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Space Marine Painting Guide
Imperial Guard Painting Guide
Story Tournaments


Ultramarines are boring. They’re just so blue, then there’s that other blue and maybe a splash of another blue here. I daresay they’re almost as easy as Necrons to paint.

This is why when my brother got into Space Marines and asked me to paint them, I did not defer to the standard Ultramarine blue, but nor did I want a typical scheme.

Dark Angels? I have Orks. Enough with the green!
Black Templar? Black is too easy.
Blood Angels? Too Chaos.
Space Wolves? It’s just another shade of blue.

Thus the Deathstroke chapter of the Adeptus Astartes was born. It uses a split-color scheme that divides the model by two dominant colors that contrast well: orange and blue. I then figured out how to do it quickly so as to not take forever because, just like The Guard, those Marines need to get to the battlefield A.S.A.P! With this method, you’ll be able to create unique color schemes for your Marines relatively quickly.


The first thing you need to do is decide the two primary colors. Complementary one’s (i.e Red/Green or Yellow/Purple) work very well since each makes the other stand out. I chose Orange and Blue because the contrast is particularly stark, and colors like yellow and red can take a few coats for an ideal layer.

The next step is deciding how you want to split it. I’d take a Tactical Marine and visualize separating it in half. Vertically is the best method, as if you had the upper body one color and the lower a second it would simply look like he’s got poor fashion coordination.

So mentally divide him in half and decide which colors you want on what side. If you’re proficient with image manipulation programs it can give you a really good idea of what you want it to look like.

So you have your mental image and the two colors you want. You’ll now need basecoat colors that will go down first for the shading layer. Typically it’s simply a darker shade of the two colors, such as GW’s Orkhide Shade in comparison to Knarloc Green. From there it’s simply minor colors for things like guns or capes.


   Now I’ll show you how to put your preparation into practice on a Deathstroke Tactical Marine. I chose GW’s Macharius Orange and Mordian Blue as my two primary colors, with their shade colors being P3’s Umbral Umber and GW’s Necron Abyss. (I’m using a dark brown to shade an orange color so the contrast is starker. The initial thought is to shade orange with a reddish color, but I’ve found it can end up looking a little funny.) My minor colors are P3 Cold Steel, GW Mechrite Red, and P3 Greatcoat Grey. I’ll also use GW’s Badab Black wash for shading the metallic parts. I primed the model black using some generic spray primer. I’m going to have the Left side be blue and the right side orange, separated roughly down the middle.




I painted the left side with GW Necron Abyss and the right side P3’s Umbral Umber. This’ll be the basecoat. If you find the split to be really uneven, simply look at it and see which color is ‘over the line’ and touch it up with the opposite color. As an example, if my Umbral Umber is encroaching on the Necron Abyss, I’ll simply make it even with some Necron Abyss.





This is where I start getting more precise. On the left side that was basecoated Necron Abyss, I carefully paint a layer of GW Mordian Blue, making sure to leave lines of Necron Abyss to provide shading. For the Umbral Umber right side I do the same, but with GW’s Macharius Orange. I leave a thin line of the basecoats going down the middle of the Marine as well.





The gun, Aquilla on the chest, and most of the backpack I paint in P3 Cold Steel. The eyes of the Marine I paint with GW’s Mechrite Red. The joints of the Marine where the armor doesn’t cover I use P3’s Greatcoat Grey.




I shade the P3 Cold Steel with GW’s Badab Black wash.




   Four steps for a solid Deathstroke Marine. I leave one eye black typically for fluff reasoning, but I’ve also added a tiny dot of P3 Morrow White in the corners to give it a reflective look, but this is entirely optional. Remember that the biggest thing is to keep it clean and try not to have colors overlapping.


On the Imperial Guard I used washes to accelerate the pace of painting. This method can also be used on Two-Tone split Marines!

The difference is basically cutting out a step and using washes instead of a layer approach.

The Primary and minor colors stay the same but we do lose one or two: Mordian Blue and Macharius Orange, with P3 Cold Steel, GW Mechrite Red, and P3 Greatcoat Grey.

The washes we use are GW Badab Black, GW Devlan Mud, and GW Asurman Blue.


Paint the left side with Mordian Blue and the right side Macharius Orange. Paint the joints Greatcoat grey. The gun, Aquilla, and the backpack are painted in Cold Steel. The Marine’s eyes are Mechrite Red.


Wash the Gun and backpack with Badab Black. Wash the Macharius Orange with Devlan Mud and the Mordian Blue with Asurman Blue. Try to keep the wash focused on the divisions between parts like the kneecap to the shin armor or the inside of the shoulder pad.

If it comes out looking a little too ‘washed’ or it seems water stained, you can go back with the Macharius Orange and Mordian Blue to touch up.


Now, there are some of those annoying Litanies that are molded on some Marines. Here’s three quick steps to painting them for your general troops!

Step 1: Paint the paper part of the litany GW Dheneb Stone.

Step 2: Paint the wax seal part of the litany GW Mechrite Red

Step 3: Using a small brush, paint unsteady black lines across the paper.