There might be less Rebel miniatures than Imperial ones in your box of Star Wars: Rebellion, but if you want to do a good job painting them, you’ll probably invest more hours on the good guys. The reason being is the Rebels aren’t as uniform as the Imperials (Imps are mostly boring grey). The Rebels have more variation in their colour scheme, and if you want to be thematic, then the Rebels have to look a little beat up too. Damage, grime, wear and tear are the hallmarks for Rebel stuff.
The original trilogy had George Lucas’ innovative vision of “used technology.” Let’s not forget that no one had ever done that before in a sci-fi setting. The Rebels are kings of “used tech” and why I think they look the coolest but also take longer to paint.
If you’re about to sit down and paint your set, I suggest starting out painting the Imperials. You can read how I did mine over here. Part of painting is the psychological battle of keeping your queue moving, and if you take a long time painting the Rebels, you might loose heart getting to the Imperials.
My advice is to get the Imperials done first, then display your sea of fascist Storm Troopers and cheap TIE Fighters beside your painting area as motivation to get the Rebels done!
I’m switching over to Vallejo paints, and use some GW paints that I have from the past. If you don’t have the paints I describe, you can find similar colours by using colour matching painting sites. I like to use this one:
All the figures I painted were cleaned with needle files and an exacto knife. Some were primed white, some were primed black. I use P3 primer. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to considers it the best on the market. I highly recommend it, especially for very small or ultra detailed miniatures like those found in Rebellion.
Remember, when priming, always use many thin coats vs. a few thick ones. Don’t be lazy! I always aim for 5+ coats at the minimum. Spray at a good distance from the model and give it time to dry between coats.
This primer is very thin, so your first coat might look like nothing was sprayed on the model. Don’t over spray! Give each coat time to dry. Patience is the key.
Who doesn’t love Y-Wings? Those rugged ships looked so cool and blew up real nice in Star Wars! There are more Y-Wings in the box than X-Wings, as they were the original workhorse of the Rebel Fleet, before the Rebels tv show silly retcon that is.
To start, these guys were primed in White and washed with Nuln Oil, followed by blotchy washes of Umber Shade in spots.
This was followed by a thinned Black Ink wash in a few spots to denote the most grimy areas. In some places I used Brown Ink instead of Umber Shade, and outlined the edges of engine spokes in Brown Ink to give them more definition.
The Engine areas were painted Black.
Next the model was drybrushed Bleached Bone followed by White.
If after a Bleached Bone drybrush, there were big lines of Brown Ink around the engine spokes, I painted over those areas with Bleached Bone or even Khaki (as I had it in the palette). After that, I would I drybrush in White.
Remember, you are working up to a colour, so deal with the darkest colours first, then apply layers “up to” white.
Any copper paint can be used for the metal tubing. I used Vallejo Copper.
After the White drybrush, I painted thinned white on the cockpit and the sensor node nacelle or front part of the wings. You can see in the photo above, those parts of the model are whiter.
If something is too white, then apply a thin wash of Umber shade. At times I did this to tone down the body area.
For battle damage on white parts, I used either thinned black or Black Ink and dappled it in dots. Then I took Nuln Oil and painted “streaks” away from those dots, or connecting lines between them. That will either give a “filler” between the dots, connecting them into one battle damage area, or give the illusion of a damage streak away from the dots, to appear as laser scoring or micro meteor impacts.
If you need to repaint an area white, use Bleached Bone first. You can leave the Bleached Bone to give a weathered effect on the hull, or cover it over with more white as you see fit.
A little bit of Brown Ink and was used to outline parts of the ship, like the engine spokes or where the front guns or wings meet the ship. Also, ink can be used to outline a panel on the ship, or the turret gun over the cockpit.
A little bit of white and brown over the squad colours help give the Y-Wings some life and character. You can also put a touch of colour on the R2 units for extra detail.
In the end, I painted 5 Gold Squadron, 2 Red Squadron, 1 Blue Squadron, 2 Grey Squadron and 2 Green Squadron Y-Wings.
When finished, it is mandatory to fly the little ships around making pew pew sounds as they chase your painted TIE fighters – just make sure no one is watching first!
One of the coolest, if not the coolest looking ship to ever hit the big screen was the X-Wing. You get 8 of them in the box, so make their paint jobs count!
The only thing I do not like about this model is the cockpit. Just like their FFG Armada cousins, the cockpits on these X-Wings suck. They do not look anything like the ships are supposed to. While FFG improved upon the TIE Fighters in this box vs the Armada ones, they did not upgrade their X-Wings and, that is a real shame.
I painted my X-Wings very similar to the Y-Wings. I primed them in White, then washed them in Nuln Oil. Have I told you how much I love Nuln Oil?
Some areas would be painted in thinned White to tone down the browns, or bring up areas of the model to a brighter colour.
The inside of the engine tube was painted with purple. No one will ever see the “engine glow” but it’s cool that’s there. If someone decides to pick up the model and squint at it they will be in for a pleasant surprise. A black ring was painted at the very end to cap the engine.
The green was the same as the Y-Wings, Intermediate Green.
Battle damage was painted the same as the Y-Wings. Just remember that you are “working up to” white and if you make a mistake, you can paint over it.
followed by applying blotchy Umber Shade in spots.
Another wash of thinned Black Ink was painted in only a few spots, those being the most grimy areas of the ship.
Now in that photo above, I got a little too carried away with the black. It was a pain to deal with bringing it back up to white. Don’t over do it.
To reduce the grime and bring the colour back “up to” white, I would drybrush with White and then paint thinned white in spots.
As you can see, this meathod can be used on all of your “white” Rebel space ships. Painting over areas with thinned white paint helps you catch the areas the drybrush did not do a good job at getting.
Remember, this is just the base colour, and the detailing will really give the ship some life. Look at how different the Corvette and the Y-Wing look in that photo compared to their final results, yet also notice how important a good base is.
The red used was Evil Sunz Red. The cockpit was painted in Bronze Fleshtone and outlined with Brown Ink.
The engines were painted circles in Bronze Fleshtone, then washed over in Orange ink.
Each ship was given an individual paint scheme, two in blue, two in red with one being painted as the Tantive V. Each ship has it’s own unique character and evokes a story, which is what the Rebels are about.
Sadly I do not have any notes as to how I painted these ships. All I remember is that they took a very long time. Part of the reason I didn’t take notes is because I was mixing lots of different paints to get the effects and colours I wanted.
I do remember that the rust “leak” effects were painted using inks. Use a thinned ink for a more subtle stain or just a normal ink streak for a more pronounced stain. You can use multiple thinned inks to work up to a more pronounced effect. I mixed both brown and black inks.
The engines were also painted in blue with a light blue highlight to give the models some detail. Each Rebel Transport looks fairly unique, yet because I used earth tones and grey, they do not clash with the rest of the Rebel Fleet.
Mon Calamari Cruisers
These ships were primed in black, however, painting them in white would have been much better, so I suggest you prime them white. The black tended to make the browns I used a little drab. White would have made the browns much more vibrant.
To pick up the colour, I base coated the ships in Bleached Bone.
You can always do a quick wash of Umber Shade to tone down extreme highlights and then go back and pick those highlights out with a watered down highlight layer of paint if need be.
The cargo bay doors were also painted in a light blue. As each Mon Calamari ship is supposed to be unique, I suggest painting your ships in slightly different colours, it also gives the Rebel fleet a little more character.
Then, they were highlighted with a Nuetral Grey and Deck Tan mix in a 1:1 ratio.
If you’re feeling adventurous you can apply a little frock to their bases. I felt leaving them black was fine.
I themed each for a different planet. One was for a snowy planet, or Hoth, one was for a more arid planet and the last one was for a greener, more lush planet.
They were all primed in white. I used flock, small stones and sand to make the rock bases upon which the cannons sit more individual.
For the white Ion Cannon, I used Nuln Oil in the cracks of the gun and painted thinned white over any parts of the paint not in the crack. I used thinned Ice Blue and painted it into the edges of the “rock face” to make it look like ice.
The metal for all of them was painted in a dark metal paint, like Boltgun Metal, and highlighted with a light drybrush of Chainmail paint.
They were given a base coat of Deck Tan.
Then they were given a heavy wash of Nuln Oil. After that they were drybrushed with Deck Tan + Silver Grey in a 1:1 mix. A final highlight was given by lightly drybrushing in Silver Grey.
The windows were painted with Imperial Blue, then highlighted in Ice Blue + White in a 1:1 mix ratio. The highlight paint was thinned and applied in a few layers. This helps give the illusion of a reflection in the window.
Streaks were painted on the model to show wear and tear. They were done in thinned black ink. I would first test the paint on a piece of white paper to make sure the paint wasn’t too dark or thick. If it was to my satisfaction, only then would I paint the speeder.
I found that having these figures primed black was much better. It meant that areas with different connecting colours, like the head to the body, or the hands to the sleeves, would naturally have a black dividing line if you missed a spot while painting. I suggest you prime them black!
When researching what Rebel Troopers looked like, I saw some that had khaki coloured pants and some had grey pants. The guys in Star Wars aboard the Tantive had grey pants, so most of the Rebel Troopers were painted that way.
The shirt was given a base coat in Shadow Grey, and then a thinned Space Wolf Grey highlight was painted on. Finally a thinned highlight of Space Wolf Grey + White was painted.
The beige pants were given a bleached bone base coat, followed by a thinned Brown Ink Wash. A highlight of Bleached Bone was applied followed by a final highlight of Bleached Bone + White in a 1:1 mix ratio.
Below are some progress shots I took while painting a beige pants Rebel.
The grey pants were given a base coat of Neutral Grey, then a wash of Black Shade followed by a final drybrush highlight of Neutral Grey + White in a 1:1 mix. Some parts of the highlight were painted, and if something got too light, it was darkened with a wash of Black Shade again.
Below are some progress shots I took while painting grey pant Rebels.
The face & flesh were painted first with White, then given a base coat of Pale Flesh. That was followed by a wash of Flesh Wash, then a highlight of Elf Skintone followed by a final highlight of Pale Flesh.
The highlights were painted using thinned paint.
The Vests were painted Black, then lightly given a drybrush highlight using Neutral Grey + White in a 1:1 mix.
One tricky part can be the helmet. I free handed the black part outline first, then filled it in. If I made a mistake with the outline, I just corrected it with white. Some parts of the helmet were given a little bit of a dark wash, like where the antenna meets the helmet.
I painted these guys in the summer and it was very humid outside. When I went to spray varnish them I ran into a major problem. I encountered something called “frosting.” Instead of applying a thin protective coat to my models, a layer of what looked like frost covered them!
I panicked and thought my entire batch was ruined. Below you can see what a frosted mini looked like (the guy on the left). Can you imagine how horrified I was?
I was told that if you absolutely need to varnish spray your miniatures on a humid day, sprinkle some kitty litter in the back of your spray area (within ~4 inches of the model), and this will reduce the moisture in the air.
In the end these guys turned out pretty well.
I hope you enjoyed this article, it took a lot of time and effort to produce! If one person out there ends up painting their set because if it, I’ll be happy. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
I have to say, playing with a fully painted set really gets you into the game. I find Rebellion to be quite fun and worth painting because of it.