Monday, 11 November 2013

Painting Prydian Army Retained Assaulters - Croes Nest


Be it armour, cloth, skin or whichever, White has always been considered a troublesome colour when it comes to miniature painting. The lighter the colour, the less forgiving the paint job is, and white obviously tops them all. But as you will learn from this tutorial, it is not difficult at all, using the right materials and the proper techniques.

The key to this is the use of glazes. A glaze is generally a diluted paint, which -if prepared in the right way- dries to a beautiful milky finish. A vital element in this is Acrylic Medium. This is really just the transparent binder of acrylic paint, and is available in bottles just for this purpose. When added to a diluted paint, it will help retain the cohesion between the pigment particles, which is necessary for a smooth finish. Not adding Acrylic Medium invariably leads to an ugly “coffee-stain” effect in both glazes and washes, so it is highly recommended to use it.

All paints used here are of the artist's colour type. This allows anyone to walk into an arts and craft store and get the these colours from any manufacturer, such as the excellent Pebeo paints we use here at the Alternative Armies painting studio.  We would like you to use the paints we are selling but being artist colours which are standardised by name you are free to choose.

We started with the primed and based miniatures. We always use white primer, as this is far more convenient to paint on. Remember it is always easier to paint a dark colour on a lighter one than doing it the other way around. This is especially true for Yellows and Oranges, which are notably weaker pigments no matter which brand of paint you use.

Directly onto the white primer undercoat a wash of a medium grey (NeutralGrey Mars Black and Acrylic Matt Medium) was slopped on. Pooling into the recesses as well as “staining” the flat areas , this created an effective pre-shading for the white Alwite armour.

After drying, using a fine brush, a wash of diluted Black Ink and Acrylic Matt Medium was carefully applied to the joints and deep recesses in the armour, around the power cables, etc..., to further enhance the contrast.

Now onto the glaze! Mixing Titanium White and Acrylic Matt Medium plus a drop of water to keep it relatively fluid, a nice semi-transparent white glaze was made, which was then applied to the large flat surfaces of the armour.

Smaller detail as well as the edges where necessary were painted with a fine detail brush using pure Titanium White.

Any other detail that was to become black or metal, was given a coat of Mars Black

The ribbed rubber “manifolds” -such as on the knee and foot joints- were first given a highlight of a medium grey (Neutral Grey+Mars Black) and then a speck of Neutral Grey was added in the centre of these highlights to suggest the shiny nature of the material. Any other black area also received a grey highlight.

A steel colour was mixed from Iridescent Silver Mars Black, and applied to all areas that were to be metal.

These areas were then given a local wash of diluted Black Ink and Acrylic Matt Medium, taking care not to spill onto the white of the armour.

Metal highlighting was done with pure Iridescent Silver, using a fine detail brush to pick out individual rivets, edges and power cable segments.

The Pauldrons were first given a coat or two (two thin coats of paint has a far better coverage than a single thick coat!) of Naphtol Carmine red.

After drying, they were shaded with a wash of diluted Sanguine Ink and Acrylic Matt Medium.

The inner area and rim were then “lightened up” again with Naphtol Carmine, followed by a highlight of Cadmium Orange for the edges.

The energy blade of the Roaz Axe was first given a white undercoat, this as mentioned above, because orange is a notably weak pigment, and it would take many, many coats of this colour to cover a darker colour. Cadmium Orange was used for the base tone of the blade.

A glaze of Light Azo Yellow, Acrylic Matt Medium and a little water was used in two or three layers to build up a smooth looking gradient towards the edge.

Finally, the edges were accentuated with a fine detail brush and some pure Titanium White.

The base was first given a coat of Burnt Umber. This was followed by a dry brush of Raw Sienna, and finished off with a highlighting drybrush of Buff Titanium.

The edge of the base was painted Mars Black, and a few clumps of brown static grass were applied to liven up the base's appearance. The whole was given a coat of Matt Acrylic Varnish for protection and an overall homogeneously flat finish.

So there we have it, a finished Prydian Retained Knight, in either scale. As you can see, the technique behind it is actually quite simple. With some practice, it's not unreasonable to do batches of five to ten knights at once, keeping the quality at this high level.

Until next time in the Croes Nest happy painting!

Sam Croes

May 2019 and The Ion Age has been taken back into Alternative Armies.  It continues with new releases into the future!  Go to Alternative Armies for Ion Age pages of the 15mm Range the 15mm Terrain Range the 28mm Range the Publications range and the Free Downloads collection too for the latest.  All links to the ion age site are now defunct sorry!  If you wish to see something or ask a question email me on  GBS


  1. Excellent instruction. Will use this next time on the little guys.
    I have been painting my guys using a white gesso then a white acrylic with a white enamel over the acrylic. I use a satain finish to get the shiny armour look.

    Thanks you for the instruction we be looking forward to more.

    Bob McAlister

    1. Thanks Bob!

      I will pass your kind words on to Sam.


  2. Thank you for a very informative tutorial, very well explained and illustrated.


  3. I've been wondering how Sam does his white. Thanks

    1. The secret is out! White can be tricky but Sam shows and sums it up.