Painting Chaos Cultists: Quick and Easy, Part One

So, like many 40k nerds out there, I purchased a copy of the Dark Vengeance Warhammer 40,000 Starter Box, which includes a bunch of Dark Angels (neat looking, but not my thing) and a bunch of Chaos Space Marines (one of my armies) as did my friend Karl (who plays Dark Angels) and then we traded the half of the boxes that we weren’t going to use. Therefore, I ended up with doubles of everything Chaos-related in the Dark Vengeance box. As it relates to this post, that means I have 40 Chaos Cultists to paint.

Chaos Cultists are a new unit to the newest version of the Chaos Space Marine codex, and they are, for all intents and purposes, cannon fodder. However, they’re cheap cannon fodder (in game points) and they can hold and score objectives, so I figured it would be good to include them in my army. I built them all (they mainly just snap together one way, so they were a quick build) and cleaned off the minimal mold lines and then textured their bases. Once they were all prepared, it was time to prime and basecoat them. I usually prime and basecoat with my airbrush these days, but since there are so many of these guys, I wanted to use a technique that would work through these guys pretty quickly. So I grabbed my bag of spraycans and went outside.

All lined up according to the base color I’ll prime them

I used three main primer colors: Duplicolor Auto Red Oxide, Krylon Camo Brown, Krylon Camo Green, and Krylon Camo Black. All of these colors are great one-two punches for getting models both primed and basecoated all in one step. Rather than priming a model black, and then painting the basecoat brown or dark green or dark red, with these cans you can prime and basecoat in one step, which saves time.

A good starter coat of dark brown

As usual, don’t spray it on too thick, but make sure to get even coverage. I kind of split up my figures and tried to make sure that none of the specific poses would get the same base colors, therefore making the group look more like a chaotic group of rabble. I’ll work even more in the future steps to make two figures of the same sculpt look different from each other.

The first pass of spraycan never catches all the underside bits of the sculpts

After they’ve dried a bit (maybe 5-10 minutes, depending on humidity) then it’s best to lay them on their fronts and then prime again, to make sure to get paint on the undersides of the figures. Then, after another 5-10 minutes, flip them over and get the other side’s underside areas. Now you’ll have a completely primed model.

Now, it’s time to add that special something, and even differentiate the paint jobs a bit more. Get out your other paintcans and dust the models from above.

After dusting with different spraycans, this group looks a good deal different

If you dust the models with a lighter version of the base color from above, then they look as if you added in a built-in blended shadow to your paintjob, and they’ll look nicer and they’ll seem to look like you spent more time on them. If you dust the models with a lighter version of a different color from above, then it looks as if the model is being hit from above with a colored light, or it can add some discord to the look of the model, which is totally acceptable when painting nearly anything from Chaos, in my opinion. Therefore, I dusted some of the dark brown models with a tan (Krylon Camo Khaki), whereas others I dusted with grey or even red. The dark green models were either dusted with a light green for a natural look or tan for a touch of visual discord. And lastly, priming in black and then dusting with nearly any other color usually looks pretty good, I think.

The whole group of 40 Chaos Cultists, ready for further detailing

So with all 40 figures primed, basecoated and even shadow-blended, I’m now pretty far ahead for having a big force of tabletop-quality cultists with not much work. Next time I touch on this topic, I’ll show you where you can go from here.

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atom smashing

A gaming blog talking about miniatures games, miniatures painting and collecting, game design and other nerdly delights.


The Statistics – 2013

Minis games played:
• WH40k (1850 pts):
   BT/GK vs Kevin (Eldar/DE) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Jason (D.E.) LOST
• WH40k (1500 pts):
   BT vs Kevin (S.W.) LOST
Minis finished:
 none yet
Terrain finished:
 none yet
Cons attended:
 Fire & Ice
updated 28FEB2013

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