Zardu Layak and the Anakatis Kul Blade Slaves

Hey All, Eric here!  I am very happy to share my latest paint job: Zardu Layak and his Blade-Slaves. 

These models confounded me for over a year, but I am finally done and happy with the results. 

These are some of the most challenging models I’ve painted because the level of detail is so high everywhere.  They are absolutely stunning models from Forge World but it’s definitely a case of too much of a good thing. 

I ended up stripping them the first time I painted them because I wasn’t getting a good focal point. 

After rethinking the model, I was able to deemphasize areas like the cloth skirts on the legs to force areas of rest on the character. 


I’m always a little terrified when I have to paint fire because when I start doing the bounce light, I feel like I’m about to ruin a perfectly good paint job. 

I have to say that I’m really happy with this one because I focused on painting shadows into the recesses as well as getting the color bounce. I feel like the bounce light on the base really sells the feel of Zardu carrying his torch. 

Blade slaves

Like I said above with the bladeslaves especially it was about simplifying shapes and deemphasizing where I could. 

I decided I wanted the 1st and 2nd reads to be the helmets and then the sword arms so I made those the brightest areas.  Even then I kept the paint on the flesh of the arm somewhat simple because the model itself was so busy. No need to add mottled flesh or much variation. 
The swords themselves I wants to pop and feel otherworldly so I settled on an ice chip feel. I tried to make the blade themselves feel translucent. 

Anyways, I hope you enjoy them thanks for reading. 

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Eric L, Painting


Beautiful work Eric, the flames look awesome and I can relate to the fear of ruining the model with OSL, but yours turned out great! The demon look of the blade slaves looks awesome

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Zardu looks absolutely phenomenal, and the flame effects really bring the model together. One question though – how did you do the bounce light? Was it drybrushed?

Great work regardless! Keep it up!


Hey Jonathon,

I’m glad you enjoyed the model. I did a combination of both drybrushing and repainting shadows in a dark color.

Typically I’ll completely paint the model with neutral lighting, just so I can have the armor color the way I want it consistently.

Then I’ll get the flame the way I wanted, brightest at the source of the flame, dark and shadows up at the top to simulate the fire turning into smoke. Next, I’ll do the drybrushing pass, starting yellows closest to the flame and moving into oranges and reds, making sure I’m viewing the model from the source of the light, anything I can see when I put my eye directly behind the flame, needs to be drybrushed with one of your bouncelight colors.

The thing I did different on Zardu was to paint the shadows back in after I was done with the drybrushing pass. I looked at the model from the opposite angle of the flame (Looking back at the flame from the opposite direction I did the above drybrushing step), and painted in the shadows with a thinned down combination of browns and blacks to simulate shadow.

I did a couple of passes of that, tigthening up and making the paint more opaque where the shadows would be strongest. That upped the overall contrast of the model which helped the shadows feel really dark in opposition to the lit areas.

Thanks for the question. I hope that helps. 🙂


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