Darren Linington’s Guide to Painting Horses

Hi, I’m Paul, and welcome to this week’s Sculpting, Painting and Gaming, wargaming’s answer to The Joy of Painting.

So, hands up who’s heard of Darren Linington. That many? Hardly a surprise. Those of you who’ve seen any of our studio miniatures will be familiar with Darren’s work. You’ve probably also wondered how he paints to such a high standard. Well, you’re in luck, because this week we’re treating you to the first in a pair of tutorials from the man himself.

Today’s subject is one of my personal bête noires, horses. Bi-peds I can paint, and paint to a reasonably high tabletop standard, but, having invested all of my time learning how to paint to that modest standard, I’ve neglected the equine miniatures in my collection. But now, thanks to the following article, I can paint those horses like a pro.

And on that note, I shall leave you in Darren’s capable hands.



Paints Used: Model Colour/ Games Workshop

Flat Earth, Light Brown, Yellow Ochre, German C Black Brown, US Field Drab, Pale Sand, Black, Bolt Gun Metal, Silver plus Sepia ink.

1              Base coat the horse with Flat Earth. Paint the harness German C Black Brown. Once dry, wash the whole miniature with Sepia ink.

2              Once the wash is dry, go back over with the Flat Earth, picking out the raised muscle areas trying to keep some of the darker base tone showing through.

3              Now I start adding Light Brown to the base mix.  This next stage I am going to start feathering  the brush strokes for the highlights. This will give the impression of the light hitting the horse’s coat or so I hope!  This is done by making small brush marks on the raised areas.  The smaller the better really.

4              I now introduce some Yellow Ochre to the mix working up the highlights.  Keep doing this until you are happy with the results.

5              Give the whole horse another wash of Sepia. This will tie all of the highlights together.

6              Now that the horse flesh is painted, I will now add some markings to the horse.  This will be the lower legs and muzzle. With Flat Earth and a small amount of black I will add this to the lower legs and muzzle.  Keep this mix very transparent.

7              With this same mix I will add it to the horses mane and tail but try leaving some of the base colour showing just to give a bit of interest .  You might have to repeat this step a few times to get the desired effect, but you know the saying “ less is more”.

8              Pure black for the last step.

9              The last two steps,  the hooves and harness don’t really need a walk through. The hooves were base coated with US Field Drab then highlighted with Pale Sand and worked up to almost pure Pale Sand.  The harness base colour German C Black Brown was highlighted with Saddle Brown with a small amount of Pale Sand added for the top highlights. The metal parts to the harness were base coated with Bolt Gun Metal with a quick wash of black paint then highlighted with silver. A small dot of pale sand for the horse’s eyes. You don’t want googly eyes! Now just a quick tidy up with some black lining and finished!

I hope this helps with painting horses.



About Darren Linington

Darren’s adventures in wargaming began with Airfix soldiers before moving onto model aircraft, tanks and ships. He became a committed miniature painter shortly after he discovered White Dwarf issue 93 (the one with the famous Warhammer 40,000 cover) at his local news agents.

Darren has now been modelling and gaming for 37 years and has enjoyed success in painting competitions, with his Perry War of the Roses regiment winning Best of Show at Salute in 2013.

He is not, to the best of our knowledge, a clone.



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About the Author

Paul L. Mathews
A born-again wargamer since 2015, Paul L. Mathews is now the editor at War Banner. He is also the head honcho at his own freelance enterprise, Tabletop Creative. A dull boy, Paul's interests include editing and staying up past his bedtime

1 Comment on "Darren Linington’s Guide to Painting Horses"

  1. Thanks for the great tutorial Darren! Damn shame that I finished up my cavalry a few months back but I’ll keep this in mind for the next project. The feathering seems like a great way to get some texture.

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