On the Satisfaction of Painting with Texture: Sandstone Necrons

Hello all!  It’s been a while.  I recently picked up Indomitus, the new Warhammer 40,000 boxed set from Games Workshop.  It’s a really nice set with loads of goodies squeezed into the box.  I mean, take a look:


I haven’t collected either of the armies contained in the box, and in the run-up I was really considering painting up the Space Marines.  As release closer, my mind started to shift a bit.  Previously, I felt that the Necrons, as an army, lacked personality.  The new miniatures changed my mind on this and I started to lean towards them as the first force to be painted up.

The deciding factor was seeing this video from Midwinter Minis.  It shows a lovely sandstone and glow effect scheme for Necrons.  Now, being a talentless hack, I reckoned I could replicate the sandstone effect, but not necessarily the glow.  And that’s ok.  I can live with that.

With that in mind, I opened up the Indomitus set and starting putting together my Warriors:

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These were a major pain in the arse.  Like, majorly.  It’s the arms.  They’re just so fiddly.  Other than this, the set was really easy to build and I began basing the miniatures.

I actually really enjoyed the basing.  I normally don’t spend much time on this and just flock a base once I’m done.  I think I’ll be changing this going forwards, as I had so much fun putting together these bases.  I also actually used the basing supplies I bought a few years back and had barely used.  Generally, I added rocks to the bases, with a few also getting some spare Necron heads, as the box does come with lots of variant heads.

Once this was done, the miniatures got the first of two sprays.  The test models were done in GW spray, but the rest were then done in good old Halfords’ Plastic Primer – budget spray of champions!

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Once the first spray was dry, I got to work applying texture paints to bases and also to the miniatures themselves.  The key to this scheme, as devised by Midwinter Minis, is the use of texture on the models themselves.  This makes for a more convincing. more aged look to the sandstone.  It works really well, but the miniatures do look a bit spotty at the earlier stages:

Once dry, the models do look a bit of a mess, so it’s time for another spraying.  This time, the models are sprays with GW’s Zandri Dust, which will be the base colour for the scheme.

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Once that was done, it was time to fill a Super Soaker™ with Agrax Earthshade and apply liberally the the miniatures, the bases, my desk, my hands…

Washes are just amazing, aren’t they?  They can make the mediocre seem almost competent.  This was probably the most soul-destroying phase of the whole endeavour.  There was no precision involved, just slathering it on, making sure you have full coverage.

Once that was done, it was time to move on to drybrushing:

This began with a generous brushing of Zandri Dust, building that sandy colour back up.  There was then a little bit of sponging.  I tore up some of those grey bits of sponge that blister packed used to come with and used them to apply some patches of GW’s Mechanicus Standard Grey.  The models were then  drybrushed once more., this time with a more sparing application of GW’s Ushabti Bone.  Finally, random, sparing patches of Reikland Fleshshade was applied to further mottle the sandstone.

After all that brown, it was time to start with the blue:

The base of the blue is P3’s Arcane Blue.  I love P3 paints.  I don’t use them often but have been using some of their browns and their bone for a long time.  They have such great coverage – maybe because of their liquid pigment?  On top of this, I applied some Talassar Blue from GW’s Contrast range, followed by highlights of their Etherium Blue.

Once the blue was done, it was time for the final touch in the form of Javis’ Autumn Brown Lichen:

This was used on bases and across the miniatures themselves.  I think it works on a couple of different levels.  It adds to the aged look, but it also helps to break up all of the brown in the colour scheme.  Without it, some miniatures, particularly the Warriors, are in danger of looking a bit bland.  With it, I’m quite happy with them.

This took me a few weeks, but really it could have been done a lot faster if I did longer sittings.  The scheme is so simple and easy, and I’m really grateful to Midwinter Minis, but the real revelation is in the use of texture paints.  Games Workshop make a range of Technical paints that are intended to apply textures to your bases.


By using a range of these across the miniatures, I was able to create a cracking effect, as well as areas of roughness or grit in order to add to the weathered stone feel of the scheme.  As a method, it seems so obvious, but is not something I’d ever really though of.  It works so well, though!  I’d be keen to try something similar on something like a stone-themed Stormcast (Stonecast?) Eternals force for Age of Sigmar.  It was also a technique that was just a lot of fun to use.

Now that I’ve finished off the various units in the army, I will look to get some photos up in a future article.  I actually have a second Indomitus set that I will break open and paint at some point, but I’m keen to try to paint something else first.  Maybe some Frostgrave miniatures?  Maybe one of the many other projects that I’ve just not had the energy or motivation to complete over the past few years?  We’ll see.  I’m just happy that my painting drought seems to have shifted!

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my Necron Lord:

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