Monday, 10 December 2012

Thrifty Shades of Grey: grey rock bases tutorial

Just a small tutorialette for today; I've now got a method for a nice simple way to paint my rock bases. This is quick, easy, and needs little skill or effort.

This tutorial consists of four steps, and actually the end results of each of the last three of those steps works nicely as a base rock colour on it's own. This is sort of three tutorials in one.

Credit for this must go to Sgt Sharpe who very kindly posted a comment the other day suggesting a method to paint my bases which inspired me. I did adapt it a little to suit by style, and I didn't have the necessary paint available, but it worked out in the end. It's often about techniques and principles rather than having the exact colours.

Read on, and I hope this is useful to someone.

You will need ...

Just four paints are needed for this one:
  1. Mechanicus Standard Grey (Citadel Base)
  2. Longbeard Grey (Citadel Dry)
  3. Drakenhof Nightshade (Citadel Shade)
  4. Nuln Oil (Citadel Shade)
Obviously, if you don't follow all the steps through you'll need even fewer paints.

The base I use has been made with layers of cork sheet, torn and glued in place.

Step 1: basecost with Mechanicus Standard Grey

Mechanicus Standard Grey is appropriately named. It's my go-to grey. It's flat, it's neutral, it's nothing, it's just right. You can do what you want with it.

Sgt Sharpe suggested a base of Charadon Granite (now Stormvermin Fur) but I didn't have it, hence my choice here. Mechanicus Standard Grey is much lighter and much more neutral.

Step 2: drybrush with Longbeard Grey

A heavy drybrush is good here. You can almost overbrush with the dry paint on this and sort of dust it around due to the consistency of Citadel Dry paints.

If you want a light grey rock colour, you can stop right here.

Step 3: wash with Drakenhof Nightshade

A nice generous wash is good here. This provides a nice shade and an interesting blue tint to the rock.

Stopping here gives a rather pleasing slate-coloured rock. This has got some real 'pop' to it, in fact, and could contract nicely with a number of paint schemes.

Step 4: wash with Nuln Oil

This is the final stage: a wash of Nuln Oil. Not quite as heavy as the blue, but still a decent amount. We just want to darken the base, not obliterate the work we already did.

Now we have a dark grey rock base, which is what I wanted. It still has a slight blue quality, but not so pronounced as in Step 3, and not to the same degree as my Space Wolf armour as I do want some contrast.

Ultimately, my bases will have some snow on them so the dark colour should contrast well with that.

I am sure that the use of other washes would produce some interesting effects in this method. Brown or sepia certainly would work well for a different effect and you may get some unique effects with red, green or purple.

Let me know in the comments if you use this method, or if you adapt it for your own purposes.

P.S. sorry for the pun title!


  1. Nice tutorial - and if it wasn't for the pun I would not have noticed.

  2. Very nice base tutorial. Now, I shall be forced into basing my models with cork and painting them your way. Not a bad thing, mind you!



  3. It was a good play on words, handy tutorial too.

  4. Very nice blog!

    Came across you via Feait and will add you to my blogroll and vice verse if you like?

    1. Thanks Vitor; no problem, consider your blogs rolled :)

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