Have you ever had a bee in your bonnet over a painting project?

I really like Dark Angels – they are my favourite chapter by far – and over the years, I have painted up two Dark Angels armies, then sold them as my painting steadily improved and they no longer really ‘fitted in’ with the rest of my collection. However, while I have been giving thought to doing a new Dark Angels army, I had two blocks placed in front of me – first, they did not fit in with any campaign I am working on at the moment and second, I could not find a decent way of painting them. In the past, I had always done them a little ‘too green’ and not ‘dark’ enough. Plus, I wanted to be able to do troops quickly and have the same scheme applicable to vehicles (which tends to knock contrast paint schemes out of the running).

This week, I had an epiphany that allowed me to bypass those two blocks.

The first I would ignore. There would no doubt be a campaign in the future that could use Dark Angels, and you should always paint what you find fun. For the second, a new paint scheme suddenly hit me, and I just could not wait to try it out. So, I ran down to the office, where a unit of five Assault Intercessors just happened to be waiting, and I feverishly started putting them together (while trying hard to ignore the Thousand Sons vehicles on the painting table that I really should have been concentrating on instead).

This was the result, and it only took a morning to complete them, despite this being the first run at this paint scheme where I was still working things out.

And I think this scheme works very well – just dark enough for the Dark Angels, and highlighted enough to give all the details attention.

This was how it was done…

Spray undercoat everything with Chaos Black – make sure it is a good coverage, as this is also effectively the base coat.

Using the kind of ‘powder makeup’ brush used for Slap Chop, do a heavy drybrush of Caliban Green.

Switching to a medium GW Dry brush, drybrush Warpstone Green and, very lightly, Moot Green.

And that is all of the armour done, in the work of minutes. This is what makes this scheme so fast to do, as there is no drying time, and drybrushing is lightning fast. Even better, the Dark Angels do not paint the rims of their shoulder pads, like the Ultramarines do, so there is no ‘delicate’ work to consider.

After that, it is just a case of loading up on the details, and there is not too many of them…

Start with the red weapon casing (faster to do that first, rather than the metal of the weapons), using a Khorne Red base with Agrax shading, and drybrushed Mephiston Red.

Then all the bare metal on the model, using the usual Leadbelcher. Nuln Oil, and Stormhost Silver.

The chest eagle (and any skulls on the armour) uses a Corax White base, a Sepia wash, and Screaming Skull highlight.

Leather pouches are Dryad Bark, Nuln Oil, and Gorthor Brown, while any parchment uses Rakarth Flesh, Agrax, and Pallid Wych Flesh. Purity seals use Screamer Pink, Nuln Oil, and Pink Horror.

Obviously, a lot of these detail can be done simultaneously, so while Nuln Oil is drying on the metalwork, pouches and purity seals, you can be working on the chest eagles, for example.

The last job common to all models is the black undersuit and the (very little) piping. For this, I simply used Black Legion contrast.

The only other contrast paint used was on the cooling coils of the sergeant’s Plasma Pistol – here I used White Scar topped with the new Frostheart. And, frankly, I am not doing plasma weapons any other way in the future. In the past I have had this four stage approach, but this is simply a bit of white with a contrast slapped on top, and it looks far brighter than anything I have done before!

And that, aside from basing and transfers, completed these models!

It took just a morning to build and paint this squad and, now I know what I am doing, I am confident I could do a full squad of ten Intercessors in the same time. Give me a whole day, and I could do a lot more. Which is fortunate, because…

I had been ignoring the new Battleforce box sets that GW has been bringing out, as nothing was really inspiring me, but then I noticed the new Salamanders one – I would have to ditch the leader, but there are two squads of Intercessors in there, some Aggressors and some Eliminators. A good start to a new Dark Angels army!

Before I dive in too deep though, I need to confirm that this scheme works with vehicles too (given the drybrushing approach to the armour, I think their hulls will get done in super-quick time). These five Assault Intercessors are not going to want to walk across the battlefield, so I see a Dark Angels Impulsor coming in the very near future…