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""Painting" 40K Space Marines with Sharpie Pens" Topic

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Mezmaron07 Sep 2017 7:41 p.m. PST

Based on the short Youtube video from Lukes Affordable Painting Service (APS), I was curious to see how quickly I could "paint up" Ultramarines from the Battle for Vedros Starter Set using only Sharpies.

I first primed the Space Marines with The Army Painter's Ultramarine Blue. I then proceeded to "paint" the miniatures via Sharpie pens, afterwards dipping the models. Unfortunately, the dipping media did dissolve some of the pen marks, so I had to reapply after dipping. The colors white and red were a pain. For red, I first had to color the spot white, then add the red afterwards. I also had to use flesh paint for the faces (Sharpie doesn't make a flesh-color pen).

More lessons learned and photos on my blog….



kallman07 Sep 2017 8:46 p.m. PST

Well for sharpie pens as the medium they look pretty good and clean. Reading your blog post however it seems that time was not really saved. Kudos for the experimentation and you did achieve a good effect.

Neal Smith08 Sep 2017 4:26 a.m. PST


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 4:28 a.m. PST

I have done this for fine detailing but AFTER the washes are applied

I use artists pens with a very fine point

Centurio Prime08 Sep 2017 4:36 a.m. PST

I have tried it with the sharpies and fine tipped and it works well. I usually just use a brush and paint though.

Mezmaron08 Sep 2017 11:18 a.m. PST

Overall, not as much saved as I would have liked, or was expecting. The metallic pens will be my primary method going forward for metallic colors however.

The key time savings is how easy setup is. Have 2 minutes of spare time? All you need is the pen and the model. No clean-up, etc.

ordinarybass09 Sep 2017 5:58 p.m. PST

Your results look pretty darn good! I would never have guessed it was almost all markers. I love seeing folks find new ways to quickly and cheaply paint their minis.

I've not done markers for an entire model, but I've been using paint pens for the silver metalic trim, amor and weapons for my Runewars Daqan army. I definitely agree about the lack of cleanup. I've found all kinds of places to
"paint" minis with a pen that I never would have before. Waiting to pick up the kids, at the park, etc…

I take a clippers and snip the pen point into a wedge shape and it works quite well. For the basic soldiers I use a similar method of
-Base Spray with hardware store paint (Rustoleum satin in this case)
-Silver marker
-A couple of other basic colors
-Matte Varnish

Perhaps it would be worth trying craft store paint pens which are cheaper than sharpies and come in a wider variety of colors? My dip of minwax polyshades didn't seem to affect the silver paint pen. Alternatively a spray of varnish over the markers before the dip might help preserve things.

For super fast and cheap basing, I used superglue on the bases and dipped them in Sand Mix Cement which is $8 USD for 40 pound bag and has sand, cement (looks like soil when painted) and some gravel in one easy mix.

If you're interested in seeing my experience here's the in-progress
and here's the final product

The H Man09 Sep 2017 10:57 p.m. PST

Nice experiment.

I remember when fat bloke used black pen to shade minis in white dwarf. I was impressed, never tried it though.

Highlighting may be easier with pen, getting the right colour may be hard though.

What about those fancy anime pens?

kallman10 Sep 2017 4:44 p.m. PST

H Man, I was thinking the same thing about the anime pens. They work great on the Gundam models so why not with 40K models.

Poniatowski11 Sep 2017 10:17 a.m. PST

This is a very cool effect! Not worried about saving time here… just getting better, straighter fine lines than I can get with a paint brush!!!!!

Mezmaron11 Sep 2017 5:24 p.m. PST

I think the problem I had with the Minwax Polyshade was that I used a brush to distribute blobs after dipping the model in the media. The brush movement over the metallic faded it and I had to reapply after dipping.

Had I just dipped it would have been okay….

Mezmaron20 Oct 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Starting work on the Land Speeder now.


I'm curious to see how the dipping media will effect the marks this time around.


As usual before dipping, it pretty much looks like garbage at this stage in the process….

Mezmaron18 Nov 2017 3:03 p.m. PST

The last few steps were to dip the model, apply the decals, glue in the drive and gunner, re-apply dipping media over the decals. I finally applied a matte spray to tone down the reflection of the dipping media to complete the model. There are a few touch-ups needed to be made with a fine Sharpie pen, (in areas where I still see some blue where it shouldn't be).



As a proof of concept, it was a success. The metallic Sharpie pens worked great and saved a ton of time painting those colors.


ced110614 May 2018 7:46 p.m. PST

IIRC, Mecha model painters have been doing this for years! (:

I have a set of brush-tipped Prismacolor pens for touch-up, such as painting a crack black on a dungeon tile.

Metallic paints supposedly destroy brushes, so good to see how well Sharpies work!

Capt Flash15 May 2018 9:05 p.m. PST

Excellent work! I only discovered the markerliner method whilst recovering from surgery. I had a lot of time to spend on youtube since I don't watch TV and was too medicated to concentrate on reading. 😁

1905Adventure15 May 2018 10:13 p.m. PST

You can also give them a quick spray with varnish after you do the pen work. This will both protect it from the dip and also allow the dip to pool even better.

Mezmaron20 Oct 2018 9:38 a.m. PST

I recently "painted" three 40K Chaos Space Marines (Black Legion) with sharpie pens. The Black Legion works great with this method as their colors are black and metallic colors. I saved a ton more time using this method this time around.



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