Sunday 24 September 2017


I was asked for tips on achieving the weathering and colours from the three shipping containers. So here's the breakdown of how they came together.

All paints used are from the Vallejo ranges, usually Game Color or Game Air ranges.

  • Prime with Black. Over the MDF you want to leave this an hour between thin coats to ensure it sinks in. This took while some time - but as there were lots of terrain pieces to prime, it wasn't a problem.
  • Basecoat with Dark Fleshtone. Full coverage apart from the very deepest recesses.
  • Basecoat with Parasite Brown. Partial coverage as the idea at this stage is to have several different shades of colour appearing.
At this point you're wondering what on earth you've done ...

... but it's okay! Stick with it. Now onto the invisible stages.

(also spoilers in the shot above, you can see there's more terrain incoming)

  • Apply matt varnish to everything. But don't make it thick and obscure detail, this is an important step to ensure you don't start pulling the paint off later. I did start with gloss varnish, but couldn't get it to run smooth in my airbrush and swapped to matt with zero problems. Personal taste, I think - the important thing is protecting the colours.
  • Apply chipping medium to everything. Sure, you could be quite precise and decide exactly where you want to chip the containers, but I'm not that good at remembering details - so a full coverage is best. After coating three surfaces, leave it overnight so it isn't sticky to the touch. Do the fourth surface the next morning then leave it all to fully dry.

This concludes the preparation work so now it's on to the painting proper with the main colours for the three crates.

  • Scarlett Red basecoat, Moon Yellow highlight.
  • Yellow Olive basecoat, Camoflage Green highlight
  • Scurf Green basecoat, Scurf Green/Dead White highlight.

Using the airbrush, I started with the darker colour and coated everything in three or four thin coats. You need to leave it a little longer between coats because the chipping medium underneath starts to activate with the water in the paint - so just take your time and get solid coverage. I then adding more of the highlight colour and started hitting the top parts and edges.

These containers had lettering pre-etched into the design so I picked them out with the final highlight colour. I wanted them to be readable but not something to focus on. There is a thin glaze of Imperial Blue toward the bottom of the Green and Blue containers just to make the contrast a little more distinct.

Now the colours have tried, it's on to the terrifying step. Ripping apart all your hard work. The chipping medium is activated with water, so take a large brush dripping in water and gently coat one surface. Let any excess water drip off onto a paper towel, then you need to take off the paint.

From experience, on smaller scale miniatures, like my Space Wolves, using a toothpick or paperclip works well - but larger pieces like this that approach would take a long time. I took a piece of pluck foam and started dragging it across the surface. After every drag I rotated the foam so a different surface was soaking up the paint. Then I just repeated it until everything was done.

It feels weird at this point - you've basically destroyed half your work! But again, it's okay. Final steps and it all comes together.

  • Edge Highlighting.  With the brightest highlight colour, you need to add a thin edge highlight. Not just the corners of the object, but also at the bottom of each chip. This enforces the three dimensional effect of the chip. You can, if time allows, go back and add a thin line of Dark Fleshtone + Black at the top of the each chip to really punch home the effect. The most time consuming stage of the process but it makes or breaks it.
  • Rust. Along the very bottom, at random intervals, I added a little of the Modelmates excellent rust effect. If you apply it a little thicker, this brings a small amount of texture onto the surface as well. You could take a reddish brown paint and add a little more orange to achieve a comparable effect.

Then that's it! We're now at the point where you have the finished container and get to bask in the sweet, sweet glow of knowing your Space Wolves can't be hit from 36" by filthy Tau artillery because there are now casual line of sight blockers on the table.