Painting Warhammer Ultramarines

Space Marines come in many colors, but none more iconic than the poster boys for Warhammer Ultramarines.  Learn to paint them easily!

Ultramarines are often viewed as a bland army.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  This is the driving force behind this technique:  classic, but not boring!

Painting Warhammer Ultramarines

To do this, we hard looking for bold contrasts between the colors.  This allows us to produce a bright model, without breaking from the traditional color scheme.

Please note, I know there’s a stain on the collar.  I spotted it after the pictures were taken, and will touch up and fix them eventually.


Blue is the main culprit of the boring warhammer ultramarine smurf look, because the traditional color is very muted.  The more recent Ultramarines are more vibrant.

Our plan is to use the ‘traditional’ colors except for one highlight, which we will replace with a vibrant blue.  This will be a good compromise between the modern and classic tones.

By keeping most of the colors ‘classic’ we don’t alter the scheme too much.

We start on a Kantor Blue base coat, and highlight it with Caledor Sky.  Caledor is quite vibrant.  If you want a more muted look, apply less of it, or replace it with Macragge Blue.

Next we highlight with Calgar Blue.  This is the classic Ultramarines color.

If you don’t want a light blue, or to smooth out your airbrush blends, apply a thin glaze of Drakenof Nightshade across your model.


The OG marines had yellow trims, which changed to gold over time. In that regards, Retributor Armor is perfect because of its yellow hue.

Shade your gold trims with Agrax Earthshade before edge highlighting with Shining Silver.  You can use  Reikland fleshshade for the wash if you want to tone down the yellow.


For much of the colors that are not blue or gold, our goal is to paint it to a good standard, but not make it stand out too much.  Blue and gold are the stars of the show.

So, our silver is painted Leadbelcher, with very little highlights of Shining Silver.  This is then given a generous wash of Nuln Oil


The gun and the joints in the armor are base coated black.  This is then highlighted with Stegadon Scale Green and shaded with Nuln Oil.

The shade is really great on the joints as it does all the work for you and allows you to be much faster, cutting the need to highlight precisely every little fold.


Brown is a tricky color for pouches, because it clashes with the blue if you pick a color with too much orange or yellow in it.  This is probably where I would stray from the classic scheme and just paint these details black.

But for the sake of accuracy to the official scheme, stick to a darker brown like Rhinox Hide.  We’ll highlight with Doombull Brown and then shade with Nuln Oil.  This shade will mute the red tone in the browns.

Purity Seals

Much like the brown, purity seals are tricky to blend in the model.  The beige and red are not really used across the model otherwise.

Its a smart play to base coat them in medium tones, like Mephiston Red for the top and Steel Legion Drab for the bottom, and shade them brown.

Granted, this is on the simpler side.  But it serves a purpose bigger than laziness.


Lenses are red, and start on a basecoat of Mephiston Red.  We then paint a thin line of Evil Sunz Scarlet towards the front of the lense, followed by a thinner line of Flash Gitz Yellow.

If this is too yellow, simply add a thin coat of Carroburg Crimson.  Thin is the keyword here, you really only want to tint the color, not use it like a shade.


Muted bases work really well for warhammer Ultramarines, whether they are brown, beige or grey.  This one is a classic urban themed one that’s easy to make.

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