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Warhammer 40K, How to guide: Testing paint schemes

Once in a while you'll get inspired to make an army.

It can either be a nice piece of lore you read, or a real world army you saw in action. Usually it's because someone on the internet did something, and you know you can do it better.

Regardless, the outcome is usually the same. You run off to the Games Workshop shop, spend far too much money, buy all the wrong paints, and everything ends up on eBay before the end of the week. Once in a while you get lucky, and your creation gets folded into the 40K canon or gets models specifically produced for it by Forgeworld.

Here's how you make sure you get the second result.

Test your paint scheme before hand on a bit of old sprue. Have a look below for a desert colour scheme I'm testing now.

I want to work with Zamesi Desert, for no other reason than it has desert in the name. It's also quite a nice shade of beige/yellow, and as far as I know, no other army uses it. Okay, Tallarn desert raiders, failed Deathwing and Imperial Fist paint schemes and such use it, but let me believe my idea is special, OK?

The far left is my initial testing. Rushed, and rather rubbish looking, it was only there to test the highlight being used. Ushabti Bone looks like a really nice highlight colour for Zamesi Desert, but the sand colour itself was a bit too washed out and cold for my tastes.

Citadel layer paints are designed to let a little bit of the base colour through. Rather than going with conventional wisdom and using XV-88 as a brown base, I thought maybe a lighter yellow base would be better. On the left side, for comparison, is based in XV-88, and on the left, Averland Sunset.

You can see the Averland Sunset side is much warmer, and much richer than the XV-88 side. As a result of this test, I'll now use Averland Sunset. You can also see I've put some washes on there to see which shade to use. The darker one is Agrax Earthshade, the lighter one Seraphim Sepia. Again, to counter the cool nature of the Ushabti bone highlight, I'm going with the more orangey Seraphim Sepia.

It's worth reminding ourselves that everything comes down to personal choice. If you like the colder XV-88 base colour, go with that. It's just that in my head, the colour should be warmer.

And that's how you do it. Save up bits of plastic. Undercoat them, and paint on top of that. Simple!

Until next time.

Thanks for reading.

If you liked what you saw, and you want to help out, please visit and donate at my Patreon. Every Little helps!


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