How to Paint Heresy Era Iron Hands – Part 1 (Legion Colours)

Hello and welcome.

Today I will be demonstrating how to get the coal black armour finish for Pre-Heresy and Horus Heresy era Iron Hands.

For my Iron Hands, I wanted that oily, coal black machine look that Forge World achieved with their display models. It looks complex, bu it’s actually quite easy to achieve. You will need an airbrush for this, and some models to try it out on. I always suggest doing a test model first for a new scheme.

(You could use a brush to paint this, but it wouldn’t give as even a coat as the airbrush).

The first stage of this was the Forge World silver basecoat that I demonstrated in this post. Which should look something like this:

Silver basecoat

Once you have your silver basecoat, the first thing that you need to do is to start working on the colours. The first layer is that oily sheen. This is done using a mix of Tamiya Smoke and Tamiya Clear Yellow, in a 9:1 mix.

(I often make up this mixtures in advance as I’m going to use quite a lot for a unit or an army. I just put 90ml of Smoke and 10ml of Yellow in a bottle, then thinned it with 50ml of Tamiya thinner)

This was then sprayed on in three different coats, as it’s a clear colour, to allow it to build up. Allow time to dry in between:

Yellow Third Coat

Once the smoke and yellow layer is dry, the next step is to spray some Citadel Druchii Violet wash in patches over the model. This will give the look of small oil leaks, and add to the general sheen. I didn’t thin this, as usually washes are thin enough for the airbrush:

Druchii Violet Wash


After that, I airbrushed some more patches, but this time with Tamiya Clear Green, which gives a colour gradient from purple, to green, and catches the light light oil. (I’ve seen people do this with lots of green, but I think it looks better with a slight burst from the airbrush ) Like the smoke and yellow, I thinned this by 2:1 paint to thinner:

Tamiya Clear Green

Next, go back over the purple to reinforce it, and to blend it in with the green. This second purple stage can, and possibly should overlap the green. You will notice afterwards that the purple is stronger:

Second Druchii Violet Wash

Finally, we want to get the black tone as they are looking a bit too colourful and a bit too smoky/brown at the moment.

This is done with Tamiya Smoke again (You might think smoke is an odd colour to get a black tone, but you will be surprised!), this time without the yellow. Thin it down 2:1 paint to thinner, then you can build this up in coats. I do four coats, but you can stop when you are happy with the tone, and always add more. (Do bear in mind that it will be darkened down in the last stage, which is varnishing the model.)

Smoke Final Coat

And that’s the basecoat done. It’s very glossy at the moment. Some people may like the glossy look, but if you want the real black look then you will need to use a matt varnish. The colours will also darken giving you a proper oily black tone. I wouldn’t normally do this until I had finished the whole model, but you can see the effect below:

Iron Hands Black Basecoat Iron Hands Black Basecoat

Check back soon to see how to do the details, legion badges, decals, and basing.

Thanks for reading.

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