Summer in the Garden of Nurgle – with Guy Haley

Black Library author extraordinaire and self-confessed greenskin sympathiser, Guy Haley returns as he continues his project featuring an altogether less wholesome shade of his favourite colour… (Catch up on Part 1, HERE)

Guy: Ah, Summer, the lazy drone of bees idling in drowsy gardens. The pleasurable warmth of the sun upon the skin. Or, more likely in Yorkshire, hordes of pestilential midges and endless drizzle.

Regardless of the weather, Summer’s always a busy time for me. My son’s off school. I usually go away. And yet, I still have to write books. So I write faster, more, and harder so I can pay my bills but have a break too. That means fewer hours in the evening for other activities, like, er… painting…

You’ve probably smelled the excuse coming, so I’ll come right out and say it: I haven’t painted that many models for my new Death Guard army.

I have, in matter of fact, painted exactly five new models. FIVE. Awesome new models. Brilliant new models, but still only five. Although I’ve assembled, undercoated and begun work on loads more. IT DOESN’T COUNT! But please, before you become too damning of my progress, I did make a nice new scenic base for my old, old defiler. Here’s how I did that.

Daemon engine razzle-dazzle

After I’d assembled all my new models last month, I got down to picking out the first to paint. Bringing my Defiler into the modern age was top of the list. With any part of the hobby, I usually have models at different stages, so while the paint’s drying on model A, I can get on with base coating model B. I made the base while I was painting the first couple of my Death Guard. It saves time, and I really don’t have a lot of time.

Anyone that follows me online will know I’m not a fan of big modelled bases. I love scenic bases, just not big ones. By big, I mean tall, those that are stacks of cork tile or piles of rocks, so it looks like every warrior has a personal hillock. Bases that tell a little story, or depict a tiny sliver of a particular war zone I’m all for. I’m not even against tall bases per se, especially if they’re used sparingly, to give a general, hero or centrepiece monster that bit of extra wow, like with the Citadel Hero Basing Kits. But when everyone is carrying around their own boulder to stand on… Nope. Not for me.

On saying that, the Defiler’s base is 110mm. That’s the biggest plastic base Games Workshop makes, and it is a lot of flat space. As the Defiler’s already a massive model, I didn’t want to give it too much extra height, or indeed any at all. But flat is flat, and flat is boring. To create an undulating surface, I built up certain areas with modelling putty.

A base this big needs a focal point in addition to the model, so I cut down a tank trap from the Battlefield Accessories Sprue to make it appear like it had been embedded into the earth, perhaps pushed there by the unstoppable advance of the Daemon Engine.

The excellent Agrellan Badlands paint enabled me to create further cool effects by doing nothing more arduous than pushing it around with a paintbrush. It’s awesome stuff, and with it, I was able to build up little ridges to suggest furrows ploughed by the displaced tank trap and created a definite edge for the puddle of toxic slime, which I made by painting over a green patch with Nurgle’s Rot, another excellent technical paint. A few bits from my bits box – a lasgun, tank wheel, exhausted promethium canister and – of course – a couple of skulls, finished it off. I painted the flat parts with Agrellan Earth and, after basecoating the detail, washed the whole thing with diluted Agrax Earthshade, before dry brushing Ushabti Bone over it all to tie the components together.


With any of the cracking paints, I’d advise painting the base before application. I use Rhinox Hide for contrast, or else if I’ve sprayed the model Mournfang Brown, that suffices. You can create lava, magic and other effects by using more exotic colours, but do paint the base first, or the black plastic shows through which spoils it, in my opinion.

I’ve had this Defiler for over a decade. I painted it about six years ago. This base, I think, finishes that long hobby journey nicely.

Speaking of long hobby journeys…

Five (plus two) is a magic number

My main efforts this last month have been to paint up five Death Guard Plague Marines from the Dark Imperium boxed set. There are seven in the box, which is Nurgle’s sacred number. Two remain half finished, but five at least gives me a valid unit to use on the battlefield. I can truthfully say I’ve completed something.

Why so slow? Well, the aforementioned need to write like Speedy Gonzales on a deadline aside, it’s down to how I paint. I nearly always paint to the best of my ability. The models these days are so gloriously detailed, it feels a shame not to lavish as much care and attention on them as I can. When it comes to Warhammer of all sorts, I’m not what you’d call an ‘army painter’. And that’s fine. You like big lumps of cork. You paint your models three colours because you want to play more than anything. You spend your days scanning codexes for killer army lists. I paint like a poorly snail because I like painting. The Warhammer hobby is a broad church. It fits us all under its massively gothic, skull-embellished roof.




The combination of my own tendencies and the sheer amount of detail on these figures meant they took four hours each to paint, even though I used a lot of ink washing and other fast techniques. As I said last month, I’ve based them up to match my Nurgle Daemons, which match my Warhammer: Age of Sigmar Rotbringers, giving me maximum gaming flexibility.

War and pieces

Since the new edition came out, I’ve fit in five games. Usually it would be more, but I’ve been away, my gaming buddy has been away when I’ve been at home, and we both have children. Summer holidays are not conducive to hobby productivity, at least for parents. Three of those games were with Death Guard. Of the one embarrassing outing for my Orks, we shall not speak. In the fifth game, I was teaching my son to play. Twice the Death Guard were demolished by Steve’s Aeldari. Last week, I obliterated his Space Wolves.

Each time I’ve taken the contents of the boxed game with extras. My Defiler got his first outing, where I was a little timid with him, and he was slain by a lascannon toting Predator. At the moment, my army is a little bitty, so I’m keen to get my hands on a couple more units of Death Guard Plague Marines to add to the Dark Imperium miniatures rather than the random hangers-on I’m using right now. Plague Marines are the backbone of the faction, after all.

Next on the painting table

In a bid to look less rubbish, I’m going to attempt to paint more models next month. I’ll finish the Plague Marine squad first, before moving on to some cultists and Plaguebearers. As Plaguebearers can be painted quickly but well, I should more than double my pathetic productivity… Watch this space.

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