Relic Knights Painting Brights

Relic Knights

by Dave Taylor

The visual aesthetic of many far-future, dystopian-nightmare universes that surround the miniatures games we play is typically dark. Dark, grim, and very desaturated. Dull metals, grimy browns, deep reds, dusty greys; even the creams and whites are regularly muddied around the edges.

Well, not so in the universe of Relic Knights. Despite the encroaching Darkspace Calamity, the Relic Knights setting draws its visual cues from hundreds of bright and flashy anime offerings. Dirt, while still present, is certainly not the feature. It is this dynamic flair and clean approach that sets Relic Knights apart visually from many other tabletop wargames. Subsequently, it can sometimes be tough for players to be able to “switch gears” when painting their Relic Knights models. In this series of articles I hope to show you that painting whites, bright colors, and glowing lights is not as daunting as it might initially seem.


Painting Brights

Much like painting white, painting bright and vibrant colors can be tough. Colors like reds, yellows, oranges, creams, and even yellow-heavy greens, are notoriously difficult to paint well over black undercoats (or other dark colours). To get a truly vibrant color to “pop”, you’ll want to use a white undercoat. Starting with that white undercoat is key to getting a quick start to any bright and vibrant color schemes.

The most important thing to do when painting bright colors is to get a smooth basecoat. Over a solid white undercoat, this can take two or three thin layers but is well worth the effort taken now.


Once you have a solid coat (VGC Squid Pink in the examples here), it’s time to start shading. A thinned paint wash (VMC Magenta, in our case) can give you great control and help you get into all the nooks and crannies.

Once your shading wash is dry, you can simply start to highlight the model. In this example we started by highlighting with VGC Squid Pink, and then mixed in VMC White to build up the highlights.


Just as dark models need a few spots of bright to help provide contrast, bright models need areas of darkness to add that visual interest. These can come in the form of deeper areas of shading or sections of black (or dark metallics, like those on the Pacer).

Here’s another example of “brights”. For this Noh Berserker, I followed the same priming approach as for the Sebastian Cross Relic in the Painting Whites section. With the heavily-muscled torso, I wanted the undercoat to help me with the shading. By painting a couple of thin coats of AP Dragon Red of the undercoat, it was easy to see where I should be adding more shading. The white undercoat helped provide a very bright and vibrant red.