I’ve been working on my Cryx over the last week and Iron Lich Asphyxious is the last miniature I’ve completed, so I decided I’d do a step-by-step guide to painting him. I tend to paint character models individually as they deserve a little more time and detailing as they tend to receive more attention on the battlefield (if only because they usually last longer!). The Iron Lich is my third Cryx ‘caster and I wanted to paint him to reflect the thematic colours of the army – muted browns and glowing pale blue.

Preparation and Undercoating
Asphyxious is an easy miniature to assemble. It comes in three parts – the body, head and the vents for the armour. I nearly always use the Dremel and ‘swan neck’ to clean off my miniatures as there is nothing worse than undercoating it only to discover mould lines. Before I work with the Dremel, I wash the miniature to remove any mould release (the white powdery substance on the miniature). Next I use a sharp hobby knife to remove vent flash and an large mould lines from the model and base. I then dry fit everything to ensure I know which parts are which (pretty straight forward in this case). Once all of the components are cleaned I again do a dry fit and check to see if I’ll need to fill any gaps. There were none to fill in this case – most of the Privateer Press smaller models are okay (the ‘jacks and beasts can require a bit of ‘green-stuffing’). Next I tend to drill guide holes for pinning , but again that wasn’t required in this case. I then hash mark the areas to be glued with the knife, apply a drop of glue and then hold the pieces in place until they are dry. I then cut some small pieces of thin plastic to cover the hole in the base on either side of the miniature.

I use the Army Builder Black spray to undercoat the miniature. I don’t think it is as good as GWs Chaos Black spray. It requires a lot more shaking and the nozzle velocity is a little too fast. I usually spray miniatures in 3 sessions – the first with them standing and I do a 360°, once dry I lie them on their front and spray their underneath and finally I do the same with them lying on their back. Before I paint I will wash them with a watered down GW Chaos Black to catch any missing bits.

I used the following colours –

  • GW Bleached Bone
  • GW Blue Ice
  • GW Boltgun Metal
  • GW Chaos Black
  • GW Fortress Grey
  • GW Graveyard Earth
  • GW Shadow Grey
  • GW Shining Gold
  • GW Snakebite Leather
  • P3 Brass Balls
  • Citadel Wash Asurmen Blue
  • Citadel Wash Badab Black
  • Citadel Wash Devlan Mud

2I subscribe to the idea of painting form the inside out, i.e. start with the lower layers of the miniature and work to the upper so you never have to paint past detail you’ve completed. I also like to complete each colour as much as possible. I started with the ethereal ‘skirt’ and wanted to achieve a dark blue result. This was basecoated in Shadow Grey and then highlighted in 4-5 layers with increasing amounts of Bleached Bone. I use Bleached Bone or Kommando Khaki as the ‘lightening’ colour as it is less harsh than pure white. I then washed this area in a Badab Black / Asurmen Blue mix (a little more Black than Blue). In painting the skirt I got paint on the mesh that overlayed it. I lightly drybrushed this with Chaos Black as I knew I would be leaving some black visible later.

Next up is the blue spectral glow that emanates from within his torso. I painted this Ice Blue and washed it with a very light Asurmen Blue. Again I drybrushed the surrounding area black to cover up sloppy brush work.

3The main colour on the torso was going to be a dull brown. I decided that Graveyard Earth was the main colour here, but I wanted to start darker and do about 10 layers. I added Chaos Black to the Graveyard Earth (about 1:2) and did about 4 layers up to pure Graveyard Earth. Next I added Bleached Bone in increasing amounts in 6 layers up to a mix that was about 70% Bleached Bone. This area was then washed with Devlan Mud.

4With the main colours done it was time to get into some details. I finished the skull by drybrushing it up to pure Bleached Bone and used a mix of Graveyard Earth and Snakebite Leather to do the leather strap holding the metal eye. The iron metal areas (the weapon, the soul cage chain, some aspects of the arms and the eye) were covered in a watered down Boltgun Metal and was washed with Badab Black.

6Okay, nearly there. The main metal effect I wanted was a brass colour. I mixed P3 Brass Balls and GW Shining Gold (1:1) and dry brushed the remaining metal areas (arms, fingers, vents, piping details, soul cages, and the mesh over the ‘skirt’). As it was a lightly layered drybrush I was happy with the effect and didn’t wash these areas. I then painted the gemstone in the weapon Ice Blue and dotted it with an Ice Blue Bleached Bone mix. I highlighted the edges of the weapon’s haft in Fortress Grey.

7The final stage is the one I was nervous about. I did a small amount of light source experimentation on the Bane Lord Tartarus miniature and now it is Asphyxious’ turn. I want to show the glow of the blue chest light hitting the surrounding areas and catching the skull. The trick here is to highlight these areas without obliterating their underlying colours. I guess there are two options – try to mix a ‘blued up’ version of those colours and highlight or a very light drybrush of the glowing colour. I opted for the latter as I think achieving consistency across the different colours would be very hard. So I grabbed one of my smallest brushes and loaded it with Ice Blue. I the wiped almost all of the colour off and then proceeded to drybrush in straight lines from the light source. I’m moderately happy with how it turned out. I erred on the side of less is more and I think it’ll do.

I spent about 2.5 hours painting the Iron Lich and he turned out well for this time investment. Here’s a larger photograph, but there are much larger pictures available on flickr.


As with the other miniatures I’m working on at the moment I’ll wait until I’ve finished the final unit (the Bane Knights, who are up next for painting) before I base and varnish everything.