How To: Batch Painting Plaguebearers

There’s more than one way to paint the disgusting flesh of a Plaguebearer. Spikey Bits’ MBG recently had a good article about how to do so quickly with an air brush.

My article here is about some alternative ideas and techniques I like to use for getting a large number of models done with alacrity. In this case, the models being painted are forty plastic Games Workshop Plaguebearers of Nurgle.

One of my favorite methods for getting models primed and base coated quickly is spray paint and there are many good ones out there. I’ve personally used Testor’s, Krylon and Tamiya and there are many other good ones too like Army Painter Primers which comes in a wide variety of colors. Few methods can match the kind of economy of price, speed and coverage provided by spray paint. Traditional model painters (i.e., model cars, planes, boats, tanks, space ships, etc.) have been using spray for decades and there are times where it’s just as handy for miniature modelers as well.

It’s often that case that even when I can’t find an exact match for my main acrylic brush-on color if I can find something close to it then it will still save me a lot of time and hand coating. In this case I found a Tamiya lacquer color that is virtually identical to Citadel Zandri Dust.

Lacquer paints take water based paints and washes over them quite well, so this was a real time saver. All of the paints referred to in this article are Citadel Paints with the exception of the one Tamiya Spray color.

First, I lightly coated all the models with the Tamiya Dark Yellow paint shown above. This yields a nice primer base for everything else.

Next I did an over-brush of Zamesi Desert on all forty models. An over-brush coat is similar to dry-brushing, but with a lot more paint on the brush. You want to cover most of the model yet leave a bit of the undercoat still showing in the lowest areas. This will also leave some transition areas where the over-brush sort of fades thinly into the base color. That’s a good thing!

Perform this over-brush step and all subsequent steps described here on all forty models before moving along to each successive step. This will save you tons of time on cleaning your brush, changing colors, etc.

I added some thinned very dark brown paint to a few key areas like the mouth, eye, and spine and let it dry before washing the whole model with a dark brown wash.

The next step is up to a choice of looks and the models will turn out well either way. One can either paint all the details now and then do a shading wash or do the shade wash and then paint the details. The former will yield “dirtier” looking details while the latter leaves them clean and bright. I experimented with both and decided I liked the latter method better. Wash all the models with a dark brown color like Agrax Earthshade. Shade the open wounds and entrails with a dark red wash like Carroburg Crimson. When the washes are thoroughly dry, then dry-brush a highlight on them with a light off-white color like Tyrant Skull.

Notice how the dry-brush highlight washes out the red on the higher areas of the entrails in the photo below. That’s actually a good thing because when we coat them in more red wash it will create great color graduation automatically.

Apply a thin red wash like Bloodletter Glaze to the entrails. This will redden them over the dry-brushed highlight and further deepen the red in recesses untouched by the dry-brush. I also put some red glaze on the torn skin near open wounds too to give it a raw, inflamed look. In places where it seemed too bright I eventually deepened it with a touch of Carroburg Crimson dark red shading wash.

If you haven’t already done so, pick out your details like eyes and teeth. The horns were washed with Nuln Oil black shading wash and the models hung upside down till it dried. I found the edge of one of my paint trays helpful for this purpose. This is so the wash would be thinner at the base of the horns and darker near the tips. 

I put a wee bit of green wash and purple wash on select boils on the skin of the models thus adding to their diseased look. Note that this is the only green on the actual models as I’ve deliberately eschewed the green tones used by so many painters on their Nurgle themed projects. I’ve also applied gloss varnish (Citadel ‘Ardcoat) to the gory entrails, eyes, and swords of the models. I wanted a shiny obsidian look to the stoney looking black swords. Using the method described here I was able to paint forty models including basing them with about twenty hours of work. You can see all forty of the finished models ranked up in the photo below.

These painting methods yield a large number of models with decent depth and detailing for a relatively small amount of time per model. By focusing more time on fun and fine details that please the viewer one can skimp on time and effort in other areas without sacrificing much in the overall finished quality and appearance of the models. Hopefully some of you will find these tips helpful for getting through your own backlog of hobby projects. I hope Nurgle is also pleased with his newly painted offspring.

When I zip through painting a large number of models this quickly I can’t help but put some of the time I’ve saved through spray and batch painting back into a few of the finer details to make the whole project look cool. In this case, I not only spent a little extra time on some of the fine details and Nurglings on bases and such, I also tried to give the models an interesting thematic base. I’ll cover the techniques used to do the swampy looking bases in another hobby article in the near future.

About the Author: BrassScorpion

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