How to Paint
Your Grumlok Miniature
Those of you lucky enough to own one of the WAR Collector’s Edition boxes will also be the proud owner of a limited edition Citadel miniature—the mighty Grumlok, Warboss of the Bloody Sun tribe, along with his sidekick Gazbag the Shaman. This figure was sculpted and cast especially for the CE by Games Workshop and is available only in this box.
It’s a superb miniature and it deserves to be painted up and displayed—so, that’s what I’m going to do with mine and I’ll show you how it goes.
The first thing you’re going to need to do is to assemble the figure. The huge axe and various armour spikes need to be stuck in place, and he needs to be fixed to his base. You will need some basic tools to prepare your figure for painting—a sharp craft knife, some small needle files, and clippers.
The first step is to carefully file or clip away all the extra bits from the miniature. Because of the way that metal miniatures are cast, small holes have to be drilled in the mold to allow air to escape as the molten metal is poured in. These tiny holes are responsible for the ‘tails’ of excess metal that you’ll find sticking out from a lot of the deep details on the miniature. Each of these needs to be clipped away and filed flat. Remember when cutting to always cut away from your body and to use a cutting mat when possible—it’s much harder to play WAR when you have no fingers!
Once you’ve tidied up the miniature, it’s time to stick Grumlok’s hand to the stump of his arm. Fit Grumlok to the base first then try to fit the axe to the arm without gluing it to see how it fits. You will probably need to adjust the fit by carefully filing one or both surfaces flat before everything comes together properly. Once you’re happy with the way that it goes together, stick it together with superglue and leave it to set. You’ll then need to stick on the metal fist spikes to Grumlok’s other hand and the central spike on his helmet. Again, test the fit without glue first, adjust it as necessary with a file then apply the glue once everything fits nicely.
Once the miniature is assembled, we need to apply a coat of primer to prepare him for painting. Paint does not stick very well to bare metal, so we use a primer spray to give the paint something to adhere to. Spray outdoors and in a dry area that is sheltered from the wind then leave it in a well ventilated area to dry. I’ve undercoated my figure white but many people prefer to start with a black undercoat—it’s purely a matter of personal preference. A black undercoat will tend to produce a darker final effect while a white undercoat results in a brighter, crisper paint job. I also find that it’s easier to see all the miniature’s sculpted details when the figure has a white undercoated.
So now the figure is cleaned up, glued together, and primed. It’s time for the fun part— painting! For my paint scheme, I’ve chosen to follow the actual in-game colours of Grumlok and Gazbag as seen in the Inevitable City. I’ve taken a bunch of screenshots and printed them out for reference and we can see that Grumlok is wearing mostly bare metal, dark fur, and dark red raggedy clothing under all that thick plate. I used Citadel paints which are available from your local Games Workshop store. All the colours in this guide are from this range.
To start out, I do all the messiest parts of the miniature first and block in some of the basic colours to get an idea of how the colour scheme will come together. First, I painted the cloak with Graveyard Earth front and back. When painting, especially for heavily textured areas like fur, it’s important to make sure that your paint flows easily. You should never be using paint directly from the pot onto the figure, put some onto a palette (I use a plain white tile) and then thin it with clean water until it reaches a milky consistency. Make sure your brush is clean and free of any excess water or paint before you start painting, and you’ll be able to control where the paint goes much more accurately.
After the cloak basecoat is down, I painted the exposed areas of skin with a mixture of Dark Angels Green and Black Ink. When I paint, I use inks a lot. They are a very versatile tool to the figure painter. You can mix them with regular colours to add depth or subtle tones, you can use them as a wash to quickly add lowlight textures (we’ll talk about this in a moment), and you can use them as a tint on top of other colours. Throughout the painting process I used Brown and Black Ink a lot to darken tones and give a dirty, ‘Orcy’ look to the figure. Note that since this guide was written a new range of inks have been released. The effect is the same, but the new colours have slightly different names.
Back to the cloak—now that the basecoat is dry it’s time to add some depth to it. I mixed up some Brown Ink and Black Ink together to make a dark brown wash and applied it liberally to all the fur. In addition to the cloak, Grumlok also has fur sticking out from his arm guards. The very thin, dark colour flows into all the recessed areas and deepens the lowlights providing depth to the fur texture.
Once that ink wash is dry, it’s time to highlight the fur. We do this with a technique called dry-brushing. As the name implies, this is painting with a brush that is practically dry of paint. I mixed up some Vermin Fur and Bleached Bone to produce a lighter tone to the base fur colour. Using a medium sized brush (don’t use your best brushes because this technique will damage them), take up a bit of the paint then wipe most of it off on a tissue. Once the paintbrush is mostly clean, work it rapidly back and forth over the fur, applying almost no pressure so that the paint is applied only to the raised areas. You can repeat this process with progressively lighter shades in order to create a gradual highlighted effect.
Next in line is all that armour. To begin with, I painted all of the armor Boltgun Metal. Once that was dry, I added a little bit of Brown Ink to some Black Ink and washed it all. This gives the armour an oily, dirty appearance and helps to define the detail a lot better. Once the ink was dry I gave the metal a very gentle drybrush with some Chainmail paint to bring out the edges and give the armour a more realistic, metallic look.
By now, the miniature is really starting to come together. The largest areas have been completed and we just need to finish off some of the details to make it complete. The skin tones are an important part of the miniature—they are the next area I tackled. Skin colours with Orcs can vary considerably from a bilious, yellowy-green all the way to almost black. There are actually three different Greenskins to paint on this figure— Grumlok, Gazbag, and the head of some unfortunate Orc that hangs from Grumlok’s belt. I decided to paint them all different skin tones to add a bit of variety to the figure.
Grumlok, as befits a tough Warboss, has very dark skin. I’d already blocked it in with a mixture of Dark Angels Green and Black Ink, so I added successive highlights to his face, hands, and left arm areas with a mixture of Snot Green, Dark Green Ink, and varying amounts of Sunburst Yellow as needed. I painted the raised areas of Grumlok’s flesh with successively lighter shades until the highlights were complete. The head on his belt was highlighted with Bestial Brown and Golden Yellow while Gazbag benefited from a Snot Green base with a Goblin Green and Sunburst Yellow highlight. The number of highlights you do is up to you. One is enough to give depth to the figure, but I used about seven or eight to achieve my final effect.
All that remains now is the detailing! There are various bits of bone on the figure—four skulls hang from Grumlok’s armour, some bones are woven into the back of his cloak, and there are some smaller bones in Gazbag’s staff. I painted all of these as well as Grumlok’s teeth and nails with a basecoat of Bleached Bone. The bone parts were then washed with Brown Ink and highlighted with a Bleached Bone and Skull White mix. The teeth and nails had lowlights added around the roots with a mixture of Chestnut Wash and Bleached bone to give them a more natural and Orcy look.
The Bloody Sun symbol on Grumlok’s chestplate as well as the bits of cloth that stick out from under his armour, and Gazbag’s hood, were all painted Scab Red. The cloth parts were washed with Brown Ink and highlighted with Blood Red while the Bloody Sun symbol was highlighted with Blazing Orange. All the leather straps were painted with my easy leather method where I paint the area white first, then put a mix of Bestial Brown and Brown Ink over it in a wash. If this mix is thin enough, it will shade itself in one coat providing highlights and lowlights in small areas like straps and pouches. I also painted some patterns onto Grumlok’s armour, and now we’re pretty much done.
All that remains is to paint the base, then stand back and admire your handiwork!