How to paint Blood Angels – Part II

UPDATE: After three years and lots of positive feedback, this guide has been superseded by a new version, available to buy as a PDF download in the shop. The process has been reviewed and streamlined to help you get models on the table quicker, and new paints, colours and techniques explored. I will leave this free version up for anyone who still finds it useful, but I strongly recommend checking out the new version. Of course, the small fee I charge for it will help enable me to continue putting out this kind of content – so thanks for your support!

Welcome to the second part of this three-part tutorial on how I paint my Blood Angels. Check out Part I here where we cover the base red armour and airbrush steps, and Part III here which gives an overview of the finishing touches.

Now it’s on to detailing the model…

Step 6



Paint all the parts that will be black or steel with Vallejo Model Color ‘Black Grey’ (70862). We will be giving the black areas a black wash to shade them, so we want to start off lighter than pure black.

Next paint the steel parts with Vallejo Model Air ‘Gungrey’ (71072). This is an airbrush paint but works great with a normal brush too, giving good coverage and a smooth finish in one or two thin coats.

Paint the parts that will be gold using Forge World Castellax Bronze. This is also an airbrush paint but it works great for the same reasons given above and provides a nice base colour for gold (very similar to the old and much beloved ‘Tin Bitz’).

Paint the parchment with Vallejo Model Color ‘Burnt Umber’ (70941), the purity seals with Vallejo Game Color ‘Royal Purple’ (72016) and the eye lenses with Vallejo Model Color ‘Lime Green’ (70827).

Step 7

Now the model is given a gloss coat using Humbrol Gloss Clear through the airbrush. Once dry you can apply decals using Microset and Microsol (tutorial coming soon…).


Step 8

Next I apply a wash made from 30ml Humbrol Gloss Clear to 2ml Daler Rowney FW black ink over the whole model to shade all parts and colours.

UPDATE: Since I came up with this process Games Workshop have released gloss versions of some of their shading washes. As I was running low on my custom ink mix I decided to give Citadel Nuln Oil Gloss a go and I have to say, I am very happy with the result! It’s at least as effective as the gloss / ink mix and arguably has a more even consistency. The end result is similar so use whichever you prefer, but as I’m lazy I’ll now be using the GW pre-mix myself.


Step 9

Next the model is given a coat of Lahmian Medium through the airbrush to dull the gloss and give a semi-matte finish.


If you are just looking for a table-top standard you can paint the base in your chosen colours and stop here, but in the next part we will be adding some final highlights and finishing touches…

Check out Part III here.

35 Replies on How to paint Blood Angels – Part II

  • DoctorGepta says:

    I tried using your tutorial and the red i got in the result was great, but absolutley not the one shown on your photo. It went more towards orange rather than magenta you have shown on top. Can you help to fix me my mistake?

    • Luther says:

      Hi there,

      Are you definitely using Vallejo Model Air Red RLM23 (71.102) ? This red is quite magenta in tone which you will see if you spray directly over white. The yellow layer before this acts as a filter to achieve what I would describe as a ‘pure’ red – i.e. not too orange and not too pink.

      If you’d like to email me a picture of the model in question I can take a look for you – address on the contact page.

  • DoctorGepta says:

    But your tutuorial mentions 71.003, not 71.102, maybe that’s the trouble. Seems like I need to get some other paint then. Those two are really different. Thanks for your correction! =)

    • Luther says:

      You are quite right – that is a mistake! I have now corrected the article and I am sure 71.102 will achieve the effect you desire.

      Thank you for highlighting the error!

  • Greg says:

    Hi, looks fantastic, going to use a lot of these tips for my Flesh Tearers. I particularly like the black wash towards the end, so effective. Do you need to do much cleanup with a cotton bud / Q-tip? Or with the steps outlined, all the black ends up in the crevices.

    Also, what’s your method for the gems (like the one on the left shoulder pad) Looks like the red basecoat, with a line highlight around the edge of the 1st highlight, then a hit of orange in the lower part, then the white lines in the opposite upper part.


    • Luther says:

      Hi and thanks!

      No cleanup on the wash. The key is the gloss coat before, and using gloss varnish mixed with ink for the wash itself. This flows very well into the recesses and, while it does stain / darken all the armour, it’s a much smoother and less ‘muddy’ finish than using the pre-mixed Citadel Shades. The Lahmian Medium coat really finishes it off perfectly.

    • Luther says:

      Sorry I missed your question about the gems! So using this method after the basecoat and black ink wash the gems are already a dark, shaded red. I then use Vallejo Model Color Red, followed by Amarantha Red (which is orange), then as you say a small white reflection highlight in the opposite corner.

  • Greg says:

    Cheers for that! It might be slow (waiting on the paints from the UK) but I’ll give it a go!

  • Greg says:

    Thanks for the replies! With the Humbrol + DR Ink wash – is that applied with a paintbrush or an airbrush? I initially thought it was applied with a paintbrush, but I think someone commented on your B+C blog about an airbrush… Cheers

    • Luther says:

      Hi Greg, it is indeed applied with a bristle paint brush. Through an airbrush I think it would just stain the surface, and not run into the recesses. I have a plan to try the Nuln Oil Gloss from GW for this, as I think it might work similarly and would mean no need to mix my own.

  • J says:

    Hi Luther,

    Absolutely love these blood angels, fantastic work!

    I have a quick question if you don’t mind? at the end of Part I you mentioned not doing the Clear coat and DR wash if you did the Druchii violet and Dead white step? Would you still do the Clear coat and Lahmian medium step or just move on to doing the details/highlights and call it a day? I have had bad experience with varnishes (of all types) in the past and want to know if ill get the same results with missing this step.

    All the best,


    • Luther says:

      Hi J,

      Thanks for your comments – glad you like the Blood Angels! If you do the extra brush pre-highlighting / pre-shading you could move straight to details / edge highlights. The gloss coat serves two purposes: 1) seals and protects the airbrush layers, and 2) provides a gloss surface to help washes run into recesses and not stain surfaces so much. If you’re not planning to wash the armour then it’s really just for protection – if the airbrush layers are gloss coated and you make a mistake later you can actually remove the erroneous paint with alcohol without affecting the base coat.

      The black wash is quite important for achieving the finished look you see at the end of Part III, with really deep shading and contrast, but if you’re happy with the red armour at the end of Part I then you can just crack on!

  • Spinozist says:

    Hey Luther,
    It’s really a great tutorial. I’ve buyed the colors of your tut. But I have a little question, too. I’m not sure if I buy the right black ink.
    I’ve found two of them in the web:
    “Daler-Rowney FW Artists’ Ink black 6 oz” and “Daler-Rowney F.W. Acrylic Ink 1 oz Bottle – Black (India)”. Are both the same or is there any difference? I’ve buyed the “india” one. Is this the right one?
    Thx for your help!

    All the best


  • Luther says:

    Thanks Spinozist!

    This is the one I used but I’m sure any black ink will be fine. The main thing is the gloss varnish, which helps the wash run into the recesses and off the raised surfaces. The ink is really just a tint for colour.

    Hope that helps!


  • Thomas says:

    Hello amazing tutorial I am now up to the part with the washers. I do not have access to them washers is there any alternatives. I have all gw washes vallejo washs thank you

  • Thomas says:

    Hello again I have a craft shop near me that’s sells all the stuff 🙂 more money to spend. The wife just loves it lol I don’t but transfer on my models as use the chapter shoulder pads. Do I need to buy humbrol clear and humbrol clear gloss to mix with inks?thank you

  • Luther says:

    Hi Thomas,

    You could try the new GW Nuln Oil gloss. I haven’t tried it yet but will be giving it a go myself. I mix my own using Humbrol Gloss Clear varnish and ink – the gloss varnish helps the wash run into the recesses and not stain the upper surfaces.

    Hope that helps!

  • Dam says:

    Hi Luther,
    So you suggest to use the nuln oil when the first layer of humbrol gloss is dry, instead of 30ml humbrol + 2ml black ink? Or It’s better Nuln oil + humbrol?
    About the DC, when you apply the liberal wash of Nuln oil, do you apply a dry layer of humbrol gloss before?
    Thank you

  • Dam says:

    I red you use the lamhian medium as final coat, do you think it has a long life? Thank you

  • Luther says:

    Hi Dam,

    On red armour I would always apply a coat of gloss varnish and allow it to dry before applying a black wash. This is because the black is very high contrast to the red and you want it mainly to shade deep recesses and not stain the surface.

    Since I came up with my wash mix GW have released the Nuln Oil Gloss, which may work in the same way – but I haven’t tried it yet so can’t confirm.

    On black armour (Death Company) I don’t use a gloss varnish before the wash because the armour is already grey and will be very low contrast to the wash. Also I do want it to stain the surface and tone down the airbrushed grey highlights.

    I use Lahmian Medium as a matte varnish. I’m not sure how tough it is, but I’ve never had any problems with chipping etc after using it. Any model that has had a gloss varnish AND a coat of Lahmian Medium should be pretty well protected.


  • Greg says:

    Brilliant! Just finished my first squad up to the end of part 1. TBH, when I’d finished the yellow, I was a bit doubtful, but that red ties everything together really well. I skipped the Drakenhof step as I’ll be black washing later. My only question is the shading – any tips? Unfortunately mine looks a bit unrealistic, haven’t managed to fade it as well as you have. Onto part 2!

  • Luther says:

    Hi Greg, not sure exactly what you mean. Can you email a pic? Obviously you won’t see the final result until after the gloss coat, black wash and then Lahmian Medium steps.

    By the way, for the black wash I’ve been using GW Nuln Oil Gloss lately – it works just as well my own ink mix and is obviously easy to get hold of and you don’t have to worry about getting the proportions wrong. I’m going to update the blog post about it.

    Also totally fine about skipping the Drakenhof. To be honest that step was an experiment when I made the tutorial and after the later steps I’m not sure it really makes enough difference to be worth it…

  • Greg says:

    Hey Luther, thanks for the reply. I was referring to the pre-shading with VMA Dark Sea Blue (I used VMA Signal Blue instead) but it’s my shadow lines that look unrealistic , not the paint colours (so its my technique’s fault if anything) I may have answered my own question with. a quick YouTube search​ of “pre-shading airbrush” and there are a few vids there, basically spray with a dark colour from beneath, as opposed to trying to guess where the shadows will fall, and then Zenithal highlight with the VMA white, which will cover any errant dark spray. I’ll soldier on with this batch and see how they pan out!

    I’ve already got the gloss and DR ink, and a glass dropper bottle, so I’ll stick to the original thread for now

  • Aaron says:

    Hi there. Great tutorial. Have you used molten bronze from P3? It’s my go to for darker golds and have yet to try castallax bronze from FW. I want to give it a go but wondered if you had any experience with both, which you preferred and why?


    • Luther says:

      Hi Aaron,

      I haven’t tried P3 Molten Bronze but I’m sure it’ll work just fine. It’s just to provide a dark brown metallic base for the gold 🙂


  • Eric says:

    Great scheme. I want to apply it to my space wolves, would you be able to give me a sequence of possible paints to achieve a similar result with that blue scheme?`

    • Luther says:

      Thanks Eric! I probably wouldn’t use a pre-shading / pre-highlighting method with Space Wolves because grey paints tend to be very opaque. This method works for Blood Angels because of the transparency of the red. I couldn’t tell you exactly which paints I’d use for Space Wolves because I’ve never painted them, but I remember Les Bursley (awesomepaintjob) did a really nice YouTube video, if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AImKoB10ans

  • Eric says:

    Do you know if Vallejo Premium airbrush color 62.064 Gloss Varnish would be equivalent to the Humbrol Gloss Clear? I already own the Vallejo version and could use the saved cash 😉 Great stuff.

    • Luther says:

      Hi Eric,

      It should be fine – but best to test by brushing on to a small area. The clue is in the name – Clear. You want a clear gloss coat that does not affect the colour. I’ve found that some varnishes have a very slight blue tint to them but this is normally only satin or matte varnishes (I assume due to the matting agent).


  • Dan says:

    First of all, thanks for the tutorial, its awesome and I think the way your BAs look is far superior to the traditional GW look. I have a question. I understand the shading but why the yellow. Please forgive my ignorance, I am just curious.

    • Luther says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Dan! I always found the ‘traditional GW’ look too orange (there even used to be a Citadel paint called Blood Angels ORANGE!). Hence why I set out to find a darker tone, but still vibrant in the highlighted areas. The VMA Red paint had the right vibrancy but was a little too pink, hence the yellow filter I apply just before the red. The combination of the yellow and red gave me just the tone I was looking for.

      It was quite a long time ago that I came up with the scheme, and there may well be other red paints out there that will achieve it close enough without the need for yellow. For example I’d like to try the Game Air Gory Red colour without yellow. But I have a long painting queue at the moment!

  • andrew says:

    Thanks a million for the tutorials, they’re been a huge help through making my first 2k army. I’ve been using this scheme for my blood angels to great success (despite my lack of skill), and I’m looking to expand it into other colors but my knowledge of colors and paints is limited to just BA.

    I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make a ‘wasteland’ scheme for the colors of Baal’s irradiated deserts. I’m trying to make a guard army of the collection of mutants/tribes from the Baal deserts, currently I have a collection of cadian guardsmen bodies with mutant heads and gasmasks for head swaps. The idea would be that they look like a ragtag bunch of guys who’s gear has been in the desert mud and dust, rusting for decades if not centuries.

    I’m wondering if there’s a color pattern similar to this (dark, highlight, sealing color, main color, wash) that you think would work for this. I’ve noticed Onibrush/TabletopTactics have an interesting Tallarn scheme based around Yellow Ochre and Agrax Earthshade, and I’m wondering what your thoughts are for making that work with pre-shade.

    Thanks again man!

    • Luther says:

      Hi Andrew, I’m glad you’re finding the tutorials useful!

      That sounds like like an awesome idea with the post apoc scheme. It would help to see a picture of the kind of thing you have in mind. Why not drop me an email using the contact page form and we can discuss!


  • Aiden2160 says:

    Thanks for the great tutorials! I am using your methods on my burgeoning BA army. I did have a quick question regarding the wash step on vehicles. How do you apply the wash step such that you get even coverage on a model with large surfaces? An example would be a repulsor or land raider. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Luther says:

      Hi there! For vehicles I tend to use an oil pin wash rather than an all-over surface wash. In fact, I am in the process of revamping this whole Blood Angels tutorial into a new PDF guide where I use the oil pin wash method on infantry as well. This will be released in the next few weeks.

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