New Plague Marine Design – Praise Nurgle!

The upcoming Plague Marines look fantastic – but GW has walked this putrid path before.

The recently unveiled Plague Marines are amazing, but they are merely the next shambling step in a long line of Nurgle miniature design:

First let’s look at the new fellows:

We see a lot of the modern GW design library for Nurgle here. Note not only the obvious tattered armor, but things like: the asymetrical horns, bells, Nurglings, chains & censers, medieval knight faceplate/grilles.

The fly symbols, oddly placed orifices, cables aplentym, hints of fleshy horror deep within broken recesses…(someone needs a dentist – BAD)

The triple skull motif, tentacles/maggots, emphasis on large two-handed scythes & executioner’s axes, Prussian Pickelhaubes, occasional cloven feet.

Into the Gardens of Nurgle

Now we can start to go back through the GW catalog and see where so much of these mini’s appearance came from.

The “current” Plague Marines are ancient, first appearing in the 3.5 Chaos Space Marine Codex from 2002. Nurgle does indeed endure… Here we see the twisted fleshy armor and damaged equipment motif, but not much else. GW has come a long way in 15 years.

The Putrid Blightkings first appeared in the End Times series before being repackaged for Ager of Sigmar. This where a lot of the modern visual library of Nurgle design came from. 

Note the grossly distended bodies, the orificies all over the place, tentacle/tongues, bells, and the fly motif.

Here we see the antlers, skulls, Nurglings, and quite creatively Nurglings and bells within orifices (eww)! The new Death Guard are effectively these miniatures simply transposed from Fantasy knightly armor, to older Heresy-era power armor marks.


Gutrot Spume also combined many of these elements from the executioner’s axe to the tentacles, orifices, cloven feet (look close), and knightly helmet.

Ahh the Glottkin. If you want to see asymmetry on a model – here you go. Again, large tentacles, oversized antlers erupting all over the place, orifices, scythes, bells, triple skulls, knightly grille.  Really the Brothers Glott have it all!


Going way back to the Chaos Possessed, you can see perhaps the earliest plastic “modern” incarnation of the funky “chest mouths” that show up all over modern Nurgle models.

They say that both Mortarion and a new plastic Great Unclean One is coming.  I hope I can stomach what GW’s digital sculptors have in mind… *shudder*

~ Do you think GW did a good job bring the Plague Marines into the modern era of mini design?

  • Thomas

    Don’t get me wrong, the Finecast Plague Marines were really cool looking aesthetically. But they suffered from bad scaling, being made of a sub-par material, lack of pose options or customisation…

    The new ones look *amazing* and avoid all those other problems. Not been excited about a GW release like this since Imperial Knights.

    • Charon

      They will still lack pose options. Every new GW release was nonopose. You get 10 models in a box but you can only build them to these exact 10 models or you leave huge gaps or the parts just wont fit.

      • DJ860

        Well, you’re likely right, but you don’t actually know that for a fact, so how about waiting before making such silly statements.

        The Deathwatch marines for example, have plenty of posing options and swap options.

        • Charon

          As well as the OP doesnt know if the new release will avoid the problem of static poses. But you choose to jump at this statement while the other is ok.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          That’s because they made them modular with current marines which are modular. Marines are almost always like that sparing any named character or hq choice, which are still mostly monopose “dynamic”

      • Vorropohaiah

        have you seen the thousand sons? the’re like normal marines. these look no different.

        • Charon

          I got them, they are monopose. LEgs come in pairs, arm positions are fixed. There is one straight way to build every one of them from the box.

          With the scarab occult terinators you can not even swith the sorcerors legs as the tabard will only fit to the legs of “terminator 1”

          • Tom

            Well they’re not technically monopose, you can still move the torsos and heads etc. The Dark Vengeance chaos chosen are an example of strictly monopose.

            That being said, I do see your point. I was also disappointed with the posing options of the new Thousand Sons box set. It would have been nice to see a little more variety. Hopefully the new Death Guard models offer a few more posable options.

          • Anggul

            Surely that’s the same for all space marines with two-handed guns?

      • ZeeLobby

        Yeah. I guess it’s the sacrifice to be detail blasted in the face.

        • Charon

          Aye. Not a bad thing in general but kinds sucks when you get multiples.
          In was kinda disappointed with the blue horrors as there is exactly ONE WAY to build them, you can not even swap arms.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I do have to say I liked the customizability built into older sets as well. I remember building my 90+ Ork Boyz and making sure each body had different legs, arms, head, and bits.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Aye, and I painted every single one different -_-

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. Totally worth it though. When it’s on the table it looks amazing, and the little details do show up in mass. That said, I have a player who stores his summoned demons in styrofoam cups he dumps on the table, lol.

          • Emprah

            Yeah, arm swapping, helm swapping and such can go a long way. But if it is not possible, giving different weapons or adding stuff like purity seals/demonic charms can help, if you got the time for all that work.

      • marxlives

        For skirmish games being able to pose a model is not important as long as the poses are dynamic like you see in Malifaux or Dark Age from CMoN.

        For a mass combat game like 40K I think this is even less of an issue. With so many models on the table, no one is going to notice your repose from 4 feet away. Friends will when you point it out to them but that is about it. For expensive units and solos, you don’t need to repose either, if the sculpt is dynamic and looks good.

        I remember I used to repose models all the time but now that I look back on it, forcing my friends to look at a repose and eek out a “wow, that is cool” for a few seconds of satisfaction was pretty stupid of me.

        Also, reposing is a barrier to entry for new players. The whole idea of reposing being common is from a totally different era in the hobby and it is an era that is closing with each new demographic.

    • GingerPowered

      Well, they were originally metal…

      …and being one of the earliest “metal to finecast” conversions, you can really tell the switch did them very little favors.

    • zeno666

      Bad scaling? So like every space marine mini?

      • memitchell

        The Prospero Mk III marines are upscale, a bit. They are noticeably larger than my older metal Librarians and Techmarine.

      • Thomas

        Yeah, but the older ones doubly so. They don’t even scale properly next to other marines half the time.

  • Andrew

    I’m really disappointed that this article only talks about newer kits, and doesn’t talk about the 2nd edition models, the Jes Goodwin fantasy champions, the old plastic monopose models, and the old old Realm of Chaos era Nurgle Renegade models, all of which seem to be referenced in these designs. (And heavily referenced with the newer fantasy stuff, like the Blightkings)

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      Agreed. The ancient metal Great Unclean One had a ‘tummy mouth’ too, as well as mouths on his fingertips. I still have that mini and use him as a herald.

    • Christian Pierce

      I have to admit, this was one of the most poorly researched article on BOLS in a while. The design motifs mentioned were originally available all the way back to Warhammer Nurgle Champion on Mount (with probably the best familar in Citadel history) back in Fantasy days and that is in minis. The original art styling can be traced back to Realms of Chaos -The Lost and the Damned, nearly 30 years before Blightkings.
      The fact the author decided (I am assuming they decided) to skip over the entire Nurgle Forgeworld conversion line is astonishing, especially as at the time those Nurgle conversions were pushing the envelope in terms of detail and character. Blightkings are probably here today due to the popularity and admiration of the Plague Orgyns and Games Workshops desire to have a similar model in Warhammer/AOS.

      • amaximus167

        I think the FW kits are still quite amazing and relevant. If you’re not into the craziness of all the new CSM designs/details since Dark Vengeance you could totally still use the FW kits combined with the now more affordable MkIII plastics to create Death Guard that will still stand up as looking great on the table top even next to these new models.

        • Timotheus

          True words. At this point they seem more fitting and tasteful than the new designs to me. The new GW stuff looks like End Times 2.0 to me so far…

          • amaximus167

            Yeah, while I don’t think they’re a total loss, (they’re way better than the last metal/finecast kit, IMO,) I will have to get a good look at the build options before I know if I want to buy this kit. I have never been a fan of the belly mouths/tongues. If there are enough bits in the box so that I can get away with building multiple squads without using those cartoonish bits, I will be okay with it. Otherwise, I may just go with the FW/MkIII route. Also, I HATE the champion model with the apron and bell. I hope to all the unholy powers that he is not the only option for a champ in the box…

    • amaximus167

      Right? All this new stuff heavily references the originals. Also, if I remember correctly, Typhus was the first model to get the modern fly design. It may have shown up before, but my old man brain doesn’t remember…

    • Timotheus

      Fantasy seems a big influence yes. But I hoped for the old 3rd Edition?) plague marines to be the way to go, so I’m pretty underwhelmed from what I can tell at this point. Also more primarchs means more butthurt for me…

    • Hrudian

      Yup, not a single word about the classic WW1 inspired Plague Marines.. (1st / 2nd edition?)

  • Abe Killian

    Notice they took out the reference to them being the “7th legion”

    • ZeeLobby

      Haha. Yeah. That video was taken down within an hour. Guess they noticed pretty fast.

      • BloodPact

        The fans let ’em know pretty fast.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, I mean how do you get that wrong, lol.

  • Son_of_Corax_XIX

    Slow news day again? Going on about a video from last week.

  • Emprah

    These new ones look very pretty.

  • willy2fly

    Nurgle is best chaos god.

  • WhenDidVicesBecomeVirtues

    Am I the only one who find it a bit odd that they are making new minis that look retro/goofy? I would’ve wanted chaos minis to look BAF but not sure I agree with their design direction. I feel like these are steps backwards from the look they established in the Dark Vengeance chaos marines.

    • It’s Nurgle, anything less than this would’ve been inappropriate

    • phobosftw

      No mate you are completely on point – the new designs are totally silly looking, designed with children in mind , idk.. (as opposed to the current designs which are for man-children 🙂 )

  • piglette

    Damn, Fantasy/AoS gets some REALLY nice models!

    • JPMcMillen

      Well, just slap a bolter in their hand…

  • Talos2

    It’s hard to say what I think about the new plague marines. They look great, but very crisp and clean. Hopefully once they’re being painted by people that don’t have to have every edge highlight perfectly drawn and they look dirty and plague ridden they will be as good as it looks like the could be

    • MechBattler

      You should see mine. I converted a few from regular CSM with green stuff and some necron gauss tubes. Then I based them with gray paint and slathered layers of green wash on them until they looked like they had crawled out of a swamp. Then I added some metallic colors and WHAM.
      They look like some sort of diseased bog critters.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      The ones I have right now are getting “gepollockt,” to match my tentacled Achilles Alpha with the Blood of Mackan legacy.

  • memitchell

    You guys are just plain funny folks. Pull out one of them old metal Plague Marines. I’m guessing mine are from second edition? Tiny, crude, and kinda goofy. If you put them next to these new ones, a new customer wouldn’t think twice about which to buy. What I don’t like about these Death Guard is they are a MUST buy. At least one squad, for obscene, obscure gaming purposes like Space Hulk and Shadow War. At least I could convince myself the new Thousands Sons were just too hard to paint properly. Besides, they had me at “Pickelhaubes.”

  • Mike Tbone Green

    do what i shall do, use blightkings and mix them in with some terminator bits.BAM even more nurglish termis

  • Libelnon

    So, we’re getting new Nurgle marines; any sign of new unaligned Chaos Marines? The old plastics aren’t aging well.

  • phobosftw

    These new nurgle designs just look so damn goofy and disney-like compared to the creepy and sinister Plague Marines of today, DISAPPOINTED! -that`s not opinion, that`s fact..