Tutorial: How to paint camouflage cloaks

This tutorial is designed to show how I painted my camouflage cloaks on my sniper scout squad.  Although the colours are designed for my chapter scheme I'm confident that the technique could be adapted to fit most other chapters.

The first task is to find a camo pattern that you think fits with your colour scheme.  After trawling google images I found this.

I chose a digital camo pattern for a slightly futuristic look compared to some of the more 'curvy' ones.  Obviously the blue/grey colours of this perfectly match the Astral Knights colour scheme. Having chosen your camo pattern you have to decide on the background colour, in this case the deep blue is more prevelant than anything else and I'll use this as my base colour.  If in doubt as to which colour to use as the base, choose the colour you want to have as the overall tone of the cloak (usually your chapter colour).

Now paint the cloak in the base colour and then highlight it using a shade brighter of the same colour  (I used Kantor Blue and Aldorf Guard Blue).  You don't have to be too careful here, just line highlight the sharp edges and block highlight the upper surfaces.  It should look a little bit like this.

Notice that I haven't tried to blend the highlights in as the edges will disappear in the camo pattern.

Next pick the second most common colour, in my case the light grey (Administratum Grey) and start applying it over the top.  Make sure you thin your paint so that you don't get raised surface texture that will ruin the illusion of a smooth fabric surface.  When painting on the pattern you need to be counterintuitive to make the effect work.  I only painted in straight lines, and only parallel and perpendicular to the flow of the cloak. 
This seems to break the whole idea of camouflage but on a model we are dealing with two conflicting pressures.  Trying to make it obvious at distance what it is, so the cloak needs to look like a cloak with the flow of fabric. This directly opposed to the point of camo which is to disguise what something is.
Painting only in straight lines, along and across the flow of the cloak maintains the illusion of a complicated camo pattern whilst alllowing the eye to follow the shape underneath.  Hopefully you should end up with this.

You can see that the bits on the left follow the diagonal but the sections on the right go vertical and horizontal.  I've also painted into the folds as this will be made to look better later.

Repeat this step with the next colour, on my pattern the dark grey (Mechanicus Standard Grey). Again straight lines only, along and across teh flow of the cloak.  Don't just put it in the gaps left by the first colour but you go up to it and sometimes over it.

Continue doing this until you have done all the colours, although I think that many more than two main colours would be too time consuming and too messy looking.  I finished off the pattern with the dots of black.  At this stage you should have the whole pattern done but it will look very flat and in my case a bit too bright for my liking.

Now to reinforce the shape and flow of the cloak.  Take a wash/shade that matches the base coat of your cloak (In my case Drakenhof Nightshade) and apply it as if you were painting into the folds, not washing the whole cloak. Repeat this process when the first one is dry and put more layers into the deeper folds.  The wash allows you to build up the dark colour in the folds without completely covering the camo pattern

Hopefully this will help anybody trying to paint camouflage cloaks.  I have to say that it was much easier and quicker than I thought it would be.  Here are some examples of finished cloaks.

Please feel free to leave any comments, tips or questions.


  1. Wow, very nice work indeed.
    Ron, FTW

  2. Cheers Ron
    I wouldn't have tried it if it weren't for all the stuff on camo on your site.

  3. Glad it helped. You did a spot on job here.
    Ron, FTW

  4. Ron hit the nail on the head there Rob, nice work indeed!

    I'll try this out on a Rhino I think. I'll report back.

  5. That's a great job. I think might just have to use that technique when it comes to me painting my snipers. ;-)

  6. Cheers james, let me know how they turn out!