How to Paint an Army Quickly For Those Who Hate Painting

Hey guys Alex here, Frontline Gaming Commission Painter and Co-Host of the Splintermind Podcast with a fun and easy painting tutorial.

So often I’ve seen people struggle to paint an entire army. Many hate the process of painting -and I don’t blame them- but at the same time they are pining to realize their dream of having a fully painted army. Often times they try to paint their army but try to take each model, or each unit to a level thats beyond their commitment level. Well I’ve got an easy approach that looks good and is FAST!

STEP 1: Obviously you have to assemble the models. Give a simple flock of play sand and a little crumbled cork on the base.

STEP 2: Simply prime + base coat your model.

Then put a strong wash on the model. Then pick out the major details like guns. Basecoat and wash those. The following example is only 2 colors.

Additional Tip: Choosing your basecoats is one of your biggest decisions. You want paint  that is going to go on easy. For Red’s I recommend Khorne Red, Blue: Kantor Blue, Green: Caliban Green, Yellow: Averland Sunset (which can be brush painted on to great results!), Purple: Naggarorth Night, Turquoise: Stegadon Scale, Brown: Dryad Brown, Gold: Retributor Gold (amazingly easy), Silver: Leadbelcher, White: Celestra Grey which paints on like a dream and reads as white especially when contrasted against other strong colors (like red bolters).

STEP 3: Clean up the excess wash by neatly repainting your base coats for the major colors, but be careful to not paint over the wash in the recesses as this is what gives the areas of interest on the model like individual armor plates and such good solid definition. Pick out some of the fine details like gems, or skin. Simply paint a single color on them. Dry brush a single highlight of DawnStone Grey over the black sandy base of the model and you are done.

Applied Across a Squad:

Additional Notes and Advice:

This process took me only a few hours and I’m not a speed painter. The real secret is this: highlighting your models is not necessary getting an army fully painted, or even painted to a good solid standard. Painting your models in this way will increase the neatness of your brushwork and firm up all the basic skills necessary to become a good painter.

Going beyond this paint level is NOT necessary to having a nice looking army. This standard alone will make for a solid looking army which is bound to increase your enjoyment of 40k and that of your opponent.

My only additional advice is to use GW Spray Primer + Spray Basecoat whenever possible. I would recommend that to anyone looking to start a new army or someone looking to tackle an unpainted army.

Please feel free to ask any questions and good luck to everyone who checks out this article!


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

16 Responses to “How to Paint an Army Quickly For Those Who Hate Painting”

  1. Avatar
    Beau March 4, 2018 12:19 am #

    Very nice. Personally, I am also a fan of step 1. Spray white primer, 2. Paint the metal parts of your model like weapons and such, 3. use 2 very different wash coats (for example a druchii violet for a robe and fleshshade for skin) and done!

    • Avatar
      Cavalier March 4, 2018 3:40 am #

      Yes I know what you are talking about. One of our listeners showed us how he painted his Dark Eldar only using washes and it looked really good. I actually think he used the Druchii Violet + Reikland Flesh wash combo you are talking about. Reikland Flesh was is amazing because it works great on blues and purples making for a super dark black wash.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 4, 2018 6:58 am #

      Yeah, painting the base coat with washes is such a time saver. A dry brush after and you’ve got a base, shade and highlight already. Works great with organic stuff like skin, cloth, fur, etc.

  2. Avatar
    WestRider March 4, 2018 2:09 pm #

    I do kind of the opposite in a way. I start with a black primer/basecoat, and then use a 1″ brush to lay down the main colour and drybrush on some quick highlights. Then after that, it’s pick out a few details in other colours, same as you’ve got here, and done!

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 5, 2018 12:03 pm #

      That sounds like a solid technique.

  3. Avatar
    Don Tomaso March 4, 2018 7:08 pm #

    I paint soooo slow. No matter how I try things just take ages. 3 weeks so far and still the latest 6 aggressors arent finished.

    Thinking of starting to look around for painting help paying with sculpting, lol.

    Anyone want a casted sculpt of a fw quaity “cassian dracos” then I am drowning in models that need to be painted up. hehe

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 5, 2018 12:04 pm #

      I am not the world’s fastest painter, myself. When I start new armies I tend to speed paint them, these days.

  4. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 March 4, 2018 8:11 pm #

    I just dip models lol. Looks fine. Then for units I love, i put work into.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 5, 2018 12:04 pm #

      I have dipped a few armies myself and it looks fine. Not amazing but certainly not bad at all.

    • Avatar
      Alex March 6, 2018 4:29 am #

      I’ve not dipped models before. Was interested in trying it though cause I’d love to add a horde of Bloodletters to my World Eaters army

  5. Avatar
    Don Tomaso March 5, 2018 3:35 pm #

    I´m a perfectionist so I cant do that. Every time I see a new box being released like the newest nec-admech I want to paint up those armies and try them out but then I realize it would take me years to finish and come with too much stress so I give up all ideas of starting new armies.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 5, 2018 3:38 pm #

      I’m the same way, but I realized if I wanted to add more stuff to my collections that I had to compromise on quality or I’d never keep up.

    • Avatar
      Alex March 6, 2018 4:33 am #

      I hear ya bud. My approach is to buy the units I need for a list, then I dont buy anything else till I’ve built and painted everything for that list. I added a bunch of stuff to my World Eaters army and I’m currently sitting tight until I finish that stuff up. Luckily I’ve got a big fully painted Eldar collection so I can play games while I work on my own hobby stuff between commissions.

      I also took off most 5th edition to fully paint my army. So for every edition since, I just add a few units here and there paint them up in time for games and I’ve been good to go.

  6. Avatar
    Ben Mason March 6, 2018 1:24 pm #

    Hell of a technique! I’ve never groaned seeing an army that isn’t highlighted- but seeing a horde of gray plastic is such a bore!

    • Avatar
      Alex March 7, 2018 12:12 pm #

      Exactly Ben! Just the point I was trying to make… and it really doesnt take long to get them to this standard. Especially with certain color schemes and armies. Thanks bud

  7. Avatar
    Anggul March 8, 2018 1:38 am #

    And the great thing is you can always come back and do highlights later. The main thing is having your wholearmy at this level instead of having two beautifully detailed and highlighted squads and the rest of the army grey or black.

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