Painting Rusty Weapons

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.

A nice dark metallic colour
A nice dark metallic colour

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.

Added Rust Brown Ink
Added Rust Brown Ink

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.

Pigment added to rust wash
Pigment added to rust wash

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 (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.

Wash with orange paint and more pigment
Wash with orange paint and more pigment

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 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.

Wash with brighter orange paint and pigment added
Wash with brighter orange paint and pigment added

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.

Weapons with final silver highlight
Weapons with final silver highlight

More Tools of the Trade

Today I went and got my blood tested, I put this off for a long time. It involves fasting and biking a fair ways, technically I could have taken the bus. I need to lose weight… Now I’m at Bean Around the World again, about to continue work on my never ending job search, but before coming here I went to Memphis Blues for lunch and stopped at DeSerres Art Supply Store on Broadway too.

I usually go to the one on Main Street but DeSerres is becoming my go to place for supplies besides paint and models. I picked up more Popsicle sticks obviously. I also bought some sponges on sticks, these can be used to highlight terrain or achieve neat weathering effects. I’m going to do some sort of rust tutorial in the near future. I also bought some plaster of paris and some DeSerres brand light modeling putty to make craters out of. My final purchase was basically mineral oil which you can mix with pigments to achieve, wait for it, rust and weathering effects.

Recently I got my first incoming link from Peabody Here! another Vancouver gamer, one I’ve probably never met but probably learned of my blog from one of Zac’s forums. I’ve never even met Zac but I’ve sent him emails a few times. Vancouver has lots of gamers, we have the world’s largest concentration of video game studios, but we have no big gaming con. Maybe I’ll have to organize one, but first I need a job.

While going through my miniature gaming directory on the ferry yesterday I found two tutorials on the use of pigments, one is from Forgeworld and the other Fantization Miniatures you should visit their sites before you download the tutorials below:

I’ve since ridden home after applying for six or seven jobs. I’d really just prefer if one of the jobs I already applied for, say the one I interviewed for last, would just hire me… Anyway I took a photo of the stuff I bought along with some other tools of the trade such as a P3 Wet Palette, a re-useable palette that I previously bought at DeSerres, and the best purchase of the last couple years, an eye dropper. I really recommend to anyone serious about using washes especially making your own custom washes to go get an eye dropper at a local pharmacy. I still add my washes and ink by brush but I add clean water to paints and inks and washes via the dropper.

Tools of the miniature painting trade

Wet Palettes came up today on the Lead Adventure forum, I’m not a total convert, but I’m using it for most models. The big exceptions are terrain, washes & inks, and metallics.

Closeups and Touchups

I’m back from Vancouver Island. I ended up missing the ferry I was trying to catch, it was a hot slow day and we arrived minutes too late on my bus. Coming back from Vancouver Island was no great relaxing trip either, I re-read some Too Fat Lardies scenarios for the Through the Mud and the Blood that are in the supplement Stout Hearts and Iron Men. Closeup of Rusty Sword

Otherside of Rusty SwordI basically had a nap when I got back to Vancouver but now that it is evening I did some touch-ups on the Nurgle demons. I then tried to take some closeups of the rusty swords. This didn’t go that well with my iPhone. Eventually I got some OK pics of the light grey Plaguebearers sword, the other demon didn’t seem to want to photograph well, which is ironic as his sword had more rust detailing.  I think I may have done one rust wash too many…

The other thing I read on the ferry was Sidney Roundwood’s latest post on making terrain. He made the World War One trench table seen in the Through the Mud and the Blood rulebook, he eventually added a ruined village scratch building the buildings. I will probably add a ruined village to my trenches someday, I’ve looked into some of the resin buildings for sale but maybe I’ll have to have a go at making some.

Hopefully tomorrow it isn’t too hot and I’ll resume painting, but I have a lot of real world things to do too…

10 Great Links I’ve Collected

So I’ve been collecting links for a long time, since 1995, my original links page still lives, but I created a specialized one for painting advice and I’ve also put a lot of work into the collecting the links in my sidebar. I’ve been doing some Googling for tutorials and advice and a lot of what is coming up at the top of the Google results isn’t the best stuff, so here are ten links I recommend checking out ASAP. All will help you with your painting, modeling, or just provide inspiration.

They aren’t ranked, ten is just the magic number picked by David Letterman.

  1. Blood and Gore using Tamiya Clear Red
  2. Rust Effects the Orky Way
  3. Painting Realistic Flames
  4. Preparing and Cleaning your Model
  5. Painting Rust and Battle Damage
  6. Making ‘Arab’ buildings
  7. From the Warp’s Tips and Tutorial Collection
  8. Massive Voodoo’s Tutorial Collection
  9. Trench Making Tutorial
  10. Sidney Roundwood’s Trench Terrain

I’m not sure in 2020 they all work, but I edited all my old blog posts to improve the taxonomy.