Old Rot

Today, let me show you something that provides a bit of colour contrast in between all the red and bronze: Parallel to working on a squad of gladiatorial World Eaters, I’ve also been painting some more followers of Nurgle. And this time around, we are talking about some models that have been in my collection for quite some time!

Since we last saw my growing squad of Plague Marines, I’ve added two more models. And even though I have precious little love left for metal models at this point, the Dave Andrews Plague Marines from the late 90s still range among my favourite chaos models for a number of reasons:

First, they are quite iconic: With their gas masks and “Pickelhauben”, they have a decided WW1 Trencher feel — quite fitting for warriors who fight surrounded by virulent gases and noxious fumes (albeit in a slightly inverted way: One could almost imagine that the Plague Marines are actually wearing their protective gear in order to keep the fresh air out). Their helmet design also nicely combines historical sources with the “mono-horn” typical of Nurgle.

Then there’s the fact that the detail on these guys is very nice: The damage to their armour seems believable and not overstated. All of them are modelled with a trusty plague knife at their side. And there are delicious visual cues, such as desiccated heads (serving as plague grenades), small Nurgle icons worn on chains, leaking (and poorly patched up) pipes or all kinds of vile pocks and fungal growth marking the armour.

All these qualities notwithstanding, I am a little ashamed to say that the metal Plague Marines I own have mostly been mouldering away, pun intended, in my bitzbox, ever since I purchased them sometime during the late 90s/early 2000s.

That turned out to be a good thing, though, because my recent foray into the wonderful world of corrosion and decay made sure that I could finally do justice to these models — in my small way, at least.

I left these completely unconverted, both because I hate cutting apart metal models, but also because I think the models are pretty much perfect as is. My only concession to modern design was to outfit them with some new arms and bolters, instead of the old plastic versions from the 90s (clown hands, anyone?).

So, without any further ado, here are the finished models:

Plague Marines (25)
Plague Marines (26)
Plague Marines (27)
Plague Marines (28)The first model seemed to be built for a very classic pose, so I just added two arms holding a bolter. I really like the model’s subtly implacable look! Painting-wise, the Plague Marine was given the same treatment as the rest of my Plague Marines, with lots of rust and corrosion (and a fair amount of Nurgle’s Rot leaking out of the armour joints and vents).

The second model seems to have been designed with a more open pose in mind, so I obliged by arming it with a chainsword/bolter combo. Here’s the finished model:

Plague Marines (24)
Plague Marines (23)
And what do you know, when I had almost given up hope, a nice and subtle crackle effect began to develop on the right shoulder pad, courtesy of all the Agrellan Earth I used in the paint for the armour:

Plague Marines (22)
Plague Marines (21)
I also really like the pocks, dappled all over the model’s left greave. Such a fun little detail:

Plague Marines (19)
All in all, these guys were a blast to paint. Plus they have really managed to age ridiculously well: They perfectly embody all that a Plague Marine should be, in my opinion, with their only shortcoming being that they are slightly on the small side when stood next to more recent models, but that could well be explained in-universe as their bodies slowly collapsing from rot. The best thing about them is how they are quite sinister without being overly twisted or mutated. In fact, part of the body horror for these guys comes from wandering what’s beneath the armour (instead of being able to see it outright). It seems like Forgeworld’s recently released Death Guard conversion kits are, in no small part, an attempt to create uncorrupted Pre-Heresy versions of these models’ design. The later metal model from the 2000s seem a little lacklustre, by comparison — I wish I had bought more of those older models while I still had the chance, because they are all great!

So, where does that leave us in regard to the overall squad? Let’s take a look:

Plague Marines (30)
I am really quite pleased with these guys, even though I have little to no plan to use them in Khorne’s Eternal Hunt. There’s still the 90s metal icon bearer – now stripped of his former paintjob – left to paint. And then? Maybe I’ll just spin these guys off into a small Nurglite killteam? After all, I already have a suitably decayed Terminator Lord to lead them:

Nurgle Terminator (13)
I have half a mind to throw in a decayed Traitor Guard soldier or two. And a plague zombie. And maybe some hulking mutant creature? Shoot, there I go again…

For now, though, painting these guys has proven to be a lot of fun. And I love the fact that I have finally managed to finish some models that have been part of my collection for ages. Go me! 😉

Plague Marines (31)
Let me know what you think! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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8 Responses to “Old Rot”

  1. ah the beauty in decay…

    “keeping the fresh air out” I think you hit the nail with that little sentence. So Nurgle and so to the core. Excellent!

    Lovely classics and you gave them a well deserved treatment. When did you paint the terminator? I completely missed him, he looks fantastic.

    • The Terminator’s actually a bit older — painted the last time when I had lost most of my painting motivation — why is it that I am always drawn to the forces of Nurgle when I have to rediscover my painting mojo? Strange…

  2. I think these guys are a breath of fresh air! The colours are such a nice contrast to the Hunt and unique to your plague marines.

    Really like these chaps and would love to see the squad next to a Hunt squad.

    • “A breath of fresh air”, eh? Quite ironic, considering the subject matter 😉

      Seriously, though: Thanks for the kind words? I agree that a side by side photo would probably look beautifully balanced — now where did I put that camera?

  3. […] If you liked these Gladiators and want to see more, or enjoy cool Chaos conversions in general, be sure to check out Eternal Hunt. He has a ton more awesome Chaos Marines, including one of my favorite Nurgle Terminator Lord. […]

  4. I can’t get enough nurgle…

  5. Man I’m loving the colour scheme on your Plague marines. What is the sea green colour from? or is it a mix?

    • Cheers, mate! Let’s see if I remember: Those Plaguemarines were undercoated using some reddish brown from the DIY superstore. Then I added Knarloc Green over that, which was then mixed with more and more Agrellan Earth for the subsequent layers. Originally, this was an attempt to produce a noticeable and consistent crackle effect, which didn’t work all that well. But yeah, those are the colours I used (with some Gryphonne Sepia and Ogryn Flesh in between the painting steps, IIRC). Hope this helps! 🙂

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