painting imperial fists yellow step 10

Many people say that the colour yellow is one of the hardest colours to paint and I get a lot of emails from people each week asking how I achieve the yellow you see on my Imperial Fists in my gallery pages. This tutorial will take you through each of the steps I go through and hopefully at the end you will have some cool looking Imperial Fists. It’s by no means the only way of painting yellow, but it is my own way, so if you like the colour, give it a try.


  • Citadel – Vomit Brown
  • Citadel – Bleached Bone
  • Citadel – Skull White
  • Vallejo – Yellow ‘Game Colour’ Ink
  • Vallejo – Brown ‘Game Colour’ Ink


  • Basecoat or Size 1
  • Standard or Size 0
  • Detail or Size 00
  • Fine Detail or Size 000

Step I.

painting imperial fists yellow 1

Prepare all the pieces as you would normally. I usually paint everything separately then assemble the mini at the end, as I find it easier to paint. But for the purposes of this tutorial I have assembled the mini at the start.

Step II.

painting imperial fists yellow 2

I always start my painting from a black undercoat, but you do not have to follow this. I have not tried a white or grey undercoat before, but I presume it will just give you a brighter finish at the end.

Step III.

painting imperial fists yellow 3

Give all armour a nice smooth coat of Vomit Brown. I usually apply four or five thin coats to get a nice even coverage on the armour plates. This is important to get right, as it will effect the final results if the base coat is patchy.

I use a Citadel Spray Gun to get this right, as it gives me a nice even coverage quickly, this is especially usefully when you have whole squads to paint. If you have an airbrush to hand, you can also use that, but BEWARE! If you don’t thin GW paints properly they will clog and ruin the airbrush… I ruined a very expensive airbrush that I’ve had since college doing this, at least with the spray gun it is relatively cheap.

Step IV.

painting imperial fists yellow 4

Run some watered down brown ink into any recesses and joints between the armour plates and also around any rivots etc.

Step V.

painting imperial fists yellow 5

Take a 70/30 mix of Vomit Brown/ Bleached Bone and apply it to the edges of the armour, taking your time to make the highlights neat.

Step VI.

painting imperial fists yellow 6

Use the same colours for the next highlight but the mix is now 50/50 Vomit Brown/ Bleached Bone and is applied again to the edges of the armour, but in a slightly thinner band.

Step VII.

painting imperial fists yellow 7

Mix in a little skull white to the mix and apply it to the very edges of the armour and then use some pure skull white on the extremes of the armour.

Step VIII.

painting imperial fists yellow 8

Water down yellow ink to produce a glaze. A glaze is ink that has been watered down a lot, so that there is only a trace of the inks colour left. When using washes and glazes etc. I always use a tiny amount of washing up liquid (dish soap) to break the surface tension and allow the ink to flow a lot easier over flat surfaces. If done properly you shouldn’t get any of the horrible pooling  or tide marks on the flat areas, which usually puts most people off using inks.

Once the first glaze is dry re-apply more glazes until you are happy with the colour. You will see that the glaze has changed the overall hue to a rich, warm yellow.

Step IX.

painting imperial fists yellow 9

Re-apply the final two highlights from Step VII again, as they will have been washed out slightly, after the glazes.

Step X.

painting imperial fists yellow 10

Now you have followed these steps, all thats left is to fill in all the details on the mini and paint the base in what ever colours you want. Hopefully you will have ended up with something that resembles the final picture.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful to you and remember this guide doesn’t have to be used just for Imperial Fists, it makes some impressive Bad Moon Orks too.

If you use Vallejo Paints you can substitute the GW colours as below:

(Citadel) Vomit Brown ~ Filthy Brown (VGC)
(Citadel) Bleached Bone  ~ Bone White (VGC)
(Citadel) Skull White  Flat ~ Skull White (VGC)