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Showcase: Deathskull Morkanaut

In my continued quest to complete an Ork Dreadmob, I finished my Deathskull Morkanaut and not only have the showcase but also how I painted it. The Gorkanaut/Morkanaut kit is an amazing kit to build and paint and I look forward to building and painting the second one.

Showcase of Deathskull Morkanaut

I already showed a bit of my progress in another post where I talked about painting on the couch while watching tv/movies with the family. I not only finished this Morkanaut but also a squad of Killa Kans in a very short time – short for me at least!

Morkanaut Showcase

As I said already, the Morkanaut kit has so many fun bits to build and paint that it was super quick to knock it out. I had originally planned on keeping the arms and doors unglued to they could move but decided to secure them in place since they kept dropping and/or knocking into the other bits.

Completed Morkanaut Front with Weathering

As I was painting this model up as a Deathskull Morkanaut, I added tons of blue but also kept some black and white checks from the Goffs, and some red sections from the Speed Freaks. These not only add some nice color contrast but are fitting for the Ork clan.

Showcase Deathskull Morkanaut Back with weathering

As Orks aren’t wont to keeping their war machines in pristine order, I made sure to keep lots of rusty metal and chipped paint. This is particularly helpful for all those large panels as it helps to break them up.

Deathskull Morkanaut Backside with rust

The base is from Secret Weapon Miniatures from their urban rubble section. To get it to fit snugly, I had traced out where the feet would go and broke out the Dremel.

Once I flattened enough of the stray bricks, I drilled holes through the base into the feet Into each of these holes, I added a penny nail to hold the model to the base.

Deathskull Morkanaut with Kustom Force Field and Megablasta

One of the fun elements of the Morkanaut (as compared to the Gork equivalent) is all the energy details like the custom force field and megablasta. I painted these up in brighter blue than the main blue areas and included lightning details.

Deathskull Morkanaut Kustom Force Field and Driver Details

Oh, and there is an Ork driver in there too! I painted him separately before putting him into place.

Painting the Morkanaut

I went for a quick-and-dirty approach, in part because they are Orks, but also because I want these to be my speed painted army.

Lots of Rust

With that in mind, the first three layers were a combination of rattle-can spray and large dry brush mess.

Rust Base Layer for Morkanaut

The rust base coat was done in three steps:

  1. Black Primer
  2. Brown Spray Paint (doesn’t really matter as long as it isn’t gloss)
  3. Drybrush orange (used Game Color Hot Orange / GW Troll Slayer Orange)

The final base step is to do a very rough dry brush of silver (Game Color Gunmetal / GW Leadbelcher). The idea is to add highlights to the metal but leaving lots of the rust color, especially in the recesses.

Base Colors

Next up was placing all the base colors. I like blocking out where each primary color will go, add a wash of dark brown, and finally build up the highlights. This way I can get a sense of balance between each color.

This was especially important on these Orks as it can be easy to go overboard on the secondary colors or leave too many areas metal and/or blue.

Base Colors Applied to Morkanaut

The base colors were:

  • Game Color Imperial Blue (GW Kantor Blue)
  • Scarlett Red (Khone Red)
  • Bonewhite (Ushabti Bone).

I made sure most of the colored areas were blue so it is clear it is a Deathskull vehicle, but with plenty of other details in red and white.

I then washed the whole model with Game Color Dark Brown Wash (GW Agrax Earthshade Brown). I took my time to make sure it wasn’t puddling anywhere as this can be a problem with such large models.


With all the base colors done, I started on the highlights.

Second Colors Applied to Morkanaut

Each color were highlighted with their respective lighter color:

  • Magic Blue (Caledor Sky)
  • Bloody Red (Evil Sunz Scarlet)
  • Dead White (White Scar)

I saved the extreme highlighting until after the weathering step. Where the highlight step also helped was where I was a bit sloppy on the base colors and wash. The highlight allowed me to quickly cover up the mistakes.


A clean Ork is not an Ork.

Adding weathering to the Morkanaut

To break up all those metal areas and deepen the shadows, I used a combination of Black Wash and Dark Brown Wash to deepen the scratches molded into the model as well as adding new scratched.

I also used Burnt Umber (GW Rhinox Hide) to stipple on some other wear and tear onto the model. The largest areas then had black added to the centers.

Finally, each color was given their extreme highlight. This involved adding Dead White to the highlight color and focusing on the upper edges. Each of the major chips/scratches was given a highlight as well to make it pop.

Finally, the metal areas were highlighted with Game Color Silver (GW Runefang Steel)

Final Touches

And to finish him up, I completed all the details including the tusks, lamps, lightning, and checks.

Completed Morkanaut Front with Weathering

The bone tusks were painted by adding lines of Burnt Umber from the base towards the tip, followed by adding black and creating narrower lines from the base. I then repeated this process in reverse by painting Bonewhite from the tip followed by Dead White.

The checkered board look was done by painting a thin, black line in one direction, then the other. Additional lines were then painted to create the grid. The black squares were then filled in and the white squares were touched up. Again, since Orks’ aren’t tidy, the squares don’t need to be perfect, just good enough.

Your Thoughts

The Morkanaut was a blast to paint and maybe someday he will see the tabletop to blast things to bits!

I am curious about your thoughts not only on my model here, but about the Morkanauts in game play. Also, if you have painted one up, add the picture in the comments or a link so we can check it out as well!

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  • Proppa gud n ard one! Just love your dread mob. IT looks fantastic!

    • Cheer Greg! I’ve got a bit of work before I catch up to your mob, but it’s on it’s way

  • Great job. The weathering looks great without being too distracting, and it’s well done. All the blue on there adds some great eye-catching details. Well done.

    • Thanks Thor! Yeah I was trying to find that balance as I didn’t want them to be too busy. The blue is my favorite part to paint as well!

  • Siph

    That’s lovely job, I like the looted bits, very Deathskulls!

    • Cheers Siph! It’s one of the things I like about the Deathskulls beyond the blue “lucky” paint. It gives me a bit of liberty to add in some other Orky elements 🙂

  • Mordian7th

    That looks fantastic, man! I really dig seeing your process and the end result is awesome, always loved the Deathskulls scheme. Good stuff!

    • Thanks! I’ve been hacking away on the stompa trying to get some magnets to stay in place and even a few LEDs, so hopefully I can get some paint on him soon.

  • Spoticus

    Wonderful paint job, thanks for sharing your process!

    • Cheers! Trying to do more WIP posts this year as well

  • Looking good Joe! When will they be seeing the battlefield?

    • Thanks Corrm! Considering its been a _very_ long time since I’ve played, they may be waiting awhile. But my big project for this year is to build up a 4×4 gaming table to make it easier to get a game in with family

  • Grenn Dal

    Looks awesome. I have wanted to get one for my orks but the cost and weakness has kept me away. Seeing yours and Greg’s though have me reconsidering

    • Cheers Grenn! They are a bit pricy and I see many complaints about their battle might, but orks are just plain fun 🙂

  • TheFantasy Hammer

    Great work! Your Orks are very inspirational =)

  • I love this. Great work Joe. The depth of tones you have achieved in the base metal through the different rusting and washes is fantastic, and really makes the colours on top work together very well. Weathering is great too 🙂

    • Cheers NafNaf! I’m happy with how the metals turned out too – especially since they are the easiest part 🙂

  • Great job. You really managed to bring all those details together in an awesome way.