Star Wars Armada: Painting the X-Wings

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FFG Star Wars Armada X-Wings

After the success I had painting the tiny TIE Fighter squadrons for Armada, I figured I ought to have a go at the Rebel X-Wing squadrons as well. Whereas the TIE Fighters are pretty uniform and a simple monochrome palette of greys and black wash can bring them to life, the Rebel ships are considerably more busy. One school of thought was to prime them white and then give them a black wash to provide contrast followed by a white drybrush. Nice and simple but doesn’t really suit the X-Wings which are more of a weathered mix of pale grey panels with a sharp white edge highlight. Instead I settled on a palette that although is a bit more involved than the Imperial ships, does produce something a bit more in keeping at arms length with the rag-tag battered look of the Rebel fleet.

I start with a light grey Vallejo primer over which I pick out the ends of the engines in GW Administratum Grey. I made a wash of heavily thinned Fenris Grey which I applied over the entire ship. Adding tiny amounts of the previous dark grey for the engines gave me a darker grey (but not black) wash which I concentrated around the wing junctions and the engine intakes in particular. When all had dried fully I carefully painted the red lines along the side of the fuselage and wings in Mechanicum Red and a single yellow stripe along the nose, but not right to the tip. For the yellow I used a heavily de-saturated colour as it’s really easy for the yellow to be too dominant otherwise and overwhelm what is effectively a really small miniature.

FFG Star Wars Armada X-Wings

Now the fun part, the chipping. Anyone who says 6mm scale miniatures (or in this case smaller) are too small for weathering is mistaken. They most definitely can be. For the chipping I used some watered down Celestra Grey and a very small piece of blister packing sponge. By compressing the piece of sponge and gripping it in a pair of tweezers I very lightly applied the chipping to the red and yellow stripes along the hull only. At this stage I also painted in a cockpit in Fenris Grey and the glass in a thinned matt black.

FFG Star Wars Armada X-Wings

to finish a very light edge highlight in pure white was used to tidy up the wing edges and along the top of the fuselage. The final touch was to mix a little red ink with some Klear (or any gloss varnish will do) and use this to paint in the engine glow. The Astromech I kept a simple silver.

FFG Star Wars Armada X-Wings

The whole approach from start to finish is a lot less complicated and quicker than it sounds, but to be fair it does require a steady hand to pick out the wing markings and cockpit canopy so isn’t quite as straight forward as the TIE fighters were.

That concludes my brush attack on the basic squadrons that come with the core starter box, but it isn’t the end of my Armada fighter painting as I also picked up a pack of both the Rebel and Imperial fighter reinforcements. Look out for future squadrons as I add them to the fleet.

As a final comment, Kev and I also happened to have our first game of Armada this week which much to our surprise turned almost on a single round of combat after his CR-90 Corvette delivered a blistering point black broadside into my Victory Class taking it from seven hull down to just one! it got raked from bow to stern in reply, but that was enough to level the field and allow his retreating Nebulon B to deliver the finishing blow to an unshielded front. First victory to the Rebel Alliance it seems, great stuff!

By |2018-03-10T09:45:22+00:00June 24th, 2015|Categories: Star Wars, Tutorial|Tags: , , |5 Comments


  1. Mike Bozz October 23, 2015 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    I just bought Armada and was looking for the right fit for how to paint my fighters and this page is it. Well done sir, thanks for the advice!

    • Carl Woodrow October 23, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome Mike, happy you found it helpful 🙂

  2. Morten Pedersen July 31, 2017 at 9:40 am - Reply

    Wow, this is really something! I have one question: How do you make the red and yellow paint looking almost like it’s about to peel?

    • Carl Woodrow July 31, 2017 at 9:56 am - Reply

      Thanks Morten. It’s a technique called sponge chipping. I simply paint the red and yellow stripes as normal and then lightly dab over the base colour using a piece of torn sponge. The end effect looks like chipped paint. You should be able to find lots of videos online which cover sponge chipping in more detail which will help explain.

  3. It’s a trap! – Studio Dropship March 16, 2018 at 10:30 am - Reply

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