Monday 29 April 2013

Samurai painting tutorial

Hello, as promised here is the first samurai painting tutorial.

Red armoured samurai, this was a fairly common colour of armour so if your planning of doing a lot of samurai do this go to your local halfords or other car paint supplier and buy a can of matt red undercoat, red brown in colour really, this processs will save a lot of time.
First prep, and assemble you miniature or batch of miniatures, at this point i was and dry them with a hairdrier to remove any grease from the casting process or your hands.

Now spray prime your miniatures, mabey give several light coats to make sure everywhere is covered, and allow time to dry as you will now be useing water based paints on top.

When dry the next phase is to add a black ink wash i use GW nuln oil or badab black, do not use foundry ink as it is too strong and you will have just aswell painted the whole figure black. When applying do no let it pool too much and start from head and work down, what the was will do is give definition to the plates and help your eye pick out the detail.

Allow wash to dry, then i paint the base coat on the face, i use foundry spearshaft cover all the red on his face including eyes, also paint any other skin on the model this way, sometimes the hands were left bare other times the samurai wore coloured gloves it is up to you, on this model i painted them as flesh.
next take a bright scarlet color i use foundry scarlet C tone, its quite a thin paint which is what we want as it will give the impression of layers of red lacuer. Now with the scarlet im going to start highlighting the armour, use a small brush and start catching the edge of all the plates, between the laces also just catch the upper part of the plate, let the undercoat give you the shade, you will only need to apply one coat of this scarlet highlight, then the armour plates are finished and on to the next step.

Next on to the lacing the most difficult part of painting samurai. Historically there were many kinds of lacing i chose this figure because it has the most difficult type of lacing to paint as there are many laces and each one need to be done individually,
To make it easier try to do just one at a time then do somthing else, first take a fairly fine tipped brush maybe a 00, i use windsor and newton sable as they keep a perfect tip, when choosing your brush dont go cheap, or the finish will look rubbish, mine cost about £8 each but the last ages.
Now with your brush spot each lace you will regularly need to clean you brush to keep the tip moist, usually i tip the figure upside down for painting laces and work on one line at a time, i cannot stress enough with this kind of work, that when you start losing your concentration and making mistakes TAKE A BREAK work on something else for a moment or two, this is because mistakes are easier prevented than corrected. Wait until you have finished all the lacing before correcting mistakes, and you will make some! but i find that sometimes i forget where they are if i leave it until later and if you cannot find them later they dont matter! to correct them use GW dark flesh or similar red brown and later maybe a little black ink once dry if its on a plate joint, once dry highlight will scarlet if nessessary.

For the lacing i used foundry ocher B i dont normally bother higlighting it because i think the impression of one coat is normally good enough.  The colours for lacing that look best in my opinion on red armour are
Dark blue
Bright deep orange almost scarlet
Now on to other parts i paint at this stage, i give the skin a wash of GW devlan mud or similar, it will give shade and flow into the mouth eyes finger joints ect, i never paint eyes because first they can often make a figure look rubbish if not done perfectly, i,e if your not a brilliant paint DONT DO EYES your figures will look rubbish, but also i think leaving out the eyes gives a shady look under the brim of the kabuto

Also a this point any gold/brass on the figure give that a wash of devlan mud too, i find it helps to do all the inking at the same time, i,e flesh gold shade between lacind if desired.
 At this stage i also painted the spear tip, though really it is easier to paint that at the begining then when you give the figure its coat of black ink at the start you would get it shaded at the same time killing two birds with one stone so to speak.

Now we have compeated most of the hard work,  the final things are feet flesh highlights and such,
for the flesh highlights i use spearshaft C then another highlight on the very tips of Spearshaft C and light flesh C, possibly also another highlight of Light flesh C alone just on the tip of nose check bones knukles and finger nails. It is well worth making the flesh zing with extra higlights the more you add the more realistic your figure will be, and its easier than eyes!

Next Sashinono, i will be doing more articles on this later but just highlight it red or paint in any colour you want, for the yari and sashimono holder at this point just coat in brown ink, leaving the red undercoat do the talking, as yari were often painted red.

For the shadeing on the flag itself i used red ink wash. i then painted the sash white as that was a common colour but give a good contrast. Next i painted the swords dark grey highlighted light grey on the very edges and when dry gave the a black ink wash, this helps give the opaque lacured look.
i painted the trousers a plain colour on this one but will later give you a tutorial on more complex clothing. The feet i painted ocher too,

Final touches, highlight your brass for the maedate i also put some very small highlights that look like an inscripton, then give the figure a final look over, and you ready to varnish /base up

For varnish i use daler rowney, solvent based, very flat if you want a slight sheen krylon matt is great, and quick i hear it also bullet proof, i dont bother glossing first, 

Also you may have noticed i have left the mail as inked under coat this is because mail was often lacured, if you prefer yo could paint it gun metal then ink black.

 please follow all saftey instrution on any products list here, 

Finally many painters are very intimidated by paining samurai, but they are very rewarding and colourful what i find facinating about them is they all had there own customized armours with almost endless variation, whats more the sengoku period were complex times full of very interesting characters, i find the period a bit like the wars of the roses only in japan and with more tactical/weapons options.
  Once painted few armies look better than samurai!
More tutorials will be added soon with lots of other hints info on black armour brown armour/ gold clothing and sashimono. so more soon...


  1. Very clear and concise. I look forward to the other tutorials.

  2. Thanks for sharing, very inspiring!

  3. Very very very interesting !


  4. Great guidance Oliver. I've been a tad overawed by how to get a good finish on samurai, and so have steered away.
    may give 'em a go now!
    Look forward to more - very valuable.

  5. Thank you. Just starting a project like this. These will help. Might I suggest you tag your posts so that they will be easy to reference..

  6. Nice, indepth and at the end of the day a beautifully painted miniature.


  7. Great looking Samurai!!

  8. Excellent - would like to see more painting guides like this!

  9. So what's happened to all the photos?


  10. This Is Really Useful And Nice Information. เล่นบาคาร่า
    This are such great articles. เล่นบาคาร่า This articles can help you to make some new ideas.
    เล่นบาคาร่า I appreciate for reading my blogs.


  11. This are new articles style for you. เล่นบาคาร่า You can find some new idea on this. เล่นบาคาร่า It might help you to write or think some new idea.
    เล่นบาคาร่า Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post.
    เล่นบาคาร่า I am very glad for reading my articles.

  12. Superb post, we enjoyed each and everything as per written in your post. Thank you for this informative article because it’s really helpful, I really like site. @ Packers And Movers Bangalore

  13. Meghalaya Board Syllabus 2021 Syllabus is important for all classes as it helps you to get an overview of the course. Download and refer to it to know the concepts and topics covered. It may also give some idea Meghalaya 9th Class Revised Syllabus about the marks weightage based on the chapter or unit. Here, you can access the class wise Meghalaya Board Syllabus. It communicates important information and details about the particular course.