Ogre Skin: Airbrush Step-by-Step

So, I've had quite a few people ask me about the technique for airbrushing the Ogre Skin for my Ogre Kingdoms army.  I don't have a video setup that is reliable, although I'd like to do that in the future, but in the meantime, here is a step-by-step tutorial with pictures and detailed description.  

I won't be able to cover the basics of airbrushing, so please, bear with me.  You will need some basic understanding of how to airbrush models - there are plenty of videos on youtube - but once you get some idea of how it works, how to thin your paints, and have had practice getting control down, this is really, really easy - I'm using a simple process that is easy to replicate.

Keep in mind, I've painted a couple dozen ogres already.  These below are riders for my Thundertusk model, so I did spend a little bit of time on them.  (1 hour for the steps below, which is quite a while for two models).  

For painting these models I have used the following tools/paints:
Airbrush (Harder & Steenbech Evolution Silverline)
Compressor (TCP Global with Tank)
Tamiya Red Brown Paint
Tamiya Flat Flesh Paint
91% Isopropyl Alcohol

In order to really, really get into the details, I always mount these models on cork stands. This will assist in getting into the cracks and crevasses that you wouldn't be able to normally reach with the spray.  The heads of Warhammer Ogre models are best painted separately.  Also, because of the position of these models, I pulled a couple of arms off to paint and attach separately as well.  

I started with a black undercoat.  Some models I use a light dusting of white, but with the Ogres, I have consistently used black only for them.  Now, I will say that its probably most helpful that if you are going to miss parts with the primer, its best to miss from top-down. (You want the black paint to be in the underside of the model - it helps with lighting).  

The first step is to basecoat the model.  I use Tamiya Red Brown. (You must thin these paints. The Tamiya Paints are the top of the line as far as airbrushing goes - they go on really thin once you mix them to the right consistency.  They are not water based like GW paints - You must thin them with Isopropyl Alcohol.  I use 91% and mix to a ratio of about 50/50, around 60/40 for lighter colors).   My ogres are based on a barren theme, and so I wanted them to be kind of tan or bronzed.  The Red Brown gives an excellent base for this.  This is a really easy step.  Just cover the skin of the model with the red brown.  Once this is complete, I usually hit the model from a top down angle for a bit to concentrate and lightly highlight them model with the red brown - every little bit helps.  


Next up, mix up the Tamiya Flat Flesh paint.  Again, this time you may want to go a little bit thinner.  Its a careful process to figure it out.  Remember, thin layers are important when airbrushing - when the paint is too thick, it splatters and leaves lots of small dots - which is even more noticeable when using lighter colors (that's why most of the time, light to dark is a best practice - I have a fix for that in this case).  

When spraying this color, you'll want to hit the raised areas of the flesh.  Its easier if you hit the model at an angle where the cone of the spray will miss the recesses.  This will assist in highlighting the areas that would naturally be hit by the light.  For best results, make sure you concentrate a little bit more paint on the most prominent areas and large areas.  This will really brighten those areas and look less faded (for lack of better words).  If too much brown is showing through, it just looks sloppy.  We're gonna clean up some of that in the next step.  Be sure to leave brown in the deep recesses as well (between muscles, under manboobs) - this is a step that requires some precision, but you'll have one final chance to fix the mistakes.  

The last step is the magic one.  You'll be tempted to leave it at the previous step because its starting to look good.  I read online once that, in reference to knowing when you are finished highlighting a model, to highlight until you think it looks finished, then do one more highlight.  This is sort of the same concept, but we're going to go back a step.  Now that your Ogre is looking pretty good, mix up another batch of the Tamiya Red Brown.  

This step requires the most precision and some practice.  You will be going back over the model with Red Brown, but this time hitting the dark recesses of the model once again.  Be very careful in this step, because mistakes are hard to cover.  If you've ever done "darklining" on a model with a paintbrush, this step is similar. 

While you'll want very stark red brown lines in darkened areas of the skin, the overspray is also your friend.  The small amount of overspray from your darklining will hit the areas that have already been overlapped with these two colors and create a blending effect that brings the model together.  

Voila, your Ogre Skin is essentially done.  You'll have to pick out some areas with a paintbrush (nipples, scars, etc.), but the effect here, with some practice, is eyepopping.  Some might suggest the use of a wash afterwards, but I felt like this color achieved what I wanted.  However, I do use some washes on the Ogres' heads in some of the areas to make the detail stand out a little bit (it is difficult to paint the heads with an airbrush without missing and failing to bring out the details). 

Here is a pic of the models after the 3 steps above.

Thanks for reading!