Friday, March 17, 2017

Ready Your Fleet... For Paint.

In a Galaxy of Grey, This Looks Awesome. 

Christoph Schult was kind enough to send us the painting tutorial he made for painting his UCM fleet. Check it out, I hope you learn something, and become inspired.

When I posted the first test pieces for this scheme I got asked to do a tutorial, so here is how to paint Battlefleet Vanadium:

I started out with some light zenithal priming. It’ll only show on the blue but it’s a trivial step to add.

The first actual colour is the blue for the stripes. I focused on the areas I knew would have stripes but I didn’t care about the rest so pretty much everything got at least some blue. The center ship has gotten a dusting of Arcane Blue from the front and top, the two outer ones have just the basecoat as of the picture.

Next the stripes are masked. I used Tamiya masking tape that I trimmed to be 4mm wide for these.

After that everything goes black. To get neat edges along the tape spray with relatively low pressure, thin paint and at as close to a right angle to the respective surface as you can get. When working with thin paint be extra careful not to build up a wet layer that might run under the tape.

The hull also gets zenithal highlighting for the basic gradient. First German Grey and then Neutral Grey.

And then you get to admire the stripes.

From here on out it’s brush work. I started on the stripes, making as much use of the airbrush shading as possible and focusing mainly on making the edges stand out.

Here’s the first highlight pass on the grey. I use oil paint for this, it take a bit of getting used to but it’s a joy to work with once you get the hang of it. The engines also got a silver basecoat.

Time to do the engine glow. The engines get several coats of sepia ink plus black until they’re a nice dark colour. Then you simply start working up the glow gradient one colour after another.

Next up are all the little boops and details. The one thing worth mentioning is probably the railgun barrels. For things like that I usually basecoat them with a silver colour, give them the same wash as the engines, then I apply the basecoat again expect for the deepest parts and wash the whole thing again. Repeat that a few times getting progressively smaller with the basecoat reapplications and it’s an easy and clean way to get a long gradient out of a wash.

For protection and in preparation of the panel lines the whole thing gets a few layers of gloss coat.

Then I hit the panel lines with Tamiya Panel Line Accent. It creeps really well and any mistakes can easily be cleaned up with some paint thinner. The gloss coat both enables the creeping and protects the previous coats from the thinner.

Finally the whole thing gets a coat of matte varnish and it’s almost done. The panel lines came out a bit strong so I redid some of the edge highlights, especially on the stripes. I’ll have to try to get them a bit more subtle in the first place next time.

And since I don’t know who’ll end up with this link, here’s the beauty shots:

Paint List:

VMC - Vallejo Model Colour
VMA - Vallejo Model Air
VGC - Vallejo Game Colour
P3 - Privateer Press Formula P3


VMC Black
VMC German Grey
VMC Neutral Grey
Highlight with Abteilung 502 Field Grey Highlight


P3 Meredius Blue
P3 Arcane Blue
P3 Arcane Blue + VMC Ice Yellow
Rackham Patina


Andrea Colour Black Base
Gold Transparent Shading Grey
Andrea Colour Black Base
Andrea Colour Black 1st Light
Andrea Colour Black 2nd Light
Dark antenna segments: second shadow with third shadow


VMA Steel -> Black + VGC Sepia Ink wash


Random Detail Stuff:

VMA Steel

Hull Boops:

P3 Sulfuric Yellow

Green Wing Boops:

VMC Emerald
VMC Yellow Green

Gun Barrels:

VMA Steel
VMW Dark Grey
Alternate the above
Drybrush VMA Silver


VMC 957 Flat Red
VMC 910 Orange Red
VMC 851 Deep Orange
P3 Ember Orange
P3 Heartfire
P3 Cygnus Yellow
VMC 858 Ice Yellow
VMC 918 Ivory
P3 Morrow White


  1. Where is that wire you ised to pin the ships to the base? Is it just pinning brass wire?

    1. best to ask this question in the dropfleet commander community Facebook page, and ask Christoph Schult this question.

  2. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!

    Airless Spray