Purple Worm (71007)  Purple Worm (71007)
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When doing any sort of painting, you will need a few tools and equipment to get you started. 

Work space

Whether you have a dedicated room or you are a kitchen table evening painter, you need to get comfortable. Painting figures does require many hours of sitting in the same position, so make sure your chair and table are the right height for you.

As you can see, my work space is situated next to a window for daylight and ventilation. I keep my area clean, so I don’t have to tidy up before I start.


Your light is the most important item on your desk. It is the first thing you switch on before you start. I recommend that you do not use a normal tungsten bulb as they cast a yellow light, but use a blue daylight hobby bulb. This gives a consistent bright colour balance over the whole table.


I cannot stress enough about buying high quality brushes for the bulk of your painting, preferably Kolinsky sable. My favourite are Windsor & Newton series 7 in sizes ‘00’ ‘0’ and ‘1’.



There are many available on the market, but I keep coming back to the cheapest and re-useable; a rectangle of cardboard wrapped in ordinary brown tape. (They grow over time!) Acrylic paint does not like new over old, as it re-hydrates and breaks apart, leaving fragments in your mix. Brown tape avoids all that.

Preparing miniatures for painting

As part of the production process, the silicon mould which the resin is poured into has release agents in it, which are sometimes transferred onto the miniature. It is recommended that you wash the miniatures in warm, soapy water and make sure they are completely dry, before any cleaning up or spraying with primer.


Aerosol primer is the best way to give the miniature a good surface to paint over. It has the benefit of showing you any bits of cleaning up that you have missed. I use three main colours, depending on the figure’s colour scheme; black, grey or white. Unless it is raining, I always do this outside.

Hold the miniature about 15 cm away from the can and spray in long even strokes. If it is cold outside, a good tip is to gently heat up the spray can in warm water. This helps with the flow of paint, for an even coat. I then give the figure a blast with the hairdryer. This ensures that the primer is dry and it also bakes the primer, making it tougher and less prone to scratches or rubbing off.

I have used Army Painter uniform Grey primer for the Behir, a neutral undercoat with good smooth coverage.


For this painting guide I have used Vallejo Model Colour and Vallejo Game Colour. If you are using different paints I have added colour swatches, so finding the correct colour should be straightforward.

Drybrushing technique for large textured areas

With Drybrushing, the idea is to highlight the raised surfaces by applying a very small amount of paint to your flat brush and then dragging the brush across the grain of the texture in a side to side motion. This is a quick way to add colour to a large area. A word of caution, this technique does wear out brushes quickly, so use older brushes if you can.

Once the paint is dry, I tend to tone the colour down (it has a tendency to look chalky) and add richness, by washing the surface with inks or oils and then re-highlight sharp lines with the lightest colour used for drybrushing.

Basecoat - Drybrush 2-3 stages - Shading with washes - line highlights - adjustments

Rock stack

I painted a basecoat of Flat earth over the rocks and then drybrushed Dark Sand 847 to pick out the major details, and then repeated the process with Pale Sand 837 as a highlight. The final Ivory 918 colour is drybrushed sparingly on the edges of the rock, staying away from the natural shadows underneath the Behir. This is the initial paint stages finished; I will shade and add the final highlights later when the Behir is painted, so it can be completed in one go. This method gives me more control over the whole model and allows me to adjust the lightsourcing in context. When the painting is finished, I always closely review the miniature as a whole and make more adjustments.

Behir body

It is important to paint an even smooth coat of paint, even if it takes two coats, as this is the shade colour for all the drybrushing.

To begin with, a solid basecoat of Sombre Grey 048 with a small amount of black added to the mix. I generally add a tiny amount of black to the basecoat, so I can drybrush back over this with just the field blue colour. This is a subtle effect, but acts as a dark highlight in the deepest of the recesses, close to the rock face and the creases on the legs.



Now with the first few stages of the skin finished, I can repeat the same process on all the separate parts of the Behir; scales, claws and details on the face. With all the different areas basecoated, it gives me the first impressions of the colour palette. From here I can see what compliments each other and what details can be ‘boosted’ by using an opposing colour e.g. the gum basecoat is Purple 959 against the teeth basecoat of Dark Sand 847. 



This is the drybrushing stages finished. At the moment it does look overexposed with the highlighting, but that will change after a few washes. These colour variations will dull down giving a more natural, realistic appearance where animals are more than just a flat colour. These different tones will serve as a good basis for the sharp highlights.



There are a multitude of products available for shading: inks, transparent colours, oils paints and filters.

I will write a full article about this interesting subject, at a later date.

Thinned paint- If you do not have access to any of these products, you can thin down your paints to a water colour consistency and they work just as well, in fact sometimes better as they dry to a mat finish, unlike inks.

Inks- Nearly every manufacturer makes inks to complement their own paint ranges. It comes down to personal taste and the finish that you require. There are two ranges that I frequently use, as they are not pre-thinned like Citadel washes, giving me more control over the opacity.


Winsor & Newton Inks for a very strong pigment in general colours.  They have to be thinned with water (I use 50/50) or they will cover all your previous hard work.

Magic Color Inks, which are liquid acrylics, have a large range with over 20 specific colours available e.g. Flesh, Rust and Golden Sand. They have a strong pigment which does need thinning with water. I cannot recommend this range enough.

As the Behir at this stage is looking quite bleached out, a few thin ink washes with a dark blue were painted over the entire to provide some instant shading. Beginning with the lighter blue tones, I gradually added more and more black ink to the mix, working this darker colour into the deep hollows and creases.



For the back spine which is greyer in colour, I have used 2 thin washes with black ink and re-painted any mistakes around each scale with black paint, this creates a neat border around each element causing the highlights to really stand out.


Now that the shading is finished, the next stage is to highlight all the different areas, this light sourcing brings out all of the prominent details and helps differentiate the main characteristics of the Behir, the focus being the face, back spine and feet.  When painting miniatures for photography I have to exaggerate this, to make sure that everything stands out that needs to. At this stage I change my brush size to ’00’. This still holds enough highlight colour to be able to paint thin lines on the edges of all the scales and textures.

Blue spine horns, spine scales and belly scales

When the initial drybrush layers were applied, I was not very happy with the finish on these horns, any small and pointed will always collect more paint from the wide drybrush. Re-painting them again will make them a more visual feature of the model. 


Spine and belly scales

To make the spines a stand out feature, I have selected a blue grey colour palette. By painting small lines on the surface and gradually building up in lighter tones, it produces a quick alternative texture.


The same process of painting small lines is repeated on the belly scales, working through to the lighter tones. 

Small body scales

Following the previous drybrushing, I can see where the highlights fall on the small body scales, the shaded areas are left without any highlights to increase the overall contrast. Each scale is given a sharp highlight followed by a dot highlight on the extreme edges e.g. knee caps and elbows.

The feet have been highlighted in the same colours as the scales to match in, I have used the Glacier Blue on the knuckles and where the claw meets the toe.

Rock stack

With an area as large as this, it gives a little more freedom to add more subtle tones than usual. For the rocks I have used dark brown, sepia and green ink washes.

You can see the progression through the drybrushing stages and inks.


Just for some variety, the separate rocks at ground level are painted with neutral greys and washed with the same inks.


Small details- claws, gums and teeth


The claws are first painted with a solid basecoat of Beige Brown. The Ivory mid-coat colours are thin lines meeting at the point of the claw, with the final highlight of Off-white at the tip.

The Behir’s eye is simply flat white 951 over a Black 950 basecoat.



The sandy groundwork is painted first, then the static grass glued down with PVA glue. Once dry, the tufts can be drybrushed with Buff 976. This does two things, it makes the static grass more durable to handling and it brings out the detail of each individual blade.

Box cover

Once the model has been thoroughly checked over for any mistakes, it can be photographed for the box cover. I have used our cave setting for this model as the dark cave entrance serves as a contrasting colour which also frames the Behir nicely.


The Dungeons & Dragon logos and text are added, finishing the project.