Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Putrid Blightkings: Death Guard terminator conversion

Embrace the madness in your soul!

In our last post about the Putrid Blightkings, we talked at length about how they are uniquely poised to be the foundation of all manner of interesting conversions. In our minds, the most obvious was utilizing them to make a range of interesting and unique plague marines and plague terminators for Warhammer 40k. Since the models are so complex and layered, it quickly became clear that a simple weapons swap would not do the models justice, and that they would require more significant modeling work. I am happy to report that work is well underway for the first of these conversions, an ancient Death Guard terminator! This post is geared around showing my progress on the conversion and talking about some of my thoughts on how I might finish him and what to do with the rest of the squad. Hopefully I can get some opinions from all of you about the unfinished aspects of the conversion!

Going into the conversion, I wanted to take pains to modify the Blightking armour to make it appear that he was actually wearing some form of terminator armour (rather than simply make due with the armour he was already wearing, despite how cool it is). To speak towards the notion that this Death Guard terminator is an ancient warrior heavily vested in and blessed by Grandfather Nurgle (a true veteran of the Long War!), I opted to give him Cataphractii Pattern terminator armor, one of the mainstays during the Horus Heresy. Furthermore, the Cataphractii Pattern armour is the broadest and bulkiest looking of all of the terminator armour produced by Games Workshop/Forge World, perfect for capturing the indomitable presence of a corrupt Astarte!

The first thing I did with the conversion was snip off his legs below the knees and replace them with those from a suit of Cataphractii terminator armor. While I love the boots several of the Blightkings sport, they do not exactly fit the space marine aesthetic. Having replaced the lower portion of the model’s legs, I wanted to add a little more armor to the model’s thighs, making it appear as if the terminator is bursting free of the confines of his armour (so blessed is he by Grandfather Nurgle). This turned out to be simpler than I initially envisioned; all I needed to do was take what was left of the Cataphractii terminator legs and cut them in half and hollow them out to plate the Blightking’s thighs. Additionally, I added some armour to the model’s rear, which I took from a plastic space marine terminator (from the Black Reach boxed set).

The conversion started out simple enough, just snipping off the Blightking's legs and replacing them with the lower portion of a pair of Cataphractii terminator legs.

To make the legs even more convincing, I trimmed off the armour plates on the terminator legs so they could be layered onto the Blightking.

With all of the armored components in place on the model’s legs, I went to work with greenstuff to make everything look a little more convincing. The first order of business was simply to fill in all of the gaps, connecting the resin and plastic pieces. After that was done, I started the more fun and interesting task of adding details to bring everything together. This consisted primarily of extending armour plates, adding extra bulges of flesh, and adding torn webbing from one of the leg joints (all suitable for a walking reservoir of contagion). With these details in place, I went about deforming all of the pieces of armour with pock marks and tears. The majority of these were done using drill bits of various sizes.

I was able to use green stuff to fill in any gaps and add some final details to make it look like his armour literately burst apart from the inside. 

For the model’s body, I decided to use the Blightking with a monstrous belly mouth and a long slavering tongue. While I was particularly fond of the toothed maw and the tongue, I was less thrilled about the severed head wrapped in the tongue of the model. Since it is plastic (and not metal…), I decided it was worth the extra effort to carve off the severed head. I am pleased with the results and feel it accentuates its length and and hideous dexterity. At this point, I could have easily stopped, leaving the rest of his bloated body intact, rupturing through the rest of his armour completely. I decided it was worth experimenting with remnants of his former breastplate.  To to this, I took a small saw and cut the body of a Cataphractii terminator in half.  Afterwards, I used an xacto knife to hollow the rest out such that it could layer on top of the Blightking’s body. I still have to do a little more work to get the the breastplate to fit properly. The shoulder placement on the Blightkings is much different than the standard terminator. I also added two severed cables (from Dragon Forge games) coming from the breastplate to make it look like the mouth in his stomach tore open his armour.

I am experimenting with adding a breastplate to the model, fashioned from the front portion of  a Catapharactii terminator.

The next major hurdle to be surmounted was the terminator’s weapons. To keep with the terminator-heavy theme, I decided that I needed to equip the model with a powerfist. This was a pretty simple conversion, just requiring me to snip off the Blightkings lower arm and replace it with one of the Cataphractii powerfists. Next I added some torn cabling hanging from the weapon and an elbow guard taken from a plastic space marine terminator. Aside from adding a shoulderpad, I don’t believe I will add anymore armour plating to his powerfist arm (now it looks like armour has fallen off after years of warfare and demonic corruption).

No terminator could be complete without a lumbering powerfist!

For the terminator’s right arm, I was less certain about what I wanted to do. As such, I began converting several different options! First and possibly the easiest would be to use one of the myriad of fantastic corroded and pitted blades and axes that came in the Blightking box. I chose one of the swords from the kit and shortened it by a small margin. Fortunately the Blightking hand holding the sword fit perfectly with the plastic terminator arms, allowing me a relatively simple means of adding the weapon to the plague terminator.

While I liked the look of the sword, I thought it would be wise to devise some form of firearm for the terminator, as well. With all the imagery of the plague marines of old, I decided the weapon needed to be a bolter of some kind. Similar to what Jeff Vader decided on with his wonderful plague marine conversion, I choose to base his firearm on one of the old 2nd edition plastic bolters. Since this was a terminator, I decided to modify the bolter into a combiflamer using one of the Cataphractii combiflamer attachments from Forge World.

The Death Guard have always been fascinated with flamer weapons and poisons, so I felt it was worth converting a combiflamer for him, basing it around one of the old 2nd edition plastic bolters. 

A few of the potential weapon options for the Death Guard terminator.

Finally, I also decided to try my hand at converting a reaper autocannon as well!  Although I have one of the Cataphractii autocannons, it is ridiculously oversized.  Not only is it about twice the size of a plastic assault cannon, it is also as tall as Primarch Vulkan.  When a weapon is so large that even one of the most massive Primarchs would look ridiculous wielding it, you know there is a problem.  In a pretty simple conversion, I replaced the rotating barrels of the assault cannon with a portion of one of the dual Cataphractii autocannon barrels.  And while this is still large, I feel it looks far more sensible.  On a whim, I decided to fashion a shield for the weapon, to protect the vulnerable ammunition hopper.

Yes, that autocannon is as large as Primarch Vulkan...

But with some cutting and the help of a plastic assault cannon, it becomes much more believable. 

When it came to selecting a head for the model, I opted to use one of the heads from the kit rather than replace it with a more traditional terminator head.  I did this because I think the Blightking heads are some of the neatest components in the kit, and are possibly the most defining in terms of their character.  They maintain a level of faceless horror, reminiscent to the helplessness of a viral pandemic.  For the first terminator, I selected a head that pays homage to a classic Adrian Smith piece of artwork in which there is a chilling horn/blade jutting from the faceplate.  I feel it speaks to the warrior’s alienation and long departure from any pieces of humanity he may once have had.

The model is well on its way towards completion, now with a suitably pockmarked and spiked shoulderpad.

Despite still needing to finish his body and decide on what weapons to give him, I am very satisfied with how the terminator is coming along. While it has taken much longer than I had anticipated, I think the extra green stuff work really ties the model together and make him a more convincing Death Guard terminator. It has also been really fun creating weapons for the model, mixing old and new pieces together, merging Fantasy and 40k.  Although I have some ideas, I am still very much in the planning phase for the rest of the squad.  Therefore, I would love to hear what you all think of the current terminator, and what you would like to see with future ones!

-Adam Wier


  1. As always your attention to detail is impressive.

    I think every part of the conversion works well and sells the character except the chest plate which to my eyes takes too much away from the base miniature.

    When I look at the stock miniature is all fantastic from the front but fairly plain from the rear. That's where I'd concentrate my effort. Could you use the rear armour piece there leaving the front of the mini stock?

    1. Thanks for the comment! I see what you are saying about the chest plate on the model. There is a fine balance between changing the model too much and not enough. I think I want something else on the front of him. The chest plate still needs some work if I want it to fit properly on the model as it is (his shoulders do not bode well with the terminator plate...).

      You are right about the back of the model. While I did not mention it in the post, I am planning to add some form of armour there. At this point I am leaning towards trying to use some of the venting and cabling from the back of the Catapharactii terminator armour.

  2. Great job!

    Personally I really like the breastplate as it really helps turn him into am obvious marine. Only suggestion would be to cut down the chinguard somewhat to give the head some more room.

    For armament I'd go with the autocannon but with a blade added near the muzzle to make it look more like a scythe.

    1. Thanks Vader!

      I am pretty sure I want to keep the front armour on the model in some form. The armour I have currently still needs some more modifications to properly fit on the Blightking. I will look at modifying the chinguard a little more. It will probably help with the build.

      I was experimenting a little with different blades to attach to the autocannon earlier. Nothing I had used seemed to fit quite right. I will have to go back and try a little harder. A scythe-like blade could be really fitting.

  3. Stunning conversion! I love the idea of layering the armor on the skin. Good Greenstuff application too, it resembles the Obliterators at some points especially in the back.

    Magnetizing comes to mind if you're unsure of which weapon arm you'll use but aesthetically I think a large weapon (anything that's normally two-handed for a marine) would be fitting considering their huge bulk.

    Looking forward to seeing paint on these menaces!

    1. Thanks for the compliments!

      Magnetizing the different options is an interesting idea. I have tons of magnets that I have purchased but have almost never used...

  4. Gorgeous bit of conversion there! ...If you can call a disgusting putrid terminator slopping out of his armor gorgeous. :)

    Absolutely great work, man - looking forward to seeing more!

    1. Thanks Mordian7th!

      I am glad you like the start of the terminator! I still have a lot of work to do on him before he is finished. Then it will be on to converting more!

  5. Great conversion. I think chest plate and combi-flamer, as it gives more of a "nurgle" read than the heavy weapon, and the knife plus fist seems far too close combat orriented.

    I think it would also be interesting to have some sort of power pack on the back... maybe one half of what a standard terminator has, the other half rotted away...

    1. Thanks for the comment and the suggestions. I too am leaning more towards using the combibolter. I think I will try and convert another terminator to wield the Reaper autocannon.

      The terminator will certainly be getting some work done on his back adding armour and the like. It is going to be a little tricky to pull off but I will figure something out. :)

  6. Wow. That's all I can say. The power first instantly made the model that much cooler! Do you have a tentacle maker? Would be really useful for putting hoses all over the place!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Good idea about the tentacle maker that would be really helpful. I will need to get one in the near future!

  7. Your conversion work on this guy is very ingenious! Fantastic work! Having worked with the Blightkings quite a bit myself (and in a far lazier way than you, by the look of it), I do have one nitpick: The spliced-in Terminator legs, arms and breastplate are all fantastic, but for the guy to really look like an actual Terminator, you'll need to add the characteristic neck and back portions for the "hunchbacked" look. Otherwise, your model will look amazing, but not like a Terminator, but rather like a true scale Marine.

    Now, personally speaking, I'd just go for the true scale look over the Terminators, seeing how your conversion seems quite seamless as it is, but I had to point this out -- sorry ;)

    Keep up the fantastic work!

    1. Thanks the comment and all of the suggestions! You are quite right about him needing the characteristic neck armour to look like a real terminator. I am going to try and work something out for that. If it does not go well he can just turn into a true scale marine as you suggested!

  8. These look great. I actually love the breast plate. I was looking at doing a few similar conversions, glad to see that the bits all fit before I make the investment.

  9. This is, quite simply, an absolutely glorious conversion. I love it, and the reason I love it so much is that, just by looking at it, you can see that this is how Games Workshop *should* make the Nurglite Cult Terminators look like.