Finally! I got my ass into gear and painted a Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire warband at last!
I’ve been putting it off since the game was released as I really can’t be arsed with the painting side of the hobby because it just takes too long and I’m never happy with the results I’m able to achieve. In fact, with these guys, I think my favourite parts are the bases they come with, if I’m honest, but must say that the photos don’t capture the colour of the miniatures very well — I’m far from being a competent photographer and no matter how much I mess about with the settings on my bridge camera, I can’t get an image I’m happy with.
‘How To’ Video
In my days of playing Warhammer 40k, I’ve always chosen armies in power armour or the badass Necrons simply because I find them quicker and easier to paint. This is probably why I chose to paint Steelheart’s Champions first out of all my Shadespire warbands. That and the fact that I also have a mostly painted Stormcast Eternals army for AoS as well.
In the past, I’ve sprayed the miniatures with the appropriate base colour, washed it (or “shaded” as da yoof call it these days), dry brushed followed by a second dry brush with a lighter shade. But not this time. No, this time I headed straight on over to the Warhammer Underworlds’ How to Paint channel on YouTube to see how Mr Two Thin Coats himself would paint them.
These video tutorials are absolutely brilliant for people like me who have never really taken an interest in the painting side of the hobby as things have always seemed too long-winded and complicated to achieve in a realistic time.
After watching Duncan paint Severin Steelheart I felt like I could achieve something along the same lines even though I knew it wouldn’t look as good as his did. Turns out I was right, mine don’t look as good, partly because it would appear that I don’t have as steady a hand as he does and partly because I don’t have an endless supply of quality brushes and paints either.
Having said that, I must admit that I am quite pleased with my version of Severin Steelheart and his champions and I must say that you get a new appreciation for the quality of the Games Workshop miniatures when you take the time to paint them. I like all of these Stormcast Eternal miniatures but I absolutely love the Obryn the Bold one. It’s just such a great cinematic pose with him walking through the ruins of the Stormcast Eternal statue with his huge hammer. I get a feel for the weight of the hammer he’s carrying due to the pose of the miniature and it also lends itself well to painting with its lines and recesses.
So, like I say, I followed the video tutorial just to learn how to paint really, as I’ve never painted properly before with the whole basecoat – shade – layer – highlight process before. It’s not actually that difficult and I’d recommend watching one of these videos to anyone who’s shied away from painting gaming miniatures in the past.
The Painting Process
I started off spraying the miniatures with some Retributor Armour to both undercoat and basecoat them in one go. I love these Games Workshop spray paints and find them a much better quality than the Army Painter sprays. I’ve never been able to get my moneys-worth from an Army Painter spray can as it always clogs up 1/2 or 3/4 of the way through, even with proper cleaning processes.
The bases were sprayed with good old Chaos Black. This is another thing I like about these Warhammer Underworlds models, the fact that they snap together to build and can be removed from the bases easily and don’t require glueing.
After that it was time to get on with the fun shading part of the process — it’s so satisfying to not have to be steady with what you’re doing.
This was done with Reikland Flesh to add some depth to the miniature.
This Reikland Fleshshade is added to the armour parts of the miniature only but it doesn’t matter if small bits hit other areas as they will be covered by other paint later.
Next, it’s time to start layering the colour of the armour back up as the shade dulls it quite a bit. This is done with Auric Armour Gold and is applied to the flat areas of the armour plates, leaving the shade in the recesses for depth. The armour is looking nice and shiny again now with some nice shading.
After that, I did the minimum amount of highlighting with a bit of Liberator Gold just around some of the really obvious edges. I don’t have the steadiest of hands and dodgy highlighting can really mess up a miniature as can be seen on so many examples put up on social media.
After the armour was done, it was time to move on to the other areas of the miniature that required different colours. The principle is exactly the same as I just painted each area with a base colour, followed by a shade of Nuln Oil, then a layer of the base colour to bring the colours back up that have been dulled by the shade.
I’ll be honest and say that by this stage I was getting fed up with taking pictures and so didn’t bother until the miniatures were complete.
For the highlights, it’s just a case of finding a colour that’s lighter than the basecoat, such as Teclis Blue for the blue parts and Mithril Silver for the weapons after a Boltgun base. That’s what colours I used for the weapons as I still have some of the old Games Workshop paint range in my collection and aren’t about to go out and buy the new stuff just so I can follow their guides. The video above tells you the colours they use from the new range.
For the white parts of the models, such as the shield and shoulder icons and the lightning bolts hanging from the weapons, I used Codex Grey followed by a shade of Reikland Flesh followed by Skull white. The grey and the white are from the old range also.
The weapon grips were Red Gore followed by a shade of Nuln Oil and a layering of Red Gore. I wanted them to look a dark and dirty red as they would be due to them being handled a lot by dirty grubby hands.
Steelheart’s plume on his helmet was done with Blood Red and Nuln Oil and the inside of his cape was Codex Grey followed by a shade of Seraphim Sepia and then a layer (which I took too far and pretty much covered all of the shade, D’OH!) Ushabti Bone.
That’s about it for the actual miniatures although I could have gone further with more highlighting and adding little dabs of extra shade here and there where it hadn’t quite sat right….but, to be honest, I couldn’t be arsed.
After an initial thought of “Oh FFS, now I’ve got to do the bases!”, once I watched the video about the bases part and saw how quickly and non-precise the process was, I actually really enjoyed doing them and they turned out to be the most fun part for me.
The colours I used were completely different to the ones Duncan uses in the video but I’m happy with the result.
I started off with the old faithful Codex Grey on the tiles and Dheneb Stone on the collapsed statue as well as the front edge of the step Steelheart is stood on.
I then used Graveyard Earth for the dirt areas around the outside of each base with some really bright Scorpion Green for the leaves (I really didn’t think that was going to work as it’s very bright).
Then came a liberal amount of shading over the entire base. This was a 50/50 mixture of Thraka Green and Reikland Fleshshade and was worked into all the nooks and crannies.
It takes quite a while for this shade to dry as I did add quite a bit, but once it had, it was time for my favourite method of painting — Dry brushing!
The Codex Grey came out again and was dry brushed over the tiles with a small dry brush. Then I used a medium dry brush to apply some Dheneb Stone over the entire base, even the leaves. This really picks out the edges of the stones and gives them a fantastic look. I did get a little carried away on the statue’s head and the piece of the statue in front of Angharad as can be seen by the fact that the weed growing over them is the same colour as the statue in some places. Maybe one day I’ll go back and rectify that along with the other little bits.
Finish the base by neatening up the outer edge with a bit of Abaddon Black and you’re all good.
So, that’s my attempt at bringing the brilliant game of Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire to life with my painted Steelheart’s Champions. What do yours look like? Why not show us in the comments below.
Now it’s time for me to decide which warband to paint next. I’m thinking Sepulchral Guard, even though they are best at objective-grabbing and with the release of The Chosen Axes came the release of the Earthquake ploy. Still, I’ve always liked the undead in my wargaming and they might give me the chance to get back to some soothing dry brushing, hehe.