Thursday 20 June 2013

The Sound Of Machine Tutorial: Painting Traitor Guard

Traitor Guard - Painting Tutorial. Well, here you go, a bit of a step by step of how I painted the Traitor Guard army. The project took a few weeks due to other painting commitments and uni, but could easily be condensed into a fortnight of hard slog to get a similar army.

Step 1
Modelling Damage: It seems obvious to say, but you can't paint what isn't there (freehand aside!). As such, I believe in prepping the models to a high degree to give something to add detail to later. This is especially true of Chaos Marines. As such, this Forge World turret got the Dremel treatment to show battle damage and corrosion. Once painted, these areas would be used to provide contrast and also just areas of interest on such a large model.

Modelling Rust: As the body of the tank itself is plastic and less detailed, it too got Dremelled and extra details were added. This rust spot on the track guard was added by dropping some water onto wet superglue. When the mess dries, it gives quite a convincing corrosion effect for minimal effort. It also catches washes really well - oil or pigment.

Step 2: 
Basecoating: Okay, so clearly the bases on these guys have been started, but you get the idea. The whole model was sprayed with this light dusty bone colour, as it would be washed later which would darken the colour. So, whilst they look pastel and wimpy at the moment, I knew the wash would toughen them up in later stages. Using an airbrush also gives a subtle and slight difference in colour, all of which helps the final effect.

Step 3: 
Details Basecoated: Here, everything that wasn't cloth was coloured in a basecoat of it's final colour. The red, olive, silver, brown etc were all blocked in as neatly as possible. All that was left of the basic colour was the cloth and some of the rubble on the base. The whole model would soon be washed, which would define the areas of the detail and provide a slight blacklining effect, great for use on this scale miniature.

Step 4: 
Gloss Coat: Here are some of the Infantry taped to a plastic breadboard (with double-sided tape) ready for the Gloss Varnish which will help the washes to flow and settle. This step is not 100% vital, but after testing with Gloss, Matt and no varnish, I found Gloss to work the best with large volume washes. Given the water soluable nature of the varnish I used, I was able to put it through the airbrush with zero problems. On such a large army, this greatly sped up production.

Step 5:  
Gloss Coated: Just a quick shot to show the shine on the models once they have been gloss coated. We've all seen shiny models before, but I thought it might help to see the high level of sheen achieved.

Step 6:  
Ink Wash: A heavy black/brown ink wash was applied here using a large brush. The inks were thinned with water and some floor polish to aid in the flow. As you can see, it is quite heavy in some areas, but this would be fixed up at a later stage. The effect of heavy and light inking is a product of using the varnish and polish, and it helps to create a natural looking shadow/highlighted look. Again, this was all set up in the prep stage - seeing as I'd basecoated light, gloss coated and mixed the inks with some flow aid, it really did the job itself. 

Step 7: 
Pigments: Weathering with pigments is easy and you really can't go too far wrong, but some are a little apprehensive or unsure how to go about it. As described below under "Bases", orange and yellow pigments were applied in two seperate washes on the desired areas. Metal areas looked rusty once the orange was applied and by brushing some yellow onto the lower part of the Infantry, they looked suitably dusty and entrenched. 


Step 8: 
Details: Highlights, skin, lenses, stains, etc. were all added at this time. The lenses would have to be re-glossed after Step 9, but that was no problem. This stage was also used to fix up any heavy ink problems from Step 6 and the models are now really looking complete.

As most people already know, resin bases are great! The detail is all there and all you need to do is to colour it in. To paint these, they were treated similarly to the rest of the model. Bases were basecoated the same colour, details were picked out and then they were glossed. A mix of brown and black oil paint was well and truly thinned down and brushed over the whole base. When this dries, it leaves a very natural gradation of colour which works extremely well on earthy miniature bases. 

Pigments: Once painted, the bases were then given two washes of white spirit and weathering pigments. The first was organge on some of the metal areas to simulate rust and the second was a yellow colour to represent dust/sand/etc blowing around - some of which was drushed up onto the boots and legs of the models. Once dry, these were then worked into the base with a bit more white spirit, to remove any hard edges or unnatural looking patches. When the rest of the model was matt coated, this sealed in these pigments and made the models game ready.

Step 9: 
Matt Varnished: This part isn't too exciting, I just ran a Matt Varnish through the airbrush to take off all the shine given by the gloss and inks but it also serves to seal in the pigments and make them safe to handle. A second quick coat was given to the base, as it would be handled more often and also contained the majority of the pigment powder. Now, they are finished!

The same stages as above were applied to the tank and it has now been Matt Varnished. The pigments can clearly be seen in the superglue rust I made earlier, and the battle damage is very distinctive once painted. Without the modelling in Stage 1, none of this would be present to be painted and could leave a boring looking model. At completion, this tank took 4 hours of painting, with around 2 hours of prep time. The camo pattern was marked out with masking tape and roughly sprayed on before any weathering/detailing was carried out. A few small steps really make a job like this easier - so don't tackle it all at once, just have a plan and remember it's always easier to add more than take it away.


Warzone: Great stuff! We can't stress enough just how good these guys are. If you live in Australia have no hesitation in contacting Luke or Adam. They are great guys, friendly and professional! Contact details can be found under our dedicated page to them at the top.


  1. Top stuff, Luke has already helped me learn a lot about painting blood effects, which I'll be showing off soon as I finish the model.

    1. I'll keep an eye out for it on their page. Sounds great.


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