Over the last few months I’ve been assembling some rusty senpais in the form of the Ash Garrison Enforcers of Syracuse Magna. Brutal, corrupt and underfunded, the Ash Garrison attracts only the worst of the populace to help tread the rest into the rain-slick cobblestones of Magna’s streets.
Painting the masses
Assembling these guys was equal parts fun and complicated, with little regard for how they would look when coloured. I only had one colour requirement from their description in-game, they needed dark green vulcanised cloaks to protect them from the relentless drizzle and acid rain showers of Syracuse Magna. The rest I would have to make up on the spot. Great.
They were all undercoated black, which had the immediate benefit of pulling all the incoherent pieces together into one uniform whole. They were starting to look like a unit!
The immediate downside to this was the daunting prospect of adding colours to the test models to see what would work. Green cloaks were a given, but what about the rest?
I am quite taken with the Death Korps of Krieg aesthetic, as they spend a lot of their time around mud and rain, so I was going to use lots of neutral earthy tones for the clothes. I decided to try something a bit different for the armour and weapons and see if I could pull off a kind of rusty metal look.
Base coats were added to the test models – a dark brassy metallic colour would form the base for the equipment – normally I’d go for a steel silver, but I wanted to go Full Grubby this time.
A nice grimy grey was applied to the overcoat, the cloaks blocked in with dark green, and the details were picked out with variant browns and lighter greys.
As the majority of the big areas dried, I splashed on a healthy amount of black wash to dull the colours even more (and do like 90% of the shading work for me because I’m a lazy painter).
It was during this blocking and washing stage (read: literally watching paint dry) that I started to experiment with a rust technique.
I’ve used this technique for verdigris/patina on bronze before and the process was fun and straightforward, if a long-winded process. I know you can get fancy pigment paints and stuff these days, but I have a perfectly serviceable orange paint and plenty of water so let’s do this.
The process involved getting some really, really watered down orange paint (little more than paint-flavoured water) and blobbing it on willy-nilly across the exposed parts of dark metal.
It would seep into crevices and leave weird watermarks, but the more layers I did the more this began to turn into a cool rust effect. After the 5th-ish layer of orange, I did another few layers of a lighter orange, then one final layer of pale flesh colour in the centre of the worst-affected areas.
Fantastically, it was beginning to look like something I hadn’t quite anticipated – rust from water damage rather than just age. My damp senpai were turning into rusty senpai!
The final touch was to roughly pick out edges with a silver paint to give it some wear and tear. Holy smokes, what a difference that made. The rougher and quicker I applied the edge highlights, the more realistic it seemed and the better it looked on the tabletop.
With the majority of the models’ feature colours finished, it was on to the tidy up. The greys were highlighted with their original base colours again to keep the neutral tones, the gloves were given a little extra highlight to help pick out the fingers. Masks were highlighted up to white with a red visor to give them a terrifying appearance under their big metal hats.
I had left the shock mauls til last, as I wasn’t entirely sure how I wanted them to look. Perhaps it was time to try my hand at some origin source lighting?
OSL – Positively shocking
I avoid dabbling with origin source lighting (OSL) because a) it’s always an afterthought and b) painting new colours over pain(t)staking highlights gives me terror chills like no other.
I wanted the shock mauls to look zappy, but I wasn’t enthused about doing the usual lightning blue that’s associated with shock mauls, but not did I like repeating the red from the visor.
Sticking with the grimy colour scheme I opted for a poisonous shade of green, which when highlighted up had this wonderful effect of making it look pale and sickly. You can almost imagine them flickering and sparking like a faulty bug zapper in a meat shop.
I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I started by applying some very thin layers of green to anything the light might get cast on, and slowly highlighting up to lighter shades of green on more prominent surfaces, such as the rim of the hat and edges of the armour.
I was genuinely surprised by how well it came out! As an effect, I’m definitely going to be trying it again in the future. I’m comfortable with the technical side of it now, I just need to get better at understanding how light falls on strange shapes and applying more paint to those areas. I’d say the biggest problem with the OSL on these guys is that I didn’t do enough of it!
The finished product
The final stages were detailing the bases. I’d learned a lot about water effects from my time with the Enforcers’ nemeses, the Undertow – I needed lots of thin layers of water effect, otherwise you end up with weird air bubbles and pockets of cloudy water.
A billion layers of water effect later (and I’m not 100% happy with it but sod it), the rusty senpai were finished.
As mentioned in the conversion article, these guys were split into two groups – Remedials and Disciplinaries, depending on how severe a response is required from whatever uppity nonsense the local populace are kicking off with that day.
The Disciplinaries are the first responders, armed with sizzling shock mauls and flashbangs, their job is to brutally repress any kind of sedition with shock and awe and to round up anyone who might be persuaded to part with some important intel on enemy movements.
They’re lead by a member of the rightly-feared Mandato – the terrifying secret police and interrogators for the Shogun that excel in rooting out sedition and extracting information from those slow enough to be caught by the Disciplinary snatch squads.
The rest of the troopers make up the second wave of Ash Garrison – the Remedials. If/when the Disciplinaries can’t scare the populace into submission, the Remedials are rolled out to reduce the population to a more manageable size.
These guys will only be seen
if when things escalate into a full-blown insurrection, and Enforcers become less fussed about taking anyone alive.
They also come with exciting grenade launcher options for frag, gas or photon flash flavours.
A few more of the damp baes;
All in all I’m preeeetty chuffed with how they’ve all come out. I’m not sure I could done them better if I’d tried, and the fact I’m aching to make another dozen of these guys is a great indicator that I really shouldn’t. They will serve their purposes well in the sodden, rotting alleyways of Syracuse Magna in our upcoming campaign.
Speaking of sodden, rotting alleyways, watch this space…