Catching up on recent news from the gaming sphere, this chap stumbled across my desk, as I'm sure it did yours as well. Slimed on to my desk might have been a better turn of phrase though. This is Nurgle's Grand Cultivator, Horticulous Slimux.
He is a plague bearer mounted on top of a monstrous garden snail-like creature in essence. I want to make a couple of observations here. Firstly, this miniature is one that has been featured (probably repeatedly) on the official Warhammer Community rumours mill. Check out the legs of the "snail" (I know -- snails don't have legs, but I haven't got another noun for it just yet) -- these are the ones that have been featured on the rumour site over the past few months.
The miniature itself interests me from a number of different angles. Firstly is the sheer whimsy and joviality involved in the sculpt. By this, I mean the pose and demeanour of Slimux himself, the "face" of the snail, and the hapless nurgling that has been left dangling in front of the snail. Obviously the nurgling is being used as a kind of bait to lure the snail ever onward. Its a bit like the old cartoons of carrots being used of a lure in front of a donkey to urge it onward. The eyes of the snail are directed right at the little nurgling, who in turn is wrapped in in some kind of vine and is looking grumpy about his situation.
Slimux himself seems to be rather chilled and laid back. He is chewing on an old bone (freshly plucked from the Garden of Nurgle probably) in much the same way as a cartoonish version of a farmer might have some wheat or crop in his mouth. Or at least I think that is what the vibe they were going for is. Given the short length of the bone, it could be that they were going for a cigar replacement instead as well.
Striking on the painting side of things is the existence of the eyeballs. Not only on the snail, but also on Slimux. In the older fluff, plague bearers would be depicted as having white eyes (almost in totality) to represent some kind of blindness disease. This guy is just yellowed, as is his mount. Speaking of the older fluff, Nurgle and his minions are often depicted as being rather happy. Since through decay comes rebirth of life and vitality. I think this aspect is communicated very well in the sculpt overall with smiles all around (of one kind or another) and a certain level of levity associated with the vibe of what is being depicted. I've not seen this communicated outside of goblins and orcs (Orks) in a long while and its good so see something like this appear after all these years.
Further interesting aspects of the sculpt include the Venus flytrap looking plant on the rear of the miniature painted in red. I have not seen much like this elsewhere. Being towed behind are ploughing implements to break up the land ready for Nurgle's special cultivation treatments. These little details all add up to a very whimsy miniature that looks more ready for happy gardening (or even a party) than warfare. Then again, that is part of the point. Slimux is really harkening back to some of the earlier materials in a way I've not seen in a while. Its a nice new, slightly risky even, direction and one I'm pleased to see the sculptors take.