Friday, October 19, 2012

Building a Better Plague Marine with 3rd Party, Standard Parts and Green Stuff Sculpting!

Old School here with another installment of the Building a Better Chaos Space Marine series. In this edition, we will be looking at various parts and options out there for everyone's favorite fatties, the Plague Marines! After we get past all the products out there, we will take a look at a great Green Stuff Tutorial as well.

I have always been a fan of the Forge World Death Guard conversion kits with their pith style helmets and built in details. The problem is that over the course of an army, it can get stale with repeated models, though that can be fixed with some creative conversion. In any case, this is a great source of bits and I would recommend it even if you pick up other bits since you can just bash it all together for a truly unique force.

Here is an addition to this post that I made after the initial posting. These leg bits below are from Kromlech and they are simply perfect. Few companies are making legs and these would be perfect with the FW stuff! Check these out:

 Next up are these great helmets from Chapterhouse Studios. These heads stick closely by the FW style helmet design and have a mean dual canister gas mask to top it off. 

Also from Chapterhouse, this skull helmet could fit nicely into a Death Guard or Plague Marine force. Most people think Chaplain - I think Decay-Obsessed ministers of disease!

Another classic Plague Marine head can be found at Maxmini with their Bio Hazard heads. These heads have the re breather theme popular among us plague lovers and they fit nicely onto space Marine bodies.

Mantic's Zombies are great kits. They can be cut up to make cultist zombies and all the great things we already thought of ... but those same heads can be used for your Plague Marines! You could even work in the half-armored look common among berzerkers and apply it to Plague Marines by using zombie parts. This is a great alternative to the bloated theme if you wanted to escape it.

For those who want some bare faced champions or just bare faced Plague Marines, Puppetswar has some pretty high quality Plague Heads, which tie in well with known Nurgle themes of undeath, flies and general grossness.

Back to Maxmini - There are also the skull tribe helmets, which aren't my favorites, but certainly belong on the list of alternatives.

Then there are the Steam Knight heads, which I think are on the level with the CHapterhouse heads and are certainly passable with that style.

Finally, in the head category, there are these Plague Champion heads, which really belong on Plague Bearers, but I want to throw them out there to present as many options as possible.

Moving into the Shoulder Pad Category, we have Puppetswar's latest effort, which I think looks good, but certainly is a departure from the normal look people have in mind for Plague Marines.

Forge World just started making Death Guard shoulder pads and while this is the Old Legion design, I think there is room on the list for such a pad.

Chapterhouse Studios makes these scythe blade pads which I think would make a great looking set of pads for a Plague Marine force. 

A good model/ source of bits for the Plague Lords and champions out there would be the plastic Nurgle Lord kit from Warhammer Fantasy. In fact, the fantasy line is full of great stuff. Skaven kits have bells (toll the seven!), scythes (for powerscythes) and other death and zombie themed bits.

Every good Chaos Space Marine needs a pack and there simply is no better pack for a Plague Marine then these packs from Maxmini. They are just perfect for Plague Marines and really just about anything evil in general. Having seen and handled them before just sets in my mind the level of quality Maxmini puts into their resin products. I wouldn't use anything else if I made more Plague Marines for my forces.

As far as 3-D prints go, I am weary to point one out as I have seen some very good ones and some very poor ones, but if you are willing to dive in and check them out, then check these powerscythes out on Shapeways for your Death Guard Champions to fill in as fists or axes.

Brass Etch is great for all sorts of vehicle work and even shoulder pad work and Forge World pretty much has the market cornered when it comes to good etch for Plague Marines.

When we build our plague Marines, we go head to toe and that includes basing. The best bases I have ever seen for Plague Marine both come from Secret Weapon Miniatures. The firs one we see here is the Creeping Infection themed base, which includes some of those add chimneys where the destroyer plague flies typically live. There are also some nasty maggots on these bases.

The next set of bases SWM offers is the Corpse Field base set, which includes dismembered corpses! The best part about these bases is the fact that you can fill the base with a wet effect for blood, slime or just dirty water and really bring the nasty out of your Plague Marines!

Myself? Why I have these maggot bases that our own Cvinton made for me. He is currently making a 40mm base version completely of his own design. If you ever feel interested in carpets of maggots, then just email us at Darkfuturegames (at) and we may be able to work something out.

Overall, if I was to make plague Marines without just bashing my own out of green stuff, I would use bits from the Forge World kits, some parts from the Mantic Zombies, regular CSM parts (of course), the corpse field bases and the Maxmini backpacks. I may throw in some of the Puppetswar packs and Bio Hazard heads as well just for good measure.

With that said, I prefer to use Green Stuff when it comes to plague Marines. One of the best tools on the market for making the cables and tentacles you will need is the SAW series Tentacle Makers from Green Stuff industries, which you can find examples of below.

With all this talk abut green stuff, I would also like to direct those of you are are super serious about sculpting Plague Marines to a tutorial we hosted a few years ago by Svartmetall. With Heresy Online currently tanked, DFG is one of the only places it can be found. Here is an example of what you could do following it:

Check out the tutorial here.

Alright, folks, I think we gave you enough to chew on for now. Let's hear what you think of some of these parts, what you have used or plan to use for your Plague Marines and - of course  - any feedback or comments you have about this article!


  1. Excellent points, all. When I have some spare dough I'm definitely picking up a tentacle maker from GSI.

    I've used the chapterhouse gas maks heads, they are great fun:

    Also, Wayland games is currently having a mega sale on a mutli sprue pack of mantic models, giving you the option to kit bash zombies, ghouls, and corporation marines, to great effect:
    Even with international shipping and the exchange rate, they were the cheapest set of multi part zombies i could find. I'm waiting to jump in though, because I'm holding out for a FAQ for CSM that clarifies how many zombies you can field.

    I've got the skull tribe helmets, but I'm planning to use those more for making special space marine models and lemartes than death guard. BUT, if you are building cultists with Mark of Nurgle out of say, guardsmen, its definitely worth checking out the toxic guardsmen heads:

  2. I've very much enjoyed this series of 'alt model' recommendations. Nice work!

    1. It's not over! I've only covered those who would kneel before a single god ... what about those legionnaires who fight the long war alone or beneath the banner of the pantheon?

  3. Kromlech just started selling through their ebay store some nurgly legs:

    Those should be particularly useful to those who buy FW Deathguard conversion kits, that don't think the highly textured and detailed torsos belong on generic plastic legs.