Deathlords: Morghasts Review

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Just a quick review today as we take a look at the two large skellibobs in out Deathlords: Morghasts Review

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Deathlords: Morghasts Review – Summary

These two titanic harbingers of death will tower over your army of darkness, and are as rewarding to assemble and paint as they are gorgeous to look at.

Deathlords: Morghasts Review – Introduction

One of the things I’ve always loved about Games Workshop’s lines are their creativity. They have always had an ability to reinvent classic fantasy races and tropes in unique and exciting ways. For example, with Age of Sigmar, we have the Idoneth Deepkin – sea elves, for the uninitiated – and the Kharadon Overlords, or, rather, steampunk sky dwarfs. Although for some this has backfired with the recent advent of the Lumineth Realm-Lords (who, if you haven’t been on the internet recently, have been widely condemned for certain bovine elements in their imagery), Games Workshop’s ability to add fresh energy into old faces is one of the most redeeming and addictive parts of the hobby.

Of course, the essence of these classic fantasy races remain: aelves and duergar are still elves and dwarves at heart, and there are enough “classic” iterations of these races across the range to keep traditionalists happy. Closer to home, and the purpose of this article, Nagash’s Grand Alliance Death is still home to no small number of ghosts, ghouls, skeletons and zombies, but there is also far more beneath the surface.

When I came to Age of Sigmar a few months ago, one faction really stood out for me: the Ossiarch Bonereapers. Sold as elite warriors forged from stolen bone, the biggest, baddest, and most brutal of Nagash’s unliving forces can be found in the Bonereapers’ ranks. Perhaps somewhat Necron-like in appearance, given their bone-carapace, multi-limbed aesthetic, it is refreshing to find something on the spooky side that isn’t just yet another skeleton army or horde of shambling zombies. Of course, this is on offer – and looks great – in other wings of Nagash’s Grand Alliance Death, but with the Ossiarch Bonereapers themselves, it feels as if some real thought and originality has gone into the direction of the faction.

The Bonereapers are an impressive force to behold: legions of animated bone warriors surrounded by shrieking spirits; many-faced Necropolis Stalkers grimacing at the enemy; the whole force overshadowed by towering Mortek Crawlers. And of the selection of grotesque-yet-gorgeous models available for this faction, the Morghasts, though not strictly Ossiarch Bonereapers by faction, draw on all the best bits of their design to create some of the most haunting and visually impressive miniatures out there.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Box

Sold as “Deathlords” and not “Ossiarch Bonereapers” despite their look, Morghasts, like all other models with Deathlords stamped on the box, are the masters of Grand Alliance Death and pack one hell of a wallop. Not to be confused with “Deathrattle” forces, which refer to the skeletons that make up the rank-and-file everyone’s favourite unliving faction, the Deathlords are the most powerful servants of Nagash – and the most deadly on the tabletop.

The Deathlords are a pretty exclusive, lethal, and cliquey club made up of Mannfred, Neferata, Arkhan and their respective entourages, with Goth Skeletor himself sitting at the head of the table. Imagine if the these guys had been a squad at your high school. The rugby lads wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Deathlords: Morghasts Review – Models

There are no two ways about it, these are cool: behemoths of bone, held together by fell spirit-energy, flying on desiccated wings shrouded in the souls of the damned, carrying either enormous halberds or dual spirit-blades.

Deathlord Morghasts Review GW Example Harbingers Miniatures
Dual-bladed Morghast Harbingers

The sculpts on these models are something magnificent to behold, and the box comes with the options for two variants: slightly heavier-armoured Archai, and their Harbinger counterparts. I personally loved the look of the Archai in their helmets, so went for these.

Deathlord Morghasts Review GW Example Morghast Archai Miniatures
Halberd-wielding Morghast Archai

These are some impressive models with some gorgeous details, like the spirits coming out of the wings, the dark gems studding their armour, and the roiling souls howling within their limbs and weapons. Once everything’s assembled and the model is on its base, it’s beautiful to look at.

Deathlords: Morghasts Review – Building

At first, I thought this might be quite a complicated build. Remembering Arkhan the Black from my experience with the Start Collecting! Skeleton Horde set and the need to part-paint during assembly, I feared I might find myself in the same position with the Morghasts, having to part-paint bits and faffing around with stupid fiddly bits like Arkan’s god damn reins. Thankfully, this was not the case.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Sprue

The assembly instructions provided with the box are fairly average; easy enough to follow if you’re au-fait with Warhammer model building, though there are a few magnified images that are not large or detailed enough to make sense of. The plus side is, these do not matter too much as once you’ve got your eye in with the model, assembly is fairly self-explanatory.

There’s very little to say about this. Building them was extremely easy.

The fact that there are only a few sprues in the box and that the majority of the components are fairly large makes assembling them easy, as everything’s easy to find and each component is easy to identify from the next – even without the numerical references provided in the construction guide.

There were no sprue-cutting dramas or disasters with my either of my Morghasts. Given their size, most of the parts for these models are large and sturdy, so as long as the builder is patient and makes sure their glue is dry before moving on to the next component, and is careful with where they cut their parts from the sprue, the assembly should go off without a hitch.

Whilst there are one or two fiddly bits – kneecaps, for example – everything else is easy to handle and meaty enough not to snap, and as anyone who has read my Skeleton Horde review will know, I’m a sucker for breaking stuff.

Once together, these two look pretty special and are absolutely begging for some colour to really bring them to life. They even have the stamp of approval from my non-hobbyist girlfriend, who described them as “the nicest-looking models” she’d seen – and they weren’t even painted.

So, let’s recap so far: easy to build; look awesome; girlfriend probably won’t mind if I buy more.

What a great start!

Deathlords: Morghasts Review – Painting

So, thus far I was pretty damn pleased – and, as it turned out, I was only going to get happier.

These guys are easy to paint, even for someone like myself with limited experience. The fact these chaps are so large means that any slips with a brush will probably be forgiven by the model, and the models favour bold moves with shade paints and drybrushing.

It took me two days of reasonably relaxed painting to get my Morghasts finished and looking like this…

Deathlord Morghasts Review Morghasts Pair
Big, mean, and ready to lead any army of death into battle.

…and, honestly, I wish it had taken me longer, because these guys are an absolute pleasure to paint and by far my favourite models to paint to date. After priming them all with a Zandri Dust, I gave them a generous wash with Agrax Earthshade. Once that had dried, they were beaten around with a medium drybrush and a little Ushabti Bone. And with that, the bone was done.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Morghast Single 1

Then, the weapon and spirits – that’s those beneath the wings and those in the bone cavities – were based with Celestra Grey and washed with Biel-Tan Green. Once that had dried, it was on to a Ulthuan Grey highlight to give them a multi-toned, dynamic look that really emphasises their dimensions and makes them pop.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Morghast Spirits

There are a few more difficult-to-reach bits with the Morghasts, primarily the spirit-skull-cloud-thing inside their ribs, legs, and necks. As long as you use a fine-tipped brush and don’t go overloading your brush with shaders, though, you should not have any trouble splashing colour onto these parts.

The armour is just as easy: start with Kantor Blue, wash with Nuln Oil, and carefully reapply some Kantor Blue to the edges of the model’s armour once the Nuln Oil has dried just to bring the colour out on those raised edges. Then, simply edge-highlight with some Russ Grey.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Morghast Single 2

The Morghast’s Ebon-wrought Armour favours edge highlighting beautifully. The sculpted raised edge provided by the “lobstered” design (like, for example, medieval mitten gauntlets) makes picking out those edges for a highlight all the easier. Again, a fine brush will do wonders here and just bring a little more light and depth to your miniature.

As for the wings, a Dryad Bark basecoat and a drybrush with some Mournfang Brown gives a quick and effective highlight to the ragged leathery bits between the bones. With a small drybrush and a steady hand, this effect is easy to achieve.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Morghast Wings

Now, the weapons. If, like me, you prefer to follow the box art, you may have a few issues matching the look of your Morghasts’ weapons to the well-blended look the wizards at Games Workshop have conjured up. Whilst you could achieve the look with some patience and wet blending, I basecoated the blade of the halberd with Incubi Darkness, grabbed a bit of sponge, dabbed some of the same Celestra Grey I used to base the halberd’s haft a little way up the blade, and washed the whole thing with Biel-Tan Green. The effect isn’t as sharp as you’d get wet blending, but still looks mystical and blended with very little effort.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Morghast Weapon
The Morghast weapons are really unique and look smashing – even when painted up by a novice like me.

Once that’s done, I highlighted the haft of the weapon with Ulthuan Grey, and edge-highlighted the blade and pommel of the weapon with Kabalite Green and Kabalite Green. I also used the edge of an old Stormcast Eternals’ transfer sheet as a ruler to get the flush edge down the middle of the blade, like on the box art, as the edge isn’t quite sharp enough to highlight easily.

And then, having done their eyes with Celestra Grey and Hexwraith Flame, that was it. Based with Astrogranite, Drakenhof Nightshade, and finished with a touch of Longbeard Grey and a scattering of Deadland Tufts, my indomitable vanguards of death and damnation were finished.

Deathlord Morghasts Review Morghast Single 3

I was absolutely gutted. I could have painted these two forever. So impressive, yet so simple, not only did my Morghasts look spectacular after only a few hours’ worth of work and a reasonably mediocre, relaxed effort on my part, they had been so easy to paint that the time had flown by without me so much as breaking a sweat.

The Morghasts were a genuine joy to paint, unlike any miniature I had encountered before. Watching them transform from nondescript grey models into towering and ghastly monstrosities of bone was a true pleasure, and the fact they were so easy to paint still leaves me somewhat agog.

Plus, these guys serve as the perfect training ground for a lot of other Grand Alliance Death figures. Once you’ve got the bone and armour mastered, you can take those skills to the Gothizzar Harvester – another imposing and gorgeous model – or, if you’re feeling inspired, Arkhan the Black and his magnificent Dread Abyssal, Razarak (which is what I did).

Deathlord Morghasts Review Arkhan the Black Example

On a smaller scale, the Mortek Guard, Necropolis Stalkers, and Kavalos Deathriders await your newfound skills with bone and Ebon-wrought Armour – and will strike fear into the heart of your foe breaking into a charge across the tabletop.

As for those spirits? Well, your pots of Celestra Grey and Biel-Tan Green won’t slap themselves over the entirety of the Start Collecting! Malignants set.

Seriously, the Morghast is the perfect training ground for anyone looking to hone their undead-painting skulls: from bone-rendering drybrushes to hautnign washes that bring your spirits to life, you can’t go wrong with these models.

Deathlords: Morghasts Review – Price and Availability

In terms of availability, as a GW product, it’s easy enough to source yourself a box of Morghasts. All the online independent retailers I looked at had them ready to be ordered, so tracking down a box of these will not be an issue.

Price, on the other hand, may be. The Morghasts tread dangerously close to the expensive-for-what-they-are line. The models are great: they look awesome and are surprisingly easy to paint, and will no-doubt make quite a statement on the tabletop once painted up, but Games Workshop’s website sells these chaps at £37.50 a pair. Mine came from Element Games at a somewhat more reasonable thirty quid, but these kind of prices may well put a lot of collectors off – especially when you can get the Mortek Guard, a twenty-model set, for the same price.

Deathlords: Morghasts Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Absolutely gorgeous models
Easy and satisfying to assemble
Variant weapons and armour
Fun and unbelievably simple to paint
Transferable painting skills
Only two in the box
Teetering towards expensive

Writing a summary for this product is hard, because I can’t help but feel no matter what I say will undersell just how magnificent I think the Deathlords: Morghasts box is. The Morghasts are, by far, two of my favourite models to date – if not my all-time favourites. They look great, they are fun and super easy to put together, and are both unbelievably easy to paint up and look stunning once draped in colour.

Sure, it’s two models, and sure, it’s a little on the pricey side, but this box has something for everyone. For the hobbyist looking to hone their skills – or, like me, the middling painter looking for a confidence boost or a forgiving model to practice some of their techniques on – these guys are absolutely perfect. As for someone with some real talent flowing through their fingers, these guys are a sure-fire easy win and a couple of hundred likes on the ‘Gram.

And, I mean, come on. Look at them. They’re absolutely beautiful models, and even as a die-hard Stormcast Eternal collector, I’d love to see half a dozen of these guys curbstomping Sigmar and his golden-armoured fanboys into the dust of some miserable, gold-plated city street whilst Azyr burns all around them.

I don’t know what else there is to say. Great to build, great to paint, and formidable on the tabletop. Five stars.

I’d also like take this opportunity to give a huge shout-out and say a massive thank-you to one of my local hobby stores, Athena Games, who were able to get me the last couple of paints I needed to finish these guys off after my usual supplier let me down. You guys are awesome, thank-you so much!

Click this link & buy your hobby stuff from Element Games for the UK & Europe to support FauxHammer.com – Use Code “FAUX2768” at the checkout for double reward points.

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Author

  • Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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About VoltorRWH 23 Articles
Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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