I've been promising a How to Paint Space Wolves guide for quite some time. So with my Space Wolves painting week in full swing, I thought I should knuckle down, take some step by step photos and explain how I paint my Space Wolves.
People have been asking me a lot of questions as I've been painting all my models in various stages, so I think that this is the best way to answer all those queries.
Here's a full list of everything you will need:
Brushes: Large Drybrush, Medium Drybrush, Small Drybrush, Standard Brush.
Paints: Chaos Black Spray Can, Chaos Black, Adeptus Battle Grey (Foundation), Badab Black Wash, Fortress Grey, Boltgun Metal, Dwarf Bronze, Gryphonne Sepia, Devlan Mud, Macerite Red (foundation), Iyanden Darksun Yellow (foundation), Snot Green, Scorched Brown, Bestial Brown, Bubonic Brown, Bleached Bone, Kommando Khaki, Graveyard Earth, Skull White, Khador Red Base (P3) and Khardic Flesh (P3).
Privateer Press Paints (P3): Made in the same factory as the Games Workshop Foundation paints, Privateer Press Paints (P3) offer a different selection of colours. In particular, I use the Khador Red Base because it's a far more intense red. I also use the Khardic Flesh paint because it's the best flesh tone you'll find and it's consistent without being thick or watering like other flesh colours.
How to Paint Your Space Wolves
First of all, you need to build and flock a batch of Space Wolves and get them ready for painting.
You'll notice that I haven't glued the boltguns into the hands of my Space Marines, this is because it's easier to paint models without them, then glue the guns in later.
If you're not sure how to flock your models, check out this guide on How To Flock 40K Models.
Once the flock has had 24 hours to properly dry (otherwise it's likely to come off during painting), it's time to undercoat your Space Wolves models, including the flock on their bases.
When using the Chaos Black spray can, you need at the very least a cardboard box and a patch of ground outside.
This is my spray box. You can see I've laid down my first batch of Space Wolves facing upwards and their guns alongside them. I'll then take this out into the garden and spray down into the box.
Leave to dry for 10 minutes, come back, turn all the Space Wolves over and their guns and spray the other side. Then leave them to dry for a full half hour.
Bring them back inside and it's time to get out your Medium Drybrush and Chaos Black paint.
Even if the spray has covered your Space Wolf models really well, you still need to quickly go over any unpainted areas with Chaos Black (watered down a little) to get a nice even coating. The same goes for the flock as this gives a nice even coating and helps the paint to hold the grains of sand and tiny stones in place for drybrushing later on.
It's best to give the guns a quick lick of paint at this point as it saves you doing it later. Put the guns in a small bag or somewhere safe, because you won't come back to these until the very end and you don't want to lose any.
Leave the Chaos Black to dry fully (can't emphasise this enough), which takes about half an hour, then we're ready to start basecoating with the Large Drybrush and Adeptus Battle Grey foundation paint from Games Workshop.
Give the pot a good shake (all foundation paints need shaking), then put some paint onto your palette and add a little water, but not so much that small bubbles appear. Foundation paints are quite thick and need to be watered down a little to flow better and get an easier coverage of your Space Wolves models -especially when you're using a large brush.
Don't be shy with that Large Drybrush, get the paint on quick and cover the whole model. Don't worry about the flock or the base. Just make sure the feet are covered. Get the paint into all the gaps, recesses and details, because a wash is going to bring out all this detail later.
Foundation paints dry incredibly quickly, so you should be ready to basecoat the bases and the flock in 10 minutes of drying time.
Take the Small Drybrush and the pot of Bestial Brown and begin painting the flock. Bestial Brown is typically quite a runny paint when it's new, so applying the paint straight on is the best thing to do.
Be careful to paint around the feet of the model while making sure Bestial Brown goes into all the gaps in the flock. Once all the flock has been painted, give the edge of the base a quick coat of Bestial Brown. Don't worry if it's looks streaky, this is to provide a base layer for another coat of paint later.
Because the paint is much more runny, you need to leave these models for an hour to dry fully before starting the next step.
Time for the Large Drybrush and a pot of Badab Black wash. Give the pot a shake and get some wash on your palette. You'll need to add a tiny bit of water to the mix. This will help the wash go a little further so you don't end up using a single pot on just a handful of models.
Just like when we basecoated your Space Wolves, don't be afraid to cover the whole model in Badab Black wash. Sometimes the wash will create a lot of contrasts, other times it will look like a glaze. But when the wash dries it will look the same on each model, so don't worry about what it looks like when it's wet, just make sure you cover the entire miniature and try not to get too much on the base so long as the feet are properly covered.
You may as well go out for a whole hour. Wash (especially when watered down) takes forever to dry and at the next stage of painting, you really cannot afford to get your brush wet.
On to the drybrushing. You'll need the Small Drybrush and the pot of Fortress Grey for this.
Let me explain the whole concept of Drybrushing. First of all, you need a brush that's Dry (hence the name) with paint. Loads of people seem to screw up drybrushing because the paint on their brush really isn't dry enough. I'm baffled how they screw it up, but they do.
Anyway, You take some of the Fortress Grey on your Small Drybrush and push it around your palette until it is dry. So dry infact, that paint only comes off it you apply some force to the brush. This is how dry you want the paint to be for drybrushing your Space Wolves.
Now, take your very dry Drybrush with some Fortress Grey on and quickly use your wrist to move the brush head back and forth over the details of the model. This will better bring out the details, especially the sharp edges. Don't worry if the model looks a bit rough, when you've got the whole batch done, they'll look great together -just like mine!
From this point on, it's best to paint each model individually due to the sheer amount of unique detail. I've chosen a Grey Hunter with a melta gun for my demonstration.
You can see that I've painted his tubes, pipes, undersuit and grills in Boltgun Metal using my Standard Brush.
I've also painted his shoulder pads using Macerite Red and Iyanden Darksun Yellow foundation paints.
And golden parts have been painted in Dawrf Bronze while skulls, wolf teeth and parchment have been painted Bleached Bone. Any runic stones have been painted Fortress Grey. The eyes have been painted with Khador Red Base (P3 paint)
Once all the basecoat colours are on the model, it's time to break out the washes.
You need a Standard Brush, a pot of Badab Black, Devland Mud and Gryphonne Sepia.
Paint Badab Black over any areas already painted Boltgun Metal.
Paint Gryphonne Sepia over any areas already painted Dwarf Bronze.
Finally, paint Devland Mud over any wolf teeth, purity seals, runic stones or other peices of Space Wolf bling.
This makes them just that little bit darker and helps them stand out against the other washed areas of the model.
You'll also notice that these washes make the surrounding areas of grey armour a little bit darker, creating a nice, dark edge.
To enhance the red and yellow shoulder pads, I then took my Standard Brush and watered down a little Gyrphonne Sepia on the palette as well as some Devlan Mud.
I then carefully painted along the inside edge of the shoulder pad. This gives a little bit of soft shading to tone down that sharp contrast between the bright Foundation paints and the drybrushed grey armour.
Once the washes were dry, I then painted any gem stones using Snot Green, followed by a little highlight on the top right hand section using a 50/50 mix of Snot Green and Iyanden Darksun Yellow.
Nearly done. Now to take your Small Drybrush and drybrush the flock on the base in Bubonic Brown.
Your brush doesn't have to be incredibly dry this time around and you don't want to press too hard, otherwise the flock will come off.
Be quite liberal with it, but make sure you don't get any on the Space Marine's feet.
Next you'll be doing the same thing with Kommando Khaki. But when you wash your Small Drybrush out, make sure it's completely dry. You can dry it out faster by squeezing the water out of it, or leaving it on the radiator for 15 minutes. The last thing you want is a wet brush when you're supposed to be drybrushing.
This time your Small Drybrush has to be very dry when using Kommando Khaki. You're looking to highlight the areas that have Bubonic Brown on them, so you can be quite light, although it's worth paying extra attention to any larger stones on the model's base. Some extra drybrushing with the Kommando Khaki can really bring these out nicely.
Finally, take your Standard Brush and give the edge of the base a nice, thick coat of Graveyard Earth (but not too thick!), then put the model to one side to dry. Don't worry if it's a little streaky, because once the base is dry, you need to go back and give it another coat for consistency.
Lastly, this Space Wolf needs his melta gun.
It's worth painting Boltgun Metal (using a Standard Brush) onto the boltguns and meltaguns in batches to cut down on painting time.
It doesn't matter if you splodge the Boltgun Metal, because once dry, the guns need a Badad Black Wash and a final touch up with some Chaos Black to clean up and mistakes.
Once dry, the guns can be glued using Super Glue into the hands of the Space Wolves. Any extra details such as wolf tooth chains, runic stones, imperial eagles and other details can be carefully painted afterwards. It's too fiddly to paint these details and hold a tiny Space Marine boltgun in your fingers at the same time.
And here's some I made earlier!
There are a couple of points I missed in this tutorial because of the model I chose, which includes how to paint wolf fur, human faces and grey beards.
Wolf Fur is pretty straightforward. Simply basecoat it using a Standard Brush and some Scorched Brown. Once dry, drybrush it using a Small Drybrush and Bestial Brown. For any wolf leather that isn't covered in fur, I highlight this by hand by creating a 50/50 mix of Bleached Bone and Scorched Brown, which I paint on with my Standard Brush.
Human Faces are quite easy thanks to Khardic Flesh (P3 paint). Simply paint it on with a Standard Brush and once dry, apply a Gryphonne Sepia wash to the whole face for instantly realistic shading. Then paint the eyes and teeth with Skull White and the point of your Standard Brush.
If you mess up the eyes or teeth, apply some Devlan Mud wash to these areas for some shading that darkens the recesses and hides any errors.
Finally, if like me, you prefer to hand paint your Space Wolves squad and company markings by hand, all you need is a Standard Brush with a fine point and some Chaos Black with a little water added to it so it's easier to paint thin, straight and consistent lines with it.
You're going to make mistakes and this is where the Foundation Paints are so good. Because the shoulder pads are painting in Macerite Red and Iyanden Darksun Yellow, they completely cover up any black.
If you're not brave/mad or skilled enough to hand paint the Space Wolves icons (and I don't blame you if you don't want to!), I suggest either purchasing the Space Wolves shoulder pad packs from Games Workshop mail order or using the Space Wolves transfers sheet.
Thanks for reading my guide on How To Paint Space Wolves and good luck with your army!