Step by Step – Forge World Horus

Painting a primarch as grand has the Warmaster himself might sound like a daunting task.  But fear not, as this article has got you covered every step of the way to get the finest Horus added to your shelf!

This article is also posted on Spikey Bits


Paint your Primarch: Horus Edition

One cool thing about this Horus is that with all the symbols and details in his armor, you can paint him in pretty much any scheme you’d like ( Luna Wolves White, Sons of Horus Grey, Justaerin Black, Classic McVey Red ) it will all look awesome.

Ours will be white for 2 very simple reasons

  1. It’s Eric’s favorite scheme
  2. It’s his model.



To make good use of the airbrush, leave the base, the cloak and the head separated from the body. Also, make sure the cloak fits in the back, maybe mine was either miscasted or the resin was twisted, but it did not fit at all without serious pin-vice action.

Unto the painting!



After priming your badboy, time to start with the airbrushing.


Armor: Keep the colors neutral for the armor, as you want to wolf pelt sitting on top to contrast with it rather than blend in. Start with a basecoat of Dawnstone. You can then highlight with a mix of Dawnstone and White ( 50/50 ) and add a final highlight of pure white spraying from to top of the model.


Head: Starting with Rhinox Hide in the recesses, basecoat the head with Bugman’s Glow and highlight by adding white to that color.


If you’re into the classic look of Horus with the red glow coming from the armor, now’s a good time to do it. Spray Khorne Red lightly in the armor where the head is. Then lightly spray the back of the head with it.

Go lightly with thinned down paint to create a red hue on the skin, rather than turn the whole thing red. Finesse my brother!


** I know the face is in the armor on the picture, but don’t actually glue it at this point!  **

Cloak: To do the red cloak, start by airbrushing Rhinox Hide in the deep folds and where the claod will meet the armor as these areas will the the most shaded. Then basecoat the cloak with Mephiston Red, leaving brown in the recesses. If you have a steady hand, add a highlight with wazdakka red on top.  If you like painting black, I’m pretty sure it would lool awesome in black too contrasting the white armor.


Base: Just like with Horus’ paint scheme, the base is another area where you can go a milion different ways.  Because we’re painting Eric’s model, Horus’ base has to match his other Primarchs.  The method is covered in this dollar e-book that you can get on Kindle.

Base 1Base 2Base 3Base 4

Actual Painting:

The bulk of the work is done, now it’s time to kick it into overdrive and make everything we just did pop!

The Wolf Pelt

Step one is to google pictures of wolves, or take your hipster girlfriend’s wolves-howling-at-the-moon sweather as reference. Obvious upside to the later: your girlfrend is now topless as you have her sweather. No need to thank me.

This sounds lame, but a wolf looks a lot like a dog, or a fox, or some random furry canine without a few disctinctive colors placement.

The brown spot between the eyes, black nose, black ears and the grey crest, I feel are the areas that make the most wolfy features.


Sadly, I don’t have pictures of this process as I started over a couple of times before beign smart and using a reference. The final method looked something like this:

Basecoat with Dawnstone,

Overbrush/drybrush with Celestra Grey and white in the relevant areas.

Wash with thinned down Adeptus Battlegrey and thinned down black the relevant areas

Wash the pelt with thinned down Dark Reaper, specialy where thepelt mets the armor.

Wolf WIP

You want to make these wash too thin and do more coats with them rather than one too thick and start over.

Lastly, paint the eyes and the nose black.

The cloak:

I would have no problem leaving the cloak as is with only the airbrush steps done to it, but since this is Horus, we’ll add some depth to it.

Cloak WIP

Start with highlighting again with Wazdakka Red, focus on some area where the airbriush might’ve missed.

Basecoat the detail in the claok ( the line and the Eye ) with Celstra Grey

Then, wash the cloak with thinned down Rhinox Hide. This takes a while, as you need 5-6-7 coats to get right and you need them to dry completly between each coat, so feel free to start working on another step in between. Start each coat closer the the fold, so you cover less area as you go along.


These washes also provided our line and Eye of Horus with a crisp outline of brown. Clean up the details with celestra grey and highlight them white. Touchup the cloak with wazzdakka Red once more in areas where you want to cloak to pop.

Cloak Final


Work on the face is pretty straightforward:

Mix Bugman’s glow with white and highlight the cheekbones, nose, chin and lowerlip. Wash with thinned down Rhinox Hide.

Yes, mastering the thinned down rhinox hide is 90% of my skills.

Learn it. Live it. Earn it.

Armor ( and rest of the miniature for that matter )

Since I had no idea on what colors should go where, I started ou by blocking in all the basecoats and see how that would look. I do this on most of the stuff I paint when there’s no specific scheme to follow.

By blocking out a color, I mean the basecoat to something and leave the shading/highlighting for later.

So Mephiston Red for all the ‘Eyes’ and the lenses, Black for the trims and the armor joints, Leadbelcher for the silver and Runelord Brass for the Gold.

I want to keep gold to a minimum as gold over white requires a lot of work and deep shading to look good.

Blocking Colors


The model looks kinda weird with only these flat colors.  But you can tell if your choice of color is off and fix it before having spend all that time working on the wrong color.  So now is a perfect time to switch things around if they don’t look right to you.

Once you blocked out everything and it’s to your liking here’s how you pimp up your pimp, so to speak.


Black: Mix black with Karak Stone or Screaming Skul and highlight, focus mostly on the rivets and raised edges. Dont use grey to shade black, it always looks wrong. And grey.


Red: Pretty mich how we did the cloak. If you want more of a gem-like effect, you can add a touch of Orange after your highlight.


Silver: Start with highlighting Leadbelcher with Runefang Steel. Then wash with Nuln Oil. You can then re-highlight with runefang or shade some more with thinned down black paint.

The additional black shading goes a long way when your silver is right next to the white armor.


Gold: Shade with Agrax Earthshade and ahde some more with thinned down black paint if you want a darker look and a crisp outline next to the white armor. Once that’s done, highlight with Runefang steel.


Glue everything together, you are the proud owner of a pimp-tastic Horus, Primarch of the Luna Wolves, First Among Equals, Unparalleled Bro-King and un bunch of other coolass titles.

Pimp 2Pimp 1Pimp 4Pimp 6 Pimp 3 Pimp 5xx


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