My daughter and I have been slowly grinding away at the Nighthaunts portion of the Soul Wars boxed set. It’s taken awhile, but we recently finished assembling all of the basic troops and have begun painting them. When I bought my copy of Soul Wars, I made a deal with her that if she painted the Nighthaunts with me, she could take ownership of those minis — an idea, as it turns out, that got her way more excited than I had anticipated. The Nighthaunt minis didn’t really hold much appeal to me at the time, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to give them up, and I was especially happy to see how excited she was at the prospect of having an army that was her own. However, now that I’ve nailed down a paint scheme that’s quick, easy, and effective, I’ve been having so much fun painting these guys that I’m beginning to think that I might want a Nighthaunt army of my own!
Two of the minis that I painted, a chain rasp on the right, and a… uh… Well, hopefully between my daughter and me, one of us will know the names of all these guys by the time we play our first game.
For me, figuring out a color scheme for an army requires a lot more front-loading than with a single mini. With a single mini, you can experiment as you go along and add little touches and flourishes here and there. There isn’t much of a downside to not carefully planning out what you’re going to do and making sure it’s something you can replicate. But when deciding on a paint scheme for an army, the thing that needs to be foremost in your mind is if what you’re doing is something that you’re going to be able to replicate quickly and easily. If not, are you really going to be willing to spend 8, 10, 12, 20, or more hours on every single figure in your army replicating that paintjob? It can take a good amount of time up front to settle on a scheme, but coming up with something that is easy both easy to reproduce and looks good will pay dividends later on.
For the Nighthaunts, it was especially challenging because in order for it to be something that my daughter would have a good chance at successfully replicating, it needed to utilize only simple techniques and a limited color palette. I watched some videos to see what paint schemes other folks had done and tried a few of them before coming up with mine. To be fair, none of them were difficult or complicated; but they either required more brush control than my daughter currently possesses, involved too many steps for a seven year-old’s attention span and stamina, or went too far in the other direction and looked too monochrome. The challenge was finding the sweet spot of being quick and easy and still providing good results.
Two of my earlier color scheme experiments on the left and right, with one my daughter did in the middle.
I ended up utilizing the bog standard Hexwraith Flame, Nighthaunt Gloom, and Nihilakh Oxide that everyone else seems to be using for Nighthaunts, but I haven’t come across anyone using them in the exact same way that I am.
My chosen paints. And an iced coffee. All essential parts of this process.
- White primer
- Nihilakh Oxide (Games Workshop)
- Hexwraith Flame (GW)
- Nighthaunt Gloom (GW)
- Charcoal (Anita’s craft Paint)
- Ghost White (Reaper Master Series)
0: Clean, assemble, apply base texture. I used Liquitex Modeling Paste + sand. White glue + sand is another easy and effective option.
1. Prime white. It’s important to make sure you get solid coverage (use several light coats) because with the exception of the base, it’s all washes and drybrushing from here, and you’ll need a solid white base on which to start.
2. Paint slightly thinned Nihilakh Oxide over the entire model.
3. Paint Hexwraith Flame onto faces and arms.
4. Paint Nighthaunt Gloom onto weapons, chains, bits of armor, chainmail, and other miscellaneous bits.
5. Paint the entire base with Charcoal (or any medium-dark gray).
6. Drybrush Ghost White over the entire model (including the base). If you’re looking for an equivalent color, Ghost White is an off-white with a hint of pale blue.
That’s it! Depending how meticulous you are with cleaning, assembling and texturing the base, the prep work may take you more time than the actual painting. One of the nice things about this paint scheme is that given the ghostly, ethereal nature of these minis, there’s a fair margin of error if the washes blend into each other — meaning it won’t look that bad if you’re painting these as a seven year-and some of the edges where the different colors meet bleed into each other. Similarly, since the entire model is drybrushed using a single color, you won’t have to worry about trying to paint neatly with what is an inherently messy, imprecise technique! As simple as this scheme is, it manages to produce good-looking results very quickly — exactly what you want when trying to get an entire army painted!
My daughter’s completed mini on the right, with one of mine on the left for comparison. If you look closely, you can see some rough spots and areas for improvement, but I think she really did a great job with it!