How to Paint Black Legion Terminators – Trophy Spikes and skulls

If there’s one thing Chaos Space Marine Terminators love as much as the Black Legion love top knots, its a heavily-laden rack of trophy spikes. As well as striking terror in the hearts of mortals, they also give painters an excellent chance to give the miniatures some excellent decoration and detail.

I’ve started with the skulls, because these aren’t just on the trophy spikes, they’re also dangling from belts, hooks, etc, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice on those.


I’ve always painted skulls in a very simple way, which is quick and easy, but leaves them looking great on the tabletop.  Start off with a base coat of Citadel Rakarth Flesh and wash it with Citadel Seraphim Sepia. Once dried, go over the skull with Rakarth Flesh, being sure to leave the Sepia in the recesses. The first highlight was a mix of Rakarth Flesh and Citadel Ushabti Bone, leaving the previous layer visible around the edges, before adding a little white to the previous mix, and applying it to the top edges of all the detail where they’d catch the light.

The Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) corpse heads are Cadians – poor Cadia – and as my brother has an army of them, I used the same colours for the helmets. 

Helmets – I based these with Vallejo German Cam Dark Green (GCDG), washed with Citadel Athonian Camoshade, then reapplied the GCDG, leaving the shade in the recesses. To highlight, I added a little white to the GCDG and applied to the edges that’d catch the light, then added a little more white to that mix to for the final extreme highlight. I painted this on the uppermost edges that would catch the light.

Skin – The skin was painted initially with Citadel Deepkin Flesh, washed with Citadel Drakenhof Nightshade, then the Deepkin Flesh was reapplied in a nice smooth layer. It’s light, so may need a second coat to get rid of streaks. I then added some white to the Deepkin Flesh to just do one highlight as it is very pale on it’s own.

Mouth and Wounds – These were both painted almost exactly the same way. They were base coated in Citadel Mephiston Red, and then washed with Citadel Druchii Violet. In the case of small wounds, I’ll often just add some Citadel Blood for the Bood God to make the wound look fresh and bloodied.

Loyalist Helmets

What kind of Chaos Space Marine Terminator would go into battle without a Loyalist helmet on his trophy spikes? A shoddy one that’s the kind.

As the Black Legion came out, I’d been chatting to Mike about what chapter he was doing his Primaris Marines, and he’d said Ultramarines, so, I knew immediately what chapter to paint them.

I started with a base layer of Citadel Macragge Blue and washed it with Drakenhof Nightshade. I then reapplied the Macragge Blue. I added a little white to the Macragge Blue and painted on the first highlight on the areas that would be catching the light if it were shining down from above, then did a final extreme highlight by adding a little more white to the previous mix, and applying it to the edges that would catch the light.

The final thing I did was add some gore using Blood for the Blood God.

A couple of shots below of the same helmet, and one of the other helmets from the new kit.

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