Painting Metal Finishes

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How to paint a faux verdigris finish.


How to paint a faux rust finish. 

Scabby Rust

How to paint a scabby rust texture.


Galvanised Steel

How to paint a galvanised steel effect. 


Verdigris (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Stage 1

Undercoat in black.

Stage 2

Basecoat the whole figure in copper.

Stage 3

Wash with a dark brown ink.

Stage 4

Mix a turquoise/green colour - I used about 50% cobalt blue and 50% emerald green. Apply this like a thick wash to the figure, and then wipe off the excess with a cotton bud. Cover as much or as little of the model as you like - the greener it is, the older it will look.

Stage 5

Add a little white to lighten the paint mix, and stipple or drybrush this over the areas which still have the turquoise/green colouration.

Stage 6

Add a touch more white, and very lightly drybrush the turquoise/green parts to add a highlight. I added the statue to a base made from Roman blocks, and painted as grey granite.


Rust (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Stage 1

Undercoat in black, and liberally drybrush with a dark silver colour. This is GW chainmail, but a little black added to standard silver will work just as well.

Stage 2

Lightly drybrush with a bright silver colour - this should pick out all the highlights.

Stage 3

Wash with a black ink mixture. I used 3 drops of water / 3 drops of Pledge Multi-Surface Wax (Future in the US) / 1 drop of black ink. The polish "drags" the ink into the recesses on the model, defining the lines there.

Stage 4

Mix a rust colour - I used 50% GW chestnut ink and 50% GW orange ink. Apply this to the areas that you want to be rusty - bear in mind that rust forms first where water collects, and then spreads. Streaks of discolouration will drip down from these areas.

Stage 5

Take a terracotta colour of paint, and lightly stipple this onto the main areas of rust - this will give it a slightly rough texture. Also using this colour, carefully paint over any sharp silver highlights in the rusty areas.

Stage 6

Using neat chestnut ink, add a few darker streaks and patches. I thought the helmet looked a little too rusty, and "removed" a little of the rust, painting over it with chainmail. For large areas of scabby rust, add a coat of  matte varnish to dull the shine.

Scabby Rust (Click thumbnails for larger images)


Materials & Tools:

Black Spray Paint

Acrylic Paint & Brushes

Plaster of Paris or similar

Dried Soil (optional)

Fine Dried Sand (optional)

Stage 1

Undercoat the model in black.

For these tests I used the printed side of some cereal pack, and drew 1" squares to show the general scale.

Stage 2

Stipple a few patches of a terracotta colour acrylic paint. I use an old bristle brush for this.

Stage 3

Whilst the paint is still wet, sprinkle on a rough dusting of casting plaster. Leave the piece for a few minutes for the plaster to absorb some of the water from the paint.

Stage 4

Tap off any excess plaster which hasn't stuck.

Stage 5

Add a little water to more terracotta paint, and apply this on top of the plaster to ensure it is all activated. Leave this to dry for a few minutes.

Stage 6

Stipple burnt sienna over the piece, leaving some of the lighter areas showing.


Stage 7

Stipple burnt umber over a few places, again leaving some of the lighter colours showing.

Stage 8

Drybrush a VERY small amount of the original terracotta over the raised patches of plaster if you want to highlight them a little.


Another test using plaster, with side-lighting to show the subtle texture.


For this test I used finely ground, dried garden soil instead of the plaster. This gave a coarser texture.


For this piece I used fine sand in place of the plaster, giving a very coarse appearance.

It should be possible to use bands of the three materials to create a graduation from smooth metal at one end to very corroded rust at the other.

Galvanised Steel (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Stage 1

Cut a piece of nylon pan scourer to about 1/2" x 2" to use for stippling the paint. This gives a rougher texture than using a bristle brush.

Stage 2

Prime in black.

Stage 3

Undercoat in a dark metallic colour. This is Princely Pewter from Accents, but a dark gunmetal should work just as well.

Stage 4

Stipple a metallic silver over this - it doesn't matter if the first coat is dry. Try to cover 1/3 to 1/2 of the area.

Stage 5

Mix a 50% metallic pewter to 50% metallic silver colour, and stipple this on next. Try to cover 1/3 of the area, leaving 1/3 silver and 1/3 pewter.

Stage 6

If necessary, stipple on more of the original pewter colour to even out the texture. Apply a coat of gloss varnish if you wish.


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