How to Paint Lightning Effects on Power Swords

So I’ve mentioned before I’ve started an Admech army for Warhammer 40K. Choosing this army for my main force was easy. The minis are first rate and rich background of engineers at the pinnacle of human endeavor cast back to superstitious religious zealots has really grabbed me. The difficult part was working out how to paint them.

The colour scheme inspiration came as with most things from the palettes we see in nature. Purples and deep blues are often seen with green and seem to go together well (as you can see from some holiday snaps) so went with it, using purple as my main colour and then green as a spot contrast to tie my units together.

And here are the fruits of my labour, my first completed troop unit of vanguards. Next will be my ranger unit that I’m also currently running for my Shadow War kill team.

Lightning Effects

So I thought I’d spend a few moments on how I painted the lightning effect on the alpha’s power sword.

I’ve started here with a test sword that I’ve base coated a dark metallic colour and shaded with black wash.
The dark colour of the metal means the brighter lightning should stand out nicely. There are many ways you can paint lightning, I went for a thicker line as it stands out more on the tabletop. The initial colour is the darkest colour I want to aim for with the lightning and I kept my paint nice and thin so that it flowed easily off the brush. To this end I’ve found using citadel air paints the perfect consistency straight out of the bottle. But you can use any paint and thin it down with either water or some form of thinning medium.

Now the next line is the main bolt of lightning, don’t worry about being too neat as it can be tidied up later. I start from the narrowest point of the lightning (so the tip of the sword here) and work back. The reason for this is due to the shape of a brush there is a tendency for the line to broaden as you bring it towards you. I also try to paint the bolt with just the tip by angling it closer to perpendicular to the surface. For once I don’t try and paint too smoothly and in fact a bit of tremor is quite useful in conveying the tortuous nature of the energy crackling over the surface. Now normally to strengthen a green I tend to add a light yellow to avoid the colour getting washed out. However in this situation I want to give the impression of a bolt of pure powerful energy so brought it up to pure white gradually.

Next i apply a very dilute glaze of a yellow green to bring all the tones together. A glaze is an intensely pigmented shade that is thinned to be transparent. It can help smooth the transitions between layers and intensify your colours. Now remember a glaze is not a wash, you should be painting thin amounts of the glaze onto the areas of interest. I’ve also added a few fine off shoots of electricity to help give the impression of it leaping around.

Now to help the glaze blend the layers its important to re paint the second two layers of the highlight along the bolt to help make it pop out and draw the eye to areas of focus on the model.

So there you have it a quick and easy way to paint your power weapons and it should work with any colour you like and when your next struggling to find inspiration for your minis paint scheme you can do far worst then a walk outside and have a look at what’s around you.

Thanks so much for reading, let me know what you think of this guide on how to paint lightning effects on power swords, or if you have any questions drop them in the comments below, and watch this space!

Tune in next time for some terrain painting.


1 thought on “How to Paint Lightning Effects on Power Swords

  1. Pingback: How to Print and Apply Decals | Jimmi Waz 'Ere

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