BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

SHOWCASE: Arena Rex – Painting Leika

7 Minute Read
Jul 6 2017

Let’s run through a step by step of Leika, my latest paint job for Arena Rex

There is admittedly a ton of stuff going on in this first shot. I did a lot of wet blending pretty quickly before I realized I should stop and snap a shot.

The primary color for the flesh was P3’s Ryn Flesh mixed with a bit of Rucksack Tan. This gives her a more healthy look than the pale Ryn Flesh alone. The Flesh tone is shaded with a mix of Murderous Magenta and Beaten Purple. Increasing amounts of Beaten Purple are added to create deeper shadows. As the shadows get really dark, some Exile Blue is blended in. Some areas like her knees, hands, and feet have some Murderous Magenta blended into the flesh tones to really help her look alive.


Here I’m using the same color palette to add more definition all around. The musculature of her legs is beginning to get more developed and I’ve done more to shape her torso.

Here I’ve gone back in and actually lightened a few areas. I thought parts of her hips and torso were a bit too dark so I went back over them with some thin glazes of the Ryn/rucksack flesh mix to make them a bit more subtle. I’ve also begun cleaning up her feet so they look less bloody and more like feet.

I’m not sure why but I began the hair next. I used Sulfuric Yellow shaded with Bloodtracker Brown with some Exile Blue mixed into the darkest recesses. I wouldn’t actually return to the hair until nearly the end.



The next area was her copper shoulder pad. Copper is one of the trickiest metals to get right. While I’m still not 100% satisfied with my copper technique, I think the palette I’ve come up with for it works pretty well. The base “copper ” color is Bloodstone. This is highlighted with Menoth White Highlight and shaded with Coal Black. For the patina I use a mix of Arcane Blue and Underbelly Blue.

Here I’ve begun to better define some of those high contrast tones that will help give that NMM feel.

And finally I have everything nice and evenly blended. I ended up painting over the patina almost entirely but I don’t think it really needed it.


Here are a couple of simple gradient swatches to try to help convey some of the theory behind NMM painting. Both swatches have similar colors, but the swatch on the right appears more metallic because the contrast between light and dark is so much more stark. I’m trying to create the same illusion on a tiny miniature.

This is the same principal but on a round object. The one on the right even has a little reflected light on the bottom to reinforce the metallic look of the object.


I’ve used the same palette for the shoulder pad on her greave. Her mask is also copper so I’ve begun working on this area as well.



I’ve now started on the cloth with a base coat of Umbral Umber.

I Highlighted the cloth by blending in increasing amounts of Underbelly Blue.


I bring out the highlights on the cloth even more, then move on to the feathers. I started them off with a white basecoat, then gave them a thin wash of blue to shade the recesses.

The tops of each of the feathers were painted with Bloodtracker brown.

The feather tips then receive a wash with GW’s Agrax Earth with a little black mixed in. Next up we’re moving on to the horns. I took a few liberties here from the artwork since I wanted a distinct color to draw the eye to the face. There are enough browns on the model already.


The horns started with a base coat of Coal Black. This was highlighted by blending in some Menoth White Highlight, and shaded with a warm black mix. The warm black is Thamar Black mixed with some Bloodstone and Red Ink. I think adding some warm to the shading of cool colors can create a nice feel. The reverse is also true.

Next I go over everything again to add more definition. I even take the time to try to highlight and shade the individual sections of the horns.


Then it was finally time to go back to her hair. I’m using the same colors again but with some Menoth White Highlight used in a few places. Note the brightest area is the top of her head.

There are two steps going on here. First we are finally making it to the net. It started as a basecoat of troll blood highlight. This was shaded with Cryx Bane Base and highlighted with Menoth White Highlight. Then the entire net was washed with Agrax Earth.

The other step is the haft of the trident. This was basecoated with a mix of Exile Blue and Umbral Umber, highlighted with Frostbite, and shaded with the same warm black from the horns.


I’ve removed the arm again to get a better hold on it. Now I’m working on the blade. It began with a basecoat of Underbelly Blue, which was shaded with the more of the warm black, and highlighted with more Menoth White Highlight.

Then it was on to the net. I went in and picked out each individual thread first with Trollblood Highlight, then in lighter areas, with Menoth White Highlight.

Up until now I’d forgotten to paint the tiny medallion on her waist. For gold like this I use Sulfuric Yellow with a little Bloodstone mixed in. This is highlighted with Menoth White Highlight and shaded with a cool toned black. The inverse of my warm toned black, this black has some Ordic Olive and Green Ink added to make it a bit cooler. I find the bit of green in it makes the gold feel a little more natural.

I’ve also added some distressing to the trident with some thin gray lines. I also added a very thin glaze of Bloodstone to the tips of the weapon to slightest impression of rust.

Now I’m going in to the dagger and the ornament on her shoulder with the same steel palette from the trident earlier.

All that’s left is to show some pictures from other angles.

If you enjoyed this article I have a lot more content at my blog Too Mini. I post my painting articles here before they make it to BoLS, so there is probably plenty there you haven’t seen yet. And if you want to add a Leika to your Arena Rex cohort, or just want to pick her up to paint her, you can buy her here!

~Thanks for reading!


Ben Williams
Author: Ben Williams
  • SHOWCASE: Arena Rex - Painting Medusa