Monday, January 20, 2020

Making a New Festus the Leechlord

It's been awhile since I've properly converted a model for Age of Sigmar. When it came time to add Festus into my army for Adepticon though, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give this classic character a little boost into the heroics of the Mortal Realms.

After playing my Tallyband of Nurgle list at the Winter Rend 4 tournament I decided I needed a little more punch to my army. Blades of Putrification seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Originally I was just going to add a Rotbringer Sorcerer, but for only 20 points more I could add the man himself, Festus the Leechlord. He had a great spell on his warscroll, and I've always been a huge fan of the model. After picking him up and getting him ready for assembly I decided he looked a little small next to the other characters and mortals of my Nurgle force. This is a man who had a hand in the downfall of the Old World during the End Times and was rewarded for such by Nurgle himself! Picking up some of my Blightkings I started to formulate an idea.

After deciding which Blightking was going to be the basis for the conversion I set about working out the specifics. I still wanted it to read as Festus at a glance. That meant a few key things had to be carried over; his head, hands, and backpack. 

I also decided I wanted to try and emulate the doctors apron he wears. The way the Blightking models work, specific fronts go with specific backs. The model I chose, with the upraised arm, only had armored fronts. Also, all of my Blightkings were assembled already. I did have a spare front with the apron piece though, so I cut off the armor front from my Blightking with some clippers and a knife and set about dry fitting it. After determining how it would have to go on there I used my knife to start carving away bits of the new front piece until it sat mostly flush with the back. I knew there were going to be gaps, but I wanted to minimize those as much as I could.

The next thing to do was very carefully saw Festus' head off his body. I needed to make sure I did as little damage as possible to it. Once the head was removed I cut down the neck on the Blightking and again, carefully trimmed both pieces with a knife until they sat mostly flush with each other. I also glued on his staff, which is held in place by some giant leeches attached to his leg. This fit on perfectly with no adjustment. Once that was in place I also messed around with the forearm piece until it sat in a way that looked natural and would line up with his hand resting on his victim's head. The beaker hand fit on with no problem as well. I left both the victim and backpack separate, but made sure to test fit them throughout the process so I knew it would all work in the end.

Taking some greenstuff, I started filling the gaps. On a model that has this many fat rolls it was actually pretty easy to match the sculpt. There were gaps on either side of the torso that needed filling and also sculpting, as well as his neck. I built this up a bit in the back to give him a sturdy looking neck. I also had to sculpt a shoulder onto his left arm a bit as this is usually covered by a piece of armor on the Blightking. The gap in the arm at the elbow was filled and I had to do a bit of repair work on the legs. I also added a bit of greenstuff to his base where the victim goes since it needed to be a bit higher for the hand and forearm to line up properly.

Lastly, I went back and added some boils to the newly sculpted areas. What's a Nurgle model without boils? I also stuck a skull into a weird gap on his front and sculpted some ropes to hold it in place. I really wanted to carry over his doctor/chemist vibes, so I carefully cut away the vials from the original Festus model and added them to the new ones' belt as well as a strap I sculpted across his chest. This was due to the back piece of the Blightking having a strap that went over its shoulder, while the new front didn't have this, so I had to add it. The final piece was adding some chemical type smoke coming out of the beaker he's holding. After looking through most of the GW range of models I decided that the Biophalagus from the Genestealer Cults line had the perfect bit. Yupp, I went out and bought a model just for that one bit, but I think it really helps finish it off!

With the conversion finished I started painting him. I wanted him to fit into my own army, but at the same time I was keen to carry over a lot of the visual cues from the official GW model so that he would read as Festus. For the skin I started with a basecoat of Ogryn Camo. This was carefully shaded with Athonian Camoshade, then re-layered with Ogryn Camo. I then started blending this into Rakarth Flesh. The flabbiest areas of this got a few glazes of Reikland Fleshshade to give it a more human skin tone. I wanted it to look like he was once a normal human whose skin has started to decay or become slightly demonic. The final highlights on the skin were done by mixing in Pallid Wych Flesh. I then did plenty of fiddling around with this by glazing certain areas. For instance, I gave his gigantic leg a purple tone near the bottom to show that it's even further decayed than the rest of him.

For the apron I decided to go with my Screamer Pink color I've been using on all my cloth. The original model had a reddish apron, so this wasn't actually far off. I painted this in the same manner as the cloaks on the Chaos Warriors, but with a bit more blending. The brown leather straps were done the same way as them too, as was his green armor. I did do a bit more blending on the armor though, so that it was darker near the bottom and lighter near the top.

The wood was a bit of a challenge, mostly because it's sculpted so differently from the rest of the model. I more or less painted it the same way as the wood on my Blightkings, but kept going back and forth with the colors until I was happy with it. I also added some patches of mold using various greens. The human flesh tones were done with a basecoat of Rakarth Flesh with a Reikland Fleshshade wash over top. I then highlighted up to Pallid Wych Flesh, then glazed in plenty of red, purples, and yellows. 

The black cloth and straps on the staff were done by highlighting up with Dawnstone and Administratum Grey. To help differentiate the black leeches and also to tie them into the weapons on my Plaguebearers, I highlighted those with Sotek Green followed by Administratum Grey. This gives them a blue tinge, which I really like. I was originally going to paint his helped Nurgling like my demons, but decided it was too close to his skin tone. Again, I also wanted to tie back to the official color scheme on him so opted for the blue Nurgling instead. I actually painted this guy using a slightly modified version of how I painted the skin on my Tzaangor Enlightened.

The last major part to paint were the vials and the smoke plume. I really wanted these to look toxic so I went for some super saturated greens. I started with a 50/50 mix of Caliban Green and Yriel Yellow, then added more Caliban for the dark parts and more Yellow for the lighter parts. The smoke itself started off with a Abaddon Black/Caliban Green mix. I then added in more Green and then more Yellow as I got closer to the vial and also closer to the inside of the smoke. This required a lot of going back and forth. I also used some Waywatcher Green glaze on parts of it try and smooth out some transitions.

I then glued all the parts together and based him like the rest of my army. I made sure to paint some of the Nurgle's Rot going through the insides of his poor victim as well. The last thing I did was fill a small gap between his forearm and hand holding the victim with greenstuff. This was then painted to match the wrappings on his arms. I'm really happy with how he turned out! Both the conversion and the paint job went a lot smoother then I thought it would. Though the pose is different, I think it's close enough that it still has the same vibes as the original sculpt. This pose is more open too, letting you see more of the model. He's definitely big enough to fit alongside the other heroes now and gives me a cool, unique model for my army. Once he was all done he did end up being a bit back heavy since the finecast backpack weighed more than the plastic. To counter balance this I glued a coin underneath the front of his base.

You can watch a 360 video of him below to see every part of him.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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