How to Paint Space Marines

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Court Jester


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Over Sunday I sat and painted a few Space Marines and decided as I went to take some photos of the processes and someone did ask for a tutorial so I thought I'd go into it step by step.Firstly, I have already noticed I missed the sergeant's hand until halfway through, it is all sorted though.Also these chaps are for the gaming table so I have not gone to town on the highlights, the most being on the yellow. And even then the yellow has so many because of the style I paint it. If you want a quicker way you can just use Bleached Bone or Elf Flesh, give it one Skull White highlight and hit it with the Yellow Ink.

Step 1.

I assembled and cleaned the models fully and primed them white (please pretend the black is not there yet... those two models were started a few weeks ago.) I always try to get a really good undercoat, to make the base colours really easy to apply.Gallery image

Step 2.

Any part of the model that will end up black I paint chaos black. I do this right now so I can paint without fear of getting black on already painted areas. Also because I paint fully assembled miniatures I can get into all the hard parts without worry.[gal_img]1271[/gal_img]

Step 3.

I basecoat any part of the model that is going to be yellow in Fiery Orange. I water the paint down but not a huge amount, enough to ease the flow onto the figure, but still leave a good coverage. I do not have time to paint multiple layers of the same colour... ;-)[gal_img]1276[/gal_img]

Step 4.

I then paint all areas that will be red in Blood Red using the same levels of watering down as above.[gal_img]1277[/gal_img]

Step 5.

I then mix Fiery Orange and Skull White to about 50/50 (a nice peach colour) and apply that to all the yellow areas leaving Blazing Orange in the recesses.[gal_img]1278[/gal_img]

Step 6.

I then add more Skull White to my "peach" mix and highlight with it in broad stroke across the obvious points of the armour - the arms, shoulder pads, knees and lower legs.[gal_img]1279[/gal_img]

Step 7.

I then use a pure Skull White final highlight to all the previous edges. This does look quite harsh, but it is needed for the next step.[gal_img]1280[/gal_img]

Step 8.

This is where the Yellow comes together. I liberally apply a Yellow Ink covering all the "peach" armour plates. It is very shiny at this point, but when I varnish it that will dull down very nicely. I also base coat the helmets and purity seal heads in Regal Blue.[gal_img]1281[/gal_img]

Step 9.

I mix up a dark red ink that is 75/25 Brown Ink and Red Ink and I apply this into the recesses of the red armour plates. This is a very different way to how I use the yellow ink. I am very careful to make sure no large flat red plates collect unwanted pools of ink.[gal_img]1282[/gal_img]

Step 10.

To highlight the red I create a 50/50 mix of Blood Red and Fiery Orange, and apply this to the most obvious plates as detailed in previous steps. I then finish that of with a pure Fiery Orange highlight.[gal_img]1261[/gal_img]You will also notice that the black on these figures has warn down as the pictures go on, I use the black areas to hold the figures and make sure I will have a steady hand, so they wear down, but it is not a problem and can just be touched up when I finish of the black.

When I left the squad they had all the base colours finsihed, so now we look at the details and weapons.

Step 1.

I will start with the helmets.Firstly I paint Ultramarine Blue onto the Regal Blue making sure to leave the darker blue in the recesses. I then add couple of dots of Skull White and highlight with that blending the two colours together wit water and... Saliva.I then add I then move to a 50/50 mix of Skull White and Ultramarine Blue and bled that through paying particular attention to the brow, eye sockets and mouth piece (the most focal points of a marine helmet). Then I add even more Skull White to my mix and apply even lighter highlights blended through. And Finally I use pure Space Wolf Grey to just make sure the detail is good.[gal_img]1262[/gal_img]

Step 2.

I touched up all the black areas that had become worn and I painted the first highlight onto the gun casing. For almost all black areas in the entire army I use the same 3 step process as it is clean and not over the top, a nice subdued effect that does not stand out too much. It is nice and neutral.The first highlight is a 50/50 mix of Chaos Black and Shadow Grey. This is painted onto the most prominent plates on the guns and chest eagles. I make the lines here pretty large, as I have one more highlight step to go after this.[gal_img]1263[/gal_img]

Step 3.

At this step I finish the black highlighting by just jumping straight to Shadow Grey and painting lie highlights onto the previous highlighted lines from step 1.I have also painted anything that will be metallic in Boltgun Metal.[gal_img]1264[/gal_img]

Step 4.

To finish off the metal I apply a watered down Black Ink over the entire surface, and when that is dry I give the metal areas a light drybush of Chainmail Silver.Gallery image

Step 5.

Now I have to start with the little details so I will focus on the symbols, purity seals, bases and eyes.The symbols are painted on using very watered down Skull White. I slowly build up the shape and coverage, making sure I wait for layers to dry, to get the smoothes finis possible. I do not use decals for the squad markings as I find that without decal softener they will not work over a curved shoulder pad.[gal_img]1266[/gal_img]The purity seal strangely have the most highlights on any part of the figure. I work through the following colours to build the highlights:Black, Scorched Brown, Bestial Brown, Snakebite Leather, Bubonic Brown and finally Bleached Bone.[gal_img]1267[/gal_img]The eyes.... Very easy this. I start with the regal blue base colour then I paint a stripe of Blood Red at the front of each eye, then a smaller stripe of Fiery Orange and finish them with a dot of skull white at the back of the eye.[gal_img]1268[/gal_img]And the bases. I wanted a base that looked good, but in no way at all detracted from the tri-colour scheme of the marines, so a nice dull urban grey and rust would be in order, and it helps make the bright marines look even better.I glue sand to the base using PVA glue and then paint the sand with Black Ink while the PVA is still drying (I can be impatient at times...). When that is dry I drybrush the base up through the following colours:Codex Grey, Fortress Grey, 50/50 mix Fortress Grey & Skull White, 23/75 mix Fortress Grey & Skull White, Skull White.Then I paint a Chestnut Ink in random patches on each base.[gal_img]1269[/gal_img]Then I paint the rim Chaos Black.[gal_img]1270[/gal_img]

The Sergeants Face...

I start with a base colour of Dwarf Flesh with the tiniest amount of Ultramarine Blue added. I then give it a Brown Ink. I reapplied a Dwarf Flesh highlight then an Elf Flesh highlight then added Skull White to the Elf Flesh, and finally to pick out the fine detail I use pure Skull White. I paint a Chaos Black stripe into the eye socket then a smaller Skull White stripe followed by a Chaos Black dot in the centre of the eye.[gal_img]1272[/gal_img]I then apply any decals I will be using, almost always the roman numerals, and the chapter badges (I cut them out along the design so it curves over the pad and does not just crease up). On the company champion pad I have to paint the cross on as the decal will not fit.I am then ready to dull coat the squad... you can see how shiny the Yellow Ink has made the armour...[gal_img]1273[/gal_img]And after that as dried I have the four models finished.[gal_img]1274[/gal_img]And two of my tactical squads finished.Gallery image




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