Learning to paint white – Part 1

… At the age of 34!

I don’t know how I got this far without giving white a fair go. Sure, I’ve painted the odd piece here and there. See my Corbulo here and various Eldar Guardians etc here but there next commission is a whole different kettle of fish.

The White Scars. The WHITE Scars.

I needed to learn for to paint white quickly! Currently residing on my painting table are…

  • 30 Tactical Marines from the Betrayal at Calth boxed set. Although a lot of these are modified in some way. Helmet swaps and weapons from a lot of different aftermarket sellers mainly.
  • 7 Forgeworld Jetbikes. These things are massive! I didn’t realise the size of these until I received them! A Command Squad featuring a Praetor and Librarian forms part of this.
  • 2 Forgeworld Javelin Speeders. Also huge!
  • 3 Outriders. Compared to the above these are fairly pedestrian! Great sculpts though.
  • 2 Sicarian Tanks. One standard and on Venator.

And that covers it. A highly mobile force, fitting for the White Scars.

However, this does throw up the problem of that much white!

I spend all of Sunday in the studio so, I started by trawling through YouTube and Google. Each were helpful BUT the client and myself had agreed on a ‘ceramic-esque’ style rather than the grey shaded style that I have seen so much of.

Adapting as we went (the client was on the other end of Facebook Messenger) I basically started from the beginning and knocked out a quick White Scar, kind of following a tutorial I’d found. Here he is…

While he isn’t bad… There was something about him in my eyes. He’s a bit ‘Apothecary’ and sure he could do with weathering but the starkness of the white really jars. The client thought so too. Thought I do like the red bits!

Back to the paint table.

I started again but tried a more layered technique. A little better. It gave a ‘creamier’ result and seemed a bit more finished than the first go. I didn’t do the whole miniature… I concentrated on the power fist and arm. This was a severely watered down wash of Fenrisian Grey followed by the armour plates being given a coat of Celestra Grey. Adding more white for each pass I worked up the plates. Better but quite time consuming (see list above for how long this technique is going to take!)


Instead of using a grey/blue for a wash over the white undercoat I started using Browns/sepias. By this point I was running out of white primed mini’s so grabbed what I could!

I tried a wash of both XV-88 and Zandri Dust… Both worked ok, but not great…


I used a base coat of Zandri Dust with varying amounts of Pallid Wych Flesh to bring it up to white, finishing up with Cearamite White. I was ok, just ok, I thought to myself that it’s the contrast between light and dark that is missing.

Back to the paint table again!

This time I didn’t start with a mix of my own devising, I used The Army Painters Soft Tone. I applied it liberally to a repurposed Chaos Marine (he was soooo mad). Then I changed tack again and started with Rakarth Flesh. Then followed the same progress with the Pallid Wych Flesh and Ceramite White. Now this, this is something we can work on…


Overall we are looking for a very light, almost bone, brown color fading into the white. The starkness that bothered me also bothered the client. This may go some way to get rid of it.

Stay tuned folks, I’ll paint up an entire marine and see how we look

Keep your paints thin and your brushes pointy!



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