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Painting dreadfleet

Painting dreadfleet

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Project Blog by Umbra Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

The goal of this project is to paint everything that came in the box: ships, terrain, tokens, sea monsters,...

This Project is Completed


Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 5
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A real ghost ship! To maintain the ghostly appearance (and move on with this project), I’ve sprayed the ship white first, then put a green wash over the entire model.

All whiteAll white
After the wash.After the wash.

The wash is Game Color Green Wash, thinned down with water for 50 %. Then I drybrushed white paint here and there.

Done. That went quickly!

Sea monsters

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Skill 4
Idea 4
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The sea monsters have been in the stage “almost finished” for months now. I finally finished them.

They are the last small pieces from Dreadfleet. From now on, it’s ships only.

Sea monsters
Sea monsters

The Curse of Zandri

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 3
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The Curse of Zandri is a ship of the Tomb Kings from Khemri. It looks very Egyptian. I’ve tried to give the ram and statues look like stone. Not the most common material on a ship.

The hull

Large parts are made of reed. I’ve painted theses parts Model Color Dark Sand, the deck and oars are painted Panzer Aces Old Wood. I’ve used Model Wash Brown on all these parts. The oars were drybrushed with Model Color Dark Sand.


The statues, ram and “tail” were painted black first, then heavily drybrushed in Model Color Blue Green. As a highlight they were gently drybrushed with Model Color Pale Blue.


The metal parts are painted black first, followed by Model Color Natural Steel. For the gold, I’ve painted The Army Painter Greedy Gold on top of the natural steel. I wasn’t sure what to do next: a brown wash or a black wash on the gold. I decided to go for the black wash, using 1/2 Game Color Wash Black and ½ water. The result looks good. A final highlight on the gold withModel Color Gold.


The last step was to spray The Army Painter matt varnish on the ship and finally to brush gloss varnish on the metal parts.

And the ship is finished. This ship was easy and quick to paint.

The Flaming Scimitar

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
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The Flaming Scimitar is an Arab inspired ship. It’s the home of a wizard who controls genies. Two of these genies can be seen outside the ship: one’s blowing wind into the sails. The other one is a fire genie who protects the ship.

About a month ago I painted The Flaming Scimitar and then managed to lose the model. I bought a second one on Ebay and painted this ship a second time. I may be a bit frustrated over this, but it allowed me to learn from mistakes I made the first time.

Starting with priming: I noticed last time on this ship as well as on other ships, I hadn’t primed them properly. Bear plastic was still visible here and there. This time I payed more attention to priming and made sure the entire miniature was nicely covered in black primer.


I airbrushed Model Air Chocolate brown on the model. On the deck I then brushed Model Color Dark Sand. The sword of the figurehead was painted black.

The superstructure (with the genies) was primed white. It was painted separately and glued in place once everything was painted.

The hull

The hull received a black wash (50 % wash and 50 % water). The deck received a wash of watered down Model Wash Brown. The hull and other dark brown pieces received a dry brush with Model Color Dark Sand. The cannons on the deck were painted black. The holes in the hull for the cannons to fire through, were painted black as well.


The domes and statues are painted in Greedy Gold from The Army Painter, except the figurehead. The figurehead was painted in The Army Painter Weapon Bronze. This colour looks more like a sort of copper than bronze, but a different, less red copper than Model Color Copper. Everything received a drybrush wit Model Color Gold.

The sword held by the figurehead (a scimitar!) was painted with The Army Painter Plate Mail Metal en edge highlighted with Model Air Chrome.

The sails

The sails were sprayed with white primer and then airbrushed with white paint. The figures on them consist of large surfaces, making them easier to paint then the sails of the other ships. The sail with the flaming sword (another flaming scimitar!): the flames are painted in Model Color Red Orange, the sword in Model Color Light Grey. On the sail with the winds: the winds are painted in Model Color Blue and the swords once again in Model Color Light Grey. To separate touching surfaces in different or the same colour, I’ve “panellined” them with Game Color Black Wash.

I felt it remained unclear where the water ended en the knives began. To resolve this I’ve painted a thin line in Model Color White Grey a the topside of the knives, to separate them more from the water.

The superstructure

The wind genie was pin washed with a blue wash (Game Color Wash). Then I painted all the raised parts white again.

The fire genie was painted in canary yellow from Pro-Color, then drybrushed with Model Color Red Orange. Now I needed another colour for a final drybrush. I couldn’t find something suitable among my paints, so I started mixing paints. What I wanted was a “dark orange”. I mixed Model Color Red Orange with Model Color Carmine Red. This looked like a dirty red. I added some Pro-Color Canary Yellow. I drybrushed the fire genie with it and it had the effect I wanted. The flaming swords (two more flaming scimitars!) of the fire genie were painted black, then painted with Plate Mail Metal from The Army Painter and finally highlighted with Model Air Chrome.

There’s a small “piece” (no idea how to call it) of the buildings between the domes and the walls on which they rest. I painted it Model Color Blue Green and used Black Wash to separate this part of the building from the domes and the wind of the genie.


The flags at the top of the masts were painted in Model Color Orange Red, then drybrushed Model Color Light Orange.

Varnishing was delayed by a week. It was storming again and I didn’t want another Flaming Scimitar to be blown from my balcony!

This project is almost finished. Only one more ship to paint. A very big ship.

The Bloody Reaver – Part 1

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
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The Bloody Reaver is the flagship of the undead. The biggest ship in the game! The base is about 50 % longer than the base of the Heldenhammer. I kept this ship for last, to gain some experience painting these ships first and because it was a daunting prospect to start on this one. The ship is a rock with a castle on top. The rock rests on the hulls of different ships.


After priming black, I used these colours for the basecoats:

  • Model Air Medium Sea Grey: rocks
  • Model Color Chocolate Brown: hulls, masts
  • Model Color Light Grey: castle, “horns” (don’t know how else to call them)
  • Model Color Burnt Red: roofs and ram
  • Game Color Off White: “ribcage” (that’s what they remind me of)
  • Model Color Carmine Red: flags (after painting them light grey first)
  • The Army Painter Weapon Bronze: dragon on the prow of the ship and a few decorations on the hull
The Bloody Reaver – Part 1
Wash: I used watered down Model Wash Black for almost the entire ship. And watered down Model Wash Dark Grey on the castle and horns in light grey. (No idea whether this makes much difference.) (This photo looks to blue. No idea how to correct it.)Wash: I used watered down Model Wash Black for almost the entire ship. And watered down Model Wash Dark Grey on the castle and horns in light grey. (No idea whether this makes much difference.) (This photo looks to blue. No idea how to correct it.)


As usual I’ve highlighted by drybrushing:

  • Model Color Light Grey: castle, rocks, horns
  • Model Color Silver Grey: castle, horns
  • Model Color White Grey: castle, horns
  • Model Color Orange Brown: hulls, masts
  • Model Color Dark Sand: hulls, masts
  • Model Color Gold: golden dragon
  • Game Color Bloody Red: roofs, flags, ram
  • Model Color Orange Red: roofs, flags
  • Model Color Natural Steel: ram
  • Model Color White: ribcage. This didn’t work to well, I did some edge highlighting

It’s a long list of paint, but this was done quite quickly.


When beginning to paint this ship, I thought: where are the cannons? Turns out: everywhere! Many in the hulls of the ship, but there are guns in the rock and in the castle as well. I still discovered new guns while finishing the hull and correcting mistakes. I painted all the guns black. Then I painted them with The Army Painter Plate mail metal. The same process for the anchors, here and there on the rocks.

One of the shipwrecks has what looks like metal stars. These are also painted with Plate Mail Metal. I made a bit of a mess of the ship with the stars and tried to rectify this, by painting lines on it in different browns. This will hopefully make it look like planks. Finally I’ve thrown Brown Model Wash over this wreck and all the anchors. The wash makes the metallic paint look a bit more weathered and less shiny. It also makes the lines I’ve painted stand out less, creating a more natural look.

The hull is finished. It took a while because it was a lot of surface to paint, but it was easier than expected.The hull is finished. It took a while because it was a lot of surface to paint, but it was easier than expected.
In the mean time I’ve finished the base as well. Now all I’ve got to do is paint the sails…In the mean time I’ve finished the base as well. Now all I’ve got to do is paint the sails…

The Bloody Reaver – Part 2 – The sails

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Skill 1
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How to paint white or any colour on black primer? Painting white directly on black didn’t work well earlier in the project when painting the sails of the wrecked ships. This time I used a different approach: paint all the areas to be painted in any colour grey first. I used Model Color Light Grey for this. While painting the castle on The Bloody Reaver, I noticed this painted makes the black primer disappear completely after two coats.

I forgot to make a photo and already started painting off white on some of the sails.I forgot to make a photo and already started painting off white on some of the sails.


The next step was to paint the large surfaces in the colours I wanted on top of the grey:

  • Game Color Off White: the skeletons and anchors. This took several coats, even on the grey.
  • Game Color Bloody Red: essentially everything I didn’t want to paint in an other colour. This is a new paint is this project. It’s a “tomato red”, brighter than Model Color Carmine Red, which I’ve used so far.
  • Panzer Aces Old Wood: the scrolls
  • Model Color Orange Red: the back of the scrolls
The Bloody Reaver – Part 2 – The sails

Highlights and details

Model Color White: the skeletons and anchors

Model Color Dark Sand: the edges of the scrolls

Model Color Burnt Red: the words “Bloody Reaver”! 😊

The Bloody Reaver – Part 2 – The sails

And done! With the sails finished all I need to do is glue them in place. This was more complicated than it looks. It’s as if this miniature (and a few others in this game) was designed by someone who doesn’t paint miniatures. To paint in subassemblies and then put everything together was sometimes difficult. But to assemble everything first and then paint it, would have been worse.

All that remains to be done is varnishing and the Bloody Reaver is finished:

The dreadfleet has sailed!

Tutoring 0
Skill 1
Idea 0

This is the end of the project. Everything has been painted and I can start playing the game! 😊

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