How to Paint The Diesel Troopers - From Our Dieselpunk Collection
This tutorial has been written by our professional miniature painter, Marc 🙂
This tutorial centres on how to paint the Diesel Troopers in January's collection. We look at one pose, but you can apply the techniques to all the trooper models. I also used many of the steps covered here to paint M.A.C, our robot dog.
The troopers really do have the iconic storm trooper feel. They are faceless, well armed and armoured, and have an appearance of brutish efficiency about them. As a result, I immediately knew that I had to paint them in cold tones to really emphasise this feeling!
When I was contemplating which techniques to use when painting the Diesel Troopers, I wanted them to sit in stark contrast to the heroes. The heroes armour is heavily textured and worn, so I decided to go for a much neater edge-highlighting style with the troopers.
Before You Get Started
The tutorial is broken down into areas and steps, and you'll find a full list of the paints I used at the end. I also note the ratio of paint to water/thinner medium for each paint, but remember that your ratio could vary depending on the brand of paint you use.
Early on in the tutorial, I cover stages using an airbrush. If you don't own one, you can just skip them and your trooper will still turn out great 🙂 I don't mention thinning ratios for the airbrush stages because it's highly variable to the machine you're using.
Finally, clean your miniature and prime him in a black primer. I have attached him to a simple base to make painting easier.
PREPARING THE ARMOUR
1. Start by painting the miniature completely in Grey Dark Base.
We're now going to highlight the armour using an airbrush. Just skip these steps if you don't own one - it's not a problem 🙂
Using the airbrush, apply highlights using Grey Light Base. Target exposed parts like the top of the helmet, the upper parts of armour plates, etc. You will be covering approximately 60-70% of the armour plating with this colour.
For the next highlight, again use your airbrush to apply a layer of Grey High Light. Target the most extreme parts. The key is to cover less than in the previous stage. Areas to focus on include: the apex of the helmet; the top of the chest armour; the shoulder pads; and the outstretched hand.
4. Using a bristle brush, paint the under-armour black. A ratio of 4 drops of paint to 1 drop of water should ensure your black paint has sufficient coverage, yet still flows readily from your brush. Two coats may be required to produce a smooth even finish.
PAINTING THE UNDER ARMOUR
5. Using a brush with a good tip, use 3 drops of Grey Light Base thinned with 1 drop of water to paint narrow lines along the edges of the strapping/binding, and paint along the apex of the folds of the under-armour.
6. Keep developing these edge-highlights, this time using 3 drops of Grey High Light, thinned with 1 drop of water. You'll want to cover less of the miniature with this mix, targeting those parts of the under-armour which are most likely to be reflecting light.
7. This next highlight stage targets just the highest points of under-armour and binding. Use 1 drop of Grey High Light with 1 drop of Titanium White Ink and 1 drop of water.
8. Black is rarely ever comprised of just black and white shades. Some blacks are warm, whilst others appear cool. To make the under-armour appear tonally interesting and give it a cool feel, we're now going to apply a glaze, made by thinning 1 drop of Innsmouth Blue with 3 drops of Matte Medium and 1 drop of water (to help further with flow). Apply this over most of under-armour.
9. Finally to finish, take unthinned Titanium White and paint small dots at the extreme apex of the folds.
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PAINTING THE ARMOUR PLATES
10. Start by thinning 3 Grey High Light with 1 drop of water. Use this to edge-highlight (paint neat lines) around all of the edges of the armour. Do this for any hard angles. Also edge-highlight the fingers. Consider adding a little texture, scratches, marks and chips to the armour.
At this stage, you'll also want to paint the rim of helmet. Stipple texture at the top of the helmet to give the impression of light bouncing off of the highest point.
Edge-highlighting is a staple technique of miniature painters. But that's not to say it's easy! Here are a few tips to help:
- Support your hand that holds the paintbrush.
- Try and always move your hand in one direction, as this will improve mind muscle connection. Therefore move the miniature around, instead of your hand.
- Paint that flows effectively from the brush helps. As a result, ensure your paint is not too thick.
- Clean your brush regularly to keep tip of the brush free of dried paint.
- Consider using a paint retarder to keep paint wet for longer.
11. Keep developing the edge highlights using 1 drop of Grey High Light mixed with 1 drop of Titanium White Ink and 1 drop of water.
Focus on the parts of armour more readily hit by your light source (usually this is from above) such as the chest, helmet, shoulders and fingers. Cover less of the miniature with the highlight than you did with the last stage. Try and make your lines thinner than in the previous step.
12. Now that the highlights are established, we can start to develop shadows and tonal variety. We'll do this using glazes.
For the first glaze, take 1 drop of Inktensity Blue and thin with 3 drops of Matte Medium. Brush your paint on towards the recesses. You can use multiple coats to intensify the colour (I often find myself adding more of certain glazes as a paint project progresses because I can see the miniature coming together and feel that certain aspects require more colour).
Avoid painting over highest parts of armour, as we will be applying a different glaze to these. Feather the edges to ensure a smooth transition.
13. Make a second glaze, mixing 1 drop of Inktensity Blue with 1 drop of Neutral Grey and 4 drops of Matte Medium. Brush this into the recesses. Remember to feather again to create a blended smooth edge.
When feathering a glaze that you've made mixing an acrylic paint/ink with a medium, if you clean your brush and dip it in a clear medium, you can use this to feather the glaze to produce a really nice blended edge, as oppose to using water.
14. For the final glaze take 1 drop of Inktensity Yellow and mix with 3 drops of Matte Medium.
Apply this as a very light glaze to the high points such as at the top of the helmet, chest, the pointing finger etc. It has the effect of adding a little warmth to the miniature where the light source (the sun) would hit. The additional colour also makes it more visually stimulating.
15. Touch up any lost edge-highlights and add dots of white to apex points and where any scratches cross over a hard edge.
PAINTING THE METALLIC PARTS
16. Start by applying a base coat to the piping, clips, and brackets holding the gas tanks in place. Use 4 drops of One Coat Silver thinned with 1 drop of water.
17. To make the metal look used and oily, cover all of the metallic components with the following: mix 1 drop of Neutral Grey with 2 drops of Transparent Burnt Umber, and mix with 4 drops of Matte Medium (you can make less paint if you want to, but these are the ratios that I would recommend).
18. Edge-highlight the highpoints of the metallic components using 3 drops of Thrash Metal thinned with 1 drop of water. The top part of each segment of the breathing tube was given an edge-highlight too.
PAINTING THE GRENADE & GUN CABLING
19. Start by painting these details using 3 drops of Surfer Orc Flesh thinned with 1 drop of water. Aim for a smooth even coat. The top and bottom sections of the grenade have already been painted grey, so it's the central cylinder that will be painted using this tone.
20. Next, mix 1 drop of Surfer Orc Flesh with 1 drop of white and thin with 1 drop of water. Paint this along all of the raised parts of the cable. For the grenade, paint a fine line across the top and the bottom of the central cylinder, with a fine connecting line running vertically between them (where light hits the curve).
21. For the penultimate step, mix 1 drop of Surfer Orc Flesh with 2 drops of white and thin with 2 drops of water. Do as before but ensure your line is finer than in the previous step.
22. Finally, take pure white. Apply a fine line just at the top part of the cable. For the grenade, very carefully paint a small dot where the vertical line meets the top line. Below is a close up photo of the grenade so you can spot these details a little easier.
PAINTING THE GUN
23. The first highlight is made using 4 drops of Grey Light Base thinned with 1 drop of water (or fluid retarder as this will help paint the very fine lines).
24. Once you've highlighted all of the edges, add a fine, extreme highlight using Grey High Light. Mix 4 drops with 1 drop of water. Target the most exposed aspects of the gun where the light will most readily hit it, such as the top of the barrel and the ridges of the hand grip, and the top of the pistol grip.
25. Apply a glaze over the whole gun made from 1 drop of Inktensity Blue mixed with 3 drops of Matte Medium.
26. Finally, target any apex highlights using small dots, making use of 1 drop of Grey Light Base mixed with 1 drop of white and thinned with 1 drop of water.
PAINTING THE LENSES
27. Paint the glass of the goggles with a base coat of 3 drops of Wolf Grey thinned with 1 drop of water. Two coats may be required to produce a smooth even finish.
To create the impression of a reflection on the glass of the goggles, we will paint a lighter tone around the edges.
28. Take 2 drops of Ice storm and thin with 1 drop of water. Paint a fine line around the top and bottom of the goggles.
29. Next, mix 1 drop of Ice Storm with 1 drop of white and dilute with 1 drop of water. Paint a fine dot in the corner of the goggles, closest to the nose.
30. Finish the goggles by applying a glaze over the bottom half of each goggle. The glaze is made from 1 drop of Inktense Blue, mixed with 3 drops of Matte Medium.
If you follow our tutorials, make sure to post your painted models on Instagram and use #printminis so we can see them!
The Paints I Used
- Grey Dark Base, Ammo by Mig Jimenez
- Grey Light Base, Ammo by Mig Jimenez
- Grey High Light, Ammo by Mig Jimenez
- Titanium White Ink Acrylic Ink, Liquitex
- Inktensity Blue, Scalecolor
- Neutral Grey Acrylic Ink, Aero Color
- Inktensity Yellow, Scalecolor
- Matte Medium, Liquitex
- Matt Black, The Army Painter Warpaints
- Innsmouth Blue, Scalecolor
- Silver One Coat, Warcolours
- Transparent Burnt Umber Acrylic Ink, Liquitex
- Thrash Metal, Scalecolor
- Surfer Orc Flesh, Scalecolor
- Wolf Grey, The Army Painter Warpaints
- Ice Storm, The Army Painter Warpaints