What better Chapter to demonstrate painting power armour on than those poster-boys of Games Workshop, the Ultramarines. Blue is a really forgiving and simple color to work with, and a fairly quick, loose style will produce consistently good results with only about half an hour of work per model.
To start off, I spray the model with a black undercoat. It was a little cold outside (it is just after Christmas, after all!) when I sprayed this guy, so the coverage isn't great. If your spray primer isn't perfect, don't worry about it-- none of it shows on the end product, and all we really want with it is to give the paint we're going to apply something better to grip than bare plastic.
I then apply Screaming Bell to all the gold areas, such as the shoulder pad trim and the aquila on the chest. I apply the gold first because I don't want to have the gold stray into the shaded blue sections in the next step. At this point, check your water pot-- if you see little metallic flakes in it, get some new water before proceeding to the next step. Metallic paint can often leave little aluminum flakes in your water, which can contaminate non-metallic colors later if you don't switch out the water.
I now wash the armor with Drakenhoff Nightshade or Vallejo Blue Wash. Be careful not to get it on the gold areas! If you do, just reapply the gold after the wash has dried. The more wash you use, the stronger the shading effect will be. I usually put some on my palette first and then put it on the model to make sure I don't use too much.
Once the wash is dry, we'll have a very dark navy blue tone on the armor. While you wait for the wash to dry, which can take a while, go ahead and apply Ironbreaker to any bits that will be silver, such as grenades, the soft armor at joints, and parts of the gun and sword.
I go ahead and apply a basecoat of Cadian Fleshtone to the head at this point, as well.
Next up, we'll add a layer of Altdorf Guard Blue to the armor. When you apply this layer, you want to make sure that you leave some of the dark blue we've created by applying the basecoat and then the shading wash by making sure none of the Altdorf Guard Blue ends up in the deep recesses. If you mess up, just grab your Kantor Blue and carefully line in the recess to recreate the shade.
Now, I like to apply Reikland Fleshshade to the gold areas and to the skin. I also dot the end of the barrel of the gun with black and clean up any stray paint with the appropriate colors (such as cleaning up the silver that has strayed onto the chainsword's casing with Abaddon Black.)
The first highlight layer comes next. For the armor, I apply a fairly broad edge highlight of Hoeth Blue. You want to define the joins between the armor plates and accent where there are recesses, and not actually lighten the overall color of the model.
I re-apply a layer of Cadian Fleshtone on the skin now. It's the same basic idea here as when we applied the Altdorf Guard Blue to the armor-- we want to leave the deep recesses we've created with the shading showing to give the details on the face some definition.
Now, we'll start building up some details. I apply Doombull Brown to any leather parts, such as the holster, pouches, and purity seal parchment. I wash all the silver areas with Nuln Oil to shade them.
I also apply the second layer to the skin. This is Kislev Flesh. It's the same idea as what we did with the Hoeth Blue on the armor-- accenting the recesses and defining details. On the face, that means applying it to the brow and cheeks. I also dot the eyes in once that's complete.
I now apply final highlights to the model. I use Mechanicus Standard Grey to apply a fine edge highlight to the casing on the bolt pistol and chainsword. I mix a bit of white into the Kislev Flesh to lighten the tone, and apply one more highlight to the face. Less is more with mixing white into colors to lighten them-- a 90% to 10% mix of the original color and white will lighten it plenty!
I mixed some Blue Horror and Hoeth Blue together in about a 50/50 proportion (that's equal parts of each color) and applied very fine edge highlights to the tops of the knees, the vox grille, the inset of the shoulder pads, and any other surface where the light would hit the model most harshly on the armor. Less is more with this-- too much of this step will leave you with a model that looks like it's powder blue rather than the classic Ultramarines royal blue.
I put some Khorne Red on the purity seal wax now, too.
To finish our model up, I apply the Chapter heraldry using White Scar. You can skip this step if you like-- it adds a lot of character to the model though, and can be useful for determining which models belong to which squads on the tabletop.
I dot the corners of the eyes with White Scar. I add a highlight of Wazdakka Red to the purity seal wax, and paint the purity seal parchment itself with Ushabti Bone. Once the bone is dry, I apply little squiggles of Abaddon Black.
Finally, I put a bit of Blood for the Blood God on the business end of the chainsword. Less is more with the new technical paints, so be careful not to overdo it!
I just left the base plain black, but at this point, you can base your model however you like. Pretty simple, quick, sharp results, right? Hope this will help you get your Space Marine models on the table and ready to do the Emperor's Work faster and looking better!
Summary Of Paints You'll Need
- Drakenhoff Nightshade or Vallejo Blue Wash
Vallejo Equivalent Paints (In Order)