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Painting Dire Avengers Quickly and Effectively

Submitted By: csjarrat Date: August 10, 2010, 12:12:35 PM Views: 4058
Summary: Painting guide for Dire Avengers

Painting Dire Avengers Quickly and Effectively

I found that when I started playing Eldar, I rapidly bulked up the number of Dire Avengers in my collection, to form a solid backbone of troops, until I had thirty of them.  In order to get through this behemoth of a painting challenge, I began to batch paint them to increase the speed at which I was completing them.  The problem was that I was inexperienced, as my skills were pretty rusty, due to not having been used for many years, and the finished models were not exactly pretty.  A year later, however, and my skills are much better, with my poor Dire Avengers looking out of place compared to my nicely painted Striking Scorpions, and Rangers.  I thus went back to them, in order to make them look prettier, and realized what I was doing could have very easily been done at the beginning if only I had known how.  As a result of my experience, I thought that I would pass on my technique to hopefully save someone else a load of extra work, and produce decent models in the process.  I painted my Dire Avengers in squads of ten, including an Exarch, and it took about one night per squad, and this article will, therefore, provide you with a guide to speed painting reasonable looking Dire Avengers.  (Disclaimer, you will not win awards using this technique, but the Dire Avengers will look half decent, and this method of painting them will save you a fair amount of time).

The original technique:

My original technique was to use only the basics in the Games Workshop starter paint set, but later I used a few extras.  I will start, however, with my original way, the 'budget method'.

What you will need:

  • The basic Games Workshop paint starter set (about £10-15), including brush and paints (blue, black, white, brown, and a metallic silver paint from other paint sets should be fine too).
  • Asurmen blue wash (vital)
  • A bag of coloured flock (about £1 from model shops, the kind that sell Hornby trains etc)
  • Priming spray (Chaos Black, Skull White, or equivalent).
  • PVA glue
  • A cocktail stick (any stick or small knife really!)


The Dire Avengers will be painted as a batch, in order to save time, so once you have painted a colour on one model, move on to the next until they are all done.

1. Build and undercoat your models.  I use white for mine, as it is difficult to paint the helmets white over a black primer.

2. Use Enchanted Blue to paint the bodies of the models.  Paint everything, including the hands and back pack arrays on the armor, but leave the optional kit extras like the swords and the cloth pieces unpainted at this stage.  You can be relatively generous with the paint, but try not to splash the helmet too much, as you will need to come back and touch this up later.

3. Paint the gun and linking cable to the arms (if present) black using Chaos Black (or an equivalent).  Paint the Exarch’s guns, or sword, black at this stage too.  Take care not to splash black paint over the hands, otherwise will need to touch this up later.  (Ignore this step if you used Chaos Black spray paint).

4. Paint the mane on the outside of the helmets black.  (Ignore this step if you used Chaos Black spray paint).

5. Paint the inside of the helmets (the face plate) black.  Be very careful here.  Gently roll your brush in the black paint to give it a nice tip, and wipe off the excess onto a tissue, since you do not want to overload your brush with the same quantity of paint that you used on the armour, or you will end up with a big dollop of paint on the face.  (Ignore this step if you used Chaos Black spray paint).

At this point, you will have a very basic painted squad, and once the paint has dried, you will see that the Enchanted Blue gives a real matte effect, in that it is hard to appreciate much texture on the surface of the armour.  What we need to do now is to make the models look more three dimensional, by adding contours and texture, and break up the expanses of blue and black.

6. Open your Asurmen Blue wash.  Load up your brush with the wash, and paint over everything that is blue.  Be very generous here, because you really do not have to be precise.  Obviously avoid painting over the white of the helmet (if you used a white spray), as you will otherwise need to repaint it later.  Make sure every bit of blue is covered in the wash.

This will sit in the recesses of the armour plating, and make these areas look darker, while the raised areas (the armour plates and gemstones) will retain more of their original colouring.  This will give the model an aspect of shadow, and break up the vast expanse of matte blue.  Compare to an unwashed model to really see the difference.

7. Once the wash is dry, (and if you have been as generous as I told you to, this may take a while), open your brown or green paint (your choice), and paint all of the bases of the models, taking care around the feet, but otherwise being relatively generous when applying the paint.  Flock will be added over the top of the base, so it does not need to be perfect.

8. Once the bases are dry, open your white paint, and paint the helmet surface (not the face plate) Skull White.  This might just need a simple coat to strengthen the colour if you used a white spray, or it might need several coats if you used black.  Cover over any mistakes you made with the wash, Enchanted Blue, or Chaos Black paint, and take care around the chin area.  Use small amounts of paint on your brush in this area, and roll the brush in the paint to give it a nice tip for the detail work.

9. Intensify the white on any cloth areas using the same technique as above.

10. Use your metallic paint (Mithril Silver in the starter kit) to paint the end of the scope on the Avenger Catapults, or the main rail along the Catapult on older models, and the ammunition clip braces.  Paint the details on the Exarch like this too, including the Power Sword's blade, Shimmershield, and chest braces.  Use small amounts of paint, and employ the tip rolling technique you used on the helmet for greater control.

11. Use the blood red paint to add stripes to the mane of the helmets, and if you are feeling really brave, have a go at doing the eyes too.  For this, use a tiny amount of paint on a very finely rolled paintbrush tip, and securely hold the model for greater control.  Try to use one slow sideways movement to capture most of the eye.  It does not have to be perfect.

Finishing touches:

The new kits also have lots of additional pieces, such as pennants, ankhs, and bracelets, which you can paint using the fine detail tip rolling technique with your metallic paint.  The pennants around the thigh and groin area also look good when painted white.  If you used the optional banner for the Exarch, then apply a matching transfer to each side to break up the blue.  These steps are strictly optional though, and your model should look decent enough at this stage for normal gaming usage.

Adding flock:

Get a tub (an empty ice cream tubs is excellent), a Tupperware container, a bowl or a deep plate, and empty your pack of flock into this.  Put a blob of PVA glue on to the model between the feet, and use your cocktail stick to move it around the surface of the base, but avoid covering the feet.  Dunk the base of each model into the flock, and shake off the excess, using your thumb to wipe away any flock that is on the bottom ring of the base (the vertical part).

Your squad is now painted to a decent standard, and will fulfil any painting requirements needed for a tournament (fully based, at least three colours used), though the unit will probably not win you any awards  :).

The slightly more expensive and detailed technique:

This method uses the same principles as the above, but requires slightly more investment, and requires you to use all of the optional techniques outlined in the 'finishing touches' section.

What you will need:

In addition to the materials outlined above, you will need:

  • Regal Blue paint (or a navy blue equivalent)
  • Badab Black wash
  • Scorched Brown paint
  • Shining Gold metallic paint
  • A fine detail brush


1. After building, and undercoating, your models, paint the armour as above, but using Regal Blue paint instead of Enchanted Blue.

2. Use the Asurmen Blue wash as above.

You can see the difference between Enchanted Blue, and Regal Blue in the picture below.  The latter is much darker, giving the model a much more textured and authentic appearance in conjunction with the wash.

3. Paint the bases as above, but using Scorched Brown instead of the green or brown colour mentioned previously.

4. Paint the helmets, guns and sword handles black as above.

5. Next we will perform a technique called highlighting, as the wash makes the recesses look darker, hence a highlight is needed to make the raised areas look lighter, and to enhance the contours, and texture, of the model.  You will need your fine detail brush, and Enchanted Blue (which is a shade lighter than the Regal Blue you used on the armour).  Roll the tip in the paint, removing any excess paint, and very gently just apply paint to the lip of the armour plates, laying down a very small amount of paint right on the very edge.  Repeat this process on the should pads, armour pads on the arms and legs, as well as any exposed gemstones, and other raised areas.  If you apply too much paint, your models will look like they are from the film 'Tron', so be careful!  See the photo below for the end result:

6. Use Shining Gold to paint the bracelets (thigh and arm), gun scopes, ankhs, and ammunition clip braces, as above.

7. Paint any Exarch details, such as the chest area, and optional swords, silver.

8. Paint the pennants white.

9. Use a small amount of Badab Black to wash over the helmet mane stripes, sword blades, and chest details.  (This should give the metal areas more definition, making them look more realistic).

10. Base the models as above, and you have finished!

I hope that you enjoyed the guide, and it should allow you to get multiple models completed in a short period of time.

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November 18, 2011, 07:46:31 PM
very good guide it helped me alot with my newbie eldar armie

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