With the release of the new Necron Codex, we thought we’d delve into how to paint Necrons. Naturally, everyone has their own variations, but we’re focused today on the basic “metal warrior” look. Games Workshop has a splendid video tutorial as well, and we’ve included it at the bottom for you to use as well.
So in our approach of how to paint Necrons, we start with assembled warriors, and a fine base coat of Abaddon black (or your flat black primer of choice). Note that we left off our green plastic gauss tube, as we’re handling that separately.
As always, please observe proper spray paint safety and use it in a well ventilated area (ideally outside; though this is a rough time of year for that here in the North Eastern part of the US).
As with most “grey metal” looks, we start with Leadbelcher (or your “gun metal” paint color of choice). As always, thin or cut your paints with a medium and we’re going to cover everything in the metal paint. Usually I need three thin coats to get solid coverage. Unlike later stages, having the black show through is less than desirable. Conversely though, having the Leadbelcher show through later layers will only help cultivate the look of battleworn metal. Make sure to let each layer dry completely before proceeding with the next.
It’s worth noting that in Games Workshop’s tutorial, they do not have you paint the entirety of the gun with the base coat; I prefer it as anything that shows through looks a bit more beaten up, but it’s up to you. [Note from Lush: Plan your colors. If you are going for a specific dynasty the LeadBelcher is hard to cover with some colors. For example the Charnovokh dynasty has night blue weaponry and so painting the gun metal to turn around and paint blue would be a waste of your paint and time. I know, I just did that with 2 units of warriors. Planning is important when painting.]
Here’s another point we diverge from the GW plan; where they use Ironbreaker; I prefer Runefang Steel; it’s brighter and shiner, but our goal is a bit more “new” looking, whereas the GW version is a bit more ancient. Either version is good, it is a matter of your taste.
Be sure that your model has had sufficient time to dry and begin with a thin coat of Runefang Steel over the warrior, getting to all the parts you’d previously covered in Leadbelcher (including on the weapon). This often takes 1-2 coats, and as always, it’s better to leave it light and need another coat than go to heavy and fill up notches and details with paint.
Once we let that dry, we’re back on the same page with GW and using the Nuln Oil wash. We want to completely cover the warrior (though don’t let it get too heavy or it will drip and run and leave streaks). Our goal here is to attend the depths and edges of detail in addition to a thin layer over flat surfaces. We’ll give the metal a “used” look with this and it will add visual depth to the model itself. Whether you want the gun to look shiny is up to you, for this tutorial we will not wash it so you can see the difference.
Please keep in mind two important things; one that washes take longer to dry than normal paints; two that you should always change your water when switching between metallic and non-metallic paint.
Now we’re ready for our dry brush highlights. As always with dry brushing, you want to dab on some of the paint and use a tissue or paper towel to dab away the bulk of the paint from the brush as well as work it into the brush. When you’re finished, it should leave only faint marks. Using controlled light strokes, you’re now able to apply it to the various edges and turns on the model. The result should be a faint, light silver edging on all your seams and edges. Apply a second time if needed, but I recommend letting the first dry before doing so, which will let you get the best look at how the final coloration is coming out.
Next we move on to the gun. We’re going to use Abbadon black (or a flat black in your paint system of choice), and we want to cover the body of the gun (including that handle!) in our thinned black. Now if you want some of the metal to show through as though the paint were chipped, only selectively coat a second pass; otherwise, cover a second coat as needed (though black usually goes on pretty well). Additionally, we’ll use this to coat the glyph on his chest as it’ll look inset and give the colors you put on a great base.
Edging highlights for the gray, I differ from GW; and I use the Mechanicus grey, as I like it a bit darker. [Lush: I do not happen to have a similar color to Mechanicus and tend to vary between a stone grey and a pure silver] Whichever color you choose, hold your brush around a 45 degree angle and move it along the edges gently to give the edge coating.
Next, we’re going with the standard green glow. Don’t feel you have to adhere to this if it’s not your thing, of course, just find three shades of the color and substitute them as you need to.
Following the standard green, we paint the hose and glyph in his chest with a base of Caliban green, let dry and follow up with warpstone glow. Now, in the GW video, they use Moot green to do the highlights, I like something a little brighter, so usually I mix the color; but for our demonstration, we’re following their color schemes (just in case you’re ever wondering why my necrons look a tad different from this tutorial). Don’t forget to edge the glyph in the chest and dot the eyes. Take your time with this part, you’re almost done, no reason to make a mistake now!
Ok, after you’ve let your warrior dry, it’s time to insert the green rods. Now aside from the usual routine of checking for mold lines and any bits of sprue, I use some superglue to attach this in (as opposed to model glue). GW recommends PVA glue, but I find it’s a bit brittle and prefer the better seal of the ZapaGap glue. [Lush: I use simple Elmer’s glue because if I am sloppy about the superglue it ruins the look of the rod. But that being said I also have to re-glue the rods every so often after transport.]
Remember that superglue dries fast and it will hurt your fingers, so please be careful.
There, now we’re done and we can move on to a base! Well, not today, but hopefully we’ve helped you along.
Here are some extra tips to help you as you paint the Necrons. Do not be afraid to use other metals that offset the typical Necron silver we all know and love, I like an offset of a hammered copper to offset the shininess of the silver. If you want to dirty up and age your Necrons use a controlled accent of Agrax Earthshade with a light drybrush of Necron Compound after that. It is ok to paint the rod. I would suggest painting it on the sprue that way you can paint the gun fully without messing up the designs on the rod. Do a very very light drybrush of the weapon’s rod color on the exit port and along the support beam of the weapon for an extra accent.
There are a lot of variations to Necrons, and almost nothing is wrong, just unique.
For more, please visit the Games Workshop YouTube page for their tutorial and more helpful videos.