Sunday, 12 February 2017

Tutorial: Simple Rust Effects


Sometimes half measures work out.  Over the years I've read about, tried and seen all sorts of methods for simulating rust on miniatures and terrain pieces.  Some work. some not so much.  From finding the brightest orange paint on hand and smearing it to, "real live" iron oxide particles captured for your modelling pleasure there are all sorts of methods to suit most hobbyists budgets and need for veracity.  This is one of mine I've used that tries to walk a line between simplicity and a fair visual representation.


goggling delivers mountains of ideas and inspiration.
Research:  If you want to trick somebody into believing that your daubs of paint are legit rust my best suggestion is to put it where they think it should be.  Before you paint have a look at real life examples or do some googling and find images of what you are trying to create.  If you are painting a rusty car check some out.  Does rest tend to lie on exposed flat surfaces or in crevices?  Are there "softer" parts that deteriorate first?  Does water carry the rust across the surfaces and result in streaking?  If the rust you are simulating "behaves" as the viewer thinks it should then you have already started winning the visual war without even popping a paint lid.

Lazy blue makes the orange rust look better than it is.
Colours:  Corrosion should jar the eye and sharply contrast the surface it is encroaching on.  Art doesn't necessarily imitate life but choosing the "clean" colour of a rusting project will influence how dramatically it makes an impression.  I'm a lazy creature so I have a tendency to run straight for complementary colours.  There are a lot of oranges in a rust scheme so a trip across the colour wheel suggests that blues are a suitable choice.  Rusted objects can start as any colour imaginable but I think that light blues are my favorites.

Any of these colours are good choices in my books.
Paints:  I prefer to paint rust.  I have a weathering set that has rust pigments but it has given me little other than grief and I think I suck at applying it.  I have had decent results but I have also had some terrible ones so I don't consider it reliable.  The same could be said for a two part rusting medium that chemically produced the effect.  It was great stuff but again it was unpredictable.  My favorite colours to use for rust are a reaper leather triad and usually a bright GW orange for a final pop.  Sometimes I start with a deep purple from any of the ones I have kicking around.  Any selection of warm browns and oranges of three or four values that you have in your own paint kit should give you what you need to produce this effect.

Knowing your complements and colour interactions works wonders for presentation.
Brushwork:  I think this is the most important part but on the surface this is really just a variation on basic layering.  Start by applying your darkest colour over top of the painted surface to be rusted.  Stick to areas you think would be more susceptible to rust.  Apply the paint by stippling; Stabbing the brush into the surface rather than drawing it across.  With the first layer you can have a bit of a load on the brush and be good to go.  With each successive layer it's important to blot the brush on a rag to reduce the amount of paint you are stippling on.  Make the edges of the rust pattern ragged and a little uneven.  I think it looks especially nice if you leave some of your surface colour uncovered so it looks like scaling and flects of paint that haven't scabbed off yet.  Work the lighter values over the your foundation remembering to blot before stippling.  Look at the imprint on the towel to confirm you like the amount of paint the brush still holds.  You want to add reducing scales of lighter colours over earlier layers to suggest the scaling with the last layer of bright orange being a scattering if tiny irregular marks that pop across the surface.  That should produce a rust pattern similar to the ones I have playing around with.  I hope you found this tutorial useful and helpful.  Now get out there and ruin some miniature cars!
Zooming in shows the layering, rough edges, and blue "scales" I described.
In closing I'd like to thank Anthony Carillo who posts on Mantic's Walking Dead Facebook group.  He saw a truck I posted and suggested provide an explanation on the rust effect.  It started as a comment but there wasn't enough room so it turned into this tutorial  I find that a lot of the time I don't know what I should be sharing here and it helps me to get feedback from people who are willing to follow along.  Since I started the blog I haven't always found it easy to provide content that keeps readers interested because my own interests move around a little too much to keep a "target" audience.  I try to maintain Void Spaces as a hobby journal for my own purposes but it feels good to know that other people are interested in what I'm up to as well.  If you are willing to bear with me please share what you think of the content and what you might like to see in the future.  

6 comments:

  1. What a superb tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing it, HP.

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    1. Thank you Bryan. I don't usually think to do tutorials but I'm happy that people appreciate them. If there is something I'm doing I can share it feels pretty cool to be able to do that.

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  2. Great post, thanks for sharing. Your 'Lazy Blue' car looks terrific

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    1. Thanks Paul. Lazy blue makes a Lazy Horrid happy.

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  3. Again, absolutely fantastic stuff! Glad you posted your link to my response, I just added your blog to the following list.

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    1. Thanks Ivor! Another person following is awesome because it means another set of eyes and ideas interacting. If you like something or not so much please share and we'll see where it goes from here.

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