Among my very favorite models released in the current “modern era” of Warhammer figures are certainly the Putrid Blightkings. These multi-part plastic kits can be used to build a wide variety of oozing, pus-filled champions of Nurgle, armed with a variety of rusted, wretched weaponry and armor. Each kit comes with more than enough pieces to make five warriors, ensuring that you will end up with a variety of surplus bits to use elsewhere.
I love the models and have wanted to try my hand at painting them for a while now. But I’ve been put off by the retail price — $57 for five figures, well above my typical price tolerance of a few bucks per figure. In addition, while I liked the idea of having a big pile of leftover bits, in practical terms I had no real need for such accoutrements … I just wanted the toy soldiers, thank you very much.
Thankfully, I was able to patiently scour ebay to find the exact solution to fit my needs: a clutch of four Blightkings, already assembled and sloppily painted, for super cheap. I want to say I got the four of them for $20, which made me feel like I’d just won the lottery. In a strange way, acquiring them pre-assembled was actually a relief. I am not super interested in fiddly assemblies these days, and so I was glad to have that task done for me ahead of time.
These guys were about 75% complete when they arrived. A couple of them were missing the all-important butt pieces, which cover their rear ends and generally complete the miniature. I was able to fashion replacement butt pieces using green stuff and various satchels, packs, and bandoliers from my bits box. I must admit I was sorely tempted to sculpt a yawning anus on one of these guys, just for the Nurgle style points.
After a quick dip in the paint stripper, they were ready for some brushwork. The paint job included contrast paints for the flesh, together with dark, grimy chainmail and lurid green plate armor. I like painting my Nurgle guys in a bright, almost cartoonish paint scheme.
Here’s a peek at the butt solutions I came up with. The swishy tail is from a leftover cavalry horse!
All in all, these guys fit the bill for exactly what I was seeking — cheap models, pre-assembled, ready to strip & repaint. I’m not even bothered by only having just four of these guys, because they’ll be a standard-sized unit of hearthguard in Saga: Age of Magic.
What’s your favorite chaos-aligned figure or unit?
Hark, dear reader — do you hear? The bell has tolled thirteen dolorous peals, signifying the completion of the great task which I set before myself two years prior. It is time to share with you my newly completed Skaven army in all its creeping, coiling, loathsome glory!
Regular readers will know that collecting and painting up a Skaven army composed of the old-school metal figures that I coveted as a kid is a goal that I’ve striven toward since the middle of 2018. I certainly took my sweet time with this project, chipping away in bits and pieces between several 40k projects and a couple other fantasy endeavors. Now it is time to show off the fruits of my labors!
Keen-eyed readers will immediately notice that this isn’t a Warhammer-sized army. It’s true — I collected and assembled this army primarily to play mid-sized skirmish games like Dragon Rampant and Saga: Age of Magic. Most of the unit sizes are in multiples of 6 and 12 figures, which align well with those rulesets. With a little work, I can probably reconfigure this lot for Warlords of Erehwon or Kings of War.
For those who want to catch up on this series, here are links to past entries:
I’ll share some detail shots a little later in the post, but for now let’s run through the units in the big photo above.
A. Warp Lightning Cannon – what’s that, a plastic model? Yes, it’s true. Purists need read no further. I have included just a handful of plastic models in this army … mostly larger models. In this case, I acquired this Warp Lightning Cannon nicely painted and finished, so it was an easy one to include.
B. Packmaster and Giant rats – barely glimpsed behind that hill!
C. HQ units – various beautiful old models including Thanquol, Lord Skrolk, and the “Middlehammer” version of Deathmaster Snikch, plus a few more.
D. Weapon teams – Warp Grinder and Warpfire Thrower
F. Poison Wind Globadiers – possibly my favorite individual Skaven models, and strangely pricey these days due to the fact that they’re still a valid unit choice in Age of Sigmar despite being available only as metal, 20-year-old sculpts.
G. Weapon teams – Ratling guns x2
H. Rat Ogres – another pair of plastic figures, also acquired nicely painted and ready to play.
J. Skaven Slaves – Another batch of metal models that are rather pricey these days. Just basic slaves with spears and leg irons.
K. Stormfiend – The newest addition to the army, I acquired this plastic model nicely painted a few weeks ago. I like the idea of a single Stormfiend lumbering at the rear of my army, hissing and clanking and ready to exploit a break in the enemy’s line.
L. Plague Monks – featuring a custom banner vinyl banner
M. Stormvermin – the classic Skaven shock troops.
N. Gutter Runners – eight sneaky assassins plus their leader, Veskit the Executioner
Now it’s time for some close-up photos! I borrowed a nicer camera to take some macro shots, which really give the sense of a mass of chittering rats surging forward on the battlefield.
Note: All photos should be clickable, so you can view slightly larger versions if that is your desire.
Miniatures photography is almost as fun as actually playing games with these guys!
More pics below showing the spear-wielding guys at the vanguard of the assault.
I had a lot of fun acquiring and painting up some of these nifty character models. Here’s a closer look!
Now back to the rank and file! Imagine this gnawing horde charging at you across the battlefield, slashing the air with their rusted weapons and chittering in their foul rat-pidgin.
After I took these fun new photos, I realized I had missed one model: my Doomwheel! It sat ignored and unloved on a shelf while I was gleefully arranging these pics. Oops! Here it is, lest it get overlooked.
This army project was a real joy to tackle over the last few years. From researching to acquiring the models to painting up the units, I learned a lot about the Oldhammer-era history of this fun fantasy faction. I am pleased to report that I ended up with the exact army that I wanted, beholden to no particularly game or ruleset or army list or special rule.
I hope to do a similar post later this year for my dwarf army, with lots of nice photos and group shots — stay tuned!
This post is part hobby update, part real-life interlude. Come along, if you wish, and see how Comrade’s Wargames has been enduring the last, apocalyptic days of summer.
Some readers may know that I live in western Oregon, an area of the country that is beautiful, lush, and quiet — most of the time. Every now and then, wildfires come calling. This is the western United States, after all, and even though western Oregon has a reputation for being gray and rainy, the fact remains that most of Oregon’s climate is dry for a large part of the year. Global climate change is only worsening that trend, I’m afraid.
So, wildfires caused by lightning strikes in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains blew up on Labor Day weekend, fanned by an unusually strong wind system, and quickly grew to thousands of acres. These fires were unique because they began moving toward the Willamette Valley, home to the largest population centers in Oregon. Oh hey, I live there too. Right here, where the purple arrow is pointing.
So things were pretty dicey for a few days. Smoke and ash blanketed the entire valley, including my home. Here’s a look at my neighborhood on the morning of Tuesday, September 8. It looks like something out of a Resident Evil video game.
And here’s the accumulated ash on the hood of my car.
We watched the news nervously for a few days, and had our go bags prepped in case we needed to hit the road. But the fires stayed mainly in the forested mountain canyons and never ventured down into the major cities in the valley.
The air quality, however, was another story. For nearly two weeks, the air in my neck of the woods was worse than what you’d typically see in someplace like Beijing. Of course, the smoke and ash coincided with a visit from my mother-in-law, so we had to spend the entire visit indoors, with the HVAC running full blast to have a modicum of comfort.
Being trapped indoors for a week gave me an opportunity to putter around with another new hobby: food preservation! I have a little backyard garden, more of a garden patch really, and I was excited to try my hand at canning some food for storage. The tomatoes here came from my garden, and the peppers were a gift from my friend and fellow gamer John, who moved into a new home that had a backyard garden overflowing with produce (courtesy of the previous owners) and graciously allowed me to harvest some crops.
Take a look at my haul from John’s garden. Wow! Every color of the rainbow. What didn’t get pickled and canned has already been consumed by my family.
I am terribly proud of my meager pints of preserved tomatoes and peppers, and I plan to increase my garden space next summer. Please do me a favor and check back in 4 months to make sure I haven’t gotten botulism after popping these bad boys open.
Between fires and being trapped indoors and all this food prep, you might think I would have had zero time for my miniatures hobby. Incorrect! In fact, retreating to my workshop/office became an important daily ritual for me during this fairly stressful time. I managed to finish six of these fantastic chunky resin dwarf models from Scibor Monstrous Miniatures.
They are really tremendous sculpts, full of character, and perfect as elite warriors, thanes, sergeants, or lords.
For my army, they will hit the table as hearthguard, sworn bannerdwarves to King Nicodemus, the Anvil of Dawn. Huzzah!
See? I managed to squeeze in a bit of a hobby update amidst all this real-life stuff. There will be more to come soon, as the Year of Fantasy marches on!
Last month John and I gathered for a somewhat momentous game of Saga: Age of Magic. At long last, after plenty of worldbuilding and painting, we were beginning a narrative campaign set in my club’s homebrew fantasy world. Specifically, we’d be playing out a series of games during the War of the Coins, a particularly devastating conflict between a wealthy dwarven empire and a loose alliance of feudal human noble houses.
We knew from our worldbuilding efforts (guided by the excellent Microscope RPG) that the decade-long War of the Coins ended with the dwarves being defeated after a great siege at their capital city, and summarily expelled from the continent and sent packing over a land bridge into an icy, windswept wasteland. But while the outcome was predetermined, we were very eager to play out a series of games to determine the exact nature of the dwarves’ defeat and the humans’ triumphs.
The conflict was named after the vast amounts money (coins) spent by the human feudal states in hiring mercenaries to fight on their behalf. It was also so named for the round shields carried by the stout dwarf warriors into battle. As the war progressed, the hard-pressed dwarves took to hammering copper coins into their oaken shields. So the name works on several levels!
The game took place outdoors, on John’s covered patio, with masks and plenty of physical distancing. I was running my dwarf army using the Masters of the Underearth battle board, and John was using the Great Kingdoms list for his human militia.
In the War of the Coins, the dwarves were the aggressors, launching several border raids that culminated in a full-blown invasion of the human city-states. Our game took place in Drazenko, a border outpost controlled by one of the minor human princes. John’s faction, House Begovic, had selected Drazenko as the first location to oppose the the dwarves’ advance.
As the game began, the dwarf army had just succeeded in pounding Drazenko with long-range cannon fire, reducing much of the village to rubble and clearing the way for the dwarven advance. The dwarf king Nicodemus II, the Anvil of Dawn, had taken to the field to lead his army into the village in what everyone assumed would be a low-stakes mopping up action. Good for propaganda, especially if the king was careful to get a bit of dust on his cloak as he strode through the streets.
Unfortunately, House Begovic had other ideas. Mobile reserves arrived to challenge the dwarves as they marched triumphantly into the smoking ruins of Drazenko.
John’s army was well organized and (thanks to several mounted units) quite speedy. He was able to blunt my initial advance quite handily. Within a few turns, the dwarves hadn’t been able to move very far into the ruined village.
John’s opening turn was brilliant; he managed to get his paladin into combat with my frost giant, and actually killed the blue-skinned monster in a single combat! Talk about a huge blow to morale … it died without ever activating!
With my preferred avenue of advance closed to me, I fell back on that tried-and-true dwarf tactic: close ranks and prepare a stout defense. John’s units had the mobility to surround my force on two sides, but I’m pleased to say that I proved to be a tough nut to crack for most of the game.
An early win came when my two cannons succeeded in knocking out his catapult. These units had been conducting a long-range artillery duel for the first few turns of the game. With the catapult out of the way, the cannons were free to rain fire down on virtually any target on the battlefield. Fire at will!
Back in the center of the battlefield, the dwarves stood shoulder-to-shoulder as they weathered devastating charges by John’s mounted heroes. Dwarves fell by the score, but they managed to take a few humans with them … just enough to prevent the game turning into a total and complete rout.
It was clear that I was not going to be able to pull off the victory, but once again Saga provided a fairly close game once all the victory conditions were calculated. This is a game that rewards players who pay close attention to the parameters for winning.
One key play that kept me in the game in the latter turns came when the cannons managed to land two shells in the vicinity of Field Marshal Bartholomieu Begovic, peppering the well-heeled noble with shrapnel and forcing him to retire to the rear to recuperate with a strong cup of brandy while an attaché documented his heroism in a letter sent back to the home front.
But back on the front lines, where warriors were fighting and dying, it was anything but glorious. Drazenko was a smoking ruin of churned mud and shattered masonry, strewn with the bodies of the dead and wounded. The dwarves were pressed back as House Begovic’s pegasus cavalry flew in to cut down the cannon crew, effectively silencing the big guns.
At this point, we had reached our turn limit, which meant that King Nicodemus was able to quit the field with some dignity intact, having been stung badly by his first encounter with House Begovic.
As we counted up victory points, we found that the game wasn’t a total rout for me, so that was nice. John has a very good handle on how to play the Great Kingdoms battle board, and his army list is versatile and well tuned. For my part, my list wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be (due to painting queue obligations) so I had a bit of work still to do.
I also decided that I wanted to go all in on the “big guns never tire” theme for my army. So in addition to my two static war machines, I’ll be taking two destruction teams (to be represented by some multi-barrel organ guns I have in my collection) to really max out of the number of shooty stuff on my side of the board. Thankfully, Saga is versatile enough to allow me to achieve this goal in short order.
Now that the War of the Coins has begun, we can’t stop now! Let’s see what King Nicodemus has in mind for his next move. And how bold will Field Marshal Bartholomieu Begovic be when he returns, refreshed and healed, to resume his command? Only time will tell. Stay tuned for more!
Earlier this month, John and I dared to play a game of Saga: Age of Magic on his back porch. We had physical distancing and a nice breeze, as well as face masks for both of us, so we felt that we had taken all reasonable precautions. After a long drought, we were excited to get some newly painted miniatures onto the battlefield, both for John’s Great Kingdoms army and my Masters of the Underearth (Skaven) warband.
The game was a follow-on to the outcome of our previous game, which saw a rout by a ratmen raiding party harrying the defenders of a fortified village. For this game, the ratmen had secured a slightly more … pungent … booty, in the form of three rotting coffins, each containing the noisome remains of a plague victim. The ratmen were scurrying off with the caskets so that their crazed alchemists could use the bodies to brew up some dastardly poisons. Only the stout defenders of House Begovic stood between the ratmen and their goal!
You can see the caskets, being borne by a swarm of rats, in the photo above. The goal was to escort them across the battlefield and exit through John’s table edge. I’d have to keep moving at a pretty good clip to ensure a reasonable chance of winning. No dithering and no time wasted on fruitless combat!
After deployment, I committed most of my forces to the right flank, as seen in the photo above. I was trying to stay as far away as possible from John’s unit of mounted hearthguard. At eight strong, they were an incredibly powerful and hard-hitting force on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the best I could do was delay their arrival.
So I started maneuvering away from them, angling up the right flank and positioning some of my ratmen as blocking units to slow down the attackers. It worked! For a couple of turns, anyway. My newly painted levies with bows occupied this encampment, staying in cover and delivering fairly effective missile fire throughout the game.
Likewise, this unit of levies shadowed the hearthguard on the opposing flank, always threatening to burst from cover and poke the cavalry with their spears. They actually jumped into combat toward the end of the game and, I think, inflicted some casualties!
The caskets moved slowly, and I had to keep the rest of my force arrayed around them to provide a support. It was only a matter of time before John’s hearthguard caught up to them and surged in for a massive assault.
Oh look! There it is. CHARGE!
The charge wiped out an entire unit of warriors that had been protecting the caskets, leaving the poor little rat swarms dangerously exposed to the thundering hooves of the hearthguard. On my turn, I got incredibly lucky with a pair of quadrupedal creatures, which managed to annihilate about half of the horsemen in a single savage round of attacks.
That combat tilted the game in my favor, at least temporarily.
The quadrupedal creatures are Chaos Centigors from Warhammer Fantasy. I love the miniatures and figured I’d get them onto the battlefield alongside my Skaven. After all, why do we play Saga if not for opportunities to mix and match miniatures from our collections?
After that, the game became a rat race — no pun intended. I had pushed through the initial battle line (at great cost) and now had a slim chance to make a break for John’s table edge.
Unfortunately, my rat swarms were mauled and nearing exhaustion. John still had several highly mobile units that were ultimately able to chase them down and skewer the poor rats one by one. Oh well! I take heart in the knowledge that John’s surviving warriors caught the plague and died horribly after the battle was won.
This game represented a personal best for me in terms of rules comprehension and overall grasp of strategy and tactics. Saga is a really complex game, with a lot of decisions to be made at various points throughout the turn. Playing against a worthy opponent like John requires the utmost attention to detail! I am getting better with the Masters of the Underearth army. I intend to use the same army list for my dwarf army, which will be helpful for digging deeper into the tactics of this particular army. We’re playing again soon — stay tuned for more!