Painting the Lion: Behind the Scenes

Painting the Lion: Behind the Scenes

The Lion, Primarch of the Dark Angels, is a terrific centrepiece miniature from Games Workshop, worthy of the spotlight in any hobbyist's collection. As such, we knew it deserved the extra attention of a Masterclass level painting tutorial from our Lead Studio Painter and Product Developer, Thomas Coltau.

Such an intricate and majestic mini required a slightly different approach than usual. Here, Thomas takes us through how he tackled what can be a very daunting mini for many painters out there and the unique challenges associated with it.

The Lion Shield

Thomas: For me, painting the Lion was a bit of a daunting task, as there have been some amazing paint jobs on social media. I decided to do a fairly clean and straightforward paint job, and for that, I felt that I had to try something I rarely do on a miniature: painting it in sub-assemblies. The model has so many layers and different textures, and painting that, while fully assembled, would, for me, be nearly impossible. 

The Lion Back

When I paint a miniature I usually start with the areas that will be least accessible later in the paint job. This makes it a lot easier to build my way out to the outermost details. Approaching it in this manner, I don’t have to be as neat with the hard-to-reach areas. The outermost areas are also where you would put your fingers during the painting process to hold the mini, and because of that, you'd wear off some of the acrylic paint. By painting these last, I avoid that issue.

The Lion Shoulder

I tried to use the same approach with the Lion, but painting on camera is always a bit tricky that way. Usually, when I paint off-camera, I paint a specific part of the miniature all the way to completion, whereas on camera, once I start with the green, I have to paint all the green bits before moving on to the next part. Because of that, painting the hardest parts to reach can be a bit tricky unless you paint it in sub-assemblies. 

The Lion Base

When choosing the colours for this miniature, because of the vast selection of paints in the Warpaints Fanatic range, I wanted to aim for high contrast but still achieve some coherency. On the Lion's armour, I wanted it to be green but still a wanted to have dark contrast with everything else around it, which is very bright and saturated. To achieve this, I chose the Teals Flexible Triad and went for a very dark, cold green armour, as the contrast between the less saturated armour and everything else can help enhance the overall paint job.

Thank you, Thomas, for taking us through how you approached such a detailed model! You can check out the entire tutorial for yourself in the video above and learn how to give your own Primarch that Masterclass touch.

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