How to Paint Vior’La Sept Tau

Paint a Vior’La Sept Tau army over the weekend with this easy and striking tutorial.  The shooting phase has never looked this good, this quickly!

Paint Vior’La Sept Tau

The Vior’La sept is the new poster-child of the Tau Empire, being the main color scheme they are on the boxes and Codex.  But painting a white model can be a nightmare, let alone a full army.

Our method tackles two fishes with one stone, because we aim to make this process easy and quick with the help of some speed painting techniques.


This is the main color of this scheme, and we are looking for the most straight forward way to get a clean white.  There’s no cheating with off-white or cream here.

To do this, we are starting on a clean base coat of Army Painter Matt white.  We are using it because their white paint is really good, and you can get the bulk of the job done on your army with a shaker can.

Next, we are using Apothecary White Contrast.  This is not like the regular contrast paints, it’s really more like an incredibly light grey wash.  It will do all of the panel lining for us, and leave most of the model white.

Note that at this stage, you can just use a very large brush and do the entire model, whether an area will stay white or not at the end.  This is another way we save a lot of time.

Lastly, come back with your Matt White and edge highlight the armor and everything that will stay white.

This step is somewhat optional.  If you were heavy handed with the contrast, you probably need to do it to bring back that crisp white look.


Red is the accent color to paint vior’la, and we want something bright.  Less is more here, so don’t go overboard with what you are painting red.  I like squad markings and the occasional helmet, but not much more.

Start with Mephiston Red, which is a little bit darker than what we want, but will stand out next to the white of the miniature.

Next we highlight this with Evil Sunz Scarlet.

For models with larger red areas, like Battlesuits, cloaks or helmets, we can shade with Carroburg Crimson.  It will darken the red without muting the brightness too much.

This really is only for the larger areas, it won’t yield great results for the hassle on small freehand markings.


A muted skin tone is better with the Vior’La scheme than a bright one, as we want the focus to be on the white and red pard of the model.

Start on a basecoat of Dark Reaper, and highlight with Calgar Blue.  Then shade this with Nuln Oil, to take away some of the blue hue from the skin.

There are multiple ways to pain Tau skin.  You can look at one of our other Tau articles if you are looking for a brighter tone.

Clothes and extra details

Most of the extra details, like the straps and some of the guns inner workings (or exo-skeleton, if you are painting Battlesuits) are painted in a muted black color.  Again, this is done to make sure the white and red are the eye-catching colors on the model.

Over a black base coat, highlight with Dark Reaper.  This ties in the details and the skin tone without making confusing as to which is which when you’re looking at the model.

Our model is painted in a truly minimalistic scheme, the get your models tournament legal as fast as possible way, so we left most of the clothes in white.  Check out the Farsight Enclave article for a way that also works to paint Vior’La clothes.


Darker bases tend to look better on light models, and the one we have is a simple Rock Base, like the one you can find in our Kindle dollar E-Book

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