Friday, 26 November 2010

Painting horses WIP

As life thankfully returns to normal I now hope to post on a slightly more regular basis. For a long while I have been putting off completing any cavalry figures because of one simple reason - I really didn’t fancy painting any horses. In fact, the idea was so daunting that these are the first horses I’ve ever attempted to paint. It’s funny how you can feel intimidated by a bunch of toy soldiers sitting there, just waiting on your desk with their cold distant stare.

These WIP models has all been prepared using Citadel paints. The caption refers to the main colour used. The leather work is a mix of either Calthan Brown, Scorched Brown or Snakebite Leather.

Bestial Brown

Astronomican Grey

Astronomican Grey
These plastic horse bodies, from Warlord Games, are supplied in two halves which allow you to create numerous variants from within the pack. One small problem is there is often a pronounced joint line/gap, especially noticeable along the neck joint. If you really want, you could use filler but I use either Revell or Humbrol precision poly cement/glue. The brand isn’t really significant (it just depends on what’s available in my local model shop) but the applicator is. I simply run the tip of the metal tube along the visible joint line and let the glue flow between the joints, this melts the plastic and creates a smoother appearance. The same method can be used to hide the joint lines on tank gun barrels although it would be better to use a brush in that instance.

When it comes to horse colours I normally use Google Images as reference as I found that trying to paint from memory doesn’t work for me; copying straight from real life is far easier. Even when the horses are the same colour a lot of variation can be added by painting a different style of blaze/sock etc.

Calthan Brown

Adeptus Battlegrey

Scorched Brown & Dheneb Stone
Here is a link to a very informative GW article about painting horses.

As usual I used my basic technique, namely block painting the main areas, then adding an appropriate wash to create the shadow detail and then finally a commentary highlight. Slapping on the initial paint with a big brush onto a large model can be a relief after during more detailed uniform work.

I had imagined that the attractive looking dapple grey horses would be difficult to paint although this too is relatively easy. Again, using my same standard block, wash and highlight technique I finally cut the tip off an old brush and dabbed (almost dry-brushed) the highlight colour onto the flanks, belly and neck of the model to create the subtle dappled effect.

Attention to simple details such as painting hooves a paler colour if the sock is white and painting on horseshoes is, I believe, well worth the extra effort.

Hopefully this post will encourage anyone to paint a few model horses. They won’t bite - unlike some of the nasty, big, real versions.


  1. great!! for someone who doesn´t like painting nags these look excellent :-)The dapple looks particually good.

  2. I think they look quite good and you should be happy with the results!


  3. Wow! Those are some fantastic looking horses there! Well done, sir!

  4. They look really good! I have been putting off painting a dapple for quite some time - I may just give it a go now.


  5. Amazing work!!!I take my hat off(If I was wearing one).

  6. Thanks for all the comments. At the last count 28 of the brutes have been completed. I only have to paint the riders now!


  7. These are really nice sculpts. Great painting too, of course. Regards, Dean

  8. LOve these horses, I found horses very intimidating to paint until like these I painted a box of WG Pike and shotte cavalry. The pistols can be placed strategically on these to hide the neck joint.Good job.