Conesy’s Guide to Painting Reds

As you can see above, the scorpions I painted for my Tomb King army have a unique effect on the maroonish reds and this is what I want to talk about.

So there are a couple of techniques I like to apply to reds to get a really unique look to them. I always start with a more maroon red then what a lot of folks do. For me, that depth in a maroon is a great base for whatever I am working up. Currently I am using either a Reaper Master Series, which I apologize but I don’t know the exact color as it’s one of their sample bottles but it is pretty much spot on the old Games-Workshop Foundation Mechrite Red.


Now note, go back to the Paint Cast and make sure you listen to the fact that you Don’t paint these paints straight out of the pot. This is a mistake, both the foundation and even the Reaper paints are too thick to go on as they are. Reaper paints I am using for base coats I like to thin with about 10% additional water. I like my base coats to be pretty thin and to use a couple or even 3 layers of that base color before going on to doing anything else. This lets you get a solid color that drys quickly and doesn’t take away from detail. When you are doing, say five models at a time this works great as the first one is pretty much dry if not dry and you can repeat.

Once I have established my base coats, this is where my first option comes in. I find that brown washes work great here, either something like the Games-Workshop Devlun Mud or Prism’s Leather wash (cut with about 40% water) are great here. It really deepens the red color and makes it really gain that depth you are looking for. This gives you a great base to start working up your highlights on.

Now, on the scorpions I didn’t do anything like that, but rather used Prism’s Edema wash cut with about 40% water. I don’t know of an equivalent in another range off the top of my head, but it works great on Ultramarines. The idea is to take a contrast color to your core color. If you don’t understand contrast colors, go and Google that topic right now. It’s essential paint theory 101 and something I really didn’t understand myself till well into painting miniatures.

Once my wash dries, I am ready to go to the next step. It doesn’t matter much which wash you used previously. I go over the raised area with a thinned down, pretty much to the consistency of milk of the base maroon red color. To that mixture, and maintaining that consistency I add a drop or so of Slow-Dri Blending Medium. The product I use in particular is made by Liquitex and I picked up at Michael’s, a craft and arts store chain here in the US. Medium is essentially the material that binds the dry paint flakes to the fluid, in the case of Acrylic paints that would be water. Adding a little be additional medium to the mix makes the flakes want to draw back up to itself and since the greatest concentration of the paint will be on the raised areas of the tail in this case, it draws up just a little bit naturally to those raised areas letting my blue wash show throw a little more in the depths and cracks of the model.

Next, I mix in a little Games-Workshop blood red into my maroon mix in coats adding water to keep that milky consitency and every so often a little more of the medium product. I don’t always consistently do the same thing, so I can’t give you an exact recipe but generally as I mix the blood red in I add a drop every second time I add more red in. The idea is that I am not slowly working up the highlights from the maroon to a blood red.

Once I have highlighted up to the blood red I will put the model in a position where the light hits it in the direction I want the viewer to think the light is hitting the model. On these spots I will add very fine lines of orange and blend it in. This orange has had the same medium/water mix I described earlier. I don’t want the model orange, but I want to bring attention to the highlight. Red is one of the few colors that adding white recks your natural looking color in my opinion. Adding white to red gets you pink where as working up with orange and for even more refined highlights working that orange to yellow and even then to white makes your transition look more natural to the eye in my opinion.

Note, you have to be careful not to over do it, but hopefully that helps. I am hoping sometime soon to sit down and actually do some video content to show what I am talking about.

Till then, peace out.

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