This blog post is the start of a monthly series that will be focusing on all sorts of different aspects of the tabletop miniature games that we all have spent way to much time and money on.
We will try to have guest writers from different game systems talking about whatever they want. Some might be focused on tactics, some might be painting, some might be the lore - but all will be related to an aspect of the games that we love.
To kick things off, we asked our good friend Gabriel Cobaugh (and recently crowned 2023 Michigan GT AoS Champion!) to write our first blog post below.
Disclaimer - While it's the same beautiful and creative army used to win the Michigan GT, Gabe did make some significant army build and subfaction changes for the tournament.
What is better than 11ft tall dad bod berserkers eating everything in their path? 11ft tall dad bods corrupted and twisted by the gifts of Nurgle into a myriad of monstrosities of course! I’m incredibly proud to be able to spotlight my “Nogor” Mawtribes army, where each model tells its own story, and the entire force creates a unified theme through extreme diversity of model construction and paint schemes.
Ogor Mawtribes was the third Age of Sigmar army I collected. I find a lot of 90’s and early 2000’s Warhammer models to be unappealing, but I was enchanted with these clunky dad-bod sculpts, and while I bought a whole 2000 point lot secondhand to get started, I knew I’d have to come up with something special for the final product. The inspiration came from when I looked into collecting Nurgle, a plan I eventually abandoned because I didn’t like the faction’s rules.
Ogor kits are old-school: similarly posed models army-wide, with a plethora of extra bits and arm/head options to create visual variety. My tool belt had also expanded from building army display boards - I brought foam, wire, and hot glue to the model assembly. Each and every model received “the hero treatment” as I thought up a malady that afflicted them. I made a fungus covered “Last of Us” Ogor, an “X-Men Blob” Ogor, an Ogor who was surprised by his own gruesome transformation à la Tom Savini in From Dusk Till Dawn. I clipped those mono pose dad bods apart at the shoulder, elbow, wrist, waist, and knee, mangling GW plastic and filling in the holes with Milliput. Ogors were full on sprinting forward, collapsing to their knees in sickness, and hefting their weapons over their heads in preparation for death blows. Nurgle Ogors are easier to bash together than elegant elves or spindly ghosts - any sloppy joints or rough patches of skin fit right in with their ascetic.
The most satisfying part of the build was watching all the disparate materials disappear under a coat of primer. My interest in painting was revitalized by having these fascinating models to detail, but it also made me realize the build was my favorite part of the process. I don’t think I’ll ever again be able to paint a model that I haven’t modified in some way. My perspective has shifted while browsing Age of Sigmar subreddits and groups where people show off their work, model after model masterfully painted with a bog-standard construction.
These sick, large boys demanded not just novel construction, but also a story to go along with them. And thus, the Gutrot Gang was born. This tribe of Underguts Ogors came upon a three way battle between the Sylvaneth, the Gloomspite Gitz, and the Maggotkin of Nurgle. They ate all the surviving warriors, and their various life and mutagenic magics combined in the Ogor gut into a super plague. Eventually they succumbed, their lumbering bodies slowly falling apart. Their leader, Chlorhex the Pestiferous, metamorphosed into more of a demon than his peers (an impression strengthened by the fact that his head is the Slaves to Darkness Demon Prince Nurgle head!). Now, they roam the land, loading their filth-soaked effluence into their cannons, exposing all they can find to their symptoms in the hopes of finding someone or something that can resist them.
When I participated in a Path to Glory campaign, my favorite part was crafting a narrative for my army based on the various armies and battleplans they encountered. I brought that to the Gutrot Clan by printing out a QR code and attaching it to the underside of my warlord’s base. Scanning it leads to a google doc that details all the incredible feats he has accomplished in actual games. His name comes from the medication Chlorhexidine, which I was giving to a foster cat at the time I made him.
For those curious, here was my original list:
Ogor Tyrant (Chlorhex), with Killer Reputation (Fateseeker and Deathcheater)
Butcher with Trophy Rack artefact, knowing Blubbergrub Stench
Firebelly, knowing Billowing Ash
16 Leadbelchers (two units of 4 and one unit of 8)
While my love of the Ogor dad bods is great, any veteran of the game will tell you that there is one unit in the range that stands head and shoulders above the rest: a Frostlord on Stonehorn. I was hesitant for quite a while about adding this unit in, but eventually decided that in addition to getting amazing pictures of my army on the table, I also enjoyed winning games. I knew that I’d only add one Frostlord to the army, so I wanted to go all out on the model. I decided to replicate Chlorhex riding on top, exactly as he appeared on his Tyrant base. I bought another Ogor Tyrant kit, scoured the web for another Nurgle Demon Prince head, and used the original model for reference to match the paint scheme. I tore apart the entire back half of the model, creating a double wide back-end, with flesh tearing apart as nurglings climbed out of its decaying body. I dubbed my diseased Stonehorn “Big Pharm” and even made a warscroll for the model using the Anvil of Apotheosis.
A wonderful opportunity presented itself to really showcase my army in a way the whole Warhammer community could appreciate. The Warhammer YouTube channel MiniWarGaming has an open invite to players to come in and play filmed battle reports in their studio in Canada. It turned out to only be four hours away, and right as I was finishing my list, they were launching a huge narrative AoS campaign. I made a trip of it with my best friend, and was able to show off my army in three videos which can be found on their channel. I even recorded an intro for the army, using a voicemod program to achieve the guttural tones I imagined Chlorhex would have. This is not something the MWG folks usually do for their videos, but luckily they were happy to include it. It’s a fantastic experience, and I’d recommend you figure out where your favorite YouTubers are based and inquire about playing with them!
Many Warhammer players work on getting a functional 2000 point list, then slowly expand their collection over time to encompass most of the army range. I have done the same with my “Nogors,” and while I was worried about running out of ideas to keep each model unique, that has not been the case so far. My latest additions have used troggoth arms and torsos to achieve grotesque proportions.
There are many different facets to the Warhammer hobby. People watch YouTube tutorials and buy horse hair brushes to take their model painting to the next level. Others come up with names for all their heroes and backstories for their armies. Others cosplay as their faction during tournaments, and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard someone screech “WAAAAAAGH” at every event I’ve been to. After three years in the game, I’ve discovered my greatest passion (besides actually playing the game): Kitbashing and conversions.
My greatest hope is that more of a spotlight will be shone on model construction in this hobby. When I went to a large Detroit tournament in 2023, I was honored to have my army called up to the final five for consideration for “Best-Painted.” But, of course, the name of the award gives away the priorities in judging. My sloppy, oozing, pestering Ogors couldn’t compare to the edge-highlighting, blending, layering, and freehanding of the other armies. The judge even explicitly told me I didn’t have a chance of winning, I was called up because they thought my models were cool. That was a bittersweet thing to hear. In no way do I want to call out that judge, but I envision a day when those scoring rubrics open up a few more points for creativity in other aspects.
To any looking to get more into kitbashing themselves, I have a piece of advice: buy bit bags, sandwich bags filled with random assorted Warhammer bits and sold for $5-25 a pop. Working with random bits, instead of preplanning and searching for the exact bits you need, will be quicker, cheaper, and lead to unexpected inspiration. Don’t be afraid to set a bit aside for later if it just isn’t sitting on the model right. There is no right way to do this hobby, only the way that leaves you satisfied with your own work.