In our How to Paint Everything series, we take a look at different armies of the Warhammer universe, examine their history and heraldry, and look at several different methods for painting them. With the release of Engine War we’re looking at the forces of the Chaos Daemons, and this instalment is dedicated to Tzeentch, the Weaver of Fates and the Changer of Ways.
Who are the Daemons of Tzeentch?
Tzeentch is the Chaos god of sorcery, change, scheming, manipulation, and evolution. Also known as “The Changer of Ways” and “The Architect of Fate,” Tzeentch is all about secret plots and weaving the threads of fate that will bring long-term schemes to fruition. The followers of Tzeentch are all about sorcery and are the most prone to physical changes and mutations of any of the followers of the Chaos gods. Tzeentch hates Nurgle above all other Chaos gods, where his desire for constant change and evolution are at odds with the Plague God’s desire for stagnation and decay.
The Daemons of Tzeentch come in all shapes and sizes, but they tend to be potent sorcerers and wielders of sorcerous flames. The most powerful followers of Tzeentch are the Lords of Change, powerful avian daemons with unparalleled intellect and magic ability. The lesser daemons tend to be roiling masses of change, difficult to distinguish moment-to-moment, and with features that drive mortals mad to gaze upon them.
Where to read more
While there are probably more books written about the followers of Khorne, you could argue that the books about Tzeentch’s followers are the most interesting, because they get to do all the plotting and scheming rather than just trying to stab things. If you’re looking for more, consider these books:
- Architect of Fate is a collection of short stories about Kairos Fateweaver, a special Lord of Change with prodigious sorcerous ability and two heads, one gazing into the past and the other into the future. It’s not great overall but it does provide a detailed look into the workings of a daemon of Tzeentch.
- The Ahriman books by John French cover the Thousand Sons sorcerer’s attempts to undo his greatest spell and free his legion from the effects of his Rubric.
- The Gotrek and Felix book Beastslayer sees the duo interacting with followers of Tzeentch, and goes into detail about Tzeentchian ideologies.
Playing Tzeentchian Armies
We’ve covered how to play Tzeentch armies in every game now:
- In Age of Sigmar, check out our guide to Disciples of Tzeentch.
- In 40k, check out Start Competing: Chaos Daemons and Start Competing: Thousand Sons.
- In Kill Team, check out our Chaos Daemons tactics article.
Painting Tzeentch Daemons
Tzeentch Daemons come in a variety of colors, though tend to use lots of pinks, blues, and flame colors. They tend to be a bright, colorful bunch, and are wonderful if you’re doing transitions from red/pink to blue/purple.
I painted my Lord of Change using mostly my airbrush. It was a while ago so I can’t remember the exact colours I used, but that doesn’t matter. It’s all about creating nice gradients between the blue and purple and highlighting up to white on each one (I use white artists ink through the airbrush for that). Once I’d sprayed on the transitions I heavily thinned down some Citadel washes (purple and blue) with Lahmian medium and coated the model. This helps to get rid of that “airbrushed” look and tie it all together a bit. Then I went in with a brush and highlighted as many feathers and muscles as I could with the Citadel edge paints (these are really great for this sort of thing).
The glows in the weapons were done with P3 Iosan Green, P3 Necrotite Green and GW Flash Gits yellow which is how I paint all my bright greens. Then I went back and painted in the metallics over the top and washed them with Agrax earthshade before highlighting with silver.
The base was my attempt to do something similar to the amazing painter Kaha (check her out, she is amazing https://www.instagram.com/kaha.katarzyna.gorska/?hl=en ) who makes some really striking bases out of carved wood. I’m not really much of a wood carver so I made mine out of Super Sculpy using a metal sculpting tool to cut out sections and using my finger to create depressions in each section before popping it in the oven to harden. I added a magical well using some stones and vallejo water texture before priming black then spraying the edges of the stone with white ink to create a gradient on each one before lining the cracks with black. Then I sprayed it with purple, blue and green inks, not worrying too much about how they blended together and airbrushed the fire with the same colours as the weapon.
I then edge highlighted the stones with citadel edge paints and created a little cut in in each corner to try and replicate Kaha’s look a bit better and then did the same again with white on the very edges.
I’m still working on my Daemons of Tzeentch, but I couldn’t ignore the call of Horrors. I’ve also got a set of blue horrors that are older metal models that I’m replacing, and planning to add the Changeling and some of the other daemons soon.
My Pink Horrors process is pretty simple, and designed to go quickly. I start by priming black (always black), then I base coat them with Pink Horror. Then I wash that with Carroburg Crimson, hit the raised areas with Pink Horror again, and then highlight with Emperor’s Children. The Tongues are Naggaroth Night and then a mix of that and Reaper Pure White for the highlights. The gold parts are Retributor Armour washed with Agrax Earthshade. The bones and teeth are Rakarth Flesh washed with Agrax, and the eyes are pure white. I used to do the flames iwth blue and some drybrushing but these days I’d change that up to basing them with Grey Seer and then coating them with Contrast Apothecary White and Contrast Ultramarines Blue.
I Scream You Scream We All Scream Alfredo
Daemons of Tzeentch were some of the models I became keenly interested in early in my painting days, getting to use a variety of bright colors was exciting and as a novice airbrusher, there’s a lot of opportunity to practice blends and fades for cool effect.
I am particularly a fan of screamers of Tzeentch and their myriad of creepy eyes. While I’ve stuck to a fairly traditional Tzeentch palette and painted the squad fairly uniformly, you can really go wild with colors here. Another neat bit about this kit is that it’s very modular so you can mix and match teeth and horns and tails in a number of ways to create a fair number of unique models.
For these screamers, my approach was pretty simple and easy to replicate:
- I basecoated the models blue, something bright and vibrant like Vallejo Magic Blue.
- Using the airbrush, I created a gradient on areas like wing tips or tails fading the blue into purple, something vibrant again like Vallejo Warlord Purple or Hexed Lichen.
- To finish off the skin, I did a series of drybrush stages with a lighter blue. These models have a fair bit of texture so drybrushing is very effective here. As you can see in the picture, the drybrushing was limited to the areas with hard edges and textures, I largely avoided the smooth areas like the tails or anything I’d faded to purple.
- Lastly for the skin, I did a pin or all-over wash with black or a very dark blue to add definition and really bring out that texture.
- For the teeth and bony bits, I did a basecoat of a neutral bone color, something like Vallejo Bonewhite. I then used a successive glazes of a sepia or brown ink/wash to create that aged bone or tusk effect you often see. I don’t know that I was overly successful but it came out okay.
- The last bit on the models themselves is the eyes, which I personally feel are the most important part as they’re what make screamers so creepy and unsettling. For the best effect, basecoat the eyes with white or a near white so that your yellow is as saturated as possible. Then apply yellow over the eyes, mixing in an ink like Daler Rowney’s FW inks can really help in getting proper coverage and vibrance for the yellow. Then, mix in some flow improver with your black of choice and use a very fine-tipped brush to paint a tapered line from the center of the eye to the bottom edge to create the pupils. To really sell the eyes, you might want to gloss coat them after you’ve varnished everything else.
- My basing was very simple, using Vallejo’s Desert Sand with an orange wash and then a dry brush of Ivory.
Alex P.’s Screamers of Tzeentch
My setup is pretty simple. It’s been a while so I’m recalling what I can, I was mostly going for their specific look on the box. First I started out basing the entire models in Macragge blue.
Next I based all of the tusks/horns/teeth with Mournfang Brown and proceeded to do a couple spaced out coats of Nuln Oil, giving time to dry, to build up a gradient on the blue flesh and also add some contour to the teeth. I tried to either add specific tracing of gradient to either scales or any standout textures on the flesh.
Unfortunately I don’t have any transition pictures between the shading and the finished models. I used a Calgar Blue to add some lighter shades of blue specifically on the tails/tentacles and then used a dry brush of Etherium Blue across their entire bodies focusing on catching the edges of any fleshy wrinkles or scales, really looking for some of those “happy little accidents”. Also looking for that light blue highlight along the ridges around eyes and their mouths. For the teeth/horns I layered in some Zamesi Desert on the very tips then applied a dry brush of Ushabti Bone. It wasn’t quite the effect I was looking for but it came out alright.
Finally for the eyes I tried to get a careful base of Averland Sunset in there. I applied a nice blob of Casandora Yellow shade on each eye. Once dried I added a touch of Yriel yellow in the middle and finally an Abaddon Black pupil you top each off. At this point I tried to not get too hung up on any one eye because I figured the impact of many eyes would end up being the focus instead of any singular one. Finally for any screamers with a tongue I did a quick base of Naggaroth Night with a quick dry of Lucius Lilac near the point.
This was one of the first times I was figuring out how to painters organic models so this was a lot of experimenting or finding what worked for me. I’m pretty pleased with how they came out. Next up will be some Flamers and a Mutalith Vortex Beast so there will be more fleshy/flaming gradients to come.
Beanith’s phoning it in guide to Horrors of Tzeentch
Right, I need to get back to plotting my next silly Death Guard list to take on Coda’s Swords of suspiciously sharp and pointy hammers so let’s make this quick so you can power through checks notes 30 Pink Horrors, 60 Blue Horrors and 60 Pairs of Brimstone Horrors… yikes.
Not to worry, in this case, you’re going to need a pink rattle can, a blue rattle can and a yellow rattle and
TheChirurgeon: No Beanith. You have to do it right
Beanith: But I want to try and see if a Death Guard Mastodon with Disgusting Resilience would be a decent choice. I tried asking Wings but he went all quiet and his eye started doing that twitching thing again. Plus Primaris Kevin said something about a misuse of Math?
TheChirurgeon: We’ve talked about this before Beanith, it’s Gunum’s job to bother the other Writers with stupid army ideas. It’s your job to show the readers how they can do quick, passable schemes. “Smooshing,” or whatever you call it.
Beanith: FINE. Fine. In that case…
Beanith’s quick and dirty guide to painting Horrors of Tzeentch.
These three are from the Warhammer Quest Silver Tower set, which I painted ages back in the dark times before Contrast.
Pinky was undercoated pink using the Tamiya TS-25 Pink spray paint which I still have vague plans to use for a hot pink Imperial Knight. I then did some highlights on the flesh using Tamiya X-17 Pink. The teeth, jewelry and dagger handle were painted using Layer Ushabti Bone with a dry brush of Tamiya X-12 Gold Leaf where appropriate. The weapon and eyes I used Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue.
Bluey was undercoated white before smooshing on the Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue, picked out some small bits with Army Painter Pure Red, and a million coats of Army Painter Daemonic Yellow on the weapon (I have since learned you need shake the shit out of the lighter Army Painter colours and should invest in a paint shaker… but I have Iyanden Yellow now so nuts to that.)
The Brimstone Horrors were undercoated white before using Army Painter Daemonic Yellow and then drybrushed with Army Painter Mythical Orange. Then I added some colour to the eyes with Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue.
Bish bosh bash, job done son.
Now about the Bloat Drones… how many Flesh mowers is considered “too many?”
TheChirurgeon: Hang on, you said you own Silver Tower. That would mean you have more Horrors and that Gaunt Summoner right? That’s great. We need some non-Horror units.
Beanith: I should buy more cultists?
TheChirurgeon: I expect those photos on my desk tomorrow morning.
Beanith’s quick and dirty guide to Contrast Horrors of Tzeentch and Gaunt Summoner
Right, I’m brimming with some fantastic ideas that don’t involve 3 Leviathan dreadnoughts so let’s knock this out and get back to the demented cackling. Using this technique, you can smash these out so fast you might be ready in time for 9th edition.
With Pinky, I slathered on Contrast Volupus Pink, followed by some Contrast Blood Angel Red and Contrast Iyanden Yellow on the jewelry, eyes and flames etc. Finished off with a spot of Contrast Basilicanum Grey on the blade and Contrast Ultramarines Blue on the feathers.
Bluey got pasted with Contrast Ultramarines Blue and then some spot details picked out in Contrast Blood Angel Red and Contrast Iyanden Yellow.
The Brimstone twins were the quickest of the trio with Contrast Iyanden Yellow and then rubbed with a dry brush of Contrast Blood Angel Red.
Bosh, you can easily smash those out in a couple of batch painting sessions leaving you plenty of time to work on Coked upped Big Bird and friends. Such as this Gaunt Summoner who makes for a perfect counts as Changecaster.
A simple Contrast Shyish Purple for the Robe, Contrast Talassar Blue skin because Smurfs are awesome. Contrast Aethermatic Blue feathers with a quick light pass with a Gold Sharpie. I tried Contrast Iyanden Yellow for the armor and I’m not sold on it so I may go back and fix this one day (hahahahahahaha, no) And then Contrast Gryph-Hound Orange, Contrast Blood Angel Red and Contrast Wyldwood.
Can I go out and play now?
TheChirurgeon: Yeah, sure. Whatever.
Beanith: OK wait I had an idea.
Tzeentch’s quick and dirty guide to Contrast Horrors of Beanith
Have you ever wondered why you don’t see Flesh coloured Daemons? Well wonder no more.
Contrast Guilliman Flesh was smooshed on and then once the dry heaves finished I added some details with Contrast Blood Angel Red, Contrast Iyanden Yellow, Contrast Gryph-Hound Orange, Contrast Warp Lightning and Contrast Volupus Pink. Fast simple and hilariously awful, you may want to consider painting on speedos or something.
TheChirurgeon: Thanks, I hate it.
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