Monday, May 26, 2014

How to paint an old, rusty weapon

Hello again my friends and welcome newcomers!
I posted a little question on my Airbrush and Analog Facebook page what tutorial I should do next. People could choose from A) a powersword / enchanted sword or B) a rusty sword.
The rusty sword had far more votes then the powersword so I will save that for some other time.

So what did I use for this tutorial?

Some models already come with rust details on weapons. It is really easy to use this to build up additional rust. If your model does not have this detail and you want to create it it is really simple. Just use your pin vice to drill some shallow holes and maybe one or two through and through. I just used a model where the detail was modeled on. 

The model I will be using

So lets start by priming the model. I used black airbrush primer but spray primer will also work. I like to prime black if I have to paint a model in a silver or steel color. I can't really explain the reasoning behind this but I just like the results better.

Primed black

Wait till the primer is dry before you move on to the next step. Some aerosol primers dry within the hour, some airbrush primers take 24 hours. Make sure to know the properties of the products you work with!
Next I basecoat the blade with Vallejo Model Air Steel (71.065) This might not be 100% necessary in this tutorial but if you only want one part rusted you really need to do this.

Basecoat of VMA steel

Now we arrived at where the real work begins! Get some mixing containers (I use those little disposable pill cups. I bought like 200 for €2. Put a little pigment powder in each one.

Rust colored pigment powder

Now add a little bit of water. This can be regular cold tap water. I often hear people use alcohol, varnish or pigment fixer to make pigment washes but I like my pigments to stay loose until I'm happy with them and then I will fix them with varnish or pigment fixer. 

Pigment wash

In this picture I used a little bit too much water. It should be just enough to make the pigments fluid and not a paste. When this is done, build up a nice layer of pigment wash covering the part you want to be rusted. Once your first layer is done and still wet, blend in the other pigments by stippling them into the first layer of wash.

Rust colored pigments added 

Wait for it to dry. It is very hot outside at the moment I took these pictures, so this only took a couple of minutes for me. The result will be a crust of pigment and it will look horrible.

After the pigment wash has dried

Looks rusty right? If you want to keep it like this you need to saturate the pigment with matte varnish. Not an easy job and I suggest using an airbrush to spray some pigment fixer first and then varnish it. Lets continue to make it look like a sword again. Take a dry, old brush with hard bristles and rub off some of the pigment to smooth it out.

clean up the thick layer of pigments

Don't try to rub off too much. A little bit of texture just adds to the aged and rusty effect. Once you are done its time to add some metal again. Tear of a bit of blister sponge. Dip it in the same color as your basecoat and rub off the excess paint on a paper towel. Then proceed to sponge on the steel colored paint onto the rust. Try to focus on the edges of the blade as the rust would crumble off if the sword is used or sharpened.

Sponged on VMA steel

Sponging on the VMA steel will create an irregular pattern to give the rust a natural look. Once this is done all you need to do is ad a diluted layer of wash to finish it off and give it an aged and dirty look. This is a great look if you have a zombie army.

Devlin mud wash

I hope this tutorial helped you in any way. Feel free to share your results in the comments or ask me any questions. 

Thank you again for reading this article. If you like my articles you can follow this blog or enter your email address so you will receive an email whenever I publish a new article. 

See you next time! 

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