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Max’s Guide to Painting a Model: Shank

Hey sports fan’s!

Mark here; one of Andy’s friends Max is a pretty good painter and he offered to write us a step by step guide of how he painted Shank from the Butchers Guild, so we snapped his hand off (not literally) so here it is, enjoy!


Let me start with a couple of health warnings:

  1. This post is not a painting tutorial, it is simply me sharing the method that I used to paint Shank. I have had some good feedback on my painting recently, so I thought that someone might get something from me sharing my method.
  2. I am not claiming to be an amazing, Golden Demon standard painter. However, I would think my skill and patience put me at a good tabletop standard and there might be a few tips and tricks I have picked up that could help others.
  3. The photos are taken on my phone and the light is a white LED bulb I paint by. This gives quite a harsh finish. The real model looks smoother than the pictures (honest Guv’).

So let’s start with what tools I used. I use mainly GW paints. This is not because I think they are the best however, a few years ago I was bought the mega paint set as a gift and the convenience of this set makes them a winner.




Over the years I have picked up a few paints from Vallejo when the GW paint hasn’t quite been the colour I’m looking for. Given an unlimited budget I would buy the Vallejo full paint set and only used the GW base colours. I mainly use Army Painter sable brushes as these seem to be a good compromise between quality and cost. I recently switched to a homemade wet palette and I will now never go back! When painting my models I Blu-Tack them to an old plastic bottle lid. This gives me something to hold onto that’s not the models base. This again is a relatively recent discovery and I would never go back now.

This guide is for Shank. As a character, Shank gives me the impression he is a bit flashy and overly confident. With this in mind I have decided I am going to aim for the colours to be quite bright and bold. This is unusual for me. I tend to end up creating more muted tones but I want Shank to stand out from the crowd. I have already painted the Butcher’s starter set, Truffles and Tenderiser in a pretty traditional red colour scheme so I am confined by that somewhat.

Shank was a bit of a pain to put together as the contact patches between the hands and arms are small and fiddly. There is quite a lot of weight transferred through these joints due to the long chains coming from his weapons. A bit of green stuff and sitting very still while the superglue set and I think we are there. To be honest I never want to transport this model anywhere as I just can’t see the arms making the journey in one piece!

First stage was to prime the model. I do this with GW black primer. I have found many Guild Ball models have deep recesses and that it’s hard to get the spray to reach. Rather than spoil the detail by repeatedly trying to get the spray into those nooks, I tend to give the model a once over with a pot of black primer and a brush after spraying, to cover up any shiny bits.

Step 1 – All the cloth areas (other than the apron) were given 2-3 coats of watered down Khorne Red. At this point I’m just looking for an even base colour. To be 100% honest, going for a bright red I would usually have chosen to do the base with Mephiston Red but apparently last time I used it I left the lid slightly open and it has dried out. Ah the joys of paint pots over dropper bottles!




Step 2 – Next I painted over all the red areas with watered down Wazdakka Red. With these layers I start with the higher points of the model and paint down towards the recesses. This starts to build some lighter and darker areas, as the paint is more concentrated on the ridges in the cloth. However, if you leave any areas still pure Khorne Red these will look very dark when you are done, so these should only be areas that would get no light (less of a problem if you haven’t left the proper base colour to dry out in its pot!). For example, I can see no way that light is getting to the underneath of his bum. The flappy bit of cloth behind him and his posture would leave this area in complete shadow. I applied layers of this paint until I had a decent cover on most of the model and had a smooth finish.




Step 3 – A thinned 50:50 mix of Wazdakka Red and Wild Rider Red. Again I start painting at the highest points and edges, working the brush towards the areas less exposed to the light. This was built up over 2 coats.




Step 4 – A thinned layer of Wild Rider red. This is applied in exactly the same way as before but concentrating more on the raised areas and spreading it less into the shaded areas.




Step 5 – I watered down Evil Sunz Scarlet to a very thin consistency and picked out high spots and edges with minimal blending.




Step 6 – The cloth had started to look a bit orange in places so I washed it all over with a highly thinned Wazdakka Red. At this point I added a little glaze medium, I use some stuff from an art shop but you can use GW Lahmian Medium which is the same stuff. This will prevent the paint going ‘chalky’ and get it to run smoothly. I kept working this while the paint started to dry to prevent any pools and ensure it helped to create a smooth blend.




Step 7 – Time to do the skin on his face. I debated this for a while. My preference is for darker skin tones and it occurred to me that all my Butchers are very white. However, I don’t think Shank is the right model to break the trend. He has very slender features which to me suggest a paler complexion. I started with 3 layers of watered down Ratskin Flesh. It’s vital this gets in all the corners and edges as dark patches will really stand out later on. I’m going to go for light brown hair so I wasn’t too worried about getting this in the hair at this stage.




Step 8 – I then washed the face in a mix of Reikland Fleshshade, a little Ratskin Flesh to tone it down and plenty of water. I applied this quite sparingly into the recesses and then let it dry. I then added another layer of the wash over the whole face. This is where the wet palette comes into its own. As the wash on the model dries,  the stuff left on the palette is still ready to use.




Step 9 – Once the wash was dry I went back over the raised areas of the face with Ratskin Flesh.




Step 10 – I created a very thin pool of Cadian Fleshtone and applied this over lots of the face. Again, like the red cloth, I start with raised areas and then work the brush towards the more shaded parts. I did this over 2 layers but more like 3 or 4 on the raised parts.

Step 11 – I added the final highlights to the face using Kislev Flesh. I didn’t thin this paint as much as usual, as I like to use this to create a bit of texture to the skin. I do a sort of ‘dry brushing’ with it but with a wet brush! Basically, I stroke the brush over edges I want to highlight at 90 degrees to the direction of the edge. I think this gives a sort of wrinkled appearance to the skin.




Step 12 – Time to blend it all back together a bit. I made a wash of Cadian Flesh add a bit of glaze medium and applied this to the whole face.




Step 13 – On to the leather bits. I usually prefer a red/brown leather look but because the red was so bright I was concerned this would get a lost. I therefore decided to go for a dark black/brown. This did mean it was a bit of a voyage of discovery and there was a certain amount of trial and error. I realised I had included the top of the boots when painting the trousers, so these were first given a coat of black to create a consistent finish.  After this, all the leather areas were given a layer of Rhinox Hide. I covered pretty much all the black only leaving areas of real shadow. I did two thin coats of the Rhinox Hide with the first covering a slightly greater area. This already started to give some blending.




Step 14 – I used thinned Doombull Brown to pick out the raised areas and edges of all the leather. This came out a bit brighter than I hoped it would and looked a bit odd. So to dull it down a bit I gave all the leather areas a wash of Abadon Black. I considered using Nuln Oil but decided I wanted a darker finish. I also made the unusual choice of not adding any Glaze medium to the wash, as the slightly “chalky” effect you get from watering down the black seems to help the blending somewhat. The black was super thin. Here is a picture of what it looks like when I spread it in the bottle I use to hold the miniatures.

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Step 15 – While the black was still a bit damp, I reapplied some Doombull Brown. Having the black wash still wet on the model allowed me to do some blending as I painted.




Step 16 – To give the leather a shiny appearance I picked out the edges in a mix of Doombull Brown and Tuskgor Fur. I then gave everything one more wash of black which seems to have left a nice “warm” finish to the leather. A word of caution: the black wash is a pain and will want to run onto all the bits of the model you have already painted. This can be bad news or can be a happy accident as sometimes it can give some deep shadow around the edges. On this model most of the leather overlaps the bright red I have painted, so black shadows aren’t really the thing!



Step 17 – Time for the apron. Wow there is a lot of detail: creases, gauges, folds, tears and little metal edge bits. When I started I wasn’t completely sure what sort of finish I was going to aim for. The tatty, weathered appearance of the apron seemed to suggest it should be pretty worn and dirty but this didn’t really work with my idea of this being a bright model. I set out aiming to achieve an apron that was really light in colour but had got dirty and damaged through use. I started off with a flat base colour of XV-88 all over, this paint has a bit more green in it than I would like but it’s the closest thing GW do to the colour I would ideally want. It took three thin layers to get a really decent smooth finish. I anticipated this apron to end up a cream colour, so a smooth finish was really important. If you want a large area like this to be a light colour it is vital you start from a really smooth, single colour base coat. Unlike darker colours it’s much harder to hide any variation in the base.

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Step 18 – This is the moment where I was trying to decide what the darker shaded bits of the apron where going to look like. I decided Skrag Brown is where I’m going to start. There are various ways of working up to a cream colour but this is my chosen method. You can get there quicker using other techniques but I don’t think you get the same depth of colour. So the whole apron area was layered with 2 thin coats of Skrag Brown.




Step 19 – The next layer applied was Deathclaw Brown. There is a big step between these two colours so to combat this I water down the Deathclaw a little more than usual and use the technique I talked about earlier. I started with the raised areas and worked down towards shade. Other than the deepest recesses, pretty much the entire apron had at least one layer of Deathclaw with the more raised sections getting 3 or 4.

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Step 20 – This is where the wet palette comes into its own again. I made three pools of wet paint: Deathclaw Brown, Tau light ochre and Ushabti Bone. This allowed me to blend the three colours on the fly. I worked my way from a Deathclaw, Tau light Ochre mix all the way through to pure Ushabti Bone. The number of layers this took varies across the apron. Any time I thought the blend looked a bit harsh or I had gone too light, I would create a little Deathclaw Brown wash and apply that.

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Step 21 – The final part of the apron was to add some edge highlights. This was done by mixing a very small amount of white with the Ushabti Bone. I chose to use Vallejo white as I think it’s a better paint than the GW stuff. White paint has to have lots of pigment in it and I found the GW white was either too gloopy, went chalky when I thinned it or dried out too quickly. So this is now the basic apron done. At this point I was being a chicken and I decided to come back and add the weathering later.




Step 22 – Time for a bit of a tidy up all over the model. I started by tidying the edges of the apron and picking out the metal details on the apron with black. However this then lead to a few other little touch ups on some of the leather parts and around the red. If you are a good painter you won’t need to do this, however I think sometimes you see stuff on the second or third review which you will have missed the first time.



Step 23 – Shank has a very impressive hair do. Trying to get a vaguely realistic finish on hair is a pain. My basic technique is to always try and paint in the direction the hair should be going. That way if you leave some brush strokes it will make the hair look more ‘real’. I toyed with various colour options. Black and grey is my favourite because it’s the easiest but in this case I went for a mousey blonde brown. I started with a base of Mournfang Brown. I did two layers of this as the hair had got a bit multi coloured by this point. I then went over almost all the hair with Skrag Brown.




Step 24 – I put some Deathclaw Brown and Yreil Yellow on to my palette and thinned them a bit. I mixed the colours as I went. This allowed me to gradually build the highlights by adding more yellow but also preventing a uniform finish (hair is never just one colour). In some places I used lots of the yellow in the mix and others less so. I then gave the areas that were most raised and would catch the light some neat Yreil Yellow to give it a bit of a shiny finish.




Step 25 – Once all the paint was properly dry, I applied a fairly heavy wash of Agrax Earthshade. It’s unusual for me to get this far into painting a model and be getting out Agrax for the first time. This tones everything down a bit and adds some deeper shadows.




Step 26 – On to the metal work. It’s harder to break this down into individual steps as the metal sort of evolved. I didn’t want a consistent appearance to the metal all over the model. The basic method is something like- Paint all the metal bits with Leadbelcher, apply a Nuln oil wash all over, dry brush of Ironbreaker and then add an edge highlight of Runefang Steel. The variation comes by doing things like applying a few Nuln oil washes to areas in shadow. I also washed all the blades in Drakenhof Nightshade hoping the blue might give a sort of stainless steel look. I also added some pool of Argrax Earthshade on some parts to give the impression of patches of dirt/rust.

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Step 27 – Once the metal areas were done I focused on the handle of the weapon in shanks right hand and the binding around the blades at the end of the chains. I used the same technique for all of these. First it was a base layer of Steel Legion Drab, then a wash of Agrax Earthshade. Once this had all dried, I applied  Karak Stone to all the raised areas. I did this by getting a very small amount of paint on the brush and then gently running the brush lightly over the surface details. I guess this is a little like dry brushing but with a wet brush! It gives a similar effect to dry brushing but a much smoother finish. I did two layers of this on all three areas building up the highlights. I thought this was looking a touch too sharp so I applied a slightly watered down wash of Agrax Earthshade to blend everything together again.

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Step 28 – So this step actually overlapped the previous one a bit. Sorry if the photos are a bit confusing! The handle of the cleaver in Shanks left hand was a bit of a puzzle to me. I couldn’t decide what sort of finish I wanted on this. I decided a wooden handle was the way to go. To achieve this, the handle was given two layers of Skrag Brown and then a wash of Agrax Earthshade.

Step 29 – I wanted to try and add a bit of a wood effect. To do this I got out my smallest brush and mixed up some water and Baneblade Brown. I made this not quite as thin as a wash but a thinner consistency than I would usually use. I then painted this on to the handle in thin stripes running in the direction of the handle. I did this about 3 times to gradually build up the effect.

Step 30 – I thought this looked pretty good but to add a little more definition I added a little Agrax Earthshade. Because the base colour had already been washed with this, it tends to blend things together. Not sure the wood grain effect really showed as it’s such a small area but it looks ok.




Step 31 – Shank has some nice stitching on his uniform and armour. I love stitching and I’m always pleased when I see it on a model. It’s easy to paint and it adds a really nice detail that helps to make the model pop. My stitching is the same every time. First paint the stitch with Skrag Brown, try and get as much of the stitch as you can without going over the area you have already painted. I then paint the top edge of the stitch with Tau Light Ochre. I try and work out where the light would be catching the stitch and catch these edges with Karak Stone. If the stitch is somewhere that would catch the light (like Shank’s shoulder pad) I might then add a tiny patch of Ushabti Bone for a bright highlight. Once this has all dried I wash the stitches in Agrax Earthsade. This will settle around the base of the stitch which is ok as it helps to make it stand out.




Step 32 – Oh eyes…. In my years of painting this is everything I have learnt about painting eyes:

  1. Avoid it if you can.
  2. Don’t paint eyeballs pure white – your model will look bonkers!
  3. Avoid it.
  4. Do it at the start of your painting session. If you are like me this will be when you are at your best.
  5. Don’t forget to thin your paints. It can be tempting to do small details with pure paint to try and do it in a single layer. This will look odd!
  6. Only do them if they are really obvious.
  7. The Iris should not be a ‘dot’ or blob, paint a horizontal line down the eye.
  8. Avoid doing them if there is any way to get around it.
  9. Be prepared to repaint the face around the eyes.

Shank has really obvious eyes and I have to say for a Guild Ball miniature they are actually pretty well sculpted. I decided there was no way to avoid doing them, they are just too prominent.  I started by painting the eye ball with two thinned layers of Ushabti Bone. I then applied a tiny stripe of white across the eye. Next I paint vertically down each eye with a thin line of Altdorf Guard Blue. If you are better at painting than me you might be able to contain this line within the eye but I just don’t have that level of skill. So I accept I’m going to start on the upper lid and get some point on the lower lid too. It’s vital you get these lines so it appears both eye are pointing in the same direction.




Step 33 – To tidy up I went around the eyes with some Ratskin Flesh followed by Cadian Fleshtone.




Step 34 – Time to start on the final touches! I added some Carroburg Crimson to the blades in patches and ran a little of this into the scar on his face. On the blades I let this build up over 3 layers and I also added bit of this to the chains where I had previously put some spots of Agrax Earthshade. On the blades this is going to be the base for some blood splatters but on the chain combined with the brown it gives a nice sort of grubby look.

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Step 35 – Time for a deep breath. I was really pleased with the way the apron came out so the thought of adding splats to it filled me with dread. Any slip up’s here could have ruined all that work but I couldn’t just leave it clean! I decided to use some Blood for the blood god technical paint. I added this neat and built it up over 3 layers. I basically pick up a small blob of the paint on the very tip of the brush, place this on the model and then spread it a little with the brush. This allowed me to create some dribbles and splashes. I was sparing with splats as it’s easy to go over the top with this sort of thing. Time to confess I had intended to do some mud splats too but I chickened out! I really liked the way the apron looked and decided not to risk adding anything else to it!

Step 36 – Using the patches of red wash I had previously applied to the blades as a guide, I then added some blood to the blades. I started with the edges and worked away from them building up some patches and pools on the gauges of the blades. Again I think it’s easy to overdo this and there is no going back once you’ve added it. So I build this up slowly over 2 or 3 coats. Layers are good with this paint as it can give a sort of “blobby” effect where the paint builds up that looks like real blood.

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Somewhere in amongst all of this I also added some silver buckles on the leather straps on the apron, the studs on his shoulder pad and the studs on his body armour. This was just small amounts of Leadbelcher Silver with a very thin wash of Nuln Oil to add a little depth.

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So there we are. Add some basing material, paint the rim of the base and you are done! To complete all of this took somewhere in the region of 6-7 hours spread over 3 sessions. However, I don’t ever just sit and paint. I’m always watching TV or fiddling with other stuff. I’m sure this could have been achieved a lot quicker but rushing just means I have to buy more models to paint! Tater is next….