6 Methods for Painting African Warriors

I’ve been painting a bunch of African Warriors lately. After experimenting with multiple paint types and color combinations, I wanted to share my results. Below 6 different paint combinations, with pictures of the outcome so you can decide which paint scheme you like most. Skin is always a little tricky to paint and showing variance in darker colors can be difficult making African skin tones a challenge. As the Firelock Games African Warriors models are mostly skin, making it that much more important! Here are a few different paint recipes I’ve used.

African Settlement with a variety of African Warrior models from Blood & Plunder
Blood & Plunder African Warrior Models

1. Reddish, Brown Skin – Citadel Doombull Brown and Tusgor Fur

African skin tone is wonderfully varied and this is one of the lighter combinations I used. These are based with Doombull Brown, then washed with Reikland Fleshshade, then highlighted with Tuskgor Fur mixed into Doombull brown in increasing quantities.

doombull brown & tusgor fur paints on 4 African models
4 Blood & Plunder African Warriors Models

2. Warm Dark Tones – Sorastro’s Lando Recipe

I remembered painting Lando Calrissian for Imperial Assault a few years back so I went back to his video and mixed up his recipe.

He uses as base of 2:1 Mournfang Brown and Maccrage Blue and then highlights by mixing in increasing amounts of a 2:1 mix of Tau Light Ochre and Gorthor Brown.

You can watch Sorastro’s excellent painting video on Lando here.

sorastro African tone with Citadel Paints
Blood & Plunder African Archer Model

3. Dark Skinned – Citadel Wyldwood Contrast

This is the easiest but it can come out a little splotchy on large areas like this. I found it needed at least two coats to look good. The model on the far left has only one coat and the model on the far right has three coats. I like the color but I found making it even and natural looking was a bit of a challenge.

Games Workshop Citadel Contrast Paints - Wyldwood paint scheme

4. Dark Brown with Reddish Undertones – Foundry African Flesh 126

I’ve done a post on this paint series before. Foundry has a great selection of skin tone paints that come in trios all designed for a good highlighting sequence. Here is their 126ABC set on these models.

Foundry 126 African Flesh paint triad comparison

I find these set of paints very rich and “African” while still having enough contrast to look interesting. You can find this set of paints here.

5. Dark Brownish, Black Skintones – Foundry Dark African Flesh 121

This is a darker, greener variation on African skin tone. It works well but I find I find the 3rd paint a little too light and skip it in most cases.

Foundry 121 dark african flesh paint scheme on Blood & Plunder miniatures

You can find this trio of paints here on the Foundry website.

6. Rich Dark Brown/Black Tones – Citadel Rhinox Hide and Doombull Brown

This is probably my favorite combo. I have to assume most of the Africans coming across the Atlantic during the 17-18th centuries would have been fairly dark. This produces a deep, rich tone with some red in it.

rhinox hide doombull brown paint scheme

My matte varnish didn’t get shaken up well enough before spraying that model on the right so he’s pretty glossy. But It works because he just looks sweaty.

That’s it! There’s the 6 paint combos and here there are all compared:

6 28mm African Archer models lined up for paint scheme comparison
The full line-up of all 6 African Warrior Archers side-by-side for comparison

From Left to Right: Wyldwood Contrast, Rhinox Hide/Doombull Brown, Foundry 126, Sorastro’s Recipe, Doombull Brown/Tusgor Fur and Foundry 121 (my 5yo says he looks the toughest for I think he’s the winner).

Two 28mm dugout canoes with Blood & Plunder models

I like having a little variation in my Black Carib force and having the couple of basic tones lets you put together units that are a little unique.

Local Guide female African and African Warriors in front of a cabin
A Local Guide is in the center (blue dress, red headwrap), Lanceros on the right

I’m sure there are other effective ways to paint African skin tone but I hope this can be helpful to some folks. I was unsure where to start with paint colors when I began painting these models and it has been fun exploring different methods.

Thanks for reading!  If you have a favorite method for painting dark skin tone, please drop a comment. I still have some African Warriors to paint up and I’m planning on painting up a Maroon force when Raise the Black comes out!

By Joseph Forster

Product Recommendations:

Several different 28mm African Warrior models from Blood & Plunder were used in this article. They are commented in the captions above, but also listed here if you are interested in purchasing them for your miniature wargames.

blood and plunder native american unit box
  • African Warriors – 4pk of models
  • The new plastic Native American box includes heads and weapons that can be used to build 12 African/Maroon-style models, equipped with bows, clubs, machetes, and muskets.
  • You can supplement with a couple of packs of the metal minis, all of which look pretty good painted up as Africans:
  • The plastic Militia Sprues can also be painted as Maroons since Maroons regularly wore jackets and trousers. This is probably the best way to get a lot of models armed with muskets if you want to play the Jamaicans.
  • If you want to include female African models in your force you can use:

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One thought on “6 Methods for Painting African Warriors

  1. Thanks for the article! This is a good description with pictures of painting these figures. I recently painted 20 of the African Warriors, so I may need to do a bit of highlighting to mine. Thanks!

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