Admittedly late to the party, well for 40K at least, the Death Guard being very much last years story but in my defence I’ve been trying to workout how best to make use of my original 2003 Death Guard force making them relevant again. I’m not normally one for re-working a previously painted army as never feel revisiting an old project is as productive or engaging as starting a new one and often just leads to disappointment. Quite apart from my painting approach having changed significantly during the intervening years, the miniatures are a completely different aesthetic and palette incompatible with my current range. That being said I do love a challenge and still love the direction I went with my Death Guard fourteen years ago. If you tuned into the finale stream for Season One on Twitch TV you will be aware I’m making the Death Guard and Nurgle in general the core themes for the start of Season Two and the foreseeable streams will all be about corruption, decay and the lovely things painting a Nurgle army brings to the palette. I for one am looking forward to it.

Games Workshop have been teasing all of the new daemon releases coming out in January including the plastic Great Unclean One, Beast of Nurgle and a whole host of bloated underlings so I’ll be tackling this from two sides. Firstly the new shiny (or filthy as the case may be) as they come out for both 40K and my fledgeling Age of Sigmar collection and secondly by attempting to make my rediscovered 2003 Death Guard relevant again. I have literally no more plans than that so this is very much going to be one gigantic painting experiment from my side.

To that end I’ve started by trying to establish a rough palette to follow as a theme. Broadly speaking I see Death Guard or Nurgle daemon armies following one of two paths; either the green route, which the Studio tends to go with, or a dirty bonewhite route emphasising either the grime or the pustulence. I’m not a fan of the completely green look preferring to use it instead as a complimentary colour for the dirty-white of the Death Guard’s original pre-heresy armour. The same goes for the daemons which I want to provide a much more vivid horror aspect of milky tainted flesh and corruption. The challenge I have is softening the quite harsh palette and sketching I did for my previous Death Guard to help blend them into a lighter palette. luckily for me Games Workshop’s previews have also included a nice selection of free artwork for the desktop and a couple of these have really stood out to me as exactly the sort of palette I was shooting for, particularly the one seen in the opening image above. Using this as a muse for the Foetid Plague Drone I have featured on the past couple of streams resulted in what you see below.

40K Nurgle Foetid Blight Drone 40K Nurgle Foetid Blight Drone

These are still work in progress photos as I now need to add the transition effects to where flesh meets metal and the ichor dripping from tubes and weapon barrels. The palette will also evolve as I encounter the old minis and adapt for the new ones as I try out different ways of doing the flesh tones. In the main however I’m following a basic principle of starting with a warm flesh (near tan) then giving it a cold tone by adding blue and desaturating the red through adding a palid colour like Rakarth or Pallid Wych to give me a base. I then adjust up and down from there. The armour however is all about the oils as I start with a clean aged-white base over which goes some sponge chipping, a good coat of protective varnish and finally Burnt Sienna oil or light rust mineral wash to create all the grime. Purple and red glazes help intensify shadows and transitions. All of these effects are applied ‘boldly’ and ‘loose’ by which I mean I haven’t worried too much about any final details just the broad strokes. Each effect can be refined at the end with a few extra focussed rust streaks or fluid spatters (a delightful phrase!)

For a sketch though I’m pretty pleased how the Drone is coming along and can start to visualise what the wider army might look like. That’s a really exciting time early in any project and is where I get a lot of my motivation to carry on from. If I don’t ‘feel’ it at this stage it’s probably not going to be an army I will stick with.

This one however is definitely infectious ….