Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Paint a Skaven Warlord

Below is a step-by-step guide to painting an Island of Blood Skaven Warlord. No claims that it is high-art or anything like that, but I think that it works pretty well on the table-top!

At a couple of stages I have added some WIP pics, and there are some images of the finished item at the bottom (Note that I painted this ages a go, so some of the steps may not be in order.)

Hope you like it...

EDIT: Following the launch of the latest Citadel Paint range in 2012, please note that the colours listed below are from the previous range. I hope to have time to rewrite in the future, but for the time being, you can use the conversion chart/ list I made here or use the official Citadel Conversion chart here.

1. Assembly.

  • File away any flash or very carefully remove using a modelling knife. (My ratty fingers carry many scars that are mute testimony to how important it is to be careful...)
  • Glue to base.

2. First Basing.

  • Paint some slightly watered-down PVA glue to the base.
  • Dip base into modelling sand.
  • Shake away excess and leave to dry.

3. Undercoat.

  • Undercoat whole model. (I use GW Chaos Black spray paint.)

4. Dry Brush base.

  • Calthan Brown.

5. Basecoat.

  • Boltgun Metal: Halberd blade, chains on the back-banner, fixtures on back banner symbol (holding symbol to pole), chainmail, front edge of helmet
  • Dwarf Bronze: Armour, helmet, Skaven symbol on back-banner, brazier
  • Bleached Bone: Skull, cords on back-banner pole, stitching at the top of the back-banner flags.
  • Dark Angels Green: Warpstone fumes.
  • Codex Grey: Plinth/ masonry, back-banner flag:
  • Tallarn Flesh: face, hands, feet, tail.
  • Ice Blue: Robes, halberd pendant. 
  • Snakebite Leather: leather armour straps, pouch
  • Knarloc Green: Back-banner flag.
  • Skull White: Teeth, nails.
  • Red Gore: Eyes, jewel on plinth/ masonry.

6. Layers.

  • Robes/ Halberd Pendant: Ice Blue/ Skull White (50/50 mix), then Ice Blue/ Skull White (25/75 mix)
  • Flesh/ Tail: Tallarn Flesh/ Dwarf Flesh (50/50 mix)
  • Skull: Bleached Bone/ Skull White (50/50 mix)
  • Back Banner Flag (Green): Calthan Green/ Skull White (50/ 50 mix) then Calthan Green/ Skull White (25/75 mix)
  • Back Banner Flag (Grey): Codex Grey/ Fortress Grey (50/50 mix) then Codex Grey/ Fortress Grey (25/75 mix)
  • Warpstone Pendant: Dark Angels Green/ Snot Green (50/50 mix) then Dark Angels Green/ Snot Green (25/75 mix)
  • Warpstone Flame: Dark Angels Green/ Snot Green (50/50 mix) then Dark Angels Green/ Snot Green (25/75 mix) then Dark Angels Green/ Snot Green/ Skull White (50/25/25 mix)
  • Pouch/ Leather straps: Snakebite Leather/ Skull White (50/50 mix)
  • Eyes: Red Gore/ Blood Red (50/50 mix)
  • Jewel on Plinth/ Masonry: Red Gore/ Blood Red (50/ 50 mix) then 25/75 mix, then Red Gore/ Blood Red/ Skull White (25/50/ 15)
If you want to add Skaven symbols to the back-banner flags, now is a good time to do it - before washes...

7. Washes.

  • Devlan Mud: Armour, chainmail, halberd Blade, halberd pole, hatchet, robes, back-banner flags, back banner pole (not cords.), halberd pendant, Plinth/ masonry.
  • Thraka Green: Warpstone amulet, warpstone smoke.
  • Gryphonne Sepia: Cords on back-banner pole, skull.
  • Ogryn Flesh: Flesh, tail, feet, hands.

8. Drybrushing.

  • Shining Gold: Armour, brazier, Skaven symbol on back-banner
  • Mithril Silver: Chainmail.
  • Calthan Brown/ Skull White (75/25 mix): Halberd pole, back-banner pole
  • Codex Grey: very lightly brush across the exposed fur on the Warlord's back.
  • Banner Chains: Chainmail or Mithril Silver.
  • Earth: Calthan Brown/ Snakebite leather (50/50 mix)

9. Highlights.

  • Weapon edges: Chainmail
  • Metal clasps on back banner/ Skaven Symbol: Chainmail or Mithril Silver.
  • Add a dot of white on the jewel on the plinth/ masonry. (See images below)

10. Final Basing.
  • Dab on a couple of spots of PVA glue.
  • Dip in green flock.
  • Leave to set for a few minutes then shake off excess.
  • Carefully paint around base edge using Snakebite Leather.

11. Verdigris (Optional)

This is the light blue patina that you see on old statues or layers of bronze in museums or exposed to the elements. Having this will add an additional sense of age to any bronze parts. Please note, if you haven't done this before, experiment first, as if you get it wrong this is the last stage of the model, so it may be difficult to correct...
  • Heavily water down GW Ice Blue. You'll have to experiment to find the right consistency, but I would say 1 part paint to between 7 and 10 parts water. It should be watery enough that you can wipe away WITHOUT leaving a stain. (Very important so you can correct mistakes if necessary!)
  • Carefully paint onto any bronze parts where Verdigris would naturally appear so that it gathers. In the case of the Skaven Warlord, a good place is around the base of the shoulder spikes on his armour. (recessed areas, around nails, buttons and joins between bronze parts are also good too.)
  • Quickly take a tissue, fold to a point, and dab away any excess, so it is left gathered around the parts mentioned above.
  • Leave remainder to dry. (Be patient!)
  • HINT: Only add Verdigris to one area at a time so you have time to wick or dab away excess before it dries. Don't add to ALL bronze parts on the whole model at the same time! 



  1. Nice work!

    Especially the metal colours are good:)

    Greetings from the other side of the globe


  2. Very nice. Great step by step guide

  3. nice but didn't you do an under coat it might of turned out better

  4. @anonymous, thanks for looking and the comment! I did undercoat the model using Chaos Black as noted in the post.
    What parts in particular do you think need more work or could be better?
    Shading? Or is it that the colours are overall too dull? Etc. Thanks again for your comment!

  5. hey just bough my first ever skaven (ilse of blood), you guide helped me a great deal. keep up the good work, il link a photo of it when i get around to it (reckon it would help if you could see the results of your guides)

  6. @ Anonymous (or at least, the anonymous poster above this post...)
    Welcome to the Skaven! Definitely do post a link as it would great to see how your Warlord goes. As you say, seeing other people's work that has (even if a little!) come from my own guides would be great.
    If you could improve the way I write my guides (like the Warlord guide above), what would it be?
    Cheers and best of luck with your Clan!

  7. Stumbled upon your blog in search of a colour scheme for tha Skavens. As you I've "returned" to the world of war gaming after years in "exile". It's excellent work you do that helps me getting back the touch one had all those years ago :)

    1. Thanks a lot for coming by - just glad if anything here is of help on how to paint (or how NOT too!)

      I'm getting back into Tau at the moment, but still have lots of Skaven to paint, so will get more if the furry critters done at some point...

  8. great work use your guides as reference for my skaven and my tau you have been a great help

    1. Thanks Eish - you are welcome. Sorry that I haven't posted more updates or other stuff recently - I took a bit of a break but hope to post more soon!
      Thanks for coming by and for the comment.


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