How to paint Salamanders

Here it is! Another tutorial.

This time, I thought I would tackle the Salamanders. After working on quite a few of them, I had a good process going, and I thought I would share it. This tutorial works for Horus Heresy Salamanders as well, as the Legion does not change its appearance like the Dark Angels. I also have quite a few more tutorials in the works, including Dark Angels, Iron Warriors and more. But let’s get to the painting.

First up, here are the paints you will need. If you need the names of the new GW paints that replace the old ones, check out the GW chart here.

Step I
Prime your mini black or grey. If you use white, the green will turn out pretty vibrant. This is fine, but as you can see, I went with black.

Step II
Base the Salamander with Warpstone Glow, with a small amount of Caliban Green. I added in the Caliban Green to allow for some subtle shading.

Step III
Layer on Warpstone Glow. Be sure to keep the basecoat in the recesses, as this ads the shading I was talking about.

Step IV
Start doing some broad highlights with a mix of Warpstone Glow and Scorpion Green. I went with a 1:1 mix, with a bit of water mixed in. This is to keep the highlights from looking to obvious.

Step V
Highlight with Scorpion Green with a bit of water mixed in. Keep these highlights to the most raised areas, such as the tops of knee pads and the tops of the shoulders.

Step VI
The final step for the green is to shade it. Create a mix of Caliban Green, Matte Black, and water. I went with a mix of 1:1:2, and brushed it into the deepest recesses.

An important visual cue for the Salamanders is, of course, fire. I recommend paint this onto a black surface to give a nice contrast, but feel free to use it wherever you like.

Step VII
The first step is to block out the fire with Mephiston Red, and block it all in. Don’t be to afraid to make mistakes, as you can always go back and tidy it up.

The next step is to layer on a 1:1 mix of Mephiston Red and Blazing Orange. Focus this step, and all the following, in the center of the flame.

Step IX
Layer on Blazing Orange. I applied a small amount of water, just to make sure the orange didn’t go on too thick.

Step X
The next stage is to layer on Golden Yellow. Keep this to the base of the flames, the area you have been working towards.

Step XI
The final step for the fire, layer on a small amount of Skull White, at the bottom of the fire.

Step XII
Start by basecoating the dirt with a 1:1 mix of Dark Flesh and Khorne Red.

Wash the entire the base with Quick Shade Strong Tone. You can also use Devlan Mud, or Agrax Earthshade if you don’t have the Strong Tone.

Step XIV
Heavily drybrush the base with Khorne Red. If you want a slight shadow effect under the mini, try to drybrush a little lighter as you get closer to the Marine.

Step XV
Finish the base by drybrushing pure Mephiston Red around the edges, and very lightly towards the center.

To paint the metal, basecoat with P3 Pig Iron (Boltgun Metal), wash with Dark Tone (Badab Black/Nuln Oil), and then highlight with P3 Cold Steel (Chainmail).

Base the area with P3 Molten Bronze. Highlight with P3 Rhulic Gold, and a final highlight with a 1:1 mix of Rhulic Gold and Cold Steel. Then give it a wash of Soft Tone Quickshade to tie it together.

Basecoat any stone detail with Fortress Grey. Shade it with watered down Matte Black, keeping to the deepest recesses. Begin highlighting with a 1:1 mix of Fortress Grey and Skull White. Add a final highlight of 2:1 mix of Skull White and Fortress Grey.

And with that, you’re done! I am looking to have another tutorial done by the end of the month. I am hoping to get Dark Angels up next, and then hopefully Alpha Legion.



  1. Jaze on September 10, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I just love your salamanders, the flame tut was a great touch as well. I’ve been thinking about painting up some salamanders for awhile now. Thanks for the inspiration. – Jaze

    • Trysanna on September 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Anytime! I’m glad to know it’s helping you out.

  2. Matt on September 13, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Thanks Trysanna, with the release of the new codex I can’t resist the lure of a salamanders drop pod list! I’m going to give your method a go as the miniature above is a right beaut! If I can get it to half that standard I’ll be right chuffed – Matt

  3. Steph on March 1, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hey! My boyfriend is hugely into 40k and I want to have a go at painting some models so that I can share his interests. I’ve decided on a small detachment of Salamanders as a first project. From what I’ve read, I get the vibe that they seem like they know how to chill out in their down time (even if they do live on a volcano, hurr hurr) and actually care about the little people.

    This is by far the best tutorial I’ve come across, so thank you very much for posting it!

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