How to Paint Death Guard – TheChirurgeon’s 2nd Edition Method

This article is part of a larger series on how to paint Death Guard. To return to that series, click this link.

The Death Guard have had models since the Rogue Trader era but they’d receive a much more robust line of models around the release of the 2nd edition Codex: Chaos, which introduced a more fleshed-out backstory for the traitor legions and a massive wave of new metal models. While the Death Guard had previously had a plastic kit of Plague Marines, they received a host of metal models including an icon, a champion, and special weapon options – specifically plasma and meltaguns.

It’s worth noting that at this point the boundary between Death Guard and Plague marines wasn’t well defined; there was a vague sense that all plague marines came from the Death Guard in some way or another, and so they had their own distinct scheme, even when shown as parts of other legion armies. This would get fixed later on with the second Codex: Chaos Space Marines released in third edition when it would become more clear that while all Death Guard were plague marines, not all plague marines were from the Death Guard.

The 2nd Edition Death Guard are a much more colorful army, with lots of browns and greens and blacks in their armor colors.

Despite the darker scheme I started by priming this particular guy with Wraithbone, though black would have worked just as well. From there it’s faster to just go over the key parts of the model and the colors used to achieve each result:

  • The midsection of the armor was painted with Gorthor Brown – that’ll was washed later with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted with a mix of Gorthor and Deathclaw Brown. 
  • The metal parts are Leadbealcher washed with Nuln Oil. 
  • The black on Death Guard is presented as even bluer in the ‘Eavy Metal section of Codex: Chaos so I worked to replicate that by doing Abaddon Black and a highlight of Corvus black, then I wash/shade that with Drakenhof Nightshade instead of Nuln Oil. The effect is subtle, but it works. The edge highlights also work toward this – I used The Fang for them instead of Mechanicus Standard Grey.
  • The cabling on 2nd ed Death Guard is bright red, and I do that here by painting the cables Mephiston Red, then washing that with Carroburg Crimson and highlighting with Mephiston and Evil Sunz Scarlet. 
  • The exposed arm is just Rakarth Flesh with a few washes of Seraphim Sepia. I highlighted the mask with mixes of Corvus Black, Death Guard Green, and Mechanicus Standard Grey.
  • The eyes are dots of Reaper Ghost White.
  • Finally, the base followed SRM’s Goblin Green bases tutorial.

The final result pretty faithfully captures the codex look for this model, and the semi-slapdash scheme of 2nd edition Death Guard.

This article is part of a larger series on how to paint Death Guard. To return to that series, click this link.