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Games Workshop's Warhammer 40K game system features many different vehicles, with a nice range of plastic kits to represent them.  However, the large models can be a bit daunting for new players to paint, and it can be difficult to achieve good results.

In this article, PAW member Clive Dudley shows us the stages of his technique for painting these models.

Preparation Stage Time spent in preparing your model for painting is seldom wasted! Make sure all the joints fit well and there are no gaps.  For models with tracks, do not affix the tracks until the model is painted!  It's much easier to paint them on the sprue.  Paint the inside of the road wheel assembly black.  If you leave it white it will show up on digital photographs - see later for a classic example!  My excuse is that these models are being repainted after being purchased second-hand.

Stage 1 Having assembled the model and primed it white it is given a thin wash of “Miniature Paints” Khaki. This is known as the Henry Cooper “splash it all over” style of painting!

The wash is a 50/50 mix of paint and water.

Stage 2 A second thin wash of khaki is applied. This fills in anywhere you may have missed and serves to deepen the colour. Depending on the finish you wish to achieve, you can always add a third coat. This was the original colour I painted my vehicles. Now I want the base coat a bit darker.


Stage 3 A thin coat of Games Workshop’s Flesh Wash is applied to darken the base colour.  Flesh Wash is an ink rather than a paint.  It needs to be thinned, to prevent it coming out glossy, but not too much or the colour goes too light.  I usually add a small amount of water, about a 70/30 mix.


Stage 4 Humbrol Leather is sponged onto the model.

Sponging is a technique that I was shown by Kevin Shillito of Battledress Studios. Dab a small piece of sponge into your paint and gently dab onto the model. The idea is to build up the colour in layers. Repeated light dabbing gives better results than one heavy application.

I use the sponge that comes in the “Games Workshop” blister packs. Never throw anything away!


Stage 5 A mixture of Humbrol Leather and White was then sponged onto the model to provide a contrasting highlight.

Do not cover all the previous sponged area and you will find a good contrast has been achieved. Once again, gently does it.


Stage 6 All the weapons are now painted black. On these two models the tracks are also painted black at this stage. Normally, I wouldn’t fix the tracks until the end but these tanks have been “salvaged” - i.e. they’re being repainted!

At this stage the models are ready to use on the tabletop. However, you aren’t finished yet!