Painting Warhammer 40k Space Marines

2011-06-24 Khaiell

Bored of the usual tricolore blue, white, red? Try my guide to painting Space Marines brown! Three basic colours are brown, white and iron

Bronze Gryphons' Last Stand

Colours used

  • Basic: Calthan Brown, Bleached Bone, Boltgun Metal
  • Washes: Badab Black, Devlan Mud, Ogryn Flesh, Baal Red
  • Highlights and details: Bestial Brown, Skull White, Bronzed Flesh, Blazing Orange, Chaos Black, Chainmail, Mithril Silver, Blood Red, Codex Grey
Bronze Gryphons shoulderpads
Bronze Gryphons shoulderpads

No fancy technique is used here. Colours are laid flat over a white primer with black background where the metal elements are to be painted. Washes are then used, followed by layered highlights.

So called "layering" is used for highlighting armour and this is the most tricky part. You paint edges of the armour with gradually more and more lighter colours.

Decoration has an "inner glow" rather highlights. It is painted flat white, washed with Devlan Mud and then pained Bleached Bone with edges and recesses showing some original white.

Power Weapons are washed in fluid, colourful shapes and then blade edges are painted skull white to make them look sharp.

And now step by step:

Basic armour

  • Calthan Brown
  • Black Wash
  • Bestial Brown layering

Armour decoration

  • Codex Grey
  • Skull White
  • Devlan Mud
  • Bleached Bone


  • Bronzed Flesh
  • Ogryn Flesh

Eye protectors

  • Blazing Orange
  • Blazing Orange + Bleached Bone blinks


  • Chaos Black
  • Boltgun Metal
  • Black Wash
  • Chainmail gross layering
  • Mithril Silver detailed layering

Plasma heatsink, Melta nozzle

  • Bronzed Flesh
  • Baal Red


  • Bleached Bone
  • Skull White

Flamer nozzle

  • Calthan Brown drybrush
  • Laser lens
  • Blood Red
  • Blood Red + Blazing Orange + Bleached Bone blinks

Power, Force and Melta weapons

  • as weapons
  • Mithril Silver blade
  • Blue/purple irregular wash
  • Skull White edges

Skulls and Purity seals

  • Bronzed Flesh
  • Devlan Mud
  • Bleached Bone
  • Blood Red wax
  • Blood Red + Bleached Bone wax highlights

See the pictures as separate pages: Bronze Gryphons' Last Stand * Space Marine Captain close-up * Space Marine Librarian close-up * Space Marine Armour: Mk1 Thunder, Mk2 Crusader, Mk3 Iron and Mk4 Maximus * Space Marine Armour: Mk5 Heresy, Mk6 Corvus, Mk7 Eagle and Mk8 Errant

You may also find these interesting:
To create a metropolis that would make Marinetti and his 1920s Futurists proud, all you need is a lot of polystyrene foam and a window-shaped hot metal branding mark. Here comes "The City, The Crowd, The Machine" of old avant-garde dreams in 28mm scale. »
How to build terrain 29-05-2015 Khaiell
Not only adding tension to any landscape while offering troops some cover but also useful markers for exploded vehicles »
How to build terrain 12-06-2011 Khaiell