Nurgle Obliterators Tutorial

I’ve put several of these guys together now (see this post), so I felt like it might be a good idea to show how I’m actually doing this. It’s a pretty involved process. See the Project: Nurgle Obliterators post for the list of materials needed to make these guys. I’ll reference a lot of them in the step by step process laid out below on how to make them.

First, we start with an Assault on Black Reach terminator. Any plastic (or otherwise) terminator miniature will do. I picked AoBR termies because they were a cheap base model. Trust me, you won’t be seeing much of the actual underlying model once our work is done. First step is to cut off the legs using a fine saw. Remove the “thighs”, keeping the lower legs.

Second, use a pin vise to drill holes in the hips of the terminator body. This will be for the long pins we create to keep the legs together – joining the main body/hips to the knees of the lower leg pieces.

Third step – do the same for the lower leg pieces – drill holes with your pin vise to be recepticle for the other end of the long pin that will hold the lower leg to the body. Essentially, your pin will be the “thigh bone”.

Put long pins into the drilled sockets in the knees for both of your lower leg pieces. They are now ready to be joined up to the torso in a variety of ways – I’ll demonstrate two in the next few steps.

For one style of leg (similar to the standard, “terminator” style leg), use a short section of ABS plastic hollow tube to represent the thigh proper. You could use the thigh on the terminator model as-is, however I find it too spindly (would need to be built up with green stuff), as well as it would simply be too short for the likes of an obliterator.

Slide the ABS plastic tube bit over the pin for the leg and glue the base of the tube to the terminator knee area – this will get covered with a bit of green stuff eventually, but this is the beginnings of the thigh area.

You’ll need to bend the top of the paper clip pin on the leg with the ABS thigh now to fit correctly on the torso. Bend with pliers to a 90 degree angle and glue into the pin socket on the torso.

Now you’re ready to attach the other leg. We’re going to do something different with this leg, so just bend the paper-clip pin at the top 90 degrees and glue into the pin socket on the torso. The ABS plastic thigh step was skipped in this case – this leg is going to be more on an “exposed” cabling and rotting flesh type of leg – more on that soon.

Now is a good time to get the front part of the torso attached. I use the Chaos terminator torso fronts, as it has the nice Chaos spikeys on the top. Your mileage may vary – not a necessary expense but adds a nice touch to the finished model.

I carve down the front torso part a little bit – the Chaos arrow emblems are nice but they’re going to get covered up with green stuff, plus the added thickness makes it hard to create detail on the covering green stuff. Your mileage may vary, but I do shave off the arrow emblems.

The Chaos terminator front torso bit, now glued into place.

Now score all the surfaces of the grieves and the torso as shown. This will help the green stuff stick to the plastic later on.

More detail on the scoring made on the plastic. Essentially, score anywhere where green stuff will eventually reside.

Cut a section of the solid, thin ABS plastic rod for the side of the leg – this is the tubing similar to what is on terminator legs already – we want to recreate that look on our obliterator’s right leg. Cut it to the length of the thigh (normally).

Here, I am gluing that plastic rod to the side of the thigh. A thin line of Zap A Gap will do the trick, and lay the tubing along the length of the thigh.

Now glue the entire body framework to a 40mm round base. I leave the stud on the bottom of the foot on there for a specific reason – it’s the height of the boot (which we’ll need to make the sole of his huge boots later with green stuff) – so keep that post on his foot. I generally try to come up with some other mechanism (leftover green stuff blob or other random bit of plastic or something) to have the other foot to glue down to the base.

Side view of the body now glued to the base. Note any holes in the base can be covered up with a blob of green stuff.

Sometimes when I am working on several models at once and I’m doing green stuff work, I have a little bit of it left over. Here I am taking advantage of some still pliant green stuff and making the beginnings of a rock outcropping on the base of this obliterator. Later on I’ll carve it down to look like a big rock.

So while the basic model is drying to the base (you’ll need to let this happen for a little while, as there’s not a lot of contact between the parts at this point), start making the backs of the huge shoulder pads. I use thin pasticard. Carve out the size you want and use a hobby knife to score it out of the card.

I sand down my plasticard shoulder backings to give them a smooth edge. It will serve as the clean edge which you can meet up the green stuff of the shoulder with, or an area in which you can build a built-up edge of shoulder pad onto.

In this instance, we elected to not put plastic tubing as the left thigh. I elected to make this one look like he’s had his armor blown away or rotted away or something, so I was thinking of making a pustulent thigh with green stuff. I blobbed a little bit of it and smoothed it with saliva, and used a sculpting tool to make it bubbly and pocked. Note I haven’t done this with the other ones, but it’s the small details and the uniqueness of each sculpt that make them special (at least I think so).

Now we move onto the torso – this is the first and biggest area of sculpting that you will be required to do on these oblits. I start by making a good ball of kneaded green stuff, say a ball about a nickels-size worth in diameter. I then break the ball up into smaller pieces and place a blob on the areas of the torso that we’ll cover – the top, the sides, the back belt areas, and the front of the torso. Don’t worry about making it pretty, just get blobs on there that will eventually be mooshed out to cover the torso area.

Another view of the green stuff “blobs” around the torso. Get a decent amount of coverage and thickness in the blobs so you can make enough relief with the sculpting to make it at once look good with detail, and to add enough bulk to the model to make it suitably the size of an Obliterator.

The next step is to wet the entire torso with saliva and to moosh the blobs together into a coherent area of green stuff that can be fine sculpted. I find myself moistening the greenstuff fairly constantly to keep the smoothness of the scuplt there as well as to keep it from sticking to the sculpting tool. Using saliva then your fingers, you can rub the greenstuff down to make it nice and smooth and even “glossy” looking, like seen here in this photo. This is a great base to start doing your detail work.

With the sculpting tool (I really like the one pictured on the work bench), continually work the green stuff so it remains smooth, at the same time creating detail in the putty. You can use the sharp points of the tool to create pock marks, as well as the curved edges to create the rim of the head recess of the armor all along the front. I also use the cup part of the sculpting tool to create “lesions” by poking in a small hole into the putty, then taking the cup part and gently pulling it out all round the hole, and the poking the green stuff in the center to make lesion or rusty looking material. This is by far the most time consuming and difficult step – take your time, the putty won’t dry out that fast, and remember to keep wetting the putty with saliva constantly.

Another view of the torso of the model. Note the pock marks everywhere, this will help the armor look decayed and pitted. I also show some detail of a larger rusted area or lesion that is more sizeable, using the technique described in the earlier panel. Once you are satisfied with how the torso looks, set the model aside and let it dry. This will likely take over night. Resist the urge to continue working new green stuff areas on the model – I know it’s tempting, but there’s nothing more frustrating than getting too aggressive with adding more areas of green stuff to the model and not having sufficient areas to hold the model and bumping your fingers into all that hard work you just did, ruining a half hour of sculpting. Just set it down – there is a perfect opportunity to work on other things (next panel) to keep progressing towards your finalized obliterator.

Now that you’re letting discretion be the better half of valor and letting the torso of your model dry (you ARE, aren’t you?), time to get to work on the arms. You already have the shoulder pad backings done, so now it’s time to have fun, get creative, and pick out what your arms look like. Go through your bits drawer and find what you like. As per the list of bits above, mix and match to your liking. I’ve found myself become VERY fond of the Chaos Marine Possessed arms, particularly the ones that kinda sorta look like power fists. I use these to great effect on obliterators – they look a little daemonic and can proxy as a power fist as needed, or that extra cool arm that houses several weapons. As you can see here, I’ve laid out the arms and the weapon load outs I want to use for this particular obliterator.

Shot of a carved down Hellhound sponson multi-melta and an Assault on Black Reach Terminator’s power fist. This will make up the bulk of one arm. This particular loyalist arm will have a significant amount of green stuff on it to make it look good and Chaos-y (I did this specifically to show that you don’t need Chaos power fists or other arms to make them look good – Chaos power fists can be expensive on eBay and if you’re on a budget, this is most certainly going to look just as good). I’ve also carved down the emblem on the shoulder and the shield bit off as well, which you will be able to see in the next photo. The Possessed arm, the flamer, and the plasma pistol bits in the picture to the left will make up the bits for the other arm.

The power fist, pinned and glued to the carved down multi-melta, is now glued to the plasticard backing. I make sure the side of the plasticard that is facing the terminator torso (or the “back” of the arm, as per this shot), is smooth. Doesn’t matter what the inside of the plasticard looks like, it’s going to be covered in green stuff.

Shot of the left arm, which is the Chaos Possessed arm, with a Chaos flamer and plasma pistol pinned and glued to it. It might sound a little odd to pin these bits, but trust me – they’re very small and fiddly, and glue and green stuff alone are not going to be sufficient to hold them in place if they get bumped. Do yourself a favor and pin them – you’ll be happier that your Obliterator’s arm didn’t crumble to small pieces after you spent so much time sculpting rotting flesh on it. In this case, when I glued the arm to the backing, I moved the arm into a more rear position, looking like it’s about to be swung forward to strike, and so glued in a little bit of extra excess plastic to make sure the glue join was solid to the plasticard.

While the torso is still drying is a good time to get the shoulder pads green stuffed. The arm itself will need some as well, but the shoulder pad, being a big area that you don’t want to mar with over-working too many parts of the arm, is a good piece to do and set aside, like the torso. Here I’ve placed a good blob of green stuff on the shoulder and formed it into a general semi-circle of shoulder pad material. This will be the first step of creating the shoulder, no matter what configuration you want it to look like.

Now cover the shoulder pad with saliva or water and smooth it out with your fingers and form it into a more crisp form of a shoulder pauldron. I use the edges of the plasticard backing to help create the firm edge around the top upper curve edge. Again, you’ll do this for any type of shoulder pad you’ll want to do on these obliterators.

Next, I look to the under side of the shoulder pad. Covering with saliva or water, make it smooth and then use a sculpting tool to create relief. I assume that it’s mutated/morphed flesh and so I don’t try to make it look like the official underside of a terminator shoulder, so it looks a little mutant-y / fleshy.

For this shoulder pad, I’m going to do something a little more involved. Normally, you can just use the sculpting tool to create pock marks or relief. In this case, I wanted this obliterator to look like he had his armor since the Horus Heresy period (I’m reading the books while I’m creating this conversion, so I’ve been influenced), and thus wanted to make it look like there were several plates laminated together, ala Mark II Crusade armor (I’m sure grognards will correct me in the exact details here, but run with it – it’s all in good fun). I start by creating lines across the breadth of the shoulder pad with a sharp edge of a sculpting tool or hobby knife, which will be the edges of the segments on the shoulder.

Now, making sure the surface is moistened I go to work on creating the segments. The edge lines are pushed down at the “top” of the segment, and create a gradient of elevation all the way along the length of each of the segments. You’ll need to keep the surface moist and work the edges to keep them smooth. I also use the point of the tool to poke into the edge along the bottom of the ridge line to create that depth for each segment. Work them each down the line until it looks smooth like this.

Now that you’ve got the segmented plates the way you want them, keeping the surface moist, use the point of the tool to create the pitted/rusted look of the armor that’s consistent with the rest of the model. Set this guy aside for now – the shoulder is largely done, and as mentioned before – discretion is the better half of valor in terms of not doing too much at once – you don’t want to ruin the work you’ve just put in. Later on we’ll add more details on the arm itself.

So now we move on to the other arm – same as before – start with the blob of green stuff.

Form it into a rough rounded shoulder pad.

Moisten and smooth, getting the top part and the areas around the bottom flush with the plasticard backing.

Just like before – make the underside of the shoulder part pocked marked and fleshy. I encourage you to do your own variant here, but this seems easy and effective.

Just like before – create the lines across the shoulder pad for the joins between the shoulder pad laminate sections. Alternatively here, just make the details you want on the shoulder pad if you want and skip this part if you desire.

Skipping to the end of this shoulder pad detailing project – the finalized laminated, segmented shoulder pad. Set aside to cure.

So I usually let any significant green-stuffing portion of work cure overnight. So back to the torso the next day – this dude is looking a little goofy without a face. Glue a terminator lord head into the neck socket on the torso.

Now we move on to the greaves (lower leg armor). On his greaves, we’re going to use a similar technique as we did with the shoulders (laminated plates), but with a little more detail, particularly with the edging around the greaves. We start with creating a blob of green stuff, sort of in a rough triangle, that will cover the shin and knee.

Place the blob of green stuff on the shin and fold it over to roughly cover the knee and shin, as shown.

Moisten the whole greave and take your sculpting tool and spread the green stuff blob around all over the front of the shin and the knee, on both sides. You’ll need to pay special attention to the edges – take some time to create a “lip” or an “edge” all along the top and the sides, as shown. It doesn’t have to look perfect at this point, but you do want to set the material up so you have enough green stuff to give you a nice, refined lip all around. You don’t have to do this, but if you want to have a line of trim around the greave, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got enough material in the right place to do it.

Another shot of the greave from the other angle.

Another shot from the back – the edge of the greave plating should line up with the natural edge of the terminator’s armor plate from the plastic model as shown.

Similar to the way the laminated plates on the shoulder, create the segments and the corrosion/pitting on each plate.

Another shot of the side. The piping/edge along the sides and top of the greave shown.

Another shot of the other side of the completed greave.

Moving to back of the legs/calf area, take your hobby knife and score the recessed area. Use a small amount of green stuff to cover this area and make it pock marked, maybe even an “open sore” area as shown here.

Do the same with the other leg, as shown. Follow the same procedure, as before. Start with the blob of green stuff.

Same as before with the other leg – create the detail you want. Doesn’t have to be like this (the laminated plates), but create whatever detail you want.

Fill in the details of the back of the leg, again here with the pock-marked and open sores on the calf in each of the sunken calf sections.

I decided that the left leg (pictured here on the right) needed a little something more, so I opted to take a small piece of the plastic tubing for the leg and create a broken/cracked thigh piece to put over some portion of the pustulent/diseased exposed leg. I put some green stuff on the top and bottom ends to look like some flesh was bubbling out of the cracked open leg armor. Seemed very fitting/Nurgly.

Now we move on to the arms again, now that they have cured overnight with the shoulder detail. This is essentially to make the lower arms look like they are mutating/morphing with fleshy bits and weapons protruding as per the Obliterator fluff. Start with scoring the plastic where you want the fleshy bits slightly with a hobby knife. I generally find the best place to put the fleshy bits is where the weapon joins are with the arms or with other weapons. Cover those areas with a blob of green stuff, as shown above.

Use your sculpting tool to provide detail. Go as crazy as you want to. I find cords / ropes of flesh along with pock marks and open, festering sores are very easy to do and look really good. Again, as with all green stuff detailing with your sculpting tools, the key is to keep the green stuff and the sculpting tool moist. Shown above is this technique done to the Obliterator’s left arm.

Do the same for both arms, same procedure. Here’s the right arm done with the same technique. Set the arms aside overnight to cure.

Now we move back to the torso. The major green stuff work left to be done is the feet – specifically those big clunky moon boot type of feet they seem to have. I kinda like that look, and to be honest, since we added so much bulk and mass to the rest of the model, you have to do something or he’ll look like he’s got some tiny ballerina feet or something. So the bulking up of the boots process looks like adding a rope of green stuff around the entire sole of the foot, covering up the intentional gap you left when you glued the model to the base, like shown above.

Take your time and use the sculpting tool to create a smooth surface all the way around the foot. This will take some practice; you’ll need to go slow and pay attention to both the curvature around the foot and the edge or “lip” over the sole of the boot as it connects to the terminator foot. Keep both the green stuff and the sculpting tool moist through the whole process to get something that looks like the above.

Do the same process for both feet, as shown above.

Take your hobby knife and go around each sole of each foot and gently press in along the height of the sole of the shoe, creating the “rugged tread”. I borrowed this idea from the actual GW models that were available to me at the time, it’s a pretty good look but does lend to the “Moon Boot” stereotype. I kinda like it. Add to taste.

While that’s drying, take a regular space marine or chaos marine shoulder pad, turn it upside down, and glue it on this guy’s crotch region to create the “cod piece” of the armor. You don’t absolutely have to do this, but the model will look a little disproportional in this area if you don’t find a family-friendly way to make this area as bulky as the rest of his body. It dawned on me to do this at one point and it seemed like a good idea.

At this point, you’re done with the major portions of sculpting on the miniature. There are a lot of optional smaller sculpting items you can do if you want (which I’ll cover in subsequent shots), but at this point you could call the sculpting on the body “done”. Go ahead and apply glue to the base where there isn’t model or sculpted rocks, etc., and cover with your favorite granularity of ballast or sand. This will help the model look like a finished piece. The last major task is to attach the arms.

Once all the green stuff has cured, use your pin vice to drill some holes on each side of the body for the pins that will connect the arms to the torso.

Do the same to both arms, and insert and glue the pin into the holes in each arm. Be careful of the placing and the angles of the drilling of the holes in both the torso and the arms, as this can modify the angle/direction of the shoulder connect to the torso. You can use this to your advantage too if you want to have the arm look like it’s moving forward or backwards in the swing of an arm motion, etc.

Once you’ve got the pins in it’s time to glue them into position on the torso. At this point, you’ve got a completed obliterator! You can of course add more details you like, but you’re essentially done at this point.

Right side view of the completed obliterator.

Rear view of the completed obliterator.

Left side view of the completed obliterator.

More to come…


  1. Hello again cranky..I’m on my second time going through every sickly Nurgle post you have and i’m curious where you purchased your A) Abs plasticard/tubing, and B) your sculpting tools at? I’ve looked everywhere where i lived and cant find any suitable tools. Thank you again

  2. Hi dirknurgler!
    Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated! Where do you live? If you have access to the internet and can purchase from the internet, I’d recommend going to Amazon and searching for “stainless steel sculpting tools”, like these:

    I use the one that is 6th from the right for 99.9% of my nurgle sculpting work and it works great.

    If you aren’t able to purchase from the internet, you can go to a hobby or craft store, like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or something similar and look for “stainless steel sculpting tools” or “clay sculpting tools” and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

    For ABS plastics, I get mine from Evergreen Scale Models. You can get it off the internet from here:

    or, for brick and mortar, you can find them at Hobby Town USA, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or similar hobby or model train stores. They should have a wide selection, usually in a stand-up rotating rack.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Thank you so much cranky! This has helped me so so very much. I live in California so I should be able to get what I need. Thank you thank you. Keep up the amazing work. Papa nurgle would be proud.

  4. Thank you, and you are very welcome! I’m glad it’s helpful! Good luck and post pics of your work on our Facebook page – would love to see your progress!

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