Sunday, November 6, 2011

Painting Grey Knight Vehicles (The Easy Way)

 In the Warhammer 40k Universe, The Imperium of Man is a kingdom surrounded in all directions by darkness and war, knee deep in enemies beyond count. Against these vast threats stand the Legion of Oadius, " army so pure of Purpose as to be utterly beyond temptation. They are the Emperor's final boom to Mankind, an army of unfaltering and incorruptible warriors... They are the Grey Knights."

I am building and painting this army for General Oadius himself.  Which is great for him and me, but really bad for you - and as far as we are concerned, thats a Great deal! This article is about the very first steps after Building and Primering the GK vehicles. Basically these are the stages to 'install' some easy weathering effects, and in this instance, across a whole fleet of vehicles at once for a little extra umpf to the final look of everything.

Ok - a little bit of building show off also. What you need to know now going forward is that this Army is all about overboard awesomeness, don't forget. The Vehicles come apart currently so I can paint the things inside. Also having all of the major parts separate at this stage helps to airbrush all the parts separately. Remember, I like to do things easy.

The Stormraven has a million pieces. I want the landing gear to work, so everything will stay in a billion pieces for the most part. All the other zillion parts of guys and turrets and guns pretty much end up different colors, or need to be moveable to get to the weapons or inside for painting. Going to need a lot of fucking magnets to finish this bitch.

 My first build with Dreadnoughts. These guys are beautiful models, and will have magnetized Psyfleman arms. That means all the other dread weapons could be magnetized on if wanted at some point. There is a 3rd one of these guys running around somewhere.

Keeping it easy... Everything but the Stormraven got swaths of color applied with airbrush.. Scab Red, then Snakebite Leather, then Chaos Black, starting at the bottom of the model. I was going for mud and guts and muck here not necessarily rust. The tracks are not on the models yet and got the same treatment.

 Because we are going for a fleet-wide or army-wide effect its very important at this stage to get those color swaths installed. Thats why I would call this underpainting often. Before the final coat of boltgun or black goes on these vehicles there will be a Red-Brown-Black-Grey-White color scale from bottom to top, and the final coat of paint will be very thin and technically transparent, so the color scale will carry through even in a very subtle way to the final finished look. 

On vehicles I have been going for a 'standard 1-inch' wide color swath. With a light touch and many colors it turns into more like a 1/2-inch blended shades. For "weathering" effects in this manner you can and should go overboard, because they can easily be toned down to a tolerable level. 

 After the color scale is installed, its time for hairspray and salt. You can find a whole bunch of hairspray/salt tutorials out there on the internets easily. Basically you spray the model with a lot of hairspray and then sprinkle salt on as desired. Most people seem to spray the hairspray into a cup, and then apply with an airbrush, but I don't. Its not a precise method in the first place, it comes down to how/where you apply the salt at this point.

On these models I put a ton of salt starting at the bottom and worked my way up, trying not to apply salt to the tops and top part of the models. Then you let the hairspray/salt dry. Give it a good rest, not just an hour, more like 3-5+ There is probably some math about gas escaping and etc, but the point is that you need the salt to stick.

Once the salt has dried, you put your top coat on. I started by hitting the bottom of all vehicles with Scorched Brown. I think its important to first use a darker color then the last color in your weathering, which was Snakebite Leather here. This will save some highlighting and shading of the weathering later, by installing it now. Sometimes and usually I follow this with a swath of black, an then the color I want to finish with, which was Chaos Black and Boltgun Metal here.

 Once the topcoat is dry, you wash off the salt. Most tutorials show folks doing it by hand with a cup of warm water and a brush. For smaller models that works and makes sense. For other types of weathering it does also, as you will add effects with your brush and other tools. For this effect and others I just wash off the salt in the sink with really hot water. Its easy and fast and works great, and if you are clever you will still have the opportunity to add effects while they are wet.

....and so, the GK vehicles are now ready - to be painted!


  1. Holy beluga!!!! This paint project is truly algebraic!!!

    Damn I can wait to see it in person...I need to get some money so I can have an army painted by you!

  2. truly an epic post bro...lots of great info and pics.

  3. yeah i cant get over how awesome this project is turning out. thanks for the vids and picks too! Very informative!

  4. If real vehicles still need the assistance of those from who have been in the business for a long time, these model vehicles should be fun to paint even if you're alone.