How to… Paint Space Wolves Quickly, AKA…

I seem to have snapped out of the hobby funk I had been languishing in recently. Helped in part by our move from the desolate wastelands of the Southside suburbs back to the North of the city, and familiar territories. While it is only a temporary set up, a measure of inner peace has been restored, and with it, my painting mojo.

I am, and was, quite literally getting sick of looking at unpainted miniatures and decided I wanted to do something about it, so I set about working a test mini for a recipe to paint my Sons of Russ. Now I have been agonizing for months on what shade of grey to paint them.  I see a lot of the really dark grey, which is great, but actually is a color that was used by the Wolves pre-heresy. Now I like the dark grey, and don’t get me wrong, there are some super wicked paint jobs out there, like Space Wolves Grey  (one of my fave SW resources) but I feel I wanted to stray a bit from that, as the plastic the minis are made in are a dark grey too.

I was never a fan of the ‘uber blue-grey’ that seemed to dominate GW’s later paint jobs (you know, when they were painting practically everything red?). Some of you may (or may not) have seen the Terminator and Wolf Guard that I had already tried out. Well, I liked the color I had achieved here, but did not want to spend 8+ hours on each miniature.  I wanted to get a decent looking, fully painted force on the table, with as little painting time as is legally possible.

So, while on vacation over the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought ‘frack it’, sat down and just started painting to see what would happen…

I had picked up a can of the ‘Army Painter’ Wolf Grey Primer, which looked like a pretty sweet starting point. I had already sprayed a Rhino in it, and was pleased with the result, so I blasted a couple of primered figures with it too, to test it out. Now while with tanks, you can get away with weathering and not really doing anything to the base color, it’s not really the case (IMO) with troops. While I liked the color of the primer, I felt that highlighting up from that color would make them look to ‘bright’.

So, I slathered the minis in a head-to-toe wash of Devlan Mud (which I admit is my best friend in my paints). Then, for good measure, once this layer had dried, I went over them again with another wash, just to make sure that the Devlan Mud was EVERYWHERE.

Now, earlier in the day, I had been at my FLGS and picked up a pot of Vallejo Blue Grey paint, which is nearly a perfect match to the primer coat. So, over the primer/Devlan Mud base I simply painted over the armor plates, leaving the darker base in all the cracks and nooks. The pigment in the Vallejo paint was incredible, and took in one (thinned) coat. Already I was beginning to like how this was coming together.  I decided I was only going to do a harsh line-edge highlight, completely stepping away from my usual 3 or 4 layer blending I normally do. So I took Space Wolves Grey (GW), which is almost a grey/white and used that to highlight armor plates. POW!

I was really pleasantly surprised at the results, and that was when I knew I had found my groove with my new fledgling army.

The beauty about this way of doing the armor is that if you get some paint where it shouldn’t be, it takes literally seconds to correct it, as you’re not having to re-blend etc etc.

Other areas were a snap too. For the flesh, I simply painted a basecoat of Tallarn Flesh, followed by a wash of Gryphonne Sepia, then Ogryn Flesh. When that had dried, I washed Devlan Mud into the eyes and mouth areas to add deeper shading. Paint the teeth with a touch of Bleached Bone and you’re done. That is IT!

Metal areas were base coated with Boltgun Metal, and washed with a coat or two of Devlan Mud (see how this keeps popping up?) then rough highlights on the edges with Boltgun Metal to look like actual wear and not just a pretty sheen on the armor plating.

Gold/Brass areas were painted with a 1-1 base of Scorched Brown and Shining Gold, followed by a wash of –yep, you guessed it- Devlan Mud, then highlighted with one layer of Shining Gold.

Bone/tooth fetishes – base coat of Snakebite Leather, wash of Devlan Mud, then add Bleached Bone to the base color for highlighting.

Runestones – Base coat of Graveyard Earth, washed with Devlan Mud, then a quick highlight with the base color mixed with Skull White.

Furry bits – Choose whatever brown, or grey you want, base coat, wash with DM, then add white to your base for highlights…

You’ll see that I do little more than one highlight after the base color and then the wash. This is the point of this article, to get your army painted, and quickly. Golden Demon winners these ain’t, but with a little TLC, your force will look very nice on the table, and hopefully garner you a few compliments.

I have’nt added the shoulder pad detail yet, as I wanted to do sqauds of them at a time, and also will be having combinations of the different ‘clans’ in my army. Down the road I may add weathering to the armor, but at the moment, I want the armor painted

Hopefully this will inspire some of you to whip up those undercoated minis and get them on the table…


11 thoughts on “How to… Paint Space Wolves Quickly, AKA…”

  1. It really is though mate… we should get together soon for some paintage, and i’ll show you how to get those mother-effin Black Legion ready to rock!

  2. That’s almost exactly the way I do it, except that I start with Astronomicon Grey and then wash with Babab Black to get the darker grey color. It’s a great way to go about things and still get a very nice looking army.

  3. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it earlier, but I have so many projects on the go it doesn’t suprise me. I tried doing the scorched brown/shadow grey mix that you thin and wash around the armor that they suggested in White Dwarf and it looked bloody awful. I’m still convinced that some of the painting articles are BS, and that they forget what they did sometimes and just make stuff up… lol!

  4. Really fantastic Space Wolf! I’m always impressed with your usual approach to layering and blending the highlights, but this method also looks great. Probably helps save a lot of time, too, especially over the course of painting an entire army. I think the Army Painter colored primers are pretty sweet and can definitely speed things along. For the base color on my Badab-style Raptors marines I spray them with Army Green and then wash them twice with Devlan Mud. (Is there anything Devlan Mud can’t do??) Thanks for reviewing how you painted your Space Wolf, this has inspired me to get back to work on my own minis.

  5. Hello matey! long time no speak! good to hear from you 🙂 Thanks for the compliments, and i’m glad that it’s giving you a gentle push to get your own stuff finished, thats always a good feeling. Devlan Mud really is a great wash. I still like to use actual inks, but this is a definite ‘must have’ in my paint box. How are things your way?

  6. Hello Paul, it’s good to hear from you too! Everything has been going really well for me, thanks for asking. 🙂 Just been keeping busy so I haven’t had a lot of time for gaming or painting. Life’s been great though. A few months ago my wife and I decided that for our next child we wanted to adopt, so getting ready for that has been a big focus lately. Showing off my hobby room and trying to explain Warhammer to the social worker during our home-study was as fun as you would imagine. 😉 Also because of the adoption it now looks like I won’t make it to Adepticon this spring, but I’m still optimistic about getting back to Chicago sometime soon. So how have you been? And what’s Crusader up to these days? I hope you and your family are doing really well this time of year, best wishes!

  7. Wow, you have been busy Jay! That great news about your impending adoption, congratulations to you both, and kudos to you both for such an honorable act. I have to say, I would have loved to have seen the Social workers face haha! you should do an article on it lol!

    Thats a shame you won’t make it to Adepticon, but you have a very good excuse! We’ll miss you though mate, and we’ll raise a glass to you 🙂

    Crusader is busy, writing 2 new songs at the moment, shows already set up for January and tentatively heading back in the studio to record the full length in Febuary.

    Take care mate, and have a safe holiday! 🙂

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