How to paint Blood Angels

One of the most frequent questions by newbies is how to paint Blood Angles. Well, for a large part I consider myself to be a newbie still, but I guess I have figured out the painting part.
My painting style has some shortcuts but is also very keen on details so I can keep up a speed that is fairly productive and produce decent looking miniatures at the same time. Just add more shortcuts or take better care of the details to get the quality you want. If you want an even shorter guide (only five steps, hurray!) you can look into Games Workshops slightly outdated Painting Blood Angels article. After all, my way is not the only way to paint. :-)

  • Basecoat the miniature with white color. Some people prefer black color because it makes all following layers of colors look darker. However, I prefer white as it allows you to see the details on the miniature better plus you can always darken the colors with inks later.
  • After that, I paint the entire model with Mechrite Red. This provides the needed base color and prevents any white spots that may be hard to paint later.
  • Next, I paint any part with Iyanden Dark Sun that is supposed to have a lighter color on the finished model. Good examples are faces, paper scrolls, wings, golden parts etc. Furthermore, Iyanden Dark Sun is a really good base color for yellow as it hardly shines through.
  • In a next step, I apply a wash called Flesh Wash on the entire model. This wash has gone out of production, but you can use Ogryn Flesh instead. This wash darkens the lower areas of the red Power Armor and adds more depth to the model. If you have any question concerning inks and washes, I recommendSkarboy’s excellent tutorial.
  • Once the wash is dry, I paint the yellow (e.g. an Assault Marine’s helmet) and bone colors (e.g. skulls, bones, and scrolls). For yellow I like Bad Moon Yellow, but once again this paint is out of production so you may have to find a substitute. The bone colored parts are simply being drybrushed with Bleached Bone. Just get some paint with your brush and wipe it off again on a piece of cloth until there is hardly any paint left on the bursh.
  • Now it’s time for the Blood Red. On the average trooper, I use Blood Red only to highlight the edges of the Power Armor so the brown wash still leaves a dirty/muddy look. In the case of veterans I paint everything over with Blood Red except for the lower areas where the brown wash accumulated. This gives a fresher/cleaner look to the veterans and you get an effect called Brown Lining for free as the dark lines are already there – you just have to make sure you don’t paint them over with the Blood Red.
  • In a next step it’s wise to do the black parts on your model, mainly the Bolters and other weapons.
  • Up next is the miniature’s face if it goes without a helmet. Do a base skin ofDwarf Flesh, darken it with Ogryn Flesh, and finally highlight it again with Elf Flesh. The hardest part are the eyes as it takes a calm hand to do the black dot in the center. However, the more you try it, the easier it will get. If you prefer, you can paint the eye entirely black first and paint white parts second.
  • Now is the time to do all the details you didn’t pay attention to before, for example ornaments, tubes and cables, metallic parts of the weapons, etc.
  • Finally, you can add more highlights on the Power Armor by drybrushingBlazing Orange and Bad Moon Yellow on the appropriate parts. Just check where the light comes from and drybrush the parts of the model that it shines on. I suggest you work in a well lit room. If you’re in a dark room with just one lamp you may very well see the bright spots on the surface of the miniature, but there are also strong shadows that distort the shape of the miniature and make it harder to paint.
I usually water down my paints quite a bit so I get thin and smooth layers of color. Sometimes it takes you more than one layer until a color looks good, but that’s still better than having thick paint ruin the surface of your model.
I use Games Workshop paints just because they are convenient, but you may use other paints as well. Everybody has to find his/her own set of paints, I guess. When I was a teen and had less money, I used Humbrol oil-based paints, they are mainly designed to paint World War II armies. Now I swung over to Games Workshop paints because it’s easier to just add water (I take it directly from the tab) and because I have the paints I need all ready to use. I don’t mix paints and paint straight out of the pot. I love to paint, but I also like to keep things fairly simple.
One last piece of advice: everyone can paint good looking miniatures as long as they try to paint cleanly. If there is a speckle by mistake, just paint over it again with the correct color. Painting isn’t hard as long as you try to paint cleanly. There are painters who check the weather report before priming their miniatures, they have special sets of brushes and their arsenal of individually mixed colors. Surely they are pros and create master pieces, but you don’t need all that to paint a good looking miniature that you can bring to your local game store. :-)


Blood Angels standard bearers

Well, finally my standard bearers are done. The freehands are not at Golden Demon level, but they’re good enough to work as center pieces of my army.
Lord Dante’s Honor Guard Standard Bearer:

The angel holding the bloody cloth is supposed to make everyone remember thedeath of the Primarch Sanguinius and his sacrifice to bring down the evil traitor.
Blood Angels’ 2nd Company Standard Bearer:

The Grail is supposed to give the Blood Angels hope because although their Primarch is dead, they have still his blood running in their veins that enables them to embark for many great crusades still.
One can see a lot of Christian symbolism in all of this, but hey – why should Games Workshop reinvent the wheel when human history is full of powerful lore?

Sanguinius holding the Gates of Terra

Over at Bolter & Chainsword there is a thread running for a couple of weeks alreadythat displays amazing commissioned artwork displaying the Primarch Sanguinius holding the Gates of Terra. If you jump to the (current) end of the thread, you can download even a highres version as the customer decided to share this piece of art with every other fan. :-)