Tutorial: SaltNHairspray Rust: Shake It, Shake It Real Good!

*cue music, you know you want to: doo doodoo doo. doo. doodoo doo doodoo*

The deeper I get in to this hobby, the more I'm reflecting on my masochistic tendencies. Why do we slave over these little, tiny dudes and dudettes? Why are we trying to recreate these fantastic battle scenes from overhead, like a mind controlling falcon, hellbent on tactical dominance left to polyhedral randomization?

Rust. The answer is rust. Actually, it's not, but rust was on my mind as of late. What often motivates me, is trying a new technique or medium to experiment with. I despise painting all my minis the exact same colors. I'm a tinkerer. Give me buttons and knobs, and I will press the bageezus out of those suckers! Give me a tutorial on painting tartans, and I will tartan-ize the
bageezus out of...erm, tartans.

I've been delving so deeply in to fantasy games as of late, that the pull of the future was bound to kick in. I get sick of elves. Sometimes, I just want a long-range magnetic rifle
blasting explosive rounds through smoke at adhesively bound aliens. Shadow War Armageddon has crept inside my hobby ADHD, as well as getting back in to Infinity. Both are terrain heavy
games, and I wanted to prep some new things for them with a new (to me) technique:

Salt. And. Hairspray. For RUST!

The idea is pretty simple.

Build and prime your super rad terrain pieces. Here, I put together some Bandua Industrial mdf stuff. Neat little pieces, but a bit pricey for what's in the box, imo. They now make a prepainted version, which looks awesome out of the box, but it's also ~really~ expensive. :-/

I primed these pieces, and a TT Combat Large Industrial Tower a muddy red color. (Rattle cans, Krylon)

You hand paint some rust. The base primer color is good enough if you're lazy or in a super time crunch. I wanted to add some variation to mine, for a more organic feel. This is just cheapy acrylic craft paint (I hate wasting good mini paint on terrain, so don't do that if you can help it!)

I used a darker brown and orange, and dabbed it on with a fairly big round brush. Similar to drybrushing/stippling. Just do some random craziness. You'll find nature itself is fairly random.

You spray on some hairspray. Put down a decent layer as you want the salt to really stick on there.

You shake it (real good) and throw down some salt randomly so that it sticks to the surface. I used a mix of large sea salt chunks, and some tiny grains of iodized salt for more detail.

Let it dry.

Spray primary colors over the whole mess. I used some white airbrush primer (stynylrez), blue rattle cans, yellow airbrush paint, and some FW Sepia ink for more of a weathered brown look. I did some airbrushed highlighting as well.

After that dried (really quick for the airbrush steps), I simply scraped off the salt with a small brush leaving interesting rusty spots.


Then, since I like to torture myself, I painted on a lot of the detail work with a fairly watered down craft paint Olive Green-like color, and a watered down ash gray. I kept them thin, because I wanted the effect to be more subtle than bright. I'm not picky about particular colors, mostly I wing it and paint things by "feel." I tend to like whites and greens mixed, and figured when I build up my US Ariadna Infinity troops, it'll work well with them.

After all of these steps, I did some final scratches with my fingernail, and made sure to rub off all of the salt to really get these pieces looking rusted and abused. Since I, apparently, REALLY like to torture myself, I also decided to spray the railings like caution stripes. I used a generic lined stencil for the airbrush. It's a cool detail, but totally impulsive, unnecessary, and because there were so many railings, took FORRRREEEVVVEEERRRRR.


The final results:


Why is this better than simply using a sponge to dab the rust on, you ask? Well...I can't say that it's "better" really. It's time consuming. It's sloppy. You're probably wasting a lot of salt and
hairspray that could be put to better uses like preventing vegetation from growing in a nearby rival's front yard.

"Who's got the bigger tomatoes now, Stanley, you schmuck?!"

But admittedly, the final texture of the rust effect is really nice! It looks almost 3d; since you're literally pulling the salt from underneath your primary color layer, it cleverly tears the paint up, as if rust was eating it's way through like good rust should do.

Mmmmm-mmmm! Iron Oxidelicious!

4 responses to “Tutorial: SaltNHairspray Rust: Shake It, Shake It Real Good!

  1. Great writeup as usual Chris!

  2. Excellent work.
    About midway through I was a bit doubtfull, but the final result is really great looking. I’ve been trying various colors oversprayed on Krylon ruddy brown to make a rusty look, but with the salt, the spotty-ness of your technique has a great realism.

    Hope to get to play on these soon!

  3. It looks like a fun kit to put together and paint. I look forward to seeing the results in person some time.

  4. joshthemaker says:

    Excellent work! The few times I tried salt, it ended up discoloring the surrounding basecoat (tamiya) that really was un-cool, but I think I need to try it again using some different paints.

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