Stone Cold Lead

Figure Painting

Step by Step

Painting a Warmachine Khador Man-O-War


Paint list

A list of all paints used throughout this article. Abbreviations used refer to the following brands and ranges:

GW = Games Workshop

VGC = Vallejo Game Color

VMC = Vallejo Model Color


GW spray paint: Chaos Black

GW: Chainmail, Mithril Silver

GW Foundation: Charadon Granite, Mechrite Red, Orkhide Shade

GW Washes: Badab Black, Devlan Mud

VGC: Black, Bloody Red, Brassy Brass, Cold Grey, Dead White, Earth, Jade Green, Livery Green, Orange Fire, Stonewall Grey, Tinny Tin

VMC: Old Gold

Step 1.

The model is cleaned up and partially assembled. The arms and shoulder guards are kept separate and mounted on corks for ease of painting. Everything is undercoated with GW Chaos Black spray paint.

Step 2.

The first areas to be painted are those that are intended to represent bare metal. A base coat mix of VGC Tinny Tin and GW Foundation Charadon Granite (roughly a 60/40 mix) is quickly applied. It doesn’t matter too much about neatness at this stage.

Step 3.

I tend to tidy up all the ‘edges’ with black or dark paint to redefine them and create the ‘dark lining’ that will separate the different areas of colour (I do this whenever necessary throughout the painting process).

Step 4.

Next the metal base coat is highlighted. For this I added GW Chainmail to the base mix and layered the highlights on the model. I used three layers of highlights, the first two being base colour and Chainmail mixes and the third being pure Chainmail.


Highlight colour reference.


Step 5.

To finish off the metals I applied GW Washes, a mix of Badab Black and Devlan Mud (about 60/40) and thinned a little with a drop of water. 

Step 6.

Moving onto the armoured areas I base coated them with GW Foundation Mechrite Red

Step 7.



Highlights were layered up by adding VGC Bloody Red to the base colour. Again this was achieved with three layers of highlighting with the final layer being pure Bloody Red.

Step 8.

To finish off the red areas I added a couple of extra highlights to pick out details and edges. This was done by mixing VGC Orange Fire with Bloody Red to create a dark orange which was layered sparingly to avoid turning the red too orange. I then used pure Orange Fire on the very edges of the armour, details and rivets to make them stand out. Finally some additional shading was added to the recesses, seams and around details such as rivets with a few washes of GW Devlan Mud. The washes were only applied where needed and not over the whole surface. The deepest recesses received several washes to build of the depth of colour required.


Highlight colour reference.

Step 9.

The brass parts were given a base mix of VGC Brassy Brass and GW Foundation Charadon Granite (roughly an 80/20 mix or just enough to slightly darken and mute the Brassy Brass).

Step 10.

For the highlights VMC Old Gold was added to the base mix to create the first two layers and then the third layer was pure Old Gold. Finally I added GW Mithril Silver to the Old Gold (50/50 mix) and used this to highlight the very edges of the brass. Once dry I applied a wash of GW Devlan Mud and Badab Black (roughly 80/20 mix) thinned with a little water.


Highlight colour reference.

Step 11.

At this point the brass was looking a little too polished so I decided to add a patina of verdigris. For this I used VGC Jade Green thinned with water until it had the consistency of milk. This was washed haphazardly over the brass concentrating on the recesses and leaving some of the main surface areas clean. If the wash pools too heavily or covers the surface more than required dab the excess off with your finger. Dabbing the wash off like this can also add some nice patchy variations to the patina. I used one wash on this piece as I only wanted a subtle patina to the brass but if you want a more aged look add more washes to build up the colour or try a less dilute mix of paint.

Step 12.

Final details to be painted were a few small areas of black such as the Khador insignia which were highlighted with VGC Cold Grey. The visor slit was also picked out with GW Foundation Orkhide Shade and highlighted with VGC Livery Green and a spot of white. A little black was stippled around the smoke stacks to represent soot using a large old brush. The separate parts were all given two coats of matt varnish. I use Revell brush on varnish. (Handy tip: store the pots upside down and only use the varnish from the underside of the lid for a good matt finish). Once everything was dry I assembled the model. I used epoxy glue which isn’t my favourite type of adhesive but I didn’t want the risk of dripping liquid polystyrene cement or the ‘bloom’ of superglue to ruin the paint work.

Step 13.

The base was finished off with a scattering of sand and model railway ballast over PVA. When dry this was base coated with GW Foundation Charadon Granite and left to dry again. VGC Earth was overbrushed to pick out the texture and then VGC Stonewall Grey was mixed in (50/50 mix) and overbrushed to create highlights. Finally pure Stonewall Grey was lightly overbrushed to pick out some specific points of texture and the base edge was painted black. The grass tufts are Mininatur/Silflor 4mm late autumn two colour tufts (pack code 737-24 S) and were glued in place with PVA. Job done.


Highlight colour reference.