Thoughts On Edge Highlighting and an Elefant

When I started painting, it was because I wanted to master smooth transitional blending, I thought it looked cool.  I wasn’t really into edge/extreme highlighting and the few times I did try it, it looked awkward and not like how the big boys do it.  Then FOW entered my life and edge highlighting wasn’t even on my radar any more…I mean if Reuben doesn’t do it…then I don’t need to…right?  That was until I saw this…this is by a chap who goes by the handle of stalkerminsky on

That got me thinking about edge highlighting, I mean that is one cool looking tank right?  As I wasn’t starting anything new any time soon though I’ve delayed it.  That’s when the Italy books came out.  One of the things that struck me, was that the painting of the minis seemed different…might just be me, but have battlefront got new painters?  The thing that struck me was the prolific use of edge highlighting.
With some Marders that desperately needed painting I set about it and this time I was going to do edge highlighting.

As a technique, I found it quite enjoyable…far more so than chipping and lining..ugh.  I was really surprised at how much it changed the feel of the model, which seemed overall lighter.  I think taking the time to do every “appropriate” edge is well worth it and any edge that should have it, looks lacklustre if it gets missed.  I used the ubiquitous Iraqui sand on these fellas and I’m really pleased with the result.  Edge highlighting is the new black as far as I’m concerned (I always was a slow learner)

Be warned though, it’s very tough to rectify mistakes and you pretty much have to live with your first attempt (not strictly true, but you get the gist).

As I was thinking of writing this post lo and behold Cameron at rustandthecity goes ahead and posts this up…

I mean can this guy paint or what?  Anyway it’s perfect for what I had going on in my head and really helps to show off edge highlighting.  So, here Cameron has only highlighted the appropriate edges…not every edge, just the right ones..for example, no need to highlight the bottom edge of the turret.  Also if you look closely (I suggest you hit his blog for this) those rib type things above the wheels…they are thin and it’s tempting to run a highlight down it.  Cameron here hasn’t done that (and rightly so) instead the very corner of the rib has received the highlight…I can picture the patience and steady hand it took to do that, good job.

Enough blabbering, here’s my Elefant…(no not that elefant 🙂 )
As you can see I’ve basecoated, added decals and black lined.

It’s time to add those edge highlights…man I hope I don’t screw this up as that would be embarrassing.
So, here I’ve simply added an edge to the main body of the tank, this is relatively simple to do.  I used the side of my brush.  It’s important to regularly check your paint consistency, as the more it dries out the more likely a screw up will occur.  Try to compare with the image above to get an idea of the difference.

You can’t stop here though, next it’s onto the details, like hatches, these are difficult to paint as you end up having to use the tip as opposed to the side of the brush.

And here we have it

I was painting this at the same time, just cos.

So, that was edge highlighting…it’s a technique that’s been around for a long time, but you don’t often see it in FoW.  If you are finding that you are losing details and end up with an amorphous blob of colour when viewed form 3′ away then perhaps you should give it a go, see how you get on and please either email your efforts to me or share them on facebook.

Thanks for reading, please add any comments below.

P.S. They’re not finished finished, still got details and weathering to do.

Category: GermansLate WarPaintingPainting Guide


  1. Haha, that's funny. I had totally forgotten about you asking about using that picture before. I was just thinking as I was reading your post that I have been thinking exactly the same thing lately.

    I am always back and forth about edge highlighting. As you mentioned about the KV-1, I've been trying to do it subtly (although it isn't really subtle). I think the edge highlight really makes the model pop on the tabletop and accentuates the details. I find edge highlighting a lot of work and often put it off as it is so time consuming and fiddly. For correcting edge highlight mistakes, I like to add weathering to places where it is a bit blobby. I just add the chipping to cover over bad areas. I think picking out which details to highlight can be key. Sometimes if you edge highlight every single detail it can get a bit overwhelming (especially when there are lots of things close together). I like to pick out just the major edges and important fittings and things.

    The marders and elefant look great. The edge highlighting really does help to make them "pop".

  2. Edge highlighting can really help out a lot at small scales. Those clean crips lines really make all the detail pop, even if it's not very realistic looking.I find it works best on more monotone paintjobs like early german panzers and allied tanks as it adds a bit of contrast and variety to the paintjob. On camouflaged tanks and vehicles it seems to be quite easy to go over the top with the effect. As with most other effects I think "less is more" is quite a suitable rule of thumb.

    Still I think smooth transitions are still better looking overall, but emphasizing a few details on a model can really make it stand out nicely.

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Article by: Mark Goddard