+ inload: Return of Thrugg Bullneck, once and future git +

+inload: Return of Thrugg Bullneck, once and future git+

+ Like many, I was introduced to tabletop wargaming through Games Workshop. I started out by playing my older brother with the third edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB3), though my skeleton hordes weren't much cop against his greenskins as we decided not to bother with the psychology rules! I later bought Rogue Trader as 'my' game.

+ Those familiar with the rulebook will remember the Battle for the Farm, a sample scenario detailing Pedro Cantor's [sic] Crimson Fists being attacked by an ork patrol led by Thrugg Bullneck, who was returning to a farmstead to pick up some booty he'd buried earlier in the conflict. 

+ Space Marines have remained relatively similar to the Rogue Trader imagery through the years, though they have diversified from the lunatic criminals mentioned in the earliest material to encompass pretty much every cultural trope you can name. The Crimson Fists Chapter became sidelined a little in second edition Warhammer 40,000, but the background they later received was a nod to the story in this scenario. Pedro himself popped up many years later as a special character – his name changed to Kantor, presumably to avoid taxes on the Fortress Monastery rebuild. 

Image courtesy of Collecting Citadel Miniatures wiki.
Used without permission.
+ Over the same period, the orks changed much more starkly, moving from a sort of pseudo World War II Germans/biker aesthetic into the more wacky tribal clans, and finally to berserker gene-engineered mushroom soldiers. As an aside, the different ork aesthetics are interesting to look into, and the Rogue Trader orks had a peculiar blend of being both more silly and more gritty and realistic than the later versions. 

+ Regardless, Thrugg didn't survive the transition and has never been mentioned again in the game background, to my knowledge. Unlike Pedro, who was represented by a plastic marine, Thrugg did have an official model, which you can see to the right.

+ During my search for a painted picture that shows off the sculpt better, I came across Goblin Lee's Miniatures Blog*. Lee has an amazing army made up of Rogue Trader era orks, all painted up beautifully in a muted WWII-esque scheme. His army will be a great point of reference for my own orks, where I want to combine the various ork aethetics. I'm hoping Lee will allow me to post a picture of his Thrugg here as a comparison to mine, but do go and have a look at the army through the link at the bottom of this post, as it's awesome.

As I write, Lee's kindly given permission, so here's his spiffy rendition of Thrugg (left).

+ Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided I'd like to see if I could update the old model into a new version. When approaching something like this, I like to identify the basic characteristics of the original model, so that he is (hopefully!) easily identifiable at a glance, and then look more closely at the details, so that closer examination confirms the initial recognition. 

+ In this case, the original model is relatively anonymous. He doesn't have a bionic arm or paricularly weird wargear, so the bits I felt were most important to making him identifiable were the unusual pose and his distinctive close combat weapon. In addition, like most miniatures, the head is the focal point, so I needed to make a distinctive head that had reference points to the original model.

+ Using that as a starting point, I found a helmet with small spikes around the crown plus cheekguards, and replaced the head inside with a metal ork nob who has a similar grumpy grimace. The arms were a fun challenge to get into the correct pose, and ended up using eight bits from various kits. 

+ The choppa is a bit off the Warhammer Boarboy sprue, I think. It certainly started life much bigger, but since Rogue Trader weapons were more reasonably-sized than today, I wanted to get it down a bit in size. I toyed with the idea of a smaller knife or a chainsword blade, but plumped for this as capturing the rippy feel of the original with the more modern ork aesthetic.

+ To blend this modern ork with the Rogue Trader feel, it was important to add some details like the torn sleeve on his left arm, and the furry shoulder pad with a small spike. Using a Rogue Trader-era shoulder pad from the old plastic Ork sprue as the basis, I added a spike shaved from his belly (it was getting in the way of his arm), then later used greenstuff to put a small pelt over his back, extending it over the shoulder pad. This shot also shows the little pouch on his belt – one from the ork nob sprue is nearly identical to the pouch on the original model, which just goes to show that some things stay the same!

+ Of course, it's not really an update if you don't change some things; and it's not really your own model unless you add your own spin on things. To this end, and to really hammer home the idea that orks are not very nice, I added loads of skulls and severed heads on his back. Together with the furry spiked pelt, this gives the model a proper John Blanche-style 'future barbarian' feel.

+ Hasslefree miniatures** make some great little models called lesser mawes. I think they work perfectly as squigs, and as everyone knows, a boy's best friend is his squig. This one is scratching behind his ear, a really characterful relaxed pose that contrasts nicely with Thrugg's more alert and aggressive stance. You can have too much GRIMDARK, and a little light-heartedness in the background like this adds to the overall impression.

+ I'd love to hear what you think about the conversion and any suggestions for the paint scheme. Does anyone know whether Thrugg had an 'official' paint scheme? Finally, has anyone else updated a favourite old character or model from back in the day?+


* Link to blog:

** Link to shop:


  1. What a fantastic reimagining of a classic miniature. Sterling work here, seriously, consider me a massive fan who is eagerly awaiting each installment

    Keep it coming!

  2. Myself, I really enjoy converting. Anyone who can do it well has my attention.

    Consider my attention piqued :)

  3. I just found this post after searching for Thrugg. I was searching for Thrugg because he pops up in the battle report in White Dwarf #200, which I was reading today for some reason. In the article, Jervis Johnson offers a prize to anyone who can tell him where Thrugg first appeared; I don't think the prize is still available, but I turned to Google to find out, and it led me here!

    Anyway, the WD#200 version of Thrugg is a Bad Moon warboss, so a bit different to the original.


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