Friday, September 14, 2012

How to paint a power blade

One of my buddies asked for this article three weeks ago.  To him, I apologize.  But it's done.

To the rest out there- ever wondered how to paint a Power Sword?  Most of us eventually learn various techniques and master this is our own way, but I have a bad habit of wanting to show you MY way.  It's not the best and it won't win you a Golden Demon, but it looks great on the tabletop and is inconspicuously simple to do.

Here's the colors you'll need to do standard power blades (remembering that they're supposedly normal weapons sheathed in a hazy, blue-ish, electromagnetic energy field):
Ultramarines blue (or another blue similar in color)
Chaos Black
Skull White

I know, I know, the list is a long one, but I'm sure you can get these colors together if you really look.  :-)

Here's the steps:

Step 1:  Basecoat the entire blade Black using your standard brush.  Keep in mind that THIS is where the shading comes from, so it's an important step.

Step 2:  Mix 2 parts Chaos Black and one part blue and basecoat this onto the whole blade using that standard brush.  Don't paint next to the guard or energy wires, leaving the black to 'border' these parts.

Step 3:  Mix half Ultramarines Blue and half black and, using the tip of the standard brush, paint wide lines onto the center ridge and border of the blade.  Then connect these with oddly shaped splotches to look like the energy is 'flowing across the blade'.

Step 4:  Using a finely-pointed standard brush or a fine detail brush, paint lines of straight Ultramarines Blue over your previous blue lines.  Make THESE lines thinner and sitting in the middle of the muted splotches.

Step 5:  Using that fine detail brush, paint the final layer of 2 parts blue and 1 part Skull White right over the previous parts (specifically along the middle ridge and outside edges).  The trick with these lines is to NOT connect them like the last step.  Energy MOVES, so the brightest spots aren't going to connect to other bright spots, even along the center of the blade.
And there ya go!  5 easy steps to get those power blades looking sharp and striking.  There are a couple of things you can also do to spruce this up a bit.  The easiest is to add a few more mixes in between the applications for the steps above and 'fade' it better (but I paint to a tabletop standard these days- easy and good).  You can also add a blue or purple wash over this and 'fade' it together.  I have also found that finishing with a coat of varnish also looks cool as well.

I hope this helps some of you guys out there.  If you already have a cool painting technique, comment below and let me know!  I love hearing about other peoples' methods, it's how I got better years ago... 

As always, Happy Hobbying!


  1. Thanks a lot for posting this! It will help me!

  2. Nice, pretty quick and easy. If you do this clean enough you get lucky and pickup a best painted army award at your flgs.