The scav looks around nervously as he approaches the bot. He can’t believe no one else has nabbed this piece of tech already! It doesn’t even look damaged! This one looks like a JARV. Jump Assisted Recon Variant, or something like that anyway. If he can get this baby rebooted, there’s no limit to the loot he can haul. Hell, Spider’s gang of muties would sure be surprised the next time they came sniffing around for protection taxes. He grins beneath the bandana as he scrambles up the wall to attach the diagnostics reader. Things are looking up…
I let the spray paint dry overnight and woke up ready to knock this project out! I ran into a couple hiccups along the way that were a result of poor planning early on, but I’ll show you how I worked around them.
To start this stage of the project, I fired up the airbrush with some light gray. I hit the sidewalk with it, hoping to show some distinction between it and the concrete wall. I gradually darkened the gray in the airbrush to add different tones here and there. I finished with a nearly black paint to define the small area of asphalt.
Next came the dry brushing. I use a soft bristled makeup brush I picked up from the dollar store. I can pilfer some household items from the cupboard without getting hit, but I figured a makeup brush was a bridge too far.
I dumped some light gray craft paint onto a paper towel, rubbed the brush in it, then removed about 90% of the paint with another paper towel. I then brushed over all the terrain details. If you are dry brushing for the first time, wipe off more paint than you think you should. You can always go back over the terrain if you didn’t get a bold enough effect, but its more work to undo over application. In fact, that is called over brushing, and is a technique of its own.
After that, I moved to an almost completely white shade of gray and repeated the process on select high areas. In between shades you may be tempted to wash your brush off. If you do that, ensure the brush is completely dry before dry brushing another layer. DRY brush!
Don’t freak out if the results look too bold at this point. The next step is to add washes. The washes should tone down the dry brush and tie everything together. You can freak out if it still looks bad after that. In reality, just mix up another, darker dry brush and hide your crimes. Don’t tell anyone what you did, move to another town, and turn off your social media.
Where were we? Washes! I started with acrylic paint washes. There’s a time and place for premade washes but when it comes to terrain, I use cheap craft paints and water. I sprayed down the terrain with a dish soap and water mix that helps the wash flow to the low areas. Then I used a dropper to apply watered down greens and browns.
I threw a fan in front of the terrain for a faster dry time and repeated this process three or four times. Towards the end I started incorporating a black wash. I used my spray bottle to mellow out areas that I applied too much wash to. When the wash dried, I realized I’d made a critical error.
On a whim, I’d decided to use a piece of balsa wood as the base. It had been sitting around for a couple of years unused. Above all else I’m a cheapskate so I decided to put it to use as a base. Guess what’s really good at absorbing water? Well, as the washes dried it warped badly. I used language that I had to convince my children was actually Elves high speech and set about to fix it.
I used another piece of balsa and cut out a frame for the base. I glued it around the borders and let it dry. The border was glued flush with the workbench so you can’t tell its warped unless you flip it over. So, don’t flip it over.
All the rusty metal bits got a coat of burnt umber followed by gradually brighter tones of orange and yellow. The brighter colors were applied with a sponge to give it a more random rusty look. These areas received some of the washes as well to tie it into the environment. I sprinkled on pigment powder here and there to add a dusty effect and hit it with a clear coat.
With that complete I could focus on the figure and the JARV. The JARV received various shades of Tamiya Field Gray through the airbrush, lighter on top and darker on the bottom. Next, it got a layer of matte clear coat. I applied some old decals that I thought would make it pop followed by another clear coat.
Then I added some chipping effects. I mixed in some white with the field gray and sponged it on areas I thought might have received damage. After that dried, I took a fine point brush and added a dark metal color that covered most of the white paint. The effect should look like chips of various depth along the JARV.
Initially, I used the acrylic wash to apply some grime to the machine, but found it wasn’t a dramatic enough effect. I decided to switch to my oil paints. I mixed turpentine and cheap oil paints for a quick oil wash. I have better luck with oil washes on models with significant surface area. The acrylic tends to pool a little too quickly.
The figure got a quick brush paint. I’m still trying to master figure painting. I think it looks alright but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. To tell the story, I added a diagnostics tool to the figure that’s plugged into the back of the JARV. With that final part done, I super glued the JARV and figure to the base.
I gave everything one final matte clear coat and called it a day. Overall, I’m pleased with how everything came out. There’s always room for improvement, but I’m not ashamed to put this on my shelf. I hope this was useful to some of you and maybe inspires you to try something new. The intersection between model kits, 3d printing, and terrain building has a lot of unexplored space in it. I’m anxious to get started on the next project!