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Miniature painting Miniatures Painting tools Terrain Warhammer 40k

Battlezone: Manufactorum terrain color guide and painting steps

After assembling, priming/base-coating, and doing the initial wash on my Manufactorum terrain pieces, I tucked into the next steps — and realized it was time for a guide to those steps, and the colors I’m using, so that Future Martin can replicate it all on the next batch.

Chipping away at some terrain following the steps in this guide (walls and floors are finished except for weathering; metal, windows, and all small details remain)

Warhammer TV reference videos

My primary guide is an excellent video on painting this exact terrain. I’m mixing in some of what Duncan does in this video about Imperialis terrain, too. For weathering, Duncan covers rust (second half) and Nihilakh Oxide in two other videos.

These videos are a tremendous resource and I love that GW makes them available. There’s no way I could approach the finished quality I want in my terrain without them.

Painting steps

Terrain is a different animal, so it requires different steps in a different order. This looks like a million steps, but it’s really quite a relaxing painting process; I’ve just broken it down, for my own benefit, because the process is different than the one I’ve spent the last nine months employing on my Blood Angels.

From step 2, floors: both have been shaded, and the one on the right has been drybrushed as well

Step 1 basically takes the bulk of the terrain piece — the stone elements — to completion, which is done to avoid messily washing and drybrushing other stuff the wrong colors. Step 2 does the same for the floors, and so on. The final step, number 7, involves weathering that goes back over many of the areas completed in 1-6 — and apart from varnish, it’s genuinely the last step.

Don’t overdo it” is my mantra for most of the steps. It’s easy to want the whole building to look super-grimy at the shading stage — and forget that there’s grime and character still to come, at later stages.

  1. Walls:
    1. Wraithbone spray, primer and base coat in one
    2. Seraphim Sepia wash almost everywhere; err on the side of “everywhere,” not “almost”
    3. Agrax Earthshade pin wash along the “bands” of the pillars, plus randomly anywhere else that would have gotten especially dirty while these buildings were in use (or weathered after they became ruins), notably under doors and junction boxes, as well as along conduits — and throw in some random spots, too
    4. Drybrush all Wraithbone areas with Tyrant Skull, in a circular motion; this is designed to go everywhere
    5. Then a lighter Praxeti White drybrush over that, in circular motions, pressing lightly and just hitting the high points
  2. Floors: Bung Leadbelcher into the holes in the floor (which hits the pipes and suggests that the floors are metal gratings with a coat of paint over them) > Mechanicus Standard Grey on the flat parts of the floor and the entire underside > Agrax Earthshade > Dawnstone drybrush the flat sections of the floor in circular motions (skip the underside) > lighter drybrush with Celestra Grey along the edges and major cracks
  3. Bare metal: Leadbelcher > Agrax Earthshade > Ironbreaker drybrush > Necron Compound drybrush
  4. Red metal (doors, windows, tanks, accents): Khorne Red > Nuln Oil > Wazdakka Red drybrush > very light Squig Orange drybrush
  5. Red pipes: Khorne Red > Nuln Oil > Wazdakka Red drybrush
  6. Bronze: Warplock Bronze > Agrax Earthshade > Brass Scorpion drybrush
  7. Cog Mechanicus:
    1. White: Corax White > Apothecary White contrast paint > Praxeti White drybrush
    2. Black: Corvus Black > Basilicum Grey contrast paint > Eshin Grey drybrush > light Dawnstone drybrush
    3. Eye: Khorne Red > Evil Sunz Scarlet
  8. Other little details (wires, etc.): Base coat in a single color (Averland Sunset, Macragge Blue, etc.) and vary these choices across the buildings (especially duplicates!); it sounds like heresy, but these truly don’t need any follow-up coats/layers/etc.
  9. Weathering:
    1. Chipping and damage: Sponge on Rhinox Hide, focusing on the blasted edges and torn-away elements, but also randomly putting it everywhere that feels right
    2. Rust: Thinned-down Skrag Brown > thinned-down Fire Dragon Bright
    3. Verdigris: Nihilakh Oxide in the crevices on bronze elements

This guide is written for the walls, but it applies to the pipes, sacred radiators, and whatnot as well. The only real changes are obvious stuff, like applying the Agrax Earthshade pin wash to different parts of the pipes.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Painting tools Terrain Warhammer 40k WIP it good

WIP it good: Manufactorum terrain

On Sunday morning, I picked up where I’d left off with my terrain on Saturday: Wraithbone done, all-over Seraphim Sepia wash. Next up was a pin wash with Agrax Earthshade.

The pin wash is subtle, but I like the effect. Both of these pieces have had their all-over Seraphim Sepia wash, but the one on the right has had some grimy areas pin-washed with Agrax:

Before (left) and after (right)

I used a cheap #5 brush for the pin washes.

Pin-washed sacred pipes
Dang but I love this terrain! The sculpts are great
Bunging Leadbelcher into the holes in the flooring

I was a bit nervous about doing a full-coverage drybrush over my precious washes…but it turned out to be no biggie. And as the video notes, it looks quite subtle at first but it does actually make a difference.

I used my giant flat-edged 5/8 brush (the cheap one I used for the washes) for this messy, brush-killing job.

Pre-drybrush on the left, post-drybrush on the right

My buildings are noticeably darker than the ones in the video at this stage, which I think comes down to the thinned vs. straight wash. I dig it. Next up, a lighter drybrush with Praxeti White, same brush and same circular motions.

This is subtle, too, but in this case I’m just not that confident in my technique. Both the amount of paint and the weight of my brushing make a difference, and I’m not there yet in terms of experience — but even so, it’s a nice effect.

Praxeti White drybrush on the left half, but not on the right half (yet)

And that’s the stone done! (Except for, maybe, a final weathering step of some sort.) Warhammer TV didn’t steer me wrong: two washes and two layers of drybrushing really does tidy things up and produce an organic, lifelike weathered stone — and surprisingly quickly, too.

Next up, Mechanicus Standard Grey on the floors (top and bottom), applied with an inexpensive flat-edged #5 brush.

Floors mostly base-coated, above and below

That’s where I ran out of steam for the night, after a pleasant Sunday spent almost entirely working on this terrain or futzing with my Orks’ basing colors. Next terrain-painting session, I’ll finish the edges and borders on the floors, wash them, drybrush them, and then move back to the walls to work on details.

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Miniature painting Miniatures Painting tools Terrain Warhammer 40k

Time to bone some wraiths

When I finished varnishing Squad Caedes on Friday night, I checked the weather and saw that the only day in the next two weeks that might be spray-paint friendly was Saturday, and sprang into action.

I built as much Manufactorum terrain as I could handle before bed, which turned out to be three pipes and two buildings.

This terrain is awesome!

I’ve never built (or painted) terrain before, and I was surprised how cool the stuff in the Vertigus set is — although, in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been: GW is pricey, but they tend to nail it on sculpt quality, details, and feel. I cannot wait to see how this all looks when it’s painted up.

Next stop was an overnight glue-curing session (this stuff uses a lot of plastic glue), followed by checking the weather again on Saturday — and then shaking the everloving shit out of my can of Wraithbone spray and testing it out on a piece of sprue.

No expense was spared on this painting booth

The instructions say that it shouldn’t be raining (check) and it should be at least 59 degrees Fahrenheit, but come Saturday 52 degrees was the best I could do. And in Seattle, in winter, having a temp over 50 and sun rather than rain is pretty special, so I figured it was worth expending a bit of paint on my test sprue and hoping for the best.

The verdict? This spray paint is great, and 52 and partly cloudy works just fine. It went on smooth, with no pebbling, and it’s a nice even coat. It genuinely seems to deliver on “primer and paint in one,” and as I’d heard it doesn’t seem to be Contrast Paint-specific in any way. I remember ruining minis at both the primer and sealant stages with spray paint in the past, so this is pretty exciting.

For comparison purposes, there’s a piece of bare sprue in the top right corner:

Wraiths: boned

After another 2 minutes of can-shaking (always be religious about this!), I moved on to my actual terrain.

Actual sun! That’s gotta be good for a couple extra degrees

I don’t know if I’m going heavy on it, but it feels like two medium/large terrain pieces and four small ones ate up about 1/3 to 1/2 a can of Wraithbone. The time savings is incredible, though: Applying primer and then a base coat to these pieces would have taken me hours, whereas all of this took me about 75 minutes — and most of that was waiting for paint to be dry enough for me to turn the pieces, and then shaking the can again.

Squad Caedes moving amongst the (Wraithbone-sprayed) ruins

Next stop, a nearly all-over wash in Seraphim Sepia.

I’m using a cheap, flat-edged 5/8 brush for this dirty job
Freshly washed vs. not yet washed
Drying time

I love washes because they’re such a cheap date. Pound for pound, no other step breathes as much life into a miniature in so little time — and that appears to go double for terrain. I could already slap these on a table and not be sad, so I can’t wait to see how they turn out after drybrushing, spot painting, and weathering.

Unlike in my primary reference video for these pieces, a Warhammer TV how-to for Manufactorum terrain, I didn’t thin down my Seraphim Sepia at all. (They use Lahmian Medium in the video.) This approach is faster, and in my experience all-over washes always look quite dark until you highlight the model — and besides, I quite like the slightly darker tone of my buildings.

This approach has at least one downside, though: I used 2/3 of a bottle of Seraphim Sepia on two medium/large pieces and three small pieces. At that rate, I’ll need a couple more bottles just to get through the rest of the Vertigus box.