Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Brushing up on a rusty technique

In a totally unprecedented turn of events, I've finished a project that I only started in my previous post. Instead of getting halfway through and then losing interest and going off and starting something completely different (like I normally do), I've managed to stick with it and produce three finished pieces.

What with this being my first post of the new year, perhaps I've been inspired to find a new, more productive way of working?

The pieces are all meant to be scatter terrain for my slowly expanding WH40K city project. The bigger plan is to produce a variety of models that you could add together to create a realistic section of an Imperial hive city in the 41st millennium. From the civilian inhabitants, their motley vehicles and the once-grand architecture to the abandoned lost-zones with scratch-built shelters, unsanctioned street vendors and labyrinthine, crumbling ruins.

In short I wanted to create a city that has clearly seen better days, and whose very appearance reflects the slow collapse of the over-stretched empire that built it.

In many of my recent projects I've been experimenting with painting rust, and I wanted to try my hand at painting something that was completely worn out. Not just showing wear and tear around the edges, but utterly ravaged.

At least partially because I'm lazy and I thought it would be quick.

As it turns out it probably is quicker if you know what you are doing, but I spent several evenings trying to work out how to give the rust more depth than just a simple, flat, reddy-brown colour. Each vehicle was lightly dry-brushed all over with a silvery, metallic Citadel colour, then liberally coated with inconsistently mixed light brown and dark brown artist's oil paints. The blotchy intensity was added by washing the recesses with either a bright orange oil paint or a heavily-thinned turquoise.

I left this a couple of days to dry, then switched back to my Citadel paints to add traces of the cars' previous paint jobs – little patches of primer, clinging to the larger flat areas, stubbornly refusing the advance of the rust.

The little patches of paint were applied using stippling and small sponges to create the mottled look. When dry, I blended some of the edges back in with thinned versions of the original oil paints.

Not only does this technique nicely represent the decay and dilapidation found during daily life in the 41st millennium, but I think it could also be appropriated to create fairly unique-looking vehicles for a Death Guard army.

I've got a couple of old, unfinished Death Guard models in my collection, so I wouldn't be surprised if you saw something along these lines in a future post. I've got plenty of projects on the go right now, but I can already feel my easily diverted nature resurfacing. So I guess that new way of working I mentioned has already become old and out-of-date. Roll on 2017.


  1. That looks awesome. Well done rust is hard to pull off, but this technique gives great results. Nice work.

    1. Thanks Thor, very kind of you to say. Now all I need to do is find a massive backlog of other models that I can paint the exact same way.