Warhammer 40k Forum and Wargaming Forums banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

6,544 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

This is a guide to painting Space Wolves Space Marines. It uses a heavy layering style to produce high-quality results in a reasonable time frame. It does utilize some advanced techniques, however, such as freehand iconography and blending, however. If there are any steps which are too complicated for you, just skip over them—they’re generally not essential to the final result, but just make the model higher quality.


1. Assemble your Space Wolf model. We’ll be painting a Grey Hunter from Sven Bloodhowl’s Great Company in this tutorial, but the general techniques apply to any kind of Space Wolves squad from any of the Great Companies.

2. I also based the miniature before priming it. I’ve found painted bases, rather than “natural” texture are more effective when working with snow effects later on. Space Wolves and snow kind of go hand in hand, after all, so this tutorial will include how to do a winter-themed base.

3. Spray the model with black primer.

1. Start off by basecoating the Space Wolves armor with Reaper Military Blue or Games Workshop Shadow Grey. Be sure to get all the recesses in the armor—there’s a lot of sculpted detail on these models, and any spots you miss will stick out a lot later.

2. Basecoat the face with Games Workshop’s Tallarn Flesh foundation paint. You might want to thin this stuff—foundation paint is quite thick out of the pot.

3. Hit the space wolfs shoulder pads with a basecoat of Reaper Bloodstain Red or Games Workshop Scab Red. Any other little details that are going to be red later should also receive this basecoat. Also, if you want red hair for your Space Marine, this is a good place to start on it, as well. This particular trooper will have dyed orange hair, I think, so we’ll start with this red basecoat on the hair as well.

4. Basecoat all the areas that will be silver with Games Workshop Boltgun Metal.

5. Then, mix up some Reaper Ruddy Leather or GW Scorched Brown (just a drop will do) with either Reaper Ancient Brass or Games Workshop’s Dwarf Bronze. Basecoat all the areas that will be gold with this mix.

6. Basecoat all skulls, teeth, leather, pouches, grips, and the like with a dark brown such as Games Workshop Scorched Brown, Reaper Ruddy Brown. Depending on your taste, you can basecoat any wolf tail talismans and pelts with this color, as well, or you can start it from a dark grey. For this tutorial, we’ll start it from the brown.

7. All stone bits, which are mostly just the runic talismans, start from Reaper Stone Shadow. Alternatively, a mix of 75/20/5 GW Codex Grey, Shadow Grey, and Goblin Green will work.

8. I pick out grenades with Goblin Green at this stage, purely because it contrasts well with the rest of the model and green has always been a good grenade color for some reason.

At this point, we should have a basecoated miniature.


1. Now that we have a basecoat, it’s time to start layering the armor. The first step is to break out some Reaper Weathered Blue, and mix it with about equal parts of Reaper Military Blue. Alternatively, you can mix up about a 90/10 mix of Games Workshop Shadow Grey and Space Wolves Grey. We’ll apply it in a smooth layer over the armor, leaving the basecoat color showing in the deepest recesses. This is a very subtle step, but one that ultimately helps give a blended effect without actually using the blending technique at this stage.

2. When that’s dry, apply a layer of pure Weathered Blue. Alternatively, if you’re using Games Workshop paint, mix some more Space Wolves Grey into the previous step’s mix (I’d say maybe 75/25). This is a much more substantial layer than the previous one, which provides a slight gradient near the recesses and a better base color to work off of for the rest of the armor.

3. Now, we’re going to mix some Snow Shadow into the Weathered Blue. About a 50/50 mix will do. Again, if you’re using Games Workshop paint, the mix you’re after is about 75/25 Space Wolves Grey and Shadow Grey at this point—essentially, the opposite of the previous step.) Blend this on, rather than layer it. The blending should be subtle—the tone should really only be feathered near the recesses. This is the ‘primary’ color of the armor, at this point, so from here, we’re just adding highlights.

4. The first highlight stage is Reaper Snow Shadow on its own. This is slightly darker than Space Wolves Grey, so if you mix a tiny bit of Codex Grey in, you’ll achieve something similar with Games Workshop paint. Alternatively, if you prefer brighter colors in general, just use straight Space Wolves Grey. We’re just going to apply edge highlights here to help emphasize curves and sharp edges—nothing too fancy. Try and blend them into the armor, though, to help give a smooth gradient.

5. This final step is optional. I then take Reaper Ice Grey, which is similar to perhaps a 50/50 mix of GW Space Wolves Grey and Skull White, and apply very fine second-stage highlights. This essentially sharpens the edges some more. If you prefer a more “rounded” or “weathered” look, this step is not necessary.


1. Since this is Sven Bloodhowl’s Great Company, the shoulder pad bearing the Great Company marking is going to be red. As you can see, some of the armor highlighting strayed onto the shoulder pads, so we’ll touch that up with Reaper Bloodstain Red or GW Scab Red.

2. Then, we’ll add a layer of Reaper Clotted Red or Games Workshop Red Gore.

3. The third layer on the shoulder pads is Reaper Carnage Red, or Games Workshop Blood Red.

4. Once that’s dry, we’re going to go to the right shoulder pad (that’s the one that’s on the left, if the model’s facing you!) and mark out the Pack Marking in black. You don’t need a small brush for this, just a good point and a relatively steady hand. If you slip up, just go back and “erase” the mistake using steps 1-3.

5. Then, on the other shoulder pad, we’re going to get started with the Great Company marking. Instead of showing it on the miniature, I’ll block it out using a permanent marker on an index card to show the progression.

a. The biggest part of freehanding a design like a space wolves chapter badge or Great Company marking is to break it into simple, geometric shapes. In this case, we’re after a wolf’s head with fire coming out of its mouth. The first step is to create the “base” shapes. This silhouette is made entirely of semi-circles, triangles, and squares.

b. Now, we’re going to flesh out the details. This is basically just adding curved features to the basic silhouette that we’ve started.

c. Next, we’ll draw in the flame in the mouth and add some more softer features to the rest of the design.

d. Once this is on the shoulder pad, we’ll take some red and “erase” the internal details. I just took an old brush and applied some white paint to show the idea on the card here.

6. Now, we’ll highlight the pack markings in grey.


1. Let’s deal with the gold now. Add a layer of either Reaper Ancient Brass or Games Workshop Shining Gold.

2. Give the silver and stone areas a wash of Badab Black.

3. Wash the grenade with Thraka Green.

4. Layer either GW Snakebite Leather or Reaper Leather Brown onto all the straps, pouches, teeth, and whatnot.

5. Use the progression of reds given in the How to Paint Space Wolves- The Pack Markings section to finish any remaining red details. --

6. Now, highlight the bones, teeth, parchment, and wolf pelt with either Bleached Bone or Reaper Aged Bone.

7. When the highlight on the pelt is dry, lightly drybrush it with grey. If you look at actual wolf fur, it tends to be more of a warm tone towards the base, and greys at the tips. It’s very counter-intuitive, but comes out looking realistic in the end.

8. Wash the gold areas with Ogryn Flesh. If you have access to a pot of Chestnut Ink, or have Reaper inks, those work better. The mix for reaper inks is 80/20 Brown and Red.

9. Give any large bones, such as wolf skulls, a wash of Devlan Mud. Also, wash any wolf pelts and leather pouches with this.


1. Wash the space wolves face with Ogryn Flesh.

2. While we’re waiting for that to dry, let’s do the hair. Add a layer of either Reaper Carnage Red or Games Workshop Blood Red. The moustache is probably wet with the wash, so we’ll have to come back when it’s dry to continue with the hair.

3. Once that red is dry, get a strong orange such as Reaper’s Lava Orange or Games Workshop’s Firey Orange, and add a layer.

4. There’s not much more to do until that wash dries. So, when it’s dry, take some Reaper Tanned Skin (or GW Dwarf Flesh) and apply a layer to the face.

5. The next layer is Reaper Tanned Highlight or a mix of 50/50 Dwarf Flesh and Elf Flesh.

6. The next layer is Reaper Rosy Shadow (GW 50/25/15/5 Dwarf Flesh, Elf Flesh, Bleached Bone, Blood Red).

7. The fifth layer is going to be Reaper Rosy Skin (GW 50/25/15/5 Elf Flesh, Dwarf Flesh, Bleached Bone, Blood Red).

8. At this point, we’ll dot the eyes black and touch up around the mouth. Then, we’ll pick out the fangs and the corners of the eyes in white.

9. Next, we’ll highlight the marines face using Reaper Rosy Highlight (GW 50/25/15/5 Elf Flesh, Bleached Bone, Dwarf Flesh, Blood Red). This is to emphasize the cheeks, brow, and chin more than anything else.

10. Finally, we’ll highlight the skin with Fair Highlight. You can probably get away with using GW Bleached Bone for this, if you’re using GW paint, or you can skip this step altogether.

11. Now, to finish the space wolves hair. We’ll go ahead and take care of the moustache now, since the face is done otherwise—just refer to steps 2 and 3 for the colors.

12. Highlight the hair with the same orange with some yellow mixed in. Reaper Marigold Yellow is excellent here.

13. Finally, mix a bit of GW Bleached Bone or Reaper Polished Bone into the previous step’s tone, and apply a final highlight with it.

1. Basecoat the base with GW Khemri Brown. It’s quite thick, which is good, because the sand on the base is still quite absorbent even after being primed.

2. Next, we’ll drybrush it with Bleached Bone or Reaper Polished Bone. I tend to do this while the previous step is slightly wet, so that I get a more natural “muddy” look.

3. Then, we’ll hit the rim with black to clean up any stray paint from the previous two steps.

4. Now, get some baking powder and some Elmer’s (That’s PVA or white glue) glue. Put a bit of glue on your palette, then take an old brush and use it to apply some to the base. Dunk the base in the baking powder, and shake off any excess. It may look quite thin to begin with, but the white glue will dry with a “frosty” appearance to it, which you can then paint if you want a stronger snow appearance. Unlike when you’re applying regular basing material, you don’t want to cut the glue with water for this.

5. Baking powder is mysteriously sticky. Take a wet brush and get it off of the model apart from where it’s supposed to be on the base.

6. Apply other basing materials as desired. I like a sort of “melting” base for winter bases, so I also apply some dark static grass to the base to make it look like the snow is melting and receding.

We now have a finished space wolf, ready to go be a hairy drunk in the Emperor’s service!

Check out our other how to paint guides.
How to paint Tyranids - Genestealers
How to paint Ultramarines
How to Paint Dark Angels Space Marines
How to Paint Space Wolves
How to Paint Blood Angels Space Marines
How To Paint Imperial Guard

That concludes the "How to paint Space Wolves" guide.
1 - 3 of 3 Posts