Flame Painting Tutorial

flame painting tutorial 40k legion of the damned“Join us today for another great painting guide written by Mark Hawkins. This guide will teach you how to paint realistic looking flames on your wargaming miniatures in clear, simple steps. Its perfect for painting Warhammer 40k Legion of the Damned (LOTD) models or similar miniatures that make use of fire iconography. We think the end product looks amazing, let us know how you get on in the comments below.” – Graven Games

You can get a cool looking fire effect with pretty much any combination of related colours. These are what I am using for the LOTD razorback.  You have probably noticed that they is a jump straight from a dark red to a hot orange color. No bright red! Unless you are looking for real American-Hotrod flames or something more cartoonish and chemical looking, you will find that flames generally don’t have much actual red.

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Stage 1: This is the first coat over the black background. This red glow is the darkest of the colour selection. This was applied with a airbrush as I needed to do multiple large areas. It can just as easily be done by hand with a little careful thinning of the paint.

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Stage 2: Before I really get started on the flame tone. I first dampen the area slightly with clean water mixed with a little acrylic medium. The medium isn’t essential but it helps with flow. While this is wet, take some slightly thinned black and dab and blend towards the edge of the red glow. Work the paint in gently to create peaks in the red beneath. This is the start of the shape of the flames. Remember throughout all that the a flame will be brightest at it’s centre/base and be dimmer towards to outer edges.

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Stage 3: Take some slightly thinned hot orange and start to dab and twirl the paint from you brush on to the surface of the model. You will need to work the paint while it is on the surface. Just keep moving it around until dry. Build up areas where you want more colour and follow the flames peaks and tips where they are forming through the process.

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Stage 4: Moving to the next brighter colour. Continue with the same technique but pay extra attention to recesses in the plates. Any area you think would become heated and glow should receive a bit more treatement. You can also start adding sharp highlights to ridges in the plating to represent reflected flames.

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Stage 5: One shade brighter. Pay particular attention to the the shapes of the flames and gently dab small specks to build up the definition. Continue to build up the brighter shade in the recesses and also on the sharp highlights.

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Stage 6: Here we have the brightest yellow added. Just the centre of the flames is painted a little bit on the ridges is painted here.  You may notice, if you look at a flame, that there will be a more transparent area right at the very centre of the flame. You can add a small amount of the darker orange here if you wish. I have slightly darkend the upper edge of the ridge in the plating.

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author avatar mark Hawkins

Mark Hawkins is a UK based hobbyist and miniature painter. Old as the hills and just as craggy. He started painting models at a very early age and painted his first Citadel Miniature in 1982, An Orc Villager. His working life stretches from a stint at the GW studio, working as a graphic designer for several video games companies and finally settling down to family life and miniature painting in a small village on the Isle of Wight.

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