News: No news is good news...

Login  |  Register


Search |

Assembly Line Painting: A fast and effective way to get your boyz on the table.

Submitted By: angel of death 007 Date: November 8, 2010, 02:06:45 AM Views: 6169
Summary: An effective way to paint Ork Boyz quickly. This article has color advice and takes you on the step by step process I use to paint my Boyz.

Greetings to all and welcome.  As many of you might have seen me around I have been playing 40k for almost 10 years now.  My Ork army was my first attempt at a horde type army.  As such it requires a lot of painting due to the large amount of figures that one would field. 

I am by no means a professional painter and have never taken a formal painting class.  This article is to help those who are starting out or maybe offer some tips to those who paint to a higher level.  After trying several different combinations I will say this is one of the faster painting methods I have used and produces models at table top / above table top quality.  The idea is to find the amount of models you can paint comfortably in one sitting in a kind of redundant/ step manor.  This not only speeds things up later on as you will see but allows some dry time before handling the models.  A win win. 

This article will cover colors I used to achieve the end result.  To accompany the article will be several pictures in a step by step basis.  Also listed will be the approximate time it took me to paint the models in each step.   Keep in mind that this was the time it took me to paint the models and everyone's result will vary.  My comfort level I have found to be at 6-7 models for this type of painting.  However for this article I decided to take it up a notch to show just how effective assembly line painting can be when painting a squad of models.  So for a good round average I painted 10 models.

Tools Needed:
  • Regular Brush: a basic paint brush you will use for the majority of your painting.
  • Dry Brush: a brush with stiff bristles that works well for dry brushing techniques
  • Wash Brush: a thicker (natural hair) brush that holds washes well
  • Spotter Brush:  a very fine point brush used for making the smallest of dots
  • Magnifying Lamp: though not needed this works great for painting details and it allows you to have your hands free, it's a good long term investment.
  • Flat Black Spray Paint:  I go cheap here, Walmart's paint section has a 97 cent special Flat Black Spray Paint.  I use it to base all my models and never had a problem yet. 

Paints:  I tend to use Games Workshop line of paints.  I like their colors and their base coats and washes have grown on me.  Plus they are the most common for most 40k painters that I speak with.

Colors Used:
  • Base Coats: Knarloc Green, Boltgun Metal, Bestial Brown, Graveyard Earth, Kommando Khaki
  • Dry Brush Colors: Codex Grey
  • Washes: Badab Black, Thraka Green, Devlan Mud
  • Detail Colors: Dwarf Bronze, Blood Red, Skull White, Bleached Bone

Let's start with the models.  Here are my 10 models they have been primed using a cheap flat black spray paint the night before.  You want to make sure the primer is fully dried before working over it.

My choice of 10 models primed black

Step 1:  Green Skin
Base Coating:  I chose to start with Knarloc Green as it covers the majority of the Ork model.  I focused on the tops of the muscle and kind of worked in. If it got too deep then I would just leave it black.  I chose to leave my shirts black but for those doing different colors working with Shootas might be hard if their guns are in place.  With my black shirts I didn't worry so much.  I also left the mouth / teeth black.  For the fingers I simply dry brushed them with the Knarloc Green.  You don't need to get in between the fingers to get a good effect.

The approximate time it took to paint this section was 2 hours.
All models green:

skin tone (how they should look at this point)

example of fingers

face (with teeth / mouth left black)

You are trying for a solid uniform look to the skin tone.

Step 2:  Weapons and armor
The next color I wanted to do was the metal.  For this step I targeted weapons and metal accessories.  I did leave black rectangles on the armor places because I play a Goff army and wanted to be able to go back and put the checkered board patterns on them.  For this step I tried to cover most of the metal pieces only leaving bullet ejection ports and vents black. 

Base Coat:  Boltgun Metal

Approximate time for this step was 2.5 hours.

Weapons / accessories and armor

Slugga Boy

The squad so far:

Step 3:  Belts and accessories
I wanted to target the belts, wristbands, storage pouches, and backpack with a darker brown color.   For this step I tried to fully coat the items I wanted to paint.  Again not getting too close to where it met skin as the black in between worked decent for a shadow.

Base Coat:  Bestial Brown

Approximate time was 1.5 hours

Step 4:  Wraps, fur and patches

Base Coating:  Kommando Khaki

This works really good for wraps, patches, misc accessories anything that looks like it is wrapped up.  Just as a pre-warning.  Because Kommando Khaki is so thin and light it will more than likely take two coats to achieve a solid uniform look. 

Approximate time 35 minutes

arms / gun wrap

misc, accessories

misc accessories / patches

fur on hat

Step 5:  Black Clothing

The next step I took was trying to make the black shirts look blacker.  I know this seems silly in words but here a little goes a long way.  If you are doing different colors here might be a good time to work on them or possibly before anything as they are so inward that painting them afterward might make it hard to not accidentally get paint on an area you don't want. 

Drybrushing:  Codex Grey

Again this I used over any cloth that I wanted to leave black.  The idea is to take very little paint and then keep brushing it against a paper towel till this is very little paint in it and it only makes very light marks.  You then take the brush and using a bit of force you work over all the black areas of cloth.  This will leave marks on the raised areas making a bit of a contrast or shadow.  It seems a little too much at first but don't worry we will fix it later I promise. ;)

Approximate time was 20 minutes  This is really fast if done properly the main thing to remember is that you should have next to no paint marks on the model. Very light.

This ork has an almost black uniform look at how little Codex Grey is on it

back side of same model

check out the pants and very very little on the shirt of this model

Step 6:  Skin Wash
Now we get to the next step which is really great at adding some easy shading to your models.  When washing I have found it best to use a natural hair brush that can hold a lot of wash.  I don't water down my washes or paints and use them straight from the container.

Wash: Thraka Green 

When using washing be careful to only target the area you are working with.  They make different effects with different colors and if you get green on Kommando Khaki or even on the Boltgun Metal it will make a less than desirable effect.  Load up your brush and focus on all the green skin areas.  A good heavy coat of wash is great to achieve the maximum effect.  Let it pool in the recesses of the muscles or any other recesses in the model.  This leaves a great effect later on.  It takes a bit of practice to get right but it is pretty easy to experiment with. 

Approximate time 25 minutes

This is really fast.  All you are doing is loading up your brush and hitting all the skin, shouldn't take more than a few minutes per model.

face and arms after wash

You can really see the wash effect as it starts to dry

Step 7:  Rusted / worn metal effect
Our next wash is really easy though I have a tendency to try and make it pool up in certain areas to give more a worn / rusted metal effect.

Wash:  Devlan Mud

For this step you want to target all your metal areas.  Sound weird?  Maybe a bit, but it has a lot better effect then using a watered down black or even black ink.  It dulls down the metallic flake in the Boltgun Metal and if you pool it right makes for a very nice effect.  Again I apply this straight from the container and put it on thick in one coat.

check out the chain and the armor

You can really see it on this model which has a lot of armor painted (all coated over with devlan mud)

Step 8:  Shadow wash
Somehow I missed some pics for this next step it is my third wash.

Wash: Badab Black

Approximate time 15 minutes.  For this step I applied a heavy wash over all black cloth, Bestial Brown accessories, and all Kommando Khaki accessories.  This will really bring out some depth to your model.  It adds a shadow to most wraps and does a great job separating layers.  This effect can be achieved very quickly and easily.

IMPORTANT FACT***  Make sure to let the models dry after using washes, they have a tendency to take longer time to dry and handling them too soon could negatively effect your models.  I usually let them dry over night after applying washes.

Step 9:  Basing Teeth / Skulls
Next step we are going to start to pick out some details.  The main focus here is the Ork's Teeth as teeth have a lot to do with Ork culture so I make sure to take my time here.  I also use this on the bullet connectors for exposed bullets.  Take your time on this step and use a very fine brush.  I definitely recommend using a magnifying lamp for this step and the next few as it will make your life a lot easier as you can see all my pics are taken from under it.

Base Coating: Graveyard Earth

Approximate time 1 hour


more teeth

Step 10:  Bullets and earrings
Next we will focus on earrings and exposed bullets.

Dwarf Bronze was used to make these shine and show up on the model. 

Approximate time 25 minutes.  Take your time here.  I usually only hit the most exposed parts to the bullets or earrings.  This way it leaves black in the shadow areas. 

This is the example with the bullet connectors painted (so you know what I mean from the step above)

Step 11:  Highlighting Teeth / Skulls
My next step is a highlight step in which I use for teeth (and in some cases skulls)  About part way up the tooth a little above half way I use Bleached Bone to highlight the teeth.  For skulls I simply drybrush it on till it looks right.

Highlight:  Bleached Bone

Approximate time:  10 minutes.  There isn't much painting involved here.  You are basically just adding the details to your Graveyard Earth you used.  Make sure to use a fine brush and some kind of magnifying device.

Check out his tooth necklace and his teeth

another pic of teeth highlighted

Step 12:  Beady little eyes
For one of my last detail steps I like to give my Orks beady red eyes.  This color also works really well on icons (usually on helmets, guns, or armor they have a glyph or icon of some kind)  For the eyes I use a very fine pointer and only get the paint on the very very tip of it.  This is done very carefully.

Spotter:  Blood Red


Step 13: Goff checkered board (optional)

Now here your Ork should look pretty complete, but for my Orks I wanted them to have the Goff checkered board look.  So all those areas I purposely left black I went back and started the checkered pattern.

I first started out drawing lines and filling them in like a checkered board with Fortress Grey.  This doesn't quite look right at first and you will more than likely need to go back and square off the checks. 

Checkered board:  Fortress Grey

Approximate time 15 minutes

Here you can see the checkered board before touching up with black, not to smooth but then again I don't have a very steady hand.

Step 14:  Fine tuning the checkered board (optional)
After observing the picture above you can see how uneven the checkered board was for me.  I used chaos black in the last step to go back and touch up the squares.  Best way I found to do was to make sure to touch up the corners to make them look squared away. 

Touch up:  Chaos Black

Approximate time 10 minutes.

Total time for completion was approximately 10 hours maybe a bit less.  On the next post you will get to see a few detailed pictures of each model.  I haven't decided on a basing color / theme for my army yet so as you can see my models just have the standard black bases (for now). 

I hope you enjoyed my article and as always comments and questions are appreciated.
Finished Models
Here are several pics of the finished 10 models I started.  All models were painted for and during the production of this article by me.  ;D 

All that is left to do is the basing.

Model 1


Model 2


Model 3 (you can see the bullet belt on a shoota boy)

Model 4

Model 5


Model 6

Model 7

check out the fur on the hat...

Model 8

Model 9

Model 10

back /checkered board

Hope you enjoyed.  Good luck in your future painting endeavors.

Rating: ***** by 13 members.


Senior Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 3068

I like editing stuff.

View Profile Email
December 18, 2011, 01:24:36 PM
This is a really great article. The only thing I might question is the choice of eye color since you're speed painting, and might have just wanted to let them be dark recesses.
Bad Moon Spanna Nob
Full Member
Offline Offline

Posts: 654

too much fun is bad? Pish Posh

View Profile Email
June 17, 2011, 03:16:08 PM
It wasn't until I read this article that I thought about using devlan mud, good job, and thanks for a great walk though  
Offline Offline

Posts: 71

View Profile WWW Email
November 28, 2010, 12:51:49 PM
Great guide, thanks for posting!

Powered by EzPortal