Monday, March 9, 2015

Blood Bowl - Beast of Nurgle

Blood Bowl is one of my all-time favorite games.

Although I rarely get to play it, it’s a game that I constantly return to whenever I get the urge to convert or paint something new and different simply for the joy of it.

Blood Bowl is one of those “love it, or leave it” kind of games, with very little middle ground in-between. Part skirmish game, part board game; it’s a tough sell to new players for a number of reasons—an overwhelmingly rabid fanatical fan base, a steep learning curve on strategies and mechanics that are highly situational, and the lack of support by the game’s parent company…there’s a lot going against the game. If it wasn’t for the support of the fans, players, and third party manufacturers, Blood Bowl probably would have died off years ago.

It also doesn’t help the casual newcomer that the game is so strongly tied to the painting and modeling hobby. Converting your team is by no means absolutely necessary, but in most settings painting is either strongly encouraged (leagues) or required (tournaments), and a majority portion of Blood Bowl players are accomplished hobbyists, who take great pride in creating custom teams with custom themes.

I’ve personally never been much of one to heavily theme my own teams, but painting and converting my figures are at the top of my list when it comes to Blood Bowl. In fact, I won’t field a team unless it’s complete and painted.

The last game I played had the dual distinction of also being the least enjoyable—not because I played poorly (I didn’t), or because the dice didn’t go my way (pretty average rolling), but because my opponent brought an unpainted, unprimed, bare metal team to the field, made up of figures whose sculpts I was unfamiliar with, and thus couldn’t tell which positionals were which (I suspect he had trouble with that determination himself, since, when I had to constantly ask, “Which player in this dog pile has guard?”, the piece in question seemed to move around a lot, even though our teams were in a standstill on the pitch). That game ended in a draw, btw. 

The fact that this was league play, and he had played the team enough to skill a number of his players up meant that he should have had enough time to paint his team—and in Blood Bowl especially, even two colors on a figure is just basic respect for your fellow coaches.

So, I always paint my teams before I field them. Simple as that.
One of my longtime Blood Bowl obsessions has been to create a Nurgle team. I can’t explain why, but I’ve always had an obsession with Nurgle going back to my early days of WFB, Rogue Trader, and Realm of Chaos. Don’t know why—I’ve just always thought Nurgle was cool.

Nurgle teams are probably one of the hardest teams to get good miniatures for. GW made a team long ago, but they aren’t the best figures (in my opinion). Taking into account that you have four character types on the team to deal with (Beast, Nurgle Warrior, Pestigor, and Rotters), and the fact that they all have the potential to be rotten, diseased, and heavily mutated, there’s a lot of variability in how to present them, and what miniatures to get—most coaches will go to other miniature ranges and do heavy conversions to create their teams.

I have a general plan to kitbash the majority of my own team, but I thought I’d jump into the extreme deep end of the project, and scratch-build my own unique Beast of Nurgle.

It was a very long on-again-off-again process of sculpting him from a Sculpey core, covered and detailed in greenstuff. The fungal growths on his back are plastic tubing with the edges burnt so they melted and curled back onto themselves.

The Beast is a big fella, and would take up too much room on the pitch if I had to place him on his side, so for the Prone and Stunned conditions I made a “P” and an “S” icon that can be inserted into one of the barnacles on his shoulder-hump. Likewise, the Really Stupid condition has a “?” icon that can be put on him to show his status.

The Beast was my first serious attempt at sculpting a figure from scratch, and I’m pretty happy with him overall. There might be a few things I would change if I were to do it again, but I’m ready to move on to the rest of the team.


  1. Huge BB fan myself and I love making custom teams :) can't even remember how many teams I've made over the years.

    Your greenstuff skills are better than mine no doubt, great sculpt! One thing that would've improved it though is a helmet or the tattered remains of a shirt.

    Will sculpt the entire team btw?

    1. The only problem that I have with the sculpt is that there's nothing BB-identifying on it. At one point I had a tattered cloth across his front so I could put his number on it, but it just didn't look right - maybe if I had played around with it more I could have found something I liked, but there it is.

      I also wanted to make a raging beast - his size is deceptive without another figure for scale, so he doesn't look very big here, but he's actually on a 40mm base, and he fills it out completely - so putting too many human clothes or pads on seemed off. He does need something though...

      I'll just kitbash the rest of the team, although there will be a lot of GS work that will go into them.

  2. Awesome Beast Odie!
    I think blightkings will be perfect together

    1. Thanks! I actually just bought a box of Blightkings after seeing yours, and I think they'll end up working just fine - they're smaller than I had feared they would be, which is a very good thing.

      I just added your blog to my blog list BTW - a ton of great stuff on your site!