Friday, March 31, 2017

Salt weathering Warhammer 40K terrain pieces

A few years ago I saw a tip in White Dwarf about salt weathering a tank. It is an effective technique to get a 'rust coming up through the paint look'. I thought it looked very interesting but as I was busy painting Tyranids at the time I did not have much of a chance to paint rust. My current project with rusted space ship (or industrial) terrain gave me a chance to grab the old White Dwarf and look up how to do this:

Oh no! Rusty surface upset Genestealers! You don't want Genestealers to be upset! Or do you?
But even though I keep my old White Dwarves neatly in cardboard storage boxes I couldn't for the life of me find the article. As the next step I started searching for the article online where (along with the White Dwarf I should be looking for) I found a rather nice hint on Warseer "Some really nice articles in there, the salt weathering one, although instruction on that can be found for free on any plastic modelling forum on the net..." After I was done smacking my forehead I looked up one of those free tutorials. As it was written by a military modeler it contained rather a few more 'be precise' admonitions then I usually keep to while modelling. So here is my slightly more whimsical Rossian (Bob) have fun and relax style salt weathering tutorial.

You need

Step 1 - Just add water
Coat the object that will have rust showing through in rusty colors and proceed to make it wet (with water to be very precise). At this point you can decide to leave large areas dry, these areas will not have any chipping effect later on.

Not pictured: the water I used to cover this storage tank.
Step 2 - Throw salt at it
Grab table salt and throw it on the wet surface. As a future reference to myself I should consider covering the surroundings of the object as I'm still wiping salt remnants of the rest of this model right now.

Don't use fancy salt, just plain boring table salt. 
Step 3 - Wait 
Let the water dry. The salt you threw on will stick to the surface.

Salt dried to the surface of my storage tank.
Step 4 - Add color 
Grab your airbrush and carefully paint the surface including the salt. Use about as low a PSI setting as you can manage to avoid blowing off the worst of the salt. As I type this, I suddenly realize a quick way I could have used to rid myself of the unwanted excess salt on the bottom. I used several coats and added a slightly lighter green to the top as the darker green dried (colors used in the pictures below Vallejo Model Air Cam Green and Vallejo Model Air Light Cam Green (or River Troll Skin Color as I like to call these two).

Are we green?

I said: are we green?

Step 5 - Wait 
It's almost the same as step 3, but now you just wait for the paint to dry.

Step 6 - Wash the surface 
When the paint is fully dry take a wet rag or sponge and carefully wipe the surface you painted. The water will activate the salt causing it to fall off taking bits of paint with it. In the end your model should look something like this.

You've got to love the ease with which this effect is achieved. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Making your own Typhus Corrosion

I love the Citadel Technical paint called Typhus Corrosion. It adds a grayish brown color to whatever you apply it to while at the same time adding texture. I've used it on tank tracks, Nurgle daemons and various undead models. As an example the sword of this Great Unclean One was painted with Typhus Corrosion then drybrushed with Ryza Rust and Leadbelcher.

All that and halitosis too...

The same technical paint is also quite useful to add to terrain if you want to rough up a surface, add rust or just cover up a horrendous mistake. Unfortunately as the size of terrain grows the cost of adding Typhus Corrosion becomes prohibitive. To find away around this I searched the internet and asked around various Facebook groups. Unfortunately aside from finding several other people looking for an answer, I did not find a magic formula for making my own. So I went for the next best thing and went for a garden shed experiment. Now my mix will need the following properties:

  • Apply like a wash;
  • Contain a fine texture;
  • Have a filthy brackish brown-grey-green color;
  • Stick to whatever I apply it to;
  • Be cheap!
To fulfill these properties I went for the following materials:
  • Use Pledge Floor Polish (for that old ancient school wash creation vibe);
  • Add aviary bird sand (shell sand to translate literally from Dutch) as this is about the finest sand I know off (that is sold in large containers);
  • Use brown, black, grey and green acrylics;
  • Add PVA;
  • Use only the cheapest components in my shed :)
For my first experiment I grabbed a discarded small size plastic soda bottle as it can be closed and hopefully keep my mix from drying out too quickly. Because I love to use a highly precise scientific approach I measured everything to the gram and...oh no wait I'm sloppy when I hobby around so I eyeballed it, took pictures for future reference. So here with some made up measurement of my own is my mix.

I first added a layer of the aviary bird sand. 

Step 1:pour in some shell sand.
Next I added a serious glob of PVA glue. I aimed for about as much glue as there was sand in the bottle.

Step 2: add PVA 
To this I added a large dollop of Pledge Floor Polish, about as much as the glue and sand together. 

Step 3: add Pledge Floor Polish (and make mental note to turn step 3 into stap 1 for future mixing projects).
Looking good (or rather awful to be precise). Time to grab the really cheap acrylics.

Cheap acrylics, not for use on highly detailed miniatures but excellent for (almost) all your terrain painting needs.
I squeezed in a drop of green, a large helping of grey and a few drops of both brown and black. The green should just be hinted at, the brown should be vaguely present, the black is there to darken the green and brown and the grey forms the basis. If you want to be more careful with this, try a mix on a palette first. I just poured and hoped.

Step 4: add cheap acrylics.
Next I started shaking the bottle (after closing the top tightly) and discovered my rookie mistake. When you want to mix solid components and fluids it is far smarter to start with the fluids as this helps around to time you start shaking it. Now my sand was squeezed tight at the bottom and to make it worse I covered it in a nice strong layer of glue. Sigh. I shrugged added a bit of water to make everything a bit more fluid and alternated shaking and tapping the bottom. I imagine this is a bit akin to how ketchup-eating people get to their favorite condiment (but then on steroids). I ended up with a bottle that looked to contain very suspicious cola (or as most people would call it: cola).

Step 5: Shake, rattle and roll...
Next I took a useless brush and a discarded bit of base containing spillover resin. I shook the bottle a bit more and applied my mix to the resin.

A glob of homemade corrosion added to a glob of discarded resin. Nurgle should be proud.
The ugly strokes are caused by my useless brush, as it turned out I had already abused this particular brush sometime earlier to apply PVA and never got around to fully cleaning it. This was not beneficial for the bristles. Shrugging I waited about ten minutes and drybrushed my blob with Necron Compound (it was in use at the time). This is the end result.

Drybrushing silver to test if the glue holds everything together...test successful.
So does it work? Well on the next picture some of the filthy parts are covered with Typhus Corrosion and other parts are covered with the above mix. I have to admit I'm satisfied.

Some of the dirty bits here are covered with homemade corrosion others are covered with official Typhus Corrosion. I think the experiment was a succes in one go. So on to step 6: a small and nerdy victory dance (not pictured).

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

First set of four tiles for my Warhammer 40K modular space ship interior or industrial terrain (part 4)

Okay maybe I'm making slightly too many updates, but I have gotten carried away a bit here so why not... Using my patented quick and sloppy painting style I've decided to call the first four tiles for my modular space ship interior (or industrial) terrain set finished (for now). I'll probably add some more detail after expanding the set and painting more. Now for the big question, do I go for the fun of showing what I have, do I type an exciting tutorial on my own Typhus Corrosion mix or do I spend some words on salt weathering. Nah, finished terrain first, lots of words later (this week probably).

Watch out where the Space Wolves go, and don't you eat that yellow snow.
With just enough sunlight left I had a chance to dress the set with some wayward Space Wolves fighting Tyranids (of course). I expanded upon the base three browns I sprayed on previously by adding a number of orange shades. Well one extra WIP shots then, just to round it all out. I proceeded by drybrushing with Necron compound. I have not yet been able to form a proper opinion on dry paints veering wildly between hating them and loving them. In this case the compound suited me fine to get a bit of silver into the browns. I also picked out the glowing green chemical sludge again. Not pictured here is me splashing on some home made Typhus Corrosion later on...

I couldn't resist adding a few more orange tones on the buildings, also featured in the center my test bit for home made Typhus Corrosion.
As the paint dried a lot quicker then expected, and I still had a few hours left in the day I decided to pick the pieces up and go wild with my airbrush. I impulse bought a Mantic Battlezones Chevrons and Panel Detailing HD stencil set last year (I think) and hadn't had an excuse to use it yet. Now I did. I used the stripe pattern to add some detail to the sludge tank and the large pipe between the generators.

Brother Ivar held his bolter at the ready, scanning the rusty interior for the imminent Genestealer attack when a loud booming noise announced the presence of a larger monster.
After applying the stripes I stippled on some (a lot of) real Typhus Corrosion to blend it a bit into the rest of the model. After that I went to town on the large promethean storage tank. It was allready a nice rust color so I decided to try some (very sloppy) salt weathering. I'm really happy with the results, especially considering the hard part was making something wet and (literally) throwing salt at it (oh oh spoiled half the tutorial there :).

Two Genestealers approached, claws clacking on the rusted metal floor.
I drybrushed most of the home made corrosion lightly with Ryza Rust (another technical favorite here). After that I took a big old tank brush and started laying the rust on heavily at the broken ends of gangways and on other locations that begged me too make them look a bit more interesting.

Luckily I wore my cool diamand eye make-up today thought brother Ingvald as he drew his power sword.
The final bit was painting the generators. I've always liked OSL effects and in this case it gave me an excuse to use the airbrush without bothering with masking tape. Just a semi-steady hand, a big smile and fingers crossed that the one year old bouncing around wouldn't pick that point in time to grab the airhose and pull (yes that happened before). I think I've gotten away with it.

Sometimes I wonder if we are just tiny figments of someones imagination, fighting over a garden, brother Ivar thought idly.
I picked out the walls of the building on the right in the above picture in Vallejo German Grey. First using a brush and following up with some Shadow grey from the airbrush. It helps break up the monotonous orange/brown a bit while still keeping the average tone of the terrain reasonably flat. I decided to drybrush the Maelstrom bits with a bit of leadbelcher, breaking with the other bits around by making them look a bit more like maintained metals. Who knows, perhaps that bit is in regular use? I should try to remember to put up a few posters here later on perhaps.

The fight was going to be messy, about as messy as the rusted ship they boarded. 
So the first four tiles are finished, and they can be arranged as I want them. Next up I should get to work on the other twelve tiles I still have lying around undressed. That will probably take a bit longer than usual as my favorite day to do big messy builds (Sunday) is taken up by hosting a demo game on  the Impact Miniature Event in Eindhoven. On the other hand I seem to have a bit of a turbo boost switched on towards hobby-mode at the moment, so who knows...on to a few hands-on tutorials later on.

I suspect this picture was just added to show of my cool cloak, rune priest Yifyif  thought, feeling a slight hint of annoyance.

Rattlecan gun-fu on my Warhammer 40K modular space ship interior or industrial terrain (part 3)

Yesterday saw the start of Dutch spring with temperatures reaching a scorching 20 degrees (Celcius which equals 68 Fahrenheit. Yes, I'm not a summer person so don't get me started on 30C+ peaks in high summer! Anyway with a late-afternoon hour to waste I had a chance to do some rattlecan gun-fu in the garden instead of in the shed. Who can say no to an escape from poisonous fumes (although my paint filtering mask helps there (hint hint to everyone not owning one of these)). As an added bonus working outside adds a chance of unwanted sand and leaves falling on your terrain. A chance at some chaos! Nice! I went for it. For the curious here is the end result of an about an hour of spraying with rattlecans.

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only rust.
I started off with the traditional discovery that all my primer was gone. So I had to take a quick trip to the paint store. For terrain I use black MoTip Primer, if you know where to look these large rattlecans are available for somewhere between 5 and 6.5 euro. A price that is rather more attractive than the finer brands we all know and love...As I was frustrated by the delay caused by running out I stocked up and got three. I also rummaged through my collection of cheap rattlecans for some colors to use here. Most of these are impulse buys from 'this color is too ugly' sales, some others have been donated to me by friends and family. Here is a snap of the color selection for this project so far (and yes I need to clean up my work space (again)).

Color selection completed, now let's resume ignoring the state of the work-area in my shed.
I started out covering everything in a big fat coat of black primer. The terrain is reasonably light on detail so overdoing the priming should not cause too many problems. Covering the squirt gun parts turned out to be difficult, I should remember to put some sanding paper tot the others before working with them. I also completely forgot to prepare the polystyrene beneath the generators for priming. I think I lucked out there as the resulting polystyrene melt seems to have added a bit of character to the block (in stead of destroying that piece of terrain).

Black primer applied. Instantly taking away the toy look.
As for the basic terrain colors, I wanted dark browns to show of more oranges and browns I will apply later for that extremely rusted look. I used three colors of brown two high gloss ones (will dull that down later) and a bit of Mournfang Brown I still had standing around. This part of the process is basically spray, relax, don't thinking and go for unequal coverage so the different colors mix.

I know gun-fu! 
Let's make that sound more spectacular: I went for rattlecan gun fu. Put the tiles down on the grass (remembered to cover the grass to avoid domestic trouble) took two colors and channeled my inner John Woo. I flipped around doing front aerials, side aerials, cartwheels and somersaults all the while shooting paint at my project. I am not lying about this (*cough*). With the hard part over I focused on the suspicious bubbling fat. Knowing I should go for the precision of the airbrush I shrugged and grabbed my Caliban green and some neon colors. First a reasonably careful basecoat.

I should've used an airbrush, but I was lazy (and it feels ok).

Then I applied a few sprays of neon green followed by even fewer neon yellow. And there (I think) is the answer as to why you would want neon paint.

Let's not take a bath in that. 
I had to reapply this paint over the course of the evening as it dries up awfully. But from a distance it looks quite nice (perhaps appropriately awful is a better term to use). I will need to fix this up a bit more later on, but I'm digging the effect caused by the overspray.

Dry paint! Dry like the wind! 
With these base coats applied I just have to wait until it all dries and then I can start working on adding painted effects and details (like the bits on the bottom right building here). Perhaps I'll get some cheap gloss and mat varnish to protect the basic paintjob.

One challenge I definitively have is to make something equal to Typhus Corrosion. I consider this Citadel Technical paint as almost equal to using black magic. It applies a bit like a thick wash, dries with a nice corroded texture and covers the area with a grey/green/brownish/blackish color. I used it earlier while painting my siege towers and I want to use some comparable effects here. Unfortunately the GW pots of paint are way too small to cost-effectively use them on terrain.

I've checked around on the usual Facebook groups (and Googled) but so far no one has a homebrew recipe. Any ideas are most welcome, but I suspect I'll be experimenting with paint, pva, sand and floor polish is in my foreseeable future. No problem as the browns I used need more than a day to dry properly (damn you cheap aerosols!). In the meantime I can start on a second set of four plates, in all humility I think this project has enough merits to start expanding it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

More test buildings for my Warhammer 40K modular space ship interior or industrial terrain (part 2)

After a successful start on the first tile for my modular space ship interior for Warhammer 40K and most likely the upcoming game Shadow War: Armageddon I spent a large chunk of my Sunday filling more tiles bringing the total to four.

With a bit of imagination this is starting too look like something sci-fi.
For this terrain build I finally got a chance to turn my theory that squirt guns are excellent for making 40K terrain into practice. I picked up around five of these in thrift stores over the summer for this purpose.

Squirt guns have all kinds of interesting shapes you can use for sci-fi terrain.
First off I covered five 30cm x 30cm MDF bases with carpet underlay (I was a bit over-ambitious figuring I could do five bases in a day).

Preparing a lot of MDF bases.
Over the course of the day I got a bit carried away gluing bits together in interesting shapes, cutting foamboard and using the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues I bought a few years back. As a matter of fact I got so carried away I forgot to take 'work in progress'-pictures. So here is a presentation of the end results (before painting obviously).

The generators were my first squirt gun shape attempt. I call it a success.
The generators around the broken pipe in the top-left are bits of the squirt gun with the holes covered up in different creative ways.

this top ramp leads to a dangerous drop.

Adding floor underlay to the old toy race track seems to work out reasonably nicely, although I'm not sure paint will stick to it. Lets keep my fingers crossed...

The fallen supports needed more distressing, that's where my trusty pliers came in.
I used pliers to distress the fallen supports of the top rail on my first test model a bit more. Breaking stuff with pliers makes a nice change from the usual high precision care you have to take with miniatures.

The pink shapes on the front are made from a container of disgusting gum. 
I've dubbed the large yellow thing a promethean tank. It used to be the reservoir if the squirt gun, The panels on the building it disappears into have been covered with bits from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprues. These are made specially to turn any box into an interesting sci-fi building (and they work quite nicely.

I distress the walkways and will paint them up in rust colors later, it should help explain why no sector on the map truly fits another.
The foamboard block in front of the generators has also been covered with bits from the Maelstrom's Edge sprue.

The green line at 7.5 cm was a first measurement as to where the rail should be, that is the regular height of 1st floor GW terrain.
Here is a picture of the ramp on yesterday's test building, showing how the PVA has dried quite nicely.

The insta-filler failed, so it is back to PVA for me.

The big round thing is a container for diaper disposal liners. I used some foamboard to raise the interior and covered that in filler with some plastic balls to make bubbles. It looked bad, so I poured in PVA today. That will raise the level a bit more and make the balls look more like bubbles. To give it a bit of an extra dangerous edge I've glued in seven of them (it is Nurgle's number, so that adds to the danger!).

Looks like I'm going to be building a lot more the coming weeks. For now I'll have to decide whether to start painting these four to see if paint sticks to all used materials, or if I'm going to fill the last two prepared bases before trying that.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Materials, plans and a test building to build a Warhammer 40K modular space ship interior or industrial terrain (part 1)

White Dwarf magazine had a beautiful bit of space ship terrain a few years back. A complete 28mm scale half-open Ork Kruiser for toy soldiers to fight over. At a glance I would guess it to be around 120cm x 60cm x 60cm big. I want to build something like that but, as my mansion is currently in the 'aspiring to one day maybe live in one'-stage, I don't have the room to store or display a model of that size (don't get me started on the storage of my vampire castle). So I have been planning to build the next best thing for quite some time now: modular space ship interior terrain.

Yes this modular bit of 40K terrain still needs some paint...
While playing missions on a space hulk in Dawn of War 2 I realized that the terrain looked fantastic and should be easy to build. It answered the question how I could have fights inside a space ship without building a humongous model. It also showed me that I could use a stack of regular PVC pipe to make scatter terrain, but more on that at a much later date (if I remember it during construction). The basic concept is to put the terrain on rectangular bases that can be pushed together to form an interior. By giving those bases a rusted metal floor they will look like a rotting hulk when pushed together. If you pull them apart they will look like industrial buildings on a rusted metal foundation. Building this will give me two types of terrain sets for the effort of one.

A shot of one of my larger bits boxes.
The estimation that building it will be easy (and therefore quick) is a lie. I find that lying to myself about the ease with which something can be build tends to help me get started. As with most things in this hobby, plans like these need (quite) some time to ferment. While they go through the 'I should do that some day'-process I tend to start collecting stuff that 'might be useful if I ever do this'. To make a long story short I've been keeping my eyes on interesting shapes from the thrift store and the cheap stuff store for quite some time, slowly building a collection of cheap and useful looking materials.

What finally pushed me to get started on this was a mixture of slightly too much fantasy since the launch af Age of Sigmar,the trailer for Shadow War: Armageddon and a gift from a fellow hobbyist. Shadow War looks like it can be a fun way to do something 40K again while waiting for GW to (hopefully) fully overhaul the system. The gift was a stack of 16 square MDF bases a fellow hobbyist had lying around with a plan to turn into a Zone Mortalis board.

A 30cm x 30cm MDF base, in the running to be the most inspiring picture on this blog.
For my first build I decided to try incorporating plastic race cart tracks in a model. I picked up a huge amount of these in a thrift store for that purpose and they've been sitting around in the shed for quite some time. Actually every time I tried using these they turned out to ruin the rest of the model. So there was a challenge. First I covered my first MDF base with IKEA carpet anti-slip underlay to simulate metal grating. This base was also given a raised edge because it seemed smart at the time (it isn't and I hate it now (but it's stuck).

Dressing up the base with floor underlay and bits of wood.
I then build up two towers using black foamboard. These are both 15 cm high which is the maximum height I want to go to for my gaming table. In my experience anything higher than leads to trouble while gaming for these reasons:

  • It is practically impossible to reach using normal movement;
  • People knock it over while reaching down for something else;
  • It is hard to store higher terrain features.

Two 15cm high towers constructed out of black foamboard.
The nasty secret of foamboard is that it looks ugly as hell. So next up I set about covering these in metal (1mm cardboard) sheeting.

Cutting metal sheeting from 1mm cardboard step 2, using a knife to cut long strips (step 1 is drawing rectangles using a protractor).
Cutting a sheet to size. I buy 1mm cardboard new at a local hobby shop in stead of using old cereal packets or the like. I do that because 1mm is slightly thicker and looks better, buying large sheets save time cutting around pre-formed shapes in packages and a very large sheet of 1mm cardboard costs next to nothing (70 eurocent for a 100cm x 70cm sheet if I'm not mistaken).

I try not to think about the amount of time spent making these...
I made some different sizes of tiles. This will make the terrain look appropriately old and messy and saves me the embarrassment of having to explain why my identical looking panels are not quite identical.

Sometimes inspiration hits you during your lunch break.
I also took two nozzles from old milk packages and glued a bit of mosquito netting to them to add an industrial effect.

The towers start taking shape.
Here the first tower is slowly coming together, the second is ready to get covered in cardboard.

Now they are completely covered. I could punch small holes in every square to make them look nailed in, but I will probably abandon this project screaming if I do that on this scale, so I'll just go for an extra coating of rust.
And the towers are covered. Take note if the fantastically subtle way I apply PVA glue to cover up gaps. Next up was dressing the ramps with some carpet underlay to make them look slightly less toylike. I cut the original stand up a bit with a saw to get the bridging right. I also took a pair of pliers and demolished bits. Having a lot of collapses will help explain why the different tiles of this modular terrain will never fit together on the ramp level.

The ramps are in place. I used a q-tip to spread the to thick for even my style of globbing things together bit of glue on the ramp.

Here is the end result of the first base.

The other side of the ramp, the upper floor is actually pinned to the tower so it will most likely survive gaming.
Part 2 will feature me working on more test buildings for this project.