How to paint Space Wolves: part 2

Space Wolf Panorama: A mixture of models from my newest to some of my oldest.

Space Wolf Panorama: A mixture of models from my newest to some of my oldest.

So, after all the preamble in the previous post, here’s how I paint my Wolves. The colour key is in the previous post.

 Stage 1: Basic colours
I start by painting the armour SW Mix. The concertinaed areas at the back of the knees, thigh joints etc. are coloured Eshin Grey. Bare skin and the backside of furs are painted Bugman’s Glow. Areas that will be painted gold or brass are painted with Tausept Ochre, yellow areas are painted with Iyanden Darksun and red areas are painted Mechrite Red. Bone areas (skulls, fangs, purity seals) are undercoated Ceramite White. Leather areas are painted Scorched Brown. My cabling colour scheme doesn’t completely work with the new paints as they got rid of Mechrite Red and I use that along with Fenris Grey and Caliban Green for any piping. Silver areas are painted with Boltgun Metal.

 Stage 2: Next Layer
Skin is painted with Elf Flesh, red areas painted with Red Gore (weapon grips, purity seals, fabric/chords) or Blood Red (armour), yellow areas are painted with Yriel Yellow. For yellows you need to do several thin coats in order to get a smooth colour. Brass areas are painted with Dwarf Bronze and gold areas are painted Shining Gold.

Stage 3: Freehand
For large bits of freehand I really recommend planning in advance (shoulder pads for instance). For tattoos I tend to go with the flow and see what I can come up with. I like to paint freehand before highlighting as it is easier to correct mistakes. However, this can also disrupt the highlighting process a little as you have to paint round the details.

At this point my guys tend to look like this:

before washing

Stage 4: Washes
The new washes tend to stick a bit more to the models. I don’t mind this so much as it makes armour in particular a little bit dark and dirty. If you want to dilute it use a bit of Lahmian Medium as well as water as that improves the flow a bit.

For skin I use Ogryn flesh
For hair it depends on the shade. I usually use either Gryphonne Sepia or Badab Black
For bone, fangs, parchment, back of furs etc., I use Gryphonne Speia
For armour I start with a layer of Deneb Mud and then follow it up with a layer of Badab Black.

The models then look something like this:

after washing

Stage 5: Highlights
Oddly enough, I don’t highlight my Wolves quite as much or use such a complicated scheme as I use for my newer models. It’s mostly because I’m trying to have a vaguely coherent army and I started highlighting with my second set of guys and while I hope that my technique has evolved, I’d like to have an army that more or less looks the same.

For armour I highlight with Space Wolves Grey. I line highlight along any edges and panelling and then add other highlights where it looks like light will fall. For bone areas I start with Bleached Bone (the Gryphonne Sepia really does change the colour that much!) and then extreme highlight with a touch of skull white. Yellow areas are highlighted with YY+W while red areas are highlighted up in the order (BR+RG, Blood Red,) TSO+BR, Troll Slayer Orange. Brass areas are highlighted with shining gold, while golden areas are highlighted with Burnished Gold. Silvery coloured metals are highlighted with chainmail and then the “sharp” edges are highlighted with Mithril Silver. With the piping I highlight Mechrite Red with Blood Red, Fenris Grey with Hawk Turquoise and Caliban Green with Warpstone Glow.


Stage 6: Glazes
For the power axe I used a Guilliman Blue glaze before adding the sparks with Hawk Turquoise, Ice Blue and Space Wolves Grey. For the heat damage on the flamer I used Lamenters Yellow followed by a final coat of Gryphonne Sepia.


I’ve separated hair and fur from the rest of the instruction as I tend to deviate a lot here from model to model.

I usually paint furs grey or cream but it’s easy to mix and match these and the same idea can be used on other colours. I usually go

Eshin Grey -> Nuln Oil -> Codex Grey -> Celestra Grey

Bleached Bone -> Gryphonne Sepia -> Bleached Bone -> Skull White

Start with the darkest colour and wash it, then highlight the spiky bits of the fur with the second colour. Use the final colour for extreme highlights. If you want to add patches of different coloured fur simply move one shade darker or lighter for the starting colour.

I’m only showing one guy with hair here. The process I use is: base colour, wash, highlights. I start with a colour very close to the base colour and blend colours together until I get to a very light highlight colour.

For the Blood Claw I went: Trollslayer Orange-> Gryphonne Sepia-> YY+TSO-> Golden Yellow-> YY+W

For Grey Hair I start with Codex Grey and work my way up to Skull White.

With hair I highlight as the hair moves, using the lightest colour on the tips and on anything that really stands out (sorry if that doesn’t make enough sense)

So, that’s how I paint Space Wolves. Sorry for the delay, I had camera problems. I just hope that this helps somebody!


The Joy of Kitbash part 4: Reposing Limbs

For the penultimate part of this series, I’m going to look at something a bit more complex, reposing limbs. It’s something that I’ve done a few times and it can be very, very frustrating. On the other hand, it gives a unique pose. I have to admit that the example shown here was not my most successful attempt, I used Tactical Marine legs (as that’s what I’ve got at the moment) rather than the running legs available in the Space Wolves Pack kit, and not only is the Tac Marine pose a bit weird it’s a bit of a nightmare to repose as I had to adjust the ankle as well as the knee and hip joints. I suppose that my first bit of advice then is to try to pick a limb (or set of limbs) that is as close in shape to the final pose as possible.

The second thing to look at is the material from which the limb is made. Oddly enough, given its reputation, Finecast is easier to work with than plastic in this case as limited reposing can be done using a hairdryer. All you need to do is heat the limb for about thirty seconds (hairdryers vary so I’d recommend heating then testing every few seconds) before gently bending them to the right shape. I had to repose a set of Shining Spear legs this weekend and it took seconds in order to pose them. If they had been plastic it would either have relied on judicious shaving of limbs and mount or several hours with wire and scalpel and if they had been metal, well, I’d probably have ended up sitting on the floor rocking back and fore trying to figure out how to jam them together.

For this article I’m going to start with reposing legs. I’ve done this a few times now (well, at least four) and it’s fairly straightforward, it just requires a bit of work, some planning and a lot of patience. As I play a Space Marine variant army I’m going to use Marine legs to do this. It should also be possible to do something similar with other races but you’ll need to think about how you’ll model the joints as power armour has convenient corrugated bits at the joints (can’t think of the proper name for them right now). You will need:

  • a set of Tactical Marine legs. Other variants are fine. In fact it’s probably easier to use running legs as I did for my Rune Priest and this Swiftclaw.

unposed legs

  • Green stuff
  • Some fairly stiff wire (~1mm in diameter)
  • A scalpel
  • modelling tool with a pointy end
  • file
  • wire clippers
  • drill bit (slightly wider in diameter than the wire)
  • Super Glue
  • A plaster/bandaid (at least if you’re me)

The first job is to stop and think. I’m serious, honest! Before you cut anything you need to consider what pose you’re planning and how you’re going to do it. Are you just shifting one knee so that the guy is striking a heroic pose or are you going to have to move every joint? Is the pose anatomically possible? I have been known to try and pose heroically on a chair to try and figure out what I’m about to do. Fortunately my boyfriend hasn’t taken any photos as I don’t do heroic particularly well!

The next job is to cut up the set of legs. I use a scalpel rather than a razor saw as it removes less material (if somewhat more finger). If you’re going to be doing a lot of joints, you may want to label them.

reposed legs cut up

Then you need to drill through the cut up pieces. If a piece needs connecting at both ends (such as the thighs of the example), drill all the way through, otherwise drill deep enough into the plastic to hold the wire securely just as you would when pinning.

Then thread the wire through, gluing it in place. Leave enough space at the joints so that you keep the model’s proportions once it is posed. Using wire lets you repose the model a bit, so that you can get it just right.

reposed legs wired

Next up, you need to use green stuff to fill in the joints and tidy up any mess you made when cutting up the model, such as with the ankles on the example legs, which had to be dug out rather than cut cleanly. Please take your time when doing this. Do one joint at a time and wait for it to be set before starting the next one. I’m serious. If you store mixed together green stuff in the freezer it will stay soft for about a day and a half. Simply warm it in your hands for a minute or so before using.

reposed legs greenstuffed

File or sand any rough edges and your reposed legs should be ready to use. I’ve used the same technique to repose arms too.

reposed legs and arms

A simpler way to repose arms is to play with how the limb connects to the body. You can trim and file the joint before filling in any gaps with green stuff. It’s much simpler than making a new joint but is only really suitable if you just want to tweak a pose slightly.

reposed bloodclaw

There’ll be one last post in this series but I need to find the bits, something which is turning out to be harder than I thought.


On the twelfth day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

Twelve Space Wolf Great Companies…

So this is the last post in this series, normal service will shortly be resumed. This post took longer than I expected, sorry. The reason why will, hopefully, become clear soon enough.

Today I want to talk about my army. The picture below describes my army as it is. I’ve arranged it mostly in the same way as the Force Org although you may notice that there are four Heavy Support slots drawn in. That is because I have a Land Raider to paint one of these days as well as another pack of Long Fangs.

Great company coloured

My Wolves are part of the Great Company of Ælthere Greatpaw. I wanted to give my guys a Viking raider feel, so I’m going for lots of Fast Attack in the form of Swiftclaws, Land Speeders and Fenrisian Wolves, although I’m not impressed with the Landspeeder so far. The bikes are cheaper and survive a little bit longer (if more by luck than any special ability). I don’t like Thunderwolf Cavalry, don’t ask me why, I just don’t, so I’m avoiding them.

I have three HQ choices at the moment and I’m not planning on any more for now. As well as Greatpaw himself, who is a Wolf Lord in Terminator armour, I have Alvaldi Ratatosk, the Rune Priest, and Hildólfr Deathmask, the Wolf Priest. I actually have two models of Deathmask, one in Terminator Armour and one on a bike, as I wanted a more mobile HQ choice to go with my Swiftclaws.

Oddly enough, although this is Greatpaw’s Company, he’s the one guy for which I have least fluff (beyond the fact that I imagine him with a broad Yorkshire accent. My imagination is weird some days). Deathmask though is explained in detail in two posts here! The symbolism on Ratatosk is mentioned in my original post on him. I like trying to add symbolism to my figures. I find that it helps me to paint them if I have a sketchy idea of name and personality. Sometimes this personality doesn’t develop until I paint them (I have a Blood Claw with an axe who looks like he hasn’t had an original idea in his life), sometimes it never develops at all, but I find that a model with a sketchy back story gets painted far more quickly than one without. Oddly enough I forget all about this as soon as I field them in a game!

For Elites I currently have Wolf Guard Terminators (three for now, but hopefully more will follow in time) and a mixed bunch of Wolf Scouts. In future I’ll be adding a Dreadnought to the list, but he’s still in his box and desperately needs assembling and painting. I like Dreadnoughts, I’m just not sure how I want to build this one though.

My troops slot still has plenty of room to expand. I currently split the ten man packs into two but what I really need to do is build more. I’m working on it, honestly! The Space Wolf Pack boxes are almost too detailed. It takes a long time to paint each guy properly and that makes painting new Grey Hunter and Blood Claw packs a little bit off-putting.

I’m still building up my Heavy Support choices too. I have one complete pack of Long Fangs and another partly painted pack. The rest are in need of assembly and my Land Raider needs painting. It’s just a little bit daunting! I’m also a little bit nervous about putting too many points into this slot as my Long Fangs have seen very little action so far.

Anyway, that’s the last of this series. I hope that you enjoyed them. I’ll be back to my usual schedule (hopefully) on Tuesday. I have plenty of non-numericially themed posts waiting!


…Eleven months of blogging…

…Ten thousand years past…

…Nine different tools…

…Eight books to look at…

…Seven days of hobbying…

… Learning sixth edition…

…Fifth Edition!…

…Four more excuses…

…Three things to think of…

Two different opinions

And a gift under the Christmas Tree


I meant to do a lot of painting this weekend but I just couldn’t get the enthusiasm up. I did read Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, which was absolutely awesome, but I just didn’t want to paint.

What I did instead was think about how I’m going to paint my Long Fangs, or rather how I want to paint their shoulder pads.

I like to think through how I want to paint shoulder pads before I actually start applying paint to models. I did this for my Blood Claws and I’ve started his for my Long Fangs.

What I do is draw a bit of concept art, although art is probably a bit of a strong word here. It’s a larger scale drawing which I use to figure out how I’d really like to be able to paint shoulder pads (if I had steadier hands, a very, very fine brush and a strong magnifying glass). I then use the design as inspiration for the actual models.

As an example, this is the design I did for Blood Claw pack Nóh.

And these are some of the actual shoulder pads. Please note that I still haven’t highlighted most of these guys yet so they’re still work in progress (even if the progress seems to be on a geological timescale recently!)

The concept used the target shape in conjunction with the Anglo Saxon “gar” rune (gar being the rune for spear). For one of the models I used a simplified version of that design, but I also tried other runes and on one figure I painted a dagger on top of the target instead. For most of the models though I just stuck with a plain target as painting circles turned out to be frustrating enough without embellishing them.

For the Long Fangs I wanted a design that incorporated a fang (sorry). I fooled around with doodles for a while until I got an idea that seemed to work, which I then made into a neat version. I chose a black background with a white fang. Oddly enough, the cured shape of the fang will probably be easier to paint than the concept was to draw, because of the size difference. I decided to divide the fang up to give it an edge. I’m not sure whether adding a sawtooth pattern will be practical in the end, but I’ll probably try on at least one model. Likewise the runes I added to the pad to represent fallen brothers may be represented by a few blobs and lines (I am not even going to think of painting on real runes that small!).

The checked bit at the top will hopefully be on all of the models. There are bits of the Space Wolf fluff that don’t work and one of them is that Astartes stay in the same pack from the first day that they become a Blood Claw until they die. Not only is this stupid from a logistical point of view it’s also daft as not all Astartes will develop at the same rate. You really don’t want to give a truly loopy Blood Claw a boltgun and some responsibility, likewise a Blood Claw that is ready to become a Grey Hunter is wasted in a Blood Claw pack. For Long Fangs there is also the bit in their codex entry that states that the oldest Long Fang is squad leader, which contradicts the whole sticking in the same pack thing. I’m going to use this to say that my Long Fangs aren’t originally from the same pack and that they have added some of their old pack insignia to their new insignia in order to remember their old packs.

So that’s the plan for the shoulder pads. It’ll be a few weeks before I can implement it, but I’ll hopefully have some incentive to strip, reassemble, undercoat and splash blue on the models now!


Power Axe Painting Effect

Just a quick aside, there should be a longer post later, but I was quite pleased with this guy’s power axe. I’m not entirely happy with the model as he’s a bit wobbly in places and something went badly wrong with the wash but the axe looks quite ok. I wanted to give the effect of a glowing power axe. Maybe blue would be more appropriate for a frost blade, but as this guy’s a Blood Claw he can’t take one anyway, so it shouldn’t cause confusion. The axe is painted using Boltgun metal, highlighted with Chainmail and Mithril Silver (I don’t know the new paint names yet). I used the new Citadel Guilliman Blue glaze for the effect, which, although I can’t get it to work in the photo, does change intensity as the light direction changes.

Painting: That’ll do for now!

So last night I washed my Blood Claws. I haven’t highlighted them yet, that’s a long job, but I have based them. They still need names, but when I get back I’ll finish them properly.

I’ve packed my models, unfortunately I had a couple of casualties. One of which was easily fixed. One of my Scouts lost an arm, but that, unfortunately is a problem with this particular model. When it does it again, and I have more time, it will have to be pinned in place. The more annoying casualty was my Wolf Lord, who lost the tips of his lightning claw when I tried to fit him in a box. I’m going to have to give him some TLC when I get back from this trip.

A few of my guys found a home in my boyfriend’s case. It turns out that Blood Letters are quite considerably bigger than Space Wolves and my guys were rattling around a bit in his KR case. Most of the rest fit in my usual box, except for my Wolf Lord and Land Speeder which are both awkward shapes! Now I have to travel. I don’t know when/if I’ll get my usual Sunday post done- I don’t think I’ll try working on the Eurostar, I really need to read the Space Wolves codex, so that I know how my new units work!

Still painting… sorry!

Well this is a quick note, which is not really good enough considering that I completely failed to post on Tuesday. I’ve been painting. My parents went home on Tuesday evening and I’ve been painting from 6.30pm to 11.30pm (with a break for dinner) the last three evenings and I’ve still not got these Blood Claws finished!

The thing is that I want them ready before Sunday afternoon and I’m travelling all day Saturday (and I’m not painting on the Eurostar thank you!) so I’m painting like crazy. I’ll probably not have them highlighted on time whatever I do. Last night I went to sleep thinking about these guys and I woke up at 5am worrying about painting the gold bits!

I really want to get a 1000 point list ready, unfortunately in order to do so I’ll need my Land Speeder (still bare plastic) and two Wolf Guard Terminators, one of which is painted but not based, the other of which is just undercoated (but it is firmly attached to a base).

I also need to work out how to transport them as I’m still procrastinating over what case to get. I want to get a KR case but I don’t know what my list will be in the end so I’m unsure what foam to pick! I was going to put my troops in my boyfriend’s case but he’s not going to have space now. I hope that there’s enough space in my plastic box for all my troops. It works ok for trips to my local Games Workshop but the Eurostar is a whole different story!

Well, I need to swallow the last of my tea and get back to my painting! I’ll be in the UK from Saturday so posting may be erratic next week, on the up-side I’ll hopefully have more to talk about!

I saw a rather cool article about a plasma gun kind of thing for zapping bacteria (there’s a mistake in the article with the temperatures) and thought about posting it along with a piece talking about them but the Wikipedia article I found is rather excellent, so I’ll just link to that for now!

Back to painting… I hate gold paint!