The Bell Tolls For Thee

I’ve finished painting my first Death Guard character, the Noxious Blightbringer. Along with the completed Plague Marine squad and their trust Rhino transport, this elite character makes my Death Guard force officially playable!

Noxious Blightbringer front

If any of you have been following along, you’ve already seen a preview of this guy on my Mushroom blog last week. The Blightbringer is standing between three of what I now know are toxic and hallucinogenic Amanita Muscaria toadstools, aka Fly Agaric. Seems appropriate for the Lord of Flies.  The things you learn on the internet, eh?

Noxious redsides

I learnt a lot while painting this.  I think I’ve improved my technique on the bony horns growing out of his shoulder and backpack.  For my first Death Guard models I just painted the horns black and then tried highlighting up from there with gradually lighter shades of grey, but I wasn’t satisfied with how it turned out.  On this model, you can still see that approach to black on the plasma weapon.  But this time for the horns I painted them a lighter grey, and then shaded down with several diminishing layers of black Nuln Oil.  I think it looks a lot better; more detailed, smoother, and much more gradual transitions.  On the models I’m working on currently, I’m using the same black/grey approach on guns too see if it works as well on mechanical surfaces.

Noxious Blightbringer rear

I’ve also learnt that a drawback of the bone/off white basic armour scheme is that it’s very difficult to highlight without flooding whole surfaces with the highlight colour.  I think for character models in going forward I’ll try highlighting the Ushabti Bone with White Scar for a sharper contrast, instead of the Screaming Skull I’ve been using so far.  I find that the Screaming Skull is so subtle that you need a wide and thick line on the edges to make the highlighting work, which doesn’t leave much room for contrast.  The pic at the top with the white background shows this problem the best, especially on the helmet.

I had a lot of fun playing around with technical paint to make gore effects.  I covered the Noxious Blightbringer’s melee weapon, the Cursed Plague Bell, in Blood for the Blood God.  After a few dabs, I wasn’t satisfied, so I kept layering on more and more, creating dripping globs where the blood is collecting on the lowest points.  It’s hard to see on the model, but it’s worth it when you catch the detail.  I’m still truly impressed with Citadel’s range of technical paints, they make such awesome effects.

Noxious gore

I think the part I’m most pleased with is the purple apron.  I had a lot of fun shading and highlighting the creases and folds on it.  Previously I’ve felt daunted by the prospect of stark transition shading, but it was easier than I expected and I think the bright pink highlight effect really pops.  Just like with the fairy-tale-cliche mushrooms, I’m sure a lot of players won’t be fans of the bright colours, but I think it suits the army.  There’s sort of a cult of ‘Blanchitsu’ on hobby forums, with people obsessed with gloomy, grim-dark painting for Death Guard, but I think that misses the point of the modern Death Guard sculpting aesthetic and also a lot of the Nurgle thematic lore.  Nurgle is happy and fun!  Grandfather Nurgle is a jolly character, cheerfully spreading his gifts of disease and decay.  If you’re in any doubt about that, just take a look at the facial expression of the Nurgling hanging off the Blightbringer’s horn.

Noxious red front

I’ve started experimenting with different backdrops for my mini photos.  What do you think of the red?  Personally, I think it looks cool, but it seems to reduce the painting clarity on the model.  The lack of highlighting depth looks even shallower on the red background.  I’ll have to keep experimenting.

Next up for unveiling is my Death Guard Rhino, which should hopefully be ready next week. I’m quite happy with how it’s going, so come back next week for a dose of corrupted, Nurglified armour.

May your Halloween be filled with all the horrors of the warp!


  1. Hey Neil! I’ve been browsing across the Garden of Nurgle and I have to say that I love the way you paint. I just entered the hobby with a box of Show No Fear, and I wanted to paint the Plague Marines with the same bone-ish color you use in your models, buy I can’t seem to find the colors you’re using, and how do you aplly them. Could you please give me a hint?

    Thanks for everything, and keep the good job!



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