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Painting a death guard army (7) – a step by step guide to the Malignant Plaguecaster (part 1)

De La Soul ‘a roller skating jam named Saturday

I thought I would make a step-by-step guide to painting one of the Death Guard character models. This is basically just a more detailed version of the previous tutorial. I’ve broken it into two parts, though; as the Plague Marines are quite detailed models. 

Basecoat the model with Death Guard Green (or any similar colour):

Paint the metal areas with Vallejo Gunmetal, and Sycorax Bronze:

Orange has a very thin pigment; so paint the cloth with Mournfang Brown:

Then with Vallejo’s orange-brown – which makes it easier to achieve a good effect:

Flesh areas – Cadian Fleshtone:

Intestines – Genestealer purple:

Then the boils with Elysian green:

Horns/claws – ushabti bone:

Face – Pallid Wych Flesh (paint the eyes red):

Paint the smoke with Celestra grey: 

The flies were painted with Cadian fleshtone/Elysian green:

The staff – Vallejo earth:

The leather areas were painted with Vallejo German camouflage black-brown:

The string – Vallejo dark sea grey:

Paint the tubing black:I painted the jewel on the ornament at the base of the staff with snot green (not visible here).

The maggots were painted with Zamesi desert:


That’s the basecolours painted – I will go through shading and highlighting in the next post:




Painting a death guard army (6) – Plague marines

False Front ‘Maniac I’

I painted the Plague Marines using the same method as the Poxwalkers – i.e. basecoating the models, then shading them down with washes. I kept the highlighting minimal, as well – concentrating on the faces, but otherwise just edge-highlighting as and where it seemed necessary.


So, basecoat the power armour with Death Guard Green, or any similar colour (I used a Humbrol spraypaint, then painted over any missed areas with Death Guard Green):

I used orange-brown for the cloak; but the other details are painted in obvious colours:

Wash over the entire models with several coats of Agrellan Earth. I thinned it slightly with water, but this isn’t vital – it’s best to avoid letting it pool in the recesses, though; otherwise it can look a bit blotchy:

For the champion, I used the same colour-scheme:

The fly’s wings were painted with Celestra grey:

The only difference between this and the rank and file Plague Marines was the higher number of pink, fleshy areas – which were washed with Reikland Fleshshade:

Rather than go through the fairly laborious stage of layering-on highlights, I just added detail to the cloak by painting on scratches:


If I get time, I may return to the champion, and add more detail to the hood – as it looks a bit plain; but we’ll see.



Painting a Death Guard Army (5) – a quick method for painting bases

Mint 400 ‘Raise Me’

I’ve finished the Poxwalkers:



So, this is just a brief post on how to paint the bases.

Paints needed (I initially used Stormvermin fur to paint the rocks, but it didn’t look right; so just used a mid-tone grey):

First, coat the base in PVA glue, then cover it in sand:

When that has dried, wash over the sand with thinned-down PVA:

Then paint the sand with Stirland Battlemire, and the rim of the base with any similar colour:

Drybrush it with Zamesi desert yellow (this stage is optional):

Drybrush – Nurgling Green:

Paint the small stones grey:

Wash with Athonian camoshade:

I experimented with Nurgle’s rot, but didn’t really like the effect:

I’m convinced there will be a good use for this; but haven’t figured it out yet.

Finish by adding static grass:


Painting a Death Guard Army (4) – Poxwalkers.

Les Rythmes Digitales ‘Sometimes’

To paint the Poxwalkers, I followed the method from Warhammer TV – that is, mainly using shade paints; but with a few differences. These take slightly more time – but not too much more; and they add a bit of further detail.

This method breaks down into three stages: 1) basecoating areas 2) applying washes 3) edge-highlighting details.


I would say from the outset that this approach was fairly experimental – with a bit of trial and error involved. So, some parts may be unnecessary to follow.


Stage 1

As you can see, the spraypaint hadn’t coated these models fully:

So, I painted them white where needed:

Paint the horns with ushabti bone:

The maggots with Zamesi Desert:

The tentacles with Cadian fleshtone:

The cloth with orange (I used vallejo’s orangebrown):

The leather areas with dark brown; and the gas mask/tubing black:

One intestine was painted purple, just to variegate the innards a bit:

The shin guard was painted blue-grey (Citadel’s the Fang):

And then the metals – silver and brass, respectively:

Basecoating is fairly tedious, to be honest. I’m not sure there’s a way to alter that, unfortunately – I think it’s just a bit of work, that has to be got through.


Stage 2

The next step is to add colour, by shading with washes; which is much more enjoyable than basecoating:

I thinned these down slightly with water; and applied several layers, rather than one heavy application.

i) Paint the skin and tentacles with Reikland flesh.

ii) paint the horns, pox marks, and tentacles with Athonian camoshade

ii) paint the face and tentacles with Druchii violet

iv) paint the metal areas and the leather/clothing with Agrax earthshade. I also painted the hammerhead and the bayonet with Reikland flesh, and then seraphim sepia, to create a faint rust effect (this part wasn’t entirely successful).

If you look at the photos, you can see how successive layers of the washes deepen the colour:

Stage 3

Adding detail is the stage which can really become very time-consuming, if you’re not careful. So, it’s best to keep it minimal; and just highlight edges, using the original basecoat.

I thought the metal areas, tentacles, skin, and the black tubing looked okay. So I didn’t highlight these. The edge of the gasmask was highlighted using Stormvermin fur – which is a grey-brown: 


The faces did have highlighting added though – as they’re the focal point of models, they warrant a bit more attention. So, highlight the face with pallid wych-flesh. Dot the poxmarks with rotting flesh. Glaze both of these areas, and the tentacles, with seraphim sepia.

The Jewels on the Nurgle insignia were painted snot green, then dotted with scorpion green. The eyes were painted with snot green, then dotted with snot green + white.

I initially highlighted all the edges on the horns with ushabti bone, but it left them looking a bit untidy, and the colour proved a bit stark. So instead, I just highlighted the edges closest to the faces, using khaki. The horns were then glazed with sepia.


I’m not 100% happy with these – but I’m going to leave them aside for now; and maybe readjust them when I’ve finished the other models. I think this is helpful when painting a large number of miniatures, because otherwise – if you keep faffing about -you will never get them all finished.

I haven’t quite figured out how to style the bases yet; but I’m going to keep them fairly simple. With them being a gift for someone, I want them to be able to replicate the bases without any difficulty, if they wish to add further models.

Painting a Death Guard Army (3) – Basecoating batches of models

Mahogany ‘Tesselation, Formerly Plateau One’


To basecoat the models, I used spray paint – white for the Poxwalkers, and green for the Plague Marines:

Before applying the spray paint, I used double-sided tape to attach the models onto a length of wood, and then balanced this on an old container (not the one pictured here) – which made it much easier to spray them:

This needs to be done outdoors, or at least in a well-ventilated area (e.g. a garage), as the solvents are quite potent.

As with most painting, several thin layers of paint are better than one heavy application:

Give the spray can a good shake – then spray the models from c. 30 cm distance. After this, turn the can upside down and spray the paint outside for a second, to clear the nozzle.

In order to paint multiple models, I used a piece of polystyrene – as well as some more double-sided tape – to create a simple holder:


Double-sided tape is very sticky – so if you put masking tape on first, then place the double-sided tape on top, it becomes easier to remove when you have finished:

Ready to paint:

Painting A Death Guard Army (2) – Assembly & Preparation

Air ‘Cherry Blossom Girl’

There is a helpful video on Warhammer TV, which demonstrates how to build the Dark Imperium Death Guard models. I thought I would demonstrate my own approach, though; which differs slightly.

Tools required – a craft knife, for removing the models from the sprues, and cleaning them up. Pin vices, for drilling holes in gun nozzles. Clippers, for cutting through thicker plastic. Also, blu-tack, and tea:

First, wash the plastic sprues in soap and water – then leave them to dry, on kitchen towel; as the moulding process can leave them with a grimy residue:

These sprues are fairly chaotic:

So, it’s important to follow the instruction manual – the numbers highlighted correlate to the sprues:

As you can see:

When you’ve removed the model, it will probably have unwanted bits of plastic-sprue still attached:

And mould lines:

These need to be cut off/scraped away with your craft knife. It’s a good idea to ensure that you cut away from your body, for safety reasons – but it’s more easily said than done; which is why I end up with lots of small cuts. It’s also pretty much impossible to clean mouldlines off entirely – and undercoating usually reveals additional ones you’ve missed.

After this, the model can then be glued together:

More delicate parts of the model can be difficult to remove from the sprues, without damaging them. So it’s helpful to remove the whole section before cutting them off with your knife: 

Once they’re all assembled, they’re ready to be painted:

The Death Guard models are more complex:

You can assemble them completely before painting them; but this is liable to obscure some of the details. For example, the backpacks cover much of the model’s rear aspect:

So, I leave these off before undercoating them. The same principle applies to the character models – assembling them in parts:

However, paint impairs the bond when using plastic glue. This is where blu-tack is helpful, as you can cover the parts which will be glued together; then spray-paint them:


This isn’t vital – you can use superglue, but the bond won’t be very powerful; and pinning it would probably be necessary. I’m too lazy for that, to be honest.

When using plastic glue, I would recommend leaving models overnight before painting them; as it takes an age to cure properly. Other than that, they should be ready to prime:


I will go through this stage in the next post.

Painting a Death Guard Army (1) – Introduction

Nine Inch Nails ‘She’s Gone Away’ 

Army-painting is not something that I enjoy, really; but it’s worthwhile taking a step out of your personal comfort-zone, now and then.

I decided to paint the Death Guard models from the Dark Imperium game, as a Christmas gift for someone; and given how long it takes me to finish anything – and how unreliable my health has been this past year – it seems a good idea to begin now.

However….I’ve read several blogposts recently, where people discussed the difficulties they’ve had when painting a collection of miniatures in one go. I’ve painted two armies, previously – chaos warriors, in 2012; and chaos space marines in 2015. They both proved to be quite unpleasant experiences.

What people generally seem to struggle with is the amount of time involved; whereas what I disliked about those two projects was the monotony of painting essentially the same basic model, multiple times – and the overall finish being mediocre.

I think the answer to these problems is much the same – a bit of planning, and time-management. So, I’m going to make a series of posts, (hopefully) demonstrating how to paint an army to a decent standard – without having to sacrifice every other commitment in your life.

When I was an undergraduate, time-management was something that a lot of students had issues with. For most people, it revolved around not devoting enough time to their studies; then having to rush things, and so making a less adequate job of something than they might have done. For others (including me) it was the opposite: spending far too much time on studying; and overworking to the point where you were exhausted – which is not especially healthy.

I’ve found that this holds true with painting, as well: it’s easy to become a bit directionless; or else to spend inordinate amounts of time and effort on rank and file models, which don’t really require it.

There isn’t a right or wrong approach to take, as such – just one that suits your own aims, and constraints. So it’s worth thinking about what you intend to achieve, before commencing. Plus, even the most carefully thought-through plans tend to need adjusting, at some point. Little and often is a good guideline.

If you really find that you can’t make time to paint, it may be helpful to keep a diary for a week – given that you’re the only person who will read it, you can be perfectly honest about how you’ve spent your day; and decide if and where there’s room for maneuver.

It may be the case that you have more free-time than you believe – or just that you need to balance your commitments slightly better. If you spend several hours watching television, you could do some painting during that, for instance – especially if you support rubbish sports teams; whose performances might make a reason to avert your eyes quite welcome. I cook quite a lot; and sometimes finish small tasks while waiting for something to bake in the oven, for instance.

Equally, if you find painting a large number of models daunting, this is where organisation is helpful: focusing on one unit at a time – and aiming to finish each one on a monthly basis – will make the overall task manageable. Motivation is often an overlooked factor, too – so dividing your painting into smaller jobs, and goals, can help maintain your dedication as well.

That’s what I aim to demonstrate over the next few weeks/months: from assembly and preparation, to painting schemes. Much of this may prove needless to most painters; but everybody has to begin somewhere – and practicing the basics is always worthwhile.



Helpful resources


How to paint poxwalkers (Warhammer TV)

How to Paint the Lord of Contagion (Warhammer TV)