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Deathskulls Orks Miniature painting Miniatures Warhammer 40k

Deathskulls Ork color guide

Compared to my Blood Angels, there are a staggering number of colors that could go into painting any given Ork. So much variety!

Status and randomization

In general, the lower the status of one of my Orks, the worse his wargear will look: rustier, more weathered, etc. Boyz are just one step above Gretchin, so their stuff should be rustier and less well-maintained than a Nob’s stuff.

After painting my first batch of Boyz, I updated the guide below to be more clearly a mix-and-match affair. I choose skin color, Deathskulls blue recipe, teeth/nails recipes, and clothing colors randomly for any given batch of Orks, ensuring that the whole army doesn’t look uniform (yet also doesn’t clash).

War paint (currently) doesn’t get randomized, because my thinking is that just before a battle the Gretchin mix up a big batch and everyone daubs themselves with it. This also means that the most significant color, and the one that pops the most, is consistent across my whole Waaagh!.

Color guide and paint steps

As always, this is mostly GW’s studio paint guide with some tweaks; in this case I’m also working from White Dwarf #454, which has a whole Paint Splatter column devoted to Orks, and a couple of excellent Warhammer TV videos. (Also as always, washes are in italics and specific techniques like drybrushing are generally called out.)

  • Skin: Pick a recipe:
    1. Waaagh! Flesh > Biel-Tan Green > Warboss Green > Skarsnik Green
    2. Waaagh! Flesh > Athonian Camoshade > Warboss Green > Skarsnik Green
    3. Deathworld Forest > Athonian Camoshade > Elysian Green > Ogryn Camo
    4. Deathworld Forest > Biel-Tan Green > Elysian Green > Ogryn Camo
    5. Castellan Green > Athonian Camoshade > Loren Forest > Straken Green
    6. Caliban Green > Nuln Oil > Warpstone Glow > Moot Green
  • Deathskulls blue: Pick a recipe:
    1. Macragge Blue > Nuln Oil > Calgar Blue > Fenrisian Grey
    2. Kantor Blue > Nuln Oil > Caledor Sky (note this is a base paint) > Teclis Blue
    3. Thousand Sons Blue > Nuln Oil > Ahriman Blue > Temple Guard Blue
    4. Hoeth Blue (note that this is a layer paint) > Drakenhof Nightshade > Hoeth Blue > Blue Horror
    5. Thunderhawk Blue (note that this is a layer paint) > Nuln Oil > Russ Grey > Fenrisian Grey
  • Clothing: Like should never abut like (e.g., no brown pants next to a brown belt); mix and match at random:
    • Black: Abaddon Black > Skavenblight Dinge > Stormvermin Fur
    • Brown: Dryad Bark > Agrax Earthshade > Gorthor Brown > Baneblade Brown
    • Dirty white: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
    • Deathskulls Blue: Pick a recipe above, but consider using Agrax Earthshade or Drakenhof Nightshade for the shade/wash
  • Straps, armbands, belts, cord wraps, etc.: Like should never abut like (e.g., no brown pants next to a brown belt), and dirty white looks off on belts and straps, but other than that mix and match:
    • Black: Abaddon Black > Skavenblight Dinge > Stormvermin Fur
    • Brown: Dryad Bark > Agrax Earthshade > Gorthor Brown > Baneblade Brown
    • Dirty white: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
    • Deathskulls Blue: Pick a recipe above, but consider using Agrax Earthshade or Drakenhof Nightshade for the shade/wash
    • Tan: Zandri Dust > Agrax Earthshade > Ushabti Bone
  • Teeth, horn, nails: Pick a recipe:
    • Zandri Dust > Seraphim Sepia > Ushabti Bone > Screaming Skull
    • Rakarth Flesh > Agrax Earthshade > Rakarth Flesh > Pallid Wych Flesh
  • Metal: Leadbelcher > Nuln Oil > Ironbreaker
  • Dirty metal: Leadbelcher > Agrax Earthshade > Ironbreaker
  • Brass/bronze: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion
  • Mob glyphs: Macragge Blue unless it’s on a dark background, in which case it’s Corax White
  • Eyes: Khorne Red > (incidental but helpful wash when I do the face) > Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Skull decorations: Celestra Grey > Agrax Earthshade > Ulthuan Grey > White Scar
  • Actual skulls: Corax White > Agrax Earthshade > Corax White drybrush
  • Tongues/insides of mouths and pink topknots: Screamer Pink > Carroburg Crimson > Pink Horror > Emperor’s Children
  • Orange topknot (hair squig): Mephiston Red > Carroburg Crimson > Troll Slayer Orange > Fire Dragon Bright
  • Bullet belt links: Mechanicus Standard Grey > Nuln Oil > Dawnstone
  • Weathering and embellishments: These steps all happen after the rest of the mini is 100% done (including highlights); not every Ork uses all of them:
    • Stitching: Pick whichever of Zandri Dust or Dryad Bark contrasts best with the clothing item and do a single coat, no highlights
    • War paint: Caledor Sky > pin wash in the crevices with the same shade used for the skin (Biel Tan, etc.) > Teclis Blue (Warhammer TV reference video)
    • Checks: Macragge Blue and Corax White > very thinned-down Agrax Earthshade wash (or use the armor’s base color in place of Macragge, e.g. Kantor); I wrote a little guide for these
    • Chipping: Apply dots of Leadbelcher on the high points on armor, etc.
    • Built-up rust: In spots where it can accumulate over a long period, such as on and around bolts, apply thinned-down Skrag Brown
    • Surface rust: For something that’s just a piece of rusty crap, drybrush Ryza Rust
    • Rusty hot garbage: Typhus Corrosion > Ryza Rust drybrush
    • Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide
    • Weathering/general grunge: It’s easy to overdo this and darken things up too much, so go easy; sponge on Skavenblight Dinge

As I wrote this post, it felt like a lot. Compared to my basic Blood Angels color guide, it is a lot — and it’s a lot for what’s ostensibly a near-throwaway unit in a faction that’s supposed to be quick to paint up.

But at the same time, on relatively simple models, these steps are what convey the essentially Orky nature of Orks: poorly maintained wargear, random items of clothing, rusty guns that somehow still shoot, and so on. My hope is that, as with Marines, I’ll get quicker at tackling all of these steps on my Boyz as I paint more of them.

2 replies on “Deathskulls Ork color guide”

You’re most welcome!

I’m working on a mob of Boyz with skin tones 5 and 6 right now, so hopefully sometime this month there’ll be some finished samples of those two up on the site.

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