Army Showcase: Maxime Pastourel’s Plague Marines

Maxime Pastourel is one of our very talented miniature designers here at Games Workshop, most recently working on the Death Guard from the Dark Imperium boxed set. Maxime’s work here combines fine detail and individual character with a unified feel that ties the miniatures together, from the Poxwalkers to the Foetid Bloat-drone.

It’s no surprise that Maxime is also an avid and talented hobbyist with a sizeable and beautiful collection of Nurgle Chaos Space Marines of his own. Maxime’s army is heavily converted and magnificently painted, and rewards close inspection; it’s easy to see where some of the unique design motifs in the new Death Guard originated, as well as why we chose him for the job! We caught up with Maxime to talk a bit about his collection:

Maxime: My main Warhammer 40,000 army is a Nurgle renegade Space Marine Chapter called the Plaguebones.

I started this army 9 years ago, fascinated by the clunky and industrial aspect of the Death Guard. But I wanted it to be my own Chapter, a traitor Space Marine force recently turned into Chaos.

I developed my own colour scheme, a dirty white/bone colour with touches of red as a contrasting colour. I wanted no green in this army, as green is the obvious way to go when you start a Nurgle force, and I wanted it to be unique. However, you can see touches of turquoise appeared slowly, which is a sort of green!

I had in my head the image of a relentless march of Plague Marines, an unstoppable wall of bloated flesh and armour covered in rust. It is the reason why most of the miniatures in this army are walking or running, to suggest that forward movement.

What was originally supposed to be a very small army (aiming at 1000 points) turned into a massive force over the years. There is just so much to explore in the Garden of Nurgle! From rusty war machines to bloated giant mutants but also all the different kinds of Marines (Plague Marines, Raptors, Havocs, Possessed, Warp Talons…) and all the Daemons! It feels endless to me.

I mostly paint with washes over a Corax White undercoat. It allows me to get a “bright but dirty” finish which I think works really well for Plague Marines.

I think the trickiest bit when you paint an army over the years is to keep consistency in the painting. Firstly, it is hard to remember all the techniques you use when you paint your units, but also you get better at painting, and the temptation to train your new skills and experiment with new colours is high! Personally, I take stage-by-stage photos of most of the things I paint, and I write down the recipes so I can keep track of what I am doing. The newer units have a better finish, but as I am using the same colours as in the first days, applied in a similar way, the difference is not massive and the army still looks consistent as a whole.

There are obviously a few centrepieces in this army. The most impressive is probably the converted Lord of Skulls turned into a Nurgle Daemon Engine which Aly Morrison named the “Plague Centurion”. When I first saw the Lord of Skulls, I loved it straight away, and I knew I was going to make a Nurgle version for my force. I did not measure how immense the task would be at that time, but it was a lot of fun all the way along.

I am also very proud of my Exalted Daemon Prince, based on a Skaven Verminlord. Again, it was a pretty big task, mixing bits from the Verminlord, an Imperial Knight, a Maulerfiend, a Blight-drone… Ok, it is a pretty expensive miniature! But he is the supreme leader of my force, he deserves the best kit! His name is Lord Kortharis, and he had several incarnations over the years (he was a Lord of Contagion before becoming a Daemon Prince).

The background is something very important for me when I paint an army. I always think about the narrative of the miniatures, what they do and where they are from. I spent a lot of time writing the background of the Plaguebones, which helped me understand more about the visual language I was playing with, but also led to new ideas! When I play, the game is a continuity of this background, where the characters act just like in a film. This is why I prefer narrative over competitive games, and do things like throw my Plague Champion in front of an Imperial Knight for him to die heroically!

It is also the way I make my army lists, composing a nice force around a theme (a Host of Drones, a Horde of Renegades, or a Daemon Engines Cult led by a Warpsmith…). It is not always strong in the game but it looks so cool on the battlefield!

To me, the Community has been such a great source of motivation while building this army over the years. Obviously, there was no Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page when I started it, so it all went through a blog we still keep up to date with a bunch of friends. It is so useful to get feedback from other painters, generate new ideas through passionate conversations, and sometimes even inspire others! Without the Community, this army would be half the size today, and probably not as good. So share your stuff guys!

I will obviously be adding some of the new Death Guard models to the force. I was so excited while making some of them, obviously thinking how they would look in their beige and red livery, although some of them will be painted as Death Guard. There is a strong connection between the Plaguebones and the Death Guard in my background, as the Legion of Mortarion infected the minor Space Marine Chapter that would become the Plaguebones.

A few centuries ago, Lord Kortharis sent his first lieutenant, Electus the Heir, with a contingent of his best warriors into the Eye of Terror for a secret mission: finding the 14th Legion and rallying them. It seems that Electus succeeded in his mission!

Exciting stuff! To hear more about how Maxime (and fellow designer Aly) brought the Death Guard to life, check out our Dark Imperium Vox Cast. If you’re inspired and want to add some Plague Marines to your collection, you can pick up Dark Imperium online or in your local store.

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