This how to paint zombies tutorial start with a Christmas visit where my brother-in-law brought over Mansions of Madness, a Cthulhu-based game from Fantasy Flight Games. I enjoyed the game so much I convinced my wife to get it for my birthday. This led me into deciding to paint the miniatures.
As I do, I figured I would provide tutorials along the way, not just how to paint the MoM minis, but hopefully keep them broad enough for other ranges as well.
I started off with the Zombies as I also received the Vallejo Skin Set and wanted to try them out. With that said, nearly every step uses paints from the set.
If you want to save this tutorial for later reference, I created a downloadable PDF version that includes a bit more information on the paints used. If you want to get the PDF, fill in the form at the bottom of the post and I’ll email you a link.
How to Paint Zombies – Mansion of Madness Tutorial
Step 0: Prime
The first step was to clean up the mold lines (yes a missed a few as you will see below). The miniatures were in fairly good condition overall so most were fairly easy to prep. I added a pin in the foot and attached them to a cork.
A white primer was used to provide a base to apply the paints.
Step 1: Skin Base Coat
I then laid down the basecoat of the skin tones. As I wanted to test different skin colors I had separated out the MoM kit into three main sets: light skin, medium skin, and dark skin.
For the zombies, I used Vallejo’s Medium Fleshtone for the light skin, Light Brown for the medium skin, and Mahogany Brown for the dark tones.
Step 2: Cloth Base Coat
The skimpy loin cloths were then base coated. Two with pure White and two with English Uniform.
Step 3: Hair Base Coat
The hair was then base coated. The dark hair with Black and light hair with Mahogany Brown.
Step 4: Green/Brown Wash
This step is where the magic happens. Created a green/brown wash from Vallejo Oiled Earth and Dark Green Washes. The green helps create the rotted look while the brown creates the skin shade.
At this point, the models could be called done as they are a good improvement over the bare gray.
Step 5: Flesh First Highlight
Once the wash dried, the skin was highlighted. For each of the skin highlights, a tiny amount of light blue was added to cool down the flesh tones and make them a bit more gray.
For the first layer, the light flesh was highlighted with Light Flesh, the medium skin with Japan Uniform WWII (greenish yellow-brown), and the dark skin with English Uniform.
Step 6: Second Flesh Highlight
The top highlight for the skin included White mixed the previous shade for the light skin, Dark Flesh for the medium skin (actually fairly light color), and Japan Uniform WWII for the dark skin.
Step 7: Cloth Highlight
The loin cloths were then highlighted. The light robes with Japan Uniform and White, the dark robes with Japan Uniform.
Step 8: Hair Highlight
To finish the highlighting, the dark hair had Burnt Umber and the light hair with Light Brown. Some of the highlights were lines added to the flat top to create additional interest.
Step 9: Purple Wash
Now to make the zombies even more rotten looking and dead, a purple wash was used. I used a mix of 4 parts Blue Gray Wash, 1 part Dark Prussian Blue, and 1 part Red with some additional Airbrush Medium added to thin it down.
This was applied more as a pin wash rather than an over-everything wash. The purple color adds a bruised look while also providing an even dark tone for the recesses.
The bruising even prominent along the rib cage on the back and along the spine.
Step 10: Blood Base
And where would zombies be without blood? To get a good blood look it is painted in two parts. The bright red was Vermillion, a fairly bright, vibrant red. This was splashed about, mostly the hands, face, and chest. To add a bit more realism, the splatters have thin lines pulled downwards as if gravity pulling on the blood.
Step 11: Dark Blood
The second step of the blood was to add darker red as if dried blood. The Vallejo Red is a fairly dark shade so works great on top of the Vermillion. The dark red was dotted inside the light red.
As you can see from the back, most of the blood is on the front – the business end of the zombies.
Step 12: Base, Gloss, and Finish
It’s time to do the finishing touches on the zombies. First was a couple of coats of clear matte spray. I’ve seen a bunch of MoM monsters sprayed in gloss to give them a slimy look, but I found that matte finish looks nicer with specific applications of clear gloss.
Once the matte spray was dry, I used the clear gloss on the bloody areas to give them a fresh look.
They were then removed from the corks and stuck to their bases. I haven’t glued them in place because I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to paint the bases or leave them black – the game has inside areas as well as outside/cave areas so it will be hard to decided.
While the pose is still a bit dopey, the painted zombies will give a new sense of horror to the game than abstract gray pieces moving about.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial on how to paint zombies and if you have any questions hit up the comments below.
Again, I put together this tutorial as a downloadable PDF as well, so if you want to save it for later reference, fill in the form below and I will email you a link. I’ll be doing a tutorial for the rest of the monsters and heroes as well so if you want to stay updated with new posts, the form below will also add you to the newsletter and I’ll keep you updated.