Friday, May 16, 2014

Painting a Mantic zombie step-by-step

Hello there readers!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. 
On this beautiful Monday I would like to share article where I show you how I painted a Mantic zombie. This article is not a tutorial that shows the techniques I use and how to paint, but it gives you an impression how I painted this miniature and I'll explain why I did some of the things the way I did them.

First off let me talk about the Mantic zombie. It is a really easy to put together, plastic model. If you are looking for some amazing zombie models I can really recommend them!

I used a light grey airbrush primer to prime the model. I wanted to make this a quick paintjob using light colors to give it a very undead look. The primer I used is the AMMO grey surface primer. This is a very good primer but it needs 24 hours to really dry and harden.

grey primer
After the primer fully dried I began painting the shadow color. I planned to paint the skin using a technique called zenithal highlighting. This is a technique where you spray increasingly lighter colors from decreasing angles where you spray your lightest color directly from the top. This will create a nice overall highlight. I used a nice moss green as a basecoat. 

moss green basecoat
Next color. I was looking for a color that was obviously lighter to create a strong shadow effect. I used a light brown / greenish looking khaki color. I sprayed it from a 45° angle on the miniature, leaving the moss green in the shadows. 

khaki highlight
For the last color in the zenithal highlight I chose for pure white. I made sure it was diluted enough so it would only tint and not really cover the previous colors. I increased the pressure I was painting at to about 20 PSI and increased the distance from my airbrush to my model to avoid pooling. A few sprays and a little extra focus on the face gave me the desired effect. 

white highlight
Okay so this is the skin tone so far. Time to get some brushpainting done! I chose some basic colors to block in the rags and spikes. For the clothes I picked the good old Ultramarine Blue. It kind of has a denim blue color to it in my opinion. For the spikes I used a medium brown. I painted the highlights on the rags by mixing in a little bit of white in the base color.

basic colors blocked in
Next up is the face. I used the top of my brush to paint in the eyes and teeth with an off-white. try to paint the teeth separately. 

closeup of the face
Looks boring right? Well that will change soon. After filling in all the colors I wanted I sprayed the miniature with gloss varnish. This is to A) protect my work so far and B) help the washes flow nicely. The latter is the most important for the next step. Acrylic washes usually tint the surface they are applied to. Now I don't want to loose the beautiful, undead skin color I worked so hard for. I used a purple wash on the skin. This will create a nice and gruesome effect as purple is a natural shade for green and where it pools it will give a nice dead flesh effect. 

zombie face after purple wash
For the rest of the body and mainly the rags I made a pigment wash out of water and AMMO europe earth pigment powder. This will give the rags some shading but mostly will give them a nice worn, dirty look. When the washes are dry seal in the pigments with a matte varnish. This will also counter the gloss varnish you used earlier. 

Time for some blood effects! Any self respecting zombie needs a good bite of living flesh so every once in a while so some nice blood and gore effects will finish the job. To create the blood I got Tamiya Clear Red and Tamiya Smoke. The clear red is an alcohol based paint (that smells really nice!) that is usually used to tint clear plastic lenses or headlights. It is a really bright so to get some realistic blood effects you need to make them darker. The Tamiya Smoke is a nice dark color for this job. Use different mix ratio's to get different results. I like really dark blood so I use 1 drop of Clear Red on 2 drops Smoke. Place the blood using either an old or a synthetic brush because the alcohol will destroy your sable hair. I placed the blood on the spikes, hands and around the mouth. I made sure the teeth where still visible. 

blood effects done!
closeup of the blood effects and final result
I hope this step-by-step helped you get an insight in how I paint my miniatures. If you have any questions or suggestions please don't hesitate to post them in the comments below.

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you here again!


  1. Good stuff mate. Although i'm sure this is a Mantic Ghoul and not Zombie. The purple wash gives the model a really nice contrast, especially around the face. The blood effects are very well done too, not too over the top.

    1. Thanks for responding. I'm not really a gamer so I make little mistakes naming models some times, so I apologize for that ;)

      About the paintjob, I feel blood effects are at their best when not overdone. I try to find logical places to place the blood.