Painting Awesome Tomb Kings in 5 Easy Steps

TombKings-Finished1Starting your own Tomb Kings army? Looking for an easy, fast way too make them look drop-dead-gorgeous? (drop-dead haha). In this tutorial I show you how to make them look Awesome in just 5 simple steps. You won’t believe how good they look in such a short time. Paint up to 10 finished models within 10 minutes, that’s right! Keep reading!

Painting Tomb Kings to look like the codex artwork

I’ve always loved the flavor and artwork of the Tomb Kings so I decided to give them a try. However I was never a fan of the traditional painting scheme. Somehow the common approach to painting them does not capture the fantastic atmosphere of the codex artwork. So I set myself the goal to create a batch-paint scheme that is fast, simple AND captures that great atmosphere of the artwork. After a few tries I discovered a killer (hah!) way to get a fantastic army out in no-time.

To summarize this tutorial is to make your models look like this:
Tomb Kings codex artwork

Atmospheric, dramatic look

My approach is focused to give you an atmospheric, cohesive and striking look that looks great in units and is easy to repeat across your entire army.What we want to create is that deep golden, rust brown/orange feeling from the codex artwork.  The look is radically different from what people normally do and is not aimed to hand-paint every single detail on the model. While I love it to death (ok I’ll stop now hehe) this is definitely not for everyone!

Step 1: Spraypaint entire model Mournfang Brown

After assembling and basing your model, spraypaint it a dark brown entirely. I’ve used the new Mournfang Brown can from GW for this. The whole idea behind this paint scheme is to have as few steps as possible to get great results. We will use only 3 colors after this and the dark brown serves as your shadows, so you don’t need a wash either. This saves drying time and gives a more “dusty” matte look.


Step 2: Drybrush Orange from the top

What we want to create is that deep golden, rust brown/orange feeling from the codex artwork. Use a large dry-brush to add an orange “light” effect coming from the top. Touch the top part of your models like the skull, shoulders the most, then move downwards but stop about halfway your model. We want to create the illusion of an orange light from a desert sun to fall on your model. By leaving the bottom part of your model un-touched you get a dramatic light-to-dark spotlight effect. Do the same for your shields, only touch half of it, having the most color at the top. Again notice that you will leave the legs, especially the lower legs and feet un-touched, just the flat Mournfang Brown basecoat.


Step 3: Drybrush Yellow from to top

To build up the light effect, now use a large dry-brush to add a yellow color like to the Skull, shoulders, maybe a bit on the ribcage and pelvis. “Less is More” here, make sure you maintain that “Spotlight” effect so don’t toch anything on the bottom half of your model. Make sure to touch the edges of shields and swords a bit, to create the effect that golden sunlight is hitting those edges.


Step 4: Highlight Bone color

Use Elf Flesh or a similar “yellowish” bone color to add a final spot highlight to the skull, teeth, shield top edges and shoulders. This will make the model “pop”. Avoid using a whiter shade, because this will take away from your warm “golden sun” feel.


Step 5: Add your Theme color

As a final step color your shields and some details with your army Theme color (mine is Blue). Use a heavily watered down paint to add the color. This way it looks faded and less saturated, blending in nicely with the atmospheric look we want. Notice how I used less blue towards the bottom of the shield, again to exaggerate that dramatic spotlight effect.

Optionally you can add some gold color details to the armour, shield trims etc. I’ve found this is not absolutely needed because I want that almost “mono-chrome” look to match the artwork of the codexes. You could reserve the extra details for special characters and larger models to make them standout from your mass units.


Final Thoughts


There you go! With this color scheme you can knock out at least 10 models in 10 minutes. And boy do they look fantastic when fielded in a regiment. Note that I did not do anything to the base, its purely the Mournfang Brown from the basecoat. I’ve found that this keeps the attention on the top part of the models, and simplifies the work needed. I tried adding some highlights but this immediately distracted from the “dramatic” lighting effect so I was happy to leave it untouched. Use this technique to build your core units fast. Then go back and add a little more time and detail to your special characters. This way you will have a fantastic looking army in no-time!


Note how the bottom half of the model including legs, feet and base are left un-touched: The original first basecoat spraypaint



Bathed in golden light. Here I did add some gold extra’s.


Love to hear your reactions, as always feel free to comment below!


5 thoughts on “Painting Awesome Tomb Kings in 5 Easy Steps

    • Hey that looks fantastic! Thanks for posting. You can add some final yellow highlights to make things “pop”. You can also finish the base edge in black for example to create some contrast with the base color/sand. I added some tufts of bleached grass here and there as well.

      Glad my tutorial was inspiring!


  1. Looks fantastic! I’m starting tomb kings soon (I know, just after they were squatted) and this is exactly the sort of scheme I was looking for. Can I ask which paints were used for the highlighting?


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