Today I want to shine a spotlight on the amazing work of Maxime Pastourel. Hopefully any Nurgle fans reading this are already familiar with him, but for those who aren’t, Pastourel is the Games Workshop sculptor behind the new range of Death Guard miniatures in the Dark Imperium boxed set. He’s also a long-time Death Guard player, converter, and painter.
I quit playing Warhammer 40K over 20 years ago (because, reasons) and have been very much out of the scene since then. Occasionally I see some stuff pop up in my social media feeds which I’ve mostly ignored over the years. But when I saw the new Death Guard sculpts I was so impressed that I got all nostalgic for my wargaming days, and it drew me back into the hobby. I then spent hours poring over the modern range of minis available to every army, and to be honest I was kind of disappointed to see that most of them didn’t have stuff that was up to the same level as the new Dark Imperium models. I kept coming back to the Death Guard and wanted to get back into painting with them. So I directly credit Maxime Pastourel with getting me back into the game after all these years.
Warhammer Community recently did a showcase feature about Pastourel’s Plaguebones army. Plaguebones is his custom Nurgle Marine chapter. He has a great blog about them, with tons of detail about the way he sculpted and painted them. I love it so much that I’ve basically decided to rip off his colour scheme for my Death Guard army. Hey, why reinvent the wheel, right? He even has a handy painting tutorial for replicating his palette.
With the release of Dark Imperium the Death Guard has been getting a lot of attention from gamers, so there are numerous different colour schemes being experimented with at the moment, and it took me a while to settle on the scheme I wanted to use. Personally, I think the Death Guard Green colour scheme that Games Workshop is pushing as the standard colours is a bit too drab for my liking. Some of their models look amazing in the green, but I think that a whole army painted that way would end up looking a bit undefined, with too many similar earthy colours and not enough contrast. That’s what I like most about Pastourel’s colours; they’re relatively simple, not flashy, and they’re light enough to allow plenty of contrast to really bring out the details. One of the few things I plan to change from the Plaguebones is that I want to keep my army within the Death Guard chapter, because I want to be Codex compliant for tournament play, so I’ll call mine a Vectorum of the Death Guard rather than their own chapter. This also means I’ll stay away from models which Death Guard don’t get access to, including fast units like flyers and bikers.
I think Pastourel’s work on the bases of his Plaguebones minis is awesome, but I just don’t think I’d be able to pull it off with my lack of sculpting skills. His basing theme is an oily, sludgey liquid, mostly black and dark brown. It looks incredible, and the way the liquid effects on the bases interact with the models is fantastic. There’s lots of rippling and splashes around the models’ feet. I don’t know how I’d go about achieving that effect, so I’ll take my bases in a different direction, but I just wanted to highlight them because they’re such an understated detail that deserves more attention.
One of the most inspiring things about Pastourel’s work is his attention to detail. Every little thing is perfect. Here are some of my favourite added extras:
Some of his custom built models show a lot of the stylistic elements which are now part of the official Death Guard range through his sculpture work on the Dark Imperium pieces. For example, the Centurion’s axe and related detail themes throughout his Plaguebones show similar detailing with the new Lord of Contagion and Plague Marines.
Death Guard, Nurgle, Dark Imperium, Lord of Contagion, etc are all property of Games Workshop. The images, sculptures, and artwork in this blog post are the property of Maxime Pastourel.