Techniques – How To Paint Warhammer Quest


Welcome to the  How To Paint Warhammer Quest series.  Throughout this series of articles we’ll be explaining how we painted the miniatures for this fantastic game.  We’re not pro painters so we’ll not only be explaining how we did things but also where we experimented.  We’ll even cover the mistakes we made how we recovered from them and what we learnt from them.

This first article will cover the techniques which are used on all models such that details like this aren’t repeated in every article.  In this episode:

  • General Approach
  • Assembly
  • Pinning to corks
  • Pinning to bases
  • Airbrushing
  • Priming
  • Varnishing
  • Oil Washes
  • Citadel Shade Paints
  • Basing

General Approach

There was a lot to consider when deciding how to paint all the models in this set.  We decided we wanted (relative) speed and a decent quality but we were also happy to wait until the models were ready before we played with them, we have proxy models for the mean time.

Everything is mounted on corks whilst painting so bases can be batch painted and attached after the model is complete.  I would use and expand my novice airbrush skills to lay down the primary colour on the model and oil washes used to add contrast without undoing the airbrushing.

We agreed to collaborate on most of the models and playing to our strengths.  Emma is still very new to painting so her skill set is expanding quickly but for now she’s sticking to the brushes.



Both Emma and myself use the excellent Citadel Fine Detail Cutters to remove the plastic parts before cleaning them with a combination of craft knife, needle file and Citadel Mould Line Remover.  The models are then glued together using Humbrol Liquid Poly.  Any parts which might make painting difficult are mounted separately on pieces of sprue.  These are glued on with plastic glue and cut off later.  Blu tac is used to mask an area for gluing later.


Pinning to Corks


I pin the models to corks such that the bases can be painted separately but also to allow better access to paint the models feet.  Using a 0.9mm drill bit I drill 1-2mm into the feet of the models.  The pins are paper clips which I have cut down, I only use the straight bits.  These are attached by dipping the tip of the pin in a small puddle of super glue (on some scrap card or something) before pushing them into the holes.  I then use a pair of pliers to slowly tease the other end of the pins into the cork.  Always use 2 pins where possible as it helps with basing securely later.


Pinning to Bases

I start by cutting the pins down to around 4mm and place a large piece of blu tac on the base.  I then position the model on the base and press the short pins into the blue tac.  I then drill a 0.9mm hole at the marks.  Drilling through sand blunts the drill bit very fast so I use a couple of old bits and start with the pin vice and finish with a dremel on very low speed.  I then push the model onto the base and secure with a blob of super glue on the under side.

This works very well for models with 2 pins.  So far I’ve tried leaving the pin long and bending it for models with a single pin, that hasn’t been 100% successful as the pin can break out the models with just a small hole.



Using Sparmax ARISM and MAX 0.4mm with crown cap.  Currently only using Vallejo airbrush paints and always thinning at least 1:5 with Vallejo thinners.  Base coating is done by entirely coating the model at around 15 – 20psi.  The first layer is then applied by aiming from above and the side of the model.  The highlights are then more aimed but always from above.  For both these layers I remove the safety cap and use 10 – 15psi.

When choosing the psi and thinning keep testing on a piece of scrap paper or something, don’t shoot paint onto the model until your test looks good.  I’m still learning a lot and will continue to experiment with thinner paint and different psi, I’m also saving up for a new airbrush for better accuracy.



Always using Vallejo Surface primers at 25 psi I apply them fast and complete coverage.  Basically spray until they look slightly wet then stop, aim for recesses first then touch up.  Don’t dust on the primer as it will rub off easily.



Gloss is the tricky one here.  I use Vallejo gloss varnish thinned 1:3 (with thinners) and I always mix this outside of the airbrush to ensure consistency.  I apply this at 15psi in smooth even strokes, imagine you are painting a fence panel.  Normally 1 or 2 passes is enough for the varnish to appear smooth and glossy.  Do not go back to areas which are drying too soon.

Matte varnish is dead easy.  I use Army Painter Anti Shine varnish (brush on) without thinning.  I spray in bursts at 25 psi.  The effect is almost instant so it’s easy to see where you have been but be aware if you apply too much it will look shiny until it dries.  So I normally do two passes over a batch of models to make sure it’s all covered.  We call this stuff ‘Magic Varnish’ because it seems to increase the contrast and make everything look smoother and more consistent, that’s quite magical to us!

All of the models and bases we paint are protected with a coat of gloss followed by a coat of matte varnish.  The varnishes are also used with the oil washes.

Oil Washes


We’re new to oil washes and so far we’ve found it really easy to experiment and go back and forth with them.  We’re using a set of Daler Rowney Simply oil paints and Bob Ross Odourless Thinners.  After the model has a nice coat of gloss varnish we mix the paint and thinners testing the mixture on a tissue.  We keep adding thinners to the mixture until it starts to soak and spider into the tissue.  This can always be altered after some testing.

The wash can be easily removed with thinners whilst it is still wet but to get the full effect wait until it is dry and clean the raised surfaces with a cotton bud (beware of the fluff), make up applicator, a stiff brush or even your finger.  When you’re happy and everything is dry seal with varnish.


Citadel Shade Paints

We almost always thin the shade paints with Lahmian medium.  1:1 (paint:medium) is good for slowly blending with layers, 2:1 is still fairly strong and 3:2 is our go to mixture for most washes.  This tends to give us better results as the shade settles more in the recesses and stains the raised areas less.




We wanted to try and copy some of the Games Workshop studio miniatures.  We start by sticking small pieces of slate down with super glue and then once this is dry we coat the remaining surface with PVA glue.  Fine sand is then applied and left to dry over night.

The painting starts with Mournfang brown on the sand and Mechanicus standard grey on the rocks.  The whole base is washed liberally with Nuln oil.

Highlighting is then done by drybrushing the rocks with Longbeard grey and the sand with Tyrant skull.  The rims are finished with Abaddon black.


That’s it for the run down of our techniques.  We’ll start posting the write ups for each model soon so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy these articles.  You can let us know what you think in the comments below and follow us on Facebook.  We also earn a little towards our paint if you shop with Element Games through us so please check out their selection of Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower heroes or if you haven’t already pick up your copy of the game.  Use code VIN016 at checkout to earn double crystals on any order.