6mm Fantasy Painting Guide: Microworld Dwarf Berserkers

This guide shows an extremely fast way of painting up 'battle ready' 6mm dwarves. A couple of points before we begin:
  • Close up photography isn't 6mm's best friend. The finished miniature won't look as rough to the naked eye, I promise! 
  • There are much, much better 6mm scale painters out there than myself. They do produce miniatures that look great on camera!
  • I've skipped over the 'starter steps' of painting. This guide presumes you will have painted before. If requested, I can go over beginner steps in future guides.
  • 6mm is about mass units and not the individual figure. I've only painted one dwarf for the photographs. This is because it makes for better photographs then having to look at a mass of figures on my well used painting sticks. When painting your own units, paint a unit or more at a time, espcailly with these berserkers. Painting time for each dwarf berserker is probably less then 3 minutes, not including drying time.
  • I've used black for the clothing here. I'd normally recommend brighter colours for clothing in 6mm, the rest of this unit is in blue clothes. I've gone for black/grey trousers as a way of breaking up the blue in the unit. The entire unit all dressed in blue look a bit off, so I wanted to break the colours up with a few alternative colours. Sadly, the reds and greens I tried all over powered the bright blue the rest were done in. 

On to the painting table:
  1. Once the miniatures have been cleaned up and the minimal flash has been removed, spray undercoat them. For dwarf Berserkers, its extremely quick to paint them over a white undercoat. I used Games Workshops 'corax white' spray. I do like their white spray over my usual Halfords sprays, they have a much finer spray/nozzle which stops the small details being obscured and they dry a lot faster. (* Remove all the bits of static grass you accidentally blow all over it, when you were working on something else and forgot the dwarf was directly behind your other project!)

  2.  Wash all the skin areas with a flesh wash. I use Games Workshops Fleshshade for this. Don't drown the miniature in wash, you want a nice even coat over all the skin, allowing it to collect in the deeper sections of the muscles, eyes and waistband. You want enough for the wash to tint all the white areas of skin, but thin enough that the white will still show through, giving you instant highlights.

  3.  The Skin areas get the lightest of drybrushes of a mid tone or light flesh colour. I used Citadels 'Cadian Flesh' for this. A really, really light drybrushing. My brush is almost bone dry when doing this step. You are not trying to add any colour to the mini, this light drybrush just evens out the colour and catches the very upper parts or where the wash has dried to heavy. If you wanted, you could go one tone lighter with the skin with this step.

  4.  The axe heads get two thin coats of a cold grey. I used Vallejo London Grey for this. You could use a metallic colour for this step, but I like the contrast of grey weapons at this scale. It also stops my armies blending into a puddle of silver on the battlefields. At this scale, it's very easy for an army to become a sea of silver.

  5.  The axe heads get a thin, even coat of black wash over them. As I wanted some grey trousers to break up the blue, the trousers here get two coats of black wash, allowing plenty of time to dry between coats. When painting the rest of the unit, I use a medium blue from vallejo and I water it down ever so slightly more than usual, so it only glazes the higher parts of the legs, like with the skin, and they get instant highlights. You could give the clothing a light drybrush of a dark grey for the black or light blue for the medium blue clothes, I chose to skip this step though as their clothing doens't need to stand out as much as there other defining features.

  6. The axe hafts are painted in Citadels 'snakebite leather' and the base is given a couple of coats of vallejos 'flat brown' (This is so no white ends up poking through the basing later on, you can skip this step, but I like to do it as I find white is pretty noticeable if the basing ever chips or cracks) The hafts are then given a small brown wash. If you want to save even more time, you can skip these parts completely, as they are only really noticeable up close or on some of the other poses.

  7.  This next step brings the model to life! It's time to paint the most important part of a dwarf, his beard! These dwarves are being used for my warhammer fantasy project, so I'm going for the classic orange beard of the dwarf slayer! I used citadels aptly named 'Troll slayer orange'. The advantage of this colour, is that Games Workshops layer paints are very transparent, and their oranges especially so. Thinning it down with just a touch of water and over the white undercoat once again gives instant highlights. Being the defining feature of the dwarf, you want this part of the model to really stand out. If you wanted to spend more time on them, you could give these areas a wash and another highlight. I stick with the nice bold orange as it is.

  8. The axes are looking pretty dull after the black wash. I have a super thin, cheap synthetic brush that I use for drybrushing these sort of small areas on 6mm miniatures. Like with the skin, you want an almost bone dry drybrush. I used Vallejo 'pale grey blue' and I drybrush all the whole axe head, concentrating on the edges, but making sure to catch part of the flat areas of the axe head as well. If I was spending more time on them, I would probably drybrush the London grey again and then do an even lighter coat of the lighter grey, but with these dwarves, the weapon heads are so small, it's almost a wasted step, as you will not see the gradual colour change on the tabletop. The drybrushing does look a little bit fierce in the photo, but I promise that is a fault with the camera. To the naked eye it is not that extreme looking and from two foot away on the tabletop it's more then fine!

    Your dwarf berserkers are now complete! Painting in batches of whole units means that once you complete one step on each model, by the time you get to the last one, the first will be dry and ready for the next step! These are probably the fastest models to paint I have in this army. Once I had settled on the scheme, I was able to knock each step out in a matter of seconds. A whole unit probably took me 30 minutes, including drying times (which includes time being distracted by the new Doctor Who bluray boxset playing in the background!) I only wish the rest of the army was as easy and quick to paint as these were!

    One of the most important steps with this scale is the basing. Getting a good base on the a unit of 6mm figures is important and will really set the figures off. I'll cover the basing of this unit in a later post, once I've finished painting up the last couple of batches of dwarves I have on the desk, as I like to batch base my units due to the longer drying times.


  1. Replies
    1. No worries, the skin tones are great and I have a couple of hundred of the Microworld Dwarves so handy to see all the brain work done already. ;)


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