Monday, 11 June 2018

Night Lords squad plus tutorial

At long last I've started work on the Marines for my little Night Lords army. These guys are loosely based on the characters from the Aaron Dembski Bowden novels. Hence their leader (Talos) carrying a looted Blood Angels power sword. All the components are Citadel plastics and most of the trophies are pillaged from the Undead range. I wanted to try painting the skulls on the helmets as I really like the idea that most Marine livery is paintwork over factory-standard suits (plus this solution is quite Rogue Trader). I was pleased how it came out and I look forward to trying it on some MKIII helmets. That said, I do intend eventually to mix in a few of Forge World's sculpted helms.

Some folks on Facebook were asking for a tutorial so here's my process:

Armour: Undercoat black. Airbrush metallic blue all over then mix in more silver and do a light zenithial highlight with the airbrush. Once dry, gloss varnish the areas you wan to apply to decals to, then affix the decals (the gloss will stop the clear film supporting the design clouding). Once the decals are set, wash the whole mini with Drakenhof Nightshade but dab on Lahmian Medium onto the larger areas where you don't want too much shade (like shoulder pads). The Ladmian ensures you don't get 'tide' marks and you can use it to 'wipe' away any excess ink while retaining a smooth finish when dry. For the crackles (which I tend to do last) delicately mark out the pattern using a mid blue on a very fine brush, then do one or two highlights by adding more white, keeping the lighter highlights to the centre of the pattern so its 'source' looks brighter. Your last highlights should be applied using only a few bristles so they're super-fine.
Red; Paint Mephiston Red, wash with Baal Red, then highlight with Evil Sunz Scarlet.
Brown: Paint Dryad Bark, wash with Badab Black if necessary, then highlight by adding Screaming Skull.
Gold: Paint with a mix of Retributor Gold and Leadbelcher (this cools the gold to a paler tone) then drop some Reikland Fleshshade (matt) into corners. On armour do this liberally so it flows out beyond the trim to cover the main plate so you get a sense of rust spreading beyond the trim.
Bone / skin: paint Dryad Bark then paint white leaving the Bark in recesses. Wash with Reikland Fleshshade then drop Nuln Oil into the recesses, then highlight up with white.
Silver: Heavy drybrush with Leadbelcher then simply wash with Nuln Oil Gloss. Dab on Reikland Flesshade (matt) in patches to form rust. On larger, flatter surfaces (like the drum-magazine on the Heavy Bolter) blend up by adding silver to your Leadbelcher base.
Eyes: Paint red then add a touch of orange
Base: Coat with a mix of polyfiller, small stones, sand and black paint (the paint stops you needing to lots of work later to darken this mix, otherwise it'll dry white). Heavy drybrush with Dryad Bark, then add increasing amounts of Screaming Skull up to pure Screaming Skull. Work Forge World rust pigments into the recesses and up the mini's legs.
Blue black: This is for the robes of the serfs and so forth. From a black undercoat highlight up with Mordian Blue (yep, I still have a pot of this) up through Macragge Blue then add white.

[Edit - I forgot about BLOOD!!!] This is a mix of Blood for the Blood God plus a bit of black ink. I do the not-terribly-reliable thing of holding a drop of this on a tooth pick in front of the mini, then firing a burst of air from an airbrush at it, spraying the mini. If it goes well (and there's no real guarantee of that, kids) it forms tiny 'micro drops' which look very realistic. Best done into a washing up bowl turned on its side, as you're going to get a lot of the stuff everywhere.
So there you have it! Best of luck and drop me a line in the comments if you have any questions.


  1. Very nice! I like how practical they look. Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Wow very cool, the overall effect is atmospheric. Really like the armour.

  3. Beautiful work, they look solid and brutal.

    I might have to try my hand at the precarious blood spatter technique sometime.

  4. Nice! The freehand skulls on the helmets look really good. I like how the same basic design comes out looking so different on the MkIV and MkVI helmets.