The Continuing Adventures of Guy Haley’s Death Guard

Having returned from his holidays, Black Library author Guy Haley is back with more of his hobby adventures in the garden of Nurgle.

Guy: I’m nearing the end of my exciting mission to update my Death Guard! Only I’m not, although this is the last article, I haven’t painted many models yet. Besides, no army is ever finished (we’ll get to that later).

I’ve done a little better this month than last, completing fifteen whole models. That’s right fifteen. That’s actually quite a lot for me, especially seeing as I was away for ten out of the thirty days since the last post in this miniseries of enthralling hobby confessionals.

Hey! Wake up at the back there!

Where was I? Right, yeah. Fifteen models. I was partway through the last two members of my Death Guard squad when I decided I needed a change, so I painted my Daemonic Herald of Nurgle. He isn’t technically in the Death Guard codex, but I can take him as an ally. I also need him for my Warhammer Age of Sigmar/Warhammer 40,000 Nurgle Domination Plan, or the NDP, the political party of minor sniffles and uncomfortable bowel movements. The plan is to have a Nurgle collection that will provide me with three armies for two systems – a daemonic legion, Death Guard, and Rotbringers. Further to that end, I painted ten more Plague Bearers, bringing my grand total to thirty-eight. Eventually, I want sixty of these smelly miseries in two units of thirty, which will provide a nice screen for my Death Guard in this army, and the basis for the daemonic legion’s troops/batteline choices. Go Nurgle!

The Death Guard are complex models, so it was a nice break to paint the Plague Bearers, whose eschewal of clothing, straps, decorative skulls, mutant limbs and multiple bits of corroded metal made them a comparative doddle to paint. I used one of the models I painted earlier this year as a guide, although I did this group of ten slightly differently to give a flavour (rancid, of course) of Chaos’s maddening diversity. A bit of green ink washed here and there sets them apart a touch.

After that, I completed the last two Death Guard, whose initial painting I messed up. My technique for the Death Guard is to paint them Karak Stone, then drybrush them with Ushabti Bone, then a 1:1 ratio of Ceramite White/Ushabti Bone. I then paint in the base coats for most of the other colours, dapple on some Leadbelcher to the rusted metal parts, then wash the whole thing in an equal mix of Agrax Earthshade, Nuln Oil and water. This finishes the dirty white armour and shades everything else, ready for completion. But with these last two I mistakenly washed them in neat Agrax Earthshade and they went… Peaty. That’s the word. This sort of error is the peril of leaving it too long between miniatures. I had to go back and touch up the armour again.

They turned out okay, and I didn’t make the same mistake for my Noxious Blightbringer or my Malignant Plaguecaster, both of which I managed to finish. At the last moment, found five minutes to repaint the base of my Daemon Prince to match the rest of this new force. I’ve also got halfway through my Bloat-drone and undercoated the Lord of Contagion, as well as digging out my ancient Land Raider and getting it ready for painting sometime soon.

I’ve played a couple more games with a copy of the codex to hand. The Death Guard are a characterful army with a definite set of preferred tactics. I particularly enjoy the stratagems. As I’ve got to grips with the new Warhammer 40,000, it’s becoming more and more fun. We played a matched play game (I lost) where we experimented with the open war cards, then a Maelstrom of War mission with tactical objectives (I won).

My vision for my army is of ranks of rotting power-armoured warriors advancing slowly and blasting everything with boltgun fire. To make my putrid dream come true, I’ve got the web exclusive Plague Brethren and the easy to assemble Plague Marines set, giving me six more. Ideally, I need at least twenty, so I’m eagerly awaiting the release of some of the other models depicted in the codex.

The big decision is how to divide them up. We use the power ratings in our games, as it’s quicker than points and well balanced. Three units of seven would give me access to six special weapons and three champions, but at 30 power that’s quite expensive. By contrast, a single unit of twenty costs 23 power. Twenty Plague Marines in one unit sounds awesome to me, and can easily be buffed by characters and Stratagems. I’ll be trying out lots of different configurations.

I’d like to add a unit of Terminators to my army, though I have not decided yet which sort. As I lacked some decent anti-tank capability, what with the Death Guard being all about mid-range, mid-strength firepower, I bought a Predator. Eventually, I’ll have to get Mortarion but I’ve made myself promise not to do that until I’ve painted the Glottkin for Warhammer Age of Sigmar.

As always, there’s too little time, and too many awesome miniatures…

In a few months, I’ll come back to the Death Guard. Perhaps by then I’ll have a complete army to show you.

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