Sunday, October 13, 2019

Blood Bowl Nurgle Team - Rotspawn WIP

The mighty Bloaters, the 'fast' Pestigors and the fragile Rotters are painted, but a Nurgle team is nothing without the Beast (or a Rotspawn as it is called now)! There are the official one from Forge World, GW minis that can be repurposed and many other third-party options, but I couldn't find one that I really liked. The obvious solution in this situation was to make my own from scratch! I have been sculpting Nurgle guts on existing minis for a long time now, so this shouldn't be that much more difficult.

First design principle was to make it 'ugly cute', like HERE - the picture that inspired me the most. Beasts of Nurgle always had the background of having a puppy-like mentality and I wanted to show this quality, despite the 'official' art direction for new Rotspawn. To achieve that, I gave it large, round eyes - which will be painted glossy black - to get that 'puppy eyes' effect and a wide grin with tongue sticking out. During the sculpting process, I also decided to make its face flat and with many folds to make it similar to a pug. The arms are also posed like that to get that 'pet animal' effect.

The second design principle was to make the tentacle really important. In the game, the 'Tentacle' mutation that the Rotspawn possesses from the start dictates it's the whole role on the pitch and plays a giant role in the whole team's strategy - and most miniatures used for this creature have their tentacles stuck to the head or the back, almost like an afterthought. I wanted this sticky appendage to be an integral part of the whole miniature - so I designed it as an extension of the beast's head, the tentacle IS its head! Only from that main one smaller ones grow out to make the whole composition more wriggly and untidy.

Other than that, it was your usual Nurgle pleasantness, with open wounds, sucktion cups, toothy maws, spikes, boils and many similar. In the end, only the pauldrons, three spikes on the back, a nurgling on the side and two maws are made out of existing bits, all the rest was sculpted by me - I used all the greenstuff that I had on hand at that time. I am pretty happy with this result and now I can't wait to put some equally sick colors on it!

Before I started all the greenstuffing, I did a plasticine 3d-sketch, to get the scale and proportions right. I still had it after the finished model was done, so I made a comparison photo of them together - I find it interesting to see how different and yet similar they are.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Drazhan the Younger

Another small update of one of the wight heroes - only this time it's not much of a hero, but rather a constructor, sculptor and an architect - Drazhan the Younger, the Magnificent Maker.

The whole idea with him was to kitbash a version of a Necrotect from the Tomb Kings roster that would fit with the aestethics of my army - the conversion can be found in the link above. I painted him in the usual color scheme for my wights - only now he's not a warrior, but a craftsman. The metal parts are rather minimal, the patterned black and yellow cloth is also small and it's the red hat that's the focal point of the composition - I tried to create an impression of an building site foreman (who also often wear differently colored headwear).

Besides being a gaming piece, he's also narratively a creator of constructs (like the Effigy of Death) and a reason to start creating my own takes on iconic Tomb Kings constructs such as the Ushabti, Tomb Scorpions and Bone Giants.

Zlyshko was very satisfied with the Effigy he managed to bring back to life, but one was not enough for his plans. The fact that all remaining ones were destroyed didn’t help. Only way to deal with this was to get their creators to make more. They may be all dead, but that wasn’t as much of a problem nowadays. A wide search was conducted - it wasn’t easy, for the architects-sculptors-engineers that made those marvels often omitted their own name out of humility. Only one - Drazhan the Younger - was honoured (or prideful) enough to be buried with all the information about him. An egocentric, brilliant creator and a harsh overseer, Drazhan was most pleased to be able to glorify the Death God with his creations once again and with them, drive away nonbelievers from Varsavia.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Blood Bowl Nurgle Team - Rotters

I showed you the Bloaters, I showed you the Pestigors, now it's the time for the fragile, unsung heroes (not really) of every Nurgle team - the Rotters.

Unlike the other two kinds of players, this time the official ones from the new GW box were exactly what I needed! Small, scrawny, funny and easy to convert! This even fits well with my backstory, where the Bloaters are ancient, Pestigors are pretty old and the Rotters quite up-to-date with the times - it makes sense for them to look the same as the current team. Still, I converted every single one of them to represent the upgrades that they rolled - and it was both a great opportunity for some interesting modifications and a way to make them all really different.

When it came to painting, they had all that the Bloaters and Pestigors had - armor, flesh, tentacles, green clothes, some leather. That made them actually more tasking to paint that I anticipated! As for their names, I was inspired by Blood Bowl 1 video game, where they all had painfully mundane names with some disgusting, Nurgly byname. I decided to make a twist on it and make it more ironic, with noble and bombastic bynames, just to exploit some BB silliness where it fits the most - the poor, easily killable and replaceable linemen.

WIP can be seen HERE.

With the time-traveling Putrid Punters, the spectators can marvel at the ancient, elaborate armor of the Bloaters or outdated, but savage playstyle of the Pestigors, but with the Rotters, well, there’s not much to see here! Bereft of regeneration and easy to crumble, they die easily and are replaced so often, they are actually quite up-to-date! Their armor conforms to the current regulations and if their brains weren't mushed at this point, they would actually understand the fans’ current slang! Still, Grandfather Nurgle rewards them generously for their selfless service to him and the noble game with numerous mutations. This makes them quite versatile and useful on the pitch - no matter if it’s about kicking a ball or getting kicked by an Orc to keep him busy and let more valuable Punters actually score.

The one on the left here has the most useful 'Guard' skill - I represented it with shields he has all over him. The middle one, 'the Great' rolled a lucky Agility upgrade, making him as nimble as an elf! Because of that, he got a 'tricky' pose with a ball raised high. That and pointy ears too. The one on the right has 'Thick Skull' - I showed it by sculpting a turtle shell over his head - a built-in helmet!

Here, the guy on the left has the 'Big Hands' mutation (obviously). Since the WIP post, I glued a small topknot on his helmet to bind him just a tiny bit with the Bloaters and their headcrests - maybe he's the captain of the Rotters, or the oldest one? The middle one has 'Prehensile Tail', also pretty obvious and simple. The last one is the precious 'Kicker' of the team, so I changed his pose to make it seem like he's preparing to kick a ball. Maybe in the future, he'll get 'Dirty Player', which will also fit pretty nicely with this pose!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ignatyi Ognemet

This was the last time I painted so much fire!

Half a year ago I posted my WIP pictures of converted, odd Necromancers and it's finally time to wrap up the project and post the third and the last one of them painted, the fire-necromancer Ignatyi.

As you can see, this one was all about fire all over him - the rest was my standard dirty clothing. Unfortunately, I have a weird dislike for painting flames, I don't know why, but it just drains my motivation. I noticed it already on my Hexwraiths, but this time I thought I can force myself through it and maybe it'll at least look good. To make it even more interesting (and worse for me) I bought a Burning Head endless spell because it works just perfect with this character.

The whole idea came to me when I was reading rules for 9th Age a long time ago - and they decided to give necromancers Lore of Flames, to give them more offensive potential. This gave me an idea to create a crazed Necromancer, shrouded in green balefire - if not for the game, then at least as a painting/modeling challenge. Since that time the creators of the game changed the whole idea of Lores of Magic, to my miniature no longer applies there. Oh well! I will leave the assessment to you if he looks good enough to be worth all the stress those flames costed me.

Being a fire wizard is one of the surest ways to get yourself banished from the Kislevite society - not only you pose a hazard to all the wooden buildings, but you also stand in direct opposition to the traditional ice magic practiced in the land. Such was Ignatiy’s story - what started as an unusual talent which could find its use on the battlefield, soon became a reason for discrimination and exclusion amongst his traditionalist peers. That, together with pyromania which started to creep into his mind, soon led to his banishment. Ridden with paranoia and slowly losing his sanity, he was found by a certain hooded and masked individual. That creature showed him that his talents can be melded together with necromantic arts to use the energies of the dead and create an especially fell and devastating kind of fire. Wielding those sinister green flames, Ignatiy descended into almost complete madness through all the years he plagued Kislev. In that state, he got recruited by Hautfell - as a very volatile, fiery artillery for his necromantic coven.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Blood Bowl Nurgle Team - Pestigors

After the fighty, tough Bloaters, it's time for the fast (as far as Nurgle allows), ball handling Pestigors.

Just like with the beforementioned positionals, I wasn't satisfied with the official GW ones - while it's a good sculpt, there are just two of them in the box, both with the same pose. To get all 4 in different poses I decided to use Beastmen from the Doom Lords Blood Bowl team and convert them into the rotten versions of themselves. Using BB minis also spared me making them more sporty, they were unarmed and quite dynamic already.

In comparison to the warriors, those guys didn't have that much armor on them, so it was purely an exercise on disgusting, Nurgly flesh - and it was, of course, a lot of fun. Like the others, they got also converted to represent somehow their upgrades - which I describe below. Their names were inspired/taken from BB1 and BB2 video games, where the generator makes a pretty good job creating some beastly-sounding monikers for the goats.

WIP can be seen HERE.

When the Putrid Punters disappear into the warp, only to reappear many years later, they do so together - players, coaches, staff, etc. Only while you can see on the nigh-unkillable Bloaters how they are from another era, the Pestigors are never really keen on following the universal cultural norms, so the changes on them are not that noticeable on the first look. Here it’s the playstyle that’s different - while Bloaters smash and stink as always, modern beastmen are more refined and organized in their behavior on the pitch. In comparison, the Bloaters’ Pestigors are more bestial and chaotic - relying on their instinct more than on the coach’s instructions. Thankfully, they have a brain (unlike Rotspawn!), so it usually works out in the end.

On the left there is a goat with the 'Sprint' ability - the intestine trailing behind him is supposed to give him a sense of speed. The one on the right rolled the unlikely 12 and got a bonus to his strength - to represent that, I made him much bulkier, beefy - making him resemble a Bloater a little more (which makes sense, they are ST4 too!).

And the remaining two runners. The Pestigor the left is the one with 'Extra Arm' skill and the first one that I converted. Such an upgrade is also usually the first one that I take in the video game, making the first lucky goat into an official ball handler. The other one has 'Two Heads' mutation, which makes it easier for him to dodge (somehow). The additional head is small and malformed, which was also inspired by the video game, where it's similarly represented.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Kaliglav the Scarlet Priest - WIP

Recently I got miniatures to be used as human followers of the wights and their Death God cult - and after getting them, I started wondering if I could represent somehow people following the Lady of the Bog, their priests - to mix some religious imagery with blood and flesh horror. Then I saw THIS artwork from the amazing Bogdan Rezunenko and it really got my gears moving. This resulted in me buying Taddeus the Purifier, the priest from Blackstone Fortress to change him into what I need - bringing us the update this week, Kaliglav the Scarlet Priest, the pious servant of the wise and fair Lady of the Bog.

I had to get rid of all the technological elements, smooth out the details and make it everything much grittier and dirtier. Just like with the tentacle-legged Nurgle sportsman from before, I attached the priest to the base with a rod and then built up all the tentacles around it - which gave me freedom when sculpting and posing them. I could also give him more than just two hands - it strengthens the effect of being 'beyond human form' and it actually references the original miniature, who had a servo skull with a gun as the third 'limb'. I also cut off the top surface of the base - I will fill it with some resin to represent a murky, dirty bog.

A compilation of photos showing WH40k miniature converted to be used as a pagan, flesh-horror-related priest. Original parts of the miniature are red, kitbashed elements are grey - with greenstuff showing all the sculpted parts. The miniature is visible from several angles.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Blood Bowl Nurgle Team - Bloaters

Finally, after much deliberation, I can start showing my beloved, heavily converted Nurgle Blood Bowl team, the Putrid Punters!

I am spending much more time and energy painting those than any of the earlier team, so I decided to separate the positionals into their own posts - this will give them adequate space to show everything and give me time to finish other ones. After everything is done, I will post the whole team together, of course. The color scheme was inspired by their look in Blood Bowl 2 video game, with the yellowish skin. To that, I choose cold, black armor with white markings - and it was a lot of fun painting all that.

First come the Bloaters, which I wanted to paint the most, the biggest and the nurgliest of the bunch. They are also the ones carry the Roman theme of the team the most - which is explained in their backstory. I based my conversion on the awesome Putrid Blightkings kit because I wanted my Bloaters a little more warrior-like and diverse. Like the rest of the team, they are modeled to represent an additional skill they possess, to make it easy to recognize who is who on the pitch.

WIP can be seen HERE.

The Putrid Punters have a very strange relationship with the Grandfather Nurgle - they can play season after season enjoying the favor of their god - until something happens that displeases him and they disappear into the warp without a trace. Many years later the Punters show up again as if nothing happened - willing to spread pestilence and score touchdowns as always. This quirk of theirs is especially apparent when one sees their Bloaters - durable enough to be with the team since the very beginning. They wear armor that remember the warlike times before Blood Bowl, they speak in an aged dialect and block their opponents just like ancient gladiators. Now they are back to show once again that the old ways are the best.

Here the left you can see the Bloater with Jump Up ability - spider legs on his back represent how easier it would be for him to get up after getting knocked down. I did put arm(?)bands on them to make him look more sporty. On the right is the captain of the team, with the very obvious Claw upgrade - easily my favorite model from them all right now.

2 painted Bloaters of Nurgle miniatures for use in Blood Bowl, converted out of Putrid Blightkings using greenstuff, visible from different angles. Their skin is pale yellow and the armor cold black with rusty weathering. One on the left has numerous spider legs on his back, representing the 'Jump Up' skill, while the one on the right has a giant picer for his hand, representing the 'Claw' mutation.

And the other half of the team heavy lifters. The one on the left is a Stand Firm guy, who uses numerous tentacles he has for legs to make him almost impossible to push around. The one on the right has a Mighty Blow skill - I pondered quite a bit how to represent that without straying accidentally into Claw, Big Hand or Tentacles territory. In the end, I made him a thick, fleshy mace for a hand - which not only gives him indeed some might but is also properly disgusting.

2 painted Bloaters of Nurgle miniatures for use in Blood Bowl, converted out of Putrid Blightkings using greenstuff, visible from different angles. Their skin is pale yellow and the armor cold black with rusty weathering. One on the left has tentacles for legs, representing the 'Stand Firm' skill, while the one on the left has a fleshy mace for a hand, representing the 'Mighty Blow' skill.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

High Council of the Radiant Wheel

Today I bring you first miniatures that I got off a Kickstarter - some amazing pieces from Black Crab Miniatures, a very interesting collection made by Meridian Miniatures and inspired by amazing artwork by @blackcrabart. Those guys were right up my alley and made me finally use kickstarter for something - normally I am more than okay to wait for the stuff to get sold in retail. Second part of that Kickstarter ended not that long time ago and I also bought them, so expect them in the future!

From the moment I saw those guys, with their overall style and all the bones they have on them, I knew they would fit perfectly as mortal followers of the Death God, so I used here the same color scheme that I use for all my Death God-worshipping wights. I think it fits them quite well. The minis themselves were very well made, with sharp detail and very fun to paint so I am looking forward to some more minis from this series.

Right after being raised, Daremnych started with raising back his old commanders and additional troops for the wight army - but that was not enough in his opinion. To really secure their position in Varsavia in the long run, he needed the support of the mortals living in the land. The old faith in the Death God was reduced to myth and superstition - and to bring it back, the old Liche created the Cult of the Radiant Wheel. He took the old Kolovrat symbol the wights use and repurposed it as a wheel of birth, death and re-birth, to which all the creatures are bound, promising eternal life after death, forgiveness of misdeeds and protection from the enemies. People preaching it (and achieving quite a success) are fairly normal humans, but the High Council that Daremnych formed to steer the cult in the right direction are anything but. Their faces hidden behind ancient masks, wrapped in bangades, with pale, grey skin, they are a mystery. They reside in a hidden village deep in the forest where they write the sacred tomes, gather the bones of their saints and organize their faith, but their real motives are known probably only to Daremnych himself.

3 tabletop cultists miniatures from Black Crab Miniatures, seen from several angles and are painted with red and black robes, with some patinated metal masks.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sculpting Tips - Nurgle Tentacles

The third and last small tutorial made around my Blood Bowl Bloaters - this time about the legs of the 'Stand Firm' guy, ones made out of tentacles and worms. I will show my process and the general principles that work here - which work both here and in general when sculpting out of greenstuff. At the end of it, there are also some more concrete tips.

I started by putting a pin in his leg and then mounting it on a base - it's much easier to do a single connection than try to coordinate both pins so that they both stay in the right position.. When the glue was dry I covered the pin roughly with milliput - to secure the pin in place, they tend to rotate after applying too much force. While I was at it, I added a similar piece of milliput on the other leg - it would be much easier to sculpt the tentacles around something firm as the 'foundation'.

I started by adding two tentacles per leg, one in the front and one in the back. This way they were separated - I didn't want them to stick to each other before they were ready. The one on the right is a normal smooth tentacle rolled on an even surface - smoothened carefully with a big, round clay shaper after I set it up in its position.

The one on the left, the segmented, 'wormy' one started the same as the other one - only after I secured it to its position I added the grooves with a small, round clay shaper. The underside of the tentacle can get flattened through all the pressing while sculpting the grooves, so when everything else was done, I refined that from underneath using the pointy sculpting tool - raising the flattened part a bit and deepening the grooves there.

The same story on the backside. Now it has to cure completely before moving on.

Then it's time for more tentacles. The one on the far left is a variation on the segmented tentacle showed up earlier - only this time I used only the side of the pointy sculpting tool to add many thin ridges close to each other - all the other principles remain.

The one on the left is a fleshy, nurgly tentacle - made similar to the arm that I presented in the previous tutorial. I made a normal, smooth tentacle on an even surface, connected it to the main body, pressed various indentations and pits with the small, round clay shaper and smoothened it out a bit afterward. While it was still soft I pressed a ball of hard greenstuff into it, to create this 'egg lodged in the flesh' kind of effect. It can be a boil, a botfly egg or an eye.

When that was all cured, I added an extra tentacle between two existing ones - seen on the left. I prepared a round tentacle out of greenstuff, stick it between the existing ones and secured it to the ground by reaching into the crevice with the pointy tool, pressing the new tentacle into the ground. Then I just laid the new tentacle on top of the other appendage.

How it looks like from behind.

Now, even more tentacles. On the left, there's a new smooth tentacle with some additional flesh above (to make it mesh with the rest of the body a little better) and a slug tentacle on the right. To get this effect I prepared a tentacle with a triangular section - I made a normal, round one first and then pressed it to the table (with a piece of foil to unstick it easily) with two pinching fingers. Then I glued it between the legs and added many longish indentations on it, using the small, round clay shaper. I pressed it a little bit more close to the edge, spreading it around more, to create this 'skirt'-like effect slugs have, for a lack of a better word.

Now, when that has all cured, I added even more thin tentacles in every crack and crevice that I managed to find, to create this effect that it's a writhing mass of flesh. On the right, I added an extra fleshy fold at the spot where a tentacle joins with the body - I just pressed a blob of greenstuff over there and smoothened the connection with the body, but not with the tentacle. Now it's not yet another smooth tentacle, but one that comes from inside the body - it will stand out even more after it will get painted all slimy.

And now a small addition - short instruction how to easily make suction cups out of greenstuff, always useful when sculpting tentacles. They're not hard to do and improve the tentacles immensely. This guy here also has them, but quite underneath and hard to photo. Because of that, I did some of them separately.

The important thing to do is to sculpt them on a hard surface - I used a piece of plasticard here but cured greenstuff and the resin/plastic/metal miniature surface work well too. When I have that, I just roll some small balls of greenstuff (in whatever sizes I need them) and place them on the hard surface.

Then, using the big, round clay shaper, I pressed their sides into the hard surface and smoothened them out, merging them with the 'ground'. They look like pimples now - which can also be useful when doing Nurgle work!

And when that's done, all that's left is to use the same big, round clay shaper to press every pimple vertically with the point of the tool to create the hole. Small clay shaper will work just as well here, as well as the non-hairy end of the brush. And that's it, ready to disgust your opponents.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Drachitsa the Slayer

After Yarema I have yet another wight hero painted - or a heroine to be precise - Drachitsa the Slayer, the Fearless Maiden and the Killer of Dragons.

After all the wights that are basically the same with their patinated armor and patterned cloaks, this one has something special - a dragonskin cloak. Still, I didn't want her to stand out too much so I kept her in the same color palette, with only a slight tint of green added to the scales. Other than that, she was a rather standard fare for me.

Every society has its heroes. One such in Varsavia was Kiril the Woodsman, another one was Drachitsa the Slayer. From her earliest days thought to be without any fear, she was the only one to undergo a quest to find the legendary Oakspear and slay the terrible dragon Zmey that was terrorizing his countryside. She killed the beast, took it’s skin as a cloak and returned as a heroine. Since then she was slaying beasts and other enemies of Varsavia and the Death God and made many, many more tales about her, until finally succumbing to old age and a bitter rival. After an excavation under one of the mountains, ahe was found by the wights and subsequently raised. Thanks to the powerful enchantments on her tomb, she retained all of her memories, skills and famed weapons - and like Kiril, she joined her undead brethren to do what she did best - slaying.

Painted, kitbashed model of a Wight

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Blood Bowl Dark Elf Staff - Mallerion the Team Owner + WIP

Back when I gave a name for my Dark Elf Blood Bowl team, the Dreadspear Dragons, I came up with the idea that due to some legal shenanigans, the team is officially owned by a real dragon, becoming a gimmick that makes them famous. This was just to give some more meaning to their name and make the whole backstory a bit more interesting but it would be waste if I didn't represent it somehow! So I digged through various dragon miniatures and decided on using a Shadow Dragon from Reaper Miniatures - it had the good style, pose and size for me.

Besides that, I also thought that I could do banners for my teams (because I love banners) - which could be then paired with cheerleaders and/or mascots. Thankfully I had a dragonskin (?) banner in my bits collection, one from Mournfang Riders, so I mounted it on a base, covered in various Dark Elf bits and added several skulls for the evil factor. Now the Dragon can stay with the flag on the sidelines and represent the team better than ever!

The painting scheme was chosen to reference the players' colors - purple, dark red and blue, pale green, with silver/bright accents. I used numerous points for shading and highlights on both instances of dragonskin to simulate the scales - and I think it was actually easier to pull off than trying to go for smooth blending. The wing membranes also got a lot of dots to make them more visually interesting.

I plan to use him in the game as the equivalent of 4-5 cheerleaders - and that's why there are two giant pompoms laying on the ground, just in case someone had doubts what is the dragon's role on the pitch. Maybe I'll come up with some additional rules for him - if so, I'll post them here of course.

The Blood-Bowl-enthusiastic dragon Mallerion, a mascot of the Dreadspear Dragons was a known oddity in on the pitch, but he became especially noteworthy only after becoming the actual, official owner of the team (due to some desperate legal maneuvering on the part of the previous one). Being a dragon, he was neither interested nor capable of all the bureaucratic work needed, so there’s a wide array of assistants and representatives who do all the legwork for him. They may even set their own salaries and working conditions as long as the owner is happy. Thankfully, Mallerion is perfectly content with having enough food, being able to cheer from the sidelines (heightened statistical amount of deaths correlating with him being on the stadium is a coincidence!) and taking part in photo sessions. Not only he makes the press more interested in the team, but his presence on the sidelines can also motivate the players and the fans into a glorious rage much better than a whole team of cheerleaders! The only problem is that he personally terminates the staff who’s he displeased with - after which the unfortunates often don’t find a new job. Well, this isn’t strange, since it involves fire breath and being eaten alive by the dragon, but nobody gets into the Blood Bowl business expecting a long life and nice retirement!

First, the scaly lad himself:

Picture showing a dragon tabletop miniature, a Shadow Dragon from Reaper - with purple scales, reddish underbelly and dark blue wing membranes, standing on an oval base. The dragon has a golden medallion on its neck, bearing the Blood Bowl logo. The miniature is used as a team owner for a Blood Bowl Dark Elf team.

And the banner that I prepared to accompany him:

A compilation of two pictures showing both sides of a miniature banner - it is painted to look like a green dragon skin and has both the team's and Blood Bowl's logo freehanded on it. Skulls and spearheads are scattered around the base.

The conversion work that I did here was really minimal, but I've made a photo nontheless:

Unpainted versions of the miniatures shown above, showing the conversions done to both miniatures.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sculpting Tips - Nurgle arms

Title picture showing a converted Nurgle Putrid Blightking with fists on brass wires, with red line-drawings overlaying them, showing the planned conversion work around the wires.

In yet another short tutorial I will show how I am going about sculpting arms for all my Nurgle followers - on the example of a Bloater I converted for Blood Bowl. I had a specific pose in mind for this guy and no bits were good for it, so I decided to make them on my own. Thankfully, the nature of those rotting meat sacks gives some leeway when it comes to anatomy, so doing things like this is both easy and a good opportunity to practice some sculpting. I started with some paperclips that I bent in the desired shape with fists glued at the ends - hands are a completely different story when it comes to sculpting, so I prefer to use existing bits when possible.

Unpainted, converted Putrid Blightking miniature with hands being made out of copper wires - the starting point for the greenstuff sculpting.

The next step is to cover the paper clip with blobs of greenstuff - just adding more and more until I was satisfied with the amount. It's okay to use fingers at this point.

Several pieces of greenstuff roughly placed on the wire on the Putrid Blightkings arm, showing the first shape of it.

Now is the time to apply the rough structure to the arm. Here I was using a small, round clay shaper to define the musculature like the deltoid, the biceps and the forearm. I wanted the flesh to sag a little here, to show that it's not all nice and healthy, so I also roughly sculpted that on the underside.

The same view as before, only now the greenstuff parts were pressed and shaped into a rough composition of forms and muscles, with a clay shaper.

When I was satisfied with the general form, it was time to smooth it out. For that I used a big, round clay shaper and round, flat clay shaper, moving them carefully over the ridges and blobs, smoothening them out gradually. It's important to make it wet here, both the tool and the greenstuff - water, oil or saliva works just fine. Some places may need a sharper detail at this point, like the crease on the 'elbow pit' - I used the side of the pointy sculpting tool for that here.

The greenstuffed arm is now smooth, after application of a flat clay shaper.

When that is done, it's time for textures and other special effects. First, I used the pointy sculpting tool to make the open wound - by making small holes tightly around a circle and then adding similar dots inside the circle until it looks messed up enough. Then I used the scalpel (or an Exacto knife) to add ridges on the forearm, to simulate straps that go together with an armor plate that he will have there. I also made several small holes with the pointy tool, randomly in small groups - it enhances the rotting effect I was going for here.

The greenstuffed arm now has details sculpted in - small cuts, holes and wounds.

At this point, the whole thing is ready to cure. If I want to add some boils on the skin here, then I like to use Liquid Green Stuff for that (mixed with varnish for added sturdiness) applying them on the cured greenstuff in the same spot in several layers. An alternative would be using small blobs of normal greenstuff - being extra careful about smoothening out its connection to the rest of the flesh. Here I have the other arm, already finished - it was created in a similar way, only during the first step I used several greenstuff balls to create the structure, rather than trying to emulate any kind of musculature. Then I smoothened the connections between them with the clay shapers and added some holes and texture.

Another arm of the Putrid Blightking miniature is visible here, bloated and out-of-proportions, made out of many round blobs of greenstuff.

And here is the right arm seen from the front in all of its bubbly, disgusting glory. Here you can also see another kind of trick that I often use on my Nurgle miniatures - a ball pressed into the soft greenstuff. Every time I sculpt something and I'm left with extra greenstuff, I roll it into balls of several sizes precisely for this reason. By pressing such a ball into the soft putty, you can create a boil with a clear border between it and the rest of the body. It can be an eye, a boil, or a botfly egg - and the greenstuff that is raised during the pressing can represent swollen, inflamed tissue around the thing.

Picture showing the finished conversion, with a red arrow pointing to the small greenstuff ball that was pressed into the arm before it cured, creating a simple boil.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Matthias Schwarzfeuer

It's been some time since the last odd necromancer, now it's time for the second one - Matthias, the fancy necromancer who's living under the delusion that all the death and decay around him is actually a pristine elegance. The unpainted conversion of this miniature can be seen HERE.

While Alarich was kinda complicated to convert and straightforward to paint, this one was the opposite. There's barely any conversions on him and an overabundance of freehands. It was challenging a bit, especially keeping the patterns visible while giving them some depth, but also a nice change from other, dirty necromancers in my collection. It was also a good opportunity to do the trick with just polishing the sword on a metal miniature instead of painting it - this guy sure looks like someone who uses a very shiny, clean weapon.

As a piece of trivia - I took his name from an old, old Vampire: the Masquerade character I played, from my edgy teenager phase ;)

Yet another necromancer shown to Hautfell during his search for allies was Matthias Schwarzfeuer. He was sitting alone in a dilapidated palace in the Varsavian wilderness, being tended to by undead servants. Despite all of that, his manners were overwhelmingly noble and royal, his clothes clean, ornate and impeccable. He was indeed a necromancer, quite powerful at that, but he thought, that his profession wasn’t an excuse to stop caring about looking and acting as a noble should. Schwarzfeuer addressed his undead minions with Empire military ranks and still considered himself an important Empire citizen. It was unknown if he was so elitist that he refused to acknowledge the reality around him or he was just stark raving mad. Nevertheless, he acted as a competent ally and necromancer, as long it was an old nobleman Hautfell talking to him - he wouldn’t debase himself taking orders or advice from those beneath him.

Old metal Necromancer miniature from Games Workshop, seen from several angles, converted and painted to be really extravagant and flamboyant, with a feathered hat and intricate, freehanded designs on his robes and cloak. He is usable in Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) or Age of Sigmar (AoS).

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sculpting Tips - Roman-style headcrest

Title picture showing a converted Nurgle Putrid Blightking with a Roman-style headcrest on his helmet.

In this short tutorial of sorts I will show how I tackled this topic, on example of a Nurgle Bloater I converted for Blood Bowl.

I started with making some kind of 'foundation' on which I would be sculpting - so I cut tiny quarter-circles out of a metal can lid, heated it up on the stove while holding it with tweezers and stuck it in the plastic helmets of the warriors while it was still hot. The melting of plastic around this piece of metal both creates a hole for it and secures it very firmly after cooling. It could be done with a tiny saw and glue too, but this option was faster for me. Still, I had to be extra careful!

First step of the process, a small piece of metal is inserted into the plastic helmet, roughly in the shape of the future headcrest.

When that was done, I sculpted the metal 'base' of the crest over the lower part of the metal, using an even mix of greenstuff and milliput. This mix is good for anything that's supposed to be metal, as it makes filing and creating sharp edges much easier. For that reason, it doesn't have to be especially tidy at this point - except for the connection with the helmet itself - that will be difficult to file, so it was better to make it right from the start.

I sculpted it using the side of the pointy sculpting tool to sculpt the recessed part underneath and flat, sharp clay shaper to flatten it from above.

The beforementioned piece of metal is now surrounded at the base with a roughly sculpted mix of Greenstuff and Milliput.

After it has hardened, I filed the ridges of the thing to create sharp edges and generally make it smoother.

The beforementioned mix of Greenstuff and Milliput after sanding, being smoothened out into the desired shape.

Now it's time for the crest itself. I used a blob of greenstuff (this time without milliput) and put it over the piece of tin that was sticking out.

The remaining piece of metal has now a rough blob of greenstuff placed onto it.

When the greenstuff was still fresh I used the 'scythe' sculpting tool to press the greenstuff to the tin at the base and create the first impression of the crest's hair. The general shape of it is also created at this step - thinner at the bottom and wider at the top. Give it now about 40 to 60 minutes to cure a bit.

The blob of greenstuff has now grooves pressed into it near the base of the crest.

After it's hardened a little more it's time for the detail work. This time, using a scalpel (or an Exacto blade) I sculpted the rest of the hair, trying to be tidier at the base and allowing myself for more messiness at the top.

Additional, finer grooves are added on the whole Greenstuff part of the crest.

At the same time I used the pointy sculpting tool to texture the top surface of the crest - by pointing and jabbing it vertically.

The head is now seen from above, showing the expected texture on the top part of the crest.

And again, after another 30-40 minutes, when the overall structure should be pretty rigid, I went back with the scalpel to refine the details, to deepen the crevices that didn't look pronounced enough. The top edge needed special attention, because it was difficult earlier to make grooves there without flattening the whole form too much - now it should be easier. I also randomly widened some of the grooves to make the whole thing look messier - he is a Nurgle guy after all - but it can be omitted in other cases.

Completed crest, with additional, deeper and wider grooves added to the whole composition.

That's it for now, the crest is ready to be painted. It's no masterwork, but it should work for now.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Blood Bowl Nurgle Team - Bloaters WIP

I converted the Rotters and then some Pestigors for my Nurgle Blood Bowl team, now it's finally time for the Warriors, or how they are now called - the Bloaters. Those big, slow and bulky roadblocks are the core of the team and my favorite positionals in the team, the stars that crush the opposition with their mutated fists.

Ones available in the current GW kit are fine models, but in no way how I envision those players. After playing Blood Bowl 2 video game, I imagine them more similar to stereotypical Chaos Warrior, with armor and spikes. The most obvious choice in this situation was to revisit the delightful kit of Putrid Blightkings. I choose 4 of them, leaving one to serve as a Head Coach later and went crazy with the conversions representing their skills, just like my other players from this team.

Wanting to justify their heavy armor, atypical for modern Bloaters, I came up with a backstory that they were displaced through time by Nurgle, many, many years forward, making them living (?) relicts of the old ways. To go extra ancient I gave them roman-themed names and crests on the heads. This brings them all together as the special players and strengthens the effect of how ancient and out-of-touch with the modern Blood Bowl fashion they are.

Here are they all together:

4 unpainted Bloaters of Nurgle miniatures for use in Blood Bowl, converted out of Putrid Blightkings using greenstuff. They are standing in a row and there's a text informing what kind of skills in the game they have.

And some closer photos.

Captain on the left was the first that I made and which gave me the least problems when deciding what to do. This is easily my favorite pose out of the Blightkings kit and came together beautifully with what I had in mind - the stone under the foot got changed into a ball, left hand was in great position to sculpt a scary pincer there (instead of some variation on Wolverine claws, I went with the classic interpretation of the 'Claw' mutation) and the outstretched hand was perfect for a 'thumbs down' gesture, bringing even more Roman themes into the whole mess.

The second one has 'Stand Firm' as his upgrade and this one took the longest to design. At first, I wanted to give him thick and bloated legs, but then it would be too similar to the captain's right leg - so I left this topic for a while. Only later I decided to turn his legs into a mass of swarming tentacles and worms - which both greatly illustrates how well is he glued to the ground but also fits Grandfather Nurgle perfectly.

2 unpainted Bloaters of Nurgle miniatures for use in Blood Bowl, converted out of Putrid Blightkings using greenstuff, visible from different angles. One on the left has a giant picer for his hand, representing the 'Claw' mutation. One on the right has tentacles for legs, representing the 'Stand Firm' skill.

Here below, the guy on the left is the one that rolled doubles when leveling - and he got 'Jump Up' which helps players get up quickly after being knocked down. To represent that, I decided to give him a lot of spider legs sticking from his back - which would prop him back easily after he falls down. His body was the most armored of all the Blightkings, so to retain some balance I decided to make him completely unarmored from the breastplate up - like rotting meat rupturing a metal can.

And the last one is the Bloater with 'Mighty Blow'. I thought about representing it quite a lot and many options were just not good - giving him a large fist could be confused with 'Big Hand' while adding a lot of spikes on it could be confused with 'Claw'. I considered giving him a heavy hand made out of stone, but in the end, I decided on giving him a thick, flexible appendage ending with a spiked ball - like a fleshy flail of sorts - with a sporty armband to keep him properly themed. Hopefully, it's heavy- and slow-looking enough not to be confused with a 'Tentacles' mutation.

2 unpainted Bloaters of Nurgle miniatures for use in Blood Bowl, converted out of Putrid Blightkings using greenstuff, visible from different angles. One on the left has lots of spider legs growing out of his back, representing the 'Jump Up' skill. One on the right has a fleshy wrecking ball instead of an arm, representing the 'Might Blow' skill.

There were many different topics here, so once again I did some photos of the actual building progress, to show some of the 'behind the scenes' stuff. They turned out rather long though, so to avoid extending this post to infinity and to get some a post buffer (which I could use for personal reasons right now), I will post them as separate posts in the upcoming weeks, I hope they'll be interesting enough.

I will update this post accordingly to have all those little sculpting tips together with the miniatures they are related to.

First one is about sculpting the Roman-style headcrests that all of them sport:

The second one is about sculpting sick, disproportionate, bloated arms that I did for the 'Stand Firm' guy. Followers of Nurgle allow for some leeway when it comes to anatomy, so it's both quite easy to do and a good place to practice greenstuffing.

The third and the last one is about the wriggling, tentacle legs of the 'Stand-Firm' guy. It explains the principles of doing a similar composition of tentacles, how to sculpt different kinds of slimy appendages, together with instruction on how to quickly make suction cups for those tentacles.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Three Hunters

Today I have some Skin Wolves from Forge World. I always liked those models but I couldn't find a good excuse to incorporate them into my collection. Well, I could use them as Varghulfs, but I already have some of those and they are all bat monsters, having werewolves added to that mix didn't sit well with me. Then, when I started expanding my collection beyond just undead and came up with body-horror-themed 'Dwellers of the Bog', those wolves suddenly found their place.

They fit right in as they are so the conversions are minimal here - I added the Lady's sigil on their bodies ('painted' on with Liquid Greenstuff mixed with gloss varnish, visible at the bottom of the post) and filed off any Chaos iconography. The painting was pretty straightforward, I went with light human skin and dark wolf flesh for the contrast. Only on the hands themselves, I tried to go for the 'flayed flesh' effect to bring more attention to them and I think it turned out pretty good.

Once upon a time, there were three hunters, masters of their craft, who were trying to help their starving village during an exceptionally strong winter. Most of the game was already hunted down - everywhere but in the lush garden that belonged to the wise and beautiful enchantress. She forbade anyone from hunting on her grounds, but the hunters were desperate and they decided to try nevertheless. They fell down a great stag - but as they were rejoicing, the enchantress appeared before them. They shook with fear, but the wise woman told them that the rule was just a test to find those truly skillful and brave. In reward, she offered them a chance to become better hunters than they could ever be - strong, fast, resilient, with keen senses. They could also hunt in her gardens without restrictions and their village would never know hunger again. They just had to swear their allegiance to her. Three hunters agreed and they took the stag back home, where they were greeted as heroes. After a great feast, they woke up at midnight, horrifying transformation ripping their skin open and breaking their bones. Turned into crazed, grotesque man-wolves, hearing the Lady’s whispers in their ears, they killed and devoured every single person in the village. Ever since that night, they roam Varsavia on the Lady’s of the Bog orders, only occasionally turning back into humans to realize what they agreed to.

3 painted miniatures, Skin Wolves from Forge World, visible from differen angles and on 50mm square bases.