Friday Quick Tip: Weathering Pigment Bases

Here's another quick tip I picked up from one of my classes at Adepticon.  I admit, at first I was not that excited with the results when Mathieu Fontaine showed this technique for using weathering pigments for basing in his Weathering class.  But once I got home and was able to try it for myself, I found I really liked it.  I think the long drying time for the pigment fixer makes it difficult to fully appreciate in a short class time.  Anyway, here's my first experiment using weathering pigments for basing.

Here are the tools you'll need for the job: one brush for the pigment, one brush for the fixer, Mig Pigment Fixer and some pigments.  I'm using the APJ Weathering Pigments Les sent to me to check out.  (Note these are the older-style APJ containers, check out the new ones in the APJ Store.)  For this quick rust look I'm using Rust 1 and Rust 3 pigments.

First start with a primed base.  I've got a model on this one, but you can just as easily start with a blank base.  (Or make up a whole bunch of bases for the next time you need to create a squad.)  With this base I wanted the contrast of a granite rock, so I dry-brushed a piece of slate I'd glued down before coating the base with fine masonry sand.

Pick up some of the pigments on your brush and tap the brush on the rim to remove the excess.  It is easy to put more pigment on if you need it, but harder to remove.  And I'm clumsy, so if I load up too much I'm bound to get it all over my desk, making a mess.

Give the base a good coat.  Since this is the foundation layer, make it a little heavier and a little more even.  I'll layer more pigment on top later for some variety.

Once you get the pigments down it is time for the pigment fixer.  Dip your other brush in the fixer and then just touch the brush to the side of the base, letting the capillary action of the fixer soak into the base pigments.  You'll probably have to work around the base, touching the brush in multiple places, to make sure it is completely wet.

Here's what it looks like wet.  Don't worry, it will dry lighter and matte.

Once the first layer is dry (maybe a half to an hour or more, depending on how much you used and the humidity), lay down a second color of pigment in some areas of the base.  In this case I'm using the Rust 1 as a highlight.  APJ and other pigment makes often have several colors of rust, so you can go for more depth by using more layers than just the two I'm using here.

There you have it.  I'm no geologist, so I'm not sure what sort of rusty lava flow over granite boulders this planet will be, but the base choices were made to complement the red, black and white color scheme of the model.  (On some I'll be picking up the blue hue of the granite in the plasma weapons.)  But use whatever color you like.  Pigments are available in a wide variety of colors from earth to clay to sulfur and even brighter colors; there's enough choice out there for any color of base.

One last note on clean-up: I rinsed the pigment brush out in my painting water, but I used soap and water in the sink to clean up the pigment fixer brush.  It was still pretty supple after basing 20 models, but I'd keep around a dedicated brush for both pigments and pigment fixer just in case.

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