Friday Quick Tip: Painting White on a Black Undercoat

Many people struggle when painting white. A lot of beginners start out trying to paint white directly onto the black undercoat they've primed their model with. Unfortunately, this usually ends up with an uneven coat of paint with a splotchy appearance that really makes the overall quality of your mini suffer.

A simple fix to this age old problem is to do it in steps! Here I've gone with a grey base color to build upon, in this case Codex Grey. For the second step I've used Fortress Grey to help lighten the area even more. For the final build up, I use Skull White. Skull White is a fickle color and even with this build up, usually needs two slightly watered down coats to cover completely.

GDL Tactical Marine

There are tons of different directions that get you to much the same place. It's all about the hue of white you want. So get out there, experiment with it, and learn a method that you like! Or just swipe this method and have at it!

So, how do you get your whites so white?


  1. Excellent tip, that's how I do it as well.

    Consider this one Top 5'ed for sure.
    Nice work, I'm really liking these Friday tips... I hope they become a regular thing!

  2. Besides giving white whites, the results with building up from grey really give you a lot of depth. I've found even when you can get a white that covers in one coat over black (I've used the Tamiya White for this), the one-coat white just looks too flat and unnatural.

  3. The type of depth really comes from the base colors you start from. There are so many different methods to getting a good solid white with lots of different hues.

    For some different whites try these:

    Shadow Blue > Space Wolves Grey > Skull White

    Bestial Brown > Snakebite Leather > Bleached Bone > Skull White

    This works for pretty much any succession of colors. It's all about the hue you want your white to have.

  4. One formula I use for solid whites on a black undercoat is:

    Bone Shadow > Aged Bone > Polished Bone > Pure White

    Those are all Reaper Master Series. It gives a very warm, ivory white, and looks really nice on models that are supposed to be covered in field dust and dirt from battle.