Imperial Stormtrooper Painting Guide

Posted: January 5, 2016 in Fantasy & Sci-Fi, Gaming


And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise.

Imperial Stormtroopers are the backbone of the military of Sheev Palpatine’s Galactic Empire. Their imposing armour, itchy-trigger fingers and sheer numbers make them a deadly threat for the Rebels, and a legitimate pain for the forces of Scum and Villainy across the galaxy.

Stormtroopers are now available in a blister pack for Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars: Imperial Assault, for the first time since the base set was released. These figures are in a slightly different pose to the earlier models, but painting them uses pretty much the same technique.

After removing the flash (which is minimal), and giving them a quick scrub in soap and water, you should give them a white undercoat. Imperial Stormtroopers are more or less entirely white – bar a few detailed points – so spraying is definitely recommended, even if you normally prefer to dip or paint on your undercoat. Once you’ve done that, they should look sort of like this.

Yup. Nearly there already.  The next photo shows the results after the next two steps.  First, using a reference photo (images of Stormtroopers are relatively easy to find between Google Image Search, the many reference books available, and – of course – the movies themselves), colour in all the black areas in a mild-grey colour.  I used Citadel’s Mechanicus Grey, but you can use another brand of your choice.  This is because the next thing I do is add a black ink wash (Citadel’s Nuln Oil).  This has the twin effect of darkening the grey colours to a nice black, while also filling in all the crevices of the armour, to give the impression of shadow; as well as making all the detail – particularly in the helmet – pop.

This does, of course, have the side effect of turning our gleaming white Stormtrooper into a rather dirty gray/black, but there is method behind this madness.


The next step is to get out little TK-421 back up to white standard, and the way to do that is with drybrushing.  When I first started learning to paint, way back in the mid-nineties, drybrushing was portrayed as this advanced technique that only a handful of Shaolin monks living in the offices of White Dwarf had managed, but it’s actually pretty easy.  There are a hundred amazing tutorials out there, so I won’t rehash them here.  Basically, what drybrushing achieves is to apply paint to all of the raised areas of the model, while avoiding getting any on the recessed areas.

What this means is that it’s a brilliant method for achieving highlighting effects, such as restoring our Stormtrooper to his shining, white armour.  Applying some drybrushing using a strong white (I used Citadel Ceramite White, but any strong white will do) will make the armour look white again, while also keeping the recessed parts black, showing off the detail of this great model.


I chose to stop there, but if you want to add a little more A New Hope style gleam, then you can paint in some areas white using more conventional techniques than drybrushing, but that’s entirely up to you.  Personally, I’ve kept him like that because I know the Snowtroopers have just arrived, and I want them to look gleaming white by comparison.  I’ll be covering them on the site shortly, too.

If you want to make the armour shine a little more, then a light coating of Citadel ‘Ardcoat will give it a plasticy sheen, like the movies.

There you have it, a quick and stupidly simple way to get your stormtroopers looking good.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s