20 March 2019

Painting my Crimson Fists – Blue Armour

After the success of my terrain sponge painting, I pondered the prospect of using the same technique for painting space marine armour. The 7 members of my Crimson Fists Kill Team were the perfect opportunity to give it a try!

I picked out two extremes from my team – my Comms Intercessor and one of my Scouts. This should give me an idea of whether the sponge technique will work for models or not.

Step 1
As always, a spray undercoat was the first order of business. In this instance I chose Chaos Black as I wanted a dark feel to the armour.

Step 2
A solid base coat of Kantor Blue, applied as several thinner layers, came next. This should give me a sound starting point for my experiment.

Step 3
Next came a liberal coating in Drakenhof Nightshade – my new favourite wash! It gave the blue armour a boost in saturation as well as darkening the whole model and settling in the recesses.

Step 4
Now, this was the fun bit. Unlike my previous sponge experiments, I used a very small piece of sponge (which pretty much meant it went all over my fingers!). I started off by putting the smallest amount of raw Kantor Blue onto the palette and dabbing it around with my sponge. I then dabbed a large proportion onto a wipe, so the application on the model would be subtle. I then slowly build up the layers of Kantor Blue until I had a nice balance. I then mixed in some Alaitoc Blue in with the colour still on my palette and continued the process. Finally I used pure Alaitoc Blue in some key areas.

What I find interesting is that the sponge physically won't fit into spaces that would naturally be in shadow, so it's pretty hard to go wrong. The only mistake I made initially was too much paint on the sponge and it swamped the model. The effects look a little bit like dry brushing in these close-up photos, but from the tabletop it looks quite smooth.

Step 5
Finally I added some edge highlights with a fine brush. I started with Alaitoc Blue and moved on to Lothern Blue. I may go back a do a couple of tiny off-white highlights. I was also considering pushing the highlights back a bit with another wash before re-applying Lothern Blue to the most prominent edges. We will see. 

Again, the colours seem rather extreme close-up, but it looks quite smart on the table. My problem in the past has always been that I'm too subtle with the highlights – they look great up close but non-existent on the tabletop.

And that is it for the armour.

The whole process took about 15 minutes for these two models (excluding drying time for the wash). I just need to rinse and repeat for the other five members of the team and I can move onto some red, or rather crimson, fists!


  1. Nice! I dig how that turned out, for sure. For holding small bits of sponge, I swear by a pair of artery forceps (the kind that have the little rasp to hold them closed). Keeps the fingers (mostly) clean!

    1. I like the forceps idea – might have to give that a try next time, cheers!

  2. Looks great Mike! Did you see the 40k stuff released for Crimson Fists in white dwarf?

    1. Oh yes indeed. I may have to continue this crew at some point to become a small 40k army… we will see.

  3. Nicely done, it's a technique I haven't used on miniatures before but seeing the result I think I will give it a try in the future.

    1. It was a bit of a risk with these models as it could have gone horribly wrong, but I was hopeful that (given how well the terrain came out) that there was a good idea in there somewhere!