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Citadel Paint Guide

Want to start painting your miniatures? Not sure where to begin? Have a look at our Citadel Paint Guide or visit our shop for suggestions.

Part 1 - The Basics

Start putting some colors on your miniatures with these 4 basic paints.

  1. Undercoat primer spray
  2. Base paint
  3. Shade paint (also called "Wash")
  4. Contrast paint

Citadel Primer Spray

Before painting your miniatures, you should use an undercoat primer spray so that the paint sticks to the miniatures. Use a white primer spray for bright color schemes or a black primer spray for dark color schemes. You can also use colored primer spray if you have many miniatures of the same base color (such as green primer spray for a convoy of green tanks). Check here for Citadel primer sprays.

A Space Marine model covered with Chaos Black Spray.

Citadel Base

Once the primer is fully dry, use Citadel Base paint as the next coat on your miniature. Citadel Base paints are opaque, high pigments paints that give smooth matte finish on miniatures. Before using Citadel Base paint, thin the paint down on a palette with a little bit of water for smooth application. Check here for Citadel Base paints.

Example of red base paint on a Wraithguard miniature.

Citadel Shade

Citadel Shades are translucent paints that flow into the recesses of the miniatures, and give them a defined shading with a matte finish. There are also Gloss-finished Shades too. Check here for Citadel Shade Paints.

Example of a Bloodletter miniature before using Shade paint.


Example of the same miniature after applying Shade paint. The muscles on the Bloodletter look more defined.

Citadel Contrast

Citadel Contrast is a new type of paint that produces excellent results fast and easily. By applying Contrast paint over a light primer, you will get a vivid base and shading with a single application. Check here for Citadel Contrast paints.

First apply grey primer on the miniature.


Then apply Contrast paint on the miniature. You don’t need to thin it down with water. Use the brush to move the paint around so it doesn’t pool in the recesses.


Look at that Space Marine after a single coat of Ultramarines Blue Contrast Paint!


Contrast paint can be mixed with Contrast Medium to use as a glaze that tints the miniatures.


With these 4 types of paints, your miniatures will already look good, but if you want to bring them to the next level, keep reading!


Part 2: Details

Your miniatures should be ready to play now, but let’s add some details by adding highlights. There are 2 types of paints that you can use for this: Dry and Layer.

Citadel Dry

Citadel Dry is a thick paint that can be used to highlight your miniatures with dry-brushing technique.

Take a small amount of paint from the pot with a rough brush, wipe it off with a paper towel until it is almost dry, then brush back and forth over the raised area of your miniature to give it some highlight. Never thin Dry paints with water. Check here for Citadel Dry Paints.

Example of Dry paint on a Dreadnought miniature. Look at the top leg of the miniature next to the brush and compare it with the bottom leg.

Drybrushing is complete. Can you see the difference?

Citadel Layer

Citadel Layer is a paint use for highlighting the miniatures. They are slightly translucent, have lower pigments than base paints, and are designed to be used straight over Citadel Base paints (or over another darker Layer paint). Check here for Citadel Layer Paints.



Part 3: Technical Paints

In this section, we will show you some technical paints that you can use to add more details to your miniatures.

Citadel Technical

Texture paint is use to decorate the base of your model and make it look like it is standing on sand, dirt, mud, or snow. Just take a small amount from the pot and spread it over the base of your miniatures. After applying these paints, use Shade and Dry paint to highlight the base. Check here for Citadel Technical Paints.


These paints are used to give realistic effects such as blood, snot, or rust.


Medium paints are clear paints without pigments that are mixed with other types of paints to create a glaze. Use Lahmian Medium with Shade and Layer paints and Contrast Medium with Contrast paints.


Varnishes have several uses, such as, use them to put a transfer sheet on to the miniatures, change the finishing coat over the miniatures or protect your paints on the miniatures from chipping. Use Stormshield for satin finish or Ardcoat for gloss finish.

Example of Stromshield on a miniature.


Example of Ardcoat on a miniature.

Citadel Air

Citadel Air is designed to be used with airbrush. They are ready to use out of the pot, or you can adjust the thickness of the paint by thin them down with airbrush medium.


Read more info on paints and how to use at https://citadelcolour.com/

Images by
Games Workshop website (https://www.games-workshop.com/)
Warhammer TV Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/GamesWorkshopWNT)

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