Painting Deathwatch Space Marines

If you are in the business of painting Deathwatch Marines, step right up, this is a step by step guide to painting the Astartes monster hunters.

This was originally done as a tutorial to paint the army for Astartes Charity 2017. 

The goal of this scheme is to have a set of muted colors on the deathwatch marine, and let the original chapter colors be the focal point of the models.

It is one thing that makes Deathwatch so interesting to paint, we want to showcase it.

Painting Deathwatch Space Marines

Our model is from the Space Wolves, so the left knee pad and right shoulderplates are painted in Space Wolves color.

The rim of the shoulder plate can be either black like the deathwatch or the original chapter color, like we did here.  Either option is fine, do the one you prefer.  But sticking to either option across your army is best.

Black Armor

The armor we want to keep a flat black, again, to make the other colors more eye catching.  As such, we want to add bon to highlight the black, which prevents it from looking grey.

  • Black
  • Same Black + Skeleton Bone about 50/50
  • Black + Skeleton Bone about 30/70 – Very light or edge highlights
  • Nuln Oil shade

You can add another edge highlight after the shade if you want crispier lines.  Use you 70/30 mix again for this.


Deathwatch have a very clean silver, so we want to replicate that using bold highlights of Shining Silver.

  • Leadbelcher
  • Shining Silver highlights
  • Nuln Oil shade
  • Highlight again with Shining Silver

You can paint the Inquisition symbol on the shoulder plate with gold instead of leaving the whole army silver. I prefer the entirely silver because of how it looks across an entire army.


The casings are painted classic red.  This is both for accuracy to the original scheme and to tone done the silver that’s already on the entire left arm.

  • Mephiston Red basecoat
  • Highlight with Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Wash with Agrax Earthshade

You can add a final highlight of Evil Sunz Sarlet if you want a bolder look.

Lenses & Gems

We keep a minimal color palette, so red is the perfect color for these details.

  • Mephiston Red, leaving some black towards the back of the head
  • Evil Sunz Scarlet, towards the front of the model
  • Dot of yellow in the part that remained black


  • Zandri Dust
  • Highlight using Screaming Skull

You can add either Seraphim Sepia or Agrax Earthshade to this if you find the scrolls too bright.  They should not be super eye catching, as it is quite a boring detail to catch the eye.

Cables & Joints

  • Black
  • Incubi Darkness
  • Nuln Oil

The Nuln Oil will help redefine the folds on the classic marines joints.  This means you can save some time with the highlights.  You don’t need to make the perfect with teeny-tiny lines.


These bases were done in a very simple scheme because the Astartes Charity Project was done with painters across the globe, so we kept it something that was easy to match.

  • Basecoat with Rhinox Hide
  • Drybrush with Steel LEgion Drab Brown
  • Lightly drybrush with Skeleton Bone
  • Touch up the edges with Rhinox Hide

You can add plants or static grass to make your bases a little bit more interesting.  Really, any muted tone will work on the bases with the Deathwatch paint scheme.

2 thoughts on “Painting Deathwatch Space Marines

  1. Great question, those are on a lot of models indeed!Grenades I would paint silver in the same fashion as the arm and gun.For pouches I would use rhinox hide, highlight with skraag brown and then wash with nuln oil.

Share your thoughts