Speed Painting Necron Hieroglyphs

I'll just cut to the chase with no witty banter: I just cannot get the hang of doing that outlining that all of the 'Eavy Metal Necron vehicles have. The inconsistency of my lining is infuriating. But I do love the "canon" color scheme. So this is my solution, and I have to say that it works really well. [READ MORE]

Total time to paint all the hieroglyphs on this side, 3 minutes.
This speed painting technique was derived from a decidedly NON speedy way to detail Eldar tanks. It involved using acrylic paint that was missing the binding agent. That way, a little water could reactivate the paint and move it into the fine grooves that adorn Eldar tanks. Very precise, but hardly quick. And I have a LOT of Necrons left to go.

So let me show you how I speed paint this Necron detailing. I'm going to use the other side of this command barge as the example.

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The first trick I learned was to use a certain primer. You need one that is very durable and very flat. I used a Krylon 2X Primer, which is excellent, but you have to be very careful - it outputs a LOT of paint. Make sure that you have a nice even coat and complete coverage.The reason for this emphasis will become clear shortly.


You all know how much to thin paint, right? Every tutorial I read, every class I attend, every video I watch, they all say "the consistency of milk" and they are correct. Most really bad, amateur paint jobs are a result of improperly thinned paints combined with a lack of patience. In the case of speed painting though, a few rules can be broken. For this application, a little thicker will be good because you are actually trying to prevent the capillary action of inks and washes. You want it to stay put. You can see that it slightly globs up on the brush. You will need to experiment, but as soon as you get it right, it will be dirt simple to replicate because you will know what to look for.


Don't be shy. Don't be purposely sloppy, but make sure you cover the entire hieroglyph channel. You are speed painting, not trying to win a Golden Demon. But the next step is the key. After you've applied the paint, count to 10 and then...

That's right; just take your clean thumb or index finger (do NOT eat Cheetos while painting), and rub it right across the paint, and the part not in the hieroglyph channel will come right off. That is why you count ten seconds; the paint has to set for a bit or it will smear. Don't be delicate...this is why you were careful to apply the primer robustly. You can see it leaves a bit of residue, but I guarantee you that this is not visible with the naked eye unless you are looking for it. You could always go back over it with black anyway.

Make sure you only do as much as you can wipe off in 10 seconds.

So just lather:

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And voila!

Total time for this side, including taking pix but not including the priming, 5 minutes. Not bad for smearing and unsmearing. Of course, I've had a lot of practice wiping my kids' faces.

What do you think?


  1. i like it. i have been putting off painting my new necrons for a long time. i think i might actually start now.

  2. I do the same thing with my 'crons. I also love the green/black color scheme; been sticking with it for years.

  3. I do something very similar with the fiddly bits on my Skorne models. Works a lot better if one actually remembers to count to ten, though...