Black Legion/Chaos Space Marine painting techniques, part 3

It’s the third and probably not final part of the Black Legion/Chaos Space Marine painting techniques. If you’ve not read any so far, why not check out the part one and part two.


If there’s one thing Chaos Space Marines love it’s a good topknot. For the Black Legion, I’ve been painting them all red as below, but the principles of painting them any other colour are the same.

I started with a base coat of Citadel Mephiston Red, washed it with Citadel Druchii Violet, then reapplied the Mephiston Red, picking out the individual strands of hair. I added three layers of highlights, each slightly smaller than its predecessor. The first was a mix of Mephiston Red with a small amount of Citadel Fire Dragon Bright mixed in. The second had more Fire Dragon Bright added, and the third had more again.

Eye of Horus Icon

One of the nicest things in the new Chaos Space Marine box (I thought) was the Eye of Horus icon/backpack banner. Im a big fan of things stuck to people’s backpacks, so this suited me well.

I started by painting all the silver metallic parts with Citadel Leadbelcher, while using Citadel Liberator Gold to paint the top crescent section of the icon, using Citadel Retributor Armour for the rest. Next I washed the Leadbelcher with Citadel Shade Nuln Oil, and washed the golds with Citadel Shade Agrax Earthshade.

Once the shades were dry, I set about reapplying the base colours, leaving the shade in the recesses, and then moved onto the highlights. The first highlight was Liberator Gold, which I used on the Retributor Armour. I then added some Vallejo Model Air Chrome to Liberator Gold and highlighted all of the top edges of the gold areas. The Leadbelcher was edge highlighted with Model Air Chrome


Chaos Space Marines also really love skulls, only slightly more than normal Space Marines though, so they can’t be called out for being evil based on this.

To paint the bone on them, I gave a base layer of Citadel Rakarth Flesh, washed with Citadel Seraphim Sepia and then applied the Rakarth Flesh again, leaving the Sepia in the recesses. The first highlight was made by adding Citadel Ushabti Bone to Rakarth Flesh, followed by a final highlight which had Vallejo White added to the previous mix.

With this I try to keep the the highlights on the top edge of the bone so it would be where light would catch them if they were illuminated from above.

Eye of Horus symbol

The Eye of Horus symbol on the pauldrons was only four colours, three of which were shades. They may not look perfect when hand painted on, but chapter badges are an ideal way of practicing freehand. You’l be painting enough of them to see an improvement as you work your way through the miniatures. If you go wrong with the initial layer, just paint over the wrong bit and start again.

I used Vallejo White to paint on the Eye of Horus onto the pauldron, then used Citadel Shade Casandora Yellow to colour half of the eye yellow. Next I paint around two thirds of the eye using Citadel Shade Fuegan Orange, then finally use Agrax Earthshade to darken the very bottom of the eye.

If you look at the last image, you can see yellowing, oranging and browning around the symbol, so you can go over this using Black or German Grey (if it’s a highlighted area. I usually leave it though, as the pauldrons are that small it’s barely noticeable.

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