The Arena of Escalation: The Test Minis - Part 1

The Arena of Escalation: The Test Minis - Part 1

Welcome back to the Arena of Escalation, a gathering of intrepid hobbyists from around The Army Painter offices (and remote offices) to do what we celebrate most here. That thing that's embodied in the company's ethos and literally in our very name – paint an army!

You can check out who all of our contestants are in Part 1 and Part 2 of our introductions where each contestant picked an army from Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 to collect, build, and most importantly, paint over the next 9 months. Come December we'll all be gathered together at our HQ in Denmark for a fun day of games with our freshly painted 2,000 point (or thereabouts) armies.

To make this task easier, the Arena has been broken down into various phases and checkpoints by our officiant, Dipit. With a few weeks under our belts the first checkpoint has arrived - the venerable test model!

Mini Lineup

No army is complete without one as, this is what helps you figure out your colour scheme and the best way to paint it. Many of us often go through several test models (it is in the name after all) before finalizing how we want to proceed with the rest of our army. Without further ado, let's check out the amazing test minis from our first six contestants!


Steffen Aarestrup

Steffen: After a lot of back and forth, looking at different schemes, reading fluff, daydreaming about striking scorpions in plastic, and browsing way too many miniatures, I thought I had finally decided on a scheme. The plan was to go with either Iybraesil or Mymeara as my craftworld, as they are both turquoise/teal which I really like. But somehow, I couldn't really decide between them, and I ended up falling in love with something completely different as well, the orange pointy ears from Craftworld Lugganath.


Since the deadline for a test model was rapidly approaching I ended up doing two test models - one orange and one turquoise. When doing armies/large groups of figures like this, I always use my airbrush to get a good foundation of the basic colours down. This usually includes both shading and highlighting as well and is a real time saver. The orange model was done entirely with Warpaints Fanatic colours through my airbrush, where as the teal one was a combination of Warpaints Air and Fanatic, with some regular brush work as well.

The idea behind the bases is that they need to fit all the different colour schemes in the army (loads and loads of aspect warriors) without clashing with them, so they are kept more toned down, but will be nice and detailed with remnants of the glorious past Aeldari empire.

That said, I still have to make a choice, and the next deadline is closing in...

You can follow Steffen's progress on his Instagram @artificers_minis.


Jonas Thyssen

Jonas: Because the Grey Knights teleport around the board and in the lore are completely mind-wiped, I wanted them to look like reanimated suits of armor. They are hollow and arcane, and not at all human. The metallic armor recipe I came up with is Speedpaint Enchanted Steel through the airbrush over a black primer. Then I used Speedpaint Cloudburst Blue from below to create shadows and finished with a zenithal of Warpaints Air Shining Silver. I then used the new Warpaints Fanatic Dark Blue Tone Wash to establish the ambient occlusion shadows and finished by edge highlighting with Warpaints Fanatic Mithril.

Grey Knight

In the future I might be more scratchy when I apply those highlights to make it look more weathered and damaged. I purposely didn't use any gold, like you see on a lot of Grey Knight schemes because I wanted to keep the whole thing in cooler tones. The glow effect is Warpaints Fanatic Matt White thinned down followed by a drybrush of Warpaints Fanatic Royal Blue, which is super chromatic and works better as a drybrush then the Warpaints Fanatic Plasma Coil Glow Effects paint. I feel like I have the basic recipe down, but I will try and build on it further for the whole squad and fix this guy up if I do things differently when I paint the entire squad.

You can follow Jonas' progress on his Instagram @paphoved_design.


Erasmus Stenskilde

Erasmus: Starting up work on my Orks has been great. I really feel like my idea for the colours came through in both the actual models and the bases. It can be a lot of colours for some, but I like a bright and vibrant army.


Coming up with creative ideas for the bases has been fun and I cant wait to go crazier on the many models to come. Especially now, since my fiancé finds it fun to help me with the bases. It is always great to have my better half be a part of the hobby I love so much.


Oliver Løvendal

Oliver: I am doing a little twist on the regular Farsight Enclaves scheme in that I am using our Cool Reds Flexible Colour Triad. If you want to go for the more ´classic´ red of that army, you could reach for the Warm Reds Flexible Colour Triad instead, but I think it's great to sometimes put your own little spin on a project.

The idea behind this project is to show you that there is a way to paint miniatures without aerosol cans or an airbrush. So, if these tools are not relevant for you for whatever reason, have a look at this and see if it could work for you.

Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr

I think Mr. Farsight (please, Mr. Farsight is his father, call him Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr) came out okay. The scheme looks good on the table, but is easy to replicate on more models.

Note: I had fun painting his sword in bronze and blood, as in recent lore he has trouble restraining himself in combat and has visions of himself with a huge bronze axe in hand... ...Blood for the Greater Good?


Danni Christensen


Danni: For my Votann, I really liked the Kronos Hegemony colour scheme with the black and yellow so I tested it out on one of my Einhyr Hearthguard. My idea is to have the more standard troops covered in more black than yellow, and the higher ranking troops in more yellow than black, to easily show off which units are in command.



I had my model primed black and then proceeded to do some edge highlights with Warpaints Fanatic Night Sky, Deep Grey and Uniform Grey. All the little rivets were painted with Warpaints Fanatic Mithril, which I also used to add some scratchy wear and tear on the armor. I haven’t quite figured out how I want to paint the yellow, but the team has given me lots of advice and tips. All in all, I'm very pleased with my first mini. I still need to figure out how to do cool amethyst obsidian crystals for my bases, but I'm feeling inspired and focused to paint the rest of my army.

You can follow Danni's progress on his Instagram @beertasticbear.


Lasse Sell

Lasse: For my Sisters I wanted to use their canon colours, red, white, and black, but in a different way. I wanted a very bright scheme and I wanted to try to have a cold and a warm white being the main colours. I’m quite old school, so I’ll mainly use Warpaints Fanatic for some simple layering and maybe a wash or two. It’s been many, many years since I painted an army and committing to a colour scheme was quite scary for me, so I’ve gone through maybe 6 variations on this scheme. Black backpack, red bolter, gold detailing and many other things have been tried but I think it works quite well as it is now. But, I won’t promise that I won’t change it again!

Sister of Battle

Inspired by Thomas, I chose to basecoat the reds with Warpaints Fanatic Mulled Berry. That purple tint works really well with reds and I think it helps tie it together with the blueish tint to the armour. The bases are supposed to give as much contrast to the models, so they are black and green to contrast the white and red.

You can follow Lasse's progress on his Instagram @fantasticmapsstore.

DividerThe Arena is heating up with the first coats of paint applied and six contestants having cleared the first hurdle of completing their test minis. Make sure to check back in on Thursday for the second half of the test minis from Bo, Adam, Thomas, Tyler, Sofie, and Caleb!

Be sure to check back in here for more updates in the future, as well as on our social media accounts on FacebookInstagramTwitter, YouTube, and TikTok. You can also follow along on everyone's personal social media accounts with the hashtag #ArenaofEscalation

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