Painting A Wargames Army.

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Warhammer 40000
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Over the years I have painted models from most of the 4ok races, and have tried out loads of different colour schemes from Imperial Guard camouflage to Ork clans. And over the years my armies have been stripped and repainted many times, With my current interest being my Tyranids.

With the Tyranids I have gone right back to basics. Over the years I have painted way too many models and have spent ages painting on details, This is fine if all you are going to do is display the models on a shelf or in a cabinet. But if like me you want to get in a few games with them, then you need to reach a compromise with the painting.

Since I first picked up a paint brush way back in the 90’s I have learnt many new techniques some I use all the time and some I don’t. Now this is not Grail’s expert miniatures painting guide, in fact it is far from it. It is more of how I intend to paint my models to a gaming standard that i’m proud off and am happy with.

After all they are my models!

As I said with my Tyranids I have gone right back to basics. First up is………..


In the old days you had black and white spray undercoats, Now days you can pick up coloured primers. These are great time savers and they allow you to prime up large units in a few passes. You can of course use an airbrush, Now I have never had any luck using one the can be connected to a can of propellent but that may just be me. I do own a compressor but at the moment using one may just piss off the neighbours, so I have no options but to use sprays. So for my Tyranids I’ve gone for Daemonic Yellow from The Army Painter.


With the Yellow undercoat done the hardest part of painting my Tyranids is 50% done. We now need to move onto the details, With the Tyranids I decided to pick out the, Carapace and other bony plates (Black), Claws and Hooves (Bone), and the Fleshy muscles under the skin (Pink). By keeping the details simple it makes the whole painting process allot simpler. I have kept to three basic colours to allow me to paint them up fairly quickly, If I keep this pace up I can paint up a brood of ten gaunts and three warriors in a day. Just by keeping things simple.

Of course when it comes to painting larger Tyranids I will spend a  bit more time on them picking out other details. But in general if the Unit entry says you can have more than one model in the unit it will be painted with this process.  Special characters and individual units will have a bit more time spent on them.


After going through the last stage you painted model should now be about 80% done. This stage which I class as the final stage of painting involves using one of the many different types of “dip”. Now this is a mater of personal taste some people hate the “dip” others like me like it. But I find that the “dip” cuts a hell of allot of time from my painting. The “dip” is a wood varnish with which you “dip” the model into, Now I don’t “dip” the model into the can but paint it on using a brush.

Basic wood varnish will do, all you need to do is have a look in you local DIY store. I picked up all three shades from The Army Painter range some years ago, And they consist off.

Soft Tone: A very light brown (which is what I am using for the Tyranids)

Strong Tone: A medium brown (which is what I used for my Blood Angels)

Dark Tone: A very dark brown almost black ( which I intend to use on my Iron Warriors)


Sit back and let you models dry. If you’ve got this far then your 95% done.

What only 95% whys that then?

You still have to do the bases………………………………………..

  1. Troo says:

    I’d loves to see some pictures. I picked up some of the medium Army Painter dip. Do you use the matt varnish after?

    I suppose with Nids, semi-glossy is actually pretty cool 😀

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