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Posted 11/12/2017

Painting the Steel Legion

Among the many regiments of the Astra Militarum, the Armageddon Steel Legion are a firm favourite of many – not least because of the gorgeous models, which evoke historical military uniforms while remaining firmly rooted in the 41st Millennium. Tyler Mengel is one of those who loves the Steel Legion, and here he is with a guide to painting them.


Tyler: The Steel Legion holds a special place in my heart. Back when I first entered this wonderful hobby at the impressionable age of 10, the Third War for Armageddon worldwide campaign was in full swing. My first ever issue of White Dwarf had a ton of coverage of it, and it was also the issue announcing the shiny new Steel Legion models. I always loved the models, but never had the opportunity to do an army of them for one reason or another. With the new Codex: Astra Militarum, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to fulfil my childhood dream and bring the Imperium’s armoured vengeance down upon some Orks’ (and now Bloodletters’) heads.

Step 1.

I primed my model with the Zandri Dust Spray. Even though none of the colours are Zandri Dust in the end, it’s a nice colour to work off of, especially for the jacket.


Step 2.

I then base coated the jacket with a layer of Zamesi Desert. You may need to do two coats of this since the colour is a little thin to avoid filling in details.


Step 3.

Next, I painted Seraphim Sepia right into the folds and crevices. This way you don’t need to clean up afterwards like you would with an all-over wash. In the smaller folds and lines, I just used undiluted Seraphim Sepia, but in the larger, more shallow folds, like the bottom of the jacket, I mixed in a bit of Lahmian Medium. This helps it blend better and look more natural so you don’t have a hard line where the wash stops.


Step 4.

Clean anything up you need to with Zamesi Desert, I didn’t have to do much, then line highlight the whole jacket with Screaming Skull.


Step 1.

All of the dark brown leather areas, such as the mask, gloves, boots, pouches, and all of the straps were base coated with Rhinox Hide. This colour took two or three coats on the larger areas to get an even coverage.


Step 2.

I then highlighted all of the edges and folds with Gorthor Brown.


Step 3.

This was finished off with a smaller, more refined highlight of Gorthor Brown mixed with Screaming Skull.


Step 1.

I base coated the helmet and canteen with a mix of Abaddon Black and Castellan Green. It was probably about a 50/50 mix, as you want it just a little darker and less saturated than the regular green colour.


Step 2.

This was then washed with Nuln Oil.


Step 3.

I edge highlighted the helmet with pure Castellan Green.


Step 4.

Lastly, I mixed a littleAdministratum Grey into the Castellan Green for a final highlight. This helps keep it looks drab and like a greyish green.


Step 1.

All of the metal areas were base coated with Leadbelcher.


Step 2.

These were then washed with Nuln Oil.


Step 3.

They were then highlighted with Stormhost Silver to finish them off.


Step 1.

All of the black areas, such as the gun casing, sword handle, eye lenses, and the tube on the gas mask were base coated with Abaddon Black.


Step 2.

I then highlighted the edges of all of these with Dawnstone. The eye lenses had a small sliver of Dawnstone painted into the bottom right corner.


Step 3.

These were finished off with a more refined highlight of Administratum Grey, with a smaller sliver of this painted into the bottom right corner of the eye lenses. I also added a dot of White Scar to the upper left corner of the lenses.


Step 1.

The last thing I had to do was the Steel Legion badge on his sleeve. I base coated the circle with White Scar and painted some Agrax Earthshade around the lightning bolt.

Step 2.

I then base coated the lightning bolt with Mephiston Red and highlighted it by mixing in a bit of Screaming Skull.

With that, your Steel Legion guardsman is complete and you simply need to base him…


+++IMPERIAL MESSAGE INTERCEPT…

PRIORITY LEVEL ALPHA…

ARMAGEDDON HIGH COMMAND…

AUTHENTICATION CODE ********

ASTROPATHIC RELAY INCOMING…

INCOMING…

INCOMING…+++

++BEGIN TRANSMISSION

Attention, Guardsmen! It has come to our attention that your regiment’s protective headwear has been painted an unauthorized colour. Fear not, for your previous Adeptus Munitorum representative has been sent to the Commissariat for re-education on the proper and accepted shades of Imperial retribution. In the meantime, a new and highly motivated representative has been assigned to you, whom, with your Commissar’s assurance, will correct this gross oversight.

END TRANSMISSION++


After finishing the model and looking at it for a few days, I decided I wasn’t happy with the helmet. The colour was fine, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I had wanted a greyer colour that more closely matched the original Steel Legion models, and my first attempt had ended up too green for my liking. After repainting it once, where it ended up too grey, I repainted it a second time and was happy with how it turned out. Remember, just because a model is done, it doesn’t mean you can’t go back and make changes. Your test model is where you should be doing this anyway, so don’t feel bound by your previous choices.

Step 1.

I put a new base coat on the helmet with a mix of Eshin Grey and Castellan Green, probably around a 70/30 mix. You want it to be mostly grey, but with a hint of green to it.

Step 2.

I then washed the recesses of it with Nuln Oil. This means around the eagle and rivets, as well is in the divot where the helmet bends. I did this instead of an all-over wash to maintain the original colour since it was already dark enough.

Step 3.

This was followed by an edge highlight ofMechanicus Standard Grey.

Step 4.

I finished it with a more refined highlight of Dawnstone. I also decided to repaint the flask to match the rest of the leather gear. If you like the original helmet colour more, then, by all means, stick with it. Just simply base your model to match your army and you’re all done. I based mine to look like the Ash Wastes of Armageddon, but he would look just as at home in any environment. Carry on, Guardsman!


Thanks to Tyler for this guide, complete with alternative colours. If you want to try it out, you can pick up some Steel Legion models from the Games Workshop webstore now.