Thursday, January 26, 2012

Airbrushing Deux Razorwings - A Tutorial

First whenever you are working on large projects like these preplanning is everything. It saves time, makes the project flow more smoothly and for me personally stops my head from spinning.

I break each project down into sub-assemblies. In this case there was the core vehicles, the bases, the pilots, the missiles and the jet exhausts. You'll notice certain pieces I mount on popsicle sticks so it makes it easier for me to batch paint the pieces at one time rather than separately. I lay out all the sub-assemblies with all the colors needed for each section in advance so I can visualize how I will paint each section in color succession.

Note: All my airbrush colors are Vallejo Air, they simply are the best pre-mixed airbrush paints out there…period. I don't use a name brand airbrush, just a simple top feed dual action. Top feed for easy paint mixing and less waste and dual action because that allows you to control not only the pressure of the airbrush but the diameter of the spray pattern. This allows you to go from a strong 2" wide spray down to something pencil thin and light width. Great for various model detailing.

Subassembly 1 - Bases
I laid down the base color of Vallejo Air Pale Blue Grey, followed by a splotchy coat of Random Tan and then a highlight color of  US Grey Light sprayed at a 45 angle. This breaks up the color instantly adds shading and highlighting.

I follow this with a dry brush of Dheneb Stone then a light wash of Graveyard Earth followed another lighter Dheneb stone dry brush.

After these few simple steps I already have very dynamically textured statue ruins. From here it's just a matter of detailing a few skulls and adding grass and leaves.

Subassembly 2 - Pilots / Cockpits
To achieve an OSL effect in the cockpits is simple if you know the tricks.  It's not nearly as complicated as it looks and has tremendous effect visually.

I start by taking the pilots already primed black and giving them a blast of Vallejo Bright Camo Green on the front. This is designed to simulate the glow of the console on them. I then add a drop of yellow to the green already in the airbrush and give them a second lighter blast to create a light center. 

After they dried I washed them with diluted Thraka Green to emphasis the shadows. I also hand painted some shadows where I felt the airbrush over sprayed. I then hand painted some fine details onto the consoles & gems with a green/yellow mix.

Subassembly 3 - The Main Hull
The hull is a gradient of red tones sprayed in such a way as to emphasis the contours of the craft. The formula is this start with Vallejo Model AIr Camouflage Medium Brown -> Hull Red -> Fire Red -> Italian Red -> Light Red (and you thought the ship was just 1 shade of red huh?)

Each subsequent color is sprayed on the more protruding areas of the ship leaving the dark colors in the shadows. Any areas that got over sprayed with a lighter red by accident I went back in an re-shadowed with a darker color on a narrow brush setting at low pressure. After drying I lightly airbrushed black onto the side exhaust vents for a gritty effect.

Subassembly 4 - Jet Exhaust
These are extremely easy, quick and effective not only to paint but to add instant atmosphere to the models. I used Armorcast Large Lazer Muzzle effects, sprayed with Vallejo AIr French Blue, then Light Sea Blue around the "Bulb" of the muzzle effect. I then blasted it with white from the rear to simulate the "hot spot" of the blast. The final touch is a light dry brush of white around the bulb to emphasis the ridges. 

While I was spraying the blue on the bulb I also sprayed the same blue on the rear of the engines and the tips of back wings closest to the exhaust.

The Final Touches
There were several final touches added. I used some blood red for a thin armour highlight then painted some subtle armor chips with a Dark Brown mix and blood red highlight to simulate paint chipping.

I hand painted the tribal areas on the wings and nose, which are way easier than they might seem. I pencil in the sections right on top of the model then paint. In the case of the white tribal on the hull, stippled a red mix lightly overtop to simulate weathering. The missiles were mostly hand painted with the exception of the blue icy gradient on the Shatterfield missiles which was painted the same way the exhausts were.

Grass and Leaves on the bases were added, Gemstones were painted The canopy was detailed and glued in place with PVA  and final details were added on the weapons. Once everything was detailed I glued all the subassemblies together and sat back to relish the final painted models (at least I sat back for about a day before I started my next project!)


Hope everyone enjoyed this article! Stay tuned, I have many more in the works!


  1. Great stuff - I especially like how the pilots turned out. Man, one of these days I'm going to have to give the airbrush a try! Keep up the fantastic work, my man!

  2. Very nice!
    This makes me subscribe. :)

  3. Followed the link from Stahly's tale of painters - what an amazing Tutorial. I'm airbrushing a cestus assault ram at the moment and will most certainly be stealing one or two of your steps - thankyou! Rev

  4. Great work, new fan of the site, love your green stuff work on your grotesques as well, you are a truly gifted sculptor, and painter.

  5. Thanks again for all the compliments everyone!

    @Rev, glad to be of help in any way :)

  6. these are super awesome, are those scibor basing parts?
    I am now following your blog, you can follow me too at

    and join the network at

  7. Great work here. I know I am just finding it now, but the link back to it from the other article was perfect. Love the step by steps, and will help me when/if I ever have to paint something like this up as well!

  8. I saw this great tutorial a while ago and when I saw the new DA flyer, I knew I wanted to replicate the glowing green pilot effect. Just wondering what green color are you using there - text says bright cammo green but the picture is that of 71.094 green zinc chromate? thanks!

  9. Where do you get the fancy heads and ruins you use on your bases?

    Awesome work btw!