Wargaming Tradecraft: Mordheim Pit Fighters


Mordheim Pit Fighters

I painted a band of Pit Fighters a little while back for Mordheim, using a variety of models but mostly some Tzeentch cultists. I also did a few unique things when it came to painting them that I'll also discuss the details of at the end of the article.

Basically since I was painting for an old school game (Mordheim) I decided to try my hand at more of a Games Workshop grim dark style with less contrast and less highlights... it's so unlike what I usually paint that I'm not sure I'm happy with how they look. I did enjoy creating the blue chitin armour though.

The following is a 360 degree video of the warband, after while I'll show some images of each of the models and talk about them and at the end of this article I have the paint formulas for everything.

Warband Leader

Most of the Pit Fighters have been painted similarly, though a uniqueness of the leader is he has a vulture on his arm.

  1. I airbrushed it in a phoenix style, using orange overall.
  2. Highlighting to yellow.
  3. Shading to a dark red.
  4. Then, I airbrushed black along the feather tips.
  5. To finish up, I used a light red wash.
  6. Then a slight highlight of beige on the feathers and light grey on the black wing tips.

The Mage

I don't have a mage in my warband yet, but wanted to paint one up while doing the rest of them. I'm really happy with how the parchment turned out.

  1. I started with a base of beige.
  2. Washed it with a dark brown to bring out all the etched symbols and "words."
  3. Added some washes, both chestnut and sepia, applied at the same time in different areas. This allows them to bleed together and creates natural blends. (pictured)
  4. Dry-brush with a light beige paint.


Nothing too fancy here, just an angry little dwarf with a huge axe and bright orange hair. The red metallic is an old craft paint that I've hung on to all these years.

The Cheerleaders

These are a couple models I picked up from Greebo Games as part of a group of twisted Victorian models. I think they were supposed to be firey skulls, but in Mordheim I gave them maces. Steel skull maces.

The Muscle

Picked up a Blood Bowl ogre to act as my Pit Fighter ogre - definitely works well. You can see the blue armour "chitin" really well on him. The idea was that some of my army's armour came from desert beetles. Scroll to the bottle of the article for the paint formula.

The Shield Guards

Nothing really new here. Gave these guys halberds and shields and the shields were painted the same as I described about on the ogre.

The Rabble

This is the group of the rest of the Pit Fighters. Just generic guys ready to kick butt.

Painting Formula

I think they turned out alright, though without any bright highlights it's definitely different from my usual style. In that, I'm not entirely sure how happy I am with the final result, but I decided to use a "grim dark" approach since I was painting for an old Games Workshop game :D

I'm just going to touch on the skin and armour for these guys, the rest of my formulas are still covered below.


So for the skin, I was going for kind of a "300" (The Movie) Persian skin tone. Some tips regarding my approach, though the full formula with paint swatches is pictured below:

  1. Keep the shadow colours dark.
    1. I used XV-88 blended to Zandri Dust
  2. Highlight with lighter colours.
    1. Dwarf Flesh blended to Midlund Flesh.
    2. Dwarf, Midlund and White mixed for a final highlight.
  3. Wash the shadows with Agrax Earthshade.
  4. Wash overall with Fuegan Orange
  5. Wash overall with Seraphim Sepia.

Scarab Armour

This is a little trickier to replicate, only because Games Workshop doesn't sell coloured metallics anymore. You could try mixing some colour into silver, mixing washes over silver or layering technical gem paints over silver. As an alternate, there are other brands that continue to sell coloured metallics.
  1. Base with black.
  2. Paint thick layers of metallics and keep painting while everything is still wet. This allows the paints to mix and blend together for you.
    1. Start with a layer of blue metallic.
    2. Add streaks and blotches of metallic green in highlight areas.
    3. Add streaks and blotches of metallic purple in shadow areas.
  3. Wait for everything to dry.
  4. If you plan on varnishing the model, do it now.
  5. Option 1: Apply a few layers of gloss to the blue armour.
  6. Option 2: Apply a layer of Liquitex pouring medium to the blue armour.
    1. This'll be thicker and create a nicer chitin look.
    2. You'll need to try to level each area, apply the medium, then wait for it to dry before starting the next area. This will ensure the medium doesn't run off the model.

All the Formulas

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