How to Paint Tzaangors – TheChirurgeon’s Method

This article is part of a larger series on how to paint the Thousand Sons. To return to the parent article, click this link

Tzaangors paint up relatively quickly, and you can give them a striking look with only a small handful of colors. Which is good, because regardless of whether you are playing them in Warhammer 40,000 or Age of Sigmar, chances are you’ll need a lot of them. And that means having a good scheme you can repeat quickly is a must.

For this I’ve primed my Tzaangors with Chaos Black primer.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Skin

I started by painting the flesh with Games Workshop The Fang. I then wash the model using two different shades: The top half of the model was washed with Drakenhof Nightshade and the bottom was washed with Druchii Violet to give it more of a purple hue.

Next comes the highlights. The upper body is highlighted with mixes of The Fang and Reaper’s Snow Shadow to create lighter shades. The general process I’m using for this is basecoat -> shade -> highlight with the original basecoat -> highlight with lighter shades. The legs will be highlighted with Xereus Purple, without a lot of extra work done on top of that, though if you want to do some extra highlights you can use Daemonette Hide for that.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Armor

Next comes the Armor Plating. I paint the armor plates with Sotek Green, then wash those plates with Drakenhof Nightshade. At this step I also paint the metal bits with Leadbelcher. I’ll wash the weapons with Nuln Oil but the scale mail tabard I want to be brighter and look more like part of the armor, so I instead of using Nuln Oil I wash it with a Guilliman Blue gloss. They don’t make this anymore, but you can likely replicate the effect by mixing Macragge Blue or the deep blue Contrast Paint with a lot of Lahmian Medium or water.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

I then went back over the armor with Sotek Green again and did edge highlights of it using a mix of Sotek Green and White, though Baharroth Blue would also work for this. This step is also where I laid down the basecoat for the gold parts, using Retributor Armour Gold for the basecoat.

You can also easily replace these colors with more standard Thousand Sons colors – using Thousand Sons Blue for the basecoat on the armor plates and Ahriman Blue for the highlights, with Baharroth Blue for edge highlights.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


Now the bone details. I paint bone, including the talons, beak, and claws with Rakarth Flesh as the base coat. for the beak and the horns I want those to blend into the flesh, so I do a blend of Rakarth Flesh and Snow Shadow near the base of the horns to blend them. Usually this only requires two passes, one at 2:1 Show shadow/Rakarth and another at 1:2 since they’re both off-white.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Washing the Horns and Gold Trim

Once I’ve got the gold and bone details laid down, I wash both with Agrax Earthshade. It’s a pretty liberal application. The more you add, the older and more tarnished the metal will look. I also wash the axe blades with Nuln Oil at this point and paint the armor straps with Mournfang Brown. 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Once the Agrax Earthshade wash dries, I highlight the bones and beak with Rakarth Flesh again, and then do some edge highlighting with Reaper Polished Bone to get an even lighter shade. I edge highlight both the weapons and the scale mail with Ironbreaker or Rune Fang Steel, whichever happens to be closer to me when I’m looking for paints.I also dot the eye with Reaper Pure White.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Finishing Touches

Time for basing and final details. The base I’m doing as just a big blob of Agrellan Earth, which will then crack apart and give me an easy desert badlands texture. I’ve also gotta paint the gemstones. Those I paint Mephiston Red, followed by washing the upper right portion with Carroburg Crimson. Then I add a black dot in the upper right, put a smaller white dot in that, and do a small highlight of Evil Sunz Scarlet in the lower left. Standard gemstone procedure, really. The feathers I paint Celestra Grey and then highlight with Reaper Pure White.

Once the base is dry, I drybrush it with Reaper Polished Bone and we’re good to go.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Painting The Tzaangor Shaman

The big boss of regular Tzaangors, the Tzaangor Shaman uses most of the same principles and effects, only with some more complicated additional features – specifically feathers and a cloak.

The Feathers on the Shaman

For the Tzaangor Shaman I painted the cloak/skirt with Screamer Pink and washed it using a mix of Screamer Pink and Nuln Oil. I then highlighted the skirt with Screamer Pink and mixes of Screamer Pink and white worked up to a lighter shade.
The feathers were base painted Sotek Green and washed with Drakenhof Nightshade, then highlighted with Sotek Green and a 50/50 mix of Sotek and Reaper Pure White. Final touches were added using Reaper Snow Shadow.
The disc is painted more in line with my Rubric marines – a base of Kantor Blue for the blue parts highlighted with Caledor Sky.
This article is part of a larger series on how to paint the Thousand Sons. To return to the parent article, click this link