Sunday, 11 October 2015

071. Messing about with bases...

This past week I have been faffing around having one of those odd weeks where rather than crack on with the things on my desk I decided to play around with something new.  In this case it was bases, my Vallejo masking fluid, and an attempt to create a rust coming through a painted metal surface on my tech deck bases that my mixed Inquisitor warband is based on.

I knew what I wanted to achieve was an impression of a metallic surface that had been painted with a dark, camo green type colour, that visually looked worn and dirty as if in the bowels of a hive etc, where in certain patches, the underlying metal was quite recently rusted (ie a bright red/orange rust) and was coming through the top paint layer.

Rather than paint in the green and then apply a rust colour on top I elected to work from the inside out.  One of my old hobby colleagues once explained to me that it was odd I would apply chipping over a paint scheme as in real life it is the top painted layer that wore down to the metallic underneath, so if you could feel it with your fingertips the ridges should step inwards, not outwards.  They advocated painting the battle damage/weathering effect first then painting my armour colour on top.

Military modellers do the same thing with the hairspray/salt technique and there is a massive range of alternative aids available now in pace of hairspray.  I figured my masking fluid would do the trick.

So first up I pulled down some of my miniatures that had tech deck bases and popped the minis off.  The bases were already primed so I got stuck straight in applying a very quick and dirty dark brown metallic (Vallejo's Tin Bits equivalent) not bothering to get an even coat over the two tone black/grey zenithal spray base job.

I then started stippling on various shades of brown starting with a Scorched Brown/Tin bits mix, then straight Scorched Brown, then Bestial Brown etc.  Rough stippling was ideal for the effect I was after as it creates a slightly rougher surface which creates a form of textured effect as you would get from a piece of metal that is rusting, where the rust is lifting away.
You can see at this stage the rough Tin Bits layer, with the Scorched and Bestial stippling.  You can also see the impression from the old glue layer where the models were previously attached.  I could (should) have cleaned these up a bit before starting but left as is so I had a guide later for which minis went back on which bases and on what orientation.
After that I brought out Blazing Orange and Fiery Orange and set about doing some more stippling, working off a semi wet palette that blended up the various colours providing lots of variation on the final colour on the base.  I attempted to leave part of the earlier colour showing in places suggesting the rust was newer towards the centre of the effect.

I wasn't bothered about how much or little of the base I covered with this as I was going to randomise how much was visible later after I applied the masking solution with  sponge in a chipping approach. As well as stippling I deliberately painted in with a fine detail brush scratches ad other scuff type marks - these would be the only dedicated areas I would attempt to achieve the chipping effect on - the remainder being down to luck and the shape of the sponge edge.
The bases after having the orange colour stippled on.
From here I applied my masking fluid using a corner from a sponge that used to come in  a blister pack and sponged on random patterns of fluid.  I also applied the fluid using a fine detail brush (the fluid is water soluble so doesn't damage the brush bristles) to simulate scratches.  I then mixed up some camo green type colour and basically painted the base as normal, applying a highlight layer over the top of the first green layer.
The bases with the green layers applied.  Note you can see the patches where the masking fluid is sitting underneath the top layer of green.
After that as dry it was a case of getting one of my older brushes that had a stiffer bristle and brushing/rubbing at the surface of the base to lift the top layer of paint/masking layer to reveal the rust colour underneath.
I've removed the top layer/masking fluid to reveal the rust colour underneath.
I also at this stage applied some localised washes around the bases at seams and studs/rivets etc.  As well I mixed a bit of Devlan Mud wash with some purple wash and hit the rust colours with this to add a bit of tonal change to the colour - I picked this up form a Mr Justin of Secret Weapon fame in one of his 2 minute tutorials.  Rust isn't a uniform colour and the hint of purple in the brown wash adds a bit more of a sense of realism to the finished effect.
After having various washes applied to the details on the base
Finally I went back in around with a green colour to tidy up the wash tide marks and add some spot highlights, before reattaching the models to their respective bases.  
Shotgun Veterans - note the guy second from left was my trial piece for this method so his green is slightly different to the rest and he has more washes/effects trialed on the base itself.
A few command type models, plus the trusty Sniper lad
The Inquisitor himself and his Noble bodyguard.  NOTE you can see the colour of the purple mix I made up to wash the orange with on his cowl.
The finished group reattached to their bases, ready for a lick of paint.  NOTE: I don't black in the rims on bases until near the end of the model - its a little ritual I have with my models that signals the end is in sight and their nearly ready to go.
At the end of the day I'm quite happy with the final look, though I could have achieved the same thing more easily just painting it on after the fact rather than faffing about with masking medium etc.  I also would like to have tried adding more depth with powders, though I'm not at all confident with them yet, and particularly so with these small spaces.  I would also have liked to try out some of the Modelmates rust effect (see HERE), but I haven't found a local stockist, and you can't import it due to the restrictions on transport of certain classes of goods (akin to trying to bring in aerosols which is a no-no apparently).  I did enjoy this way though and at least I know (even if you cant tell with the naked eye) that the layers are achieved correctly, with paint resting on top of the effected surface.

Cheers all.



  1. Fantastic. As they say, keep doing it and quality improves. Still yet to apply a sponge to any of my vehicles..... Better man up and get on with it, I suppose.

    1. Get on that sponge mate. They give a great little extra finish on tanks and the like. You just have to pick out leading and lower edges where scratches would naturally collect.

  2. Great looking bases, mate.

    I got some of that Model mates rust effect a goodly while back, but i've not had much (if any) success with it. Managed to get it on eBay. If you get some, I'd be keen to see how you get on, and if you have any tips...

    1. I'll have to look at eBay and see what their shopping is like in this stuff.

  3. Awesome work on the bases. The rust looks really convincing and contrasts well with the green paint. It makes sense to paint the metal first and layer the colored paint over top of that. I am not really sure why I have never tried doing that. I will have to do that in the future!

    Keep up the great work. I look forward to seeing your Inquisitor's warband progress. :)

    1. Cheers Adam. Is definitely one of those subtle effects.
      I've got 3 of them on the go at the moment so I'll have some to post soon.

  4. Love how those bases turned out - the industrial green and rust is a really nice combo!

    1. Cheers Mord - quite happy with the colour choice. I'm normally a bit rubbish with those. Looking at some other rust tutorials I quite like the idea of mixing some yellows in next time.

  5. The bases look great, the that rust effect turned out really well. I also wait to paint the black trim last for some reason, seems to really finish off the model.

    1. Thanks Joe. Glad I'm not the only one with their routines.