Wednesday, July 27, 2011

This Week's Inbox: Painting

From Jacob:

"Hello Hyv3mynd!! hey I really love your battle reports really gives me some hope for my tyranids, now recently I've been painting a few of my models as hive fleet kraken, but I wanted a more natural look to them and recently watching Starship troopers at the girlfriends house I really liked the look of the of the flying scarab bugs and I realized thats exactly how yours are painted which I really dig, hope you dont mind me stealing your paint scheme haha, well last night I attempted to paint a Termagaunt in your color scheme, but I dont know if I pulled it off right, would you mind telling me how you did it?"

And Andreas:

"Good evening synaps3

I was just wondering how you achieved the metallic tint to your
miniatures specifically the green areas of the carapace?

Thanks for your time."

I've never taken the time to do a painting tutorial, so here's my chance.

As I've mentioned before, I use very cheap craft store paints.  When I get a new bottle, I open it up and fill it to the neck with water and shake it for a while.  This changes the consistency from resembling toothpaste to that of white glue.  Those are some of the colors I use (metallic emerald green, metallic sequin black, metallic amethyst, metallic garnet red, and wicker white).  I also use a container for a wet palette, and a dry palette for blending and dry brushing.  The brushes I use are Robert Simmons Sapphire brand sable.
Nowadays, I prime my models on the sprue, trim, and assemble them.  I prime my tyranids with Chaos Black.
  I then paint the alternating armor plates with metallic emerald green.  It takes about 4 coats to get the opacity I like.  Keep in mind the paint is watered down and the wet palette thins the paint out more.
After that, I go over all the black areas with metallic sequin black.  I find that metallic black actually looks deeper than matte black which I like.  Then, I dry brush up the high points with another metallic color.  Warriors get red, genestealers get purple, MC's get blue.  It's not super noticeable, but gives the black some life.  I usually dry brush two more times with a 50/50 mix of the chosen color and wicker white, then pur wicker white.  The first dry brushing with color should cover the most area, the 50/50 mix hits the higher points, and the wicker white hits only the highest details.  I do the same thing with the metallic emerald green and wicker white on the armor plates.
If I lost any detail along the way, I do some targeted washes of watered down metallic sequin black.  The weapons and vents on MC's are painted with metallic garnet red, washed with metallic sequin black, and dry brushed up with a wicker white blend.  I glue down some rocks, sand, and shale chips to the bases.  They get painted with honeycomb, washed with pure black, and dry brushed with tapioca and ivory white.  Here's the final result:

Hope that helps guys!  Thanks for taking interest in my painting style.


  1. It's interesting that you can use cheaper paints and get such a good finish. The overall effect is great when you see the whole army together.

    I think that's the knack with Tyranids, finding a relatively quick and effective scheme that lets you complete large units before you get bored of them! I use army painter dip to finish my bugs, but as long as I take time to do the base colours neatly and spend a few minutes per bug on the details, the mass effect of a board full of bugs works really well. Then the real time can go into converting the fun MCs with no models released yet...

  2. Your army looks good, especially on a sandy display board. You can try to use spangles to make carapaces to look more interesting. Metallic paints don’t give us the right glare and painting sun reflections is a really hard artistic work. I found that using spangles may really help with a painting schemes like yours.

  3. To be correct: I told about sparkling powder, not about round plastic spangles for sewing.