Unleash The Monsters: Painting With A Chimera

Monsters are one of the most fun aspects of fantasy and science fantasy games like Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000.

Painting them is also fun as you can let your imagination run wild.

Working with monsters is often unlike painting models of bipedal troopers like humans, elves, dwarves, Space Marines, Eldar, etc. because monsters usually have no little or no artificial equipment modeled on them. This gives hobbyists a break from painting fiddly details like tiny belt buckles, straps, scabbard decorations and dagger hilts.

Monstrous creatures give the hobbyist a chance to paint large surface areas in sweeping single colors. Since monsters are wholly a product of imagination there’s often more freedom on color choices as well. Let’s get started!

I started this Games Workshop Warriors Of Chaos Chimera by assembling and painting the body. This is initially easier without the wings in the way, so I started painting the wings separately and attached them later.

I used a beige color in lieu of the the usual “lion yellow” color for a slightly different, but not too unconventional look. I already have a Manticore with a yellowish body and I wanted the two models to be distinctly different. The neutral color will also not clash with the more garish colors I have planned for the various heads on the model. 

I base coated the heads next. I gave each a distinct color since there are three different types of creature heads as is the case with the Chimera of classical Greek mythology that inspired this Warhammer creation. The dark teal color used on the serpent head was also used on other scaly parts of the model.

After the base coat each area got an appropriately colored shading wash followed by highlights. Highlighting was done in successively brighter layers. I did quite a bit of layering on this model since it’s a large centerpiece for the collection.

This front view shows the partially highlighted heads. Details like tongues, teeth and beaks have yet to be painted. I deliberately left the body mostly plain and neutral, unadorned with stripes or spots. Though I considered painting a pattern of some kind on the body in the end I decided that the plain neutral colored body showed off the multi-colored heads better than adding yet another busy pattern or color to the model. Of course, this is a subjective matter just like the decision to use different colors on the heads. If you’d rather paint a pattern on the body when you have a go at this model have fun with it.

The finished model with wings attached is shown below. The leathery parts of the wings were painted in colors that match the serpent head and scaly parts of the model.

This rear view of the Chimera clearly shows the painted wings. I used a pastel blue Citadel Edge paint mixed with other colors to give them a nice bright highlight.

 The Chimera strikes!

The lava basing matches many of the other models in the army. Some of those like my Chaos Dragon conversion have been shown here in previous articles on Spikey Bits.  I also did a tutorial on painting lava effects.


I enjoy painting these larger models where my imagination can run free and they are a nice change of pace from painting huge numbers of fiddly human size troopers. Though I paint mostly Warhammer 40K models it’s also nice to return at times to the pure fantasy roots of the hobby. Like many fantasy game hobbyists, it all started for me with D&D long, long ago.


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