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How do you paint heresy era death guard?

Painting Heresy era Death Guard requires careful planning and execution to achieve their iconic diseased and corrupted aesthetic. While White Scars aim for cleanliness and Imperial Fists seek stoic perfection, the Death Guard embrace filth and decay. Their pock-marked power armor and revolting flesh reflect the creeping rot within. Mastering this grotesque style takes the right paints, brushes, and techniques.

Plan Your Paint Scheme

When starting a Death Guard army, first decide on an overall color scheme. Traditional Heresy era Death Guard wear dark green power armor with brassy trim. However, the traitor legion offers room for creativity. Mix in shades of brown, bone, or olive green. Accent with verdigris, bronze, or copper trim. Most importantly, envision how weathering and battle damage will transform the base colors.

Study official artwork and models for inspiration. While your custom warband need not adhere strictly to the canon, understanding the core Death Guard aesthetic will help inform your scheme. Their armor and flesh reflect a gradual descent into disease and decay. Keep this central theme in mind as you plan the colors.

Base Coats

After deciding on your colors, the next step is laying down base coats. For power armor, choose a dark, muted shade as your primary color. Classic Death Guard employ Castellan Green, Death World Forest, or Loren Forest for their trademark rusted green. You could also use Rhinox Hide, Skavenblight Dinge, or Dryad Bark for earthier tones.

Base coat the model completely in the primary armor color. Use a large brush to cover efficiently. Follow this step with metallics for trim, brass etchings, and silver pipes. Iron Warriors works well for muted gold, while Leadbelcher applies nicely for iron and steel.

Washes, Glazes, and Filters

Once the base coats are complete, begin transforming the armor with washes, glazes, and streaking grime. liberal application of washes like Agrax Earthshade, Seraphim Sepia, and Rhinox Hide will seep into recesses and create instant shading and depth.

Consider applying oils for weathering effects. Hideous viscera from Abteilung add gross sections of gore. Play with glazes of greens and browns to vary the color. Andrea Acrylic inks work beautifully for this. Slowly build up grime and gradients, envisioning how eons of war would corrupt the armor.

Chipping and Battle Damage

Now introduce weathering from Hydra’s Chipping Fluid and Rhinox Hide. Use a stiff brush to chip away paint and expose pockmarks underneath. Scrub metallics like Leadbelcher onto corners and edges to represent worn paint and scraped ceramite.

Sponge on Typhus Corrosion for rust buildup and toxic ooze. Utilize airbrushing and drybrushing for blended edges and gradient damage. Think through a narrative for each model as you work. What stains and corruption would this warrior exhibit based on their unique history?

Details and Highlights

With the armor suitably grimed up, move back to finer details. Paint lenses, buttons, and dials with blues, reds, and metallics as desired. Use pure whites and bright colors sparingly to represent newer replacements amidst the rot.

Finish by highlighting edges with the base color mixed with pale greens or tans. The highlights help details pop through murky washes and shading for definition. Work back up through lighter tones on planes facing upwards or outwards.


Death Guard bases reflect the diseased swamps of the Plague Planet. Mix up a nauseating blend of greens, browns, and yellows for a poisoned wasteland. Use tufts of tall grass and toxic plants from Gamers Grass for alien undergrowth.

Design bases to complement the model’s placement and pose. Lean marines into wind, create threatening forward stances, or add gooey blood effects. Citadel Technical Paints include Blood for the Blood God and Nurgle’s Rot for ideal slime.

Rust and Verdigris

For authentic Heresy era Death Guard, rusted metals and verdigris oxidation are essential. With Typhus Corrosion as a base, drybrush lighter oranges and verdigris for pronounced edges. Mix Militarium Green and Sotek Green washes for creeping oxidization.

Use a dense sponge for chipped rust effects. Dab Ryza Rust heavily on metallics, then scrub away for a textured look. Similarly, sponge on verdigris patches across gold trim to suggest spreading contagion. Sealing with matte varnish after completing rust and verdigris will protect the weathering.

Skin and Organics

Painting pallid, diseased skin completes the Death Guard aesthetic. Basecoat with Rakarth Flesh, then shade liberally with washes. Build up layers of soft blending and translucent textures with oil paints. Pinwash recesses with yellows and greens for an internal rotted glow.

Play with reference photos of corpses and gangrenous wounds to inspire the diseased skin. Mix in bruised purples, bloody reds, and vomitous yellows. Contrast against iron mask rebreathers and glassy lenses to make the decayed flesh pop.

Master the Morb

Above all, embrace the morbidity and grotesqueness that define Death Guard. Masks, tentacles, intestines, and gas-filled bodies all add character. Lean into the dark creativity, using washes, oils, enamels and textures to shower each model in filth.

Work slowly and thoughtfully as mortality and despair take shape under your brush. Building up layered effects over time leads to deeper, grimdarker results compared to rushing. As you work, reflect on Grandfather Nurgle’s boundless generosity – there are always more contagions left to share!

Example Death Guard Paint Schemes

Here are some example paint schemes to inspire your putrid warriors:

Name Armor Color Trim Color
Worn Armor Loren Forest Green Balthasar Gold
Verdant Decay Castellan Green Brass Scorpion
Necrotic Hive Rhinox Hide Brown Runefang Steel
Toxic Wastes Death World Forest Nihilakh Oxide


Painting Death Guard requires planning, patience, and an embrace of the morose. Start with a cohesive color scheme, execute basecoats cleanly, then work up weathering and textures across both armor and flesh. Leaning into Nurgle’s gifts of disease and decay helps capture the Heresy era Death Guard’s striking, gruesome aesthetic on the tabletop.