Deadzone: Plague Ground Zero

///Deadzone: Plague Ground Zero

As you will have seen from my previous post I’ve been pushing on with my wave one Deadzone factions in order to get some games in. To date I’ve assembled three of the factions; the Plague, Marauders and Enforcers. Out of all of them the Plague are probably the easiest to paint in my opinion, being organic in their appearance and painting style. They are also the signature protagonist in Deadzone, so it seemed fitting to getting them ready first. Similar to the terrain I chose a ‘functional’ paint approach to get them to a table-top standard as quickly as possible. This consisted of a bascoat of Ratskin Flesh which I airbrushed over all of the Generation Three miniatures including the two Plague Hounds. I followed this up with an immediate zenithal highlight of Rakarth Flesh, again using an airbrush. A wash of thinned Carroburg Crimson was then applied over all of the flesh.

To deepen the contrast between exposed muscle and skin I applied additional blue and purple washes into some of the deeper recesses and added brushed highlights in Pallid Wych Flesh on high spots such as the top of muscles and around the face and hands. As the Plague is an alien creation rather than a simple virus it re-engineers the organic tissue into the twisted form and function you see in the Stage Three’s. To me this meant an alien intelligence and the resulting infected being sentient rather than a zombie (although hold that thought for after wave two). For that reason I avoided the usual zombie tropes of green or red eyes and instead decided to make them entirely black and alien. Quite apart from being a lot easier to paint, it also gave them an utterly soulless feel.

I used exactly the same palette for the Plague Hounds with the exception of adding a little blue/grey into the flesh tones to cool them down. Some of the muscle looking boils I also gave an orange wash to make them appear more sickly and alien.

For the bases I thought I would experiment with the relatively new Citadel cracked earth effect paint. Considering how heavily this needs to be applied I’m not blown away by the result which is a bit too subtle for my tastes. The colour is also somewhat flat and washed out. I may need to experiment a bit more before I decide whether I would use it again or not on the other factions.

The star of The Plague faction is of course the gargantuan Generation One; the ground zero victim and primary carrier of the contagion. With virtually no flat surfaces to work with this is both an easy and challenging model to paint. Easy in the sense that a few simple techniques such as washes or dry-brushing can make painting the Gen One a quick affair, but challenging in that a lot of fine preparation and brushwork will be needed to get the maximum out of this if you are going for a display standard. Fortunately, I’m not and favour the first option which is to get it painted to a pleasing standard at arms (gaming) distance with the minimum amount of fuss. Being an earlier phase of the alien contagion the Gen One bears virtually no resemblance anatomically to it’s unfortunate human victim, bone and tissue having been dramatically re-shaped by the virus. With no references such as obvious muscle, skin, hair or clothing to go on, I opted to just make the entire miniature a single mix of tortured tissue and re-formed bone.  Starting with a simple basecoat of rotting flesh I layered on various washes mixed from heavily watered down red and blue inks to dwarf flesh and olive paints. There was no plan to this and the whole process is very organic with me literally mixing various shades of sickly yellows and greens with bruising reds, purples and blues. Areas I see as muscle or sinew are further deepened with red and blue inks. Skin and bone I pick out by adding further orange and sepia washes before highlighting with rotting flesh and pure white where I want to create a hard contrast between the underlying tissue and external frame.

At this stage it all looks rather rough and the brushwork coarse. At arms length however it looks fine which is really what I am shooting for gaming wise. As long as it looks ok in context with the rest of the game then it’s all good as far as I’m concerned. To tidy the Stage One up a little and just help homogenise all of the harsh contrast I use a few selective red and purple glazes to soften out the extreme white highlights. Nails and claws I painted in a blue/grey mixed with black and highlighted by adding rotting flesh into the mix before glazing with a dark green wash. 

At this point I varnished the miniature to protect all of the paint from handling before adding paint effects using Tamiya Clear and GW Khorne Blood (not yet shown). As something of an experiment I bulked the base out a little using plaster before covering with a coat of the GW cracked earth effect. This gave a much more interesting texture which I enhanced using a brown wash and a couple of light dry brush coats of bone white and light grey. The final step was a dusting of light sand weathering pigment which was then fixed in place with MiG Pigment Fixative. The piece of scrap was just some off cuts from the bits box which had a coat of boltgun followed by GW’s Corrosion and Ryza Rust. I actually really like both of these effects together and although I have a plentiful collection of good rust pigments, for quick tasks like this GW’s Technical range produces a pretty decent result for very little effort.

Now all that remains is to round out The Plague with a trio of Gen Two variants. As I’ve enough to roll out for a few practice games however, I plan on moving straight onto getting some Enforcers painted next. I can ‘flesh’ out the factions at my leisure after that.

Until then, have a great week.

By |2017-09-13T12:30:32+00:00April 28th, 2014|Categories: Mantic Games|Tags: , , , |4 Comments


  1. daggerandbrush April 28, 2014 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    I think they all look great and really shine from a distance, but hold up too close-up. Using an airbrush for the first two coats is a good idea and should save quite some time. I suggest having a look at Golden Crackle Paste. If you add some brown you will get the same if not better cracked earth effect. You also gez much more for your money.

    • Carl Woodrow April 28, 2014 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks man, I’ll have to give some a try. I like the idea of being able to mix my own colour also.

      Used crackle glaze quite a few years back, but that was to distress furniture so familiar with the properties. Just wanted to see how GW’s own product stood up straight out of the pot.

  2. kmantgames April 29, 2014 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I know compared to your usual work they’re technically table top standard, but they look excellent and I’ll be happy if mine turn out this well!

    The Plague figures are the ones I was most impressed with from a look and quality aspect, but I think I’m going to go Enforcers in my gaming group. Just something about the armour and cool guns.

    Sorry if you’ve mentioned it before, but what model of airbrush and compressor do you use?

    I had a play with a cheap unbranded one a while back at a mates house, but didn’t really get on with it. Time (and your blog and some videos I’ve seen on painting 15mm tank camo patterns) has brought me back around to the idea though and I think I’m back in the market.

    Thanks 🙂


    • Carl Woodrow April 29, 2014 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      Cheers Jon, appreciated. I’m actually testing out an Enforcer at the moment. Lots of thin washes and stark highlighting so very easy to paint.
      You’re not actually the only one to ask me about the compressor and airbrush, so I’ve answered your question in a new post. hopefully that will help. For 15mm (Flames of War) and those mad German disruptive patterns there really is no substitute in my opinion for an airbrush. It just gives such a pleasing soft edge. If you do get one, stick with it and give it some time. They do take a bit of getting used to and believe me those early frustrations over paint consistency will soon vanish and everything does eventually click into place. Trust me.


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