Tuesday 11 September 2012

Dark Vengeance Dark Angel painting tutorials part 1

Disclaimer - apologies for the poor camera lighting and photography in advance. 
Hi folks,
This is part one of a three part painting tutorial I will be adding to the site in order to celebrate the release of Dark Vengeance. Not only will this allow me to show some of the techniques I will be using on my Dark Angels over the next few months, but also hopefully will be of help to anyone who has the boxed set or who may be thinking of starting Dark Angels when they get a new codex, hopefully soon.   
Part one will focus on the rank and file Dark Angel tactical marine and will demonstrate how I paint armour and also plasma weapons. Part two, which will hopefully be up by the weekend, focuses on painting the ravenwing and also robes. Part three, again hopefully up over the weekend, focuses on the Deathwing and painting swords/green robes. I will state the colours used and include the new paint range equivalent in parentheses should I use older paints at any point. As I’m going to paint them from scratch in one sitting I will also give an estimate of how long they took to paint. These tutorials are simply my take on things and are by no means the best way to paint them. Hopefully they will be of some help to people though. Without further ado, on to part one:

1.       Undercoat: black spray. (always best to give it a lookover first and touch up any missed areas)

2.       Base coat: caliban green. Don’t worry about messing up other areas such as the gun as these will be more than covered later.

3.       Layer: Dark Angels green (I prefer the more vibrant green to that of caliban green. As it is no longer available you could get a similar colour by adding warpstone glow to caliban green or just ignore this step entirely)

4.       Highlight: Snot green (Warpstone glow) I try to catch all the edges with the brush turned at 45 degrees to the model. Where this is not possible I make a best guess. Don’t be afraid to make a bit of a mess then clean up with the previous colour after. This is especially handy with highlighting both inner and outer edges of shoulder trim. These highlights can be a bit tedious so you may want to have multiple models at different stages on the go at once for a bit of variety.

5.       Final highlight: Scorpion green (moot green) For this step I try to keep things simple and just go for some of the sharper edges on the armour (shoulder trim 90 degree angle, top of elbow pad) and higher areas such as the top of the backpack right knee pad and the helmet.
6.       Metal areas: leadbelcher Now that the majority of the model is covered, we can move onto the next most prominent area which is the metal areas. I usually paint the gun casing and ammo sickle, soles of boots, pipework, backpack vents, helmet grilles/ears etc, but not all of these are necessary.

7.       Belt and pouches: scorched brown (rhinox hide). Again, some prefer to keep these the same colour as the armour but I opt to paint them and the base of the model scorched brown. 

8.       Wash: nuln oil. Now that all this is finished your model should look almost there. At this stage I give them a wash of slightly thinned nuln oil all over. This adds depth to the brown and metal areas and helps to tie together all the green shades, as well as dulling them down a bit to leave a grittier finish. Leave this to dry for a while (maybe paint another in the meantime) before continuing.
Note - the black wash at this stage will dull the highlights and armour on the whole. If you do not wish for this then either apply a green wash/glaze instead or apply the highlights after the wash, though they will not be tied together to the armour as well.
 9.       Black areas: abaddon black. Once everything has dried I quickly touch up any of the black areas, such as the underarmour, left kneepad (in the case of 5th company)

10.   Red detailing: mephiston red. There are several red areas on the model, namely the eyes, weapon, purity seal wax and, in my case, a band across the left knee for the 5th company. I give them all a couple of coats to ensure a nice finish, being careful not to touch any areas that have been finished. No big deal if it happens. In fact, if any little mistakes do occur it’s often best to leave them til the end and have a general tidy just before completing the model. 
11.   Red highlight: squig orange. A light band on the edges of the weapon and in the medial nasal part of the eye. 
12.   Red shading: Baal red (carroburg crimson) Just give a light wash over the areas being careful not to touch any of the surrounding areas to blend the colours and give depth.
 13.   White chapter symbol: There are two ways to do this. Either several coats of ceramite white (up to 4) and a few thin lines of adminstratum grey to serve as shading, or a couple of coats of administratum grey with a couple of coats of ceramite white atop it. Both look the same in the end so it’s up to you for this one. While I have the white out I usually just put a couple of dots on the eyes for reflected light and write a few lines of inscription on the armour.  
 14.   Gold detailing base: balthasar gold. Any gold detailing I basecoat first in balthasar gold.
15.   Gold detaling wash: agrax earthshade
16.   Gold detaling final coat: auric armour gold

 17.   Purity seal and chest eagle base: rakarth flesh. Give both a coat or two to establish a nice base
18.   Purity seal and chest eagle layer: ushabti bone. I often don’t bother with this for the seal, just the eagle.
19.   Purity seal and chest eagle wash: seraphim sepia. May require two coats.
20.   Purity seal and chest eagle highlight: ushabti bone (optional)

21.   Plasma base: ice blue (lothern blue). A couple of coats of this gives you a good base.
22.   Plasma wash: I wash with a dilute form of the old inks but either the new blue shade or wash should do.
23.   Plasma highlight: ice blue (lothern blue) – mix with white and work up to lighter areas such as corners.

24.   Finishing touches for pouches: mournfang brown highlights
25.   Finishing touches for purity seals: abaddon black scripture
26.    Finishing touches for metal: runefang steel highlight on edges
27.   Base as required then spray varnish
Well there we have it, all done. It may seem like a long tutorial but at the end of the day, several of those steps are washes which take a few second to do whereas others focus on very small areas and thus take no time at all to do if you’ve a steady hand. For me, the area that is longest and most tedious is highlighting the armour. All in all though, not including drying time for spray/washes and photography, this little chap took me less than an hour to do. If you were after a more basic level you could leave out several steps such as pouches, company symbol, metal detailing and armour highlights to speed up the process.
I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the content/format of the tutorial as this is my first one and I can make changes to the next ones where needed based on that. Thanks for reading.


  1. Great writeup. I'm thinking of painting actually (which I haven't done in years). Tutorials like these really help, as they are clearly done and great for (re)starters.

    One suggestion though: Post a list of all used paints at the end, so people get a shopping list. ;-)


    1. Thanks for the comment. I've posted a paint list on part 2 of the tutorials and will come back and edit this one soon. Good luck with your painting projects.

  2. Thamks been thinking about the tactical squad for a while,will use some of your ideas. Should now be able to support my deathwing in bigger games once painted!