Legions Imperialis – Painting Showcase

Many thanks to Games Workshop for providing us with advanced review copies of the Legions Imperialis boxed set as well as other Epic scale kits for review. Tiny tanks are here! In this article, the Goonhammer sweats the small stuff.

Tips & Tricks for Painting

Progress pic of my World Eaters. Credit: Fowler

Fowler: Working at small scale is very different from painting 28mm scale minis. Even the size of the brush becomes a liability. Right upfront, you have to make a call – are you going to paint these with the dudes already applied to the bases, or are you going to paint them separately and glue them on to a base at the end. I painted a few on bases, while the vast majority were glued to craft sticks. My personal preference is the stick method. Do not glue the models to the painting stick too hard, though. If it takes more than a gentle shove to remove a mini, you could potentially damage it! Contemptors were just fine to paint on the base, though – so make sure your basing scheme can be done around the larger minis.

Cutting corners is absolutely key here. I had 20 tiny plasma guns to paint, which was a great opportunity for a contrast hack. Paint the whole plasma gun silver, paint the tip with Darkoath Flesh. Wash the whole gun in Nuln oil, drybrush with silver, paint the coils white then wash with whatever color you need for the proper glow. If you need to paint a whole pile of hazard stripes, I highly suggest Mamikon’s hazard stripe method. In short – start with white all over, paint the black hazard stripes, glaze with Imperial Fist yellow.

My last warning may have something to do with being in my 40’s. As these minis were way smaller than what I typically paint, I found myself squinting frequently. Take eyestrain breaks! Every 20 minutes, and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This goes for assembly as well as painting!

Bonus tip – Pylar Glacier is an amazing paint for epic scale power swords. Experiment with it, I found that a couple of quick coats worked best, focusing away from the top of the sword.

Colin: Painting models at this scale is familiar, but does pose a unique challenge. Visually, I love massed minis in any scale. Legions Imperialis is a model intensive game and as such an efficient approach to painting is prudent.

I used my airbrush for the initial basecoat and highlight on the models and then finished them with a Citadel Medium Layer brush (between a size 0 and size 1 depending on the brand of brush). Painting the infantry is a very different experience from painting dreadnaughts, sentinels and tanks. The detail on the vehicles is a lot more crisp and clear. The infantry sculpts do suffer at the smaller scale, unfortunately, and are thus more dependent on the brush work to bring out definition. The challenge is compounded by the fact that you’ll need dozens and dozens of bases of infantry in larger games of Legions Imperialis, especially if you’re playing Solar Auxilia.

When doing test models for Legions Imperialis, write down your steps and come out of the test model with a clear plan and a standardized order of operations. Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. For my Auxilia, I can paint 10-12 stands of infantry in one evening! For Marines, roughly the same depending on the sculpt. Terminators and Dreadnoughts took a little more time, whereas the standard marines can be knocked out in very little time.


Painting Showcase

Soggy’s World Eaters

Soggy’s World Eaters


Colin Ward’s Solar Auxilia

Colin’s Solar Auxilia

I absolutely love this army. It will be my main army for Legions Imperialis for the foreseeable future. I enjoy the diversity of the vehicles available as well as the visual impact of the massed infantry at this scale. That’s what Legions Imperialis is all about for me! My infantry scheme has gold armor, dark sea blue fatigues and white pads, with black guns and steel backpack/weapon detailing. Tanks are white with gold trim, black guns and steel detailing. I wanted to keep a limited palette at this scale to make it efficient but also have a strong visual impact on the table.

For the infantry I airbrushed a two stage gold basecoat and then set in with the brushes. First fatigues, then pads, then black weapons, then steel details, then foot basing blob, done. Vehicles got a three stage white basecoat and highlight, steel detailing and tracks, gold trim, and a payne’s grey oil wash. Keep it simple. One thing I really like about the Auxilia is the opportunity to paint models like the Marauder Bombers. I got to play with silly putty masking, do some transfer work and an oil wash to finish them off.

I cannot wait to tackle more infantry and so many more tanks and planes for this army, and eventually some Knights and Titans as well!

Pendulin’s Solar Auxilia

Legions Imperialis – Solar Auxilia with “display base” – Credit: Pendulin

Colin Ward’s Thousand Sons

For my Space Marine Legion I settled on the Thousand Sons. They’ll be on the back burner behind the Solar Aux, but they were a fun painting challenge to try to solve for. I used my airbrush to do a gold basecoat and then used Tamiya Clear Red to get the signature candy red armor. It worked pretty well, though I think the clear red did compound some of the challenges that the sculpts were already facing.

It has to be said that these sculpts, while gorgeous in 28mm, do suffer at this smaller scale. I’m sure there are production challenges and sculpting challenges to producing tiny marines, and those challenges are evident when trying to paint these infantry. Some of the detail is very soft and ill defined, and undercuts, particularly on weapons, force you to rely only on paint to define those areas.

I did my best to paint weapons, eye lenses, some steel detailing and gold shoulder pad studs on these models, but ultimately did not really enjoy painting these, which was a bitter disappointment. I think my approach is also flawed at this scale, especially for the infantry. When I paint a different legion, I will almost certainly rely more on a darker palette, contrast paints, and black guns to cover some of the shortcomings in the sculpts. That being said, I’m not unhappy with the outcome, it just wasn’t what I was hoping for and certainly wasn’t as fun as painting the Solar Auxilia. Who knows, maybe some Space Wolves are on the horizon instead!

40kHamslam’s Imperial Fists

Legions Imperialis Imperial Fists. Credit: 40khamslam.

Fowler’s World Eaters

Fowler’s World Eaters

For the record, I chose World Eaters before I knew they were good!

I wanted to stay quick and repeatable with these guys, so I chose a simple-to-execute paint scheme. All of these dudes are zenithal primed, which is definitely overkill. You can just prime white from the get go. The blue is Stormfiend Contrast, cleaned up with Teclis Blue. Dark metals are Vallejo Metal Color Gunmetal, light ones are Army Painter Shining Silver. A few red details like the tabards and mohawks were painted with Blood Angels Red. I gave the whole model a very light silver drybrushing, and added a few highlights here and there. Then I hit everything with Ammo by Mig Streaking Grime and cleaned up the majority of it. Bases are Eshin Grey, drybrush of Vallejo Ghost Grey, wash with Mortarion Grime (to blend better with the enamel) and a black base rim.

Soggy’s Salamanders

Soggy’s Salamanders & Solar Auxillia

We’re all looking forward to expanding these armies and putting them onto the table, gently! As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, drop us a line at Contact@Goonhammer.com.