This takes longer than most people want to spend on rusty weapons, however you can stop at any stage you want and next to the face the weapon and hands are the most important parts of a miniature. The eye is naturally drawn to these three places, it is known to some as the triangle theory. Over the last few years I’ve been trying to up my Nurgle game by working on making my weapons look even more rusted and the key is lots of washes and using pigments.
I may do another rust tutorial, but until then this will have to do. There are other ways to paint rusty metal, these weapons are all pure metallic with rust on top, you can of course have rust upon painted metal…
The first step for these Plaguebearers was to get a nice dark base metallic. This was done by painting the swords (and everything else metal) with GW’s Boltgun metal. Then I applied a wash of Badab Black. When that was dry I used an old partially dried out pot of GW’s Chainmail and painted on some simple highlights. Then and this is the key to darkening the metal I did another wash, this time I used Devlan Mud. The black wash was layered on everything, but starting with the Devlan Mud you have to be more strategic where you put your wash, basically you don’t want to obscure your highlights.
Normally when painting rust on a building or a vehicle it is pretty obvious where the rust should go and it likely flows down… I’m painting Nurgle Daemons and they are not known for following the laws of physics so you can put rust wherever you want, but it still should flow from dark to more intense and this is the technique I used to achieve the effect.
Starting with the nice dark metallic I got out my trusty old GW Rust Brown Ink. I thinned this with a couple drops of water and applied it where I wanted rust. This was basically my entire old rust technique and it looks alright, but if you want really intense rust you’re going to have add more layers.
Now their are a lot of experts online who will tell you to put flow aid or future floor wax in your washes and that you want to break the surface tension so the wash doesn’t dry with a ring shape. That is not the technique you want to use here. You want the rust washes to be watery and you want to paint it on in little blobs and to drag it towards where you want the more intense rust. If it dries with little rings that is fine, because that is how rusty water dries.
You can mix all your additional rust washes separately but I generally just build up from where I am to where I want to be. This has it’s risks but as long as you continue to add fresh clean water along with keeping your ingredients reasonably proportional you’ll get the results shown on this page. The next thing I added to my rust wash besides two drops of water was some “Rusty Red” pigment I got this in a set of 12 black lidded pigment pots I ordered online. I can’t remember the name of the manufacture, something like Tim or Steve. (Bruce from Hirst Arts recommended them I think, yep!) They are called Doc O’Brien’s and you can order them here. Swirl around your new rust wash and then put it on in little globs where you want the rust to be more intense, remember it should generally flow with gravity.
When that wash is completely dry on the figure add a couple drops to the remnants of your rust wash on your palette and get some Foundation Orange, this is made by GW and is really good thinned down as a rust wash. Of course I like to go too far so I added another pigment, this time “Rust 2” from AwesomePaintJob.com. (The store seems to be down, but the blog is up…) You can use any pigments you want, but the idea is to add lighter, brighter pigment to the wash as you work towards a more intense rust color. Again apply it in little globs each time successively smaller as you work towards the most intense rusty point.
Again waiting for the mixture to dry, it doesn’t take that long, but it is a necessary delay. I was only rusting up three swords, a couple chains and a pendant, but if your rusting a vehicle, a building, or an entire squad it might seem like you’re waiting less. Make sure you mix enough of each rust wash as you will have trouble matching your magic mixture. Of course rust can be anyway you want it. To my existing rust wash I added a bit more clean water and some GW Fiery Orange which is what GW advocates you use to make rust washes now-a-days. I learned the technique from White Dwarf. I also added some more pigment, this time “Rust 1” from AwesomePaintJob.com. This is my brightest and most intense rust of the whole shebang. You could make an even brighter more intense rust colour if you started anew without the previous darker ingredients. I just do it this way as I only have so many little cups on my palette.
After applying little globs of more intense rust wash and letting it dry I again took photos and we’re onto the final stage. I painted edge highlights where I thought they would fall or look most dramatic with GW Mithral Silver. If it looks a little too much, remember a lot of light is on the minis in the photos. You can see how the more orange I added to my rust wash, the more it came to look like my supposedly flesh coloured Plaguebearer. Damn crappy old GW Flesh Wash.
Well there you go, perfectly good rusty weapons. Next for me is a few black touchups of the unit champion and doing his skin, but that may wait until tomorrow. Today it seems hotter in the evening in Vancouver as my palms are sweating typing and painting which isn’t good.
Update December 2019
It is now many years later and you can’t get the pigments I used in this tutorial at least not at the links I had. You can get other rusty orange pigments. The basic technique should still work. I’ll be painting more Nurgle daemons in 2020 some of them must have rusty weapons.