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Contrast Paints: Quick Primaris Lieutenant

Since I’ve been not been painting for a while, I have to admit that I haven’t gotten around to trying out Contrast paints. But hey, no time like the present, right?


I heard that the contrast paints vary wildly in strength and colour, and that some colours might not actually be what is stated on the pot. So I was pretty worried about the choice of paints.

Thankfully the guys at Warhammer Chelmsford came up with a nice set of real life examples, so I was able to match the colours with what I wanted. I don’t want to take away traffic from them, so I didn’t include the whole list of contrast paints. You should check out their facebook page, or the Bell of Lost Souls article for the easier to see version.

In the end I went with Ork Green (for my orks and grots), Talassar blue (it’s the closest to a strong medium blue that I use for my Brotherhood of Steal), Gore Grunta Brown (for the wood and rust), Blood Angels red (a strong red), Iyanden Yellow, Volupus Purple (my idea was to use it for shades), and Black Templar. I heard good things about Akhelion Green (which is really more of a teal colour), but I haven’t got it yet.


But what to paint? I haven’t gotten around to painting much of my Dark Imperium models (in fact I think I ended up selling most of the loyalists off), so I just picked up a Primaris Lieutenant I had lying around to try my hand at it.

I saw an example of using some other colours to establish a shade below contrasts, and I’m a big believer in zenithal highlighting and undershading, so I decided to try a variant of it. Below, you see me trying to airbrush a cool purple to act as the shade for my Primaris later.

First Brush

The main colours I used were Blood angels red (for the red of the power armor) and Iyanden yellow for the gold.

This was… I think one layer of the red and yellow respectively. While you can see some of the shadows peeking through, I think I should’ve been more obvious with the shade colour. I’ll probably try a much deeper and cooler purple in the future.

To establish more gradients and variation, I ended up going over the red a few more times with contrast, and highlighting with some layer paints. Similarly, I ended up using some of the gore grunta brown as shadows for the gold, and highlighting with a bit of pale yellow and white.

It was very hard to get a smooth coat for the red and especially the black. I think brush and volume control is something to really pay attention to when using contrast paints, especially on smooth surfaces like on Space Marines. Like the red and yellow, I ended up highlighting over the Black Templar Contrast paints to get a bit more definition.

Finishing up

I finished the model with a range of non-contrast paints, including turquoise and white inks, as well as some game colour blue-green. In the picture, you can see me trying to lay in the blocks of colour for the power sword. I then ended up trying to blend the colours together with wet brush blending methods. The white ink was mainly for major spot highlights, as well as the edges of the power sword (thanks Vince Venturella).

While the sword certainly isn’t the best blending ever, I’m particularly proud of the fact that aside from the first undershading, I didn’t use an airbrush at all. Also, aside from the primer and undershade, I finished the whole model in a day, which for me is some sort of achievement.

I’m still continuing my painting, so hopefully 2020 is the year of me actually making a dent in my painting backlog!


Singapore’s resident Press Ganger, that is, the man to go to for Privateer Press’ WARMACHINE, and HORDES. Kakita also dabbles in Games Workshop’s WARHAMMER FANTASY and WARHAMMER 40K lines.

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