but when has that ever stopped me from kitbashing and converting, right?

It goes without saying that I would love to hear any feedback you might have in the comments section! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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