Posted 24/10/2017

Grave Guard Made Easy

We’ve looked at the spectral form of the Hexwraiths and the bleached bone of the Skeleton Warriors, and today, Tyler helps round out our toolbox of Death painting tips with a look at the decaying cloth and ancient armour of the Grave Guard:


Tyler: No skeletal legion would be complete without its elite shock troops, the Grave Guard. While you may think they’d be extremely similar to the Skeleton Warriors to paint, they’re actually a bit different, since they have very little bone showing. With that in mind, I settled on a quick way to get these dealers of death done and onto the tabletop.

Step 1

Unlike the Skeleton Warriors, I primed the Grave Guard with the Mechanicus Standard Grey spray. This provides a neutral tone to the model and is a bit darker for all of the darker colours we will be painting.

Step 2

All of the cloth areas were base coated with Naggorath Night. I painted the shield at the same time as this, even though it appears to be wood. I decided I wanted the purple spot colour to carry through to the shields.

Step 3

All of the purple areas were washed with Nuln Oil.

Step 4

I then highlighted all of the purple with Xereus Purple. This meant picking out all of the edges and folds on the robes, as well as on the shield. Keep the highlights thin though, since we still want the Naggorath Night to be our main colour.

Step 5

The purple was finished with a refined highlight of Dechala Lilac. Only use this on the most prominent areas.

Step 1

Since I wanted the bone on the Grave Guard to match the way the bone looks on my Skeleton Warriors I had to paint them in a similar way. This meant building the colour up light enough that I could do a wash of Seraphim Sepia overtop of it. All of the bone areas were base coated with Celestra Grey.

Step 2

This was followed by a layer of Ulthuan Grey. This is pretty similar in colour to Corax White. You’ll need to do at least two thin coats here to get a nice, even coverage.

Step 3

I then washed all of the bone with Seraphim Sepia to both change the colour and shade the recesses.

Step 4

Lastly, I highlighted all of the bone with White Scar, picking out all of the edges.

Step 1

All of the leather areas were base coated with Abaddon Black. On this model that was just the belt.

Step 2

It was then given an edge highlight of Dawnstone Grey.

Step 3

This was followed by a final highlight of Ulthuan Grey.

Step 1

All of the armour that would be iron was base coated with Leadbelcher.

Step 2

This was then washed with Agrax Earthshade.

Step 3

I then picked out some of the fancy ornamentation with Balthasar Gold. On my model that was just the bracelets around his arms, and the skull on his helmet, but you can pick out more if you like.

Step 4

This was also then washed with Agrax Earthshade.

Step 5

All of the metallics were then given an edge highlight of Stormhost Silver. I also painted scratches onto the armour at this point using thin, random lines. I focused these on the weapon, shoulder guards, and breastplate; basically, any areas that had large, flat surfaces.

Step 6

Lastly, I painted watered down Skragg Brown into the recesses of the armour for rust. I also painted random blotches of this on other areas, but don’t go overboard with this, less is more. The gold areas got a similar treatment, but with Sotek Green.

With that, the Grave Guard model is done. Simply base him to match the rest of your army, and they’ll be ready to deal out damage. Trust me, these guys can do a lot more damage than most people give them credit for.


Thanks, Tyler! These tips don’t just look good on Grave Guard – they’re perfect for Black Knights, too – why not pick up both in the Barrow Lords boxed set?

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