Welcome to the first update post of the Summer Challenge, where Mike will be painting Ferrus Manus, primarch of the Iron Hands, and I’ll be painting up Horus Lupercal, the Warmaster himself. It’s a few hours later than usual, but we wanted to try and get a little more done before the post went up, as it’s only four days since we started.

After the Roboute Guilliman challenge in April, we gave ourselves May to post about a wider variety of things, and were originally going to paint up a vehicle each for this challenge – don’t worry, there’s a whole heap of vehicles to be painted up so that will arrive sooner or later – however, we’ve both made a lot of progress with our respective legions, and decided that the primarchs for said legions.

Looking at the original post for this challenge, I was confident that Horus wouldn’t take long to paint – he’s mainly in black after all. When I came to paint him a little on Thursday though, I had that same feeling of dread that I did when I got through a week of Guilliman. There’s so much detail! To try and get part of him done that I thought wouldn’t be too bad, I started on his head (usually the last part of a miniature I paint.

Firstly I base coated the head Vallejo Panzer Aces Flesh Base before starting to add Vallejo White to the mix to lighten it a little and applying a thin, watered-down layer before adding a little more white, applying less and less paint to the models as the layers progressed.

After around the third layer, I added some Vallejo Brown Shade to the creases around his nose and mouth, his ears and around his eyes. The Brown Shade doesn’t appear to darken the flesh too much, so it’s a discreet way to darken the creases.

A couple more layers of lightened Flesh Base and his skin was almost done. With evil models, I try to get them to look a little more sinister with cinema style make up, dark/red around the eyes, and darker, sunken cheeks. To to this I applied a small amount of Brown Shade to both his cheeks and temples, then added a little Vallejo Umber Shade underneath his eyebrows, and a little Vallejo Red Shade to his eyes and lips.

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The piping from his head was painted Vallejo Model Air Chrome, washed with Black Shade, and little Brown Shade here and here, Where the tubing joins his head there’s a little Red Shade – I know they’re super human and immune to all kinds of toxins, and the tubing going into their heads wouldn’t look inflamed, but I like the look of it.

I wasn’t sure where to go next so moved onto the leather tassets that hand from his waist, and also from his shoulders. The base coat was Vallejo Flat Earth, and I washed them with a mix of Burnt Umber Shade and Black Shade.

The symbols at the end of each strip of leather I painted with a base of Vallejo Model Air Rust.

While I was waiting for the shades to dry, I decided to make a start on some of the decoration on his armour using Model Air Chrome and Rust, and was disappointed to realise there was tonnes of it. Also that one of the wolf heads on his shin wasn’t cast very well, so I’ll have to try and paint that as best I can.

That’s all I managed, but it’s less than a week in, so I’m hoping I’ll have a lot more to show next time.

Thanks for reading this far, and now, it’s over to Mike for a dose of Ferrus Manus.


I’ve had Ferrus Manus since Forge World first released him, but I never had the confidence to paint him. Having played around with airbrushing and painting techniques in the meantime I feel a bit more confident approaching painting the model.

As Rob said, there’s a lot of detail, but at the moment I’m still fairly confident I can get it done, having painted a number of Iron Hands models and working on some quick ways of doing certain colours now. The main thing I’m scared of painting is the metal arms and blending them in with the flesh. So, the first thing I wanted to approach was the armour. Usually I start with the largest part of the model, or largest colour, which in this case was the armour. For this I’ll be following the way that Forge World painted their own studio model (which I will detail below).

Firstly, I mixed Tamiya German Grey and Tamiya Sky Blue 1:1 to create the basic blue-steel armour colour. I airbrushed this on to save time and make sure that it was an even coverage. (Don’t forget to thin the paint for airbrushing – I did this by putting a few drops of Tamiya thinner in the cup first).

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This gave a good base to work on for the armour colour. It’s a bit of a different way to doing the armour than the basic infantry, but that will help him stand out as the Primarch. In the end it will still be a black colour. In order to start giving it that machined metal look I stippled Citadel Tau Light Ochre in random patches over the armour.

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I was a bit worried about this at first, but from the following states it seems like it will provide more of a texture than the orange colour showing through.

Next, wash the orange sections with thinned Citadel Carroburg Crimson. I thinned this with Citadel Lahmian Medium, about 1:1.

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Then the same with Citadel Druchii Violet, thinned with Lahmian Medium. This time I went over a bit more of the armour.

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Then follow the same steps with Biel-Tan Green:

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Then finally with Citadel Lamenter’s Yellow. I may not have thinned this as much as I should have done. It’s a glaze so I assumed it would already be thinner. We’ll see how the rest of the armour goes.

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As you can see this is starting to give the armour a burnished, oily and machined metal look. Once I darken it down at little more some of the different colours will add to the texture rather than standing out as distinct colours.

That’s all for now, but I’m quite happy with the first few days work.