Steam Technology, whether we are discussing real life 19th century Steam Locomotives or fictional Iron Kingdoms Warjack Technology, is dirty business. The smokebox of a boiler spews steam out of stacks creating a significant amount of smoke, sparks, and hot air. These engines were dirty to be around, and much more so to maintain.
You can help simulate this by weathering your models. You already know about dry brushing and ink washes, but do you know about using oil paints and chalk washes to weather your miniatures?
Oil paints are good for creating patches or streaks of rust for figures or structures. Mostly, you would use darker colors of brown and brown-orange for rust spots and black or brown-black for larger streaked areas to simulate oil leaks or spills. Once you’ve applied the base coat of colors on the model, you can take an old brush with mineral spirits to streak the rust color down the side of the model to simulate age. Again, you can either be very subtle in doing this or just go wild with it. Depends on which faction you are painting and how well maintained the model would normally be: Cryx probably maintains their ‘jacks in a different manner than Cygnar. Keep in mind that it will take about 2 days for the oil paints to dry before you can do anything else with the model. Using a hair dryer or a low heat lamp may help with drying time.
In the same manner, artist’s crayons can be used for creating cool streaking effects, but they are especially useful for highlighting raised surfaces.
I also use Micro Deco Art pens for adding details, marking eyes, and making tattoos. I learned this from a good friend of mine. This was very useful when it came to Retribution models and their tiny details. And yes, there is a bright turquoise marker for those who are interested! You could also use Sharpie markers in the same school of though.
Chalk is also a great way to weather models. You can use chalk dust to lightly sift over buildings to simulate dust and dirt from everyday life. You can also use chalk to simulate mortar lines in textured model brick walls. Rub chalk dust over the model wall allowing the dust to gather in the low places of the model. Then simply take a dry, clean brush and brush away the dust from the higher surfaces of the textured brick wall. The dust should stay in the low places to help simulate the white or gray mortar lines of the brick.
Chalk Washes work well too. Simply use sandpaper to grind down some chalk into a fine dust. Mix this with clean water. I recommend using a small 3 oz cup like the ones sold in the Paper Supplies Isle of your favorite local grocery store. Fill that about half way, and then add the chalk dust to the water. Add about the same amount as would be in a sugar packet. Mix this well. You may have to experiment, adding more or less depending on how deep you wish the color to be in the wash. Then using a clean brush, paint on the wash as you would any other wash. The wash will settle into the low places, joints, and so forth of the model you’re weathering. After you’ve applied a single coat, set the model aside and allow it to air dry. The water will evaporate, leaving the chalk behind to create a grimy, weathered look. (This is really nice to use around smoke stacks and chimneys to simulate ash and smoke stains and markings.) You will likely have to use a clear coat matte sealer to protect the chalked look as it could smear with rough handling.
So that’s about all I have to offer for now. If you feel like trying out any of these little tricks, please check back in with me. Tell me if you liked the effect or if it was a waste of time. Either way, keep learning new skills in your hobby. It keeps things interesting, and fresh.
See you next time, and keep rollin’ sixes!