Painting Skeletons by Laurent Exposito

Painting Skeletons

The purpose here is to get you painting skeletons to an intermediate level.

It takes me approximately 4 hours per mini to achieve this result.

Heres a pic of the final result :

1 – Preparation and little conversion

As a start I glue the skeletons, except the arms holding the shields to make painting easier.

For the bases I use a thin layer of milliput that I just texture with a toothbrush to give a little relief and I glue some details, stones, small bones, skulls and of course the skeletons.

At this stage it is interesting to mark the footprint of the skeletons in the milliput before drying. So the accuracy of the placement will be perfect

For the banner a simple conversion has been made. I used the kit banner that I simply placed horizontally. A little bit of milliput there again to rectify the movement and sculpt the fasteners.

Black primer and here we go!

Painting the bones

The bones are one of the most important parts on these minis, so let’s do some clean work here.

We begin with a Zandri Dust base. Applying two thin coats will help to achieve a clean result. Try to find the right dilution, something around creamy texture. Of course always let entirely dry between two coats!

Let’ s begin the shadows now!

We apply two shades with Agrax Eartshade.

The first one sligthly diluted with Lahmian medium is an overall shade. Apply it on all the bones surface.

And the second one, not diluted, is only applied in the deepest recesses of the minis, between ribs, articulations etc

The next step is a new layer of Zandri dust, to redefine the volumes.  It is essential here, to avoid all of the deepest parts previously shaded with Agrax

Here we go for the lights.

First step is done with Ushabti Bone reducing the applying zone to make the volumes stand out.

Then a second layer with Pallyd Wych Flesh is applied reducing it again.


The Bronze parts first receive a Balthazar Gold basecoat.

Then a generous wash of Agrax is applied.

A first drybrush with Sycorax Bronze is done. It’s important here to use the drybrushing technic with ligthness to avoid big strokes.

And a second one with Runefang will achieve the job.

A little bit of corrosion will be a nice touch here. So we use Hawk Turquoise in deepest recesses and around rivets to simulate the verdigris effect.

4 – White Metal

Basecoat for metal parts is a mix of Boltgun Metal and a touch of Eshin Grey.

Adding acrylic paint to metallic colours will help covering.

Two washes of Nuln Oil, same technique as for bones will do efficient shadows.

A simple highlight with Runefang will be enough.

Lets go for the most interesting part of the white metals : the rust !!

We begin with Snakebite Leather (or some yellowish brown, XV88, Cobra leather etc…), applying it on some flat places, (blades, armour sections, shields), accentuating in the deepest parts.

Second layer is a mix a Skrag Brown with a bit of Doombull. You must reduce the applying zone to let the previous colour (Snakebite) visible, and concentrate in deepest parts again.

Last step is exactly the same with a mix of Doombull and a little bit of Rhinox Hide.


You can vary dilutions at each step to add texture, stipple, cover a total blade, a lot of things are possible with corrosion effects.

5 – Details

At this step I choose to basecoat all the other details to have an overall view of the final result.

Bases (earth parts) and woods (shields) receive a layer of Rhinox Hide.

Green fabrics are basecoated with Stained Olive from MSP (Reaper Master Series Paint), a kind of dark Camo Green.

And finaly leathers receive a layer of a Skrag Brown and a little bit of Kantor Blue to dessaturate it a bit.

To achive the base result, the earth is simply drybrushed with:

– XV 88

– Baneblade Brown

– Ivory (from Prince August).

As a final touch some washes of Seraphim Sepia and Nuln Oil will give more deepth to this simple paintwork.

The Fabrics:

The stained olive  is  highlighted with an add of Balor Brown.

Then again with an add of Kislev Flesh

And with a last add of Ivory

Finally, a little bit of Black is added to the Stained Olive basecoat to paint some shadows.

The leather:

Some washes of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil are first applied on the basecoat.

First highlight is an add of Orange Brown (from Prince August.

Then a second and a third one are done with Ungor Flesh and Ivory.

Some strokes will be a nice touch to add more life to your leather, texturing those kind of material is always a good idea.

Lets finish this tutorial with two differents way to paint wood


On the Rhinox Hide base colour, we apply a second layer of Doombull trying to keep the darkest colour in the deepest areas.

Then we paint thin lines of Deathclaw to simulate the wood’s grain.

Reducing the number of thin lines we do now the same with Ungor Flesh.

Some washes of Sépia and Agrax will give more smoothness if needed.

For the second wood colour we directly go for a layer of Baneblade on the Rhinox basecoat.

A wash of Agrax is applied to soften the result.

The Wood is then highlighted with fine lines of Ivory.

And a wash of Waywatcher green is applied to give more colour and a moist effect to the final result.

And that is it, thanks to the figure mentors team for the opportunity to contribute and I hope you all find this useful. Good luck