Thursday, March 26, 2020

Building a Better: Epidemius, the Tallyman of Nurgle

I've always loved Epdemius as a character. Back in the day he was the only named character for Nurgle and the palanquin has always been iconic for that god. I have one painted up for my old metal Nurgle Demon army from around a decade ago, and wanted to add him to my newer army, but thought he needed a bit of a revamp first, so I made my own!

My original plan for him was just to update his sword to the new look, maybe add a nurgling or two onto him, and then repaint my old model. The more I thought about it though the more I wanted to bring him even more into the new aesthetic. That meant replacing the nurglings holding up the palanquin with the new ones. This was then just going to have the old chair on it after some careful cutting, but then I thought, why not make a new chair? The old one is a little clunky and will be super heavy since it's all metal. Well, with that in mind I decided just to remake the model entirely.

I actually started with the chair because I had some ePVC to try out. This is basically a super dense foam that they use to make some street signs and such. I got this idea from Bishmeister on Twitter since he uses it in a ton of projects and they always look so good. I also figured the chair would be the most complicated part for me since I'm better at organic stuff and not so much at straight lines. To get the dimensions right I actually just used the original chair from Epidemius as a guide. I had accidentally dropped mine and broke him into his separate parts, but that meant I was able to more or less trace the parts onto the ePVC. I then cut these out and trimmed them until they looked about right. At this point I started going back and forth between the chair, the nurglings, and Epidemius himself, but for the sake of clarity I'm going to focus on each one individually here.

The palanquin WIP

The next big question for the palanquin were the banners and the pole that the nurglings would hold onto. One banner just came from the Blightkings box since I had used the banner model to make Festus. I also added some flies from the Gellerpox Infected onto the side of the top of it. The other one is two parts. The top is from the Lord of Afflictions, while the pole is from the Blightkings scythe weapon. I also stuck a Blightking shield onto the back of it. On the sides I used a Dremmel to hollow out the area were the skulls went. This actually worked really well since the foam is so dense. The skulls are just from the skull basing kit. For the wood grain effect I used a hobby knife and some sculpting tools to basically indent the design into the foam following Bishmeister's example. I actually went back and tried to improve this a bit after seeing his work. The nurgling is from the Plaguebearers kit and the feather is a left over bit I had from an old Empire kit from years ago. The poles the nurglings hold onto are spears from the Ungor kit with horns from a Blightking head put on the end. I also added some bells to the palanquin from various Nurgle kits.

The nurglings were pretty straight forward. I built one nurgling pile as normal from the kit, then added on 1/3 of another one onto the back. This was then supplemented with a few extra nurglings. Once I placed the palanquin on top I had to cut a few hands, fingers, and horns to make it sit level. One of the nurglings got a new hand sculpted onto the pole its holding. For some finishing touches I added the nurgling carrying some scrolls from the Death Guard Tallyman kit near the front and another nurgling which I converted to carry a plaguebearer skull.

Epidemius was the big conversion task. I really had no idea what to use at first so I just started gathering parts. I knew he needed a big belly, so I grabbed the Blightkings box. His main components are a Blightking stomach with the legs and arms from the Poxbringer Herald of Nurgle, and a head from the Plaguebearer kit. The legs each had to be chopped off individually, while the arms were kept on the Herald torso, I just cut the front off the torso. I then shaved down the Blightking front until it fit on the Herald back how I wanted. To glue the legs on I kind of sat him in the chair and got him positioned how I wanted before gluing them in place. The head was actually my second choice. The first was a Blightking head that looked like a plaguebeaer, but I decided it was too small. So I chopped it off and used the new one, but kept the horn from the old one. I had to cut the horn off the plaguebearer head and position the horn from the old one on it how I wanted. I also took the abacus from the Death Guard Tallyman since I figured it was more appropriate for someone documenting plagues than an hourglass.

Epidemius WIP after a bit of sculpting

At this stage he was just a bunch of bits glued together with a ton of gaps. His legs were barely connected at all in fact. With that the greenstuff work started. I did his sides first since I knew I wanted his fat rolls to extend to the sides of the chair. The original model is huge and I wanted to capture that with mine. He couldn't just be a fat plaguebearer, he had to be the fattest plaguebearer. I also started bulking out his neck to look like a ton of fat rolls. Once I was done with this I ended up having to extend his shoulders a bit to make it look more natural. I also extended his belly down so it touched the chair. While I was working on these parts I would always end up with a little extra putty, which I would then use to start filling in the gap on his back. I basically filled it in bit by bit over several days. It's important not to do too much at once or you're likely to stick your finger right in what you just sculpted and ruin it.

Around this time I also decided what I was going to do with his left hand. The original model has him pointing a sword, which is what I was going to replicate, but then I remembered my Kairic Acolytes I had sitting around and their awesome scroll. After some test fitting I decided it fit almost perfectly into his hand, so I just puttied over the Tzeentch symbols on it and glued it in place. He still needed a sword though, so I took one from the plaguebearer kit and hung it from a nail on the side of his chair. I also had to sculpt a bottom to his feet. I debated about repositioning them a bit, but could also see him kind of kicking his feet around. I did make sure to add a boil to the bottom of his left foot to show how he pretty much never stands up. Some of the last details I added to him were a smattering of boils over his body and the maggots coming out of his mouth. First I had to putty over his belly more so it was more of a blank canvas, then I added the maggots as well as a few flies. I made sure to add some to the chair too. I've gotten a lot of questions on how I sculpted the maggots, so here's a quick tutorial.

Step 1.

Pinch off a little piece of greenstuff and roll it into the rough shape of the maggot.

Step 2.

Next I used my GW sculpting tool's flat end to connect the sides to whatever the maggot is going onto.

Step 3.

I then used the blade end of the sculpting tool to mark the lines of the different segments into the top of the maggot.

Step 4.

Next I used a dental pick to extend those lines over the sides of the maggot and down to the bottom of it. I also used a clay shaper to softly reshape the maggot into a cylindrical shape at this point.

Step 5.

The last thing I did was to use the dental pick to put the indentations in at each of the ends, and viola, you have a maggot!

With these final details my version of Epidemius was done! I'll probably do a final check over him before he gets primed to make sure I didn't miss anything or to see if any details need a little more smoothing or blending, but overall he's done. I'm really happy with how he turned out. He's definitely more in line with the modern sculpts of the Nurgle range. 

He's a little bit smaller than the old Epidemius model in terms of girth, but overall the model is taller and much more dynamic. He'll be painted in a few sub-assemblies, mainly the nurglings, chair, the one banner, and Epidemius himself. This will make it easier to paint, as well as allow me to prime the different parts in different colors. I'm wrapping up some Plaguebearers at the moment, and I might do another small project that's not Nurgle related to act as a bit of a palate cleanser afterward, but he'll definitely be on my painting docket soon. 

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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