How to Paint Everything: Angron

In our How to Paint Everything series we look at how to paint well, everything. In this article we’re looking at how to paint the daemon primarch of the World Eaters, Angron. Specifically, his model for Warhammer 40,000.

Angron is the primarch of the World Eaters, the XII legion of space marines, created by the Emperor before the Great Crusade. Even before their primarch was discovered, the legion – then called the War Dogs – was among the most violent and brutal. While many of the Primarchs were brought into caring families on their worlds or treated like royalty, Angron landed on Nuceria, a bleak planet inhabited by brutal warlords who entertained the planet by pitting slaves against each other in gladiatorial combat. Angron was discovered by one such warlord and raised to be the world’s mightiest combatant, trained for combat and outfitted with the Butcher’s Nails, arcane technology that fed into his brain and pushed him into violent, painful bouts of rage.

Angron fought back against his oppressors in time, leading his fellow slaves in a revolt that destroyed cities and wrought havoc across the planet. On the eve of their final battle, outnumbered and outmatched and prepared to face death at the hands of the warlords’ armies, the Emperor intervened, whisking Angron away to save him from that grizzly fate. Angron never forgave the Emperor for leaving his brothers to die at the slavers’ hands, and for robbing him of the noble death he would have faced in battle. Angron had unwittingly betrayed his brothers in arms.

For his part, the Emperor tried briefly to remove the Nails but ultimately abandoned trying when it looked like it might not be possible. Angron was found late into the Great Crusade, before only Corax and Alpharius and by the time of his discovery it’s likely the Emperor no longer had the time or patience to spend with yet another one of his twenty sons. Angron never really adopted his legion and they became more brutal and bloodthirsty in his wake. By the time Horus rebelled, Angron was more than ready to join his cause.

During the heresy Angron would fall under Khorne’s influence, for pretty much obvious reasons, and became a daemon primarch, with a fury and strength unrivalled. He’s cut a bloody swath across the universe as the emblem of Khorne’s wrath made manifest.

Where to read more

You’d think Angron would be a relatively boring primarch to read about but he’s one of the more layered and interesting of the primarchs. If you want to read more about him, we’d suggest the following:

  • Codex: World Eaters has plenty of lore around the legion, with new lore that explores the World Eaters Legion and Angron’s new prowess in realspace.
  • Arks of Omen: Angron follows the Red Angel as he descends upon an Imperial World and wreaks supreme havoc.
  • Betrayer – if Betrayer isn’t the absolute best book in the Horus Heresy series (and for my money, it is), then Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s book is the most-quoted, featuring an amazing exchange between Angron and Guilliman that sums up the differences between them and the discrepancy in the hands they were dealt.
  • Echoes of Eternity follows the World Eaters’ assault on the Imperial Palace on Terra, and covers the fateful final duel between Angron and Sanguinius.
  • Angron: The Red Angel is the newest entry about Angron, following the Primarch’s latest rampage across the Imperium Nihilus.

Painting Angron: TheChirurgeon’s Method

The Angron model is pretty sweet, but like the other two Daemon Primarchs, he’s a large, complicated model with a lot going on. He’s relatively simple in terms of color scheme compared to Magnus and Mortarion, with much less opportunity for freehand (though you could do some work on his wings if you wanted), but lots of fun details to play with.

The Subassemblies

For this project I knew I wanted to work with several subassemblies; I chose to assemble Angron without his arms and armor on, though in retrospect I think I should also have done his wings separately. I started by priming Angron with Mephiston Red, then masked off various parts to paint Retributor Gold and Chaos Black, in part to cut down on the time spent painting them and in part to get a smoother finish.

The Skin

Painting Angron’s Skin was basically a four-step process:

  • paint the area with Mephiston Red (cover up any parts that weren’t primed correctly)
  • shade with Carroburg Crimson
  • Highlight with Mephiston Red
  • Highlight with Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Hit the veins and raised points with Wild Rider Red

I’d typically do several layers of Carroburg as needed, and occasionally darken with Nuln Oil as well. There were a few spots where I’d use Nuln oil as a mix to transition to Corvus Black, most notably on the chin horns.

The Face

Next comes the face. Process-wise, the skin is the same here, with Mephiston Red being highlighted up to Wild Rider Red, though I did some final highlighting with a little bit of bone color in the mix. The Teeth are Rakarth Flesh, washed with Agrax Earthshade, then highlighted with Rakarth Flesh again and Reaper Polished Bone. A major thing to note here is that I intentionally chose to shade Angron’s lower jaw going from dark under his cheekbones to lighter at the base of his jaw. This is the opposite of what the GW studio painter chose to do and I think it’s the right move – by doing this, it gives him the appearance of a slimmer face, making him look more menacing than the wide-faced studio model. Likewise I chose to forego pupils on his eyes (they’re Dorn Yellow with a dot of Reaper Pure White) – this is both easier and makes him look more daemonic.

The Horns are Corvus black highlighted with Mechanicus Standard Grey, and that’s the same coloring I used for his techno-dreadlocks. The metal cords are just Leadbelcher washed with Nuln Oil and a Runefang Steel highlight.

The Wings

The wings were easily the biggest slog of the model. They’re big and relatively unexciting. After priming them black, I drybrushed them with shades of blue, starting with Night Lords Blue and ending with Kantor Blue. The claws on the end are all shaded from Abaddon Black to Corvus Black and edge highlighted with Mechanicus Standard Grey.

The Sword

Angron’s Sword has a cool effect where it’s exploding with skulls near the base. I chose to copy the studio paintjob on this one, and while it looks complicated, the basic concept isn’t too bad: You want the lower, inside parts to be the “hottest,” i.e. bright yellow/white, and the raised parts on the skulls to be your cooler, orange and red colors.

To do this I started by laying down several layers of yellow Contrast paint – Iyanden Yellow and Imperial Fists to shade the black blade around the rift and give it a glowing effect. The next step was to paint the inside, with Flash Gitz Yellow. From there I started shading up, with Prince Yriel Yellow and Fire Dragon Bright, then finally mixing it a bit with some Blood Angels Red contrast paint at the highest points. I also used Blood Angels red to shade around the rift on the sword, helping strengthen the glow effect.

Angron’s Armor

The armor was pretty straightforward, all things considered: The bulk of it – and the outer trim – were all painted Retributor Armour, while the interior sections of the plates were painted with Sycorax Bronze. It all got a wash of Agrax Earthshade and was highlighted with Runefang Steel. The planets in the World Eater symbols were done with contrast paints over Retributor – specifically, Aethermantic Glow and Hex Wraith Flame.

The leather straps were done with Dryad Bark, highlighted with Mournfang Brown, washed with Agrax, and edge highlighted with Karak stone.

Note that if you paint before full assembly of the armor you’ll need to paint and glue on sets of cables on either side of Angron’s torso. You’ll also need to attach his necklace of skulls.

Final Touches

At this point it’s just a game of attrition with another big model. I’m pretty much using the same techniques over and over – my tattered cloth scraps match the wings and my skulls are always Rakarth > Agrax > Rakarth > Polished Bone – until the model is complete. I added some weathering the axe head with Nihilakh Oxide, and I’ll end up adding some gore to the axe with Blood for the Blood God.

The Base

Last is the base, which comes iwth a lot of its own skulls but I’ve added a few of my own from the plastic skulls kit to really flesh it out. The texture is done with Astrogranite, and I painted the rocks with Mechanicus Standard Grey before drybrushing the whole thing with Celestra Grey and a mix of Celestra Grey and Reaper Pure White. The Blood pools are just really thick applications of Blood for the Blood God in spots where there were indents in the texture paint.

The Final Model

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

I was really happy with the final model, particularly with how the face and armor turned out. I wasn’t sold on Angron initially when I saw the studio version but having painted him myself I like him quite a bit and I’m excited to field him. There’s a lot going on with the model but on the whole he’s not quite as difficult a paint job as Mortarion or Magnus, in part because his wings were just much less complicated.

But boy do I hate painting those wings.

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