Painting Horus Heresy era Alpha Legion without Contrast paints or airbrushing Tamiya Clear paints? In this tutorial I’ll show you an alternative way to paint the metallic bluegreen armour of the Alpha Legion during the Horus Heresy era which is both fast and easy to achieve, using metallic paints and Speedpaints from The Army Painter.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour - featured image

This tutorial assumes you know the basic grips of painting Warhammer miniatures. Step by step I explain all the paints and techniques I used. I have a rather eclectic paint collection, so when I use a paint that is not from Games Workshop (or out of production), I’ll try to provide you with suitable alternatives from the current Citadel paint range [in brackets]. However, if you want to achieve exactly the same result as shown, I recommend expanding your paint collection. You’ll find a list of all the paints used in this tutorial at the end of the post.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour

Painting the armour of the current Chaos Space Marines models can be quite time-consuming, as their baroque armour has a high level of detail with many trims that need to be picked out. Therefore, I designed my colour scheme to save as much time as possible – we apply the base colour of the trims first, and then fill in the colour of the armour. Much faster than the other way round. And with a drybrush we both highlight the armour and trims without the need for edge highlights. Here comes my Alpha Legion painting tutorial:

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 1

Basecoat the armour with The Army Painter’s Warpaints Air Shining Silver. If you don’t have an airbrush, you can also apply the regular Warpaints version [or Stormhost Silver] with a brush or use Vallejo Hobby Paint Spray Silver.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 2

Next, basecoat the armour with Warpaints Azure Magic. This might take three thinned coats.

If you want to paint classic Horus Heresy era Alpha Legion models that don’t have all those silver trims like Chaos Space Marine power armour does, you can skip steps 1 and 3. If you have an airbrush, Azure Magic also has an airbrush-ready Warpaints Air version, which helps to speed-up basecoating the bluegreen.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 3

Tidy up the trims with Warpaints Shining Silver [or Stormhost Silver].

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 4

Create a mix of Warpaints Dark Tone Wash, Blue Tone Wash, and Speedpaint Medium in a ratio of about 1:1:2, and apply it all over the armour and trims. The new formula Drakenhof Nightshade would also work very well for this.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 5

If you find that certain areas didn’t receive a deep enough shading, paint Cloudburst Blue [or Leviadon Blue] directly into the recesses where needed.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 6

In case the wash left some unwanted pooling on the teal areas, mix about 8 parts of Azure Magic with a little bit of Warpaints Night Scales and paint it over any uneven areas.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 7

Carefully drybrush both the armour and trims with Warpaints Shining Silver [or Stormhost Silver] with a soft makeup brush, concentrating on the edges of the armour.

How to paint Alpha Legion metallic armour tutorial - step 8

Thin Plasmatic Bolt 1:1 with Speedpaint Medium [or use pure Aethermatic Blue] and paint it all over the teal areas to knock down the Shining Silver highlights.

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Here we have the completed model with all of the other details filled in. You can check out a few more pictures here. The plasma glow was painted as explained in this tutorial, instead of turquoise I just used Lugganath Orange, Fire Dragon Bright, and Troll Slayer Orange.

Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marine with plasma gun front
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When painting vehicles, applying an all-over wash will result in a blotchy finish. Instead, add a little bit of Night Scales to your Azure Magic like in step 6 to match the armour colour of your Marines, and use it to basecoat the vehicle (it might be a good idea to create some more of this mix and save it in a spare bottle or pot to keep your army consistent). Then, use pure Cloudburst Blue Speedpaint [or Leviadon Blue] with a little bit of Speedpaint Medium [or Contrast Medium] and apply it directly into the recesses for shading. Then, complete the effect by drybrushing the armour with Shining Silver with a little bit of Azure Magic mixed in.

Also make sure to check out this Alpha Legion tutorial by Aurélie, which explains the “traditional” way of painting Alpha Legion by applying Tamiya Clear paints over a silver basecoat:


If you need to expand your paint collection to follow the tutorial, check out our partner stores Wayland GamesElement Games, and Taschengelddieb, which offer an amazing range of paints at a discount.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If so, leave a comment or reaction below, and if you got any questions, leave them here or on the Tale of Painters Discord so I can answer them for you.

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