African Warriors – A Painting Guide

The African Warrior is a strong native unit that pops up as a support unit in several European and native factions and forms the core of the Black Caribs faction (which functions like a Native faction).

These are nice models that have a real presence on the board and they’re fun to paint.

My challenge for these models has been settling on a skin tone that I’m happy with. The various mixes of Citadel and Vallejo tones I’ve worked have either been unsatisfactory or too much trouble so I cheated and bought a couple sets of African skin tone paints from WarGames Foundry.

I’ll be using their African Skin Tone trio of paints and I will compare the results with the Dark African skin tones at the end.

Step 1 – Prep and Prime

There’s a lot of flash to take off and plenty of parts to carefully reshape. You can find some more pointers on preparing the minis in my Preparing Minis post.

I use the zenithal priming method for priming.

Step 2 – Base Coats

I started with the skin tone but I’m taking two different approaches. On the two closer models I started with a base of the Foundry African Flesh Shade tone and on the other two models, I started with the mid-tone African Flesh.

I used this African Flesh set of paints.

Next I painted the bases with XV-88 but you should paint it with whatever will match the rest of your collection.

I would usually use a wider color palette for the hats and clothes, but in an effort to keep the paint list smaller and keep close to Firelock’s examples, I used Khorne Red for all the head gear and arm bands and Screaming Skull (2 coats) for all the pants and “groin wrappings.”

I used Abaddon Black for all the hair and Rhinox Hide for the base edges. You could use a dark grey like German Grey for the hair if you want a little more depth in the hair.

Mournfang Brown works well for the bows and machete handles. I used Zandri Dust for the arrows (I covered the feathers as well for now) and the binding on the bow grip.

I covered the body of the quiver with XV-88 and covered the straps, belts and necklace cord with Steel Legion Drab.

I saved the metallics for last. I used my favorites, Metal Color Steel for the machetes and arrow heads and Model Color Brass for the necklace segments, arm and ankle ornaments and earrings.

Step 3 – Shades

With a limited color selection, the shading step is easy! I used Carroburg Crimson for the red, Agrax Earthshade on the bows, arrows, bases, straps and belts, all the brass and for the flesh on the two figures with the lighter skin tone and a thinned mix of Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil for the light colored clothing. I hit the steel areas with straight Nuln Oil.

The center two minis have the shade over the medium skin tone while the outer two have the shade skin tone as a base and I’ll layer on the lighter tones.

Medium skin tone with wash. That almost looks good enough as-is!

Step 4 – Highlights

I always paint in the eyes before highlighting the skin.

I used my standard Ivory with a dot of German Grey for a pupil. If the Ivory comes out a little large you can touch it up while highlighting the skin tone.


Add a point of German Grey.

Next I mixed up a stripe of all 3 flesh tones going from the Shade through the Base into the Light tone and highlighted the skin.

For the two minis I based with the mid tone I started by reapplying that same tone and worked up through the Light tone letting the previously applied wash do the shade for me.

For the two minis I based with the African Flesh Shade, I started by mixing a little of the mid tone into the shade and then worked all the way up to the pure Light Tone.

Next I highlighted all the light colored clothes using Screaming Skull and adding increasing amounts of Ivory with a final pure Ivory highlight for the brightest areas.

Looking better! I should have hit his nose bone with the Screaming Skull while I was using it.

I use pure Ivory for the feathers on the arrows but you could use any color you think appropriate. I’m not sure what kind of feathers would have been available to them.

I continued with the Screaming Skull/Ivory combination to highlight the wrappings on the bow grip.

I didn’t get a picture, but I used some Ivory to give the impression of teeth for the figure with the open mouth. Don’t overdo it, but white teeth are a highly prominent feature of a dark face so I thought it was worth trying.

I also mixed a bit of Screamer Pink into the flesh tone and brightened up the lips a bit but that’s optional.

Next I highlighted all the red clothes with Wazdakka Red and a little Evil Sunz Scarlett mixed in for the final highlight.

I used Tallarn Sand to highlight the straps we painted with the Steel Legion Drab earlier. I highlighted with little dabs to make a braided rope effect.

I highlighted the arrows with the original Zandri followed by a couple lines of Ushabti Bone (Screaming Skull would also work). The bows themselves got a some highlights with Scrag Brown mixed into the original Mournfang Brown.

It didn’t do a lot, but highlighting the hair with some dark greys gives it some texture. I used German Grey followed bby some Skavenblight Dinge (but you could just mix a touch of White into the German Grey instead of using a different paint).

I brought out the edges and texture of the quivers with Balor Brown.

Close up of the quiver:

I highlighted the Brass ornaments with Model Color Gold which is a good bit brighter than Brass and it creates a nice reflective effect.

For the final highlight I brightened up the machetes and arrowheads with the original Steel and then some Duraluminium for the edges and tips.

Step 4 – Protective Spray and Final Details

After applying two coats of Testors Dullcote, I gave that brandished machete/club a bit of blood. it’s important to do the Blood after the varnish so the technical paint keeps that fresh and wet look.

I was going to get some dirt on those white pants using Typhus Corrosion, but I couldn’t find the paint on my messy desk so I had to skip it this time!

These are complete! I kept the color scheme simple but you could obviously use a variety of colors for the clothing to mix it up a little.

These African Flesh paints were a little harder to use than I anticipated but I like results well enough. When compared to the Dark African Flesh on my previously painted models, these look very red but I guess I’m ok with that. It’s nice to have a variety of skin tone.

The reddish tones makes the Dark African Flesh look sort of green…

I’m looking forward to getting these guys to the table. I think the Black Caribs faction could be a lot of fun. I have plans to paint up a couple more sets of these guys.

Random bit of trivia: you can legally build a 100 point army of Black Caribs with only 1 unit! Comment if you can figure out that list-building puzzle!

Paint List



  • Model Color Brass
  • Model Color Gold
  • Model Color German Grey
  • Model Color Ivory
  • Metal Color Steel
  • Metal Color Duraluminum


  • Abaddon Black
  • Skavenblight Dinge
  • XV-88
  • Balor Brown
  • Rhinox Hide
  • Zandri Dust
  • Ushabti Bone
  • Screaming Skull
  • Khorn Red
  • Dazdakka Red
  • Evil Sunz Scarlet
  • Mournfang Brown
  • Skragg Brown
  • Screamer Pink
  • Steel Legion Drab
  • Tallarn Sand
  • Agrax Earthshade
  • Nuln Oil
  • Carroburg Crimson
  • Lahmian Medium
  • Blood for the Blood God

2 thoughts on “African Warriors – A Painting Guide

  1. 100 point unit

    Seasoned (25pt) Commander
    8-Strong African Warriors, veterans, pistols, war captains
    Gets you to 97. Add a canoe for 99 or longboat for 100.

    • Yeah that’s one way to do it! I can get to 101 points with an inexperienced commander and an officer (17 points) as a 9th figure, and a standard bearer as a 10 figure (12 points) since the characters done count against max unit size! Not very good list but entertaining to think about!

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