How to Paint Space Marines in Gold Armor

Updated August 10, 2017

In Games Workshop's "Warhammer 40,000" tabletop miniatures battle game, the Space Marines are the elite warriors of the Imperium of Mankind. Their suits of heavy power armour are decorated with the colours and heraldry of the chapters to which they belong. Some Marines wear shining golden armour. Often, this is Artificer Armor, customised armour passed down from generation to generation. A suit of gold armour can make a model stand out on the tabletop with only a little effort.

Make sure your miniature is free from mould lines and excess metal or plastic.

Undercoat the model with a coat of black paint.

Choose the areas you want to be gold. Not every part of the model should be golden; you'll want to have some areas of contrast.

Paint the areas you've selected with a mix of gold and medium brown paint.

Wash the gold surfaces in a dark brown or red-brown ink. The ink will pool in the crevices and edges, making the gold appear brighter on raised areas. At this stage, the armour will look quite dark, but don't worry. It will be shining brightly by the time you're done.

Paint the surfaces of the armour with gold. Leave the ink in the corners and crevices, such as the details of the helmet and backpack, and the spaces between the fingers, but be sure to get good coverage on raised areas, such as the knees, the centres of the shoulder pads, the top of the helmet and the hands.

Highlight the edges of the armour with silver paint or a mixture of gold and silver. A small highlight is all you need. Pick out edges, such as the join between the helmet and face mask, the arch over the respirator, the edges of the shin pads, the tops of the boots, the mechanisms on the backpack and the fingers.

Once your gold armour is done, go back and paint in the remaining areas of the model. You may need to reapply the undercoat some areas in black. Carefully paint the trim on the shoulder pads, eyes, weapons and pouches, the gaps between armour panels and other details in the colour scheme of your choice.


If you're looking for an alternative to a standard gold paint scheme, look into "non-metallic metal" or NMM, a style of painting that represents metal without metallic paints.

Things You'll Need

  • Games Workshop Space Marine model
  • Acrylic paints
  • Ink washes
  • Paintbrushes, especially 0 and 3/0 sizes
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About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.