Painting: Stormtroopers

They can’t shoot straight, they use each other as cover, they bump their heads on doors because they can’t see out of their helmets… Am I talking about some comedy act with guns? Nope! I’m talking about the galaxy’s most feared clone soldiers, the Imperial Stormtroopers!

I’ve been painting quite a bit during this cold Canadian winter (people in the rest of Canada can insert a joke about Toronto never actually suffering a legit Canadian winter here). This article is the first about my Imperial Assault minis and features the dreaded Storm Troopers  complete with a description of how I painted them.

Imperial Assault Painted Storm Troopers

First, you have to understand these aren’t the best miniatures around. There are a lot of brutal mould lines on them and the plastic is that soft annoying plastic that doesn’t file very well.

All that being said, they do have some fine details on them and are good enough as miniatures for a board game… er I mean miniature game.

My advice, when you file these guys down and you come to a bad spot and ask yourself, “should I file and remove all detail in order to get rid of this terrible mould line? Maybe I should just leave it.” My answer is to file it into oblivion. Mould lines are much more visible than filed away detail. So don’t spare the file to save the mini.

Imperial Assault Painted Storm Troopers

After filing, I found using a big brush with hard bristles was essential to remove the bits that stuck to the model like static cling. I also drilled out the gun barrels, which gives the guns a much better look. Once everything was filed and cleaned, I used P3 White Primer to coat the minis.


Now, for the love of all that is good in this world, do not prime these guys in black if you want to paint them fast! I primed an E-Web in black and it was a total nightmare to deal with. So prime in white!

This was the first time I used P3 as I haven’t really painted seriously in over 10 years. If you haven’t used P3, after you spray the model, you will squint at it and ask yourself, “really, did I even coat the thing? Maybe I didn’t shake the bottle well enough… Is there something wrong with this batch of Primer I got?”

P3 coats very fine,  it’s almost unnoticeable at first!  However, after a few light coats you’ll start seeing it, so don’t panic. It’s pretty amazing primer actually as it doesn’t obscure any detail on the model at all. So pay the $10 and don’t brutalize your minis with cheap Canadian Tire Primer that costs $4 a can (which is what I was doing until shown the light by my buddy James).

After you prime white, use nuln oil on the model to shade all the recesses. Don’t splash it all over the place like this though:

Imperial Assault Painted Storm Trooper
Too much Nuln Oil! This will be a pain to cover up!

In the pic above I learned the hard way that Nuln Oil peeks through quite a bit when covered with white. Instead of blotching all over the place, like the pic above, take your time and follow the recesses of the model while keeping the Nuln Oil away from areas that will be pure white.  Below is an example:

Imperial Assault Painted Storm Trooper
Keep the Nuln Oil to the recesses of the model. Much Better!

After you have the nuln oil painted in all the joints and recesses, paint in the black bodysuit and the details of the helmet.

It’s always good to use reference material. Here’s some reference material I used to save you the hassle of hunting it down yourself.

Stormtrooper_armour original-stunt-stormtrooper-helmet ESB_troopers_Leia origESBpatch012 2564858.ImperialStormtrooper original-stormtrooper-armour-[4]-118-pThe main thing to catch on the model is the side where the arm is. There is a lot more black there than you’d think. Also, the helmet has some dark grey in it.

05 06

Once you paint the details in the helmet, paint everything but the recesses white. If you screw up and blotch out some Nuln Oil, it’s no big deal as you can just re-do the shading over again.

Now lightly drybush the gun (which does look a little small – that’s what she said) with grey. You can drybrush the fingers as well, or highlight them with a light wash at this stage. If there is too much grey in the fingers, give the cracks a wash of black ink.

Once the model was finished, I spray painted with Army Painter “Anti-Shine” Varnish.

anti-shine army painter

That was done mostly to protect the bases.

vallejo gloss varnish

Lastly I painted on a Vallejo Gloss Varnish to achieve that white  plastic storm trooper shine. After all that, you now have a nice looking Stormie!


Here are my painting notes:

– clean well, especially arms , helmet, drill out gun barrels
– prime in white using P3 White Primer
– black areas are Vallejo black
– carefully paint the recesses and edges of armour in nuln oil
– white is Vallejo white, paint carefully around the edges leaving nuln oil in recesses. If you paint too much white and knick an edge, go back with a little nuln oil

Optional: use shadow grey dabs in corner of lenses, then put a dot of white there for reflective shine

– drybrush shadow grey to highlight the fingers and gun
– go back and touch up some fingers with a highlight wash of shadow grey/nuetral grey (Vallejo). Paint the cracks of the fingers with black ink.
– paint lightly dabbing areas of the gun with Model Metallic Black 71.073 if you want

– varnish the model with a dull matt varnish to protect the base mostly. Go over the white areas with Vallejo Gloss Varnish 70.510 to give the armour a stormtrooper shine








4 thoughts on “Painting: Stormtroopers”

  1. Amazing! We’ve playing campaign missions so far and I really want to start painting my figures. I have never painted figures before so I could use as much advice as I can get! Thanks!

  2. “drill out gun barrels”

    Lol, did you? Because it is impossible to tell even in the pics close up looking down the barrel…

    What a useless step…..

    1. The lighting isn’t the best in my photos so you can’t see them.

      I think drilling out barrels adds detail, and is a good habit to form for all models.

      If you don’t want to do it to your models that’s your business but I think you should try it once before calling it useless.

Leave a Reply