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Painting dreadfleet

Painting dreadfleet

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Tutoring 10
Skill 9
Idea 8
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For the Seadrake white and blue will be the dominant colours. Besides looking coherent with the Heldenhammer, they are two typical High Elf colours. I’ve used these two colours to paint my High Elf army for Warhammer Fantasy as well.

Base coat

For base coating I’ve used these paints:

  • Panzer Aces New Wood: the deck. A slightly darker brown than on the other ships to contrast more with the white hull.
  • Black: figurehead. I will use metallic paints on it later.
  • Model Color Blue: roofs.
  • Model Color Medium Olive: dragons!


  • Model Color Wood Grain: watered down to use as a wash for the deck.
  • Game Color Wash Blue: the roofs.
  • Game Color Wash Green: the dragons.
    The blue en green washes weren’t dark enough, so I mixed them with black wash from Game Color.


After the black undercoat:

  • The Army Painter Plate Mail Metal
  • The Army Painter Greedy Gold. This took several layers. I’m used to airbrushing metallics and didn’t expect it to be this difficult to paint gold over plate mail metal.
  • Highlighting the gold: first Model Air Bright Brass. Dry brushing followed by some edge highlighting. I wasn’t happy with the result and highlighted again with Model Color Gold.
  • Model Color Carmine Red: tongue and eyes. I painted the eyes and tongue white first, to make the red “pop” more. The tongue received an extra layer of Model Air Italian Red for a very red red.
  • The ram received a highlight in Model Air Chrome.


A historical moment in my life as a wargamer: for the first time since I started painting miniatures nineteen years ago, I’ve painted a dragon! I thought they’d be taller. 😊

High elf dragons are typically painted white and blue. Because there is so much white and blue already on this ship, I choose green. This contrasts a bit with the rest of the ship.

After the wash:

  • Dry brush Model Color Medium Olive
  • Dry brush Model Color Lime Green
  • Eyes: white followed by Model Color Carmine Red
  • The talon on top of the wings: Model Color Dark Sand followed by white.
My first dragon! :-)My first dragon! :-)


It turns out I have no light blue in my collection of paints. So I mixed Model Color Blue with white on my wet pallet. Professional painters often do this in tutorials, but it’s not something I’ve often done before. Perhaps something to try out more in the future.

The roofs were dry brushed with this freshly mixed light blue.

Flags and sails

I kept the flags and sails white. The white flags contrast nicely with the blue roofs.

For the sails: I’m afraid it will take me a lot of time to achieve a mediocre result if I try to paint them. So I kept them white. I did airbrush a extra coat of white paint on the sails to create a more clean, more white look. And give the sails of the other ships I haven’t finished yet, an extra coat of white paint as well.

The end of the spars, sticking out from behind the sails, were painted Panzer Aces New Wood, just like the deck.

Bolt throwers

Bolt throwers are an iconic weapon of the High Elves. After painting them in Model Color Chocolate Brown, they didn’t look right. I’ve tried to gently dry brush them with Model Color Dark Sand. That didn’t resolve it and I can’t dry brush the bolt throwers sticking out of the side of the hull and the masts. (Look at the photo! There are bolt throwers sticking out of the top of the mast, just below the blue roofs.) As a finishing touch I’ve painted the bolts laying on top of the bolt throwers in Dark Sand. This looks better.



I almost forgot there were three dolphins on the base. I’ve painted these in Model Color Light Grey. Then a light wash (1/4 blue wash, 3/4 water).


As usual I’ve sprayed matt varnish with a can from The Army Painter over the ship and the dragon. The ship parts in metallic paint received a coat of gloss varnish. Both dragons a coat of satin varnish. Finally I gave the white hull a coat of gloss varnish as well.

I added water to the varnish because Vallejo recommends this in their tutorials, but the gloss varnish isn’t very glossy any more after watering it down. The parts with gloss varnish received a second coat with pure varnish.


General comment

Scale modelers who build and paint ships, tend to paint the parts first and then assemble the ship. For Dreadfleet, there is something to be said for this approach. Once again the masts were a hindrance while painting. Painting this ship took much correcting where my brush had accidentally touched the wrong part of the ship.

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