Painting Ancient Rust - Tutorial

 I've had a lot of cool feedback and compliments on the latest 'burnt rust' style color scheme I have been using on the new Necron project, and a bunch of folks have asked how it is done.


So I actually remembered to take some in progress shots while I painted up the Lychguard recently.


This method is messy, and you'll spend more time waiting for ink layers to dry than you will actually painting, but it does create a really cool effect, and is probably significantly easier to achieve than you think.


So let's get into it ...



Painting Rust


1. First is the undercoat. I use a Leadbelcher spray to do the basic undercoat.


2. Then I take a large brush and apply a reasonably rough coat of orange (Troll Slayer Orange in this case, although you can also use the Ryza Rust technical paint or any orange paint)


3. Then I apply the first of many wash layers. I use heavier ink for this initial wash in the form of Army Painters Strong tone, but Agrax Earthshade will work just as well. Don't worry about the gloss finish if you do use a metallic ink wash, we'll be covering it again shortly!

Let the wash layer dry completely before proceeding.



4. Then I apply another wash layer with Agrax Earthshade. This kills the gloss effect from the previous layer, and starts to build up the recesses. Again, let the wash layer dry completely before moving on.



5. Next I drybrush the model with a silver metallic paint. For this project I'm using Grey Knights Steel, but any iron / steel color will work. Again, I'm not really picking out any details, just a general drybrush works. You don't want it to uniform. 



6. Now I pick out some areas with a break-up color. In this case I'm using Retributor Gold. The idea here is to have some variety of metals beneath the final burnt look.


7. Try and pick out sections that will contrast well, and create interesting patterns.


8. Now its time to start with the ink washes again. Same process as before. I do an initial layer of Nuln Oil ink wash, applied heavily. Let it completely dry.


9.  Once the first layer is completely dry I apply a second layer of Nuln Oil. Let it dry completely and you should have a really nice burnt rusted metal look.

By using this undercoat > wash twice > drybrush > detail > wash twice method you should get a nice set of highlights beneath the rusted effect.


10. After the metallic effect is done I then start picking out the major contrast color. For this kind of an effect you probably want to go for a bright primary color. In this case I'm using red, but you could also do blue, yellow, bright green, anything that will provide a good splash of color to give some balance to this paint job.



That's about it! This method is flexible and a lot of fun to experiment with. You can choose to do as much highlighting and detailing in the middle sections as you like, which will create different effects. 


You can also swap in sepia layers, or other inks in the initial mix to great different tones of old metal.  

Here they are in all their finished glory.