The Last Purple Plague Marines

Much reviled by some on the InterWebs and not one of my better decisions of all time, I’ve none the less continued to paint my Plague Marines/followers of Nurgle a variety of colours. Originally it was green for assault, purple for devastators, and brown for tactical squads.   also had one grey squad but that has given me the most problems as Ghoul Grey is long out of print.

For over a decade followers of Nurgle or at least Mortarian couldn’t use weapons that shot over 24 inches. This was deemed tactically prudent by someone at GW HQ. Furthermore it was decided Plaguemarines would forsake all weapons but the almighty knife. So some of us had to dutifully convert or paint new models armed with bolters and plague knifes. Then it was deemed that the bolt pistol was A-OK and once again a bunch more plague marines were converted and painted to have bolt pistols.

During this time there was either no Plague Marines in-print or an extremely limited amount. All these people out there that complain that they only have one or two poses of a fig, or just a plastic kit, or just a metal kit, or whatever. For a while there was nothing for Chaos Space Marines all you could get was the backpacks and even those were a special order and you pretty much converted loyalists. Eventually Chaos got their first ever Codex after battling it out for a long time with the infamous “Black Codex”.

The Diseased Sons started at the dawn of 2nd Edition and were formed around the Black Codex. So lots of five man squads, devoted to Nurgle with either a single special weapon or a single heavy weapon. It was even legal to give an entire squad power fists and jump packs I believe. I used to have a squad like that. In fact over the years I’ve made most every Plague Marine squad possible, 20 models strong, three plasma pistols, whatever.

As time marched on I did inventories of my models. I got tired of painting another model to make some army list, that is why the Nefarious Fire are all black with purple flames, no matter what their battlefield role. This makes forming squads so much easier. I even deemed it OK to re-paint knee pads to change models from squad to squad, after refusing to even do that for years. This worked pretty good for the green guys but all my heavy weapon models were useless for over a decade. Eventually I divided my army into three groups. The good looking group, largely painted more recently and for 3rd Edition onward. The updateable group, this included some pretty old models, and required a bit of converting to make certain models legal again, but though it took years, I updated them all. The final group were the oldest Diseased Sons, 2nd and 1st Edition plastic loyalists and a few old lead Nurgle Renegades. These were stripped. This batch included almost every heavy weapon I’d ever painted for my Chaos Space Marine army.

Now the world is a smaller place. You can, with a credit card, buy models off people in other countries, even at 2AM PST, allowing you to collect old Out Of Print figures. GW even used to let you order these directly, first from the UK, then even from the colonies. I was a university student for much of the last 15 years and a high school student before that. I’ve also spent too long unemployed. I’ve never been Mr. Money Bags. I worked hard to pay for most of my undergrad degree. We won’t get into my beloved MBA…

Anyway after updating a third of the army. Stripping and then repainting almost all the classic models. Buying most every Nurgle model put out by GW for the last 15 years and dutifully painting it, converting all manner of differently armed soldiers, I decided to re-purpose my squads. As far back as GT Calgary I’ve had seven squads of Plaguemarines, Nurgle’s sacred number. I’ve never really needed to field more troops than that for a single game. My miniature collection is based on swapping out models to play 1500 point games with a variety of army lists. I don’t even know how many points I have painted. But a decade later I still have seven squads devoted to Nurgle.

In 5th Edition Nurgle’s followers could once again have heavy weapons. They still couldn’t use grenade launchers, multi-meltas, or conversion beamers even though those figs were released once upon a time. I actually acquire more renegades over the years so I could swap in the appropriate weapons and or convert them to carry the correct ones. I decided to make each of the seven squads unique, though the two green squads I use the most basically have enough special weapons painted for them to be twins, as for a while I thought one flamer and one melta was optimal.  Now I’m a two melta man, I roll too many inopportune ones.

The final three Purple Plaguemarines


  • Jaundice Squad was dusted off and it was discovered despite relatively mismatched power armor they had the most painted special weapons, so they became my veterans and have at least one of each special weapon. I gave them a missile launcher too, as Chosen, the new veterans, can have four special weapons and a heavy weapon.
  • Green III, Gangrene became my melta squad. This is the squad I use the most, Bob has been transferred to it pretty much full time, I even converted a new Bob with a combi-flamer, but lately I never seem to have the ten points for it.
  • Green II, was the former all Power Glove squad, they were used as my Lord’s retinue for a while as they had all sorts of odd armaments like hand flamers and dual chainswords. Things that used to be legal. They also had plasma pistols so they became the Plaguemarine squad with plasma pistols for special weapons. They also got named after an obscure disease AZOOR. Now I want to rename them and with the latest Death Guard Codex they will become the AXE Gang because everyone loves Kung Fu fighting.
  • Green I, the Burning Sores have always been a personal favourite. They were always flamer based and although they can field some melta guns, they can lay down three flame templates in one turn too if I want to field them that way.
  • Brown I, Diarrhea, still had heavy weapons as I deemed them painted too well to strip. There used to be a Brown II squad Gonorrhea, but after all the rules changes I just folded them together so I could actually field a squad though they rarely got used. With the more recent codex I set about to make a true Devastator squad and looking at the bits and models I had stripped I thought 4 Heavy Bolters was the way to go. That squad was 200 points and didn’t work so well at Astronomi-con. What I really wanted to do was Autocannons but I couldn’t find enough of them…
  • Purple II, Syphilis, basically got all the old OOP Nurgle models, the new metal Plague Marines (and Havocs), plus a few conversions. I got the idea to do a 14 model squad for GT Vancouver, but by the time the tournament rolled around the squad had been downsized to 9, the last model removed the morning of the first game… They had two plasma gunners. Eventually while in Japan I painted up enough models to field a 20 man squad, then I converted and painted up another champ and two more plasma gunners. I also painted them an Autocannon as I was keen on them for a while.
  • Purple I, The Scarlet Fevers, this squad is actually the cause of this entire post and my current painting efforts. Having already painted a pile of Purple Plague Marines and putting them almost all in a single squad and then made Diarrhea my ‘Havoc’ squad these guys need something to make them useful and unique. I ended up giving them two different heavy weapon models and decided to paint up the other two, available to Chaos Space Marines, to make them a versatile Nurgle worshiping tactical squad. They also got a champ or two, an icon, that’s another thing I converted and painted over the years for each squad was a different looking icon bearer. Finally after all this time I’m painting the final three members of this squad.

This won’t finish off the Diseased Sons, I’ve always had plans for Nurgle Raptors and Bikers, that was what I was going to use the Forgeworld Conversion bits for. I also bought the terminator Death Guard conversion bits though I didn’t need more Nurgle terminators, but those are the other three converted and primed models keeping me from working on what I really want to work on which is my Astronomi-con 2011 army, my trench table, my Servants of Decay, and of course Waaagh Musk. I even have more Daemons to paint most of which will end up on square bases…

So there you have it an abbreviated history of the troops that make up the Diseased Sons. I’ve spent a lot of time updating old webpages and hopefully in 2020 will update the Diseased Sons to work under the new Death Guard Codex which will mean swapping some models, painting a lot of new special weapons and tramps. I’m not sure I need all seven squads, maybe just 3-4 will be modernized. Painting is time consuming for me and I only have so much I can devote to this hobby.

Author: Muskie

Making the Internet better since 1995.

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