Painting a model in minutes: A beginner’s guide

A mate of mine is still quite new to wargaming and wanted some advice to paint up his Necromunda house Delaque models for our ash wastes campaign. He told me the basic colour scheme and i attempted to distil it down to the simplest techniques, least paints and least steps possible. I ended up creating a “how to” guide for getting a very basic, but tabletop standard warrior onto a battlefield that won’t look like a golden demon winner but also really won’t look bad when viewed on the battlefield. And at the end of the day - everything is better than grey? Am I right?

So what follows is a beginners guide to getting a grimdark looking soldier on the tabletop as quick as possible.

So start of with your model (1)

and prime with wraithbone or grey seer or even white. It will have subtle differences but as long as the whole army is done the same it won’t matter. I used wraithbone here (2).

Next, get your paints (3)

You need only 5 paints. Contrast fyreslayer flesh (or similiar contrast flesh tone paint such as Gulliman flesh) , contrast snakebite leather, leadbelcher, aggrax earth shade and abandon black.

First do the flesh colours. (4)

It’s important you do this before the leathers. If the leather splashes on the skin, the skin paint will never cover it up but if the skin splashes on the leather it’s easier to cover up because the leather has a stronger pigment.

After this is dry (and make sure you wait or colours will bleed into each other) go into the leather (5).

This paint is great. It’s like iodine. Almost black brown in the recesses and almost yellow on the highlights. Avoid getting any brown on the skin tone parts.

Then once that is dry, do into the metallics. Anything metal gets a nice solid coat of leadbelcher.

(6) - notice I left the eagl wings and skull on the gun white. It’s on purpose. The earth shade will make that look nice later. Any symbols or little details you want on the guns and armour, you can do this for.

Now it’s even more important to wait for the metallics to dry before applying the earth shade. Reason being, metallic paints have tiny glittery particles in them for that shiny metal effect. If you wash before it’s dry , you spread them around and the model ends up looking glittery all over. You want to wash you brush thoroughly for this reason too.

But once dry, apply the aggrax earth shade all over. (7)

It is like a contrast paint but thinner. It sends a dark brown colour into all the recesses. It makes everything look worn, old and dirty and goes all your colours together. As an added bonus, if you didn’t quite reach paint into the characters armpit or something the wash runs in there and makes it all dark so nobody notices.

Once fully dry, we get the abaddon black out. I use this to paint the base. An based model looks great. But an unbased model just say on a black circle can look smart too. A base that is sprayed and flicked with bits of paint and stuff can look “unfinished” - this helps avoid that. (8)

I also used the black to paint the handle to the knife, one of the pouches on his belt, the stock on his gun and the ammo cartridge in the gun too. Totally optional - I just felt it broke up the gun a little bit.

If you wanted to base, a quick and easy method is aggrellan earth technical paint. Apply it thick with a brush you don’t care about. Leave it for a couple of hours (or less on a radiator) and the paint creates the desert crackle effect. Sticking a tuft on there too can add a pop of colour to the model too. Again - all optional. (8a and 8b)

Now the model is complete and he’s at what we call “tabletop standard”. If you put him next to some dudes who have had extra highlights and details added and you look really closely you may notice he’s a tiny bit more basic.

(9) But honestly . Nobody sees the models like that. People see the models from 3ft+ away when they are on a table. And a model at this standard is going to fit in perfectly on any table (10).


Thanks for this from a poor painter
Really useful

Magic! - michaelx

It’s almost like cheating! - also probably michaelx


***Half points on batg- feels like cheating!

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Bahahah sour grapes. If the tank counts as one the speed painted demo mini counts as one.


Contrast paints seem to save a lot of time for decent quick paint jobs. I hear you can make you own by adding acrylic flow medium to normal acrylic paint, so you don’t need to buy the expensive stuff. Looks like several other paint companies are making their own now so there should be more to choose from. Speed Paint from Army Painter is supposedly really good.


Vallejo flow improver is one tool in my painting arsenal I cannot recommend enough. One bottle lasts a lifetime (unless you’re creating washes for terrain boards every other day).

It’s an ingredient in most DIY washes, tech paints, contrast… etc

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Yeah this is great stuff jac. Wouldn’t know that was a quick job on the table unless you pointed it out. And this kind of starter stuff is really appreciated.

Sometimes it’s genuinely hard to know when enough is enough and not get carried away, I’m terrible for that.

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