We believe that nothing satisfies the gamers’ soul more than seeing two fully painted armies arrayed for battle. We also know that painting an army – or even a new unit – sometimes has to be put to one side because of ‘real life’. We want to show you that you can achieve that finished battle-line with less effort; although you’ll not win a painting competition.

We want to show you figures that, given the time, you would be able to replicate (we’ll even provide a list of the colours we use). After all, there’s no point in recruiting a bunch of pretty models that wouldn’t want to get into a scrap, is there? No, for us, we prefer to provide models that won’t stand out too much – and won’t make the other units too jealous. To this end we work with three levels of painting: back rank, second rank, and front rank. (You’ll also notice I mention Display now and then.)

back rank

If you need some reinforcements in a hurry, or just don’t mind what your first ‘casualties’ look like, then you want back rank standard. Painted accurately over a black undercoat, this mix of tidy brush work and black lining will provide not only decent ‘flat colour’ models, but also the springboard for when find the time to add shading or highlighting!

Even at this level we’ll put sand and some colour on the base as it invariably lifts the model.

second rank

This is our ‘standard’ finish. We use a black undercoat and take advantage of the lining it provides when an accurate coat of paint is applied. But that’s not the end of it. Faces & flesh get special attention and faces get eyes (glass get ‘lense flare’ where possible). All major areas of ‘flat colour’ are given shade and a highlight layers to make them more pleasing to the eye. Small details such as belts & pouches are left as ‘flat colour’ as we’ve found they become distracting otherwise (large detail like backpacks get highlights).

Bases are sanded, painted, highlighted, then flocked.

front rank

You want an individual model to stand out, want to give your unit a little ‘boost’ on the battlefield, or you play a low model-count game? front rank provides this by taking second rank models and adding another highlight and more detail. More care is taken in the detailing and overall ‘feel’ of the unit, such as another highlight layer, adding insignia, and painting banners! Basically, we add more ‘character’.

More care & attention is put into the base, with mixed flocks and the occasional detail.


This is me doing more highlights and details than in Front Rank until I get bored with it. It still won’t win major awards, but when applied to an army it’ll shine enough to make me happy even when my dice are smashing me. Generally this will only be applied to a personal ‘keeper’ army, or on a small model-count commissin, such as a Blood Bowl team or skirmish game.