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HOBBY: Painting Gold

5 Minute Read
Aug 4 2011

Gallant here is the newest Cygnar/Mercenary warjack for Warmachine. I decided I wanted to do something a little different for it given its unique background as a holy Morrowan instrument of war. I’d wanted to paint a golden warjack for awhile now and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Gold is actually really easy to paint if you just know a few simple tricks to follow.

I begin by base-coating the model with Snakebite leather.

Then I drybrush the whole model with Shining Gold.

Next up I give it a wash with some old GW Flesh Wash I still have around. While this particular ink is no longer in production, Gryphonne Sepia, Devlan Mud, Ogryn Flesh, or P3’s Brown Ink can all work just fine. Try these inks on a test model to see if you like the way they look. The tone of the ink you use is very important to the overall look of the model.

Then I drybrush it with Shining Gold again. To get the best results with drybrushing, you really need to take your time. Drybrushing is often seen as a speed technique; a way to get ok tabletop results with minimal effort. The truth is when done carefully it can get really nice results, some of which simply can’t be mimicked by more time consuming manual work. So use a big brush with natural fiber bristles. Get as much paint off of your brush as possible before you start drybrushing and be patient. For optimal results you should drybrush the area several times with minimal coverage each time.

After the drybrushing is done I do some manual highlights to really make it pop. I start with Shining Gold and then do just a little bit of Burnished Gold for the highest areas. Gold is actually really easy to blend on large areas like the armored plates on the hull. If you have a somewhat moist brush and wipe off most of the paint before you apply it, it goes on very translucently and appears to blend into the darker layer beneath it. Conversely, all metallics are very difficult to apply to areas with small details. So for parts like the very ornate shoulderpad and helmet filigree, drybrushing is the only way to go.

In addition to highlighting, I also do some manual shading by carefully applying the same Flesh Wash into certain areas. Since it also goes on very translucently you can do some very effective gradient shading just by varying the amount on your brush. You can also mix the wash with your metallic paint and use that for your mid range tones.

Once I like the gold I move on to the mechanical bits. Everything I want to appear as steel gets a coat of Fortress Gray.

The gray then gets drybrushed with Chainmail.

Then I give all the steel areas a wash mixed from Devlan Mud, a little Asurmen Blue, some Badab Black, and just a bit of water and some matte medium to thin it down a bit. Even for something like a pure steel, I would always advise toning your wash rather than just going with a pure black ink. The effect of the added color is subtle, but it makes the model look much more natural and engaging.


I drybrush these areas with Chainmail again, and just like with the gold, go back through and pick out certain parts manually to define them more. Next is a final bit of Highlight with Mithril Silver to really bring it all out. At this point I also begin putting color to the final details. The Morrowan book on Gallant’s back gets a coat of Dark Flesh on the way to it becoming a deep rich red. The Shoulderpads and the ribbons, which will end up as a dark blue begin by getting painted black. There are a few areas I want to appear as bronze such as the cowl and insides of the wrists. These begin with a coat of Scorched Brown.

I begin highlighting up the red and blue areas. Check out this article on my Ogrun Assault Corps for more on how I paint reds and dark blues. To paint the Bronze, the Scorched Brown areas get a drybrushing of Dwarf Bronze. Then they get a wash with the same ink I used for the steel areas.

Then its just the last few details. I finish off the dark blues and reds in pretty much the same way as I did with my Ogrun Assault Corps (sans the part with the battle damage). The Bronze gets final highlights of Dwarf Bronze mixed with Mithril Silver.

~Painting Gallant was fun and didn’t really take that long. I hope this article proves helpful for anyone out there with a gold color scheme in mind. Let me know if you have any questions, or great techniques of your own for painting gold.

Ben Williams
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