Candy Coats

Posted on Published: 2018-03-15 by Mike Sawada

I have done a lot of candy coats over the last few years, and I thought I would write down what I have learned. First of all, a candy color is basically a clear paint put over a metallic base.
In theory you could just slap on some silver paint and coat it with candy color and call it done. But for the best results you need to put more work into it. Shading the metallic details will make it pop and give you much better results. I used an airbrush to apply the base coats and candy, and a normal brush for the shading and blending.


Let’s start with the paints and washes. I have tried using the Citadel range exclusively but didn’t get the results I liked. I used Vallejo Metal Color for a base and zenithal highlight. And Citadel for shading and blending.


- Vallejo Metal Color Grey Metal.
- Vallejo Metal Color Chrome.
- Citadel Leadbealcher.
- Citadel Ironbreaker.
- Citadel Nuln Oil shade.
- Citadel Nuln Oil Gloss shade.

For the candy coat I have tried two brands, Badger Minitaire ghost tints and Forgeworld clears. Both are great products, but you're going to need an airbrush to apply them. If you use a brush it will be all blotchy.

Minitaire has a lot of depth but if you’re not careful it can go on too thick and obscure the details you paint afterwards. (I use Minitaire plasma fluid on the Ultramarines.)

Forgeworld clears are thinner and require more coats than the ghost tints (the Forgeworld red was used on the sergeants' helmets).

To start prime your model in black. If you use white or grey your metallics are going to look washed out.

If you’re good at zenithal spraying, coat the model in Vallejo Metal Color Grey Metal. If not skip to the next step.

Zenithal spray the Chrome on. If not, give it a full coat. (I was a little heavy handed and ended up doing a full coat on the model below.)

Next we want to brush on some pre-shading. I used a thinned-down Leadbealcher in all the crevices. This will help with the shading. (The right helmet is pre-shaded.)
The next step will be to use the Nuln Oil shade. I would recommend using multiple thin light coats until you get the hang of it. Apply the shade to the recessed areas. Get it to the point where one more light coat would do it and stop.
Now since the Nuln Oil is matte, it’s going to stick out against the glossy metallic. This is where the Nuln Oil Gloss comes in. Apply a thin coat of the Nuln Oil Gloss over the shaded areas. This will help to pick out the areas that need to be blended.

Now use thinned Leadbealcher and Ironbreaker to blend to the Chrome.
The model on the left only has the Chrome base.  The right has all the shading complete. You can really see the difference!
Now it’s time to prep for the candy coat. Mask off any areas that have detail with a liquid mask (I use Vallejo liquid mask). Use an old beat up brush as it’s hell on them. It’s a pale blue resin so you can see where it’s applied.
For the helmet bellow I masked off with tape and liquid mask. I didn’t want to get red on any areas that would be blue, as it would turn purple.
I used liquid mask on the helmet and applied the blue candy. Once the candy coat dries remove the mask right away. Leaving it till later will increase how difficult it is to remove.
Once you have finished up you may find it too glossy. A quick spray of Testors Dullcoat will give it a satin-like finish.

Welcome to Candyland.