How To Pet Everything: The Pets of Warhammer

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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. Today we are answering an extremely important question: Can you pet the dog?

Who Saved Who?

Somehow it took Games Workshop until the end of the 2010s to realize one important fact: People like pets. 40k saw the release of Kill Team: Rogue Trader, which included an extremely good boy, while Age of Sigmar has embraced Khornedogs, Gryph-Hounds, and Aetherwings for the Bloodbound and Stormcast factions. Where they’ve really outdone themselves is, as is so often the case, in Necromunda, where every gang has had an associated pet to accompany their gang leaders.

Even Enforcers are getting in on the fun! Credit: Games Workshop

While more grimdark Pound Puppies are on their way, we thought we’d showcase the best of the Goonhammer crew’s paintjobs and conversions and let them explain in their own words how they raised and groomed the pet models that grace their tabletops.

Sumpkroc, by SRM

Sumpkroc. Credit: SRM

Ol’ Sumpy (isn’t she the sweetest?) burrowed her way through my heart and into my chest cavity the moment I saw her. With a scaly hide, too many eyes, and winning smile, I couldn’t say no. The model has plenty of room to flex your naturalistic animal painting muscle, while still giving you some space to tie her in with the rest of your gang. When it came time to paint her, I decided it would be an exercise in blending, washing, and drybrushing. After a quick googling of some real life crocodiles, I got to work. All paints are GW unless otherwise noted.


  • Black


  • Incubi Darkness blended to Warboss Green, getting darker towards the top
  • Coelia Greenshade wash all over, to smooth over the transitions and fill in the detail
  • Incubi Darkness and Warboss Green blended midtone, drybrushed all over
  • Warboss Green targeted drybrush on the underbelly, elbows, tip of the tail and tops of spines


  • Averland Sunset
  • Seraphim Sepia


  • Pink Horror
  • Druchii Violet
  • Emperor’s Children highlight


  • P3 Thamar Black
  • Dawnstone highlight


  • Rakarth Flesh
  • Agrax Earthshade near the bases of the teeth
  • Flayed One Flesh highlight near the tips of the teeth


  • Iron Warriors
  • Nuln Oil
  • Agrax Earthshade
  • Ironbreaker highlight


  • Doombull Brown
  • Skrag Brown, drybrushed all over the metal bits
  • Fire Dragon Bright, targeted drybrush on the raised areas of the metal bits
  • Stormhost Silver highlights and chips

Stimm Tanks:

  • Averland Sunset
  • P3 Thamar Black caution stripes (It’s a Necromunda model, it’s legally required they appear somewhere)
  • Seraphim Sepia wash
  • Rhinox Hide sponged on for some targeted weathering to simulate paint chipping. (For more on this technique, check out HTPE: Weathering)
  • Stormhost Silver highlights on the chips


  • Pink Horror
  • Druchii Violet towards the base of each pipe
  • Emperor’s Children highlight


Rippy the Ripper, by Primaris Kevin

I was tired of cleaning up after myself, so I decided to adopt this little fella in the hopes that maybe the floor would be a little less messy. The good news is that it worked great; my floors are bare. The bad news is that he’s also eaten the leather couch, three of the neighborhood cats, and both of my legs.

“Rippy” the Ripper. Credit: Kevin Genson

The Model

You may have noticed that Rippy is a bit of an oddity, a Ripper of Unusual Size if you will. I made him by using some pieces that most Tyranid players end up with a lot of; a Trygon skull cap, toxin sacs, extra claws, and a Genestealer head. You can see how it all comes together in the image below. More adventurous modelers who worry about people looking “under the shell” so to speak are welcome to shove Green Stuff into the gaps and make it look suitably organic. Personally I just tell people that Rippy would appreciate it if they didn’t violate his personal space. 

Rippers. Credit: Primaris Kevin


My painting style uses drybrushing, glazing, and washes to get a look that incorporates a lot of depth without much effort. This method works best if you paint the base and model separately. Start off by priming the whole model in Wraithbone.


The model receives a wash of Army Painter Soft Tone followed by a drybrush of Vallejo Game Air Bonewhite and a second drybrush of Vallejo Model Color Gloss White. This is the same method I use for the bone color in my Primaris Marines and will serve as the foundation for the colors on top. Using the thinned air paint creates an interesting glaze effect which both highlights the edges and tints the entire model.

The blue is simply two coats of a 50/50 mix of Contrast Talassar Blue and Contrast Medium. I highly recommend mixing up your own bottle and setting it aside. Using thinned Contrast allows for a lot more variation in color and depth, and gives you more control than you would if you slapped down One Thick Coat. This is a good example of the flexibility offered by Contrast paints and is one of the reasons I’m a fan.

The pink is Liquitex INK! Magenta painted over the tongue. You may find yourself having to re-do the base after the blue gets everywhere; for the tongue don’t worry about applying more drybrushing or anything. I just cover the mistakes with Bonewhite and move on. For a little extra depth you can apply a wash of AP Purple Tone, but it’s not necessary in this case.

The shell is a single layer of Liquitex INK! Yellow Orange Azo over the bone color. Be careful about pooling in the recesses as it will turn orange if there’s too much. I think use Liquitex INK! Carbon Black to form the spots. This stuff is very thin but intensely pigmented. Start by creating several dots, and then randomly connect them to make the poison arrow frog pattern.

The claws are painted using VMC  Dark Gray with a little bit of VMC Gloss White. 


The base starts off with two coats of unthinned Contrast Snakebite Leather. I then wash it with AP Strong Tone and then drybrush it with VMC Hull Red. The rock is actually a piece of oyster shell; they have a ton of detail that looks great when painted. I started with a layer of unthinned Contrast Baslicanum Grey and drybrushed with VMC Gloss White. The plants are a combination of Games Workshop plants and a leaves from a plastic aquarium toy; they’re simply a layer of Contrast Warp Lighting with the stem painted in a subsequent layer of Contrast Ork Flesh. The base is rimmed with a 50/50 mixture of VMC Black and Liquitex INK! Carbon Black, which produces a very smooth and pigmented blend that covers extremely well.

Grawl, by SRM

Godsworn Hunt

Grawl of the Godsworn Hunt. Credit: SRM

Continuing my theme of “animals more jacked than their owners” is the incredibly muscular Grawl of the Godsworn Hunt for Warhammer Underpants/Underworlds. He’s swole out of control, and the only thing he likes more than treats is the bones of his enemies crunched between his teeth. This extremely good and extremely blind boy unfortunately is pretty much just there to be sacrificed for some Glory in your average Underworlds game, but with some love and care he too can find his way into your warband and your heart. I based his paintscheme on a Rottweiler, as I felt it hit the right balance between “vicious attack dog” and “misunderstood sweetie”.


  • Black


  • P3 Thamar Black all over. Even when priming with the base color, it’s good to go over once to ensure a smooth and even base coat.
  • Dark Reaper highlights, outlining all his massive dog muscles
  • Mourfang Brown on the paws and jowls
  • Agrax Earthshade on the parts painted brown
  • Ushabti Bone highlights on the raised edges of the brown parts

Teeth, Spines and Bones:

  • Rakarth Flesh
  • Agrax Earthshade near the bases
  • Flayed One Flesh highlight near the tips


  • Pink Horror
  • Druchii Violet


  • Bugman’s Glow
  • Carroburg Crimson


  • P3 Thamar Black
  • Eshin Grey highlight


  • P3 Thamar Black
  • Skavenblight Dinge highlight
  • Stormvermin Fur highlight on the extreme edges


  • Leadbelcher 
  • Nuln Oil
  • Agrax Earthshade
  • Skrag Brown, watered down heavily and applied in the recesses for rust
  • Stormhost Silver scratches and highlights

Oath Stone:

  • Dawnstone
  • White Scar, thinned down and painted into the runic design
  • Guilliman Blue in the runic design (as this color is no longer available, you could make a custom glaze using a 2:1 mix of Lahmian Medium and any blue)
  • Celestra Grey highlight


Yvraine’s Cat, by Skails

Yvraine’s Cat. Credit: Skails

This poor cat was left abandoned when the nice old lady who owned her became destined for some kind of horrible giger-esqe kitbash. She was found wandering in the desert, so I gave her the forever-home she deserved.


  • Stylenrez ‘ebon flesh’ followed up with a zenithal of white

Black around eyes and for pupils

  • White under eyes, around mouth
  • Screamer pink for nose with Emperors Children highlight


  • Base- Ushabti Bone/Yellow/Vallejo Model Color German Camo Black Brown Mix
  • Stripes- German Camo Black Brown
  • Paws Vallejo Dead White at feet faded to Stonewall Grey towards elbows


  • Scale75 Decayed Metal
  • Scale75 Victorian Brass
  • Scale75 Pure Copper
  • Reikland Fleshshade wash in recesses 

Yvraine’s Cat WIP. Credit: Skails

The fur was done in a few layers. First a layer of Ushabti bone mixed with a little yellow and brown made a nice tawny color for the fur base. Next stripes were put down with some thin German Camo Black Brown. For the final steps small slashes of brown were put horizontally along the stripes, then a mix of the base color was put along the space between.


Classic Gryph-Hound, by SRM

Classic Gryph-Hound. Credit: SRM

When I purchased the classic Empire General kit (RIP), I had no idea I was welcoming this little fellow into my home. While Griffin was supposed to be a bit of base decor, I instead gave him his own 20mm square base to roam around in. Any pet owner will know that Gryph-Hounds prefer the space to roam about. When it came time to paint this little fella, I was extremely excited to try Contrast paints out. With a mix of Contrast paints and traditional edge highlights, I hashed out a good looking model in under an hour of actual painting.


  • White

Blue Feathers:

  • Aethermatic Blue, followed by a second coat to get a really rich, intense color
  • Fenrisian Grey highlights


  • Apothecary White
  • White Scar highlights


  • Skeleton Horde
  • Pallid Wych Flesh highlights

Eyes and Claws:

  • P3 Thamar Black
  • Eshin Grey highlight
  • Dawnstone highlight at the extreme edges


  • Averland Sunset
  • Fuegan Orange
  • Dorn Yellow edge highlights


Porter the Keg Monkey, by SRM

Tapper the Keg Monkey. Credit: SRM

When I first met Porter, he was carrying powder for a regiment of Empire Handgunners. Knowing that gunpowder and monkeys are a disaster waiting to happen, I sent him off to the Talabheim Tappers, a local Free Company Militia regiment where he could be safe and oh god he’s GOT A KNIFE


  • Black

Black Fur:

  • P3 Thamar Black all over
  • Eshin Grey highlights

Brown Hair:

  • Zandri Dust
  • Agrax Earthshade wash
  • Ushabti Bone highlights


  • Bugman’s Glow
  • Reikland Fleshshade wash all over the skin, including the mouth where we’ll just leave that shading as is
  • Cadian Flesh highlights

Glassy Black Dead Eyes:

  • P3 Thamar Black
  • Eshin Grey highlight
  • Dawnstone highlight at the extreme edges

Tiny Coat, Hat, and Knife Wrapping:

  • Khorne Red
  • Nuln Oil wash
  • Evil Sunz Scarlet highlights


  • Averland Sunset
  • Fuegan Orange wash
  • Yriel Yellow highlights


  • Steel Legion Drab
  • Agrax Earthshade wash
  • Tallarn Sand highlight


  • Leadbelcher
  • Nuln Oil wash
  • Stormhost Silver highlight

Gold Badge:

  • Retributor Armour
  • Reikland Fleshshade wash
  • Stormhost Silver highlight


Owls, by Lupe

Pet love extends beyond the bounds of Games Workshop. Knight Models get in on the action in a whole bunch of ways, from Harley’s hyenas to the giant goddamn demon that Damien Wayne drags around. But none more majestic then the owls that the Court of Owls deploy.

Owl. Credit: Lupe

This is angry owl. It is furious. The reasons are unknown, but probably because no one is petting it. Here are the steps I used:

Owl. Credit: Lupe

  1. Paint in your basecoats. I used Scale75 orange leather for most of the plumage, with Valejo Deck Tan on the face and a little scattering of light feathers.
  2. Wash the entire owl in Agrax Earthshade
  3. When it’s completely dry, go in and run a little thinned black paint into the deepest recesses, and to separate the wings, feathers around the throat and so on.
  4. Paint the rest of the fucking owl*

You can use this technique on owls from Games Workshop too. I switched the basecoats out for Zandri Dust but otherwise it’s the same process.

Owl. Credit: Lupe

Isn’t he a beautiful bird. Who is? Don’t call me a twit, I was just being nice.

*Oh alright:

  1. Reapply your base coat as a highlight layer
  2. Add a touch of white to each basecoat and highlight again
  3. Pick out the eyes in yriel yellow, then dot the pupils black.


Macula by Dan “The Sex Cannon” Boyd

Macula. Credit: Dan “The Sex Cannon” Boyd

Macula is intended to be Orlock Road Boss Slate Mardena’s vicious and yet loyal companion, but after painting him, I like to think he’s my vicious yet loyal companion now, too! While his posture, expression, and brutal cybernetics may make him appear violent and dangerous, I think we all know all he really wants is a snuggle!


  • Black

Black Fur/Toenails

  • Abaddon Black base
  • Generous Eshin Grey highlight
  • Thinner Stormvermin Fur highlight
  • Very thin highlight of Administratum Grey on the highest points

Brown Fur

  • Mournfang Brown base
  • Successive layers of Nuln Oil to fade the brown into the black fur
  • Agrax Earthshade wash all over
  • Gorthor Brown Highlight


  • Leadbelcher base
  • Nuln Oil wash all over
  • Runefang Steel highlight

Scarred Flesh

  • Screamer Pink base
  • Druchii Violet wash
  • Pink Horror highlight

Yellow Chest Armor

  • Averland Sunset base
  • Yriel Yellow layer
  • Agrax Earthshade in the recess along the edge
  • Flash Gitz Yellow highlight

Red Collar

  • Khorne Red base
  • Evil Sunz Scarlet layer
  • Agrax Earthshade wash
  • Wild Rider Red highlight

Bionic Eye

  • Abaddon Black base
  • Khorne Red in a crescent shape that takes up ~50% of the black circle and is mostly in the lower right quarter of the circle of Abaddon Black
  • Evil Sunz Scarlet in a smaller crescent atop the previous one, leaving space for the Khorne Red towards the center
  • An even smaller Crescent of Wild Rider Red atop the previous crescent
  • White Scar dot in the upper left quarter of the black base


  • Zandri Dust Base
  • Agrax Earthshade wash
  • Screaming Skull highlight

Mini, my actual pet cat by Dan “The Sex Cannon” Boyd

Mini, acrylic on canvas. Dan Boyd circa 2012

The reference photo of Mini in her natural habitat: getting caught in something and screaming at me until I let her out.

Our readers might be surprised to learn that not all painting is done on models! I painted this picture of my beloved yet troublesome cat, Mini, at a “drink wine and paint stuff” event hosted by my employer in what I think was the Spring of 2012. This picture was taken in the Summer of 2011, when Mini was still a wee kitten. 

I do not remember the exact colors or ratios I used to render my sweet daughter on canvas. Looks like there was some grey, purple, yellow, red, and white. Feel free to attempt to paint my lovely companion animal yourself, and share with us the result.

I am better at painting models than I am at portraiture, this is clear.


Bonekrakka and Gobbaluk, by SRM

Bonekrakka and Gobbaluk. Credit: SRM

This bonded pair of Squigs found their way into my home when I got a box of Zarbaj’s Jitz with my Adepticon swag bag last year. The two have been inseparable since I adopted them, only leaving each other’s side to maul whatever poor fool decided to get too close to their territory. My paintscheme for Zarbaj and his Jitz involves a lot of purple and yellow, so I forewent the typical reds and oranges you see Squigs come in, and went instead for a pinkish purple. I think it’s pretty fashionable.


  • Black


  • Screamer Pink
  • Druchii Violet washall over
  • Pink Horror highlights
  • Emperor’s Children on the boils, spiny bits, and other extremely raised areas


  • Screamer Pink
  • Carroburg Crimson wash
  • Pink Horror highlights


  • Rakarth Flesh
  • Agrax Earthshade wash in the recesses and base of teeth
  • Pallid Wych Flesh highlights


  • Mephiston Red

Bonekrakka’s Chewtoy (Big-Ass Bone):

  • Wraithbone
  • Skeleton Horde all over
  • Wraithbone highlights


  • P3 Thamar Black
  • Eshin Grey highlights


  • Retributor Armour
  • Reikland Fleshshade wash
  • Stormhost Silver highlight


  • Averland Sunset
  • Fuegan Orange wash
  • Carroburg Crimson Wash
  • Yriel Yellow highlights


The Good Doggo, by Alfredo

First seen as part of the Kill Team: Rogue Trader set, this good boy was quickly recognized as the most important model in the entire set (even inspiring a very important Regimental Standard) and justified the three figure price tag all on his own. For my own take on this handsome pupper, I figured he might end up alongside my Necromunda Enforcers down the line and wanted to do something that wasn’t a doberman/rottweiler scheme. So I decided to go with a Great Dane fawn coloring and a nice saturated blue for the harness (I hope Ruffwear still exists in the 41st Millennium) to contrast with the brown-orange tones of the coat.


  • Primed with Stynlrez Neutral
  • Airbrush from above with VMC Golden Brown
  • Shaded and highlighted with a bunch of colors, black brown at the darkest for the face and ears, ochres and sand colors for highlights
  • Ochre and Chestnut inks sprayed to unify the color mishmash on the coat


  • Reaper True Blue triad with some lemon yellow mixed for the top highlights
  • Scale75 Necro Gold

Deepest shadows were black and dark brown oil washes carefully applied.


Wag Less, War More

Hopefully the selection of pets above inspires you to paint your own (models that is, do not attempt to paint your cat. I REPEAT: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PAINT YOUR CAT). Inspiration can come from nature, studio paint schemes, or the mad airbrushing on the side of a sick wizard van. Adopt freely, and remember: You can always pet the dog.



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