When the Kickstarter for the very first Mythic Legions wave kicked off back in February 2015, potential backers were presented with an initial assortment of 22 figures. The last of these initial figures was listed as the “FANtastic Exclusive Winner”, and a simple silhouette was shown in place of the figure itself. This is because this figure would be created based on fan voting – a process that harkened back to the “FANtastic Voting” campaigns that Four Horsemen Studios had used for many of their previous releases. In this “Figure in Focus” article we will look back at this process and the figure it created – the Blood Armor, Vorgus Vermillius!
Voting for a Character
When the Kickstarter for Mythic Legions 1.0 was running back in 2015, the fanbase around the studio’s work was much smaller than it is today. There was no Cabal, no LegionsCon, and no community of creators and customizers pumping out amazing new creations on almost a daily basis. Back then, there was only the 4H Forums. This is where the voting for the Mythic Legions FANtastic Exclusive figure happened.
Shortly after the Kickstarter campaign began, a series of voting rounds kicked off on those Forums. Line art depicting the available pieces was presented and fans got to vote on each aspect of the character – the head, torso, arms, legs, pauldrons, weapons, etc. There were essentially two voting camps during this process - one which created a “knight” build that was almost an exact part-for-part copy of Gorgo Aetherblade, and a second camp with their “Viking” build. In the end, the knight won the battle, but the Viking did not go to a quiet defeat! In fact, the studio surprised fans near the end of the Kickstarter by using that Viking build to create the Barbarian Builder Pack, a set which has gone on to become our most popular Legions figure to date. Still, it was the knight who won the vote and who would continue forward for subsequent rounds.
With the parts selected for the winning knight, the next step was to create some painted examples for fans to vote on. During this period a fan named Eric Layton was doing a number of “digibash” images on the forums based on fan requests. You can see a few of those below, including one called the “Blood Knight”.
That “Blood Knight” idea gained some fans on those old Forums, and a black-and-red color scheme similar to the one seen on this idea would be ones fans would see presented in the official voting process. Studio collaborator at the time, Ed Waysek, painted examples of the parts for fans to choose from. Armor options included jade, volcanic, terra cotta, marble and more. The final choices came down to a bloody red, a stone-like grey, and a dark green jade Full figures were painted for each of these options (image shown below) so fans could make their selection. Of course, the eventual winner was the red-armored “Blood Knight”, as fans took to calling this color scheme, using the same name that Eric Layton has used. That red armor became the figure that was presented for fans on Kickstarter, but during the campaign itself it was simply known as the “FANtastic Exclusive Winner.” The name “Blood Knight” was never used officially, and the actual name and backstory for the character would not be revealed until later.
Below you can see samples of the painted options presented during the Kickstarter campaign.
Vorgus Vermillius Rises
When the Mythic Legions 1.0 figures finally shipped to Kickstarter backers, fans got their first glimpse at what the character they had voted to life had become. Vorgus Vermillius, the Blood Armor was the final name of the figure, and his bio would detail that this character was not necessarily a character at all, but rather a suit of cursed armor! Here is his bio:
One of the first to receive Illythia’s gift of eternal life as a vampire, the brutal knight Lord Edsekk became one of the first generals in Illythia’s Brood. As centuries passed and the tedium of immortality set in, Lord Edsekk was no longer satisfied with the vast powers bequeathed to him as a vampire. Edsekk's ambition drove him to seek out the dark sorcerers Azhar and Zazhar and strike a deal to obtain more power. He bartered the lives of one hundred of his men to the agents of Poxxus for an enchanted suit of armor that possessed immense power and near invulnerability. What Edsekk did not know was that he had been tricked into wearing a suit of armor infused with a parasitic spell that slowly consumed his lifeforce, causing him to vanish from inside the armor. The Blood Armor, known to the people as Vorgus Vermillius, now roams from victim to victim, leaving behind only the memory of the warriors it devours.
This voting process helped to create what would become a fan-favorite figure, for even in those early days of the line the Blood Armor was a figure that many fans sought to acquire for their collections. It should therefore come as no surprise that Vorgus Vermillus was one of the first figures ever voted as a Mythic Legions All Star.
Vorgus the All Star
While Vorgus Vermillius was in the second set of All Stars figures, not the first, he is indeed one of the first to ever be voted by fans to this coveted position.
Mythic Legions All Stars 1 made its debut in June of 2016. While this was our first ever wave of Legions reissues, it was not one which fans got to vote on. The studio actually selected the first wave of All Stars, which meant that All Stars 2, which was available in January 2018, was the first wave of this kind that was decided based on fan voting - and one of the top vote getters during that process was the Blood Armor!
When we do All Stars figures, our intention is always to reissue those figures just like the first versions. We do not plan any paint deco changes - but oftentimes small variations are unavoidable. The time between an initial release and an All Star reissue can be great. In the case of Vorgus, it was around 3 years, and as such there is a bit of a difference between the initial Kickstarter release and the All Stars version. The initial release tends to be lighter and brighter in color, with a bit of a bolder red, while the All Stars version is a little darker. It should also be noted that there are even some small variances within each of these releases themselves. Because of the way this figure is painted, it is possible to find two figures from within the same release that look a little different than each other. One way to clearly tell which version is which, at least if the figure is new in package, is by the twist-tie. The first Kickstarter wave of figures used white twist-ties, while subsequent releases did not. This was not an intentional change, but it is one that many fans have used over the years to determine if a figure is indeed from that first Kickstarter run.
The Blood Armor Returns
Despite two separate releases for the Blood Armor, the figure remained a popular and sought after one by many fans. As the community for Legions continued to grow, this figure became harder and harder to find, and many fans asked for another chance at Vorgus Vermillius, perhaps in another All Stars wave. While the suit of cursed armor would not return as an All Star, in April of 2023 it was announced that Vorgus Vermillius would indeed return to the battlefield once again thanks to the annual LegionsCon event.
Since 2021, we have done special figures for LegionsCon. A “show version” of the figure debuts at the event, including special packaging and bonus “show-only” pieces, and then a standard version of the character is offered as a wider release via StoreHorsemen. This allows us to release figures that may not otherwise have a spot in the line - and an updated version of the Blood Armor is a perfect example of a figure that would likely never have been made if it were not for LegionsCon!
While fans certainly love Vorgus Vermillius, the truth is that the cursed armor is not a major character in the lore of Mythic Legions. While we have started to do updated versions of characters, we only have so many slots to do these in, which means core characters like Sir Gideon Heavensbrand, Artemyss Silverchord, or Baron Volligar will be in line for those updates long before secondary characters are considered. With only so many figure slots open each year, finding a way to squeeze in an updated version of any of those secondary characters is a challenge – but an event like LegionsCon is a perfect place to make that happen!
The idea for Vorgus Vermillius 2 was actually discussed during the “Mythic Weekend” festivities of 2022. That show featured another set that would likely never would’ve found a place in the line were it not for the show (the Fury Clan-centric “Furious Four” set), so the idea to use a LegionsCon spot to get another fan-requested figure into release made perfect sense.
For the origial version of Vorgus, fans basically recreated the Gorgo build, with the only difference being the helmet attachments that were used and the accessories he came with. For the second version of the cursed armor, we decided to embrace that connection to the Gorgo parts and use the updated pieces available in Gorgo Aetherblade 2!
The new parts that were sculpted for the second version of Gorgo are sharper and more detailed than the first. This played perfectly into the story of the Blood Armor, which grows and changes after each soul it consumes. The idea of the armor having claimed many victims since the first time we saw it, and that the armor had evolved and gotten more fierce since then, drove the design of this version. In addition to the new Gorgo parts (head, pauldrons, chest armor, loin), we also used the “spikey” lower arms and legs to really power up this new version.
The next thing we needed to consider for this figure was the heads that would be included. The new Gorgo head was an obvious choice, since that is an update on the first release, but we also wanted to show the evolution of the armor consuming a new wearer. That idea would also be reflected in the bio we wrote for this version, which is presented below.
Created by Poxxus’ demon twins at the behest of a power-hungry vampire lord, the Blood Armor is a weapon that has been worn by some of the most powerful warriors in Illythia's Brood. While the wearer of the Blood Armor is granted near God-like levels of power, transforming them into the champion known as Vorgus Vermillius, these gifts come at a terrible cost to its wearer.
The curse of the Blood Armor is that it possesses a thirst as unquenchable as the vampires who dare to try to master its powers. None have succeeded in this endeavor, and over the years the Blood Armor has claimed countless victims, all of them believing that they had the will to control the armor and harness its strength. With each soul it consumes, the Blood Armor changes in appearance and grows stronger, yet its thirst remains unsated.
With the vampire Goddess Illythia now returned to Mythoss, a challenge is presented to see which of her children believe they have the strength to wield the armor in the great battle which is to come. An ambitious member of the Vampire Phalanx accepts the challenge and claims the armor. Will he stand by the side of his dark Goddess as her champion, or will he be just another soul consumed by the Blood Armor.
Based on this idea of a vampire claiming the armor, we added a new vampire head which we had actually tooled quite some time ago (but which amazingly made its first appearance on the Cosmic Legions Opor-A-Tiv83 figure, not even on an actual vampire!). This open-faced helmet was meant to show how the new wearer of the Blood Armor would look upon first deciding to wield the power of Vorgus Vermillius. Of course, that warrior would succumb to the curse of the armor like all the rest, and so we decided to also include the “open mouth” vampire head first seen in the All Stars 5+ Heads Pack as another option. This is the head that would be exclusive to the LegionsCon show edition, presented in a translucent red to show the armor consuming that soul as the vampire screams, realizing he has lost his battle to best the armor!
In addition to an update on the armor and the heads, this new version of Vorgus also looked at the accessories that the original included (sword, spear, axe, cape) and updated all of those as well. The original weapons were swapped with others in our armory that could be evolved versions of the first ones (in the case of the spear, this weapon features a topper we tooled years ago, but have not used before this time), but the new soft goods cape is where we really went big for this new figure!
In the design stage we came up with this idea of the cape being very oversized with “tendrils” that flowed off the main body of the cape, almost like wisps of smoke. Our partners at CJESIM took this concept and created an amazing new fully wired piece which can be seen in the photos shown here for Vorgus Vermillius 2.
Illythia’s Champion or The Brood’s Curse?
The character of Vorgus Vermillius is an interesting one. Based on the bios presented, we learn that the vampiric warrior who dares to don the armor is granted incredible powers. With the Dark Four now returned to Mythoss and the vampire Goddess Illythia leading her Brood once again, Vorgus Vermillius could indeed be a champion for this evil faction and help to turn the tide of war in the favor of the Legions of Dark. Will this be the fate of the Blood Armor’s latest wearer, or will that ambitious vampire succumb to the curse of the parasitic armor before they can wield its true power in the name of Illythia?
Beyond this question, one must wonder why the twin demons, Azhar and Zazhar, tricked the armor’s original wearer in the first place? What did these sorcerers hope to gain by creating the cursed armor? Why would one evil faction do something that could so clearly harm another evil faction? It should come as little surprise that evil beings sought some way to benefit themselves, even if it came at the expense of other evil warriors, but the real reason behind the demon’s deceit has yet to be fully revealed, as has the impact that the Blood Armor will make upon this final battle for the Realm of Mythoss!
Published on 04.20.23