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The Plague Brethren

The Plague Brethren is a small boxed set (available only through Games Workshop's web store) containing just three plague marine miniatures. It also includes a special booklet with artwork and design notes for these Death Guard models, as partially reproduced below...

p4 — The Death Guard

Of all the armies that seek to conquer the stars in the 41st Millennium, the Death Guard are truly the foulest and most corrupt. Made monstrous by their patron god Nurgle - lord of plagues and grandfather of disease - they are decay and entropy made manifest, living icons of hopelessness and despair.

Once noble Space Marines loyal to the Emperor of Mankind, the Death Guard fell to the predations of Chaos, driven by their own wretchedness into the arms of the Lord of Decay, where they festered like a sickness. They became bloated with Nurgle's rot, their once-glorious armour and gene-enhanced bodies melding together into a hideous parody of the Adeptus Astartes. Ceramite became pitted and weapons rusted, flesh sloughed from bones and hideous mutations were rife. For 10,000 years the Death Guard have endured this living hell of their own making, a canker in the warp that is a constant and terrifying blight on the Imperium of Man.

p6-8 — Designer's Notes

Maxime Pastourel has been a member of the Citadel miniatures design team for five years and in that time he has worked on countless models, from the Ork Mek Gun to the Skaven Blood Bowl team. Most recently, he has worked on the Death Guard, producing concept sketches and mock-up models for many of the miniatures in the range. He then went on to sculpt Mortarion, Daemon Primarch of the Death Guard Legion, and the three models in this set.

"The Death Guard have been a staple part of the background of Warhammer 40,000 for many years," says Maxime, "So there was a degree of responsibility when it came to this project, making sure that whatever we came up with was respectful to the imagery we'd established for them over 25 years.

The most important elements for me when it came to conceptualising the miniatures were to reintroduce some of the Death Guard imagery that was present in the art and the miniatures from the 90's, while adding in some of the Legion's background that had never made it onto the kits.

Jes Goodwin's original Death Guard model from 1991 hit so many of the right notes - the smashed Mk. III helmet, bloated stomach, gloved gauntlets, slouched pose, cloven feet and ancient armour - they all work together to build up the recognisable form of a Plague Marine. John Blanche's concept illustrations were also hugely inspirational - he captures the essence of a race so well, establishing elements and ideas - such as the sprouting horns - that will look great on our models.

These three models - the Blight Stalker, Dipteron and Corpulux - are important to me because they epitomise the Death Guard and their tragic fall to Chaos, combining many of the elements I mentioned above on just three miniatures."

p10 — The Blight Stalker

"The Blight Stalker is the trench warfare expert of the trio, something the Death Guard were especially good at during the dark days of the Horus Heresy. Long-standing fans of Warhammer 40,000 may recognise his helmet - it's based on one of Dave Andrews' Plague Marines that was released way back in 1996. Space Marine helmets are already intimidating, but the addition of a gas mask makes them really sinister.

The Blight Stalker is relatively unmutated for a Death Guard legionary, but he does exhibit another characteristic of his Legion - that of modified, customised and repaired wargear. During the Horus Heresy the Death Guard fought in some of the most hostile war zones in the galaxy and would often modify or make field repairs to their wargear. It's a practice they continue to this day and which you can see on this model - his armour has been customised and repaired many times over the millennia with spikes, blades and ragged chainmail."

p12 — Dipteron

"Dipteron shows clear signs of mutation in the form of bony growths and fleshy tentacles. He carries a meltagun&nbap;- a classic Death Guard weapon - but I wanted to add an extra element to the model alongside it, which is why he has a couple of spare gun barrels hanging from his backpack. We rarely look at the logistical aspect of fighting a war, just the warriors themselves - this was a little touch to help reinforce the image of the Death Guard staying in the field for months, if not years, at a time."

p12 — Corpulux

"Corpulux is the corrupt knight of the group, a bloated, disease-ridden monster. His armour and wargear are all in a state of disrepair, held together in places by little more than leather straps. He is the epitome of a warrior fallen from grace - his stoicism, fortitude and resilience corrupted by Chaos. What was once his greatest strength is now his curse. A favourite detail are the stick bombs made out of actual heads!"