How to Paint and Weather the Forge World Deredeo Dreadnought by Slayer Sword winning painter Richard Gray

Paint and Weather the Forge World Deredeo Dreadnought – PRELUDE


my Death Guard Contemptor dreadnought

The Deredeo has never been regarded as the most attractive of dreadnoughts, with the chest section often being compared to a motorboat. This has resulted in it mainly being painted to a tabletop standard and used for its ability to shoot, unlike its cousin the Contemptor, which often features in Golden Demon competitions.

I’m a massive fan of mechs and the neglected Deredeo caught my eye, so I wanted to see if I could work with it and make it into something interesting. I quite often paint my competition entries as gaming pieces so it would have to fit into my Death Guard army as well.

Style wise I wanted something that would be suitable for a Games Workshop painting competition while having an element of realism to the weathering. It risked straddling two styles without fitting perfectly into either; my hope was that I could tie the styles together so that they weren’t jarring.


I had originally painted a Contemptor for Golden Demon Space Marines using a Death Guard colour scheme. I wanted to do the same again for the Deredeo, but this time more quickly while still achieving a high finish. The first step in being quicker was deciding to use an airbrush for it; the Contemptor had been painted purely by hand, using Scale 75 paints.

I still wanted the nice, flat, matte effect that I had achieved using the Scale Colour paints, but instead of just running them through an airbrush I decided to go with Tamiya instead.; the reason being I’d recently been given a box of Tamiya paints to try out and I was eager to test them, so this would be an experiment for me too! The Tamiya flat paints gave a beautifully smooth finish and were matte, just like I was looking for.


The completed left leg and the start of chipping to the body

The first thing I painted was the left outer leg of the Deredeo. It was a nice, smooth surface so would be ideal to test out the transitions on. I’ve taken to giving my Death Guard vehicles a blue tint, so I started off with a base colour of Tamiya Flat Blue. At this stage it looked a bit like an Ultramarine, but the finish was perfect. I needed a bit of warmth to counteract the blue so went for Deck Tan heavily thinned.

The Deck Tan was carefully sprayed to become more transparent towards the top of the leg, giving a fade in for the Flat Blue. Finally I used heavily thinned Flat White along the lowest section of the leg with a fade stopping around half way so that the Deck Tan is still visible. These transitions create an artificial lighting effect. Having the leg lighter at the bottom would also contrast nicely with the weathering which would focus most heavily along the lower edges of the legs.


It was now time to test the weathering over the top of the Tamiya paint. I’d spent quite a while looking for reference of metal covered in white paint that was flaking off and had orange streaks of rust coming through. In the background of the Death Guard they are supposed to leave superficial battle damage, wear and weathering on their armour and I wanted to stay with this theme. I noted that the rust was darker brown the more concentrated it became and as it streaked down and spread out it changed to a brighter orange.


developing the 3D effect of the chips

I decided to leave the top of the chips as a very dark brown as this gives the impression of shadow, creating a 3D effect. To push the 3D even more I highlighted the lower section of each chip with white to simulate the light catching the edge. Usually I would paint the highlights in multiple colours and save white for the highest points, but seeming as there was already white in the armour colour it would make the less bright highlights almost invisible.

The chips were now much more visible than a realistic effect would require. The chips were painted using Rhinox Hide (GW) purely as I had it to hand and it fitted what I needed. The white highlight on the lower edge is painted before the streaks to show how the streaks go over the top of the armour.

I wanted the streaks of rust to be matte, so I went back to using Scale 75 paints for the rust colours I needed. I selected two colours to represent the rust, Kalahari Orange as the dark base and Mars Orange as the bright colour as it spreads out. First I used the Kalahari Orange over the top of the brown chip, being careful to leave the top section to represent shadow, then selectively picked areas on the chip to start dragging downwards to show the streaks.


maintaining randomness and creating the rust streaks

Next I went back to the dark brown and painted a small line in the top middle of the streak. I used the Mars Orange to bleed out the streak, making it longer and also picking out lower areas of the chips and finally went back to Kalahari Orange and blended those layers together. It took a bit of going backwards and forwards to achieve the effect, but I had to judge each rust streak by eye.

The position of the weathering and wear is very important, not just for realism but also from an aesthetic point of view. I wanted to give the feeling that the Deredeo had really been through Hell while still keeping some clarity to the paint scheme.

There are many methods for applying chips and weathering, but the reason I hand painted each piece was so that I could have complete control over how they looked and their positioning. This does run the risk of it not looking random enough, so I had to be particularly careful not to just place chips in an evenly spaced pattern, which is a trap a lot of people fall foul of when hand painting weathering.


The green stripes were masked off and airbrushed before the weathering on the missile pod and other areas. I decided to go for P3 paints for the green, in particular Iosen Green and Necrotite Green, which is wonderfully bright and almost glows.

I started by layering a coat of black for the green; this is important as if you spray the green directly over the white armour it will be much too bright. The greens were applied as a gradient in the same way as the Deck Tan and Flat White on the armour. I had a slight issue when removing the masking tape as it pulled off a chunk of white paint. The issue was solved by turning the damage into painted damage!



Another important point to note is that if you want to add freehand to your model you should do it before weathering or it will not blend with the look of the piece. All of the skulls and numerals were freehanded on the Deredeo.

One benefit of painting all of the weathering by hand is that you get to choose how it affects the freehand. It can be a scary process, but I prefer to go by the thought process of if ‘I painted it once I can paint it again if it goes wrong.’

You can of course use decals, but again they should be applied before the weathering. I thought it would be fun to have a split skull on both sides of the missile pod; it just makes the model slightly more interesting and the skull is featured prominently in Death Guard iconography.

I applied white scratches onto the green stripes to represent different layers of paint being scratched off without being too deep. I used Scale Colour White for these scratches as it gives the same matte finish as the Tamiya Flat White I had used for the armour.



heat bloom

For the metal sections on the dreadnought I went for Scale 75 Decayed Metal. I love the colour and it contrasts nicely with the pale colour of the Deredeo armour. It was a fairly simple process of shading by adding black to the Decayed Metal and highlighting by using Victorian Brass followed by Moonstone Alchemy, both by Scale 75.

I used straight black for any dents or scratches on the metal and then highlighted them using Moonstone Alchemy. When blending the highlights onto the Decayed Metal I watered the colours heavily and used them as glazes.

I used the same direction transition as used on the armour, but this time it was painted by hand as it saves masking off everywhere, but more importantly gives a different finish to airbrushing metallics, which again creates a nice contrast with the airbrushed armour plates.

One controversial area on the model is the large targeting lens on the missile pod. It’s just a basic Vallejo Turquoise glazed to white at an angle. I didn’t use the traditional white dots for glass, but instead went for a highlighted area in the top left, which I feel looks less artificial.

The issue is that I chose not to weather this piece on the model, which makes it stand out dramatically. I chose this on purpose as a spot colour and point of interest, and is purely an aesthetic preference.

I’d researched images of copper heat bloom and wanted to put this onto the plasma fusillades, but it is a common technique and just uses inks/clears or washes over a metallic base, applied through an airbrush. I decided instead to go for spots of heat bloom that would be painted by hand. I used a base of Victorian Brass which was first highlighted with Pure Copper and carried this over all of the coils and the end of the guns.


time consuming details add to the overall finish

The bloom itself was first hand painted on using blue ink which was blended out with Garnet Alchemy and Victorian Brass. In the centre of the blue ink I painted Emerald Alchemy to show the hottest areas, this also had to be blended into the blue ink. I concentrated the blooms mainly towards the end of the guns, but they were also dotted around other copper areas. I don’t think the effect worked as well on the coils of the guns, but this was because the individual coil lines were too small to make it effective from a distance. I settled for putting the effect on batches of coils. The small flamers on the front of the chest piece were painted the same way.


The black on the plasma fusillades was painted with wet blending but used the same lighting transitions as the body of the Deredeo. The chips and scratches were made using the original black base; the grey transition allowing them to show up. The black base colour was Vallejo Model Colour Black as this also has a matte finish… it’s also fantastic for freehand lettering and numeral work!


test fitting to the base and grounding the mech

The dirt streaks were simply GW Mournfang Brown, heavily watered and applied in very fine streaks and around the edges; the colour compliments the black very nicely.

To finish the model I painted the cabling from the plasma fusillades, with one of the cables having hazard stripes. This was a tedious process, again painted by hand. The final result is worth it though as it just adds that little area of visual interest.

There is one final stage of weathering I used to tie the model together and tone down some of the brighter areas of the armour and metal, which were standing out too much and distracting from the theme of having the model look like it had been through Hell.

I used Winsor and Newton water mixable oil colour Burnt Umber and it was quite heavily thinned. It was painted into crevices and scrubbed onto patches of armour; it had to be judged by eye, but I tried to use it to tone areas down and make it look dirty. Water mixable oils are not as effective as traditional oils, but the benefits are that you do not need to seal the model before using them, so they don’t interfere with the finish.

The base is a total contrast to the model. I wanted it to hide the idea of a warzone, apart from a small space marine helmet hidden in the water. There are an abundance of grass tufts and flowers scattered around the feet of the Deredeo (miniNatur). The colours of the flowers tie in with the dreadnought and also help to anchor the model to the ground visually.

Resin water can be quite tricky, especially in this case as I had never used it before! It was actually a complete disaster when I made the first pour as it pulled itself out of the hole and covered the whole base instead. It’s very important to seal the base with varnish multiple times before pouring the resin. The second pour mostly stayed in the pond hole and the resin that had covered the base was hidden with a matte varnish. Finally I used weathering powder on the feet of the Deredeo to make it look like it had been walking through the mud.


the finished beast

In retrospect the model was a complete failure in the sense that it was not really quicker to paint even though I used the airbrush. I did learn a lot from the process though so I should be able to paint more of them much quicker!

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope you find something within it useful. Thanks to Jason too for inviting me to contribute to this site!

Richard x