Chris Drew’s Blackshield Space Marines

Back in May the Specialist Brands team told us about their plans to each collect a Horus Heresy army, one unit at a time. In this article, Specialist Brands Model Designer Chris Drew describes the painting technique he is using to paint his Blackshield force of outcast Legiones Astartes:


Though not every band of marauding Blackshields is quite as literal in its colour scheme as mine, I was really keen to try an army in black armour. Though I?ve interspersed some units with battlefield repairs and armour panels looted from fallen legionaries, the overall black colour scheme was a little daunting as I?ve only ever painted one black-armoured chaplain for my 40k army.

My technique for doing black armour has evolved with every squad I?ve added to my Blackshields, but the method I?ve settled on now has worked really well.


Starting with a black undercoat I use my airbrush to do two tones of grey ?zenithal? (ie sprayed from the direction of the light source the paint is simulating) highlights, first a blast of Mechanicus Standard Grey loosely from overhead, so it catches most of the armour panels lightly. I follow this with a lighter spray or Administratum Grey to add a slight colour gradient. Once the airbrushing is done I do edge highlighting with Administratum Grey. After the greys I cover over any areas of the model I want metallic with Leadbelcher and some light drybrushing/sponging as well to represent unrepaired battle damage. Once all that is covered I give the whole model a wash with Nuln Oil. The next phase is adding highlights, going over the very high edges on the armour in Administratum Grey and the metallic edges in Runefang Steel.


With the bulk of the armour done it?s just the accessories and different panels. I always mark the left shoulder banding in red, starting with a Mephiston Red washed with Carroburg Crimson, with the edges highlighted with Wild Rider Red. I start any gold areas with Hashut Copper washed with Agrax Earthshade, followed by a layer of Auric Armour Gold before a final very fine highlight in Runefang Steel.


After that it?s down to individual Legionary markings and customisation. On a few I add some beaten-up armour panels that would have been looted from the battlefield from other Legions in their appropriate colours. I also add white kill markings in White Scar so they stand out on the armour and some light dirtying up with XV-88.


Posted by Chris


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