Painting How-To: Two-Stage Edge Highlighting

Two-stage edge highlighting is a technique that uses two similar paint colors, one brighter than the the other, to make it appear that the edges of a model are either catching light or glowing.

Though I’ve used GW Necron models in my examples, the techniques described here are applicable to any models on which you wish to do edge highlighting be it tanks, aircraft, ships, dragons or even the armor on foot troops.

First, prime the model to be painted.

Step 1: Prime

Next, paint the highlight color on the edges of the model. It should be wide enough to easily paint a thinner line using a second color within it.

Step 2: Paint the edges with the first highlight color

Finally, paint a thin line within the highlight painted in step 2 using a brighter version of the same color.

Step 3: Paint a thinner line with a brighter color

After you’re done, neaten up any irregular lines from the highlight stages as necessary.

Though we’re only doing a two-stage edging process the finished product will look dramatic. This technique is simple, but since it’s a bit of a meticulous process it can take quite some time especially on models with lots of edges to cover.

Here’s a photo showing the full two-stage highlighting on some completed models, Necron Canoptek Spyders.

This technique works on all kinds of models and with all kinds of colors. In the picture of my Necron Annihilation Barge below you can see that the same technique was used for the green glow on the main gun and for the purple on the hull of the craft. Also notice that the same technique with purple was used on areas base coated either black or purple.

Two-stage edge highlighting was used to make it appear that the cracks on the sword and pauldrons of my Slaanesh Daemon Prince are glowing.

Of course, if you want to be more economical with your time a single stage edge highlight gives your model some added dimension. It’s less striking to look at than a two-stage highlight, but it still improves the overall finished appearance of the model. My Chaos Marine Rhino below has a single stage edge highlight.

As you can see this edge painting technique is useful whether the highlight colors are brighter versions of the base color or completely different. I’ve used purple, green, turquoise and blue in the examples here. This technique works just as well for any colors and any shades of color.

The first time I made a lot of use of the two-stage edge highlight was on my green Dark Angels vehicles. It about wore me out as there are a lot of edges to cover on squadrons of Vindicators, Rhinos, Razorbacks and Whirlwinds, but the end result was nice enough to make it worthwhile. With all the great new models being released in the past few months, including Tau, there are lots of opportunities to make good use this technique.

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