Sunday, 30 July 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Rust Streaks, Stains & Pools]

This Nurgle Rhino project is starting to drag on a bit (... ya think?). So to move things along at a faster pace, I intend to double the amount of posts per week which in turn should result in more weathering completed in the same space of time. That's the idea anyway and so far it's working. Granted the organic bits and panel lining earlier in the week wasn't much progress but it did set up the first (and possibly only ... time will tell) 'exponential step' of the weathering process. A step which I define as the one that starts bringing all the separate weathering elements together and make it work.

Nurgle Rhino work-in-progress: weathering rust streaks

This 'exponential step' involved the use of enamel weathering products from AK Interactive namely Rust Streaks, Light Rust Wash and regular White Spirit. One key characteristic of enamel or oil-based products is the ability to manipulate the resulting paint job with white spirit. After allowing the rust streaks (painted straight out of the bottle) to dry for about 10 to 15 minutes, I used a brush moistened with white spirit to soften the edges of the painted streaks. Essentially the excess painted rust streaks were being removed by the white spirit and what remained was being blended for a 'softer look'. 

Rust Streaks Step 1 of 2: Paint downward strokes of rust streaks, straight from the jar
Vertical rust streaks painted with enamel paints straight from the bottle
Rust Streaks Step 2 of 2: Use white spirit to 'soften' or blend the rust streaks, in upward and downward strokes
Vertical rust streaks softened/blended using white spirit, a solvent for enamel paints

Another less obvious rust effect added was rust stains on the bottom hull using a diluted light rust wash. In addition, the pooling of rust was recreated on the upper hull using more concentrated light rust wash. Both rust effects help complement the overall rusted look of the Nurgle Rhino (see below).

Light Rust Wash - diluted with white spirit to create rust stains
Rust stains on the insides of the Rhino track wheels
Light Rust Wash - used straight from the bottle to create rust pools
Rust pools accumulate around raised areas of the upper hull, which is admittedly a tad over-weathered

In my opinion, rust streaks are an essential component of the rust weathering process. Without rust streaks the level of realism drops down a few notches. The following images are a series of 360 shots at 45 degree intervals of the Nurgle Rhino with rust streaks in place. 

Nurgle Rhino - work-in-progress, rust streaks and all (front view)
Rust streaks help tie-up the separate weathering effects up until now
Rust streaks were softened considerably to avoid a sense of over-weathering
Rust streaks are an essential component in the weathering process
Nurgle Rhino - work-in-progress, rust streaks and all (back view)
Without rust streaks - the level of realism drops down a few notches
Still no idea what to paint behind 'Lucy' the head ornament on the lower right corner of the right-side hull
Even with rust streaks the Nurgle Rhino still lacks depth which only filters/glazes and dust/dirt effects can overcome

Applied earlier (see previous post), the acrylic semi-gloss clear coat helps provide a protective coating to the underlying paint job, against the enamel weathering steps shown above.

Clear acrylic semi-gloss coat forms a protective coating for the subsequent enamel paint weathering

Future to-do lists include adding depth to the flat hull colour via filters/glazes; painting the light in searchlight; weathering the tracks; and adding subtle dust/dirt deposits for yet more depth. And as the Nurgle Rhino nears completion, I've actually started working on another Star Wars project that might be included in alternate blog postings. But I'll likely finish up with the W40K transport before posting updates on the Incom T-47 Snowspeeder. At least things will brighten up colour-wise from the dull rust hues of the Nurgle Rhino. Until then, thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Nurgle Rhino [WIP - Organic Bits & Panel Lining]

Meet someone new, they said. The boy next door looks like a nice person, they suggested. Sure, he has weird tastes in T-shirts but who hasn't gone through the Nurgle idolizing phase, they protested somewhat defensively. Moral of the story ... trust your instincts. Lucy didn't and paid the price. She now adorns the Rhino's side hull as a offering from a Chaos novitiate wannabe. At this stage I'm still unsure how the hull plating behind Lucy should be painted. Blood? Gore? Diseased mucus and pus? These are all things Nurgle but they seem the wrong choice somehow. So it remains blank for now.    

Meet Lucy ... the new Nurgle Rhino ornament/mascot
A skull ... all Chaos vehicles don't seem complete without one

One of my favourite things to paint is a skull. Not for any morbid reason I assure you. I just love recreating the textures and colours of bone through paint. Part of why I love drawing (or try to at least) realistic portraits, paint skin tones or do weathering effects on scale model kits is that I love to recreate a piece of realism using art. And I guess painting skulls is one way to scratch that itch.  

What's better than a skull ... well two skulls and a chain, that's what
Layers beneath the the skulls and metal chains are up for more weathering soon

Prior to applying panel lining to the crevices of the transport vehicle, I first had to protect the underlying paint job from subsequent weathering techniques using oil/enamel paints and washes. Technically, such washes and paints shouldn't adversely effect the acrylic paint job too much or even a tall. But I decided to play it safe in case aggressive use of solvents and/or thinners were required. So I sprayed a thin layer of semi-gloss clear coat (acrylic). Semi-gloss is a good compromise in that it gives sufficient surface tension for subsequent weathering effects while avoiding a too glossy shine.

Prior to panel lining with Mr Weathering, the existing layers of paint were protected with a clear semi-gloss coat

While subtle, the panel lining effects add a necessary level of depth to the entire vehicle. If I had proceeded with other weathering effects (e.g. rust streaks, dust, dirt, mud, etc.) without first establishing a baseline effect of what I call 'minimal depth' then anyone observing the vehicle would always be saying - yeah it looks nice and all but there's something missing that I can't quite place.

Subtle effects of panel lining, after (top) and before (bottom)
Adding depth via panel lining, after (top) and before (bottom)

Here are some photos of the Nurgle Rhino as is stands with its organic bits painted up and panel lining applied to its crevices. Just a few though as no huge progress has been made in this post.

Nurgle Rhino, work-in-progress on organic bits and panel lining
Weathering on the Nurgle Rhino is progressing nicely but so much more remains to be done

So that's my short update on the Nurgle Rhino. Still nothing much to shout about to be honest. However, the first 'exponential step' of the weathering process will be taken soon. And that's when things start to get really interesting. Hopefully your patience - in watching what so far is essentially the proverbial paint dry - will be rewarded. If things go well I may even have an update before the week is out. Until then, thank you so much for your kind comments thus far and have a great week ahead.

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. 

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