Iron Hands Painting Guide – How To Paint Iron Hands

After showing off my Iron Hands online, I was humbled by the praise and reaction all round. A few people asked for a painting guide, but until now I’d always forgotten until too late in the process.

Alas eventually, through various photos, of various squads, in various stages I finally have the necessary steps to show off my method. The method I use is a bastardised version of Rev’s from Warseer and my own ‘black recipe’

Painting Iron Hands

Step One: Base Coat


Step 1: Black Basecoat

Unsurprisingly it’s black spray! Before spraying I always ensure my Iron Hands are based, I find that having the sand on before the basecoat gives an extra layer of protection and helps prevent any chunks of basing material flaking off. Nice simple, even coat and then touch up any missed areas with watered down Chaos Black.

At this stage I sometimes go on to do the bases, there are pros and cons to tackling them at this stage. On one hand there is no danger of getting the orange colours on the highlighted armour, on the other when you reach the inking stage you have to be cautious not to let any ink pool around the feet of the model.

Step Two: Basecoat Bionics


Step 2: Tin Bitz Bionics

At this stage I’ll put a base coat of Tin Bitz on any bionics the marines has, I make the distinction between metal and bionics with painting, so tend to leave any parts that I consider to be parts of the armour at this stage and just target bionic arms, legs, eyes etc

 Step Three: Armour Highlights and Depth

This stage is pretty subtle and pretty hard to capture on camera. Give all the armour a dry brush with Charadon Granite this, although very subtle adds a little depth and warmth to the armour. Follow this up with a more traditional edge highlight of Adaptus Battlegrey.

Step Four: Bionics Wash & Highlights

Stage 5 Completed

Stage 5 Completed

Any bionics should be given a wash using Agrax Earthshade. Once dry it’s a simple series of dry brushes to get them up to the brassy metal I prefer. Dwarf Bronze, then Shining Gold, then finally a light Chainmail.

Step Five: Paint Any Metal, Eyes and Whatnots

Any armour trims, grills, weapons, pipes etc should be given a coat of Boltgun Metal. At this stage I will also paint the eyes/lenses with Macharius Red, and any pipes or insulated cables with Fenris Grey before tidying up any drybrush/basing overpaint.

Step Six: Inks

Give the whole model save the bionics a wash with a 50/50 mix of Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade. Then leave to dry, it might take a while.

Step Seven: Bolter casings & Eyes

Bolters are painted Astronomican Grey followed by Ceremite White, leaving a small amount of the grey showing in the recesses.

Eyes at this stage are painted with Tamiya Acrylic Mini X-27 Clear Red which gives them a nice gem like feel.

Step Eight: Sealing & Transfers

Assuming the bases are finished the model now gets any transfers followed by a coat of GW Purity Seal. Once the first seal is dry I apply Mig Pigment 025 Standard Rust over the base and lower legs. Be careful with this stuff, it gets EVERYWHERE! Apply a little more than you think you will need because the final seal with knock the colour back a bit. Then the final seal is using Testors Dullcote making sure to cover the pigment powder.

Step Nine: Battle Damage

The battle damage is just Mithril Silver applied along edges and area where armour will wear. The trick is to apply in stops and starts so as to create a chipped effect.

Then You’re Done!

The Finished Scheme

The Finished Scheme

 A Final Note On Basing:

A quick run through of the basing scheme:

  • Bestial Brown
  • 50/50 Mix Bestial Brown & Mecharius Orange Drybrush
  • Mecharius Orange Drybrush
  • Light Vomit Brown Drybrush
  • Very Light Bleached Bone Drybrush
  • Paint any big stones with Charadon Granite, then highlight with Adeptus Battlegrey
  • Liberal dusting with the pigment powder
  • Black the rims.


By day a mild mannered Web Designer from Swindon, by night a horder and shaper of bits in his mad kit bash laboratory.

You may also like...