Great Unclean One – Kit Review (Games Workshop)

PRELUDE

The Great Unclean One is one of those iconic monsters from the worlds of Games Workshop, that has been around, since time immemorial. There have been several metal versions over the years, the last of which is about 20 years old I think. So it has been with great anticipation in the gaming and collecting community, that they have released a brand new up-to-date plastic kit of the Great Unclean One.

Inner box artwork

BACKGROUND

The Great Unclean One is the greater daemon of Nurgle. Nurgle is one of the four Chaos Powers. Nurgle is the lord of decay, sickness, blight and plagues. Nurgle is a Jovial character, who nurses the diseases and daemons he creates and really cares for the spreading of disease and life in the forms of Vira, moulds, fungus and rot. The Great Unclean Ones are his biggest Daemons, the generals of his armies and daemonic hordes. The Great Unclean One is created in Nurgle’s own image, So he is a large, fat, bloated monster, covered in sores and pustules. His innards spill from the sores. Nurglings (tiny daemons of the same kind) hatch in his sores and innards and crawl all over his body, nestling under the rolls of fat and skin. The Great Unclean One is just as likely to pet his nurglings and care for them as he is to grab them and eat them, whenever he feels like a little snack. He is also a funny jovial character, caring for his minions and the spreading of Nurgle’s bounty. There is a really insane duality to these daemons in them being utterly evil, only put into the world to spread disease, death and entropy, yet at the same time they are fun, grandfatherly laughing caring creatures.

What the box reveals

UNBOXING

The packaging is the kind we have become used to on the larger Games Workshop kits; an outer sleeve with their box art paint job of the figure on the front and alternate versions on the back as well as close-up detail shots. Inside is the box itself, with a big painting wrapping all around it rather tastefully done without any text on it. I rather like these aesthetics, as you get the commercial stuff on the outside, which is unavoidable and a corresponding piece of artwork inside free of any interruptions. Opening this box reveals the sprues of medium grey polystyrene plastic and a full colour booklet with assembly instructions and the game rules you need to use the figure in games of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40000, in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. The assembly instructions are very easy to follow, showing computer generated 3D images of the parts and how they are to be fitted together. Colour highlights of the various parts show how they are fitted on the model. This makes for a very easy instruction to follow, which is good as it is a big complex kit and children down to the age of 12 should be able to build it.

There are 2 big sprues of 28x21cm and one smaller sprue of 21x14cm and a big round 130mm base. The sprues contain a whopping 59 parts.

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With several alternate parts, you get to make 3 different versions of the model: two kinds of Great Unclean One with different head and weapon options and one Rotigus the Rainfather, a named character, which looks a little more like a wizard or priest with a hood and a gnarled staff, he has a big mouth in his belly as well. Bear in mind that all Great Unclean Ones are wizards though, it is part of their job.

With two different bellies, three heads, three different left and right arms, you get a lot of interchangeability, they can be assembled in many different combinations.

SCULPT AND CAST

The kit is digitally designed. Everything very precise and neat. Nice and precisely injection molded in polystyrene, no sink holes, no loss of detail, every ejection pin mark is placed on the inside of the parts. The technology of injection molding has come far since those Airfix and Matchbox kits I built when I was a kid in the eighties.

The model is very detailed, full of little and not so little sores, pimples and blemishes. There are rolls of fat and flaps of skin. The weapons are pitted and dented, these are all the trappings of a daemon of Nurgle! But I think detail is a little soft, a little round at the edges, which is typical of digitally designed models. I am impressed with the metal parts, like the sword and bell, the amount of texture and sharpness here comes really close to what we know from hand sculpted miniatures. With the right paint job these can be made to look very good.

sword close up

This is an impressively big model, standing at just about 105mm to the top of the head! That is one serious monster for 30mm scale. For some time, I have had my eyes on the big Great Unclean One model from Forgeworld, for a special project, but this one is definitely big enough for the task. I can imagine that this model will replace the one from Forgeworld in time. It is almost as big.

A big boy

Dryfitting some of the main parts of the model revealed no fit issues. Many of the assembly lines are intelligently placed inside folds and wherever they can be hidden, so little clean up or sanding is needed on must of the assemblies. Be aware though that some prominent areas like shoulders, arms and legs are next to impossible to make like this. The GW designers go to great lengths to hide such joins, even making zig-zag joins between pimples and other details, but there is no escaping a little sanding or filling atop the shoulders and arms if you want assembly to be invisible.

Dryfit

DESIGN AND ORIGINALITY

I think miniatures designer Steve Buddle did a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the Great Unclean One. It is a character everybody who plays Games Workshop games know and all have a certain opinion of what one should look like. It is very set in people’s imaginations, yet there is some evolution to it as well, mainly different materials and production technology makes development of the design possible. There is no doubt in my mind that the rather small old metal versions were actually as big as they could feasibly make them. The intention of the monster was always a very big one. Injection molded plastic and 3D design finally makes it possible to make the proper interpretation of this daemon.

The idea of the Chaos powers and their daemons has always been an original one in my opinion. This model captures the way they always have been. They were first published with background stories in Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned back in 1990. That book has a very iconic and well-known cover, that sort of epitomizes the look of Nurgle and his hordes. The cover really informed what all those decayed hordes and their masters looked like. I think Steve Buddle has captured that feeling perfectly. In that regard, I am thrilled to finally have a modern figure, that captures the grandness of that book and its fantastic cover art.

DESIRABILITY

After the release of the Bloodthirster a few years ago and the big Lord of Change last year, it is natural that this Great Unclean One is the next in line. One can say that these greater daemons have been missing for quite some time, as Games Workshop are really pushing forward with great plastic kits and the earlier metal versions of these are very old.

This model will of course appeal to any Warhammer 40000 or Warhammer: Age of Sigmar players who play with daemons or the chaos powers themselves. It is a perfect centerpiece for any sizeable miniatures army. Or for that matter people who still play traditional Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

It has another quality as well: Nostalgic value. It really hearkens back to those good old days of the Realm of Chaos books. I think that is the greatest strength of this model. I started to play warhammer back in the early nineties and the artwork and mood of these particular books was very much what attracted me to this hobby back then. I have moved on since then, doing much more showcase painting and playing much less and when I do, smaller games. Yet when I see this model I see a great potential to relive those old days and make a model where I interpret the very thing, that drew me to this hobby years ago. With that in mind, I think this model has great potential for Golden Demon painting competitions and maybe a few others, but mostly for Golden Demon and I am sure we will see some at the coming GD’s later this year.

AFFORDABILITY

At 85£ I must say that this is an expensive toy, but this is the standard price of a Games Workshop kit of this size. And it is a big kit, you get a lot of model and a lot of hobby entertainment for your money. I think these big kits are pushing it a bit on the price, but it has always been that way. It is the price point alone that has drageed this items review score down.

Let’s get that Lost and the Damned vibe going

Dates and figures and stuff

Cost                                    85£

Material                              Polystyrene

No. of Pieces                      59 plus base

Release Date                      On preorder now, in stores from January 13th 2018

Where can I get It?             Here

Kristian Simonsen

Award winning miniatures painter and modeler. An avid reader of fantasy, SciFi, art and history, this reflects more and more on my painting. I occasionally teach painting and modeling to people and I am here to do just that as well.

How Did It Fare?
  • Sculpt and Cast
  • Design and Originality
  • Desirability
  • Affordability
3.6

Comments

  1. Phillip

    There will always be sacrifices made when a sculpt is built around interchangeable parts. To me this sculpt seems too much like a very thickly detailed toy. It looks like a blob with arms and a head stuck onto it, in a middlehammer style pose. Compare to the Forgeworld and Ultraforge sculpts, which look like they have internal skeletons with fat layered onto them. They seem to sit back in their fat, waddling within it, as opposed to this new one that looks like a balloon. I understand that with interchangeable heads and weapons it becomes very difficult to organically pose the character, or do something interesting like the FW model licking his sword, but perhaps that tells you something about Citadel’s priority of the game over the art.
    I’m not sure why you would give it a 4 out of 5 regarding originality, considering they’ve barely done anything original with the character in this sculpt. Personally I think this model is simply a collection of all the common elements already present in artwork and past sculpts of this character. It’s just routine digital sculpt upgrading, same with Typhus and many of their other resculpts. When Wayne England painted that portrait of the GUO with that demon tongue, that was original. When GW included it in this sculpt, I’m not sure you can call it original.
    Its face is certainly very symmetrical and pretty, whether you would call that a good thing or a bad thing. Personally I’d rather it look like the LatD guy that you showed in the picture.

    1. Author
      Kristian Simonsen

      Hi Phillip
      Thanks for the feed back. This model certainly is a toy, all GW models are, let’s not forget that. Personally I do not like the Ultraforge Plague Demon and I am not overly fond of the GUO from Forgeworld either, I like this one better. That is a matter of personal taste and opinion, we do not have to agree on these points. This is supposed to be a totally unrealistic demon creature waddling around in it’s layers of fat and well, I think it does that just as well as the others.
      As for the points for originality, they are just as well for the design. As I mention, it is original in the sense that the whole concept of the Warhammer worlds, the Realm of Chaos and the daemons are original and this is the first time we get this character in it’s proper size, as a standard Citadel miniature. It is the same size as the one from Forgeworld, which is a lot more expensive. As for the design, I rather like the expression of this model and the way it is engineered and comes together is very well done. Details like the sword, bell and the slightly textured hood on one of the head options are also very well designed and executed.
      I think it is a good choice to work with Wayne England’s painting as main inspiration for the model, it is perfectly normal to base these models on well known artwork. I do agree with you that it would have been better to base it on the cover of “The Lost and the Damned”, that would have been more to my personal taste as well.

      1. Phillip

        Thanks for the reply.
        I can definitely understand why you wouldn’t like the UF or FW models. They do have their own failings. It’s my opinion that we haven’t had a model yet that does the wealth of art and the concept of the character justice. We’ve had organic poses and compelling rot in previous models, and now we have crisp design and all the benefits of plastic in this model, but I think it’s just not there yet, and they could have done better with their current capabilities. They could have pulled the head back into the fat, made the face asymmetrical, given him a skeletal structure beneath his face instead of making his teeth sprout from his lips, made the weight of his arms interact with the fat of his body in some way instead of using a middlehammer pose, made his fat hang from his bones a little bit like an actual fat corpse instead of looking like an overstuffed sausage. There is much to be improved on, that would have been completely possible for the biggest miniatures company in the world with access to the best artists and the best software. Good textures and materials are to be expected of them. In my opinion, their bar should be a lot higher than these indie sculptors that turn out incredible illustrative and simulative models.
        And I know, it’s a toy, so they have to sacrifice some things because people expect to be able to convert it and so on. But that means they made their choice, and they chose for it to not be as good of a piece of art, and we should recognize that. If we’re talking about general design for their purposes, in the game and the converting community and how well it will sell, then yes they made the best choice. But as art, it has been compromised.
        I definitely agree, one should use the paintings as inspiration. Every piece of art uses the previous art as inspiration. I was just saying they didn’t add anything new in this one. It’s just reiterative.

        1. Author
          Kristian Simonsen

          You have some valid points here. There are several other cool ways this miniature could have been made, but that does not make it a bad figure. Personally I like it’s animated pose, though a static, heavy one would have been nice too. It is a character who can be interpreted in many ways and this is but one. It could have been done in many other ways which would be fine or in some instances even better. Let’s just leave it at that. 🙂

          1. Phillip

            Sure, it certainly isn’t a bad figure. I agree. My only point is that it is very much well within the capabilities of the Citadel Sculpting team, technically and artistically.

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