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Friday, October 22, 2010

Skaven painting tutorial

My Skaven have become a craze for me lately. I have not only enjoyed painting them, but feel that they are looking remarkably good for the number of shortcuts I have introduced into the normally time consuming method I use. To this end I have made a tutorial that I hope readers will enjoy trying out on their own models.

Step 1 and 2
1.) The first step I clean the models of all mold lines with a sharp hobby knife. Once it is cleaned I glue it to the base and glue (white glue) my gravel mixture onto the base around the model. My mixture consists of several different grades of gravel…from sand to a larger black mixture I got at my nearest mall’s hobby shop. Once this is dry I sprayed the entire model using Army Painter “Rat Fur”. I really like how well this product covers the model evenly and smoothly. (No more TAR clumps for me!)

2.) I mixed up a batch of English uniform and white (both vallejo products). With this mixture I paint all the cloth areas. I always try to stay “inside the lines” as this can help the speed of getting the model done. If you want to give the model even greater depth, dry-brush/or paint some highlights by adding white to the cloth mixture. My other step here is to cover the metal bits in GW chainmail. It may sound a bit bright for the Skaven, but after you have applied the washes by the end, the metal areas are very dirty looking.
Step 3 and 4

3.) Here I have added pure Vallejo English Uniform to the weapon shaft. I also dab mechrite red onto any metal areas I want colored. I dab in a controlled randomness, aiming to have a lot of the metal areas showing, with the red looking like it has been chipped off or rubbed off where the metal plates would touch. There is absolutely no reason to be super careful here, especially with a rank and file model.

Step 5 and 6
 4.) The base is attended to here. I use Basalt grey first. I follow this with a dry-brush of Basalt mixed with white, about half and half for this mixture. The edge of the base is painted black.

5.) P3 midlund flesh is my flesh color of choice for the Skaven. I have it in a GW mixing pot though as I had my P3 pot break. I try to leave some of the primer Rat Fur in the creases and of course where there would be fur! DUH! Also give the nose a touch of black to the nose here. I know GW and many others don’t paint the nose black, and I have been told my Skaven look like dogs because of the nose, but I really like the effect.

6.) Mix some midland flesh with white, a consistency of 60% flesh to 40 white. Water the mixture down to get good coverage…but not too wet or it will run. I also add more white for one last pass around the muzzle. Teeth, nails and horns can either be painted white or bone color here.
Step 7 and 8

7.) Leather, cloth and any other fiddly bit gets touched here. This is also a good time to clean any last mistakes that you see. Highlight the skin and any other bits by adding a bit of white to the mixture. The contrast shows nice in the next step.
Step 9 and 8.a

8.) Wash Everything with Devlan Mud! Nice and wet, and make sure everything is covered.
8.a.) Let the wash dry.

9.) Rust it up. I use my new forgeworld powders, along with a mix of Burnt Umber oil paint and mix it all with Turpenoid (a white spirit)…lastly I water down Vallejo fiery orange (which of course I forgot in my pictures) and dab some onto the brown rust areas. It’s a great effect.

I hope if anyone gets the chance to try this recipe they let me know how it worked for them. I found it very simple to use, and I really like the results.

cheers, Bard


  1. Great tutorial dude. I am always interested to see how people paint their armies. So I assume the spray is instead of any actual undercoat colour? And how does the umber wash work, why'd you start using it?

  2. Thanks for the compliment Kuffeh. The rust wash is from Forgeworld's "Imperial Armour~Model masterclass". Its a great dark rust colour that behaves differently than watered down acrylics and flows into crevices a bit better. Also the rust pigments seem to work better when mixed with an oil paint product. So basically what I am trying to say...is that the burnt umber adds a brown pigment that is the basis for my rust, and is also the correct medium to dilute pigment powders with the white spirits. They then dry very quickly leaving behind the pigments in a realistic manner.
    The spray is an actual undercoat primer. It reminds me a lot of the old GW ones from several years ago. It is also WAY cheaper than GW primers and seems to leave less clumps.

  3. Loved your chaotic and skaven miniatures, added to my blogroll! ;D

  4. Great stuff Nesbet! Looking forward to reading your future comments!