As if the Thousand Son’s release last autumn wasn’t exciting enough the Death Guard are here, a fully realised Chaos Legion as distinct – indeed arguably even more so – from the Chaos Space Marines as the Space Wolves are from the Space Marines. This is something that we Chaos fans have been banging on about wanting to see pretty much forever so there’s no way I was going to let the occasion pass without comment. Let the suffering of the False Emperor’s servants begin!
Needless to say this release has been hotly anticipated not just since GW teased us with shots of the Sons of Barbarus back in the spring, nor even since we saw the Thousand Sons last autumn, but pretty much as far back as there have been chaos fans who looked at the love and attention GW lavished on their loyalist cousins and dared to dream. Let’s not forget after all that the first ever codex to be released covered the Space Wolves, yet for a very long time it seemed that even to hope for the same treatment for the traitors was to imagine the ridiculous. To even suggest that such a thing might some day be possible was to invite ridicule with many chaos fans, as stubborn and bitter as the legionaries they unleash on the tabletop, insistent that GW would never indulge us as they have the Emperor’s pampered lapdogs.
Unsurprisingly then this release has also been hotly debated. We’ve been waiting for it for so long that expectation management has gone out of the window. Everyone agrees that something foul has been unleashed upon the galaxy but the gloves are off when it comes to the question of whether that’s in a good way or not. Hobbyists are divided; is this mana from a particularly pestilent heaven or an affront to the eyes and an affront to the sensibilities? For some anything less than perfection will be an insult, for others the fact that GW has acknowledged our existence at all is justification for grovelling abasement. For those of you without a strong opinion on the subject, but who want to join in on the general bickering, I’m here to help. Simply pass off my thoughts as your own and hey presto – heated argument can be yours!One of the most popular criticisms levelled at the Death Guard is that they are too heavily mutated, that they should be more restrained, the dreadfulness of their disease ravished forms a subtle horror that creeps up on the viewer as the model is explored rather that leaping at them bombastically from the moment you open the box. It’s a complaint I can certainly sympathise with, although I enjoy a good mutation myself my vision of the 41st Millennium also calls for a degree of nuance and realism.
Part of the problem, as ever, are the studio paint jobs. With almost every release from GW you hear the same refrain (and I’ll confess I’m as guilty of this as the rest of us). “I don’t like it”, we cry, “it looks too cartoony!” Then we see the bare plastic, or a version painted in a suitably grubby, gritty, Blanchian style and suddenly we realise it’s not so bad after all. The Death Guard encapsulate this to a T – and we shouldn’t blame GW for that, their hands were tied on this from the beginning.
At the end of the day the Citadel house style is all about making the models look bright and sharp, having them pop out at a distance, and not about making them look too real. This is particularly true with Nurgle – these models are thick with open sores and weeping wounds, spilled guts hanging from rotting flesh, fly-like mutations and crawling maggots. Paint these bad boys as too realistic and people will be loosing their lunches left, right and centre. Certainly that kid who’s trying to convince his mum to put some Blightlord’s on her credit card is going to be out of luck if the outside of the box looks like a still from a particularly gruesome slasher flick.We’re also familiar with Plague Marines of a less mutated stripe than we’re seeing now. We’ve been sticking horns and spikes onto loyalist space marines and greenstuffing on guts to create our own Plague Marines that we’ve become used to it. Now when we see a bunch of hideous mutants shambling towards us with murder in mind we react with horror rather than embracing them as we should. Yet our situation hasn’t really changed, it’s just reversed. Whereas once we had to stick extra mutations on to our models now we need to snip them off but the result is the same, if you don’t like the models that come in the box then change them. Nothing will ever be good enough to please everyone after all.
Many dislike the level of mutation on the new models, accusing them of being cluttered and defined by their horns, tentacles and other mutations. Personally I like my 40k models to be “blinged-up” but it really is a matter of taste. That said I’m pleased to see that most of them don’t have their guts hanging out – it’s a powerful look but the shock value of it has been reduced by the fact that for a while every Nurgle model was suffering from it.
Beneath the mutations however these models still owe a lot to the original Death Guard designs.
Exciting though the new Death Guard are, we do not need to be passive consumers here, fat little baby birds glutted with new plastic toys but still begging hungrily for more from GW. The New GWTM prides itself on listening to the fans, but listening to the fans is a dangerous and soul destroying business akin of wading through a river of sewage. Visit any website where more than a handful of GW fans are gathered together and the complaining of the entitled becomes a deafening chorus. Yet why should we build our shrines to the GW cargo cult and wait for the gods in Nottingham to deliver us a bounty only to moan that the sculpts we receive have too many tentacles (or not enough)? No-one was asking for Sky-dwarves or crying out for an expanded range of treemen whilst Sisters of Battle fans continue to pour their rage into the uncaring void and receive nothing.
Our hobby is one of craftspeople and it is at its best when we embrace that. If you love the new Death Guard get them painted. If you hate them make them better. If you want to see Chaos developed to the level and depth which it deserves get on and develop it. We don’t need to sit in a passive aggressive-sulk waiting for GW to see fit to provide us with a fully realised suite of plastic models for the Iron Warriors or an Alpha Legion codex – we are Chaos fans and born convertors. Our hobby lives and breaths through the efforts of those who push the envelope, who refuse to accept what they have been given by GW but strive to make it better, to fit it to their own vision. Without such creatives it would wither and become stale and be swept aside by newer, flashier pastimes (and now you know why I chose to name this blog the way I did).
It’s this that makes events like #MakeTheDeathGuardGreatAgain so exciting to me. Now without wishing to open up a political debate or imply criticism of any politicians or their voters, the phrase “Make (insert cause here) Great Again” has been used by such massive arseholes lately that it’s now so toxic even Mortarion won’t touch it. Truthfully just that hashtag was enough to put me off the whole idea at first, especially as I think the new Death Guard are pretty damn great to begin with. However once I got over that I actually got pretty excited about the idea.
Plus, as I’ve noted above, I love a grittier, darker, more honest version of the 41st Millennium than the somewhat over-the-top style favoured by GW. Hopefully #MDGGA will bring out the Inq28/Blanchian creative streak which would lend so much to Mortarion’s sons and I highly recommend that anyone who’s dissatisfied with the new models (or even those like me who love them) get’s involved.
Another complaint levelled at the new Death Guard is the odd proportions of their torsos (the old rib-cage-fusing-straight-onto-the-pelvis ailment that marred pre-primaris space marines). Having suffered for my art and googled images of fat men I’m still unconvinced by this.
People will say “of course their proportions are odd, it’s Nurgle, they’re all mutated in there” but that’s a cop-out. The truth is their proportions are odd because they’re really fat. These are not the Primaris marines who have the chiselled torsos of Greek gods under that armour. The Death Guard may well be muscular but they carry a lot of weight with it.
Then we need to factor in the weight and thickness of power armour. After all this is the 41st Millennium where everything is outsized and over-engineered. Sci-fi which chooses to depict a shiny, hopeful future may provide its soldiers with formfitting, bullet deflecting body-armour which owes its life-saving properties to the wonders of technology but in the 40k universe such heresy is best left to filthy xenos like the Eldar. Humans, regardless of which gods they worship, know that the best way to make armour better is to make it thicker.
So is it really fair to claim that their proportions are wrong? Time to break out the artist’s dummies!
Well, I’m satisfied but, as a picture is worth a thousand words, you can make up your own mind.
Another complaint about the marines we saw released in the past was just how short they were – hardly the towering warrior giants described in the background. Thankfully GW seem have woken up to this glaring error at last. Seen next to a Primaris marine the new models remain suitably bulky and imposing.
And now we see why the defenders of the Cadian gate were so worried – there were fully armoured Chaos Marines in there that were actually taller than guardsmen!
Whilst old-fashioned space marines look more ridiculous than ever now that they’re surrounded by sensibly proportioned models.
Plus, I’m pleased to see that my old Blightking based Chosen fit rather well alongside the new Plague Marines and can look forward to being incorporated into the ranks of my new squads.
Ah, how our little family has grown!
This also seems like a good time to mention the Thousand Sons. Although not quite on the same scale as the Death Guard and the Primaris they come pretty close and, in spite of my inclination to rail at GW for the kind of fence-sitting that’s left the sons of Magnus looking a little short beside their brother legions, they’re close enough that a few spacers will save the day. Simply by blue-tacking this one together I’ve added enough height that he can meet a Primaris’s gaze.
And I could hardly move on without a power-armoured line up for those like me who like to see who’s tall and who’s not. Just keep in mind that the Thousand Son is a little longer in the neck than he will be once his head is glued in place.
One thing that’s slightly marred this release for me has been the number of extra releases tacked on, seeming only by way of spinning a little extra money for GW. Whilst the plague marines in Dark Imperium and First Strike were excellent, did we really need things like the Plague Brethren as well? Surely with so many plague marine champions already available (one in the Dark Imperium boxset, one in First Strike and one in the plague marine box itself), did we really need another one; particularly one that’s aimed straight at the completists and hobbyists on higher incomes? Nice though this model may it brings nothing to the release beyond a unique head and a humorous nurgling – the latter of which could be converted easily from a spare nurgling and leftover helmet, both things that Death Guard fans are likely to have lying around in abundance.
Plus, amazing though this banner is, surely it could have been added to the main plague marines kit rather than justifying a £15 price tag by itself?
In the run-up to this release a betting man would have guessed that some kind of terminators would be present. The return of terminators dedicated to the individual gods has been at the top of many a wishlist for years, the Thousand Sons have the Scarab Occult and loyalists like the Blood Angels, Space Wolves and Dark Angels all have their own variants so something for Nurgle sounded like a safe bet. Those of us who were boldest (or most fanciful) even speculated that there might be some kind of duel kit, providing alternative heads and scythes so that one could build one’s Nurgle terminators as Mortarion’s elite Deathshroud. Two entirely separate kits though – that was a bounty we didn’t dare dream of.
With the Death Guard terminators we actually get to see a nice microcosm of the knife edge path walked by a champion of the dark gods. The Deathshroud stand tall and proud. Their proportions are accurate, their mutations generally functional. Chaos has bloated them in strength and stature but they retain an appearance which implies autonomy of will. They look like humans, albeit humans which have been empowered by the very best that Chaos and the pre-heresy Imperium could offer. Look at a Deathshroud miniature and one sees a character and, by implication, a mind.
Not so the Blightlords. Their mutations are more severe and crippling. Their poses are hunched, their stance feral. Here are men who’ve been killing so long they’ve forgotten how to do anything else. The weapons and armour they carry on themselves are remnants, the collected scraps that hint at the kind of men they once were. These are not the accoutrements selected by a warrior to aid him in battle but the part-sloughed skin of a creature on the path to becoming something other. The Deathshroud are stationary, controlling an objective, letting the enemy come to them through the flesh-devouring toxic fog. Meanwhile the Blightlords are lunging forwards, desperate to bring the battle to their unfortunate victims. The suggestion is that these are warriors who have lost their way, their instincts becoming animalistic, their bodies mere puppets to Chaos. Whilst the Deathshroud appear to be on the path of champions with Princehood lying within their grasp, the Blightlords are each on the slippery slope to becoming spawn.
Look at this one for instance – he’s turning into a fly. He’s not going to be making any tactical decisions apart from how to get into the jam.
The new incarnation of Typhus has certainly proved to be a divisive model, not least because of the lofty pedestal the old version was placed upon. Yet whilst the old model was contemplative the new one is anything but, showing the captain of the Terminus Est as a dynamic warleader urging his rotten troops onwards to victory. That said I’m not entirely sure I love the new pose, there’s something slightly over the top about it that recalls an anime character more than the brutal hostility of the 40k universe. Personally my inclination would be to build him with the pose adjusted, scythe held at his side as he scans the battlefield for his next victim, rather than the super-power-up pose GW have gone for.
That said this disappointment is tempered by the fact that he can be build without the ridiculous looking cloud of gas and flies venting from the destroyer hive. What’s more this one, clipped free of the trailing gas, would make for a fine sidekick/familiar/pet to a Nurgle character.
In spite of these reservations, and the vigorous slagging that the model has received in some quarters, I’m actually rather fond of the new Typhus. Notwithstanding the radical difference in pose a lot of elements from the old model have been repeated in the new, from the head to this cheeky nurgling fishing around in his guts.
Indeed if one really wanted to one could recreate the old Typhus fairly easily as the old model has been translated almost exactly into plastic as part of the Deathshroud set. In fact the designers probably had little choice but to amp up Typhus’ pose a little to make him stand out from Mortarion’s impressive new bodyguard.
Another nice thing about this release is the level of effort that’s been put into expanding the Death Guard as a legion. From being just plague marines, a colour scheme and some greenstuffed boils they’ve been rebuilt into an army packed with depth and character. Nowhere is this more apparent than the range of specialists that have been added to the army. By giving the Death Guard their own unique units in this way GW have moved the army out of the shadow of the legions and turned them into their own entity. No longer are they a Nurgle version of the space marines whereby one took the same base units and added furs for Space Wolves, hoods for Dark Angels and boils for Death Guard – and in the later instance renamed the Librarian as a Sorcerer and stuck some spikes on all the tanks. These guys have spent their time in the warp evolving, both in appearance and in organisation. Just as each loyalist chapter has become a separate entity from the codex adherent Space Marines so too have the Thousand Sons and Death Guard evolved away from being just another flavour of Chaos Space Marines. Nor is the Death Guard simply a copy of the Thousand Sons release – an event that seemed staggeringly generous at the time but which now almost seems miserly in comparison. It would have been easy enough for GW to turn out a similar package to that received by the sons of Magnus; a squad in power armour, some terminators, a character, a primarch and something to add flourish – hell, if they’d kept to the Thousand Sons framework exactly and given us pestigors in place of the tzaangors I’d have been happy enough. Instead, probably inspired by the popularity of Nurgle, they went above and beyond, choosing to release the Lords of the Plague Planet as a legion entire with a fleet of Nurgly vehicles and a cast of specialist individuals.
Of these one of my personal favourites is the Plague Surgeon, a lean, reaper-like figure who looms, ghastly and imposing, over the ranks of his brothers. Unlike the other Nurgle models, all of whom feature a distinct distended gut, the Plague Surgeon is a gaunt figure, tall and thin in a way that is both instantly befitting a servant of Nurgle and yet strikingly new in a range otherwise dominated by jolly fat men. Indeed the slender, slightly spiky look of the figure helps emphasise its grim bitterness, especially in comparison to the malevolent cheer of his allies. After all this was once an Apothecary, and one only need look at the rest of the Death Guard army to see how badly he failed in his duty.
Sadly they can’t all be winners and the Foul Blightspawn, like the Plaguecaster from Dark Imperium, feels a bit like a grab bag of crazy ideas. In essence a miniature should represent a character doing something (locked in battle, standing guard, casting a spell, pointing out an interesting local attraction). The trouble with the Blightspawn is that he appears to be doing a bit of everything. He’s throwing a grenade, and he’s stepping forward to do so, but the implied lack of speed suggests he’s only chucking it a few feet away rather than lobbing it maliciously into a trench full of cowering guardsmen. Meanwhile he’s also filling another grenade from the noxious pump on his back but the fact that he’s not looking where he’s pouring suggests he’s about to slop the toxic gunk all over both himself and his nurgling sidekick. Luckily they’d both enjoy it but that’s hardly the point. In the end he should pick one thing and stick with it, rather than trying to do both at once, and this lack of co-ordination suggests a level of incompetence in the character portrayed. The nurgling itself is described as an optional component (although any convertor would tell you that every component is optional) but including an element in a kit and then telling people not to use it if they don’t like it seems a little redundant. Indeed, speaking personally I’d rather have a model that was concentrating on loading the grenade with gunk, assisted by his diminutive sidekick, rather than trying to multitask.
The cross-eyed appearance of the helmet doesn’t help and, cool and quirky though it is, it doesn’t fit with the model and adds another layer of oddness at a stage where less would very definitely have been more.
Ultimately, the Blightspawn is just a bit too odd for me as is, although that could be fixed with some careful cutting to remove the head and replace it with something more restrained. Not that I don’t love his odd, horse-faced gasmask, I do. I just feel that it overeggs an already complex model, turning its gleefully grubby eccentricity into out and out zaniness. Perhaps it would look better on a terminator?
The Biologus Putrifier, on the other hand does weirdness with far more aplomb. Whilst the Blightspawn is muddled by its many quirky components the Putrifier is a model of greater maturity and co-ordination. The model may have lots of odd or impractical elements (if one is going into battle whilst carrying a large number of fragile glass vials perhaps attaching them to frail wooden wings on your back where they’re hard to reach may not be for the best) but because everything is kept to a single theme it works. Indeed, in spite of some stiff competition, this may actually be my favourite of the new Death Guard character models.
Whilst the other characters develops the Death Guard’s use of biological weapons the Tallyman stands in for the Dark Apostles of other Chaos factions and explores their relationship with their patron god. Combining Nurgle (and the Death Guard)’s love of order with a Chaos factions’ need for a priest class, the Tallyman counts and records every aspect of battle in an attempt to divine their noxious god’s will. It’s a very structured, some might even say scientific, approach to religion. Rather than just taking things on faith the Death Guard seek to further their understanding and force order onto the esoteric. After all a paranoid like Mortarion would never just accept an interpretation of Nurgle’s will unquestioningly, especially not if it is whispered to him by some treacherous warp entity. He’d want to get as much inside knowledge as he could so as to plan his campaigns appropriately.
Furthermore the inclusion of the Tallymen helps to emphasise that the Death Guard remain a structured, co-ordinated Legion, not just a bunch of rampaging fanatics. Furthermore whilst the Plague Surgeon represents the outcome of leaving a morbidly obsessed Apothecary in the Warp for ten thousand years the Tallymen are something new, a result of the Death Guard’s evolution in Nurgle’s service rather than a holdover from their days fighting for the Emperor.
Scrying The Warp
So what’s next? With Mortarion and Magnus on the loose, plus their do-gooder brother holding the Imperium together, it seems like a fairly safe bet that over the next few years we’ll see Khorne and Slaanesh receiving the same treatment as Tzeentch and Nurgle with full army releases for the World Eaters and Emperor’s Children, and their respective primarchs to boot. It also seems like a sensible line of reasoning to assume that Imperial customers won’t be left out – no-one at the head of GW will be thinking “do we really need to open another goldmine? Surely we have enough money by now?” Imagine though if GW was brave enough to really pursue the possibilities, and plunge into the potential that the background offers. Could we ever live in a world where the likes of Lorgar or Perturabo bestride the tabletop, directing the fanatical priesthoods or massed heavy artillery of their (very different) legions?
As for the loyalists three chapters in particular have received a lot of attention in the past and it seems sensible to assume they will in the future; the Space Wolves, Dark Angels and Blood Angels. From GW’s point of view Leman Russ must look like a licence to print money (although the fact that they already sell a model called the Leman Russ is bound to be a source of confusion…). Indeed an older, wilder, wolfier Russ loping back out of the Eye of Terror after ten thousand years would contrast nicely with the clean shaven young Russ Forge World produced for the Heresy era. The Lion too just needs to wake up from his Rip Van Winkle style nap beneath the Rock and reignite his partnership with Guilliman from the Imperium Secundus days. Sanguinius of course is still rather dead but have no doubt, a money-man in Nottingham is thinking right now about how much cash could be made and some poor designer is trying to work out how it could be done without bringing all the nerd-rage in the world down on their heads. I may not particularly like having any loyalist primarchs back in action but now the jar has been opened it’s unlikely to be stoppered again soon although GW must be aware that something as extreme as Sanguinius would be a risky move and likely to alienate more fans than it attracts.
In the nearer future, if I was asked to guess, I’d put my money on seeing a Nurgle release for Age of Sigmar coming soon, mirroring that we saw for Tzeentch earlier in the year. The Blightwar boxset introduced the next phase in the story of the Mortal Realms as Nurgle takes over from Khorne as the main protagonist.
Already we’ve seen the arrival of this hideous model, a miniature so ugly that it’s crying out to be #Made Great Again (although given that I’m fairly short on funds at the moment I think I’ll restrain myself – buying an ugly model specifically because I think it’s ugly sounds counterintuitive even to me).
A further release seems likely, with sensible money being on a new Great Unclean One joining the pantheon of bigger, better Greater Daemons. Those who read my review of the Death Guard half of the Dark Imperium boxset may also recall that I predicted we’d see pestigors as part of this release (and so know not to trust me when it comes to predictions) but I still wonder if they might be forthcoming for AoS.
Anyway, having made my predictions (and prepared myself for the shame of their wild inaccuracy) I’ll wrap this post up before I write myself into a corner. Consider a pun about gutsy moves to have been made and if you have thoughts of your own the floor (or at least the comments box) is yours.
As ever if the pictures aren’t mine then I’ve pinched them off GW without asking. Don’t get on your high horse with me GW – you could have made the Thousand Sons bigger!
October 7th, 2017 at 9:31 pm
Good lord I could feel my wallet getting lighter and lighter as I read on. I’m with you sir, more bling (detail) the better. As you say, if you don’t like it change it.
October 9th, 2017 at 10:18 am
I’m on a mission to encourage more self-reliance and creativity 🙂 And yeah, I either need to find more time and money and/or more willpower, or GW have to slow down with releasing cool things. I’ve not even got around to picking up any Thousand Sons yet and now this happens. Relax, GW, release 6 months of Stormcasts or something and let me catch up will you!
October 10th, 2017 at 6:22 am
Haha. Have they always done this or has there been more of a surge over the last couple of years? I didn’t really get back into the hobby until late 2014 so I don’t know. I do know that I pretty much bought the last battle force box of Bretonnian knights mid 2015 and then everything changed. ie AOS
October 10th, 2017 at 10:19 am
Really it’s always been like this. The thing is when I got into the hobby (a bit over a decade ago now) releases came monthly rather than weekly. If it wasn’t something I was that jazzed up about that month then I could safely ignore the whole thing – and even if it was because all the models were released on the same day it was too much to even think about buying in one go so I tended to get whatever stood out to me most (assuming I had money at the time which I usually didn’t) and then wishlist about the rest. Some of those other kits I’d buy over time – most of them I’m still wanting to get around to now… However now they drip feed everything which keeps interest high, and which I’m all in favour of, but which basically makes every release a big deal in and of itself. I may have the willpower of a particularly stoic grey knight* but even I have to fend off temptation all the time now. Plus as time has passed I’ve started more armies which means there’s a much higher likelihood that any given release ties in with something I’m already interested in. Back when I started if it wasn’t an Ork I didn’t care but now there’s about a dozen fronts they can attack my wallet from.
*I really don’t …
October 10th, 2017 at 8:39 pm
I feel you brother. There’s soooo many kits I could go out and buy tomorrow but kids, mortgage etc hehe. I find it hard to keep up with all the releases to be honest so tend to rely on you and others to tell me what’s going on haha. I log on to the GW site occasionally and check out the new and exclusive though. I’m sort of saving my pennies for the Necromunda release. Really hoping they do a re-release of Mordheim.
October 8th, 2017 at 3:01 pm
Nice summary of the releases to date. I’m still most excited about the multipart plastic Plague Marines, but it isn’t as I already has plenty of those from the Dark Imperium and starter sets.
October 9th, 2017 at 10:19 am
I hear you; the painting desk is groaning under the weight of things to finish and my wallet is yelling at me so I’m struggling manfully to resist. It’s not easy though – it’s not easy at all…
October 9th, 2017 at 11:37 am
I’m intrigued to see what they do next with Chaos – an updated 1K Sons or Khorne book would be obvious, but I’m much more interested a potential Fabius Bile corrupted Primaris release!
October 9th, 2017 at 2:51 pm
I’m imagining, and it may be wishful thinking, that we’ll see releases of a similar scale to the Death Guard for World Eaters and Emperor’s Children, perhaps alongside a follow up release for AoS incorporating additions to the daemons range that tie in to the associated god (as we saw with the Thousand Sons/Tzeentch release). Then something for Chaos renegades covering all the unaligned models that really need replaced (chaos marines, obliterators, whatever else). I’d love it if the really dug in though and did all the traitor legions, dark mechanicus, traitor guard, etc but I think that might be wishful thinking at least in the short to medium term.
I agree that seeing a bit more done with Fabius would be nice too. Often people worry about the future of Slaanesh in GW’s range, the argument being that the Emperor’s Children wouldn’t see a release of the kind we have/expect to see for the Death Guard/Thousand Sons/World Eaters because Slaanesh = Boobs = Not Family Friendly. However with the Emperor’s Children there’s actually quite a wide range of elements and characteristics they could explore; the duellists, the combat drugs, the esoteric weaponry (sonic weapons of course but I’m sure they can think of plenty of other weird and wonderful possibilities). Old Fabulous Bile and friends would be a natural choice to include there, and the idea that he wants to start working on his own version of Primaris has already been established in the background – hopefully by way of foreshadowing 🙂 Plus he was doing really well with his scheme to clone Primarchs before Abaddon messed it up for him by killing Clone Horus and trashing his lab. He’s spend the last ten millennia improving his skills but I suspect what he really needs is an uncorrupted Primarch corpse to work on. We’ve seen a softening of relations between Typhus and Mortarion and Ahriman and Magnus over the last year, perhaps it’s time for the Fulgrim to put the band back together? After all Fabius wants Gulliman’s corpse to experiment on and Fulgrim wants to finish the job he started (and this time do it properly). Food for a future GW summer campaign perhaps?
October 9th, 2017 at 4:29 pm
I’d pretty much hope for all of the above, but I have a sneaking suspicion that other than a small release for the other 3 chaos gods specifically, I don’t think generic chaos marines will see much more love before a primaris style reboot. Not sure we will ever see update multi-part chaos marines, chosen or havocs which would be a pity.
October 10th, 2017 at 10:06 am
Oh hold on – the penny has just dropped for me. GW have become aware – how could they not – that their space marines are far smaller than the background fiction describes them. However they can’t just admit this and redesign the entire range without making a lot of people feel that their lovingly collected army is now invalidated. So they sweeten the pill by introducing the idea of “Primaris marines” – space marines who just happen to be bigger than normal (or as it turns out, roughly the right size). Those who want truescale marines can now buy them and those with ten thousand points worth of perfectly painted Blood Angels don’t feel the need to burn their army in protest.
Then they ask themselves what to do about the Chaos marine fan’s who’re in the same situation. Enter Fabius Bile, who quickly captures some Primaris marines and makes an army of them ready for the next wave of the Chaos campaign. Now I think about it I think you’re right, we won’t see an updated Chaos marines kit but we will see a “Corrupted Primaris” release, featuring analogues of the Chaos marines/Chosen/Havocs/etc.
October 10th, 2017 at 12:18 pm
Yeah – I really do think this is how it will probably pan out.
October 9th, 2017 at 9:18 am
Wize words, and some valid points. I agree with most of them. I actually bought the nurgle half of Blight War from a mate. It contains almost exactly the same miniatures as the “Start Collecting Nurgle” box for AoS, but the herald is substituted with the new snail creature. As DG now can take daemons as part of their force (like they used to, back in 4th edition) and as I already have the herals model, I thought it was a good deal. Not sure what to do with the snail, it will probably be used as a Spawn of Nurgle — I will snip off the plow, the bound nurgling and see if I can build it without the rider (in which case I will use it on one of the plague drones instead).
The only downside is I don’t really know what to do with my 50+ metal plague marine force. Perhaps use them as regular Chaos Marines with the mark of nurgle. Slimy but not grown in size like the DG.
October 9th, 2017 at 2:45 pm
Aye, I can imagine some interesting beasties could be made from the snail if it works without the rider. I’d have to get ride of the eye stalks though, the droopy, come hither look on them just bothers me too much. I think the rider would work well on a fly, I just find it a bit OTT with the rider and snail combined.
I’m pleased to see that daemons are back in the codex alongside chaos marines. To my mind Chaos should naturally have a bit of variety but that should be themed along allegiances to a particular god. My mental image of a chaos army includes chaos marines, daemons, cultists/mortals/beastmen, dark machanicum constructs – all with the same patron god. For a while the codexes seemed to be discouraging that, whilst encouraging mixed god armies which to be honest I think should be fairly rare and circumstantial. Outside the Black Legion (and even within it I’d imagine) Khorne bereserkers running around with plague marines is going to be a rare occurrence – about as likely as seeing a squad of guardsmen fighting alongside some ork mercenaries and a troupe of elder harlequins. It makes for an interesting story, and probably throws up different tactical challenges, and it doesn’t ignore the background in the way that – say – tyranids fighting alongside sisters of battle would – but it’s still going to be a fairly unusual turn of events.
As for my old (and now short looking) plague marines I’m not too cut up about them, they’re very old and my skills have improved a lot since I made them, so I reckon they’ll cope with getting packed away and replaced by the bigger arrivals. For me it’s the FW plague marines that I’m finding a little bittersweet. I’ve wanted those models basically forever and finally caved in and bought them a few months ago, on the assumption that soon they’d be discontinued in favour of the new plastics. Now I discover that they’re really small in comparison to the newcomers (and my enthusiasm for small marines has died a death since Dark Imperium). Now you’ve got me thinking about it though they’d be perfect contenders for being “made great again”. 🙂
October 9th, 2017 at 9:12 pm
I’m a big fan of the look of the FW Plague Marines – mixed mine in with Dark Vengeance chosen and 3rd party bits so they aren’t too far off the new GW plastic Plague marines in size. I’m still considering getting some more to make some havocs – will probably mix in with the Mark III Heresy plastic marines which are a bit of a half way point in size between old plastic CSM and new plastic Plague Marines.
October 10th, 2017 at 9:34 am
I bought the FW 30k Deathshroud terminators, intending to nurgle them up a bit. Not sure what to do with them now, I haven’t built them yet, and haven’t got the new ones, but perhaps they can be crossbred somehow.
I didn’t like the look of the regular FW Plague terminators, so I’m glad I didn’t get those.
October 10th, 2017 at 10:45 am
@Heretic30k; Good tips, I’m not ready to give up on my FW Death Guard (and one always needs more plague marines right) so thanks for the pointers, we’ll see how I get on.
@Laffe; I’d be very interested to see a size comparison between the 30k Deathshroud, FW Nurgle Terminators and the two new plastic Terminator kits. Would be very useful to see at this stage but so far I’ve not seen anyone post anything like it online.
October 11th, 2017 at 8:41 am
It turned out I didn’t have the FW Deathshrouds, but the FW Grave Wardens. I will compare them to the Blight Lords when I get them (they are ordered but still in the mail).
October 11th, 2017 at 1:48 pm
I’d actually forgotten about the gravewardens – old Mortarion’s got so many different terminators to call on these days it’s hard to keep track. Not that this is a bad thing – variety is the spice of life and all that. Now I think on it surely it’s not beyond GW’s technological abilities to create some kind of app that allows one to compare to models side by side? Not that I’d know how to use it but I’m sure it could be created – and it would be rather handy when planning conversions.
October 9th, 2017 at 10:13 am
Wow, great write-up mate, though I must admit that the new DG do leave me somewhat cold – as do all things Nurgle tbh. My fave mini of the range is the Plague Surgeon, and for good reason… I just don’t ‘feel’ the link between disease and being obese, and the whole concept resonates far more with a gaunt, emaciated look imo. No reflection on these new minis I guess, because Nurgle has always been a bit of a puzzle to me I’m afraid
October 9th, 2017 at 3:37 pm
I know what you mean, much as I enjoy the fat Nurgle look I’ve often thought that famine is an overlooked element of his influence. I suppose the idea is that all those diseases incubating in their guts gives them a swollen midriff and, especially in recent years, that’s become the aesthetic that’s used to tie the whole range together. Plus as everyone knows all fat people are happy, Nurgle is a happy god, so it stands to reason that the followers of Nurgle are fat. Have you ever heard of a fat person who was less than jolly all the time? Of course you haven’t.
That aside the Plague Surgeon fits in nicely with all the rest of the range so it shows it can be done, perhaps this was GW testing the water to explore whether thinner followers of Nurgle would work? I was also pleased to see that a lot of the poxwalkers are quite thin, my initial assumption was that they’d all have pot-bellies like the plague bearers.
I’d also like to see some fatter followers of Slaanesh. These days they’re all very thin and athletic, although there’s been the odd obese noise marine in Black Library books. Surely though a culture of excess leads to excessive eating – we’ve already seen that in the real world – and the pre-heresy Emperor’s Children were known to enjoy a good banquet or two.
And yeah, if you don’t like the Nurgle look then no matter what they do that’s going to be how things are. I don’t like High Elves or Cadians; I can appreciate that other people do but for me they’re nothing special.
October 11th, 2017 at 2:33 am
Good call on Slaanesh worshipers – like Pearl from the Blade movie 🙂
October 9th, 2017 at 6:45 pm
This was an excellent and well considered article! And thank you for mentioning our challenge. I admit we were very hesitant for use the “make great again” phrasing due to all of its very negative baggage. Thank you for giving it a chance!
It is also good to see some discussion about the proportions of the models. I agree that their tendency to be fat and corpulent might explain a little of their look, but still think they have problems. Your mock up is helpful, but I believe it points out the issue. If the model’s chin started where the dummy’s did, I think the proportions would be good. But instead it bisects his upper lip/mouth. And if you take into account that the model should have a neck, that would push their shoulders even lower. With this said, I think the Plague Marines are a little better than the terminators, particularly when considering where their arms are attached. Admittedly, this is a problem terminators have had for years, and not a Death Guard problem specifically. Having said all of this, we started the challenge to encourage people to take matters into their own hands if they are not satisfied, rather than just complain, because as you mentioned there will never be a perfect kit, since everyone wants something different.
Thanks again for taking the time to write about your thoughts on the Death Guard, with so many new models it is quite a feat!
October 10th, 2017 at 10:39 am
Thank you! I told myself I wasn’t going to try and write a review this time, that there were too many models to tackle, that it would take too long for me to write/people to read. Mind you I often tell myself that I’m not going to buy any new miniatures until I’ve painted whatever I’m working on so I’ve learned not to put too much stock in what I tell myself.
I tend to agree on the terminators, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about truescaling terminators and if I can find the time to fit #MDGGA into my increasingly complicated array of projects and real life shenanigans then that’s probably the direction I’d go in. As for the plague marine the more I look at the sketch the more I feel that the shoulders are about right (given the assumed thickness of the armour) but that the head sits a little low. I’m not sure, aesthetically, if the model would work with a slightly longer neck, having the head set down into the armour gives the figure a sense of weight and solidity but also throws the proportions off slightly. A slight spacer (a ball of greenstuff would do nicely) would raise the head to the right height and also bring the eyeline a little higher (which itself tricks the viewer’s eye into seeing the model as bigger – which is probably still a good thing even with the bigger scale of the new models).
October 10th, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Yeah, it is amazing you were able to will yourself to write about everything! Years back I would often do similar write ups for Between the Bolter and Me, but they were so time consuming, and I don’t think too many read them, ha ha. It is also hard to convince yourself to do such a post if you do not like the models. Spending hours writing about things you dislike is hard to justify, I find. But with the Death Guard release, there is a lot to like, and some questionable parts too, making it a good talking point. Most of my thoughts on large releases now tend to be on my podcast Dragged into Turbolasers, since simply talking about the models is a lot easier than writing. It has also allowed the blog posts to focus more on our own conversions instead. But I do miss those posts.
Also, it would be awesome to see you work on some terminators, but I understand how other commitments can get in the way. I think your idea of adding a little spacer for the neck on the Plague Marines would be good. It would not have to be too much, lest the model looks awkward. But I don’t think raising it a little would change the general image of the model, and just make them look more natural.
October 10th, 2017 at 4:51 pm
Often I find that there are certain models that I really want to write about and I find myself with enough text for a review of half the release, then I need to slog to the finish writing about the rest. That said it can be quite beneficial, making me go back and really look at models I’d dismissed at first. I really enjoy the discussion that get’s going afterwards, hearing everyone’s thoughts and plans about the release but it is a lot of work and every time I think “this one’s going to be the last”.
I’m not sure I could pull off a podcast about miniatures myself, there’s a lot of pausing to think and looking things up that goes into creating these reviews. Knowing a few people who work in radio/commentary (and assuming that the same talents translate to podcasts) I can assure you it’s a real skill to do what you do. A podcast of me would be 90% silence, 10% the sound of me scratching my head! 🙂
October 9th, 2017 at 11:45 pm
Love your overviews, dude!
Overall I’m digging this release – mutation and biomechanica is really git me into Chaos in the first place! I kinda feel that with one or two exceptions, the last metal Plague marines are probably the least interesting in the gradual evolution of the Death Guard – that said I love the fact that the models have elements that hark back to so many of the previous models, including those kits! It brings a real sense that the designers put a lot of thought and affection into the choices they made.
I also really dig your analysis of the different types of terminator in this release. One of the other things I’m digging design wise is how it ties in with the narrative of the models – the Death Guard were a primarily foot-slogging, self sufficient Legion, hence lots of field repairs, jury-rigged heat sinks on the backpacks, and carrying lots of spares and gubbins…
I also really like the smaller icon that comes in the Plague Marine kit, more if a holy icon or relic than another standard.
Thanks also for the size comparisons – I wasn’t aware that the rubric Marines were so relatively tall! I’ve got a bad feeling my Nurgle renegades are going to look tiny next to their newer cousins (at least Abaddon still looks huge compared to them!). It’ll be interesting to see what my OH picks out of the new range to supplement the existing Death Guard army when we get the time 🙂
October 10th, 2017 at 4:10 pm
Thanks very much! 🙂
My feeling on the question of mutation vs non-mutation in chaos marines is that, much as I like the idea of fairly mutant free chaos marines (e.g. Iron Warriors, Night Lords, etc) one can convert those fairly easily from loyalists in older armour marks with the odd spiky shoulder pad. Successfully creating truly mutant chaos marines on the other hand, with all the gubbins, the biomechanical add ons, the horns and tentacles and so on, and not having them turn out looking a bit OTT and lacking in direction is quite a skill. If GW want to do it for us – and pull it off with aplomb – then that suits me nicely.
I also agree on the amount of love, attention and thought that’s gone into making these look like characters that live and fight in the way you’d imagine. They’re in the field fighting for months on end and don’t have the time to get their gear fixed properly, so they do it themselves. They’re self reliant – they don’t have a fancy forge to make adjustments to their armour, especially not when it’s being bent out of shape by their own warping flesh. Plus whilst a loyalist marine can expect a chapter thrall to make repairs to their armour etc I’m fairly certain those of the Death Guard died long ago of some hideous flux – or have turned into shambling zombies, neither of which is conducive to high quality workmanship.
I actually bought a single Thousand Sons miniature just so I could make that size comparison, and so I could have a look at how they sized up to the others in the hand. My concern was that with the Thousand Sons release happening pre-Primaris they’d be left behind amongst the small marines whilst the other chaos legions got larger figures. I’m pleased to see that’s not quite true (although an extra millimetre here or there wouldn’t have gone amiss).
January 8th, 2018 at 3:32 am
I like your break down of this release! Will be interesting to see what GW does next with Chaos wise.
I’m curious about the minor work you did on the Thousand Son mini you have up there. Where did you add spacers to make him more on par with the Primaris marine?
January 8th, 2018 at 8:21 am
In those pictures he’s got a little ball of blue-tack under each foot, which raises him slightly, another at his waist (torso and leg subassemblies are complete but the two aren’t fixed together yet) and another under his head. Before he’s finished I’ll replace those with proper spacers. One could stick spacers on the legs but that would call for more cutting and adjusting which runs afoul of all that lovely detail that we want to keep. Knee-to-knee he’s about right with the primaris and then the tabard at the waist hides a multitude of sins. As for raising the head slightly it fixes some of the anatomical issues that must otherwise be going on by making him look a little less squashed inside his torso.
Hope that helps – and thanks for the feedback.
May 26th, 2018 at 4:02 pm
An excellent article with great analysis of each model, and the themes they explore. The one point of contention I would make is in defense of the blightspawn. I agree that his head is a little goofy, but I think the pose actually perfectly exemplifies one of the elements of Nurgle. It implies a kind of lethargic inevitability that I think Nurgle often typifies. I can imagine him lumbering across the battlefield, unconcerned about incoming enemy fire, lazily lobbing bombs filled with his master’s poses all around, unconcerned, but more interested in tossing the next cannister of doom than in where it goes, because Nurgle will get everything eventually.
May 26th, 2018 at 4:05 pm
(Poxes not poses)
May 27th, 2018 at 1:44 pm
You know, I’ve read and re-read your comment, and looked back at my original assessment of the model, and I can’t really find fault with what you’re saying. The model just doesn’t quite click for me and yet I see exactly what you’re getting at. Coming back to the model with fresh eyes I find myself starting to think about what I could tweak, where I could cut components away and put others in, how he could be adjusted. Indeed of all the Death Guard single-models he looks like he might be the easiest to convert. Who knows, you may have changed my mind about him – certainly I’m warming to him.
November 21st, 2022 at 6:23 am
[…] the range further would be well worthwhile, at the time it was a revelation. Then along came the Death Guard and really blew me away. With its huge range of unique kits all designed around the theme of a […]