Thursday, October 30, 2014

New Nurgle, pt. 2 -- a hands on with the new Putrid Blightkings

Hey everyone, KrautScientist here. In the last post published here on DFG, TJ already talked about the possible conversion potential of the new Putrid Blightkings. And now that the kit has been with us for a while, allow me to talk in more detail about my own experience with these guys. Step this way to learn more.

Let's face it: The Putrid Blightkings are the kind of kit you just have to start working on right away, at least that's how it was for me: When I saw the pictures of the kit in WD Weekly, I couldn't quite believe the amount and detail and versatility, but I still placed a pre-order with my FLGS in a heartbeat -- I was just that curious!

Having worked with the actual kit now, I can tell you that these guys are truly excellent— and I would like to discuss my observations so far and the results of my work. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll also admit that this post is a slightly reworked version of a piece I pubished on my own blog, Eternal Hunt, earlier this week. But I am still reasonably certain that there is enough relevant information to warrant featuring this material over here as well. So, here goes:

The basic idea with the Putrid Blightkings 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:
  • the level of detail in this kit has to be seen to be believed! Seriously, those guys are every bit as spectacular as they looked in WD Weekly
  • the amount of bitz you get is equally impressive: Even after building five complete models, you should have lots and lots of leftovers for the rest of your Nurglite conversion needs: The amount of heads, rusty weapons and armour plates alone is staggering!
  • the kit is pretty versatile, and you’ll be getting quite a few very different looking models out of this one — however, the kit is not as flexible as many “classic” multi part plastic kits (most of the (Chaos) Space Marine range comes to mind), due to the way the models are put together. This is not a problem per se, but it does mean you’ll need to plan ahead in order to convert these guys…
  • …speaking of which: (Chaos) Terminator parts will work great on these, from a size perspective.
This last point is pretty important, I think, because many people planning to use these models in 40k seem to be unsure as to their actual size: I’ve seen speculations that the Blightkings are Ogre/Ogryn-sized, and I’ve snapped a quick comparison shot for you:

As you can see, these guys are definitely NOT Ogryn-sized. In fact, they are slightly smaller than Terminators. And it looks like many of the people were planning to use the Blightkings either as Plague Ogres and/or chaos spawn are disappointed now that the models are not all that well suited to either function.

But is this really such a loss? We really have enough possible conversion fodder of Ogryn/chaos spawn size readily available,don't we? 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…

In my opinion, however, the glass is really half full rather than half empty: The Blightkings are much more 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 ;)

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:

This guy 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:

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:

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:

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

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:

Once again, Jeff Vader provided the inspiration here (I shudder at my derivativeness… ;) ): 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:

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:

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

Games Workshop’s new approach  with the Blightkings provides some freedom to the consumer, while also letting the sculptors truly explore and convey their own creative vision.  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 first three models:

As it happens, I have already begun working on the next model in line: the squad's icon bearer:

Granted, the model is still missing the actual icon: But the rest of the model is mostly there ;)

All in all, 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 ;)

As for my own models, so far I’ve managed to come up with four 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?

This has been KrautScientist. Thanks for tuning in!


  1. I like where you are going with them. I'm doing roughly the same thing, but I'm going to use them as Spawn despite the size difference. Frankly, I don't really feel like there is any specific need for a big model on a 40mm base, as long as the model is on the same base size. The only gameplay affect is really whether or not they gain cover, but in 7E 25% of a Blightking model isn't much less than 25% of an official spawn model(which next to no one uses anyhow). I don't foresee a big problem with opponents despite the size difference.

  2. nice conversion. Is there any way of assembling all 5 so that none of them are wearing armour? Its the fantasy type armour that lets them down for 40K IMHO, the bare chested models look great.

  3. Well now, this is all very interesting. I'd been looking at abusing them to make some suitably flesh-golem-ish Crypt Horrors for a Vampire Counts force (I'm not particularly keen on the bones-in-noses brigade); the thought of doing Terminators or Obliterators hadn't crossed my mind, but it'd tie in beautifully with the vague idea I had of doing Plague Marines with the Avatars of War infantry...

  4. May i ask where you got all the tank bits from (the ones on the backpacks)?

  5. Cheers for the feedback! :)

    @ Knight of Infinite Resignation: Ufortunately, no: Of the five models, two are designed as "full armoured" (minus a foot or so), two are "mostly armoured" and one is mostly unarmoured. If you get a little creative, you can kitbash five mostly armoured guys (like I have), but for even more armour, you'd have to break out the GS.

    @ Johnny Quach: Cheers, mate! Some of the tanks were tanks from IG flamers (cut in half), and the twin tanks on the heavy bolter guy came from the flamer of the Nemesis Dreadknight.

    Hope this helps! :)