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Space Hulk Diorama (15) – Painting Blue Power Armour

Digable Planets ‘Pacifics’ 

Blue can be a tricky colour to paint. In this case, I wanted it to be smooth, but not to the point where it has a non-metallic metal effect; and to have a small amount of wear/tear, but without that dominating the paint scheme. Although this diorama is supposed to represent a battle-scene, heavy weathering doesn’t seem to sit right with the idea of a Librarian.

These are the colours I used (I forgot to include black in the photograph): 002

As with some of the other colour schemes I’ve used on the diorama’s models, this was a bit experimental; so some stages may not prove entirely necessary.

Basecoat – Necron abyss. Wash with black, then wash with smoke.


Layer – Vallejo Air Colour Blue:


Layer – Vallejo Air Colour Blue + Regal Blue:


Layer – Regal Blue. Shade recesses with Vallejo Air Colour Blue + Black (1:1). I also made a thin glaze out of this mix, and painted it over the dark areas:


Layer – Regal Blue + Caledor Sky:


Layer – Caledor Sky. This stage is where I began to consider where light would fall, and used this as a rough guide for where to place the paint:


Glaze – Vallejo Air Colour blue all over the blue armour. Several thin layers are better then one:


Edge highlight – Caledor Sky + a small amount of Pale Grey Blue + Khaki (ratio c. 3:1:1):


Edge highlight – Caledor Sky + Pale Grey Blue (1:2). I left Khaki out of this mixture, as it made the paint look a bit turquoise rather than blue; and only painted the extremities with it, such as corners:



I added cracks and chips by using black + smoke (1:1). These were then outlined with the same Caledor Sky + Pale Grey Blue mix as above.

With it being a finecast model, there were some areas which were slightly chobby, so I used these as a natural guideline for placing chips/scratches. For example, the base of the boot here:



At this point, it still needed a bit of work, as the matt finish to the paint in the recesses made them look dusty rather than shadowy. So, I made a thin mix of liche purple and smoke brown – about a 2:1 ratio – and used this to glaze over the recesses. To finish, I made a glaze of smoke brown and painted several layers over the entire blue area.


As an aside, sometimes it seems like no matter how hard you work at painting, you never improve. There’ve been many times when I’ve seen outstanding models, and found it disheartening to think that I could never produce anything of the same quality. In fact, I’ve often seen other people respond by saying – either in jest, or possibly truthfully – that they give up.

I painted this five years ago:


It was my favourite model when I was young, and played the games; and I was proud of it when it was finished. It was one of the first models I painted when I began to paint models again, after a 13 year gap.

Looking at it now, it’s a very basic paint-job, with many areas that could be improved – such as the blending on the armour, and brush control on the freehand designs. It’s also notable that I didn’t paint a banner for this. I can’t remember why; but I suspect a lack of confidence was the reason.

It’s always interesting to see other painters progress: many of the people I admire most, who are currently able to produce miniatures which are above and beyond anything I could achieve, were invariably quite ordinary – if not poor – at painting when they started; but if you look at their online galleries, you can see how they steadily improved over the years. Cause for optimism, I think.


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