Black Legion/Chaos Space Marine painting techniques, part 2

If you haven’t seen the first part of the series, you can check out Black Legion/Chaos Space Marine painting techniques, part 1. At the moment I’m working on a ten man assault squad for the Black Legion, so this post is focussing on their weapons, the idea being that there will be a bolter squad and havoc post covering all their differences at a later point.

Belt-fed ammunition

After ten thousand years in the Eye of Terror, or getting up to mischief in real space, the Heretic Astartes are lacking a fair bit of kit. One part they have to make do without is magazines, and they’ve adapted their bolters and bolt pistols to fire belt fed ammunition. So how do we paint that?

This is a very quick and easy method which gets them looking great on your tabletop. The bolt rounds are painted with Citadel Leadbelcher for the bullet, and Citadel Retributor Armour for the casing. The bullet is then washed with Citadel Nuln Oil, and the casing with Citadel Agrax Earthshade.

The belt feed is similarly easy. Paint it black – in this case I used Vallejo Black, then highlight with Vallejo German Grey or a similar very dark grey.

You can highlight the ammunition to really make it shine and stand out, but if you’re painting a lot of troops who have no way of effectively carrying their ammo, this works a treat.


If there’s one think these heretics like, it’s carving through people like a lumberjack carves through a branch. To do this they have a large array of chainswords and chopping weapons. I’ve never really enjoyed painting chainswords, I love them, just not the painting of them (much like MkIII armour…), but this is the technique I use when I have no other option but to paint them.

Base coat the trim and details, in this case I used Citadel Liberator Gold and Citadel Leadbelcher. Wash the Leadbelcher with Nuln Oil, and the Liberaor Gold with Agrax Earthshade. Once the Agrax Earthshade is dry, wash the Liberator Gold with Nuln Oil.

Liberator Gold and Leadbelcher were reapplied, leaving plenty of the shades showing. I highlighted the gold using a mix of Liberator Gold and Vallejo Model Air Chrome – get some, it’s wonderful stuff. Once done, paint the main body of the chainsword with Black, then lightly highlight with German Grey.

Bolt Pistols

For those Chaos Space Marines who are lucky enough to still have magazines, not only does it mean they have to maintain them with regular cleaning, it also means that you have to paint them slightly different. The ammunition is painted in the same way as the first part of this post, while this section covers the pistol itself.

First, base the metal areas with Leadbelcher, the body of the bolt pistol with Black, and the decoration with Retributor Armour. Next, wash the metallics with Nuln Oil, and the Retributor Armour with Agrax Earthshade. Once dry, reapply the Black to the body of the bolt pistol, then highlight with Vallejo German Grey.

Red Plasma

As well as becoming evil, one of the first things that happens to Chaos Marines when they turn traitor, is their plasma turns red. No one knows why, but many seers and scryers believe it’s something to do with The Emperor, not allowing the rogue astartes to have the pure, blue/white plasma anymore. The Black Legion naturally approve of this, because they’re evil, and red fits with their topknots.

The first thing to do when painting this method of red plasma, is base coat it in Citadel Mephiston Red then washing it with Citadel Carroburg Crimson. Once dry, gently reapply the Mephiston Red to the raised areas. I find gently dry/wet brushing it on, but with REALLY minimal amounts of paint on your brush.

Next mix some Citadel Fire Dragon Bright in, and gently reapply to the more central area of the coils. Follow this up with some pure Fire Dragon Bright, then finally highlight with a mix of Fire Dragon Bright and White. You could spend a while blending it a lot more, but for a miniature that is likely going to be shot to bits on the table, this takes away the pain of newly painted model syndrome.

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