Long, long ago, when I first started this blog, I painted up a squad of Plaguebearers. For anyone who doesn’t want to dig that far back into the archives – and who could blame you? – here’s a reminder of how they look.
I like to think my painting skills have developed a bit since then but on the whole I reckon they hold up fairly well. However for some reason I stopped working on them after completing 18 models, rather than rounding them up to a squad of 20. The other day however I spotted the remaining pair looking lonesome and dejected in a box of odds and ends and decided that it was well past time I did something about them.
For the first one I tried to keep it fairly close to the style of the originals, albeit with a few new flourishes. This turned out to be harder than I expected, recreating the old style from memory taxing my brains and memory to the extent that the whole thing turned into a bit of a chore.
For the second one I decided to say “stuff it, let’s just get it done” and abandoned the old style in favour of painting it entirely in various styles of disease-ridden, bruised and tortured flesh.
He looks a little different to the older models but he ties in fairly well with some of my newer servants of Nurgle.
With these two done the whole squad is ready to get out there and spread some diseases.
This also brings me another squad closer to getting my Death Guard army up and running so at some point I’ll have to dig everything out of their boxes, tally it all up and have a think about what else I want to paint up. In the meantime however I thought this was a good moment to turn my attention away from 40k to look at a game I actually play instead, and put together a little Warcry warband of Nurgle daemons.
Lead by a Sloppity Bilepiper (still the most fun thing to say in Games Workshop’s catalogue) the warband also includes four Plaguebearers, two swarms of Nurglings, a Beast of Nurgle (the converted tree creature) and the Daemon Prince of Nurgle who normally leads my Death Guard, currently moonlighting as a Plague Drone.
Back in January of 2018 when I reviewed the newly released wave of models for the Nurgle Maggotkin I bemoaned the lack of originality of the Lord of Blights and listed a few alternatives that I thought they could have produced, rather than just rehashing the concept of the well-loved Nurgle Lord. I concluded by suggesting that;
“We could even have had a woman. Of course Nurgle isn’t all that interested in high heels and boob-armour but this is an age of equal opportunities and girls can worship an unglamorous god of disease and putrefaction just as well as boys.”
Well it seems that for once I was ahead of my time rather than wildly off target. A sorceress of Nurgle did indeed appear some time later, the hideous Fecula Flyblown, and Fembruary is the perfect time to paint her myself.
The keen-eyed will have noticed that the cat which usually accompanies them model is missing but fear not, it’s not wandered far. I just felt it was too cool to be left as a base decoration so I moved it to a base of its own and when time allows I’ll get it painted up as well.
Do you ever find a miniature where as soon as you see it you just have to paint it? It just speaks to you and all your careful planning and budgeting goes out the window in a heartbeat. In a fever of enthusiasm you rush to acquire it, you get it assembled and base-coated and then… everything stalls. Instead of a beautifully painted finished piece it glares at you with undisguised criticism whilst you avoid its gaze and try to paint other things with affected nonchalance. This is the story of the Sloppity Bilepiper.
Is there a dafter name in the entirety of the Games Workshop range, or indeed one more fun to say, than the Sloppity Bilepiper? I loved it as soon as I saw it, recalling as it does the old carnivals of Nurgle of yesteryear, and snapped it up as soon as I could. In my review of the Nurgle Daemons released back in January of 2018 I noted;
“Nurgle loves a party. He’s the god of life and death and though the latter aspect has often been the focus when it comes to the models, with sloughing flesh, weeping sores and spilled guts everywhere, with the Bilepiper we get to see the other side of things. Here is a model which encapsulates the core message of Nurgle’s worshippers – today we celebrate for tomorrow it will be too late. They party like there’s no tomorrow and one glance at the diseases they play host to suggests there probably isn’t. “
Sadly, despite starting out with great intentions and making good progress on the model as soon as I’d purchased it I stalled when it was almost finished and never managed to push it over the final hurdle. I think I’ve planned to paint it for every neglected model challenge I’ve entered in the past three years or so, yet always the challenge has ended and the Bilepiper has remained unchanged. This year it’s been particularly neglected, with Covid-19 wrapping it’s loving arms around the globe I’ve found myself disinclined to tackle any of Nurgle’s servants. I can’t quite put my finger on why, perhaps it’s superstition or just pandemic fatigue, but I find myself feeling as though the plague god is getting more than enough attention at the moment without my involvement.
Both the Bilepiper and I have tolerated a lack of progress long enough however so back onto the painting desk he goes for a few more rounds against the brush. Here he is, finished at last and proving that these things are never so difficult if you just get on with them.
I really wanted to play up the appearance of a clownish, playful jester, so gave him bright and motley clothes. By way of contrast I made the flesh fairly realistic and human looking, rather than leaning on the mucky green that GW prefers for their Nurgle models. I still have quite a backlog of Nurgle miniatures, both daemons and mortal – including a number of unfinished Death Guard, so as soon as I overcome my Covid induced squeamishness I’ll crack on with them.
Earlier this year Games Workshop re-released Age of Sigmar Skirmish through the pages of White Dwarf magazine. Much as I enjoy building and painting armies, when it comes to the rare occasions that I roll some dice I prefer a skirmish game and so I decided that the game was worth investigating and found myself painting up a mob of bloodthirsty Khornate savages to unleash. Back then Warcry had yet to emerge from the dark imaginations of GW’s finest minds but I was already drawn to the idea of Chaos warbands fighting it out for the glory of the dark gods and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore that.
After adding to the warband in fits and starts over the past few months I completed the final warriors of Khorne in September – although I’m still tempted to keep going and expand the group into an army. For now, however, the bloodthirsty boys are ready for action. As usual larger versions of the group shots are available just by clicking on them.
Truth be told Warcry is beckoning me far more at the moment but should the opportunity arise I’d still like to give AoS Skirmish a bash, and that means the Blood God’s berserkers need a rival to pit their blades against. On the other hand I’ve got a number of projects crowding the painting desk and demanding a share of my attention so the quicker and easier this second warband was to assemble the better from my point of view. With this in mind I dropped the more complicated plans I had made previously (although I don’t imagine they’re gone forever – as soon as time allows I’ll return to them) and started looking for something more straightforward. Tzeentch and Slaanesh would both be fun to explore but would require more work than I have time to put in just now. Nurgle on the other hand seemed like just the fellow. I’d already painted a sorcerer last month and now he seemed like the perfect leader for the new warband.
Next I took a look through the Nurgle daemons I’d already painted and drummed up a few likely looking recruits in the form of three plaguebearers and a swarm of nurglings.
Finally I wanted to add a mortal contingent and this was the point at which some actual painting was required. Despite the blightkings being one of my all time favourite GW kits I’d never actually painted one, although I’ve borrowed plenty of bits to make plague marines. A few years ago I did kitbash one into a 41st millennium mutant but I was never all that happy with it, and to my eye it just looked like a blightking with a gun. This project seemed like a fine opportunity to do something about that and restore him. Those familiar with the model will note at few tweaks and a little bit of greenstuff was required to replace parts which were lost or damaged since the original build.
The only entirely new model required to complete the group was a second blightking, which came together quite quickly thanks to my predilection for painting diseased flesh and rusty metal.
Here’s the two brothers in pestilence together.
And here we have them, just like that a second warband is ready to challenge Khorne’s dominance of the chaos wastes.
Of course it may well still be some time before they get to fight it out but should the chance arise I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.
I have a long standing affection for this Nurgle sorcerer so picked one up to paint just before the release of the Maggotkin for AoS, reasoning – wrongly as it turned out – that as a resin model he might be about to be replaced or retired. Thankfully he’s lived to fight other day, and well deservedly too.
The text on his scroll is just a couple of squiggly lines, accompanied by the symbol of Nurgle, but from this angle it appears to read “1208”. What exactly happened in that year to draw the plague god’s attention remains unclear…
He proved to be as much fun to paint as I’d hoped – packed with character (just look at that grumpy face!) and not too heavy on the gross-out, gory horror elements common to a lot of his peers – goes to show you can have Nurgle without guts hanging everywhere! Not that I mind some guts from time to time but variety is the spice of life.
That said, despite the fact that on the whole I enjoyed working on him I won’t pretend it was an entirely painless experience. When GW launched “finecast” resin they went overboard with the advertising, in a desperate attempt to convince us it really was the greatest thing to happen to miniatures since the Prussian army first started pushing little blocks around as a training exercise. Needless to say, although the fan feedback that greeted this announcement strayed towards hyperbolic temper tantrums, the complaints weren’t entirely wrong either and the medium itself fell a long way short of GW’s claims. This little chap was no exception and I certainly spent more time trimming off bits of flash than I have in many years. Trimming off flash, for the kids out there who’ve never experienced it, was a tiresome process that used to form a cornerstone of assembling a newly purchased miniature. If you were in luck there were just a few trailing bits of metal or resin left over from the mould which needed to be cleaned away. If you were unlucky you were handed a lump which you chiselled away at like Rodin. (The things you don’t miss eh – cleaning off flash, carving down mould-lines the size of the Himalayas, filling gaps with greenstuff, pinning arms on only to drop the model and have it shatter anyway, kids nowadays don’t know they’re born I tell you!)
Of course every sorcerer needs a familiar to keep them company and I needed no second bidding when I spotted an opportunity to get this little dude painted up.
Between them these two made for a fine pallet cleanser and a break from the mean streets of Necromunda, but I’ll be heading back there shortly to work on another of my various gangs. With the Eschers done it’s time to turn my attention to the long awaited Chaos cult.