Learning to Paint White – Part 2

Sooooo, it’s been a long time since I posted about learning to paint white. That’s because I’ve been mostly painting white!

Here’s what I’ve learned…

  • The way that I agreed to do white has changed a lot over the last few days/weeks!
  • We (the client and myself) decided a fresh approach was needed.
  • Oil washes work a treat!
  • It takes a LONG time

As I mentioned, we scrapped the previous ways of working for various reasons. Those reasons mean it didn’t quite fit with the clients vision. I am a visual person and I understood completely when he said it didn’t quite ‘gel’. We were here or hereabouts when last we spoke. Not terrible but not as stark or ‘worn in’ as the client wanted.


So I sat back and had a think. Then I remembered a tutorial that I saw by BuyPainted on YouTube. Specifically this one. I thought that might work out on the White Scars. Thankfully it did!

So that’s where we are at currently. I’ll take you through the steps…

  1. Undercoat everything with white, any white will do. I use the Vallejo White Primer.
  2. I then take a light grey and spray from underneath, this will give some shadows to the miniature. One of the main worries with painting white is that there are no highlights available to you. White is white! BUT you can trick the eye into thinking that a very light grey is near enough not to matter.
  3. Once the grey is dry I loaded more white – this time Dead White by Vallejo – and sprayed lightly down from above, this will be the main colour of the armour panels.
  4. Now, the fun begins… I take a gloss varnish (it HAS to be gloss so the oil wash flows correctly) and spray two or three coats across the entire mini and allow it to dry.
  5. I then mix my oil wash. No secrets or tips here, I put a blob of black oil paint in a receptacle and add white spirit until its the constitution of the washes we normally use.
  6. Then taking a small brush loaded with oil I VERY carefully apply to the recesses. Sometimes you can position your brush just right that the oil flow nicely into all of the armour plates and it does the work for you!
  7. Leave to dry. For a long time. I normally make terrain for a couple of days then come back to it.
  8. When dry I apply two or three coats of a matt varnish to dull everything down. And Hey Presto! the armour plates are nicely line shaded and you’re ready to continue as normal.
  9. I take the Dead White (still the Game Air version) and neaten anything up with multiple layers. As its been formulated for airbrushing the Dead White is incredibly thin. This works in our favour as it will hopefully go on nice and smooth. This is the time consuming part. Hours of staring at white!

Eventually though you’ll arrive at something like this…


It gives a nice natural shading effect to the stark white panels. I like ’em and it work particularly well with the red details and dark bases.

Now, more Tacticals then an armies worth of vehicles to do in the same way!

Keep your paints thin and your brushes pointy!




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