Zombie Flesh and Gore

Ok, so a couple of people have asked for the recipe to my Zombies, in particular regular reader Finch (of Minis by Finch). I finished my Otherworld Zombie over the last month for the competition on the Painted Dragon (a competition I’m currently in last place for if anyone fancies voting for me *please*)

This is remarkable for 2 reasons, one, I worked all but about 5 days of the last month averaging 12 hours a day plus 4 hours of travelling and, two, because I have a well documented habit of painting almost all of a tribe but never quite finishing. My OW goblins for example are 2.5 minis short of done, my Fire Giants are 0.7 minis away from being complete. So the very fact that I finished all of them is a miracle (if you ignore the 9 Red Box zombies I promised to paint…)

Anyway, my method for painting zombies is incredibly simple. I started with a basecoat of Dheneb Stone which is then washed with Devlan mud. This allows me to see all the detail on the model as well as provide some nice areas of shade for later washes.


The next step is to mix up a flesh colour. I use Tanned Flesh, Stone Green and Pale Flesh. This gives a a slightly grey green finish to the skin that I feel works well for Zombies.


Adding some Elf Flesh and more Pale Flesh to the mix I add a second layer of highlights, this time working on the upper sections of flesh and the edges of muscles to create definition for the wash.


The mini is then washed. I add a drop of Thraka Green to the mix, along with some more pale flesh and then a lot of Lahmian Medium. Now what the medium does is reduce the consistency of the paint without changing the colour and I want something that is very wet. As you can see in the image this coat of wash tones down both the highlights and the shadows and makes a more pleasing uniformed look to the skin. I will later use either Devlan Mud or Thraka Green to refine the darkest areas of the mini, such as between the fingers and toes.


After adding in the clothes it’s time to work on the gore. I wanted to do the gore last because that way you can add it to the flesh and the clothes and it’ll look seemless. This part is really easy. I started out with Leviathan Purple and washed it into the recesses.

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As you can see here the wash fills the areas of missing skin but also deepens the colour of the raised areas, almost like bruising.


Next I add Baal Red to the cut areas, spilling downwards to create the effect of blood running down the body.

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Again with this wash I’m aiming to suggest the effect of blood, rather than painting individual streaks with can look cheesy.


I also made sure to have blood spill onto the clothes around wounds to make the mini feel more natural. The beauty of using the washes to create this blood effect is that they do almost all the work for you. For example, this leg wound.

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This effect is nothing more than the base coat, washed with Devlan Mud, then washed with Leviathan Purple, followed by Baal Red. The highlights on the flesh still stand out through the washes and create this multi-layered effect.


Finally, any specific streaks of blood that I want to add are done using Scab Red watered down with Baal Red, this are used sparingly to avoid that cheesy streaked feel, under stated gore always looks better than obliterating your hard work with red everywhere.


I used the same technique across all the models to create different effects. This one for example has an exposed rib cage. I painted that using Desert Yellow followed by Bleached bone. Then I used the purple and red washes to blend it into the flesh leaving some of the bones clean. You can also see here that I used the Scab Red technique to add blood around one eye and to the lower lips.


To emphasise the bruised skin on this model I simply used more of the purple wash, deepening the recesses in his face and discolouring the flesh on the arms.

And here they are as a group, the other two appeared in an earlier post.


Hopefully that has been informative and as you can see it’s a really simple way to achieve quite a nice effect.

See you all soon,

The Duke


  1. Cool zombies. Very informative post. Thanks Chris. Just discovered Lahmian medium myself. Love the stuff.


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