Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Sons of Horus - Green Power Armour - Painting Guide

This guide is no longer up to date, go here for the updated version

Hello everyone

It's finally time for something, that has been a long way coming together. Ever since I started painting my Sons of Horus back in 2015 (I think), people have been asking for a tutorial on how I paint my army.
In the beginning, it was no problem answering everyone, but after some time (years in this case) it becomes really tiresome to answer the same question every few Instagram post.

So now it's finally time to actually do a proper tutorial with step by step pictures and everything!

Let's begin.


This is by no means "The correct" way to paint Sons of Horus, this is just my way, but I hope people can still use my techniques or colour choices and then adjust it for their own armies.

Also since Forgeworld decided to discontinue their entire paint line, I've chosen to do another 3 marines with alternative colour schemes, but following the exact same steps as to how I paint my own.

Equipment & Colours

Here's a list of most of the things I used to paint these 4 Tactical Marines. I'll try to mention some alternatives to some of the items used.



  • Badger Renegade Krome 0.21mm - For most of the airbrushing done
  • Cheap China airbrush 0.5mm - For priming and varnishing


  • Artis Opus Size 1 - For basically everything painted with acrylic colours
  • Cheap disposable china brushes - For everything oil related



  • Lupercal Green
  • Sons of Horus Green


  • Game Air Pale Flesh - 72.703
  • Model Color Light Flesh - 70.928
  • Black Primer Acrylic Polyurethane - 70.602
  • Polyurethane Matt Varnish - 26.651
  • Polyurethane GlossVarnish - 26.650

Winsor & Newton:

  • Winton Oil Colour Lamp Black
  • White Spirit

Ammo of Mig

  • Streaking Rust Effects - AMIG1204

Alternative Colours:

Games Workshop:

  • Kabalite Green
  • Sybarite Green


  • Arphen Jade
  • Surfer Orc Flesh


  • IJN Deep DK. Green - 71.310
  • Light Green RLM25 - 71.267

Alternative Washes:

If you have never tried to use oil washes before I would probably suggest to start out with premixed washes. There are several companies out there that makes such washes, I'll include the one from Ammo of Mig, but you could also buy from AK Interactive.

Ammo of Mig:

  • Black Wash- AMIG1011
You could also just use acrylic washes, just be aware that these need to be "Pin washes" and not overall washes, so might be a bit more time-consuming to do so. Another alternative is just black lining everything with a thinned down acrylic black or dark'ish grey/Green.

Airbrushing Techniques

When I'm airbrushing I usually do a mix of "Zenithal Highlights" and "Colour Modulation", if you are unaware of what these means I would suggest to google them a bit, as I probably won't really go into details about them in this tutorial.

Many people in the hobby use the "Pre-shading" technique which is also a great and very fast (much faster than my way) way of painting a lot of miniatures. So if you want to try that instead you could just do that and maybe use some of my colour suggestions. The primary reason why I'm not doing that is simply that I started out doing it my way and I can't really switch in the middle of painting a uniform army.

If you are generally interested in learning more about stuff like this, I would highly recommend taking a look at Myles Davids (Lil'Legend Studios) Patreon as he goes into much greater detail about painting techniques and everything hobby related really.


Sons of Horus - Tactical Marine - Forgeworld Colours

Step 1:

I start out with priming the entire miniature black. Afterwards, I do my first "Highlight" with Lupercal Green using the above-mentioned airbrush techniques. I try to just leave a hint of black in the darkest areas, but 90% of the miniature of basically painted Lupercal Green.

Step 2:

Doing basically the same as above, I apply another highlight of Sons of Horus Green, making sure to leave the previous "highlight" visible.

Step 3:

The final highlight applied with the airbrush is a mix of Sons of Horus Green and Game Air Pale Flesh in a 2:3 Ratio. This step can be a bit tricky as It's very easy to overdo this highlight so be careful. For the blend to really look great we need a lot of contrast.
I can't really remember why I decided to use Pale Flesh, instead of White or Ivory to mix my final highlight as its been 3 years and I kinda have to stick to it now.

Step 4:

Now it's time to apply a coat of Gloss Varnish. Make sure not to use your best airbrush for this, a 0.5mm needle with semi high PSI is what I use.

Step 5:

Before I apply the Lamp Black oil wash, I get transfers applied and paint the metals (If I plan to oil wash these, sometimes I use Nuln oil and then it's not as important). Then another coat of Gloss varnish, make sure this has at least a few hours to dry.
When the varnish is good an dry I apply the Lamp Black pin wash. Because I use an oil wash I don't have to be too careful when applying this as it dries a lot slower than an acrylic wash. You could then leave the oils to dry a bit overnight, however, I usually only wait a few hours and then I start cleaning it up.

Step 6:

When the oils have had some time to cure slightly, I go in with a disposable brush and cotton swabs slightly soaked in White Spirit and clean up any "mistakes". After the cleanup is done I apply a layer of Matt varnish.

Step 7:

Now I finish the rest of the details on the model, you can paint these any way you want and I won't go into details of the colours I use in the tutorial.
When all the details are finished I apply an Edge Highlight of Sons of Horus Green mixed with Vallejo Light Flesh in a 1:2 ratio.

Step 8: (Optional)

The only real weathering I do on my army is another sort of "Pin Wash" of Streaking Rust Effect, applied carefully around all details and less carefully over metals. I usually do a coat of Gloss Varnish before I apply the Rust Effect, as It makes the wash a bit easier to control.
This, however, should not be left to dry as the effect might become too much, I usually apply the Rust Effect to a mini and then clean it up right away

If you want to paint proper battle damage instead you could also do this now.

Step 9:

The rust effect is cleaned up just like the Lamp Black wash, just using more White Spirit to soften the effect as it's only there to give a hint of dirt/rust etc. When this has had time to dry apply one or two coats of Matt Varnish and you are finished. Before I glue my infantry to bases I apply a bit of pigment to their lower legs, so if you like that sort of thing you could do this now as well.

Alternative Colour Schemes

Every step on these miniatures is exactly the same as above so I won't spend the time to explain each step in detail.

Sons of Horus - Tactical Marine - Games Workshop Colours

Step 1: Kabalite Green

Step 2: Sybarite Green

 Step 3: Sybarite Green + Pale Flesh (2:3 ratio)

Step 4: Transfers, Wash, Details, Edge highlight Sybarite Green + Light Flesh (1:2 ratio)

Step 5: Weathering, Matt Varnish

Sons of Horus - Tactical Marine - Scale75 Colours

Step 1: Arphen Jade

Step 2: Surfer Orc Flesh

 Step 3: Surfer Orc Flesh + Pale Flesh (2:3 ratio)

Step 4: Transfers, Wash, Details, Edge highlight Surfer Orc Flesh + Light Flesh (1:2 ratio)

Step 5: Weathering, Matt Varnish

Sons of Horus - Tactical Marine - Vallejo Colours

These colours are probably the closest to Forgeworlds, so if you are looking for an alternative that's nearly a match I would recommend these.

Step 1: IJN Deep DK. Green

Step 2: Light Green RLM25

Step 3: Light Green RLM25 + Pale Flesh (2:3 ratio)

Step 4: Transfers, Wash, Details, Edge highlight Light Green RLM25 + Light Flesh (1:2 ratio)

Step 5: Weathering, Matt Varnish



I really hope some people will find this little tutorial helpful in some way or another. Its been a fun little project and I'm glad I finally got around to do it (It only took 3 years). I still plan to make this into a proper PDF, so people don't have to find some random blog post in the future.

If  I were to repaint my entire Sons of Horus army now, I would probably go with Scale75 as I really like how that turned out, it's a bit more green than my current rendition but still pretty pale with some blue tones. Games Workshop is too green for my personal taste, but I know some people really like that. The Vallejo colours I tested are the closest match to Forgeworlds that I've seen, so if that's what you are looking for I would definitely go for those.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little guide on how I paint my Sons of Horus, so until next time.

Stay Turnt my friends


  1. You, sir, are a top, top bloke for posting this!

  2. Great job! Lovely work making the airbrushed parts of the mini not look "airbrushed". It's very difficult to use an airbrush and still make the mini look good. As a sidenote, do you have a guide on how to take pictures/making a lightbox? Your pictures are the cleanest I've ever seen!

    1. Thank you so much Dakkan really appreciate that 😊
      I actually primarily use the little tutorial games workshop made a while back. I have a Foldio3 light box and the first one usually use a few more lamps with daylight bulps.

  3. Wow! Just saw this on my facebook feed and it is an amazing guide.
    I've been having a hard time getting the right colour scheme for my SoH army. This will be immensely helpful.
    You are a gentleman and a scholar (and amazing painter)!
    Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words mate 😁

  4. You really save my life in this matter, thank you!

  5. This is absolutely fantastic Christoffer, many thanks for taking the time and effort (and materials) to put it all together. The fact that you when through no less than four different paint ranges was amazing.

    You're a bloody legend! :D


    1. Thank you so much! Comments like that makes it so worth it <3
      Also nice to give something back to the community.

  6. The Emperor is proud of you!!!!

    Thank you soooooo much!!!!

  7. Hi, this is a fantastic guide, but I have one question: regardless of which paint manufacturer you use there seems to be a change in colour between steps 3 and 4, and I'm not sure why. The colour seems to become "more sons of horus" between these steps. I'm probably not making much sense...but do you see what I mean? It cant be down to the oil wash and edge highlighting. Any ideas? I tried your steps for the forge world paints using an airbrush, and I'm not sure how to get to that lovely colour of step 4.

    1. Thanks man
      Don't worry I know what you mean (I think :P). It's most likely the gloss varnish that changes things slightly. Varnish in general have a tendency to alter the underlaying colours a bit.

      I should probably I taken pictures of the last highlight before gloss varnish....don't know why I didn't do that to be honest :p

      So yeah, it's the varnish, there are no "secret" step in between :D

    2. OK cheers. Keep up the great work - your blog is a joy to behold! :-)

  8. Hey Christoffer, just thought I'd drop in to show you how my SoH turned out after using your guide:

    Thanks again for all the effort that went into putting together the tutorial, I couldn't have hit those beautiful sea-green tones without it!


    1. Hey Ran
      This makes me so damn happy to read! :D and by god man those marines turned out fucking epic!

      I'm overall really happy with how the guide has been recieved so far :D

    2. Cheers mate, I've kicked off a new blog at:

      Pretty barren at the moment, but I'm sure it'll fill up with SoH and others soon enough.