Here’s the next batch of 12 completed Plaguebearers, fresh(!) from the paint queue. This bunch has been painted with a washed-out, pale fleshy base with ruddy-flesh accents and the odd bit of purplish tentacle-worminess.
First up for “showcasing” are the command group. While they do look okay once fully painted, the actual figures are (forgive the pun) disgustingly bad, lazy, pathetic sculpts. I did a musician before I found the bunch of 27 figures that this dozen came from, and was dubious about the way the details like the bell are joined to the body, but having now painted the trio of them, I can honestly say that they’re really shit figures that were clearly rushed into production and rushed out the door to release alongside the 40k 4th Edition Chaos Daemons Codex and WHFB 5th Edition Warhammer Armies Daemons of Chaos.
I’m not sure who sculpted these, I’m not even sure if it was the same sculptor that did the others from the 2001 release, if a trainee just went over the top of some masters, but they should definitely feel bad about such shoddy work. EDIT – Turns out it was Aly Morrison all along. For both the originals and the Command Group. Credit to Krautscientist and his old collection of German WDs for checking it.
Pretty much just smushing greenstuff between bits of sculpted detail to join things together “because Nurgle” is lazy and pathetic. Sure, much of that is hidden between and under other details, but having large areas of basically no detail bit lines poked into the sculpt is not up to scratch, especially for the prices that GW was charging even in 2009. Seriously, look at the “drips” of muck. That’s childish toy cartoon levels of detail, not expertly crafted miniature detail.
Here’s two pairs of duplicate figures. While the aesthetic could easily be questioned on these, the sculpting in the finer details is miles ahead of that found on the command models. I’ve used Citadel’s Blood for the Blood God (a dark, glossy clear red) in their open wounds, though you can’t really tell in the photos. As with the Spartan Shield on the Minotaur Captain, it ends up looking quite flat when photographed.
When I was painting these, and drawing closer to getting them finished, I was also thinking about Alex’s theme for February: Fembruary. Which is to paint some female miniatures during the month. I got to thinking – and I’m entirely serious here – this 3rd wave of Plaguebearer sculpts – this particular lot – could just as easily be “female” as “male” in pretty much any breakdown of figures.
Let’s look at the facts. Plaguebearers are created from the victims of Nurgle’s Rot in the lore. Nurgle’s Rot effects civilians and whole populations just as much as it does military, so there’s no real weighting there, even if you go with the idea that military forces in the Imperium are overwhelmingly male (until they update things like the Imperial Guard figure ranges, hopefully!). To quote GW: “These loathsome Lesser Daemons are crafted from the blighted soul-stuff of mortals who have been slain by Nurgle’s Rot.” So there’s that.
Beyond that, we’ve got physical appearance. Let’s go with sexual organs first. They clearly all have uncovered secondary sexual organs (bare breasts/pectorals). They’re not sculpted in any kind of way to engage the prurient interest, but that’s not what we’re looking at. Scroll up and look at those chests. Do they look more male or more female? Some each way? All a bit asexual? Primary sexual organs? Well, these aren’t sculpts by Mierce or Brother Vinni, so there’s no Tab A or Slot B on any model in the range. But then, what did you expect?
Of course, they’re all ugly as fuck. And we’re conditioned at this point to expect our female figures – by and large – to be beautiful, with maybe a Troll Hag or Female Ogre or a haggard witch being the exceptions. Check any Imperial Sister, or Eldar model, or any sorceress or female Warrior or Bard or almost anything from Reaper or Avatars of War or Privateer Press or… We’re talking overwhelmingly beautiful and/or explicitly “sexy”. Male figures, on the other hand can be as ugly as you like, and I think that’s a big part of why we (myself included until a couple of days ago) consider models like this to all be male, when they’re actually not really defined one way or another.
I’m sure that Ann’s Becky the Bloat Drone and our conversation around that in the comments of my declaration post for Fembruary were what laid the seeds for this epiphany. And so, with that:
With 100% seriousness, I’m calling several members (at least) of this daemon pack a successful submission for Alex’ Fembruary Painting Challenge 2018. I still intend to complete some more “traditional” female models as well.
I’m also calling this dozen models, all started this month a successful submission for the Squaduary Painting Challenge, for all the reasons stated above. It’ll probably continue to go under Stepping Between Games‘ radar, because I ain’t signing up for either Disqus or Twitter for a single paint challenge, unless Ann or Westrider wants to give them the heads-up.
I’m entirely sure I’ll get the other 15 Plaguebearers done this month as well, though maybe not this weekend, because Pandemic Legacy and NJPW. I’m also sure that IRO will appreciate the ridiculously long post title that including it in all of these categories has entailed. Funnily enough, these haven’t been neglected (started but unfinished) miniatures, so they don’t count for my own challenge… 😉
I thought this picture might be a nice way to wrap up this post. All of my painted Plaguebearers. If I need to, I can segregate them by skin tone, but I prefer to have them all mixed together in a messy horde of Nurgle’s children, even if they’re in packs of 10. Roll on completion of the next dozen in the next skin tone!