Painting white seems like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be this way! This method takes away all of its complexity and will help you paint an awesome army in no time!
White Scars are a force to be reckoned with in 9h Edition, but don’t let the quest for an OP army distract you from also having a stunning army. White Scars are quite easy to turn from White primer and red dots to a really interesting looking army. Why settle for OP when you can also be pretty, the good ol’ twoofer.
How to Paint White Scars that Don’t Suck
This model, like all marines painted for this series, was painted live and took around an hour and a half, start to finish, including some breaks to chat and/or spill shades everywhere. This step by step and the techniques in the video are perfect for painting a whole army to a standard that will make them stand out at any tournament or gaming club.
Now, the key to painting an all-white army like the White Scars is to actually limit the amount of pure white you’re using. The two easiest ways to do this are battle damage and using off-white as the main color. This model uses the latter.
Off white is basically any color that looks white on its own, but that clearly isn’t when you put actual white right next to it. My go-to off white is Citadel’s Ulthuan Grey.
To paint the white, we airbrush Celestra Grey over a Wolf Grey undercoat. Wolf grey is a dark blue grey that will be perfect for any areas not covered by our off-white as it will make more natural shadows than black.
We use the Celestra Grey 1st because the transition from Wolf to Ulthuan would be too steep. Next we highlight our model with Ulthuan Grey, shading at a 45 degree angle from the top of the model.
Next we will use straight white, first for additional highlights on the very top parts of the model, and then as edge highlighlts to get those crips breaks in armor plates.
There are a few areas we want black on the model, and we’ll paint them all the same way. This saves a lot of time and adds consistency through the army.
Pick any black you want and basecoat the shoulder pads, gun, joints and cables.
To highlight our black, we will be using Wolf Grey again. Using the same color as the base coat keeps the models in the same tones. You don’t need to make the highlights super smooth, as we will wash the black surfaces with Nuln Oil next.
The wash tones down the Wolf Grey quite a lot, and ensures these parts look black and not grey.
Much like the black, every belt, pouch and strap will be painted using the same brown. Over a basecoat of Rhinox Hide, highlight using Skrag Brown, and then washed with Nuln Oil.
This technique is a little tricky, because once you apply the Skrag Brown, it will look very weird. I have done this 3-color brown at least a thousand times, and every single time before adding the wash I look at the model and think “This doesn’t look right”
Details like this should be painted and given care, but should not contrast so much as to become the focus of the model.
Gold & Silver
Metallics are done in a fairly simple way that has a great finished look. Highlight both the gold and the silver with Shining Silver. Gold is shaded with Agrax Earthshade and silver with Nuln Oil.
There is not a lot of sin area on Space Marines, usually just the faces. But faces are a defining feature and will draw attention, so you have to paint them with more care and detail than something like the seals or pouches.
Over a Bugman’s Glow base coat, highlight with Cadian Fleshtone.
Then we shade the face with Agrax Earthshade. I never use any of the washed labelled “skin” or “flesh” as they are far too orange for my taste in most of the ranges.
At this point, you can paint the eyes if you want to. I tend to just leave shadows in, unless I’m doing a character. The reason for this is that eyes take quite a lot of time to get right, and if they don’t look near perfect, they make the face look stupid. As you read this, you can probably picture a very specific model like this you came across, proving my point.
The last step is to come back with Cadian Fleshtone and highlight our model again, on the forehead, cheeks and the bridge of the nose.
Red is the most important color for White Scars because it’s the color that pops off and becomes the focus point of the model. So we want to make sure it looks striking.
A great way to get a vibrant red with a lot of depth is to highlight a Mephiston Red base coat with Evil Sunz Scarlet.
Wash this with Agrax Earthshade, to give it some depth, and highlight again with the Evil Sunz Scarlet to make the red pop.
This final highlight after the wash is money, and really makes the red vibrant.
Now all you need is a great looking base and voilà, that covers it.