Saturday, June 25

Power Weapon Week: how to do lightning effects by Duke

Hey everyone, this is the last article for power weapon week!  I hoped that some of you learned how to paint a little differently, if not then oh well.  The way I paint power weapons is somewhat similar to how Immortal does his, but I like to add the "lightning effect," to mine.  Read on and Ill give you a step by step on how I do it.  

Step1: Base coat

This step is fairly simple... Just paint the entire blade in Royal Blue... This will be the deepest shade of our blues going forward.

 Stage 2: Checkers part 1

Using Ultramarine Blue, paint checkers on the blades like this. I like to use a 'lines,' pattern.  I feel that it gives some more depth to the overall effect instead of just painting it a solid color.  To see what I mean look at the checkered areas and you can see certain parts are allowing the darker blue to be seen.  When painting using the 'line,' technique your paint will look like this (lll lllll ll l lll) I hope that makes some kind of sense.

PS: David Sunflower Seeds (BBQ flavor) are a must when doing this project!

Stage 3: Checkers part 2

Again, using the line approach take "Enchanted Blue," and do more lines along the Ultramarine blue areas... These lines should be a little more spaced out than those of the previous layer.  The goal is to have the color of previous layers show through.  A good note is to water down your paints so that the previous layers can show through easier.

Stage 4: The Lightning

The Lightning!  This is where your steady hand comes into play.  Take a slightly watered down Ice blue, you don't want to water it down too much because then it will 'leak,' into something that looks nothing like a lightning bolt.  I usually start with more lightning towards the hilt and get less and less "branches," as the blade extends from the hilt.  If your not doing a sword then make more lightning close to the power source.  If you are struggling on how to do this effect and make it look natural here is my suggestion... Have you ever opened your eyes in a pool? remember what the water looks like?  I try to copy that.  I also try to create one "main branch," and have other smaller branches follow it.  It also helps to remember that lightning always follows the path of least resistance when moving along a surface.  If a lightning branch touches the edge of the blade I will then do an edge highlight along the edge of the blade  almost like a capital "T" Or "L"... As a special note, I try to have my lightning follow the brighter of the 'checkerboard,' while maybe having is cross slightly over the darker checkers.

Stage 5: Highlighting the lightning

Using pure Skull White (slightly watered down but not too much!).  I go in and only put white in the areas where the lightning "branches out," or touches the edge of the blade.  This helps give that "bottom of the pool," look. I also put more white towards the power source. Once this stage is done you are finished!  

Well, that is it for power weapon week!  I really would like to know what you all thought of a themed week?  Would you like to see more themed weeks every so often? If so give me a few topics.  




  1. Great take on it man, looks a lot easier than a couple of the tutorials I've seen for it. Great work.

  2. Thanks, I was hoping to make it sound easy... it is pretty simple once you get the hang of it.


  3. that looks really amazing :D
    I like the sound of themed weeks, especially if they're all as helpful as this one!

  4. This is probably the best tutorial I have seen and is exactly what I was looking for.

    If I wanted to start with a base of Dark Angels Green instead of Royal Blue what colors would you reccomend for stage 2 and 3? I was thinking of Scorpion Green for stage 4.

  5. You hit the nail on the head with the "bottom of the pool" line. That was perfect.

    Also I want to point out that this works well thanks to the mix of contrasting color and shape. Contrasting color is the first thing painters try to manipulate. Adding shape to the mix takes it to the next level.

    Think about ivy growing on a brick wall. The bricks have hard lines and are repeating while the ivy meanders fingind its own path.

    This is a big step in concept and application.
    Keep up the good work and look for examples of contrasting color and shape in your everyday life.

    Why must the log in torment me so???

  6. anonymous strikes again! lol...

    At the time I thought it was stupid, but "The bottom of the pool," thing actually describes is quite well...huh, who would have thought!