Dark Angels – Dark Vengeance – Airbrushing Basecoats

I received a copy of Dark Vengeance over a year ago and have finally got round to taking the wrapper off! In this tutorial I will show you how FBW basecoats the miniatures prior to painting.

The second step for any model or kit is normally basecoating – sometimes a step that get rather neglected. Applying a flat, smooth and consistent basecoat will save you effort and heartache later on (such as the time that I hadn’t quite sprayed from all the way underneath a model only to reveal unpainted metal under the arms, legs and backpacks once painting had begun).

So I took my based up Dark Angels…


and picked up the trusty airbrush. Nothing fancy here (not for the lack of convincing myself an Iwata would be a great investment for the future) just a basic eBay kit comprising of airbrush and small compressor.

Unfortunately in my rush to get these models to painting I completely forgot to photograph the stages as they happened! So, let me paint you a word picture…!

Step 1 – All over coat of Vallejo Light Grey Primer

This allows all consequent layer to bond to flat and smooth surface.

Step 2 – Zenithal Priming

There are many, many posts regarding zenithal priming online and I would recommend most of them to get the basics. For me it consists of picking the direction of the light source (generally from over head) and spraying dark undercoats from the bottom up and light undercoats from the top down. On these Dark Angels I used plain old black and white respectively.

Zenithal priming really allows a miniature to ‘pop’ without too much hard work on your part. Effectively starting the shading and highlighting process for you!

Step 3 – Undercoat – Green

I used Vallejo Olive Green (Vivid) 71.007 for the base coat. It took me a few different greens to land on this one but I think this is the closest (with a wash in a later stage) to a true DA green.

I didn’t want to cover up all of the work that I had done with the zenithal priming so a lot of thin layers of the green went in to building a solid, though slightly transparent, undercoat. Now there were shades of green on the miniature that all came about from the zenithal priming… time saved!

Step 4 – Green highlight

This stage was the hardest in my opinion. I have to be so careful to not undo all of the work to this point. Shock horror, the first miniature that I highlighted with the airbrush turned out to be far too ‘mint green’ to go with the dark undercoat.



A re-spray was needed. Having found another green – i think it was Vallejo’s Gunship Green – I tried again. It wasn’t as bad as the first one but still not as good as I’d like so I broke out the GW Coelia Greenshade and coated all of the miniature with a light layer. Spot on! This may seem a bit backwards, washing an airbrushed model to this extent but I’m a big believer in ‘if it works, give it a go’! The wash really dulled down the highlight enough for it all to blend together and ‘dirtied’ it up a bit too – Space Marines shouldn’t be too pretty after all!

Step 5 – The rest!

Then it was a ‘simple‘ case of picking out the details and methodically working through them – Basecoat, Shade, re-apply Basecoat to neaten up, 1st highlight, 2nd highlight and Details (Small bits that don’t fit into any other category – eyes lenses, purity seal text etc)

And thats it! Please feel free to follow my blog and comment

Thanks for stopping by







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