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Warhammer 40k tank becomes canvas for Van Gogh’s Starry Night

YouTuber and Warhammer 40k painter Emma Svensson continues her fine-art inspired mini-painting project with a Horus Heresy Land Raider.

A Warhammer 40k Land Raider tank painted like Van Gogh's Starry Night, a mixture of bright and rapidly moving blues, yellows, and oranges, with a black rim

One of the factors that makes the Land Raider such an iconic and ridiculous Warhammer 40k tank – it’s huge, flat, easy-to-shoot sidings – also makes it a fantastic canvas for freehand artistry. YouTuber and miniature painter Emma Svensson used one Horus Heresy Land Raider Proteus as her canvas for an homage to the great Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpiece, Starry Night.

We’ve reported on Svensson’s fine-art inspired Warhammer 40k painting projects before, which started with a Mk VI Space Marine similarly inspired by Starry Night. She’s come full circle, but a Horus Heresy era Warhammer 40k tank makes for a far larger canvas!

Svensson has a whole video over on her YouTube channel Dice’n’Demons explaining her process, and why she picked Starry Night: “I just love everything about it, from the colors to the sense of movement”. She wasn’t trying to get “an exact replica of the original painting”, but made sure to include “the most iconic details” to ensure the source was recognizable.

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She sketched in the positions of stars and the moon using a pencil – an approach we recommend for anyone painting miniatures freehand – then blocked in the colors using Contrast Paints. This roughed out the positions of the colors on the model, testing how they would look in relation to each other. She dialled up some of the values compared to the original: “I do like very saturated color schemes with lots of bright colors”.

Over the Contrast Paint base layer, Svensson built up multiple layers of thicker paints for miniatures, in part to build up a sense of texture similar to Van Gogh’s original, and also “to give a sense of movement and a sense of depth”. She used a silicone brush, rather than a conventional miniature paintbrush, to “emulate the technique” that Van Gogh used, which left extremely visible brush strokes.

The whole project was something of a challenge for Svensson, as her ordinary miniature painting style emphasises “high contrast stuff” and “graphical patterns [with] nice sharp black outlines to separate geometric shapes”. But it was “quite liberating… to try something a bit different”.

For another fine-art inspired wargaming project, check out this Kings of War army inspired by Heironymous Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’. Or for another extremely-custom project, check out this terrifying Warhammer 40k kitbash of a Necron C’tan.