Justaerin Tutorial

With a thunderclap of displaced air, five huge figures of utter darkness materialized out of teleportation. The fate of the defenders of the spire was sealed, their doom was certain, the Justaerin had arrived!

My Sons of Horus army project is slowly growing and I have now painted a few Justaerin terminators. Here is a little tutorial on how I painted the first two of them. I aim to make them fit in with my normal MK VI marines, though their color scheme is different, as these elites wear black and red. When you try to make different color schemes fit coherently, you must aim to do things in similar ways; the same dry brushing, the same shading and weathering, so you put them in the same place but wearing different colors. I did that a lot working on my big Skaven army, which I share pictures off on Instagram from time to time. Which reminds me; I haven’t painted Skaven for ages! Maybe a year and a half ago, since the last time… about time to paint me a few of those charming little rat critters.

Well let’s get to it! As opposed to the MKVI marines, I gave my Justaerin a zenithal undercoat.

Primed and ready

Zenithal undercoat and ready to go!

The MKVI marines got painted with the airbrush, because their armor is only one color, I could do this with the black on these guys too, but would probably need to mask the red parts or re-undercoat them white to paint them red… Since this is an army building project and my painting techniques for this project are all about doing some fast batch-painting, I decided to paint them with Contrast paints instead, as this would be faster and easier.

Contrasts blocked in

First off, I blocked in all the black parts (and their weapons) with GW Contrast Black Legion. That black is awesome! I got the new range of contrasts for testing and this black is an instant hit with me. The old one Black Templar is a little cold; slightly blueish. It works nicely, but you can’t escape that coldness. This one is neutral if not even a little bit warm, in my opinion a much more true black color. I love it!

I smeared on some Contrast medium to highlight by removing some of the color.

Next I blocked in the shoulder plates with a mix of GW Contrast Fleshtearers Red and Contrast Blood Angels Red. The straps at the shoulders and between the legs got the same red with a little Contrast Wyldwood for a slightly more brownish and leathery look. I also highlighted the red shoulders by removing some of the color with a lick of Contrast medium.

The base got some earth brown, grey and red-brown as a base for what is to come.

Moving forward at a fast pace

Picking up speed, I dry brushed the figures VMC Pale Sand, which is a nice and creamy off-white. After the dry brushing, I glazed the bases with a very thin black, rust brown and green wet in wet, letting the colors mix randomly.

Heavy metal!

The gold color here is VMC Brass mixed with a little black, highlighted with the pure brass color and finally with a little VMA Silver mixed in.

The guns got a mix of GW Leadbelcher and black, highlighted with a little pure Leadbelcher. I left the gun casings as they were Contrast Black Legion.

The bases got another dry brushing of Pale Sand.

Decorating with decals

I deepened the shadows on the metals with a little GW Agrax Earth Shade here and there.

Now for the decals! For the decal film to disappear, you need to sandwich the decal between layers of gloss varnish. So I applied some gloss varnish on the red shoulder plate, left kneepad and the tilt shields.

I selected some proper decals from the decal sheet that comes in the Age of Darkness box: A Sons of Horus symbol on the shoulder, an Eye of Horus on the tilt shield and a sickle moon on the knee pad. The moon creates a slight bit of a mystery; it harks back to the old days of being Luna Wolves, but it could also point at the Mournival and their dark dealings and lodges behind the scenes. The tilt shields enables me to give all of my Justaerin a personal livery, like if they were noble knights. It also opens up an opportunity to add a lot of diverse colors to the army for a more personal look overall.

Detailing the tilt shields

I added some unique detail to the tilt shields. One Eye of Horus was glazed orange, Afterwards I painted black and white checkers to the lower right quarter. These tilt shields are ridiculously tiny!! Much smaller than the usual ones you get with Grey Knights or Black Templars.

Getting ready for the oil wash

I airbrushed gloss varnish all over the figures. This prepares them for the sludgy oil wash for details and weathering. It also serves as the second layer, that sandwiches the decals in and makes their decal film “disappear”.

Tools for the oil wash

If you read my tutorial on the MKVI marines, you will know that the oil wash, really makes their finish. Nicely popping details and a down and dirty weathering, suitable for traitor marines during the Siege of Terra.

I took some Raw Umber and some black oil paints and thinned them a little with some white spirit. I smeared this paint all over my terminators, pure Raw umber on the top and gradually more black added downwards and some black for a more oily look on the guns.

Looking a little ugly…

They look real horrible at this point! But don’t despair.

Let it sit for a few minutes, so the oil paint starts to adhere. Use the big brush to wash the oil paint off with more white spirit. Use downwards strokes and avoid drowning the figures completely. In a controlled manner, you can remove the oil paint from all the upper surfaces, leaving it in the recesses. Let a little of the paint stay on the surfaces as well, to represent dirt and grime. It is a nicely organic way to work and you can follow up with a smaller brush to remove more of the paint if desired.

After the oil wash

On the above picture you can see what they look like after the excess oil paint has been removed. Now they just need to dry. This oil wash, along with the Pale Sand dry brushing is what really ties these figures together with the MKVI marines, though their color schemes are different. The bases have been painted identically, which also helps.

Now with matte varnish

I airbrushed some matte varnish all over the figures, to remove the unwanted shine of the gloss varnish underneath. Here’s a little trick; I thin the matte varnish down in order to preserve a little of the shine from underneath, I think that achieves a much more natural “not varnished” look, compared to a 100% matte finish.

Painting the edges of the bases black and discovering that I need a little more contrast

I painted the edges of the bases black as per my usual MO. As I did so, I realized that my termies needed a little more highlighting. I highlighted the gold parts with a little VMA Silver.

Super highlights!

Next I super highlighted with some well placed dots and lines of pure Titanium White for points of direct reflection on the armor. This was the last bit of contrast and definition needed.

These guys are brutal!

My next and final step is a little bit of special effects. Plain and simple. I added blood stains to their hands and other relevant parts. Apart from shooting people to pieces, these guys just love to tear their victims apart with their bare hands!

For the blood stains I used Tamiya Clear Red, which was applied with a sponge.

And that was it! My first two Justaerin terminators done! Very fast and easy.

My finished first two Justaerin ready for action

A very fast method for painting these terminators for an army, yet I think with my own personal style present. Of course you can use the same method for other color schemes, only your imagination sets the limit.

Later I added 3 more for a small but complete squad


You can paint black, red and gold in countless ways for different expressions and moods. I chose my colors based on the above picture from Liber Hereticus which inspired me a lot.

I would not get in their way!

That’s it for now! I hope you feel inspired by this tutorial and above all find the joy in being able to execute a miniature project very fast and intensely with a nice result compared to the amount of time it took.

Thanks for reading.



6 thoughts on “Justaerin Tutorial

    1. Thank you!
      Yeah that oil paint stage can seem a little frightening at first but it works very well. One can also do it in a more disciplined way using pin washes. But as these are very fast painted and meant to look grimy and dirty, I think that this messy way is best.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great work! Could certainly work for other black armored armies too.

    Man, that oil stage would freak me out though. I paint so slowly that any threat of “ruining” my work is carefully avoided.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.
      Yes the same technique can be used on a lot of different figures and color schemes. The oil stage is very frightening indeed the first time, but it is merely a matter of understanding how oil paints work. Due to their very long drying time, the oil paint can be removed with thinner for a very long time, so you would be quite safe it can be erased. On the other hand you can do pin washes, which is a lot more disciplined and can be done very locally on the miniature.


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