Tutorial: Advanced Rust

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first of what I hope to be many tutorials on the site. As an avid follower of the putrescent Papa Nurgle, I have had a lot of practice with rust and weathering techniques. As such, I'm often asked how exactly I get the rust to look natural on my minis, so today I would like to share my technique with you.

Before we get started, I should note that this technique is actually what I use on larger, more detailed models. This is a more involved, complex method than what I do for say a Warrior model. I will be covering alternative rust techniques in future posts, however this is useful for larger areas like shields,  chariots, etc. It's also quite effective for vehicles from games like 40k, so definitely a handy tool for the toolbox.

Airbrush - For this I used a Badger Sotar 2020, however a cheaper airbrush will work but you'll likely have to go back over an area to make corrections at one point.

Cosmetic Sponge Wedge(s) - I only used 1, this is Nurgle afterall, so no need to worry about cleanliness. But be as fastidious as you like.

Brushes - I used two, a large junk brush and an Army Painter Detail, you need something relatively fine that will paint a straight line for dripping grime.

Spray Bottle of Water, Tooth Brush, Table Salt

Varnish - I use Testor's Dullcote, more expensive but I find it stronger and less discoloration.

Paint - I used a lot of different colors here, and a lot of layers. This I consider more a centerpiece model, deserving of extra attention. As stated earlier, for lesser models I'd economize. Below is a list of all of the paints I used.
  • Badger Minitaire Cracked Leather
  • Badger Minitaire Muddy Brown
  • Badger Minitaire Pumpkin
  • Badger Minitaire Innards
  • Games Workshop Typhus Corrosion
  • Army Painter Strong Tone
  • Secret Weapon Wash Flesh Tone
  • MIG Ammo Absolute Chipping (AK Interactive Heavy Chipping)
That covers the rust...

For this tutorial I am painting a Warriors of Chaos Chariot, specifically this will be a Gorebeast Chariot. People who know me well, know I have a love affair with these things. Going so far as to naming the two that I regularly bring to the table (Rot and Ruin, respectively). I am currently rebuilding my Warriors after selling off the army I made last year, and I am also doing a mirror army for a client in Norway. The paint scheme was devised as a collaborative effort, and frankly I was impressed enough with the results to adopt it myself. So yes, this is what you can look forward to if you see me or Yodrin (if he's left his Chaos Dwarfs at home that is) on the other side of the table in the future.

This model in particular is perfect for the rust technique we'll be using, as there are  alot of angles and irregularities, but moreover, because there are larger areas of space where the rust can break away from the "paint layer".

In nature paint is applied to metal, and rust forms between the paint and the metal. The paint peals back and falls away. This happens in a variety of ways, but generally speaking it's fairly random, chaos in action.

To do it properly in this case requires four basic stages of paint, which I'll refer to hereafter as layers (Rust Layer, Chipping Layer, Overlay Layer, Weathering Layer).

We begin with a base coat of Cracked Leather. Make sure to get a solid, even coat. Then apply irregular patches of  Muddy Brown across the rusted area. Without cleaning the airbrush I add Pumpkin, I do smaller patches of the "dirty pumpkin" paying particular attention to edges and of course any worn/rotted places. Then, in the darker areas of the brown I add some small patches of Innards. I added a small amount of Pumpkin to a pallette and dipped the makeup sponge in, I then dabbed this in various areas (edges and corners especially) to simulate "new rust". Think of this as stippling rather than smudging. You should have something relatively similar to the picture below.

At this point, we've got a good general rust feel going with a lot of tone gradation. Now, it's time to add some texture and color modulation. Using my junk brush I applied Typhus Corrosion, this paint has very fine granules inside that add a perfect texture to something like this. It's become a go to tool for creating more natural rust for me, both on smaller and larger scale pieces (rust isn't smooth). I wet my brush and used this to push the particles into specific areas, I wanted pooling in places where there would be a lot of rust build up, and more smooth areas in others.

Once that's dry, I loaded up the now cleaned airbrush with Strong Tone wash and gave the whole thing a solid coat, then I added Flesh Tone. While wet, I grabbed the cosmetic sponge and again dabbed at the raised areas of the chassis. Again, stippling not smudging. This removes some of the ink, but again helps to build a texture as well as modulating the browns into a more cohesive whole.

At this point you want to add some varnish, you want to seal the rust in place before we start chipping and rubbing at the model later on so you don't end up with bare plastic areas that need touch up.

With a thoroughly cleaned airbrush I sprayed the model with the Absolute Chipping, I let this dry and then reached for my trusty spray bottle. I spritzed the entire thing liberally, then sprinkled table salt. You want to go away at this point and let it all dry completely before doing anything else, this is the epitome of paint and wait at this point. But while we're on the subject, WTF is the salt for? The salt will leave small areas of rust exposed on the finished piece. Again, we're going for a more realistic, natural look. Rust doesn't just wear away the paint in a concentrated area. It usually starts as a small point, and grows. Further, things like rocks, arrows, etc can leave small areas of bare metal on something like this, which will result in these small rusted areas as well. So, in short... they have a reason to be there, and this is by far the simplest way to make it happen.

And here's how it looks when it's dry...

For this, we're doing a sort of bone white paint job, I know not typically Nurgle for us Fantasy players, but there's a precedent (Death Guard in 40k). Also, it's something neutral that can easilly be painted on everything (including the Skullcrushers) without looking odd. However, feel free to substitute whatever you like here.

With the airbrush clean again I started with the base coat, the darker of the whites, BM Mummy. I wanted solid coverage, and after that was finished I added BM Bark, I applied this as a shadow around the decorative trim areas (the Chaos Star on the front in particular). I the darkened the center of this shadow using BM Cracked Leather. With a clean airbrush I then added highlights to the white "paint areas" using BM Skull White. I didn't apply a whole lot, just enough to give it something other than a solid plane of a single color.

Now we're ready for the fun part...

With my spray bottle I spritzed the chassis again with the water and with the toothbrush began gently brushing from the bottom up along the front of the chassis. I applied more pressure in areas where I wanted more rust exposed. Small dots of rust appeared, and whole sections of white began to quickly fall away, I continued along the sides and to the rear of the chassis, though the rear has little exposed white (more on that later).

I painted the trim for the Chaos Star, then with the Strong Tone and my Detail brush I added thin lines of dripping grime, I paid attention particularly to areas where this passed over the trim itself, as this would alter the flow of running liquid.

I was tempted to add Secret Weapon Washes Sewer Water as well, however I decided to hold off here. Sometimes less really is more, and it's easy to get carried away (especially when doing something like grime streaks). And in the end we're left with a pretty grubby looking chariot chassis...

At this point, I've sealed the whole thing with more varnish to protect the paint. In part 2 I will be discussing Dry Pigments and we'll see this chassis getting a little grubbier, I hope this has been informative and by all means if you have questions, complaints, or concerns feel free to let me know.


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