How to paint Word Bearers quick and easy

I got a request on how I would paint Word Bearers using the same "quick and dark" method I used on my Dark Angel and Ultramarine. It really was a question of could I use the same approach with red spray paint and black like I did with the other two models.

In the end, I think I came close to producing a decent model, but missed the mark slightly. Not because the technique failed, but because my weathering was a bit too heavy handed overall and the finished look suffers because of that. I wanted a truly battered and war torn look, but I should have used a variety of techniques instead of relying on just one to carry the look.

That being said, let's look at what I did to get here.

I started off by priming him black and then giving him a zenith spray coat of the red spray paint I had on hand. It wasn't so much red as it was brown, but I figured it would work just the same. I should note that you could use any shade of red really, it comes down to personal taste in the end.

Here's the step by step for the zenith spray painting technique.

After that, I gave the model a few passes with GW Carroburg Crimson to blend everything together and give it more of a red look than brown. I considered using other colors, but opted to keep adding red to see just how much I could alter the original color.

Once I had my armour done, I cut in everything with black paint to see how he would look before I added the final details.

At this point, I noticed something I'd missed before and that was the wonderful change in color from the basecoat to the newly shaded areas. In some places, I'd simply forgotten add a layer of wash and because of that, they retained their original lighter shade of brownish-red. The best example is the top of the backpack.

It might have been an accident here, but it's something I'm going to actually try and do next time I have a model to paint. I really like the variation and I'm going to see if it's something I can push next time around.

Once I had my silver areas painted in over the black, I set about weathering him. I used a combination of powders and a pencil to really distress his armour. This is where I went a bit too far. I comes down to a combination of things for me. I should have paid attention to my highlights when was shading so I had the smooth transitions and I should have gone a little lighter on the weathering overall.

I have to admit, Word Bearers are fairly straight forward to paint. Red armour and silver for everything else. There aren't many steps there.

That being said, he does look war torn... just a bit muddy as well.
Here's the finished model.

I'm certain this technique would work for any "red" model. Simply adjust your spray paint color accordingly. Next time I'll focus on controlling my shading and then watching how I apply my weathering across the model.

The Word Bearer's chapter symbol
After looking at the Word Bearers iconography, I can tell you I would be seriously tempted to go either the sculpted shoulderpad or decal route. Freehanding this thing is going to be very time consuming. It's not impossible, it's just going to eat up a good bit of time. You're going to need a really nice brush and a steady hand in order to be able to get the fine detail.

That being said, here's how I would break it down into manageable shapes in order to paint it. This might help those folks looking to add the image to a banner or the side of a vehicle where you only need to paint one or two of them. I'll add that it's well worth thinning your paints slightly so that you don't leave any surface texture when you paint. It might take an additional layer or two, but the smooth finish is worth it.

First thing is to get your yellow flames down. There's no magic to the shape or size, it's just what works in the area you have. I kept mine kind of square as it mimics the shape of the skull inside it.

Second we block out the overall shape of the skull with a rectangle. The overall rectangle should be slightly smaller than the flames and what you want your final skull to be. As we flesh out the image, we will be adding to the outside of the rectangle and want to make sure we still have some yellow surrounding it when done.

Third we add the top part of the skull and upper jaw. Just make the top edge of the rectangle rounded and add a few teeth on the upper inside edge of the rectangle.

Fourth we add the horns and sides of the upper jaw. The horns are the harder part to add since you need to keep them symmetrical. The sides of the upper jaw are nothing more than small protrusions on each side of the rectangle even with the upper teeth.

Fifth we finish out the lower jaw. This includes some teeth along the bottom and filling out the lower jaw by extending it down slightly and adding similar protrusions on the sides like we just did for the upper jaw.

Sixth is the eyes. Since there was no need to try and add them in the beginning and having to work around them the whole time, we can add them now quite easily. Going back in with your yellow, you can lay in the basic shape for each eye. You don't have to be perfect since you can use your black to correct the shape as needed until you have exactly what you like.

And there you have it, a perfect Word Bearer icon broken down into a rectangle and built back up.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
A look at some ways to paint red in all of it's different shades
How to apply an overhead spray paint basecoat

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!