Creatures of the ruinous powers, daemons of the ruinstorm. They go by many names but during the heresy Dorn and Malcador often referred to them as the ‘neverborn’ in the Siege of Terra series of novels.

The neverborn of the Ruinstorm were an integral part of my Word Bearer plans from the very beginning. I had a specific palette in mind that differed from what is typically associated with ‘Chaos Daemons’ in Warhammer 40K.

I envisioned a less saturated color scheme, resembling corrupted and warped flesh—milky white and unnatural. This was based on how the Astartes described them in their earliest encounters.

While I started with models that would be considered plaguebearers of Nurgle, in the context of the Heresy, these are simply lesser daemons of the Ruinstorm. Imperium forces do not yet understand their association with a specific Chaos power. They lack the knowledge and experience to recognize the difference.

This was another reason for choosing a neutral base palette—to incorporate various miniature designs and blend them into a unified force that defies classification. Patron powers and factions remain unclear to the loyalist forces, who only perceive their sheer size and terrifying abilities.

The beast of Nurgle is a versatile model that can be used in various ways. In games of 40K, I can utilize it exactly as designed, unleashing its grotesque presence on the battlefield. Alternatively, in the context of the Horus Heresy, I can employ it as a daemon of the Ruinstorm, adding a menacing touch to my forces.

Technically, I could have made the base generic, allowing me to use it in a Nurgle army in Age of Sigmar, but where would the fun be in that?

Playing with brass

Not strictly part of the daemon allies, but the new kits introduced like the plague burst crawler and plague drone also gave me a good excuse to play around with tarnished metallic brass tones and verdigris. Colours that work just as well in the heresy era as they do in 40K.

Base neverborn palette

For my interpretation of neverborn flesh, I start with a combination of Scale Indian Fleshtone and Games Workshop Rakarth Flesh as the base. Using an airbrush, I apply patches of overlapping Carroburg Crimson, Druchii Violet, and Drakenhof Nightshade into shadowed areas or open wounds. These shades are then blended together, and I introduce texture through a subtle dry-brush of Pallid Wych Flesh. Yes, you read that right—dry-brush. Without the light, dusty application of Wych Flesh, the effect appears too smooth and less convincing. To refine the final appearance, I apply a few selective glazes of both the red and blue washes. Just like seasoning, add to taste.

Painted Warhammer Nurgle plague starter set

This isn’t meant to be a fixed look for all my daemons in the Heresy era. Instead, it serves as a baseline that grants me the freedom to explore interesting directions, particularly when it comes to other miniatures. I no longer feel obligated to adhere to the typical studio style. Additionally, this approach opens up the possibility of incorporating contemporary or non-Games Workshop miniatures.

It’s a departure from my usual style of building armies, especially in the traditional ‘chaos’ sense. Yet, the combination of the Nurgle aesthetic and my personal take on the palette has grown on me. It’s highly likely that I will expand upon this initial manifestation, whether by creating a complete ‘Daemons of the Ruinstorm’ force, assembling a broader selection of allies for the Word Bearers, or even developing it into a standalone Age of Sigmar army. Knowing myself, I’ll probably attempt to tackle all three endeavors simultaneously.

Addendum: Probably not Sigmar, so please don’t get hopes up, but expanded Ruinstorm is totally on the table.

Until my next update, happy hobbying.