How to: Paint faces – Primaris Space Marine, Death Guard, Pox Walkers Genestealer Neophyte Hybrids

In this post, I’m going to talk a little bit about painting faces, and the easy techniques you can use to pick out the details on your miniatures and get them looking great with minimal fuss. As such, only the faces will be painted in this tutorial
For this, I’m using four miniatures which I’m painting a fair bit at the moment, a Primaris Space Marine, Pox Walker, Death Guard Plague Marine and a Neophyte Hybrid from the Genestealer Cult I’m working on in the background. I paint each face using the same basic techniques, but they all have different looks at the end. To start with, I was using a Citadel Medium Layer brush.
The Pox Walker and Plague Marine are both undercoated with Citadel Corax White spray, then I added a layer of Vallejo Flames of War Flat Flesh (not shown). It Neophyte is undercoated Halfords Matt Black spray – larger cans and cheaper than the Games Workshop equivalent – then base coated Flat Flesh, while the Marine is undercoated Matt Black, a bonus layer of Citadel Averland Sunset* and a flesh colour of Vallejo Flesh Base.

*Now the Averland Sunset spray went kind of gritty part way through the base coating, and you can probably see that on the miniature. We’ll be covering ways to solve this in a future post which we will link here.
Next up, I washed the miniatures. The Pox Walker and Marine were both washed with Citadel Seraphim Sepia shade, while the Neophyte and Plague Marine were washed with Citadel Druchii Violet shade. I also painted the plague marine’s mouth with Mephiston Red.

Once washes are on, it’s time to start adding base coats back to the larger raised areas. Now I changed brush here and was using an Army Painter Wargamer: Character brush, as I needed the finer point. If you’ve watched any of my videos on our Youtube Channel, you’ll have probably noticed that for the post part, I paint almost entirely with a Medium Layer brush, and apply the paints fairly liberally. For the details though, I use the smaller brush and use a tiny amount on it’s tip to apply it.
With that, I started applying the base colours back to the miniatures, Flat Flesh to the Pox Walker, Plague Marine and Neophyte, and Flesh Base to the marine.

Then, I added a little Vallejo White to the mix for the Pox Walker, Neophyte and Marine, and a little White and Citadel Nurgling Green for the Plague Marine. A quick wash of Druchii Violet over the mouths of the Neophyte, Pox Walker and Marine also darkened up the recesses of the mouth. I added a further spot of White to each mix, and did a final highlight before using White on it’s own to pick out the teeth and eyes.
With the teeth, I find the best method is to have use an even smaller amount of White on the brush, and ever so slightly brush it over each tooth as best you can. I try to turn the miniature side on, and use downward strokes across the length of the mouth. I do the same for the eyes, so that the brush is stroking downward from the side of the eye nearest the nose, to the side nearest the outside of the face.

The eyes of the Plague Marine and Pox Walker were washed with Citadel Caroburg Crimson shade, while the Neophyte’s were washed with Citadel Casandora Yellow shade.

Pupils were then added using a tiny spot of Citadel Abaddon Black, and I used a downward stroke on the eye, rather than trying to jab the spot in place. A lot of the time you may have to do the pupils a couple of times so they look right, it all comes with practice. There’s several miniatures in my Space Wolves army that are always looking in two different directions, neither being the way they’re facing.

Using Caroburg Crimson gain, I reddened the areas around the boils, metal tubes and bony growths on the Plague Marine and Pox Walker, and added some blood trickles from the Pox Walkers nose and mouth. A tiny mix of Mephiston Red and Citadel Emperor’s Children made a nice colour for both the scar on the Marine’s face, and the tongue of the Plague Marine. I also used Citadel Nurgle’s Rot technical for the drool on the corner of the Plague Marine’s mouth. I used Vallejo Model Air Chrome to paint on the goggle’s frame on the Neophyte, and the studs bits around the Marine’s face, and the tube coming out of the Plague Marine’s head. As this post is just about the face, I’m not doing any more over the metallics.

Finally, I added Agrax Earthshade shade under the eyes of the Pox Walker and Plague Marine, and also added mix of Citadel Yriel Yellow and Citadel Ushabti Bone to the boils.

An extreme close up of the end results:
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve found this tutorial useful. The techniques here are all straight forward and pretty simple with a little practice, and by varying shades, flesh tones and the colours of blemishes and features, you can make faces look a lot different without too much changing.

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