I’ve finished a few more of my Plague Marines, this time the three from the First Strike boxed set. I did these as a batch-paint, thinking that it would save me time, but it just took three times as long as it took me to paint my first one. But I don’t mind that, I’m in no hurry. I love these models, as I do all of the new Plague Marines so far. There’s so much detail, and they’re absolutely dripping in Nurgle flavour.
I refined my colour palette with these guys. While I was painting my first one from Dark Imperium, I had some moments of doubt about the base colour scheme I’d chosen. Initially when I had one shoulder green and one shoulder red & white, I felt like they clashed badly. I almost repainted them, but I decided to stick with it for the first model as a test run. After I finished the first one, I think it came together quite nicely, so I kept that scheme for the next lot too.
The only difference to the base scheme was that I swapped the shoulder and knee colours, because I don’t want them all having the same configuration. I feel like Death Guard wouldn’t be as rigidly uniform in their heraldry as loyalist Astartes chapters would be, so this was a way to add a bit of variation. Including the next one that I’m currently working on, 2 have left-hand green shoulders, and 3 have the green on their right sides. Some of them have matching knee-pad colours, and some of their knees alternate from their shoulder colours.
With these three Marines I also refined the colours for the tentacle mutations. On the first one I used a Screamer Pink base with Pink Horror highlights, but I didn’t like how it turned out. Not enough gradations. Luckily, the model I chose for my first attempt only had one very small tentacle piece, which was actually part of the reason I chose that model to start with. For these three, I used a Xereus Purple base, shaded with Nuln Oil Gloss, then layered with a thin coat of Xereus Purple again. After that I used progressive layers of very thinned down Screamer Pink, building up more about half way along each tentacle, and then switched to Pink Horror with the same process near the tip of each tentacle. The end result gives a nice gradation from dark purple to bright pink. I’m sure many people who see it will say it looks too cartoony or too bright and Slaaneshy, but I really like it. Spread across all three of them, I think it looks quite cohesive, and I like how the colours complement the rest of the bone/red/green palette. I think I’ll also coat the tentacles in ‘Ardcoat gloss varnish after I give them all a spray of Dullcoat matte varnish for protection.
I got a bit more adventurous with the bases on these three. I got some cheap Warhammer Fantasy Skeleton Warriors off eBay and chopped some pieces up for base decorations. And on the Champion’s base I put a big flower thing that I got from a Catachan Guardsman’s heavy weapon camouflage sprue. I’m still experimenting with my overall basing scheme, but the flower is meant to be carnivorous, as part of my plan to create the Garden of Nurgle! You’ll see more of that on the models I’m working on next.
I’ve discovered that I’m not very good at painting faces (see below for zoomed in pic). For the Champion I was trying to make him look sickly pale, but also bloated, bruised, and drunkenly feverish. It ended up with a strange mixture of dark and light colours, with more contrast than I initially intended. I left it like that, partly because at normal size it doesn’t look too bad, and partly because I don’t have any good plan for how to improve on it yet. I guess I’ll experiment more on the next face I try. Luckily there aren’t too many Death Guard miniatures without helmets.
The other thing I’m not too impressed with is the boney horns growing out of them. I decided I couldn’t use Ushabti Bone for them, because that’s the main colour of my armour and it wouldn’t look different enough. I also didn’t want any additional colours beyond my bone/red/green/purple palette. So I ended up making them black & grey. I used a dark grey colour as the base (Machine Grey, from the Mr. Hobby range), then shaded with Nuln Oil, then did another coat of Nuln Oil around the base of each horn to make it darker at the outgrowth points. Then I layered up gradually with thin Machine Grey, and near the tip of each horn I layered on a thinned down lighter Cement Grey (also from Mr. Hobby). The end result was meant to be a nice gradation from black to grey, but I think it just looks like badly highlighted black. I’ll have to come up with something better. For my next Plague Marine, I’ll try basing with the Cement Grey instead of Machine Grey, but I actually think I’ll need a whole new scheme for the horns.