How to paint Orange armor using airbrush

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In this article I want to show you how to paint orange using airbrush in a quick and simple way. This is the technique that I use when I want to paint any orange miniature generating a high contrast.

For this didactic example, we will paint the armor of a Drone from the T’au Army, of the Warhammer 40k wargame. This will be a generic example for painting orange,so you can use it to paint any type of miniature, such as any orange armor.

On the other hand, if you want to see how to paint the yellow, I did a tutorial a some time ago explaining a way to do it. Take a look at it!

Let’s Start!


To paint the orange color,I like to start using a Gray primer, as it will be easier to obtain some intense colors. I recommend using Surface primer gray if we want to prime using airbrush. If we are not going to use airbrush, the fastest way to do it will be using the Hobby Paint Grey spray.

Orange Fire

Before we start, I have to mention that all the colors that we will apply using an airbrush, although they have been specially designed to be used with an airbrush, I recommend diluting them using Vallejo’s airbrush thinner. This way, we avoid that the airbrush gets stuck, in addition to being able to apply thinner and controlled layers.

We’ll start by applying an Orange Fire Game Air base color over the entire miniature. We will apply 2-3 thin layers using the airbrush, until we get the desired orange tone.

Hot Orange

Now we will start generating some contrast, so we will apply Hot Orange Game Air in the areas where we want shadows (or darker orange).

In this particular case, being such a small and flat miniature, could be not easy to see where to apply it. If it were a person or armor, we would apply this darker orange color in all the lower areas of the miniature, or areas where light would not reflect directly.

Here we will see the result in this drone:

Anyway, in this blog we’ll see more examples of orange armor in future tutorials,so we’ll update this tutorial with more examples in the coming months.

Finally, I have to mention that the reason why we will apply this color after the Orange Fire (and not before), it is because if we would have started with this Hot Orange from the beginning, we would have a hard time generating contrast, because being a dark and intense color, applying lighter colors over it using airbrush would cost more work.

Moon Yellow

To finish with the airbrush, we will give the final touch using Moon Yellow Game Air. This color will be applied in a very controlled way, in all edges, ledges or upper areas where the light would be more intensely affected.

If we want a higher contrast and a more intense yellow, we can perform an extra step, first applying a very diluted white, and then applying the Moon Yellow over this white color.

Here we would have our drone finished:

Shadows / Shades

We will continue to give depth to this miniature, so we will apply Vallejo’s Umber Wash, in a controlled way and using a very fine brush, in all the nooks and crannies.

The result should be like this .

Edge Highlighting

To finish with this process of painting orange, we will give the final touch to our miniature. To do this, we will edge highlight all the edges of the miniature using a light color.

For this task I recommend using a good brush. In this case I used the 00 brush from RedGrassGames.

For this edge highlight, I used Ice Yellow Model Color, one of my favorite Vallejo colors for its great versatility.


Here are a few more photos with the final result.

In the next tutorial, we will see how to finish painting this Tau Drone!

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