Tag Archives: Warhammer 40k

Looking Uphive – Necromunda Plans For 2020

This time last year I put together a post summing up where I stood with all of my Necromunda projects and laying out everything I had planned for the future. I found it to be quite a useful exercise so I decided to do it again this year – although whether it turns into an annual feature we’ll just have to wait and see.

Of all GW’s games and settings Necromunda remains the one with which I’m most engaged. 2019 was a fairly good year for the game, with lots of world building spread across a number of books. The first half of the year was relatively quiet for miniatures releases however, with the just the ambot and Kal Jerico (and Scabs) putting in an appearance. Things picked up in the second half of the year however with the arrival of two kinds of Enforcers, a ravenous cannibal cult and the three-dimensional zone-mortalis terrain that people had been complaining bitterly hadn’t been included in the original boxset (of course, they immediately started complaining about the price instead. Those of us who suggested, back in 2017, that a boxset stuffed to the gills with high-quality plastic terrain would be desperately expensive quietly congratulated ourselves on our Nostradamus-like powers of prediction…).

Based on what I understand (and I’m no industry insider) this deceleration in the release schedule in early 2019, followed by a subsequent acceleration later in the year, was very much to be expected. Based on what I understand, as with Blood Bowl a series of teams or gangs were commissioned at launch and their popularity would decide how much future support the game received. As both games seem to have gone down a storm it’s hopeful that Necromunda will follow Blood Bowl and receive regular updates throughout the coming year (and indeed years). Time for me to crack on and clear my backlog of unpainted stuff then so that I’m ready for whatever new things might emerge from  the Underhive gloom next.

The Irondogs (House Goliath)

My Goliath collection really found its feet in 2018 but 2019 wasn’t entirely without recruits, as four newcomersjoined the crew. At the moment I’m not rushing to add any more but I do have plenty of ideas, not to mention one or two models built but as yet unpainted, so I’d imagine they’ll continue to grow in dribs and drabs over the coming months.

The Ladykillers (House Escher)

After a relatively quiet 2018 the girls really arrived on the scene in style in 2019. From a mere handful at the start of the year we now have a veritable army of them. As with the Goliaths I’m not planning to add many more in the immediate future but I still have plans and I’d very much like to return to them when the opportunity arises.

The Tech-Hunters (House Van Saar)

This time last year I showed off the test model for this gang and I’m pleased to say I managed to rattle through the rest of the gang as well. It took me a while to get around to them but once I got started I fairly powered through them, even adding in an old Space Wolf model by accident. For now I’m fairly happy with how the gang stands so again I’m not planning to add anything new in the immediate future, but who knows what might happen later in the year.

The Cult of Ruin (Helot Cult)

The final gang to get a lot of attention last year was my Chaos cult. These helots were originally intended to be put together quite quickly out of models I already had in my collection, plus a few odds and ends that I was going to paint anyway such as the Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress. Of course it didn’t quite work out like that but I got there in the end and I’m pleased with the results.

I’m not planning on expanding the gang this year per se but there are a few old cultist models in my collection which could use a repaint, and I’ll be working on the cultists from Blackstone Fortress: Escalation, any or all of which could easily find a second home in the gang.

Chaos Cultists

The Radwolves (House Orlock)

Enough about gangs I’m not planning to paint much of in the coming year and on to those I will be. I’ve had a lot of Orlocks sitting around for quite some time now but until recently I just couldn’t find a colour scheme I was terribly happy with. At last however I think I’m onto something.

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Having tried out a number of other colour schemes I think I’ve settled on this dusty, dirty look – perfect for a battered road-warrior. All the tweaks and adjustments to his paint scheme mean he’s far from perfect but hopefully those which are painted following a consistent plan from start to finish will be better. Now I just need to crack on with the rest of the gang.

The Children of Whispers (House Delaque)

Next up it’s Billy Corgan (or possibly a Delaque ganger).

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As with the Orlock it took me a while to get the colours just right here, although I’m finally happy with what I came up with. From the get go I planned to paint my gang in a very stark, mono-chrome style, akin to this piece of artwork. Like a lot of others I was also very much inspired by the look of The Strangers from the film Dark City, with just a touch of the Observers from Fringe.

Delaque Art

However painting something in black and white is easier said than done and a great deal of fiddling around went on before I ended up with something I was happy with. Now I’m settled on something I’d like to crack on with the rest of the gang soon. Once again it probably won’t happen immediately (I think most of my Necromunda projects will be pushed back a bit whilst I get my teeth into Warcry) but I’d like to look at them properly in the near(-ish) future. In the meantime I’ve been quietly building more gangers in the background.

I’m pleased with this one, although the gap at his shoulder is bloody annoying. The blame probably lies with me more than the kit, but I’ll need to tidy it up before he’s ready for paint.

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Having started off with some fairly standard builds I tried experimenting with the Forge World head upgrade pack. Hooded Delaque are something of a new phenomenon in the Underhive but I rather like the way they look, somehow they’re even more sinister than usual.

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Like most people I tend to associate Delaque with sneaking around in dark corridors, cutting the lights, murdering their adversaries with silenced weapons, and planting false leads to pin the blame on everyone else. The thought of one carrying something as OTT as a heavy flamer calls for something a bit out of the ordinary, the kind of laughing madman the gang unleashes when they want to make a statement and they need everyone to know about it. And yes, that’s a Cawdor head, but being bald it fits the Delaque nicely.

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The Oathbones (House Cawdor)

The next Necromunda project I tackle is likely to be the devout men and women of House Cawdor. These are amongst my absolute favourites from the range and I’ve already started chipping away at them.

Unfortunately I don’t have any WIPs that are at a stage to show but have faith, plenty more are on their way!

Palanite Enforcers

A big part of the appeal of Necromunda (and Warcry, Blood Bowl and so) is the low price of admission to each new faction (Dark Uprising aside of course!). A new gang will set you back somewhere between £20 and £30, not much more than a single character in 40k or AoS these days, or the back rank in a WHFB horde. Thus when the long arm of the law stretched out towards the Underhive in August 2019 it was all too easy to sign myself up for some police brutality. So far my little patrol doesn’t even have a name, let alone any background, but they do have a single officer, modelling a colour scheme I’m happy with, so we’re off.

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Thanks to the wonderfully model-packed but eye-wateringly expensive Dark Uprising box I’ve already recruited him some backup in the form of this sturdy Subjugator. I love the heavily armoured, bulky aesthetic of these guys, they look ready to weather a storm of bullets and wade into whatever the Underhive throws at them, batons swinging.

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Sizewise these aren’t much bigger than the regular enforcers but their bulkier armour adds a real sense of weight and presence to them.

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Meanwhile this one is armed with an assault ram, designed to knock doors down and follow up by firing a grenade into the breach, probably whilst the wielder yells “Freeze perp, show me your hands!”

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I’ve seen quite a number of people complain that, should the ram become bent or otherwise damaged (for example when being used to knock a door down) then the grenade could easily get jammed and explode prematurely, which might not be the best thing that could happen to the poor bloke who’s holding it at the time. It’s a fair point but I’ve never been entirely clear at exactly which point in this scenario Lord Helmawr starts giving a shit about the safety and well-being of his subjects. This is Necromunda, where the only plentiful resource available is human lives. Furthermore this is the 41st Millennium, where doing exactly what you are told without question or hesitation is the only law. If the people who look after the machines (the same people who think praying and waving incense around is a key part of the process) say that this is how you’re meant to use it then you’ll damn well use it that way. Should the God-Emperor decide that today is your day to die in an entirely preventable workplace accident then He must have had His reasons. Perhaps you were harbouring thought of sedition, or doubting the mechanism of the blessed machine with which you have been entrusted. And if the resultant explosion kills half your squad of highly trained officers and allows a cannibal cult to escape justice? Well let it suffice that He moves in mysterious ways…

 

The Lodge of the Carnivore King

The latest gang to join the grubby underworld of Necromunda are the Corpse Grinders, foul Khorne-worshipping barbarian cannibals. Honestly if you thought that I was going to be anything other than all over this then you don’t know me at all!

Again I’ve just started dipping my toe in here but it goes without saying that I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far. On the one hand these are great models in and of themselves, and a day which isn’t spent recruiting blood maddened cannibals into a cult of violence and depravity is a day wasted. More than that however it’s great to see some new ideas being introduced to Necromunda, without straying from the core of what makes the setting great. These feel instantly at home here, whilst at the same time introducing something fresh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of all the concepts introduced in past editions – roll on the reinvention of Ratskins and Redemptionists – but this setting has so much more potential than simply aping the ’90s and waxing nostalgic over a past era.

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Until I started putting them together I hadn’t realised quite how large these lads are. All that healthy eating is certainly helping them to grow big and strong!

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Indeed there’s not much in it when the Skinners stand shoulder to shoulder with a Chaos Marine, handy for anyone thinking of kitbashing them, or using the heads and weapons to add alternative flourishes to World Eaters. The smaller Initiates meanwhile would make for fine cultists in a Khornate Chaos Marine army (after all, that’s essentially what they are).

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Usually I love converting my gangers to make as many as possible unique to me. That said there are normally one or two in every gang that I just have to keep “as is” – they’re just too cool not to. Enter, this angry man…

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However, despite how nice the standard models are, one of the biggest draws for me is converting, kitbashing and personalising them. Looking through the equipment list in the Book of Ruin I spotted the Icon of the Corpse Grinders and knew that if my revolution was going to look like it meant business I was going to need one of those for starters!

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Knowing myself as I do I’m certain I’ll be chipping away at all of these over the coming months. My plan is to try to focus on Warcry for the next little while but the call of the Underhive has always been strong for me and I don’t imagine I’ll be able to resist any of these projects for long.


Ready To Rock!

Alright 2020, let’s get this party started!

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Scream for me Cicatrix Maledictum! I got this amazingly bombastic Noise Marine as a Christmas present to myself back in 2018, got him 90% painted straight away and then ground to a halt, after which he just sat there gathering dust as the months passed. I wasn’t going to let another year pass without getting him finished. He was an absolute joy to paint, I don’t let myself play with gaudy outrageous colour schemes nearly often enough! Insert your best gurning and air-guitar here!


Blackstone Fortress: Traitor Guard – Part 3

The march of the Blackstone Fortress traitor guard reaches its long awaited conclusion as the last of the baddies from the core box are finished. Last week I finished the first four of them, now the final three come tramping in to join them. Blackstone Fortress has been a project which has dominated 2019 for me so I was hoping to get them to this stage before the New Year. I’ve still got various models from the expansions and a number of alternative heroes to paint, but if we want to play a game we’ve now got everything we need without having to fall back on unpainted models or proxies. In the meantime however here’s the final two renegade soldiers…

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… and here’s their former sergeant, who now fancies himself as a (minor) champion of the Dark Gods!

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Here’s the whole second squad, ready to spring out of the shadows if any explorers wander their way.

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And, by way of a reminder, here’s the first squad which I completed last month.

Something I really like about these models is the ramshackle, mismatched look of them. Clearly, at one point in the past, they all wore a uniform, but as their decent into madness and treachery has proceeded they’ve found themselves scavenging more and more, patching up any gaps with whatever they can loot from the battlefield and hammering spikes to themselves in echo of their Chaos Marine masters. However, although each model in the squad is very much an individual the set contains two identical sets, without much in the way of wiggle-room to personalise them. However I really wanted to avoid ending up with both squads looking essentially the same so as far as possible I’ve tried to tweak each member of the second squad so that I ended up with one set built as per the instructions (because they are wonderful models after all) and one set converted. This wasn’t always possible, for some the paintjob alone had to do the work of differentiating them, but by tweaking enough of them I was able to create two fairly disparate looking bands of renegades. Here’s a set of comparison photos showing each pair, with the original  – built out of the box as it were – on the right and the second version on the left.

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Finally, here’s both squads, ready for action and starting to look like the beginning of a proper traitor guard army. At some stage I’d like to go back to my old traitor guard collection, do some tweaking and tidying up were required, and roll the whole lot into a horde of mortal scum to accompany my traitor marines.

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In the meantime however I’ve now painted all the baddies from the original Blackstone Fortress (plus the Ogryn from Traitor Command) so I’ll allow myself a quick pat on the back!

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In the New Year I’ll aim to crack on with the rest of the explorers, and of course with the various additional monsters, renegades, cultists and so-on which lurk in the corridors of the fortress. For now however I’m happy to call this a major milestone completed.


The Oathbones – Part 2

I’m still cracking on with the last of the Blackstone Fortress traitor guard and the final few Skaven for my WHFB army and my plan was to get those finished before tackling any more Necromunda. However Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box has declared his latest monthly challenge – it’s Destino December!

What does that mean exactly? Well, to quote the man himself;

Now December brings us Christmas, and so with both of these things in mind, I’ve decided to do something slightly different. It’s time to find a miniature (or a few) that you’ve really wanted to paint – or get finished. Now they could be a model you’ve had for decades and still not gotten around to painting. It could be a brand new release. It could be a model that’s been out for four years that you just finally picked up….

To paraphrase Marie Kondo, we’re looking for a model (or models) that “Spark Joy” when you see it/them.

When it comes to Necromunda models that “speak to me” the Cawdor gangers have to be at the top of the list. As soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to start a gang of them (unlike, say, the Van Saar or Orlocks, each of which took me a while to really “get”). They’re great straight out of the box, the various Forge World upgrades are fabulous and they’re a real joy to kitbash and convert – yet it’s been over a year and I’ve still only painted one of them. Here’s a reminder of how he looks (accompanied by the gang’s sheen bird).

Because I’ve been itching to get to work on them, because I thought I deserved a reward after completing my one hundred Ork boyz, because there were a few on the painting desk that were almost finished anyway, and because it’s Destino December, I decided to recruit a few brothers for him, ready to kick start a holy crusade to purge the Underhive of muties, heretics and sinners in the new year.

I quite like the way this one forms a triangular shape with his pointed hood and ramshackle hammer.

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This one was built straight out of the box (because they really are great without needing any kind of converting or kitbashing at all).

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This one was inspired by fellow blogger Imperial Rebel Ork and his bell cult, as well as the way in which Nighthaunt bits fit neatly into the Cawdor aesthetic. After all, what could be more Cawdor than calling the righteous to prayer by hitting a sinner with a big old bell?

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This chap found a piece of wood, surely one of the rarest materials it’s possible to imagine coming across on a planet like Necromunda. Rather than risk someone else stealing such a holy item he’s nailed it firmly to himself. You can’t be too careful after all!

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Finally, here we have the whole gang so far, ready to spread the word of the righteous!

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This is a gang that I’ve got literally dozens of ideas for (far more than you’d need to make a normal Necromunda gang) so expect to see a lot more of these in the future.


Blackstone Fortress: Traitor Guard – Part 2

The march of the traitor guard continues apace. I’ve almost completed all the baddies from the Blackstone Fortress box (not including the expansions) so my current focus is rounding out the final squad of traitor guard. The box contains two duplicate sets of guardsmen but as far as possible I’ve tried to make each one unique, rather than have too many sets of identical twins. These aren’t the easiest models to convert however so in a lot of cases the paintjob ended up taking the strain. When I’ve finished the squad I’ll try to show all the pairs so you can compare and decide for yourself how well I’ve managed. In the meantime here’s the first four members of the second squad.

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Only three more to go and the core of the Blackstone Fortress project will be done – all being well I’d like to get them finished before Christmas.


Green Iz Best – Part 11

The moment has finally arrived! I fell under the sway of the Orks over a decade ago and the love affair has yet to end. Back then I came across two, entirely separate pieces of information which over time combined into one of the largest hobby projects I’ve ever undertaken. The first was a White Dwarf article (don’t ask me which issue now, I haven’t the foggiest) in which someone described how they had made every Orc boy in their WHFB army unique, swapping heads and so on to create the appearance of a truly ramshackle barbarian horde. I loved the idea, and the aesthetic it created, and was determined to do the same with my own 40k Orks.

At around the same time a friend gave me a copy of the rulebook for the first edition of Apocalypse. I’ve often joked that my preferred scales for 40k is Kill Team or Apocalypse, if it’s not a case of a small band of heroes undertaking a dangerous mission then it should be warfare on a truly grand scale. Not that I’ve ever played either, as regular readers will know I’m not really much of a gamer, but when it comes to a visual image it’s hard to beat huge armies of models carpeting the landscape.

My friend, incidentally, got the copy of Apocalypse from his brother who’d ordered a load of miniatures and received it by mistake. When he phoned GW to complain they sent out his correct order and told him to hang on to the book, which then made its way to me. If you happen to have ordered Apocalypse back then and ended up with a load of Imperial Guard instead, and have been wondering ever since what happened to your book – I have it. And no, you’re not getting it back. 😉

Anyway, getting back on topic, in some of the Apocalypse rules released around that time there was a formation called “The Green Tide” in which at least one hundred Ork boys swarmed across the battlefield. Here’s what the accompanying text had to say about it.

Green Tide

Again the image spoke to me, partly because it captured the sea of angry green flesh that the background describes as an Ork invasion and partly because it sounded so ludicrously out of reach. After all we were in the middle of a recession and jobs for newly graduated students were like hen’s teeth. The thought of having the money to spend on buying all those Orks was simply ludicrous, not to mention the time it would take to paint them all.

Time, however, tears down all barriers. Recruiting an ork here, and a couple more there, the army has grown until, earlier this year, I released that I was within reach of victory, that long aspired to goal hovering mirage-like on the horizon. At that point various readers of this blog got involved, generally cheering and cajoling me into action and, as of a few weeks ago, I had only five boyz still to go.

First things first I turned my attention to my squad of shoota boyz. I’ve added the odd model here and there over the last few months, with the aim of completing a nice round twenty of them, and this next finishes off the squad nicely.

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With him done here we have them, twenty boyz ready to unleash a raucous hail of bullets at anyone unfortunate enough to wander into range.

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After that it was the turn of the slugga boyz. I already had two squads of these completed, each one thirty strong (this being the maximum size for a squad of ork boyz). By way of a reminder here’s the first squad…

…and here’s the second…

Meanwhile the third squad has grown to sixteen boys strong so four more would not only give me a round twenty (which sounds very organised for the Orks but there you go) but would also complete the hundred to boot.

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This one was a real nightmare to photograph, the way he’s holding his weapons meant that his face was almost constantly in shadow. He actually has a lot in common with the ork on the cover of the current codex, both in appearance and pose, not something which was a conscious decision. The artist has also clearly struggled, rather more successfully than I, to avoid the subject’s face being in shadow – something for which I now feel a huge amount of sympathy!

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The squad also needed a boss-nob, otherwise the boys would spend the whole time fighting each other trying to work out who’s in charge.

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Here he is next to his peers, the boss nobs of the other two slugga squads. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the names I gave the leaders of my three squads – but if I have I’m not above telling you again. When Warhammer Total War was first released I played a lot of it (by my standards at least, I don’t usually play computer games very much but this one hooked me entirely). Whilst playing as the Orcs I recruited three warbosses in quick succession, each of which the game gives an automatically generated name. Unfortunately it named all three of them Krugga, which soon became exactly as confusing as you’d imagine. Luckily the game allows you to rename your characters so I changed them to be called “Krugga”, “Da Uvva Krugga” and “Da Uvva Krugga’s Bruva” – names which I then recycled for these three brutes.

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Anyway, here’s the third squad of slugga boyz, now twenty strong and probably feeling mighty pleased with themselves.

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Which means of course that it’s time to discover, at long last, what one hundred ork boys actually looks like…

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Of course having gathered them all together and stood around admiring them and generally feeling smug and self-satisfied, I thought “why stop there” and broke out the rest of the army as well. The horde has now reached the point where it only just fits into my photography area, I’ll need to make some adjustments before I take next year’s group shot (in fact I may need to make some adjustments before I photograph the completed Skaven army at the end of the month…). I would have liked to showcase the army a bit more, rather than just cramming everything together into one mass, but in the end there really wasn’t space for anything else.

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Out of interest I ran the numbers and was pleased to discover that this little lot comes to 2336 points (or 171 power in new money) overall, although of course there’s a lot more I’d like to add in the future.

So there we have it, one hundred entirely unique ork boys and a long-standing hobby ambition achieved. Finally I’d like to say thank you to everyone who commented on this project and generally prodded me into action, if you hadn’t it might well have been a few years yet before I finally got myself into gear to finish it. A special shout-out is owed to Azazelwho’s been painting his own set of twenty-five orks alongside me – I highly recommend you take a look at them, especially if you enjoy an old-school greenskin.

Naturally this isn’t the end for the Orks, I still have plenty more greenskins and their wonderfully ramshackle death-dealing contraptions to work on. Plus I can hardly leave Slugga Squad 3 at ten boys short of the others can I – they’re bound to be picked on as weedy by the others if I do. I just need to dig around in my bits box to manufacture some more unique ork heads…


Get Sick Or Die Trying – Part 15

Got time for a couple more Poxwalkers? Yeah you do! Inspired by fixing up my Nurgle Daemon Prince I turned my attention back to the queue of unpainted plague zombies still hungering for attention. I had planned to get them all done by the end of the year but I honestly don’t see that happening now, even with the best will in the world, but I’ll aim to rattle through them in the first few months of 2020 instead. However I continue to chip away at the remainder, starting with this horrible pair.

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Here they are together, rotten brother’s in arms.

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Alongside them I found myself inspired to tackle a few other Nurgle gribblies, the kind of little beasts and mutant, part-daemon creatures that one expects to find scuttling alongside the Plague God’s hordes. First of all we have this Nurgling (because you can never have too many of those).

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Next up we have a giant fly, originating from the Kill Team: Rogue Trader boxset released last year.

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Lastly, springing forth from the same set, we have this Glitchling, a bio-mechanical equivalent to the Nurglings.

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Add them all together and we have three more Nurgley-beasties to scamper at the heels of my Death Guard.

Nurgle Wudugast ConvertOrDie Death Guard (1)

Indeed I’m starting to collect quite a few little gribblies to accompany my Nurgle collection.

Nurgle Wudugast ConvertOrDie Death Guard (11)

As noted above I’ll probably be concentrating what painting time is left before the end of the year on other projects but I’ll be aiming to get back to Poxwalkers early in 2020 (not to mention various other members of Mortarion’s legion). Expect plenty more foulness in the new year!