Word Bearers Leviathan


What makes the Word Bearers stand out so dramatically on the battlefield is their incredible palette, regardless whether it is the deep opaque red or the candy-metallic. It was the latter I chose to give the maximum amount of contrast to the flat black pauldrons. Although the Leviathan dreadnought was painted at the same time as the rest of the force I also used it as a tester to try out two particular techniques; blending the script into the red and creating variation in the worn paintwork.


Most of the time when I'm painting distressed paintwork I follow one of two methods; paint the scratches first the add the environmental weathering over the top to blend them in, or add them after to give them the appearance of fresh damage. Often I do both. With the Word Bearers palette however the colour is added over a metallic pre-shade in the form of a clear red. This means any scratches added after the event will look out of place the colour effectively being an ink, or if you use metallics instead will look like the damage has gone right through to the bare metal below. Fine for a few impacts but not all of them. To overcome this I re-applied imperfections and scratches after every couple of layers of the clear red. This let them build up gradually with colour but still contrast with the surrounding armour. After several layers what you are left with is a much more subtle depth to the damage.

The faded scripture was also added in between layers of the clear red. For more faded script I added the icons and writing earlier so they were below several layers of red, for fresher looking text I added it nearer the end where it only got two or three layers of red over the top. By planning ahead you can control how much fade you want to apply to the markings.

“Use the metallic pre-shade to sketch out where you want the brightest highlights. The areas of pure chrome will be the brightest and most saturated appearance, the gunmetal the darkest and least saturated.”

Since trying out the techniques above on the Leviathan I replicated them across the Termite tunnelers and massive Falchion super-heavy, as well as the breacher shields in my boarding squad. It does require an investment in time to build the effect up, but I think the end results are worth it.

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