Painting the Dark Angels Dreadnought: Behind the Scenes

Painting the Dark Angels Dreadnought: Behind the Scenes

The Space Marine Dreadnought is an iconic unit within Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 setting. The perfect blend of man and machine incased within an impenetrable sarcophagus, this mighty mini is a great centerpiece for your collection, and here has been painted in the colours of that most secretive of Marine Chapters, the Dark Angels.

Today we pull back the veil and lay bare the secrets that went into painting such a venerable warrior as Lead Studio Painter, Thomas Coltau, takes us through his process of blending the might of Warpaints Air with Warpaints Fanatic, and of course, a healthy helping of Effects paints!

Deathwing Dreadnought


Thomas: I remember falling in love with the first metal Dreadnoughts, and again when they were relaunched in plastic – It’s easily one of my favorite models through my time in this amazing hobby!

For this model, I knew I wanted to show off some weathering, and since we just painted The Lion in green armour, this was a great excuse to do a bone white, Deathwing style model. Bone white (or just white) can be a bit tricky to paint, as too dark of a shadow can steer it away from white to a grey or sand colour, and I didn’t want that here. At the same time, I still wanted good contrast on the model, so I turned to our Warpaints Air range to get those smooth transitions it can give you.


Dreadnought Bone White Shoulder


I started with a very dark brown, and switched to a very bright bone colour on basically every panel.

That was the baseline for the rest of the paint job, and to block in the rest I used  Speedpaint Grim Black to quickly map out where I wanted the different colours. I then turned to the Warpaints Fanatic range to begin the brush work. For the highlights on the bone white, I painted chipping and scratches instead of using my usual method, a sponge. Hand painting the damage is good practice, and it gives you a bit more control. Because you can thin Warpaint Fanatic paints almost endlessly, painting the scratches and chipping, even with a white, is a joy!


Dreadnought Close Up


For the rest of the Dreadnought, I wanted a metallic look, and used our reformulated classic, Warpaints Fanatic Rough Iron, and then our brand new Red Copper to get that reddish contrast on the model. The new metallic formula makes it really easy to paint smooth, thin layers over a model. The addition of the new colours makes this perfect to paint with high contrast on your metallics, and you can almost put together your own triads with the vast amount of different metallics to choose from now – especially combined with the Warpaints Fanatic Washes.


Green Shoulder


For the Green shoulder and Knee, I used Tyler's awesome recipe from his Dark Angel Intercessor – The good thing about that recipe is that it works really well on really small surfaces as well as large vehicle armour.


Weathering Close Up


The finishing touches for a big model like this, will always be a bit of weathering for me! Luckily, we have a bunch of really cool and fun Effect paints in the Fanatic range, and I decided to use Dark Rust and Fresh Rust on the base, as it gives it a very dry pigment-powdery look. I also used those effects on the model itself, to tie it all together. I also used Warpaints Fanatic Verdigris on the copper to give it a more vibrant and weathered look. Lastly, I used Warpaints Fanatic Oil Stains on the moving joints on the dreadnought, as this would be the place where the servitors would have coated it with sacred oils.

All in all, this as a joy to paint, and I like the updated classic look I ended up with. I hope you enjoyed it!



Thank you Thomas for sharing what went into painting such a large and striking model! If you haven't already seen it, you can watch the detailed step-by-step tutorial above to see the full process for bringing your own Dreadnought to that Tabletop Plus sheen.

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