Genestealer Test Piece


Genestealers are planned for an upcoming project.  This guy is the prototype, the painting patriarch in some respects.


With a few different genestealer related projects coming up soon, I wanted to lock down a practical colour scheme palette and layout that can be repeated as required.

As genestealers blend with host species and end up wearing clothes and other things that will have to balance visually in subsequent miniatures, I felt that getting a common or garden example of the species complete first was essential.


I tried a few different techniques on this model, experimenting as I went. Some ideas were successful, others were not.  As a result this model has a few extra layers of paint here and there and also residual effects of things like sponging.  The finish is significantly scruffier than its successors will be, but it served its purpose as a successful test I think.


Just for fun, here is the new model alongside a ‘stealer that I painted in 1991/1992ish and also alongside a speed painted ‘stealer from 2009.  Remember that the aim with the speed painted guy was to get thirty six of them painted plus twenty six of their plastic hybrid buddies to make a fully painted Space Hulk set, so dont be too hard on the rough, drybrushed finish.  Those guys look good in hordes charging down corridors, which was the point of that exercise.



With the basic genestealer scheme locked down I can get stuck into some of the beasts colleagues next.


Inquisitor Verhoevens blood runs cold as his suspicions are proven correct.



27 Responses

  1. One of my favourite GW models the Genestealer, I like the colour scheme Paul very close to the original Spacehulk but more vibrant somehow.

    As to what you have planed for them game wise i can’t wait to read all about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The classic plastic genestealer is a great model. The ‘stealer redesign a few years ago was one of the few times that the new tyranid model didnt improve on the original I think.

      This paint job is essentially just an inversion of the classic scheme Frank, but at least its a little different.

      As ‘stealers blend with other species, it can be tricky to find a way to make the alien nature of the host species apparent unless the familiar schemes are adhered to to an extent. I erred on the side of caution in this case, and stuck with a similar blue and purple palette.

      I think that you will like some of the figures that I have planned 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely looking genestealer! Really striking fleshtone too, top job, looking forward to the family!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Rochie!
      Im hopeful that the pale flesh tone will make adding a hint of host flesh tones via glazes and targeted washes pretty straightforward.
      We will see how that goes…


  3. I can’t recall ever seeing a Genestealer with and inverted colour scheme before, but it really works. Keeping the carapace pretty dark purple make the blue fleshy bits almost electric. I wonder if your strain has a slight bio-luminescence to their skin?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The scheme is defined by certain combinations of paint that I like using in some respects, so thats what defined it really. About halfway through painting that model I started to wonder if I had ever seen the scheme somewhere else actually, but I dont think so.

      The genestealer scheme that I remembered was the one from the 2009 Space Hulk, which uses a similar cold, dark carapace and cold, bright flesh. I checked it though, and while the saturation and brightness looks similar, its not an inversion.

      I tend to be drawn to vivid, unearthly colours for my sci fi miniatures, particularly monsters, the electric blue in these guys is a case in point. An offshoot of the Trygon bio-electric pulse biology perhaps?

      Thanks for the feedback!


  4. He’s a striking fellow, I like the scheme, the head in particular looks great. Looking forward to seeing it on some hybrids, it should make for a pretty distinctive clan.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Im itching to try it out on some hybrids now. Im not sure what direction to go with the non-organic elements of the hybrids though. The idea that the cult dress in robes the colours of ‘stealer pigmentation seems a bit odd to me.

      Picking colours that go with purple and blue is always a bit tough though. Im going to have to have a think about it.


  5. Looks good. Genestealers are handy baddies to have around, and I think they always look nice in a few different, but complimentary schemes, so the old ones could still serve as filler for the horde when it’s time for that. Neat to see the evolution in your painting style. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • A mix of colour schemes for a horde of ‘stealers is definitely a good look, some variation in the horde is desirable, definitely.

      Sneaky, subversive and sinister are the by words for these guys, so I want to keep them uniform, vaguely space ninja. Well, very vaguely. We will see how that goes…

      Thanks for the feedback David!


  6. Looking good! I like the colour scheme a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks gonzohistory.

      I think that it could look good on the hybrids too, once I get the details worked out. Im really looking forward to tackling them though.


  7. Brilliant work, that looks really nice. 🙂 I like the “inverted scheme” and I can see it transferring well to the other types who make up a Genestealer Cult/Clan.

    Genestealers are a bit of a slow burn project for me at the moment – I have been slowly building up useful bits if I see them at a decent price – so this will serve as very useful inspiration – as your work always does!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words Warburton.

      I had got rid of nearly all my genestealer related miniatures until recently, but the stars aligned and I started to gather up a few. Before this year it had gone beyond slow burn, right down to burnt out.

      I really am looking forward to translating the scheme to hybrids. Im tempted to start working on one when I get home today…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Very nice mate, I love that pale blue flesh… I think you’ve hit on a winner there old chap 🙂


    • Yeah, it’s the sort of scheme that I think that I can make work over a medium sized range of miniatures without losing my mind, but is still has some visual impact.

      Hopefully I will be able to put my money where my mouth is in not too long.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Whoa! He’s awesome.
    Steady boys……. Steady…… Ok run away… Flee!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks!

      Genestealers were always a bit scary, as should be expected from something that can tear apart tactical dreadnought armour with its bare claws.

      The tabletop game has not generated that sort of scary genestealer since, but Space Hulk has always nailed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice job! I never got into these guys when I painted more 28 mm stuff… I probably would have found the original incarnation a lot of fun back in the 90s but I got sidetracked from painting by higher education and whatnot :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • My interest in genestealer cults has waxed and waned.

      After getting rid if most of them over the years, in the last six months I have picked up about sixty miniatures for the project (which is too many really). I am really looking forward to painting a few though. They have a fun, oddball, gonzo vibe that appeals. It’s a project that I am looking forward to.

      Thanks for the feedback!


  11. Hmm, that scheme is nice, different. The cold palette adds a nice touch, looks like he just run out from the fridge!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Suber!

      I’m hoping to keep the scheme bright, but cold and hopefully sinister.

      The variation in figures in the force will hopefully keep interest up too.


  12. The color inversion looks great. In my capacity as a completely unqualified art critic, I would say you are still in the middle of your “blue” period. 🙂

    Good to see that Verhoeven is on the case!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When in a rare humour, as close to gregarious as the grim member of the Ordo Xenos gets, Verhoeven tells tales of the Gardens of Toolenay.

      The inquisitor is far beyond simple notions of right and wrong, but he regards that day as one of his better days.

      As for blue, a few people have mentioned it. I see acid green as being more signature of my toy soldiers, but I think that it may be a wood for the trees thing from my perspective.

      Thanks for the feedbackback Guiscard!


  13. I like the blue/purple combo and the claws, one one the things I just can’t paint very well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The claws on that guy are rather rushed to be honest, but getting that sort of look is pretty simple to be honest.
      1) Paint the claw black.
      2) Apply thinned dark brown to 80% of the length of the claw fading to black to wards the root. Use the translucency of the paint to make the transition in colour not too sharp.
      3) Apply thinned mid brown to about 60% of the length of the claw, as above.
      4) Apply thinned bone to about 30% as above. If the claw has an edge like the ‘stealer claws have then run that colour along that edge a bit further back to suggest sharpness.
      5) Apply a cream or white to the tip and to the edge. Be lean here.

      Its pretty straightforward (although as I say, the above example is a bit rushed. It was a test piece after all).

      Thanks for the feedback Coronasan!


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