Star Wars Imperial Assault Painting Guide Ep.1: Stormtroopers


Hello, and welcome to Episode 1
of Sorastro’s Star Wars painting series. In these tutorials, we will be painting figures from Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars:
Imperial Assault miniatures game beginning in this episode with the Stormtroopers. We’ll be painting our stormtroopers
using the following steps: We’re going to prime the figures white
using a spray-on primer, paint all of the black areas with a dark grey, apply a black wash to the entire miniature, then shade all of the white areas in layers, before adding some battle damage and varnish. Before we begin, it’s worth mentioning firstly that these tutorials are aimed at a beginner painter. Although we aren’t going to
win any painting competitions, I hope to show that with the right
equipment, and a little patience, anyone can produce results
that look great on the tabletop. Secondly, I happen to be using paints by Citadel but alternatives include ranges by
Vallejo, Reaper, and Army Painter, and should all give fine results as long as you find a reasonably close
match to the colours used in this series. Finally, a word about brushes. For this tutorial, I’m trying out
some Winsor & Newton brushes. But if you’re just starting out in the hobby, I can highly recommend the Series 33 brushes
by Rosemary & Co. for their quality and value. If you’re buying your first set of brushes, a size 0, size 1, and a size 2
would be a good place to start. With that preface out the way, let’s get started. We prepare the miniatures by removing
any unwanted mould lines with the edge of a craft knife or with a file. With the stormtroopers, it’s not always easy to tell
whether certain lines are unwanted mould lines, or in fact, part of the armour design. If in doubt, a good resolution reference shot
from one of the movies should be your guide. We then spray the figures with a white primer. This provides an effective surface for painting, but also gives us the base colour
for the stormtroopes’ armour. I’m using primer by Army Painter, but there are plenty of other primers
out there that will do the job just as well. The main thing we want to achieve,
is thorough coverage without any loss of detail through over-spraying. Once the spray is dry, it’s a good idea to mount
your figure onto a cork or bottle top of some kind to avoid handling the miniature directly whilst painting. As such handling can wear off the paint
before we have a chance to seal it with varnish. Now, we paint all of the black areas
of the figure, using a dark grey, remembering to thin the paint
a little with a few drops of water. We’re going to paint the gloves, gun, and larger
gaps between the armour, as well as the visor, and not forgetting the horizontal black strip
that runs across the top of the helmet. The reason we’re using grey, is because
the black wash we’ll be adding in the next step will shade the recesses of these areas
to give us a nice, deep black, but allow the raised details to remain a shade lighter giving us easy and effective shading
that will require no further highlights. We don’t need to worry about getting
our brush into the really small gaps, because the black wash we’ll be adding in the next step will easily shade those in for us. Finally, don’t forget that any
mistake made at this stage can easily be touched up
with a little white paint afterwards. Now all of the black parts of
the figure have been painted grey, this stormtrooper is ready for his black wash. For the black wash, I’m using Citadel’s Nuln Oil,
which I think is a fantastic product. Just ensure that you give the bottle a vigorous shake
for at least 10 seconds, before using it. This is an easy step, in which we simply apply the wash, undiluted, with a large brush, to the entire figure. We can see how effectively the wash darkens
all of the recessed areas, producing a strong black. Yet enough of the grey still shows through to provide the necessary highlights
to the gloves and the gun. We can also see, that the previously flat
white armour is now a dirty grey colour. It will be our job in the next step
to shade that black up to white, once wash is completely dry. This stage will possibly be the most challenging
and probably the most time consuming. We’re going to take some thinned white paint and begin shading all of the armour
back up to our desired level of white, which may vary depending on how dirty
or weathered we want the stormtrooper to look. By painting in two or more thin layers, we can create subtle variations
in the levels of white that we achieve. We might leave the shadowed torso area – or the gaps
between the belt ridges – quite dark for example. And we’ll probably want to save the brightest highlights for the parts of the figure that would
likely pick up the most light, such as the top of the helmet, shoulders,
and raised edges at the top of the back. I would also pay particularly close attention to the face, carefully adding prominent highlights
around the eyes and raised areas of the helmet. If you can, it’s also worth trying to leave some
shadow alongside the raised ridges of the armour, as this will help add definition. It’s important not to panic if we make a mistake here, as we can easily add some additional
black wash selectively, with a small brush, to articulate any shadowed ridges or details
that we may have accidentally gone over with our white. If you’re new to the hobby, this stage
should be a great learning experience, as you will be able to experiment
with different levels of paint consistency and practice your brush work
without having to worry about mixing colours. Just put on some good music, try and enter a state of relaxed concentration, and enjoy seeing your stormtrooper come to life. Once we’re happy with the armour,
we may like to draw inspiration from some of the fantastic box art for the game by adding some battle damage and simple weathering. For the battle damage, I’m mixing
some black with some dark brown and roughly painting on some blaster marks. It’s not a bad idea to use an old brush for this
as we’ll be applying the paint in a fairly rough way. A darker concentration at the centre
of the blast can look effective. And for a freshly imparted blast, you may
like to add a simple glowing ember effect by adding a small dab of concentrated bright orange. I find Citadel’s Ryza Rust ideal for this. The same dark brown mix, or just some Nuln Oil, can also be used for any other bits of general
dirt or weathering you might like to add, especially around the feet and legs. I find adding battle damage a fun and easy step, but one that adds a nice bit of grit and character
to the otherwise pristine stormtroopers. It can also be a good way of covering up any
specific parts of the figure you may be unhappy with. Just be sure not to go over the top, and try to vary the amount and location
of damage for each trooper. With the figure more or less finished,
we now need to make a decision about the base. Adding modelling sand and grass is an attractive option, but as Imperial Assault is a game that takes place over
a range of different internal and external environments, and with others likely to follow, I’ve decided to simply paint my bases
using Mechanicus Standard Grey. I’ve also decided to differentiate the elite units by painting the rim of their bases with Mephiston Red. With the painting all done, we now need to
protect the miniature with a coat of matte varnish, and Testor’s Dullcote is my
product of choice to do just that. A nice additional final touch
is to use a brush-on gloss varnish, to give a hardened, glossy look
to the stormtrooper’s armour. For that, I’m using Citadel’s ‘Ardcoat, which I would usually thin down
slightly before applying with a brush, taking care to avoid the battle scars. This is a simple step, but one that I feel
really adds to the final look of the model. With the varnish on, our stormtroopers
and this tutorial are now complete. Thank you so much for watching. As always, I would welcome any constructive feedback, comments, or suggestions
in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more videos in the near future, and happy painting!

100 thoughts on “Star Wars Imperial Assault Painting Guide Ep.1: Stormtroopers

  1. First off, I love your stuff, thank you for producing such high quality videos! I'm about to start painting my own IA stuff, and these videos have given me a great idea on how to get started.

    Small recommendation, you may want to add an annotation in this video pointing to the Kayn Somos video (episode 30) for the alternative wash idea. I say this because as a brand new painter, looking at the black wash and having to re-highlight every white area seems very daunting. Meanwhile the thinner wash you recommend in that other video seems much bore doable for a newbie like myself.

    Anyway, just a thought, and keep doing what you're doing!

  2. I do model cars and just started painting my imperial assault miniatures based of your videos so thank you for the ideas but for lacquer I know you use testers I use the testers 2in1 lacquer and glossy coat would that work with citadel paints and armory

  3. thanks for the video! I seen this after I have already painted almost all of my figures but this still gives me ideas for the future. I primed mine in black instead of white then painted it white. It does take more coats of white to cover but I think it can look more gridy b/c of the black showing through. also if you go to hobby lobby you can find some really thin brushes there to help with detailing.

  4. So cool – i was really keen to find an beginner level/introductory painting instuctional and this has done that in spades – thanks a lot.

  5. Good day!

    I just wanted to say thanks for the tutorial. I picked up some white primer, the citadel's white scar, abaddon black, and mechanical grey, some ardcoat and tarnish. I'm going to start with a set of three stormtroopers. I'm going to prime them, paint in the blacks, paint the base grey, spray the varnish and add the ardcoat. Hopefully the results come out fine until the other stuff comes in.

    Thanks again!

  6. Hello Sorastro,

    A big thank you to you because it is your tutorials that decided to paint my figurines of Star Wars "Assault on the Empire". I have just made my first order of Citadel products and I will start very quickly. I hope the result will be good and my goal will be that my figurines look "a bit" like yours. Again thank you for these videos really very useful, perfectly didactic, well mounted and very well sounded. Sorry for my poor English, I'm French! 🙂 I hope that Google will have translated my French into good English and that it will not have misinterpreted my remarks. Continue for a long time to make us dream.

  7. I just discovered your videos Sorastro and I think they're great! I've just recently gotten back into painting miniatures and I sure do wish I had these videos a few years ago – you've helped me paint my best one ever 🙂 I just picked up Imperial Assault so this series will be a big help for sure.

  8. Question, do you use a separate brush to mix the paints and what's the best way to properly load the used brush? Love the series and your content quality is outstanding!

  9. My figures look like clay figures after l've applied the white paint =/

    Is it most probably because of my shading or layering?

  10. When you refer to the white citadel primer are you talking about the corax white spray paint from citadel?

  11. I cannot begin to tell you how much your tutorials have helped my painting. Your methods of communicating all the methods are fantastic. You are an excellent instructor. It is very obvious you enjoy what you do! Do you actually play Imperial Assault as well?

  12. Wauw you are great! You really manage to pass on your skills and love for painting! I enjoyed watching your work and I now want to start painting myself!
    But I also have a question. As I'm a student, my budget is not very big, so I don't want to have to buy all the different colours available. Which ones do you recommend are really necessary and useful if I want to paint the base game and perhaps some expansions?
    ps I just subscribed to see all your next videos 😉

  13. The spray paint seems to have left a texture to your model. I had the same thing happen when I was painting in heavy humidity day. During high humid days I will usually base coat using a brush, or break out my de-humidifier and garage spray box.

  14. What size brush do you use for mixing (as you often specify the number of brushes of each 😉 ), also, what size brush is that you use for the wash?

  15. Grr, I'm getting nowhere with this and it's very frustrating. No matter what I do (and I try to follow the guides to the letter) everything I do come out looking to dark and very splotchy. In general everything looks good and neat at the ground layer stages, but as soon as washes and highlights come into play everything is ruined. Not sure if I thin to much, or too little, use to few layers etc.

  16. What is being used to stick the figures down. is it just the like sticky putty you use to hang posters? or is it something different?

  17. Hi, Sorastro! I've got a semi-random question – what's your opinion on brush-on primers?
    I ask this because, after a long time watching your videos, I got the courage to try painting myself – but, since ventilation is a bit of an issue for me, I went for a brush-on primer (specifically, Vallejo acrylic-polyurethane 74.600 white surface primer). I did shake the bottle thoroughly, but the primer was very thin and it behaved sort of like a wash when applying – kept gathering in the recesses, and left a lot of the original color shining through. I managed to clean it up somewhat by applying a base coat of white (side note – is there a difference between ceramite white and white scar?), but now I'm left wondering – did I get a bad sample, or is there a trick to working with brush-on primers that I'm missing? Or maybe brush-on primers are a bad idea in general? Or maybe this is a problem only with white primers? Because I tried a games workshop painting starter set a few months ago, and don't remember any issues with brush-on black imperial primer.

  18. Hi sorastro. Looking to start first painting experience using your tutorials as a guide but had a quick question. i've found it hard to find Testor's Dullcote matt varnish and wondered if you had any good alternatives. thanks and keep up the good work.

  19. my copy just came in the mail last night. Using these guides to paint my own copy, AWESOME techniques and perfect results! 😀

  20. Nice hand work, your skill with a brush is exceptional. But I do have some tips for you, first off you could use a silver inside the breathing filters on the mask as those would be metallic in real life, also there is a slide on the side of the gun that is supposed to be silver as well. And the last piece of advice I have for you is more nit picking than anything else, the Empire would never reuse armor, so while your blaster damage looks great and you did an amazing job its very unrealistic for a Stormtrooper to ever have blaster damage and not be dead from the shot. All in all amazing bro, you impressed me a lot with your brush work.

  21. I did my own storm troopers today and I have to say following this tutorial I am so happy with the results. I think I used too much nuln oil though so my troopers look really gritty. all and all this has been my favorite and best attempt at mini painting and it is all thanks to this video series.

  22. Huge thanks for these videos. They took my fear of all the paint work when considering to buy a mini-based game. Now I really look forward to not only play the games, but also paint the minis. I just received IA and am about to start to follow your videos.

  23. Hello, do you have a list of all the types of paint you have used for all the star wars painting guides? I know I can see at the end of the video the types you have used for that pparticolour figure. I don't have anny paint ande i need to buy it all new so I want to buy all the paints you used for painting all the star wars episodes. Thx a lot for the good explination in your guides.

  24. I am just getting into the hobby, so sorry If this is a stupid question. Is it a good idea to use wet palette for thinning and mixing the paints ?

  25. Great video! I am using this one for the jetpack troopers from Jabba's realm. They are a bit different, but the jetpack is similar to the one used by Boba Fett too. Do you have any suggestion on what color to use for the plastic stands? Just leave them as they are or?

  26. Hi Sorastro, I discovered your videos a few months ago, but just yesterday took the plunge and bought myself my first batch of paints to get started with my IA stuff. Huge thank you for your videos, at first my Stormtroopers looked a bit iffy, but as you very rightly said, the highlighting with white demands time and after a few more layers they're looking a lot better!

    I was wondering a couple of things:
    – I've also started my Royal Guards, but as the Carrorburg Crimson wash doesn't seem as useful (you use it far less than Nuln Oil), I don't really want to fork out for it, I'd rather pick up other colours to let me paint a wider range of the minis. Would washing them with Nuln oil before adding the base red maybe work? Otherwise, would a watered down nuln oil work?

    – Where do you get your Testors Dullcote from? (I'm also from the UK)

  27. Your videos have given me the courage to attempt painting myself, and I was wanting to start with the stormtroopers.  I love the work you do, but my gut tells me that I want a less gritty version of these guys.  What paint and technique changes would you recommend to achieve a more polished/clean version, like what is seen in the films while aboard the ships and Deathstar?

  28. hey all if you plan on using multiple stormtrooper units I recommend painting one of the shoulder plates black or dark blue as it does a cool effect to the stormtroopers and allows you to differenciate your trooperq

  29. What are you using to stick your figures to the cardboard and cap? Thanks for the videos. My paints on its way and can't wait to start painting using your tutorials. Thanks for taking the time to help out beginners like me!

  30. Hey, battle damage on the armor of a stormtrooper is HIGHLY unrealistic 😉
    Proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym-xHehd4NI

  31. I just washed my Stormtroopers. They are really dark! I also have 4 troopers that have large packs on their back. I cannot seem to find a picture to see the colors of the packs.

  32. The weathered look looks great for weapons and such, but storm trooper armor is never weathered. it’s always a gorgeous bright white. that’s how I’ll be painting mine.

  33. I wanted to say that your painting videos are amazing and have provided the spark I needed to get back into a hobby I left many moons ago. So thanks!

  34. Just received my Imperial Assault game for X-Mas and I was looking for a hobby for the last couple of years. That amazing video might have gave me the answer!!! Thanks can't wait to go shopping for some painting items!

  35. Suggestion for the bases – cut the figures off and glue them to clear, round plex pieces. Can probably get a sign shop to do this on a laser for cheap. This way, no matter what terrain they are standing on they look as though they are without their bases almost entirely.

  36. Thank you so much! Please don’t stop.

    I’ve been playing Xwing for a while and it’s got me into board gaming. I really wanted IA but didn’t have the people to play it. Now the support App came out I asked my wife it for Christmas.

    What I didn’t ask for was for her to quietly listen to me talking about how cool the game was and I wanted to paint it up like this guy (showing her your video)

    Christmas Day comes and she not only bought me the game but a whole painters starter set from your video that she studied several times as the hours dwindled in the office nearing Christmas Day.

    So Christmas evening (so grateful to my awesome wife) I sat down with a Rum and Ginger all my new kit and your amazing tutorials.

    It’s now New Year’s Eve and I’ve just finished up one of the nine with Ardcoat and plan to do the rest tonight.

    They look amazing and I’m proud of my work all thanks to you.

    All the best for the future and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  37. It seems like it would have been a lot easier to just be more careful with the shading, rather than going back over the whole model with white again.

  38. First off, these videos are incredible; they are really easy to follow and have convinced me to try my own hand at painting my miniatures. Since I'm completely new at this, how long do you need to wait between each step for the paint to dry? Thanks for any help you can offer.

  39. Hi, your video's are great, I am new to painting. I painted my storm troopers as per your video months ago but I have recently pulled it out to play, I noticed my minis are tacky. Any reason why this would happen. Any suggestions to fix this without repainting them will be helpful. Thanks

  40. I noticed my brushes (#2 typically) begin to show a bent tip after a few uses… I dont store them upside down in the water cup obviously, and I guess they bend by use… Not sure there is a remedy for that, or a way to avoid it, or perhaps my brushes are just not good… mmm

  41. Hi Sorastro, congratulations for everything. You are fantastic painting miniatures and i'd like to paint my IA like you watching your tutorials, but my problem is that I've got the full set of Vallejo Game Color and I don't know what to do. What Do you recomend me?

  42. Your vids are amazing! Please do the herra and chopper figures! What size brush are you using? I got the brand but not size.

  43. Amazing video mate, I just completed painting my own Storm Troopers following your fantastic guide. I've given you a shout on on my channel too. So can't wait to start painting all the rest of my minis, your vids are extremely helpful. All the best mate 🙂

  44. Just watched your Paint Stormtroopers for Star Wars Legion set… and although both are great videos we can see how much you've improved as a film maker and as a painter. 🙂 Bravo sir!

  45. hi, i wanted to thank you for making my game more then it was. I started with the stormtroopers and they turned out great. now i just follow the episodes for the rest 🙂

  46. I just recently started playing Imperial Assault and have been wanting to paint the figures for that extra dynamic to to game. I’ve never done any miniature painting and found this tutorial absolutely amazing. My troopers turned out fantastic! Thanks!

  47. Hi!! your video just gave me the push to start painting! however, I couldn't find citadel paintings in my country. is there any alternative of the paints you used in army painter? also, since I am starting I probably will buy cheap brushes from aliexpress…or would you say its mandatory to start with ones of better quality?

    Thanks for doing this!

  48. real noob about painting, but what material is that gum that many use to stick miniature somewhere to paint them?

  49. Hi,

    I love your video's. since I am a beginner they have come in really handy for me. I am up to painting the ISB Infiltrators, Grand Inquisitor and Emperor Palpatine. Can't find them so I may have to fly solo on these ones. If it wasn't for you video's I wouldn't know where to start. Thanks.

  50. Hi. First, thanks for this fantastic guide. I'm beginner and have just started my first painting and would be very happy for an advice. When I apply the white shading the paint sometimes leaves something that looks like tiny grains on some places. They are small but quite noticeable when they appear on the helmet or other smooth areas. I'm using the Citadel layer White Scare which I believe was the one you used here. Do you have any advice to what I might do to avoid getting these grains?

  51. Good tutorial, you paint as same like me. I have Tau empire and my army is full white with violet areas, and the technic you described in the video are exactly the same I use for them. Also say that painting in white colour is the most tired and dificult for a novice people. But is the most gratificant when you finish the work. Thumbs up¡¡

  52. Nice vid and cool results. What happens when you would just spray them white and paint the black parts black and that's it?

  53. I may be a little late to the party in discovering your excellent tutorials, but they are amazing. I'm still currently working on the ST set, finishing up the base of each. I knew going into this that I was under taking a tremendous task, but so far it has been very satisfying. Thank you so much for making these as it gives non-artistic types the ability to accomplish something truly amazing.

  54. 8:25 – My first reaction was: did a rebel shoot that guy from the back? How dishonorable! Then again, it was probably one of his own buddies, looking at how well they aim in the movies… XD

  55. I am extra amazed now that I've read the credits and found that you wrote the music as well! VERY well done! I'm an amateur composer who has also used EW Quantum Leap, and I had to compliment you on your skilled use.

  56. Tried both this method, and the Legion method. This method of priming white, adding detail and using nuln oil is so much more effective for beginners like me! Drawing on those eyes and mouth pieces without looking like moustaches and sunglasses is so hard, but it's a walk in the park with Nuln Oil getting into those recesses. They call it Liquid Talent for a reason.

  57. Creative Advice Tip. I am going to be starting my mini paintings soon (first time painting ANY minis), and it's going to be on I.A.
    the kicker is I'd like to have color differentiation between the different deployment groups. That's easy for the merc factions since they don't have uniforms, but not so much for the various Emperial Trooper groups. (I also have the stormtrooper expansion set, so that's 4 groups of troopers that need painting)
    … do you have any suggestions? I'm kinda thinking using different finishes: undamaged deathstar uniforms, sand blasted types, etc. But just wondering if you had thoughts.

    Any rate, thanks again for these vids. Really helpful and inspiring.

  58. Just started doing this. Tomorrow, I'm going to start step 2. Guess I should get a tray for the paint before I use it. But until then I'd like to ask do you wait until the gray paint dries before starting Black Wash, or does that have to be done immediately after Base Colors?

  59. a good trick to not go back and reshade, is take a cotton bud, and bush, drip the wash in the areas you want dark, and then use a bud to soak up the excess. also to get areas black, thin you paint to wash thin and drip and bud it off, until its at the darkness you disire for that area..so you basically paint in small small areas with only small drips of watery paint..and bud out the excess to preserve the detail…

  60. part 2 – you can also use the drip and bud to create color shifts, like i did with my necrons, in their electronical lines, by thinning down say, red, orange, yellow, to different consistency. and dripping and bud them off each other….so the then power wire, or recess shows Red yellow orange color shifts…and no having to try and paint that in fine detail. i drink way to much coffee to have my hand that steady.

  61. but for my cover coat, i use HARD COAT mod podge clear, watered down.. dip, it in, bud off excess and dry. or i use a brush to apply it. i use mod podge on 40k becasue that stuff dries like steel…so if you drop a figure as i have..it might survive..with a regular varnish..break out your glue..you are reattaching something..or many somethings if you find them.

  62. Excelent video! I have a question though, do you mix 50/50 with water all your paints? Best regards from Mexico!

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