12 May 2024

Monster May(hem): The Cultivator

And we're off with this year's Monster May(hem), the painting challenge I love so much and which I've taken part in since 2020. To begin, here's more Nurgle!

Slaanesh has daemonettes so why shouldn't the Lord of Decay have his own a female daemon? I googled "female nurgle" and after scrolling through all the fan art of cutesy anime-style crap I found this model, a 3D print made by Tainted Windmill. I couldn't find her on Etsy but did find a store selling her on Ebay, so after happily slapping down $25 she arrived in the mail soon after and I got her painted up over the past week.

The model is actually called Decay Princess, which is a terrible name so I changed it. I nicked the Cultivator moniker from the Death Guard novel Lords of Silence, where the Cultivator is the title of the chief engineer on the ship Solace.

I did another search to get some ideas of how to paint her and stumbled across this image:

This artwork, which has John Blanche written all over it and looks like it's straight outta the late 80s, is obviously the inspiration for the Cultivator. The picture is titled The Nurglii, and a search for that term brings up bugger all, so if anyone knows more about this character let me know.

I gave her a prime with Neutral Grey and a light drybrush with Celestra Grey, and then hit all her skin with Plaguebearer Flesh contrast. I thinned some Death Guard Green and layered it on as a highlight, and then used a layer of Elysian Green to bring out the muscles. The shadows weren't deep enough for me so I thinned some Ork Flesh contrast and painted it in to deepen the shading.

Her robes were basecoated with Rhinox Hide and then washed with a mix of Agrax Earthshade and Athonian Camoshade to add a greenish tint. I highlighted them with successive layers of Dryad Bark, Mahogany Brown and XV-88 before giving the whole model a final wash of the brown/green mix to tie it all together.

On to the details! All her many boils were given a dab of Carroburg Crimson to make them look sore and then a dot of Dorn Yellow for the pus. The spikes sticking out of her skin are just Black with some German Grey for a highlight, and her horns are based with Green Ochre, washed with Skeleton Horde contrast and then highlighted with Flayed One Flesh and Wraithbone.

In true Nurgle style she's holding a whopping scythe. I did the wood with Dryad Bark and Burnt Umber and the blade with Iron Warriors. A couple of coats of Agrax Earthshade made the blade look nice and aged and I added some Fresh Rust and more Agrax to age it further.

I painted the chains hanging off her robe the same way as the scythe and the skulls the same way as her horns. The rotting head was painted with Pallid Wych Flesh and then given a once-over with Plaguebearer Flesh for that manky rotting look and the tongue/tentacle poking out of her stomach is Hexed Lichen, Genestealer Purple and some Pink.

To finish her off I painted the heart she's holding with Flesh Tearers Red and Vermilion and the witch fire she's breathing in is pure White with Aethermatic Blue contrast and highlights of Verdigris.

Her wings were based with Celestra Grey and given a once-over with more Aethermatic Blue, and the veins gone over with Black Game Ink.

The base is the usual cork tile painted Black, drybrushed White and then given drybrushes of Ork Flesh contrast, Moot Green and Yellow Green. After gluing some maggots on I plastered it with UV resin tinted with Yellow Green.

I'm well happy with how the Cultivator turned out. She looks great and really stands out among the Plaguebearers, Nurglings and Great Unclean Ones. It's also a breath of fresh air to get a female into the sausage fest that is Nurgle.

More monsters to come!


  1. A truly putrid offering Matt, perfect for the lord of decay. Gaming wise she could easily be a Demon Prince, maybe she was a sister of battle that turned to chaos and reached demonhood

    1. Thanks, Dave! I'm really happy with how she turned out. As forr her background, I'll just have her as a Daemon Prince that just happens to be female :-)

  2. Way to embrace the challenge, Matt! She's absolutely hideous because of your awesome paint job!

  3. I didn't know of this Blanche piece, and I have to say that the mini and your paintjob is an awesome rendition of his art, congrats! I don't think I had thought of female Nurgle servants before, and the way you envisioned the project and the research looks really interesting to me. Lovely work!

  4. Absolutely disgusting, mate! You definitely have an eye for painting chaos demons! I can't believe Alicia lets you keep this stuff in the house! :)