How to Paint Everything: Sisters of Silence

In our How to Paint Everything series, we take a look at different armies of the Warhammer universes, examine their history and heraldry, and look at several different methods for painting them. This week we’re looking at the Sisters of Silence.

Who Are the Sisters of Silence?

The Sisters of Silence are an elite order of Imperial witch hunters. They’re exclusively female, and they all carry the Pariah gene, marking them as psychic “nulls.” This makes them ideal for hunting down errant psykers and battling the horryfing creatures of the warp. They work very closely with the Adeptus Custodes in the Imperial Palace on Terra, and were active throughout the Great Crusade and the Heresy. They are perhaps most known for operating the black ships that move between imperial worlds, collecting the Great Tithe, the resources a planet must pay to the Imperium. This includes a collection of psykers rounded up from the population of each world to be taken back to Terra and fed to the Golden Throne to sustain the golden light of the Astronomicon.

Believed to be disbanded shortly after the Age of Apostacy, the Sisters of Silence operated in secret for many years but have re-entered public operation since the re-awakening of the primarch Roboute Guilliman. They now serve as potent warriors against the threats of the Immaterium and the rapidly expanding population of human psykers as a result of the effects of the Cicatrix Maledictum.

Where to Read More

The Sisters of Silence really get a chance to shine in the Horus Heresy series, where they work closely alongside Custodes, and recently they’ve begun to see more use in the 41st millennium. Sometimes it’s hard to pick some good books to talk about for a particular faction, even an Imperial one. This is not one of those factions – there are some really good books featuring the Sisters of Silence.

  • Master of Mankind by Aaron Dembski-Bowden is the quintessential book about the Emperor and his plans for the galaxy and is just a very good read. It prominently features the Sisters of Silence and their role working with Custodes during the Heresy and has tons of cool hooks to later lore.
  • Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor’s Legion and The Regent’s Shadow by Chris Wraight chronicle the adventures of the Custode Valerian and the Sister of Silence Aleya. The books do a wonderful job diving into her observations and frustrations with the Imperium.
  • The Siege of Terra: Saturnine by Dan Abnett is also a very good read and the Sisters of Silence are active participants in it, working alongside the other defenders of the Imperial Palace to fend off the traitors’ siege.

Playing Sisters of Silence

in Warhammer 40,000 Sisters of Silence aren’t really a standalone army, instead being part of a group of Imperial Agents called the Talons of the Emperor. They can be added to a larger IMPERIUM force, and recently got some new rules in War of the Spider.

In Kill Team the Sisters recently received rules in White Dwarf for their own kill teams. We’ve written about them and our thoughts on playing these kill teams here.


Painting Sisters of Silence

The Sisters of Silence have a lot in common with the common companions, the Adeptus Custodes, from a painting standpoint, and if you wind up doing more of the Talons of the Emperor you may want to consider painting them with matching schemes. You can find our article on painting Custodes here.

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms’ Method

Contrast, baby! Contrasts works as well over Retributor Gold spray paint as it does Wraithbone and Greyseer. We’ll give that a shot with the tips below! If you’re curious about other colors, check out this guide:

Battle Ready

  1. Prime the model with Retributor Gold
  2. Wash the armor of the model with Gor-Grunta Fur
  3. Paint the boots and chest with Black Templar
  4. Paint the metal sword with Leadbelcher or Iron Warriors paint. Paint the handle with Screamer Pink.
  5. Paint the hair with Blue Horror
  6. Paint the skin with Bloodreaver Flesh and shade with Druchii Violet once dry.
  7. Paint the cape with Phoenician Purple or Xereus Purple (2-3 thin coats).
  8. Paint the top of the base with Rhinox Hide, drybrush with Eshin Grey once dry.

Sister of Silence Primed Retributor Gold and Washed with Gor Grunta Fur by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

Parade Ready

  1. Highlight the edges of the armor and the symbol on the cape with Sycorax Bronze, followed by a dot of Stormhost Silver
  2. Highlight the boots and chest with Eshin Grey
  3. Wash the sword and handle with Nuln Oil
  4. Wash the hair with Akhelian Green. Once dry, highlight the top of the hair with Temple Guard Blue, followed by Blue Horror.
  5. Highlight the skin with Knight-Questor Flesh.
  6. Paint the eyes with Rakarth Flesh and dot the pupils with a .005 Black Micron Pen
  7. Highlight the edges of the cape with Genestealer Purple, followed by a lighter highlight of Dechala Lilac or Warpfiend Grey.
  8. Wash the base with a 50/50 mix of Water and Nuln Oil.

Credit: Crab-stuffed Mushrooms

Credit: Crab-stuffed Mushrooms



Evan “Felime” Siefring’s Method

Credit: Evan “Felime” Siefring

  • Armor- To achieve an aged gold look for the armor on my sisters of silence I start with VMC Hammered Copper all over. I then washed it with a mix of Golden High Flow Acrylics Sepia, Dioxazine Purple, and some medium and water. I have a number of these paints I use for washing and airbrushing. If you aren’t diving headfirst into airbrushing, I would recommend games workshop’s Druchii Violet, Agrax Earthshade, and possibly Lahmian Medium. The golden paints are basically just more concentrated versions of these. This is a fairly weak wash, just enough you can spot the purple hints in the recesses. After washing, I gave the entire model and edge highlight with Retributor Armor.
  • The skin is VGC Pale Flesh mixed with a little bit of VGA Dwarf Flesh (any dark ruddy skin such as cadian fleshtone is just fine) I covered the skin with the darker mix, then progressively highlighted up to pure Pale flesh, adding a little bit of definition to the facial features with a very dilute wash of Reikland Fleshshade in the crevices, then a very slight bit of Nuln Oil in the eye sockets.
  • For the red cloaks, They are VMC Flat Red mixed with black for a basecoat and highlighted to pure flat red.
  • I honestly don’t remember the paints I used on the purity seals and ropes. The ropes are brown with the details picked out in a dark bone color, and the purity seals are khaki highlighted with a light bone color.
  • The fur is VMC London Grey drybrushed with VGC Cold Grey.

The last bit of note on these gals is that I replaced their heads with some from the excellent Statuesque Miniatures. I’m not too fond of the giant face plows on the stock Sisters of Silence. Make sure not to use any of the shouting heads unless you’re converting up some Sisters of Loudness.


Daniel “Skails” Rodenberg

Primer: Black

Armor: The armor was done using the Scale75 copper and brass set. Basecoat is Decayed Metal followed by a coat of Old Copper on everything but the deepest recesses. Then highlights were built up with Victorian Brass then Pure Copper. All over wash of Reikland Fleshshade. Nuln Oil was neatly put into the deepest recesses. Pure Copper highlight built back up and Finally an edge highlight of Citadel Runefang Steel was applied.

Leather: Vallejo Model Color German Grey was used to build up some areas of highlight on the black parts, then and edge highlight of VMC Basalt Grey. (Same for Hair)

Skin: Basecoat of Bugman’s Glow. Then an all over coat of 1:1 Bugman’s and Cadian Fleshtone, leaving the previous layer in deepest recesses. Next pure Cadian Fleshtone over most most of the previous layer. 1:1 Cadian Fleshtone and Kislev Flesh on all the raised surfaces and top facing angles. Finally pure Kislev Flesh as a highlight to previous later.

Credit: Daniel “Skails” Rodenberg

Cape: This was done similar to the leather, but building up grey tones using quick brush stokes in horizontal lines. VMC German Grey was done in lines over most of the surface, followed by a mix with VMC Basalt Grey hitting the raised folds. Next was a series of smaller lines of VMC Basalt Grey on most raised areas. The eagle was done the same way using brown and building through yellow to a tiny bit of white.

Tattoo: I used the GW store image for reference here. Started out by roughly making the eagle shape with thinned down black. Once the shape was looking right the area was filled with a few layers of a VMC Prussian Blue and black mix. Kislev flesh was used to clean up around the edges and straighten out anything that looked off.

Credit: Daniel “Skails” Rodenberg



That wraps things up for our look at painting Sisters of Silence. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, or want to show of your own Sisters of Silence, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at