Sunday, February 18, 2018

Making Death Guard Great Again: Plague Marine Finished

Built for brutality.

At the end of 2017, we showcased a collection of Death Guard models that were created by a talented group of hobbyists in response to anatomical mess that was the new Death Guard models. While I also built a Death Guard model for the challenge, I was only able to start painting it recently. The model was a great opportunity to experiment with painting styles and techniques, similar to painting the Elder One that I built earlier in the year. With this post, I wanted to talk a little how I went about the process.

One of the biggest inspirations for the model was the old Nurgle painting from Realms of Chaos: the Lost and the Damned.

With the paint scheme of the Death Guard, I wanted to explore the notion of a traitor marine that decided to maintain his Legion’s colors before the heresy. The most important visual element of this being the bone white armor. This I reasoned would make the model visually distinct from the standard Death Guard marines painted by GW and, more importantly, speak to qualities of the marine himself and his twisted loyalties. To achieve a weathered and beaten look for the armor, I started out by airbrushing the model black, followed by Vallejo Model Air Olive Drab. The Olive Drab was darkened with a wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade followed by a wash of Nuln Oil. With a foundation of dark brown in place, I shifted over into using a series of Citadel bones and white, specifically Ushabti Bone, Screaming Skull, and White Scar. Starting with a watered down Ushabti Bone, I slowly painted all of the armor segments. Since the paint was watered down, it did not do a great job of covering the dark brown. This was beneficial, allowing me to slowly build up the bone color and naturally create variation in the armor. Next, I shifted to Screaming Skull and used it to accentuate the variations in armors and create streaking patterns. Finally, I did several more highlights mixing in increasing amounts of White Scar paint. Further weathering and rust on the armor was accomplished with oil paint applied with Ammo Oilbrushers (Rust, Dark Brown, Dark Mud). Once applied, I used an enamel thinner to create color transitions with the oil (this is really important to achieve a realistic appearance).      

Rather than resorting to the standard green seen on Death Guard and Plague Marines, I decided on a white scheme, harking back to their pre-Heresy colors.

Each of the marine’s shoulder pauldrons have freehand work, one of pre-heresy Death Guard Legion heraldry and the other a more personal motif of a fly with a flaming crown.

To contrast the white armor, I decided to paint the model’s bolter red (it also calls back to all of the red bolters from earlier editions of the game). Before painting the red, I layered the Citadel texture paint Martian Ironearth on the outer casing of the bolter to create cracks and imperfections. I also used this method to create texturing on the stock of the bolter to give it the appearance of rotted wood.   

To paint the marine’s combat knife, I used a stippling technique where I spotted on successively lighter and light shades of silver, making sure the lightest silvers trace the edges of the blade.

The Death Guard's bolter was made red in homage to GW's "Red Era" as well as a nod to the cover of the Lost and the Damned.

For the model’s face I wanted to try and experiment with trying to achieve a diseased and drowned look. I started with a foundation of Citadel Kislev Flesh followed by a wash of Reikland Fleshshade. From here I did a series of highlights with Karak Stone mixing in increasing amounts of white. With the highlights in place, I went about blending in blues and purples into the folds of his skin, particularly around his jaw. I applied some red washes around his bionics or cable hook-ups to make the skin look irritated. To compliment the blue tones in his face I painted his serpentine tongue blue to resemble that of a skink or lizard.   

I painted the base to look like an ashy waste, with sparse grasses and tree cover. To add color variation in the soil, I applied a combination of red, yellow, green, and brown washes simultaneously and allowed them to dry together.

The Death Guard is about a head taller than a Primaris Space Marine.

The Death Guard towers over Inquisitior Moln├ír’s agent Beltran Destrieux.

Now that the Death Guard is finished, he is off to Bigbossredskullz to join a yet to be revealed Inq28 warband! Watch this space for more information and background for the Death Guard. Let me know what you think of the model!

-Adam Wier


  1. Love the nods to the 'StoD' books.

    1. That old artwork is really wonderful. It is good to revisit it from time to time. You never know what inspirations or ideas you will get from it!

  2. Lovely work, man. You've really captured the essence of that piece of art. The weathering in particular has a lot of nuance to it. I must give those oil pens a go.

    1. The oilbrushers are really nice and worth experimenting with. I feel it is a good entry point for using oil paint. Since everything is contained within the oilbrusher, they are a lot less messy than traditional oil paints.

  3. I love all the small details that I had not even picked up on until now. The texture on the bolter is an excellent touch in particular. The nod to the lost and the damned was wonderfully executed. I still can’t d cidI if I’m more impress d with that white or his face both are just so damn good!

    1. I am glad you like all the little details. GW's texture paint is surprisingly useful and can be re-purposed for a lot of different things. I am particularly happy with his face. Incorporating all of the deep blues and purples was a challenge, but I think it turned out pretty well.

  4. I followed the progress of that beast on the blog. It turned out really great! Worked well to not go for the muddy-slime colors but use a broader palette. As always, insane love for the details!

  5. Very nice work. As said on IG, the red bolter is a good touch. I always wonder why there aren't more Chaos marines in their original colours... surely they think that they're the good guys... why should they change their colours?