The lenses on miniatures can make a big difference in how the figure looks as a whole, despite being a really small detail, and they’re almost easy to do. When I say almost, it’s a practice thing, the more you do, the easier it gets. Also, it’s easier on some models than others. I find the plastic tactical marines and Horus Heresy marines easier to do than say, the Sons of Horus heads I used for this tutorial…

There’s only four steps for this once you have the base colour in place. In this case I’ve gone with Citadel Base Mephiston Red. 

If you can ignore the terrible diagrams for a moment and imagine they’re really accurate depictions of the left eye’s lens on a space marine helmet I think we’re good to go. The diagram shows the idea behind each step, which may or may not be clear from the pictures.The area in pink is the area that you’re painting with each step, starting with step 1 – the first highlight – and working through to step four – the final white highlight.

The first step is to mix a little white – I used Vallejo White – with the Mephiston Red and paint on a thin highlight on around the bottom third of the lens.

Then you need to mix a little more white with the previous mix, and paint on an even thinner line over the bottom half of the previous line.

You can add another even thinner line here in exactly the same way as above, or you can skip a step and go onto the white highlights.

The final part is to paint a plain white dot on the front-centre of the lens. You can also add a really thin line of white to the highlighted area of lens.

Once this is done, you can tidy up the edge of the lens, using a tiny bit of shade, I tend to use Vallejo Black Shade as it covers a multitude of stray brush strokes around the edge of the lens.

With that complete, the final step is to use a little bit of gloss varnish, I use Citadel Gloss ‘Ardcoat to give the lenses a reflective look.

This is a very similar method to painting the gemstones previously covered here. Although the lenses don’t always turn out exceptional, practice does make them get easier, and even rough lenses will make the miniature look better than a plain coloured lens. Below are a few images of other lenses I’ve painted using the same method.


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