Deathworld Deathguard Tutorial

Hello fellow miniature painting enthusiasts. BaM here again gracing the pages of the greatest miniature blog presenting my Deathworld Deathguard Tutorial. The “deathworld deathguard” was my entry for this year’s Brush Beast online painting competition. I’ll specifically explain how I achieved that type of rust that has become caked up and flaking and almost along the lines of looking pixelated and cracked. Now first let me say, there are plenty of techniques that showcase how to effectively simulate rust and weathering on our models. There are videos, SBS articles, plus even stylized techniques that artists use on their miniatures. I can say any and all do a fine job at describing and attaining this routine I created for getting a specific look that I was after. So the focus is more on a specific look to the rust as opposed to just settling on a general and commonly used method. I want that look of not only rust and decay along with disease and pestilence. Let’s face it. All these things need to be included on a Death Guard along with any other monster or machine that has fallen to the blight of everyone’s favourite corpulent god of disease and decay. I’m talking about papa Nurgle.

Ok, so a few things to mention about my order of operations and my routine. I very rarely stick to a concrete plan in reference to the order in which I paint a model. I usually start at the top and then move down the mini and do this to the front of a model and then after that’s done I jump to the rear. That being said I also love to bounce around a model and move back and forth. If I’m happy to declare a section done then I’ll move forward and try to bring the next section up to par with the section that came  before it. The reason for this being every time I lay on a colour in any form, and this goes for highlighting, shading, glazing or washing, this can easily alter the look of other sections that I might have previously been happy with. This has me usually touch/tidy up as I go along with adding to the  steps that I’ve done previously that I feel need to be reworked to keep a uniform look. It’s simple. I I take a ton of photos (my lovely fiancé takes all photos) each time I am feeling satisfied the photos show me what other areas no longer fit demanding more attention to rework areas to bring everything up to an equal level. Change brings change. You’ll see in the images I do this regularly. If while you’re painting as you progress, if things aren’t looking a certain way, be honest with yourself and address these issues as you go. It will keep everything painted to your best ability and it is this that separates a nicely painted mini to an award winning model.

So after the model I painted has been worked through all these hiccups front and back, I’ll then start the arms of the mini, then the backpack, then lastly the bases.

Deathworld Deathguard Tutorial – Early Stages

So let’s begin shall we. First, I cleaned and prepped the model by airbrushing on Stnylrez Black Primer. At this point the models are in sub assembly which makes them much easier to work on. This gives me the ability to have access to all areas.  Even those tough to get parts that would otherwise be much tougher to get if fully assembled and glued together. For this I have fully put the model together using blue tack so I can prime the model quicker using fewer passes. When airbrushing on primer I’m using short quick bursts to ensure smooth and even coverage. After leaving it to dry, I moved onto the brush work. Using Elysian Green (GW). I applied this in two thin coats (lol, Duncan), to achieve a nice smooth, strong and even coverage carefully letting each stage dry before moving onto the next phases.

I then globally shaded the whole model using a Carrosburg Crimson wash (GW).

After this dried, I carefully reapplied the Elysian Green (GW) base colour on all raised areas except for the deepest recesses. (Image 3). This is like blacklining, which is still the fastest and easiest way to show delineation between sections of a model where two different sections meet. A very long time ago it was one of the first techniques I learned, and I still use today. At this point the model is brought back to subassembly as mentioned earlier. (Images 4,5,6).

The next stage is the foundation in which I begin to sketch in the corrosion patterns on the armour. These are essentially the beginning and one of the most important steps in creating that look that resembles rust and corrosion build up through oxidation over time. To explain what you’re looking for regarding your patterns is to keep in mind you’re looking to create rigid shapes that resemble 2 dimensional “mountain ranges.” I do this in a solid dark or blackened brown using Brown Liner (reaper map.) That’s the trick in a nutshell. The more you practice this the better you’ll become at painting these on intuitively. For now, if your new to this and still learning just refer to images like the example shown above. These next set of images shows this in detail on the (images 7,8,9.)

Deathworld Deathguard Tutorial – Realism and Tricks

As far as achieving realism to this effect its often a good practice to remind yourselves that corrosion will form in responsible for the grime and rust buildup leading to corrosion over time when these factors have their way with these surfaces. I’ve started this at the helmets and the torsos on the frontal parts of the models. These next sets of images you can see that there is a bit of staining now on the patterns. I am using a bit of an older color called Bestial bBrown (GW) but any orange, brown will work for this. I simply glaze on this color directly onto the patterns and patches (corrosion) that I had sketched in a few steps ago. At the same time, I also begin to glaze in some shading onto the shapes to give a bit of depth and volume using Agrax Earthshade (GW) mixed with a bit of lahmian medium (GW). I then begin to highlight the armour by using a 50/50 mix of Elysian Green and Ogryn Camo (GW). adding this to the lightest areas creates an even greater depth to the volumes. For myself I always practice subtlety with shadows and highlights. Just enough. I paint with a dual source of light, a general light source and at times I even use zenithal. I very rarely use forced shadows etc. being a painter that showcases weathering as my main skillset so in my experience at least for me the weathering I paint on my models shows up much better when shadows are kept subtle. The subtle shadows are more than adequate when viewed, not so much in pictures but in person, where the weathering, the subtle shading and the highlights really deliver viewing pleasure when seen up close and in reality. (Images 10,11,12,13).

Another bit of info that might explain some things I do in my routines well as others when you’re painting heavily weathered and/or diseased effects on your miniatures. There are some who don’t use heavy shading scenarios and  or extreme  lighting  on the same heavily weathered model often , the simulated grime and corroded surfaces and such act as shading as well as an effect. So let’s say the lower stomach area of a death guard the corrosion and grime simulate rust and also , being it’s a dark brown vs a light green armor ,it can be seen as a shade in a sense. So it can read as a heavy or darker shade especially if the grime is blended in nicely.

So back to my focus on the front parts of the model helmets and torsos. As I progress will decide when I’m in for moving to another section. So at this point I’ll start the streaking lines that show moisture has accumulated and gravity pulls it downward. For this step I use AK interactive (streaking grime enamel) AK Interactive makes some amazing weathering tools. I keep in mind two things that may sound odd. When applying rust streaks to random areas and I remain aware that the streaks must look somewhat different and yet somewhat the same. A trick I use is I’ll pick certain areas and I’ll sketch in the streaks using different sizes, lengths, some hard and some softer than others. When I use the enamels, I begin the streak starting at the end of where the streak will stop and then paint leaving the most medium towards the beginning which is where the streak will be most heavy. Just like glazing techniques. To end the stroke where you want to deposit the most paint. At this time I’m also looking to see if I need to modify other parts of the model that I feel need addressing. Basically seeing if all the parts I’ve worked on look appealing in comparison to other parts including highlights, shades, corrosion patterns, streaks etc. Once satisfied I added some yellow glazes to the green armor. I also picked out the eyes and painted the metallic parts on the model’s chest and torso areas. I haven’t done the trim at this point. I’m going to cover one last thing before showing the next series of images. And that is using the AK Interactive Dark Rust from their rust-coloured box set, started to fill in the first layer of the rust colouring on the corrosion patches. I kept the paint fairly thick. Let me mention I also use a pointillism approach as this helps create those odd shapes that you see in rusted alloys that begin to flake from corrosion. Then used blood for the blood god diluted and washed this onto the teeth in the stomach and picked out the breathing tube as well on the other marine. image 14,15,16,17,18.


The next set of images show how I started to step up the highlights on the pixelated rust pattern using AK Interactives Medium Rust. When applying the highlights to the rust, each pass is essentially dipping the brush in the paint straight from the bottle. I then lightly wipe it off on a napkin leaving some paint on the tip and then using a light pressure I use dabbing motion onto the orange flaking. This has those little orange shapes become more pronounced and readable. At this stage, yet again I see what needs to be tidied up, reworked, re-glazed etc. on any of the other sections that I’ve previously deemed acceptable and recently moved on from. This step is imperative for me and needs to be updated regularly if needed. Painting for display and competitions demands two things to be successful.

1) develop an acute eye for what looks good

2) have faith in that eye where if you’re not happy with something most likely the judges won’t be either. So, rework what you’re not happy with. It’s a must.

So other work done is I’ve glazed on some green and yellow glazes using a way watcher green and Lamenters Yellow (GW) in a50/50 mix onto the green armour as I began to look a bit too washed out so I definitely needed to bring that armour back to a more yellow green. Again, I’ll reiterate. Change brings change. My routine is based on this concept. A few more passes of the AK Medium Rust colour and the rust begins to start and resemble actual rusted in patterns and in colour. (Images 19,20,21)

Next steps and next set of images. So then next steps are a bit of further reworking and touching up the staining of the metallic areas along with streaking from the weathered areas. I then used AK Interactive Light Rust once again I stepped up the highlights on the rust in even smaller patches of colour even smaller than previously. I’m literally trying to fit smaller shapes in the previously smaller shapes made by the Medium Rust. In addition, I progress on that breathing tube which was picked out previously in a pink and red hue to get a contrast using compliments.

The next set of images again shows more refining. I’ve highlighted parts of the rust along with green armour and the corrosion patterns. I’ve added some blood splotches and stains after all there is still remnants of a once proud space marine. His was worked as well on the breathing tube where the deep stale blood would nicely contrast against the paler color of the tubing. Adding details as I go being blood effects are my number one effect I like to play with. Adding bits of blood from damaged decayed long dead tissue is such a striking detail. So adding blood to a grim dark painted death guard model, of course I will. So touching up continues as I move back to clean up the rust streaks and blood grime and started the teeth in the mouth on the torso.(images 22,23,24.)

At this point I venture further down the model to focus on the lower area, the legs. (image25.)

It’s all a matter of back and forth in my routine. As well mentioned earlier it’s a constant evolution of the model being painted. It’s a ton of painting. Good practice is at the end of every session take tons of photos and be honest with yourself. Fix what you don’t like. Enhance what you do like. Small changes over time. The model is only finished when I feel nothing needs to be changed and the model is looking good in my eye from multiple angles.

Images (26,27,28.)

So at this point, being all the steps are the same as the previous stages so I’ll fast forward on the progress of the models and the images coming up and this will show some of the finished areas. In reference to the frontal areas of the death guard is at a near complete stage. I still can exercise my right to change certain things if I feel needed. The sections are the helmets, the torsos, the legs and knees of the miniature. ( image 29,30,31)

I finish up the last bit of armor on the front of the model. The boots. This is where I finally get to see all areas and how they flow together.

Next set of picture show some more adding of secondary subtle shadows in certain areas I feel need a bit more depth. Along with adding a few more steps to the mouth chords. The tabard itself was also done up in a standard way. (GW Krieg Khaki and Agrax Earthshade) then highlighted up and dirtied up (textured) and stained with dark brown black paint and bloodied up. (images 32,33,34)

You can also see I’ve finished up the metal rimming and any other metallic areas on the models front. Using some dark metallics like Iron Breaker Silver from GW then using some dark panel liner and enamel dry rust from Vallejo effects. Then painted on by hand the dirt and flecks representing certain grimy substances. (Images 35,36,37.)

So to save some ink I’ll again show the pictures as a fast forward on the progress shots to the finished areas.

So below shows the rear sections done. The back torso and the rear legs and thighs. (image 38) I also began to attached the appendages and get working on those sections (39,40,41,42, 43,)

A reminder at this point as well I’ll be showing fast forwarding on the stages and images. All like areas have all been covered in depth and detail previously. Especially but not limited to the green armour and the rust effects on them.

Next set of images shows both models have had their arms attached. I’ve sketched in the corrosion patterns once again on and around the edges. Images (44,45,46.)

I’ve began to move onto the rust coloring steps and the shoulder pauldron. Images (47,48,49,50,51,52.)


I then finished up the pauldrons and back packs. so, in all of its glory here are the 9 man unit with a pixelated rust effects. Extremely weathered and decayed.

Check out more of my work here! 


Thus ends the lesson.