Power Sword 40k - how to paint step by step
There is no good fantasy- or science fiction-driven game without something resembling old-fashioned blades. It doesn’t matter if we have in mind classic medieval swords, vibroblades, or lightsabers - you can find similar tropes almost everywhere in Pop Culture. And that’s also the case with Warhammer 40k by Games Workshop.
The most significant events within this universe are said to happen an unbelievable number of years ahead of our times. During the never-ending conflict between determined armies of mankind, forces of Chaos, and various Xeno species, almost every imaginable weapon saw the light of the day - primarily futuristic, reaching far beyond our wildest thoughts, capable of destroying whole planets.
What’s interesting, among that true variety of deadly weaponry and equipment, in this grim dark future reality, there is still room for the likes of more archaic pieces of wargear. One of the most recognizable examples of such a wargear (but still not the only one) are Power Weapons.
Power Weapons are just like weaponry well-known to history. Besides the material they’re forged from (future means better access to different natural resources), there’s only one exception compared to classic counterparts. When activated (usually by pressing a hidden switch somewhere on the weapon’s hilt), Power Weapon provides an energy field around its blade, making it even more deadly. That difference allows this kind of weaponry to cut effortlessly through most materials, including flesh, bones, and even futuristic armor commonly used in the Warhammer 40k universe.
A wide range of Power Weapons exists in reality created by Games Workshop. To name a few, we can point out Power Knives, Power Axes, Power Hammers, Power Lances, Power Halberds, Power Glaives, Power Scythes, and even Power Fists. Still, the most recognizable among all of them is Power Sword. It’s an elegant weapon you’ll see many times on the battlefields of Warhammer 40k. And if you manage to acquire some Power Swords just for your troops, you may wonder, “how on earth should I paint this stuff to make it resemble that fascinating description of how it works?”
As with any other Space Legionaries equipment, blades come in many shapes and sizes - same with the techniques of painting them
If you’re the one who wants to paint his Power Swords (or you like to read about painting), stay with us - the Kromlech team - for the rest of this article, as we’ll try to lead you - step by step - through the process of making your Power Swords look like they were working for real.
How to choose the colors for your Power Sword
Choosing the color of your Power Sword shouldn’t be a complicated task, although it may take some time to decide which one suits a particular figure the best. Remember that there is no need to have all the Power Swords in your army in the same color. The Warhammer 40k universe is so vast that it saw many different types of these weapons - differing in color, shape, and size.
It’s probably good to mention that these weapons aren’t attached only to Imperium of Man factions, even though it might be the first pairing most fans would type. The Chaos and the Xeno armies found Power Swords practical too - including Eldar and their twisted kin, Dark Eldar. As the galaxy is long and wide, there are many counterparts to these blades among other factions. For example, we can mention Ork Power Klaws or Necron Hyperphase Swords.
If you think about it, there are so many options that the choice of color shouldn’t be a problem for real. No matter which one you choose, it’s highly probable that a Power Sword of this exact color already exists.
Nonetheless, if you’re not keen on making such choices, know that servants of the Emperor are most typically noticed with Power Swords color varying from light blue to dark green. What’s more, you can always pick a color depending on the general theme of your army (if any). For example, look at your battle dice or even battle rulers and paint your blades in a fitting color.
How to paint the blade of your Power Sword
The range of possible colors is broad, so the ways of painting your Power Sword blade will also be numerous. The one essential thing for you to decide at this point is what you would like to accomplish. The effect you might achieve on your Power Sword may vary, and there is no one good solution. Whether you want to make it like it glows or somewhat entirely metallic - it’s up to you. Keep in mind that the way you choose will significantly impact the difficulty level of your activity. It could be a tricky challenge to achieve the “glowing effect” on your Power Sword so that it would look similar to some of our tokens, markers, and templates from the gaming accessories category. Still, it isn’t impossible!
Remember that from the in-universe perspective, Power Swords can be either “active” or “inactive.” You decide in which stance you would like to portray them on your miniatures. In the vast depths of the Internet, you can find many photos of painted miniatures, as well as Warhammer 40k art. Doing some research before you start painting might be a good idea - just for inspiration. Comparing your thoughts with other hobbyists and players is always an option.
Of course, if you want to paint your Power Sword easily, you can use one or two paints for the blade. It’ll be painted (and it’ll be painted incredibly fast), but the effects might not be satisfying enough for you. That’s because the Power Sword seems like a perfect opportunity to test your skills, to go “crazy,” and experiment a bit. If you aren’t afraid to do that (if you aren’t afraid to achieve wonders), look at the modeling and basing section at our webstore. There you’ll find many materials that could be useful during your work on the Power Sword. We can highly recommend giving our weathering powders a try.
How to paint the hilt of your Power Sword
The hilt itself of a Power Sword isn’t anything but a standard grip (except for the eventual switch, but due to its size, it would be tough to incorporate it into the model). It means that it may vary, both in shape and color - depending on the status of the wielder or faction from which he originates. Nonetheless - as always - there are some rules typical for all (or a majority, at least) kinds of hilts. Still, it’s another thing that’s up to you - to your idea, imagination, resources, and time you’re willing to spend on painting.
Power Sword brings difference on the battlefield in terms of rules and miniatures portrayal. In the picture: Seraphim Knight raises his blade high up
Usually, an Imperial Power Sword’s hilt will be silver or gold. The more significant the sword owner will be among the Imperial ranks, the more ornate the hilt will be. Usual - the most common - insignias are skulls, eagles, or wings alone. It’s always good to distinguish such features from the rest. And that’s what also refers to inscriptions, even if they’re present on the blade of the sword. You may achieve a nice effect if you decide to underline such inscriptions - especially when you’re painting a turned-off version of the Power Sword. In that case, such details should be visible on the blade, as it isn’t “working” at that moment and no energy field surrounds it.
If the Power Sword belongs to a Chaos wielder, its hilt may also have a leather finish. It’ll be sharper, more “crude” - with the addition of spikes and Chaos marks. It’s good to paint them properly, to not give them as bright (and elegant) look as the Imperial ones. Gold is still an option, but you need to remember to make it “darker” by using some Wash.
As for the Xenos Power Swords, they (mostly) fit into one of the two categories above. The hilts of the Eldar ones should be painted similarly to the Imperial ones, but maybe even more richly - with brighter colors. On the other hand, these Power Swords that belong to Dark Eldar should have their hilts more Chaos-like. In dark tones, without many beautifiers.
Tips and tricks for creating a realistic metallic finish
The metallic finish isn’t something necessary when painting a Power Sword. Remember that most of your models are the troops portrayed as if they were taking part in a battle. It means that, more probably, their blades will be active - glowing with a sinister light.
Nonetheless, if you’re interested in painting the Power Swords without any energy field effect, a few things might help you add some realistic metallic finish. For instance, you can once again try to use our weathering powders - they’ll make your sword seem “used” but also give it a more realistic look.
On the other hand, you can always trust your paintbrush and try to create a realistic metallic finish while painting your model. Put the metallic color you wish on the blade, and then make sure to use a dark Wash, as well as a drybrush technique with some lighter color - switching between those two, should easily grant you the desired effect.
How to protect your painted Power Sword from scratches and fading
It’s completely understandable that once you finish painting your Power Sword, you want it to look good for as long as possible. Especially if you put so much effort into making it seem realistic and perfect. Unfortunately, protecting your models before scratches and fading could be challenging in this hobby. It might be complicated even if you keep your figures on a shelf because still, once in a while, you’ll need to move them or even transport them somewhere else. Not to mention painted models from your collection that you play daily.
One of the most well-known ticks to keep your miniatures away from scratches is to use some lacquer on them. If you’re afraid you can put too much of it onto your figure, you can always test it on different bits. For example, thanks to Kromlech 3D Workshop, you can afford a file of Power Sword to print. While having the possibility of printing such bits in the desired quantity, you’ll be able to do as many tests as you want.
You can always count on safety if you aren’t a fan of such solutions. A solid box can help you in that task when you aren’t next to a wargaming table. As for the time you play and place your miniatures on the battlefield, keeping them safe could be a little more complicated. Besides being careful, you can ensure that all the terrains are designed specifically for wargames, so there is a small risk of damaging a model because of its contact with a piece of scenery. Look at our Tabletop Scenics offer if you want to afford such terrains.