Monday, December 14, 2015

Quickly paint engraved glyphs / OSL

Hello everybody!

Ever got a model that has those engraved glyphs that you would like to stand out more but all you have are dark washes? Ever tried to paint those glyphs and ended up in an eternal circle of going back and forth cleaning up mistakes?

Well that is what I had. I was painting 40 Necron warriors with converted weapons (engraved gun barrels instead of the green clear plastic ones) that I wanted to paint like the engraved detail was glowing. The easiest way to for me to do this would be to paint the glyphs white and airbrush some green glow over it.

Painting the white was a hassle and took way to much time to get it neatly done, so I set out to find a better way.

I found this by using the pin wash / panel wash technique, mostly used in historical scale modelling to darken the gaps between panels but this time, with a twist.

When you look online for panel lining you will find a bunch of video's and articles about black or brown oil washes. I used the mechanic behind this technique but I changed it by using white oil paint.

So what you need for this is:

  • White oil paint (titanium white)
  • (odorless) Thinner
  • (preferably) synthetic brush
What you want to do is first protect your paintjob with a layer of gloss or satin varnish! 
Next you will want to take a bit of the white paint and thin it down with the thinner. The thinner can really mess with your organic brushes. (they will ruin your red saber brushes)
Once the mix has a wash consistency it is time to take it to the model. 

Next step is SUPER easy! (as seen in the short video below)

After this step you can clean your brush in some thinner and dab the brush on a paper towel or cloth to get rid of the excess thinner and then use the damp brush to clean up around the edges.

Once the white wash is dry all that is left to do to create a simple OSL (object source lighting) is to airbrush some green over the gun barrel.

An other example of this technique is on the glyphs on the forceshield of an Eldar Wraithblade. 

As you can see it is super quick and easy. If you would like to make them glow you could airbrush some light blue (or any other color) over them to create a mystical effect.

Another application of this technique would be on for example, powerfists and plasma coils. Here it would be logical for the crevices to be the lightest. So you airbrush or paint your fist or plasma weapon in the desired color, use a white oil wash, and then glaze in some color. to make it blend in. 

I hope this article helped you to speed up or improve your painting. 

If it did please share your results!

Thank you for reading and leave no model unpainted!


  1. Replies
    1. Your welcome! :)
      Thank you for reading and commenting

  2. Excellent! I've been using White acrylic, but oil seems like a better idea. Going to pick some up next time I'm near an art store.

    1. White acrylic works fine, but you will have to paint it into the crevices instead of running it through the crevices. Also the cleanup involves painting the original base color again instead of quickly running a damp brush over it.