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.

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