Scythes of the Emperor Painting Guide

Compiled by Sebastian Stuart, content by Chris Pike. (@_chris_paints_stuff_)

The following is a guide to painting your Scythes of the Emperor Primaris Space Marines to a ‘Eavy Metal class level. Chris Pike takes us through a step by step process using his preferred colours to achieve amazing results.

In his own words, with some editing for layout, enjoy:

Painting Scythes of the Emperor Black Armor

The Citadel Paints list:
Abbadon Black
Incubi Darkness
Thunderhawk Blue
Fenrisian Grey
Blue Horror

1) Over a basecoat of Abbadon Black, paint every edge of the armour with Incubi Darkness. I use a size 1 brush for this highlight, and thin the paint with medium. Don’t worry about being too neat at this stage as we’ll tidy up later. You won’t notice the colour too much at this stage, but it’ll make future highlights less stark against the black.

2) Switching to a size 2/0, edge highlight every edge again with Thunderhawk Blue. You’re looking for a thinner edge, so you can see the previous highlight next to the turquoise.
When you’ve done this stage, you can tidy up any mistakes by painting Incubi Darkness next to this highlight, and the painting Abbadon Black next to that. Almost a reverse highlight to tidy up, but it’s easier for people (like me) who can’t always keep a straight edge.

3) Paint Fenrisian Grey on the top edges. If you’re unsure where to paint, stick the area under a light, with the light shining directly from the top.

4) Scratches! Again with a Fenrisian Grey. Thin the paint and paint thin lines and dots anywhere around the armour. If it’s too much, or the lines are too thick, either remove them with Abbadon Black, or thin Abbadon Black and glaze over the scratch. This will help them look thinner and more refined.

5) use Blue Horror to dot on every armour edge, and where ever scratches interact with each other or an armour edge.

NOTES: For this tutorial, I’ve given the armour a coat of AK Interactive Ultra Matte Varnish. I currently airbrush this over the completed model, and will still do so when it is finished, but I wanted to show you what a difference it makes to the armour. The highlights are now much clearer as the shine on the black itself has been removed. The finish might not be for everyone, but it works for me.

Painting Scythes of the Emperor Yellow

The Citadel Paints list:
Averland Sunset
Reikland Fleshade
Casandora Yellow
Yriel Yellow
Screaming Skull
Palid Wych Flesh
White Scar

Something I get asked about a lot – how I paint my yellow armour. Well here’s a step by step.

1) Basecoat the armour with Averland Sunset. I’ve been using a rattle can recently and it has been going ok. I know you can’t get these anymore so a decent number of thin coats should suffice.

2) Reikland Fleshshade into the recesses. Straight from the pot and with a 2/0 brush. The more precise at this stage the less you’ll have to tidy up later on. At this stage I also cover any areas that are going to be metallic with Reikland too. The metals seem to cover a little better than straight over the yellow.

3) Not exactly yellow related, but I next base and wash any metals. I do this at this stage because any messiness is tidied up in the next stage.

4) Tidy up the yellow with Averland Sunset.

5) Casandora Yellow for shadows. I took 3 images for this stage, to show that I basically painted slightly thinned Casandora Yellow on the areas where I wanted the armour to be darker. Leave it to dry between layers. After the third layer I also added so thinned Averland Sunset as a glaze to help with the transitions.

6) Yriel Yellow as a thick edge highlight around every edge.

7) Screaming Skull as a thinner highlight around every edge.

8) Palid Witch Flesh highlights where the light would catch. Towards the corners and on the top edges generally.

9) Scratches! Thinned Rhinox Hide applied with a 2/0 brush with a good point. Scratches can be applied anywhere, but they’re good at hiding any untidy edge highlights from previous stages.

10) Palid Witch Flesh again. This time underneath each of the scratches you’ve painted to represent light catching the bottom edge. I also like to add a few scratches and dots of Palid on its own to show shallow scratches in the armour.

11) Finally dots of White Scar. This goes in every corner of the armour, and anywhere where scratches interact with each other or a highlight on the armour.

I hope that was helpful.

Painting Scythes of the Emperor Boltguns (Black)

The Citadel Paints list:
Skavenblight Dinge
Abbadon Black
Administratum Grey

How I paint the grey/black of my weapons. Here’s a bolt rifle as an example. Hope you like it.

1) Undercoat the casing with 50:50 Skavenblight Dinge:Abbadon Black. Thin it down with medium a little and apply it in a few thin coats. I tend to not work on the rifle casing until the metal areas have been base coated and washed, so I can be a bit messier and that stage.

2) Edge every Edge with Skavenblight Dinge. Again, I use medium to thin the paint as it gives me more control. It’s at this point you come to realise just how many edges a bolt rifle has. I use a size 1 brush for this.

3) Switching to a 2/0, edge every edge with Dawnstone. You’re looking to produce a thinner edge here.

4) Scratches. These are really easy. Just take some thinned Dawnstone and gently paint lines and dots anywhere you want on the casing. If you think the line is too thick, just use some of the basecoat to tidy up.

5) Administratum Grey dots. You want a dot on every outside corner, and every place where two lines of Dawnstone meet. So, where the scratches meet, or where the scratches meet the edging of the casing.
I hope this was helpful.

Thanks Chris! GReatly appreciated by myself and Sothan’s worldwide. You can follow Chris’ work on his Primaris marines on instagram here:

About the Author

Site owner and creator, Sebastian Stuart has been updating and maintaining the Scythes of the Emperor webpage since 1997. He is canonised as 'ForgeMaster Sebastion' by Richard Williams and LJ Goulding in the Scythes of the Emperor novels by Black Library.