Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Weathering Metals, Part 2]

As how sometimes things pan out in this hobby, the way the Nurgle Rhino Dozer/Destroyer blades were eventually painted is far removed from how I initially envisioned them to be. At first, I had primed the blades with a smooth almost glossy black primer in the expectation I would be laying on a metallic coat before weathering them. I soon realised this would unnecessarily waste a lot of metallic paint that would not see the light of day. So I did a 180 and instead applied a dark basecoat of Vallejo Rust Texture, followed by midtones of dry-brushed rust hues and ending with metallic pigments.

Rhino Dozer/Destroyer Blades, suitably weathered as per Papa Nurgle's requirements
For the metallic shine, a combination of AK Dark Steel Pigment and Fixer was used

If you are on a very tight budget, a simple graphite pencil can be used as an alternative to the AK Interactive Dark Steel Pigments. Yet another alternative would be graphite powder from art supply shops although truth be told these are kinda expensive too. For the Nurgle Rhino, I applied AK pigments on the sharp edges of its 'blade' using a cotton bud. And then, I fixed the pigments in place using, well, an enamel-based pigment fixer also by AK Interactive. The reasoning behind this step is that even rusted metal contains parts that face wear and tear hence the exposed metallic shine.

Colour Scheme for blades - dark rust base with fresh rust on grooves and metallic shine on edges
Fresh rust (bright orange hues) are concentrated on areas where water may pool

Because I had initially primed the blades with a glossy black primer (Mr Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black), I had to improvise in order to reduce surface tension thus allowing the Vallejo Rust Texture to stick better. This I did by first applying a coat of Vallejo Polyurethane Matt Varnish. It's important to note that this varnish coating would've been unnecessary if I had applied a black matt primer such as Citadel Chaos Black. Meanwhile, other 'metal' parts of the vehicle worked on include the exhaust outlets on its upper hull, tow hooks, searchlight, poison gas tank, tri-skull emblem and chains.

Tow hooks on the rear were weathered in a similar way to the other 'metal' parts
Exhaust outlets on the upper hull, all four of them, were also weathered
Nurgle Rhino Searchlight, with the rusted metal bits all done up

At this stage of the build I am besiege by ambivalent feelings due primarily to a hobbyist's greatest (arguably so) bugbear - patience. I feel that more scale model kits are ruined by lack of patience rather than lack of skill, although there is a fine line between the two in miniature painting/modelling. As things stand, I'm pretty chuffed with my progress so far. However, the Nurgle Transport is still so far from the picture I have imagined that it's mind-blowingly infuriating. Let me explain ...

Nurgle Rhino (front end) work-in-progress: metals parts weathered and rusted
Bits weathered include the exhaust outlets at the upper hull and the tow hooks on the back
Nurgle Rhino (side hull, left) - metal parts include the poison gas tank and the tri-skull emblem
Nurgle Rhino (side hull, right) - metal part comprised only the chain on the hatch door

Photographs of the Nurgle Rhino as you see above lacks two key ingredients that will ratchet up the realism exponentially. One is subtle, the other not so much. The former are panel line washes while the latter, rust streaks. I'll be tackling panel lining in the upcoming post as well as the Nurgle Rhino's organic bits such as the skulls and poor Lucy i.e. the rotting head on the hull. Rust streaks will only come in after these are done. And now you can see why the Nurgle Rhino has a long way to go yet.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Weathering Metals, Part 1]

Things are slowly gathering pace as I move on to the more juicy bits of the weathering process i.e. specific detailed parts on the hull. Just a little bit of excitement if you will before I swing back to more mundane stuff like rust stains, streaks and pools in order to tie the colour scheme up in a realistic manner. And after that it's on to the tracks (more weathering) and miscellaneous equipment e.g. spotlights before everything gets a final dust and dirt deposits. But I'm getting way ahead of myself. First, a short tutorial on how to achieve a rusted and decayed metal look on plastic parts. 

Nurgle is all about decay, hence the weathered metal pieces on the Rhino transport

To recreate a weathered metal look, I used Acrylicos Vallejo acrylic paints and textures. I started by basecoating the 'metal' parts with Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Black. In my opinion, VMC black is not very resilient as it can easily rub off if not allowed to dry sufficiently. So after letting it dry overnight, I followed up with a layer (or more) of Vallejo Environment Rust Texture which perfectly recreated an underlying dark rust texture. Subsequently, the rust effects were brightened with VMC Orange Brown as well as Light Orange/Mahogany Brown hues. Lastly a VMC Light Rust wash was applied on the 'metal' parts to create a smoother and unified rusted colour scheme.  

Step 01 - Apply a black basecoat on the 'metal' parts of the model kit and allow it to dry overnight
Step 02 - Apply a layer of Vallejo Environment rust texture, completely covering the basecoat 
Step 03 - Dry brush an orange brown hue to simulate the beginnings of a fresher rust effect
Step 04 - Dry brush light orange/mahogany brown at various mix ratios (more of former equals fresher rust)
Step 05 - Apply a light rust wash to tie up the overall colour scheme and smoothen transitions

To simplify the tutorial, I concentrated on a small section of the Nurgle Rhino's hull specifically the emblem on the left hatch door. The steps above are recreated in closeups as shown below.

Step 01: Black basecoat is the preferred hue of choice for metals, rusted or otherwise
Step 02: Dark rusty texture provides an excellent platform to build on, for the subsequent rust effects
Step 03: First dry brush layer of orange brown, an intermediary step between old and fresh rust
Step 04: Second dry brush layer of varying mixture ratios of light orange and mahogany brown
Step 05: A light rust wash which helps smoothen out stark contrasts between the different rust hues

Sometimes looking at the same process from a different angle can produce an aha moment in gaining understanding. That was my reasoning in presenting the following photos. If you are an experienced painter/modeller you will likely be bored to tears and for that I apologize. As with most how-to guides, this is what works for me and may not necessarily be suitable to your style of working. Also, there are always much better results to be had with additional steps but the ones I present here try to balance between the time constraints and the need to achieve realistic results in a timely manner.

Step 01 - Basecoat of VMC Black 70.950
Step 02 - A layer of Vallejo Rust Texture
Step 03 - A dry brush coat of VMC Orange Brown 70.981
Step 04 - Dry brush coats of a VMC Light Orange 70.911 and VMC Mahogany Brown 70.846 mixture
Step 05 - A wash of Vallejo Light Rust (VMC 505)

If you're an experienced hobbyist you may have noticed something missing from the weathered metals shown above. An actual metallic sheen due to exposure of the 'metal' underneath all that rust, just like what would happen in the real world. For the Nurgle Rhino, I'm reserving the said sheen effects for parts that will hypothetically undergo friction against other objects. More of what I mean in upcoming posts. Meanwhile, coming up in Part 2 will be a walk-around of the Nurgle Rhino as it stands with all the metal parts weathered. Until then, thanks for reading and have a great weekend. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Adding Rust Effects around the Chipped Paint]

Chipping paint was just a beginning in what is going to be a lengthy weathering process on the Nurgle Rhino. In the past, rust effects meant dry brushing bright orange and toning that down with a dark brown and/or rust coloured wash. That approach now seems overly simplistic. Currently, the process involves a variety of rust hues, textures, pigments, washes, oil-based streaks, etc. It's all about trying to achieve the next level of realism. And this Nurgle Rhino is a perfect test piece. If things get 'over-weathered', lessons can be learned while still being fairly acceptable to the subject matter. 

Weathering a Nurgle Rhino - adding rust effects around chipped paint

For this stage of the weathering process, I painted a variety of rust hues in and around the chipped paint from the previous step. I started with a black brown hue (Vallejo Model Color/VMC 70.822) which was painted into the central areas of the chipped paint. This was followed by a lighter Chocolate Brown (VMC 70.872) in between the fringes of the exposed red oxide primer and the earlier black brown hue. In this stage's final step, a light rust wash (VMC 505) was applied over the rust hues to both unify the entire colour scheme as well as smooth out colour transitions.    

Nurgle Rhino with chipped paint courtesy of the salt technique
Step 01 - German Cam. Black Brown added to center of primer coat exposed by chipped paint
Step 02 - Chocolate Brown added to edges of the painted black brown center
Step 03 - Light Rust wash used to smoothen transition between primer coat and painted rust hues

For a better view of how the rust effects looked at different stages of the process, kindly refer to the closeup photographs of the upper hull as shown below. 

Chipped paint exposing oxide red primer, which has the colour of anti-rust paint in real world tanks
Black brown hue at the center of the exposed primer coat
Chocolate brown hue between the oxide red edge and black brown center
Light rust wash smooths out transition of between rust hues and unifies the effect's colour scheme

Even after all this, the weathering process on the Nurgle Rhino is just slight over one third of the way in. This begs the question of how much more weathering can a armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) take. It's a Nurgle machine so perhaps that question is moot. However, if this was a present day AFV (as in tanks and such) then there could perhaps be an argument for 'over-weathering'. That being said, what I'm hoping to achieve in the coming weeks is to slowly but surely accentuate a weathered look through targeted additions, rather than heap on loads of wash/paints/pigments lock, stock and barrel. 

Rust effects are far from complete with rust streaks, stains and pools yet to be added
Upper hull is far more weathered than the sides of the Nurgle Rhino

What's up next? I'll be creating rust effects specifically for the metal parts of the Nurgle Rhino. This next step will involve a few new rust hues, some metal pigments as well as a Vallejo weathering product I haven't tried before i.e. the Vallejo Environment Effect Rust Texture (73821).   

Nurgle Rhino - Upper hull view of paint chipping and preliminary rust effects
Nurgle Rhino - Bottom hull view of paint chipping and preliminary rust effects
Back ramp of the Nurgle Rhino has arguably the best 'paint chipping/rust effects' results so far

Throughout the paint chipping process, I had tried to recreate some manner of a peeling paint effect as well. Generally, I wasn't very successful and this peeled paint effect was only noticeable at the back of the Nurgle Rhino (see photo above). When the technique - salt plus paints- does come off, the level of realism achieved way surpasses the effect created by just paints alone. And combined with future weathering with more paints and washes as well as pigments and enamels, I'm hoping it all comes together for a realistic weathered AFV look, which is the whole point of this project after all.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Salt Technique as a simple and effective Paint Chipping Method]

Showing work-in-progress (WIP) photos can be a double-edged sword. On one hand such images can be of use to hobbyists at a particular stage of their journey, which is why I do it. On the other hand WIP photos can be awfully boring. More so for weathering projects that involve many phases. For instance, this paint chipping stage is only the beginning of a long drawn out process comprising further painting of rust stains, pools and streaks; portraying decayed metals; creating depth with washes and lining; applying dust and dirt deposits; etc. I seek your patience as we begin ... 

Weathering process begins with chipped paint courtesy of the 'salt technique'

Before the weathering process could even begin I was faced with a problem. I needed to apply a layer of water to help salt adhere to the model kit's surface. Unfortunately the primer coat was too smooth thus causing the water to form droplets that just rolled off the surface. To combat this, I applied a coat of matt varnish which allowed a layer of water to remain on the surface. Ideally, the matt varnish should've been applied in a fine mist coating using an airbrush. But I didn't have one so I hand brushed it instead. Some pooling of the varnish occurred but thankfully it self-leveled after drying.    

Polyurethane matt varnish had a dual-purpose of protecting the primer coat and allowing a layer of water to adhere to it
 Using just a hand-held brush to apply the varnish, it wasn't surprising to see some varnish pooling at certain parts ...
... so thankfully Vallejo's excellent polyurethane matt varnish self-leveled when dry
An air brush would've produced a fine mist coating vs the pooling issues when using an ordinary brush
Although the matt varnish self-levels, it's still prudent to brush on the varnish in as thin a coat as you can manage

After the varnish had dried overnight, I sprinkled a combination of coarse and fine grain salt on the Rhino transport whose surface had been moistened with water. While the grains were still fairly wet they were manipulated into required shapes using a toothpick, and then left to dry overnight. 

After a thin coat of water was applied onto the Rhino, both coarse and fine salt was sprinkled onto it 
Care should still be taken after the salt has dried and stuck as it can easily be shaken loose

Once the salt had had the chance to dry overnight, it sticks to model kit albeit in a precarious way. The salt adheres strongly enough that you can spray paint on without blowing too much salt off the model kit. However, the salt can be easily brushed off the model kit using simple abrasive tools.  

As this was a Nurgle/Death Guard Rhino, a pale green hue (Tamiya AS-29 Gray-Green IJN) was chosen for the basecoat
Pressure from the Tamiya spray can was just right and not too strong that it could dislodge the grains of salt
At this stage the painted grains of salt looked liked pustules ala Nurgle infection

With an old toothbrush in hand, I proceeded to brush off the grains of salt thus chipping the paint. in addition, I also used a toothpick to create some variations in the chipping effect e.g. long thin streaks of chipped paint (most noticeable on the top/roof of the Nurgle Rhino). I wasn't too particular in removing every last bit of salt from the surface as any grain of salt left underneath the basecoat looked very much like pustules which fit in very well with the Nurgle theme of disease and death.

An old toothbrush and a toothpick were the abrasive tools of choice used to dislodge the grains of salt
Areas where the salt was dislodged displayed a chipped paint effect
On the whole, I'm pretty happy with how the chipped paint looked

Of all the sides of the Nurgle Rhino transport, it is the top/roof paint job which looks arguably 'over-chipped'. It should hopefully look much better after it had undergone further weathering.

Red oxide primer contrasts well with the pale green basecoat colour
Chipping effect was a tad overdone on the top/roof of the Nurgle Rhino
Bottom of the Nurgle Rhino, chipped paint and all

This is barely the beginning of the weathering process for the Nurgle Rhino. So much more remains to be done. To prevent the situation from overwhelming me, I plan to break up the weathering process into small manageable chunks such as the salt technique you see here. Up next will be additional painting around the chipped areas to further accentuate the rust effect. I'll be doing that concurrently with two other projects so I certainly have my hands full. But it's a happy kind of busy so I'm good.

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