When I first subscribed to White Dwarf magazine, as a gift for subscribing, I received in the post a large bubble warp envelope stuffed to the gunnels with classic Dwarf citadel miniatures. So began my first Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB) army and an ongoing love of Dwarf models. I eventually ended up running dwarf armies in both WHFB and also in Kings of War (KoW).
Age of Sigmar (AoS) was a slow burner in the WarConvo group, but as AoS became more established a number of us used our old WHFB armies or dabbled in some of the new, and quite frankly, fantastic miniatures. Stephen very kindly got me a unit of Fyreslayer Berserkers one Christmas and that was a perfect excuse to expand my AoS Forces of Order army with a Fyreslayer Lodge. My next purchase was a Magmadroth and the army has been expanding ever since then.
About a year ago the second edition of AoS was on the horizon and this was a perfect excuse to get my Fyreslayer Lodge battle ready.
The following describes the process I used to paint my Magmadroth. I took inspiration for this from a Youtube video by Big Mek Workshop and the videos on the Games Workshop TV pages, I then varied the processes to suit my own level of skill, abilities and painting style (and cut out some of the things that appeared to be too much of a faff).
This was a real learning process for me, forcing me to try new techniques I normally shy away from, such as edge highlighting and flesh tones (historically Dwarf models have mostly been about the beards and shields). There are some superfluous steps in the following description, especially on the dwarf rider’s hair where I went back and forth trying to get the right balance and contrast, but the lessons learnt have certainly helped me formulate a speedy approach to painting up the rest of the army.
I have really enjoyed painting this model, and look forward to sharing with you the rest of my Fyreslayer Lodge once complete.
Part 1. The Magmadroth
Step 1.1 Airbrush Undercoat and Base Layers
I normally use an airbrush to get my basecoats down. It can be used to really good effect to create smooth transistions and deep rich colours. It might appear that the airbrush steps are a bit “back and forth” but the process of laying darker red colours over the lighter yellows and bone colours really creates a rich red, with the warmth of the lighter colours coming through the red, creating a really nice base to work upon in the later steps. To make it easier to move the model around, I glued a chop-stick in through the back of the model to use as a handle.
Base coated with Valejo Black primer through an airbrush
Vallejo Gory Red applied with an airbrush to the large areas of main colour
Adding Vallejo yellow to spines, face, belly, again with an airbrush Back over the yellow with the Gory Red (I was trying to create some graduation here, but I think I overdid it and washed it out)
I then went back over the yellow areas again with the yellow and then with a bone white. This is trying to build up a rich graduation of colour and to set the base for the next step
Added a bright Vallejo Fire Orange over the areas painted with bone white, deliberately over-spraying with the airbrush onto the adjacent red areas.
Step 1.2 Wash
Next I used the Army Painter Red Tone Ink and washed the entire model helping to smooth out the graduations in colour and give a red tinge in all the recesses between the brighter areas tying the whole model together.
Step 1.3 Drybrushing
I then drybrushed the while model with Army Painter Pure Red. Concentrating on the scales and areas which were still predominantly black, working against the direction of the scales to pick up on the ridges but allowing the colour transitions previously laid down with the airbrush still to show through.
Following this I used Army Painter Lava Orange as a drybrush. I generally stayed away from the black feet areas this time, concentrating more on the scales, again drybrushing against the direction of the scales.
I then did a light drybrush of Army Painter Sun Yellow.
Step 1.4 Picking out the detail
I had planned to use Games Workshop Rhinox Hide, but not having any to hand I used the Army Painter Oak Brown (2 parts) and Matt Black (1 part) mixed together to create a warm tone black. Using this I picked out the all the spines, horns, teath and claws.
Next I painted the tongue. I wanted to create the impression of the fire/magma insides of the beast cooling as you reached the extremities. To do this I added AP Sun yellow around the jaw and the tongue, grading this into an AP lava orange and then AP pure red, letting it fade off to black at the end of the tongue as if the tongue extremity is cooling in the air. The result was a bit stripey, so I gave it a wash with the AP red tone ink which helped to tie it all together.
Next up I used Army Painter Uniform Grey to edge highlight the spines and spikes. On the larger areas of the spikes doing a light drybrush. I then also drybrushed the claws.
Using the 2 part AP oak brown to 1 part AP Matt Black mix I have gone back and picked out all the runes and the saddle, this will act as a consistent base colour for the runes.
The final steps on the Magmadroth were to pick out all the runes with Army Painter Greedy Gold, followed by a wash with Army Painter Strong Tone Ink and then added some highlights with Army Painter Shining Silver. The silver was visually a bit bright for my liking, so I used the strong tone ink again to knock the brightness back. Finally I then picked out the beady eyes with multiple thin layers of yellow.
Part 2. The Throne
Step 2.1 Airbrush and base coat the throne
Using an airbrush I primed the model black, then I used Vallejo Wolf Grey all over, being careful to ensure not to go into the black recesses. Following this I did a light coat all over of Army Painter Deep Blue, watering this down using a thinner.
Step 2.2 Wash
I then washed the entire throne with AP Deep Blue Ink, followed by AP Strong Tone Ink.
Once dry, I picked out all the areas I would be using metalics, or planning to leave as a dark finish (eg axe handles) using the 2 part Oak Brown to 1 Part Matt Black mix. I find this gives a warm black finish (similar to GW Rhinox hide), and does not feel so stark on areas left deliberately black.
Step 2.3 Metallics
The next step on the throne was to pick out all the metallic areas.
I started with a base of AP Greedy Gold, on the runes, weapons, pommel/statue, etc.
These were then washed with AP strong tone ink.
Having learnt from doing the magmadroth runes earlier… I then picked out some of the details / drybrushed using Army Painter Weapon Bronze (rather than using silver). This gave a bit more life to the gold areas, without being too bright. Giving a nice burnished gold effect.
I then picked out the items I wanted to have a brighter silver finish, such as axe blades, selected runes and some of the details on the dragon pommel. These silver areas were also washed with AP strong tone ink, and then some edge highlights added using the AP shining silver again.
Step 2.4 The Brazier Part 1
I started off with a few thin coats of AP Lava Orange to give a warmth to the flame. I then went over this with a drybrush of Army Painter Daemonic Yellow. The yellow is quite thin so this needed quite a few passes. Following on I used the AP red ink to wash over all the areas of fire and embers to give a warm glow.
Step 2.5 Edge Highlighting the Throne
Whilst this was drying I used AP Ash Grey to edge highlight the throne (I have really been practicing my edge highlighting on this model and improving my technique, thankfully the areas where I did not do as well as I would have liked will be obscured by the rider once he is sat on the throne).
Step 2.6 The Brazier Part 2
Using my warm black mix (2 part AP oak brown, 1 part AP matt black), I picked out all the embers, leaving the orange fire glow around the edges.
I then picked out the smoke plumes using AP Skeleton bone. I have been finding this works as a nice base to lighter colours rather than a stark white.
Finally, I used AP Ash Grey at the bottom of the smoke dragging it into AP uniform Grey at the top. I then stippled a little of both the Ash and Uniform grey to try and break up the solid model effect. I think this step needs more practice.
This then finished the throne, ready to be mounted on the Magmadroth.
Part 3. The Rider – Auric Runefather
Step 3.1 Airbrushing the Rider
Having primed the rider black, I used an airbrush to apply a light coat of Vallejo Wolf Grey, directing mainly from above and at a 45degree angle to get some pre-shading on the model.
I then did the same with AP Sun Yellow over the skin areas, I find this gives a nice base to create warm flesh tones over later.
Atop of the yellow I used the airbrush to apply Vallejo Dwarf Flesh to the flesh areas.
Step 3.2 Skin and Weapons
Using a brush, I applied Vallejo Flesh wash to all the areas of skin, being careful to make sure it did not clump on the raised muscle parts.
With the flesh wash dry I used a brush to apply Army Painter tanned flesh I picked out all the raised muscles and joints, and the followed this with a highlight of Army Painter Barbarian Flesh.
This completed the flesh, so I then picked out all the weapons, runes, armour and straps with the AP Oak Brown (2 part) / AP Matt Black (1 part) to provide a base for later work on these areas.
Step 3.3 Hair
I started on the hair by brushing on AP Skeleton bone, over this I painted AP Sun yellow. I find the bone base is an easy way to paint yellow quickly without having to apply multiple thin coats and prefer this to using brown.
I then went over this with AP Lava Orange, deliberately leaving a few tips of the hair yellow.
This was followed by a wash with AP Red Tone Ink.
I had been planning the brush on some highlights to the hair, but upon review I thought the beard looked too bright.
I like my miniatures to “pop” on the table, but the beard was clashing with the magmadroth itself.
So the next step was to use some AP Strong Tone Ink, to dial-back the overall brightness.
Having let this dry, I was much happier with the contrast/brightness.
Upon further review I felt that whilst the rider’s hair brightness was right, it still lacked something. I therefore drybrushed some red towards the base areas and then some orange towards the top. This gave it a more subtle graduation of colour.
Step 3.4 Metallic Areas
I then added a metallic layer to all the metal areas, using AP Plate Mail on the “silver areas” and AP Greedy Gold on the runes and other details.
Following on from this I washed the metallic areas with AP strong tone ink and then highlighted using AP Shining Silver and AP Weapon Bronze, on the Plate Mail and Gold Areas respectively. I also used AP shining silver to pick out some of the dragon head details on the helm, axe pommel and shoulders.
Step 3.5 The Hair (again)
It was at this stage I felt the hair could use a little more life on the very tips so dry brushed on some AP yellow. I also used AP ash grey on some of the brown black areas to edge highlight in a few areas, just giving them a little more life and breaking up the colour.
Step 3.6 Final Details
The rider was now nearly complete.
There was a gem on the rider’s wrist guard, I decided to go for a complimentary red gem for this.
My gem painting is not amazing, but a combination I find that works for me is by painting each successive colour over half of the previous colour, working towards one end of the gem, before putting a small white dot at the opposite end to simulate light refraction.
Photo shows the colours I used to do the gem.
For the horns I used AP skeleton bone with a layer of AP monster brown towards the tip, and then using rough brush strokes quite deliberately as it got close to the helm, allowing the skeleton bone colour to show through.
With this the rider was pretty much complete. I hate painting eyes, so I put a very thin dab of white over the rider’s eyes to give a little contrast with the skin, but this is about as far as I go.
Gem and Horns complete. Time now to add the rider to his mount.
Part 4. The Base
With all parts of the miniature painted and combined, the next step was to make a base.
I went for a fairly simple rough, dark igneous, volcanic style stone, to give a strong contrast against the bright reds and oranges of the model.
Whilst popular, I did not want to have any actual lava effects flowing across the base as this would blend in too much with the miniature, which I wanted to speak for itself.
Step 4.1 Building the Base
I decided to go for a dark rocky base to provide a strong contrast for the model to be viewed against. I started by arranging some pieces of slate on the base. I was trying to find an arrangement that would allow the Magmadroth to stand flat in its final position. I then filled the spaces around with further pieces of slate, super gluing them into place.
I then pooled superglue into the gaps in between the slate and filled these with small chips of rock.
The natural stone had some nice colours, but the slate and chipped rock were different stones so it looked a bit odd, I also wanted a darker base to really contrast and frame the bright red Magmadroth. So I primed the entire base black.
Following this I used a GW citadel texture paint Astrogranite Debris applying it quite thickly to the remaining flat areas of the base.
The intent was to get three different layers of texture, between the big flat slabs of rock, interspersed with smaller rocks and then the broken up texture of the debris.
Step 4.2 Painting the Base
I washed the “astrogranite” areas with a heavy application of AP Strong Tone ink, making it almost look black like the rest of the primed base.
Once dry I then dry brushed on AP Uniform Grey, building up to a light drybrush of AP Ash Grey.
It feels a bit perverse to be painting stone, to look like stone. But the exaggerated highlights from the drybrush work well with the overall model. I think they provide a strong solid background that will help make the model pop on the table top.
Just need to tidy up the rim of the base.
I did experiment with a few dried/dead/scorched grass tufts poking up between some of the rocks, but it didn’t really work for me, so I left the base as plain rock.
Part 5 – The Complete Model
All that was left was to varnish the model (I used Army Painter Matt Varnish fired through the airbrush).
Having completed the Magmadroth and rider this gave me plenty of ideas for painting up the rank and file models for the Fyreslayer Lodge. I will post up another guide on this once complete. In the interim it has been nice to get some games in with the Magmadroth model.
In true new model syndrome it did terribly in its debut game of AoS dying to Stephen’s Curse of Years spell (much to Crispin’s annoyance who had set his sights on killing it first). But thankfully faired better in later games against Oli’s Sylvaneth.
Appendix – Paints List
I used a mixture of Vallejo, Army Painter and Game Workshop Paints on this model. Although many of these are fairly typical colours and can be substituted between brands.
I like using the Vallejo Game Air range with the airbrush as they are specifically made for use with the airbrush with very fine pigment and pre-thinned. Where necessary I use thinner if I want to run standard colours through the airbrush.
Airbrush Black Primer, Gory Red Game Air, Yellow Game Air, Bone White Game Air, Fire Orange Game Air, Wolf Grey Game Air, Airbrush Thinner, Dwarf Flesh, Flesh Wash
Red Tone Ink, Pure Red, Lava Orange, Sun Yellow, Oak Brown (used to mix with Matt Black to create a Warm Black), Matt Black (used to mix with Oak Brown to create War Black), Uniform Grey, Greedy Gold, Strong Tone Ink, Shining Silver, Deep Blue, Deep Blue Ink, Weapon Bronze, Daemonic Yellow, Skeleton Bone, Ash Grey, Tanned Flesh, Barbarian Flesh, Plate Mail, Monster Brown, Matt Varnish
Texture Astrogranite Debris