How to Paint Crimson Fists

Crimson Fists used to be the iconic Space Marines, and why shouldn’t they; they look awesome.  And the good news is that painting them is fast and easy!

We have two very specific goals when it comes to our Crimson Fists scheme:

1- Quick and easy, so you can paint a full army in a reasonable time.

2-  Unmistakably Crimson Fists – not ‘blue marines’ and especially not Utramarines

How to Paint Crimson Fists

Our strategy to achieve this two-prong approach is going to use a limited palette of mostly matte colors for everything, except the red, which we want to be super bright.

Using a limited palette will greatly speed up the painting process, and the matte/vibrant contrast is sure to make the actual crimson fist of our Crimson Fists stand out.


To paint the blue, we start on an even black under coat.  This is important, because we are leaving some of it showing through our first coat, with Kantor Blue.

Next we highlight with Calgar Blue. We want to keep a dark blue here, so go lightly with the highlight.

Next, we glaze the entire model with Nuln Oil.  This will darken our model even more, and help redefine the panel lines in the armor.

Once the Nuln Oil has dried, we come back with a final highlight of Calgar Blue, even lighter than the first.

If you are not into the muted color strategy, you can use a more vibrant blue, like Caledor Sky.


Because the scheme is quite dark and quite simple, black will fit right in for the joints, vents and pouches.   A simple highlight with Mechanicus Standard Grey followed by a wash with Nuln Oil is all we need here.

Again, the goal here is to keep things minimalistic, that’s why were are not going for a more classic brown look.


There’s a slight mistake on our model, in terms of accuracy:  the chest piece should be silver not gold.

This is a good thing, because we get to use less colors that way.  The gold does not add much to the overall look anyway.

For the silver, a base coat of Gun Metal and a wash of Nuln Oil is all you need.  Again, this simple and dark tint for our silver helps the red stand out more.

If this is too simple for your taste, highlight with Shining Silver before the wash.  This way, you can add crisp details, without losing too much of the dark tone.

Crimson (Fists) Red

This is what we’ve been building for, and besides the blue, is where we want to spend the bulk of our efforts to make sure it is as eye catching as possible.

We are going for a very similar four-step process as the blue:  Base coat, Highlight, Shade, Highlight.

Our base coat is Mephiston Red, because it is bright and covers in a single coat.

We highlight this with Evil Sunz Scarlet.  You don’t need to blend in this highlight that much, as the shading with smoothen it.

Our shading is done with Agrax Earthshade.  You could make a case for Carroburg Crimson here, but the darker shade of brown helps make the red stand out.

You achieve a bigger contrast by going from a darker red to a lighter red than by using only vibrant reds.

This last highlight with Evil Sunz Scarlet is critical, as it will make the red stand out and really contrast the deepest areas that are dark red.


You can probably guess what the theme for the base is going to be.  That’s right: a muted tone!

This plays with out overall miniature, and really helps showcase the marine.  For this one, we went with a desert theme, but grey would work just as well.

To add something more interesting to the miniature, we airbrush steel legion drab very lightly in the feet and leg of the model.

The key with this step is that whatever color to go lightly enough so that the color stays blue.

It needs to be tinted with the dust color, but at no point should it be beige, only tinted blue.  That’s how light you want to go.


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