Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Dropfleet Painting Guide

I must begin this post with an apology - specifically for those readers who requests a guide or at least a painting recipe for my UCM ships for Dropfleet Commander. It has been a loooong time since the first of those requests, and though I have not had the best opportunities to get this done, I am sure I could have managed it. 

The main thing getting in the way (apart from Frostgrave!) was taking pictures of the models stage-by-stage, Due to my preference for daylight photography and my lack of free time during daylight hours, taking pictures of a model stage-by-stage would have taken several weeks. The idea to paint a large number of models at different stages (as you can see below) needed to wait until I had enough spare models for a new squadron of Light Cruisers. 

Enough excuses! On to the models! 

The models in their various stages of completion - from basecoat to varnished and battle-ready
Once the model is built, I spray black - Citadel Chaos Black is still one of the best on the market and I trust it

The undercoat is followed with a coat of Vallejo Grey Green liberally applied. This is the base colour for the entire fleet and one of the most important colours in my entire arsenal at the moment
A small amount of Vallejo Medium Sea Grey is added to the Grey Green and painted around the area of natural highlight such as the prow, tips of the wings (front and back) and the underslung turret mounting (the underbite?)

The metallic areas are painted with a mixture of Grey Green and Citadel Stormhost Silver - a semi-equivalent to the old Mithril Silver

Several panels will be painted in pure Medium Sea Grey - these are the panels that will be almost white in later stages

All the gaps between the panels are lined back in with Citadel Black Ink, but if you cannot do this or prefer a quicker method I believe some form of panel line wash would work well
For the next stage, all of the panels are highlight along their edges with Medium Sea Grey

The white panels are highlight with Medium Sea Grey mixed with Vallejo Silvergrey - careful not to paint in the entire panel

The metallic areas are washed with Citadel Nuln Oil

Lights and similar areas are painted with Citadel Pink Horror or Hawk Turquoise

The panels are given a further edge highlight of Vallejo Sky Grey, concentrating on the sharpest corners and leading edges

The white panels have more Silvergrey added to the mix, but not yet pure

The metal areas are highlighted with Stormhost Silver

The lights base colour is highlighted by adding Silvergrey

The models is completed with final edge highlights of Sky Grey with Silvergrey along the grey panels

The white panels are finished with pure Silvergrey, adding some white for the brightest highlights on the front of the ship if required

The lights are finished with even more Silvergrey if required

Any extra details, such as Burnthrough Lasers or engine glow (which I have only done for the largest vessels, for this class I would only block in the engine with black exhausts) are now painted

So there we are! The actual scheme uses an incredibly limited palette, and the biggest advice I can offer is be patient with the panel lining and the edge highlighting. It is not a style of painting that most people would want to pursue! The white panels really break up the scheme, and highlighting as many of the dots and lights across the model really makes the model pop. Don't forget a varnish at the end to tie everything together nicely
The leap from one to another is merely a few shades of grey and some spot colours

Thanks for reading,



  1. Question: How do you hold your ships during painting? I just assembled the UCM half of our starter box and should be spraying with primer, but am not sure how to reasonably secure the ships to some sort of a peg.

  2. I assemble them with the flight stand plug/widget glued in - so I paint them while they are attached to a flight stand, exactly how they look in the picture!

    1. For priming I have four spare stands that are used for all of my Dropfleet ships, covered in layers of undercoat.