So you think you can’t paint?

Painting has always been a chore, but if there’s something I do well it’s finding shortcuts and faking an effort. This will win you no contests, but using this technique I’ve received a score of 3.1 in a painting competition where the highest scorer was 4.4 (out of five).

The model I’ve chosen for this was painted entirely in a single evening, and the actual time spent painting was considerable less than two hours. I cooked dinner, watched a movie, did the laundry, and still finished with time to spare.

The first step is to find a color scheme with one or two dominating colors. This makes the entire process a lot easier and should never be underestimated. In the case of Warjacks it could be a metal color, or as I’ve done here it could be flesh on the Carnivean.

Go ahead and apply the base color with a spray if you have it. Almost every guide has you base coating the model with black/white/whatever but here we’ll use the actual color as base coat if we can. If you don’t have a spray with the color you need, go the traditional black/white and let it dry. I’ve chosen Rotting Flesh as my base, and decided on Space Wolf Grey for the armor.

Apply the second color and don’t worry to much about minor mistakes. If you fuck up big time you need to correct it, but small mistakes will be fixed later. Now that the two main colors are applied it’s time to cut the house on the corner down, and stroll across the empty lot it left.

I applied a black wash. There are many brands of washes, but so far I’m still using the Badab Black GW washes because I have a lot of it. I apply the washes liberally with a pretty big brush, and as a friend called it: It’s like seeing someone paint a wall with a paint roller.

Let it dry for a while, but if it’s not completely dry in the deep recesses of the model that’s actually fine, because it helps us blend the main color and that works like a charm. Pick up your main color again and fix the smaller mistakes you made with and where the wash has run.

Apply wash to the main color. In this case it’s Reikland Flesh Shade because I ran out of Ogrun Flesh from the old GW line. As you can see on the right arm bone spikes I’m not particularly careful here either, but try to avoid splattering to much on the armor pieces. This layer should be allowed to dry completely.

This is where I pick up a smaller brush, but not a detail brush because that takes forever. Every model with two very dominant colors needs something to break the monotony or it’ll be boring to look at. In this case I opted for the mouth but any centrally placed detail will do.

I picked pink, because that’s the easiest color to wash into something that looks like actual gums. Don’t worry about hitting the teeth, but if you can avoid it the added layering effect from the flesh wash will give it some depth later.

The third ‘main color’ in this case will be Ushabti Bone, because there’s so many bone spikes on this model. Nails, claws, spikes, and spine gets a layer, but this time you need to avoid major mistakes because fixing them now takes time. Minor mistakes are still fixable with washes though.

I’ve washed the Ushabti Bone with Devlan Mud. It’s been renamed to something else but I bought a LOT of Devlan mud, because Dr. Devlan fixes everything. I’ve also applied Reikland Flesh and Baal Red washes to the gums and sinew on the face. Let it all dry completely.

I applied the only real detailing on the model, and painted up the teeth and bony ridges on the side of the model with a ‘close contrast’ color. This is usually one of the colors I’ve already used but then applied without wash, or with another wash.

At this point it’s actually done. in some cases there will be minor details like eyes or runes, which I usually fix with two colors and wash. There’s still the base to consider of course, but the model itself is finished. I’ll see if I can get some better shots at the final model, but you get the idea. Here are some other models painted using this technique.

In these images I’ve added some really easy effects. I used a paint called Tamiya Clear Red, mixed with some grass glue and a bit of black paint. The I just dabbed it around a bit, the more chaotic and disorganized your approach the better the result, and that was it.

It works on smaller models as well. I use this on almost everything I paint, because it’s so easy and the results will look great on the table.

This way of painting allowed me to finish a full unit of Bane Thralls with UA in a single evening, and the standard is high enough that they’re admired by people who know nothing about painting. If you use this method the army will look great, but any ‘real’ painter will find a million faults with it, and he should because this is sloppy work.


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7 Responses »

  1. Sloppy or not, it looks just fint imo. A good table standard. It’s kinda the same standard I’m going for, I just don’t think that I’ve found shortcuts of this magnitude for my color scheme :)

  2. Liking the look and the style, any model that’s been painted is always a bonus for any game you play in.

    Might be borrowing that if you don’t mind.


  3. The speed really outweighs anything that may be lacking.
    I have many models that are not painted. I will look into doing what you did in this article.

    The only thing I would really want is a quick technique like this that works for Warmachine. Not sure if the exact same thing would work since the smooth parts of a jack wont give as much space for the ink to settle in.

  4. The reason why “almost every guide” has you coating your model in black or white is because that’s the primer not the base coat. The point of primer is to allow your paint to actually stay on the model and not come off with a little slip. Really, just take the two extra minutes it takes to spray prime your model (using actual primer, not the Army Painter spray paint). With the simple washing technique you’re doing here, just prime them white to enhance durability, chroma (brightness), and overall wash application time. What I mean by that last point is that you can turn your basecoat (as in the actual paint from a pot) into a wash to make things go even faster over white while enhancing the depth and visual interest of the model without slowing things down.

    @Noman: For washing warjacks, just keep an extra wash brush handy to quickly swap after laying a wash down to remove the excess. Pull your brush from where the zenith highlight of the model would be (where the most light is shining down upon it) and work towards the edges. This will give you a smother gradient and add probably an extra 1/2 hour to this process or less with practice.

    • The washes and gloss makes sure it stays on, and I’ve experienced no chipping at all, even when my entire unit of Bane Thralls fell from the table and bounced on a concrete floor.

      I’ll give white primer a shot and see how it goes though.

  5. Ha! I pretty much independently invented this method of painting myself; I get lots of compliments on my striking force, but scoffs from any real painter.

    Washes make anything look good.

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