Thursday, May 15, 2014

Speed-painting Fortifications for Deadzone

The next Mantic Open Day is coming up soon so I've been spurred on to get some more DZ terrain and models painted up and ready to go.

Although most of my terrain tiles are done I had left the fortification clip-on sections alone and I decided it might be nice to paint them a different colour to the blue-grey I have used on the rest of the scenery. This is partly because its generally a good idea to paint items made of different materials in different colours or shades of the same colour and partly to provide some visual contrast to a table. From a narrative point of view, if Shensig buildings are made of repurposed freight containers, maybe the fortifications are made of sterner stuff, deployed by military units when the need arises. Such as when the Plague breaks out.

I still wanted to get it done quickly though.

So, here are a few pics of my fortifications, followed by how I did it.

Mantic Deadzone Fortification Tiles Speed-painted

Mantic Deadzone Fortification Tiles Speed-painted

Mantic Deadzone Fortification Tiles Speed-painted

1. Stick your tiles onto a sheet of cardboard or a long stick with blu-tack. Make sure the tiles are all aligned the same way up.

2. Undercoat with a spray of black paint.

3. Spray a layer of dark blue paint on top of the undercoat. Spray from the direction of the top edge of the pieces. This will allow a little of the black undercoat to remain on the bottom of raised edges and give you a built-in drop-shadow effect. You could, of course, use a different colour undercoat, it would just mean you would need to apply the base colour a bit more thoroughly to make sure none of the undercoat remains visible. I used an airbrush and Vallejo's Model Air Blue Angels but any dark blue will do, even one from a spraycan for extra speed.

4. When the dark blue is dry, use a piece of packing sponge, the kind you get in model blister packs, to sponge on a lighter blue-grey. I used Citadel's Shadow Grey. I think the closest available alternate now is their 'The Fang'. Use a corner of the sponge to dab on the paint. Avoid the temptation to drag the sponge. Raised edges and corners are your friend as they will stop the paint completely covering the piece, giving you dark corners and a broken up pattern. This helps you get a natural look to the paint job. You are not trying to uniformly cover the tiles - thats what brushes are for. You're trying to get a patchy or blotchy look.

5. Make a thin wash of a light earth tone paint. I used Citadel's Steel Legion Drab. This is the key word here. It needs to look almost like dirty water. If you're not sure, add more water. Its better to go too thin, then do it again with a slightly thicker mix than mess up your tiles by painting on too much dirt. Make sure you get the wash into the cracks and crevices on your sections. When it dries you want nice dusty effect. On the flat sections you will get a 'filter' effect, where you can see the blues and greys you painted on but through a yellowy brown layer that is almost imperceptible to the conscious brain but that registers as different anyway.Make sure your tiles are standing up straight while they dry so the wash drifts downwards.

6. When the dustwash is dry, mix up a wash of a bright orange. I used an old pot of Citadel's Blazing Orange. It looks quite harsh on the palette, but it works well on the colours I painted the tiles with. I think Vallejo's Hot Orange is probably a good  substitute.This mix is going to be a little bit thicker than the dust wash, but still fairly close to coloured water. You want a consistency that flows around raised details and pools in the corners when you touch the brush to the piece, rather than something it feels like you have to paint on. I put it on the rivets on the wall pieces and around the teardrops and vent holes on the bulwarks.

7. For extra weathering, I also rubbed the side of a standard HB pencil along most of the raised edges. This gives you a nice sharp edge highlight, as well as giving the pieces a subtle metallic look. Its the simplest and easiest technique, but it can really make parts stand out nicely.

Thats it for the painting. Here's how my completed sections look when mixed in with the scenery I painted in earlier guides and some of my Plague and Marauders mini's.

Mantic Deadzone Marauder Mawbeast Bomber

Mantic Deadzone Building with Foritifications

Mantic Deadzone Defence Laser

Deadzone Plague Fortifications Mantic

Deadzone Marauder Mauler Mantic

Mantic Deadzone Plague

Thats it for post #100 :) As always, feel free to ask any questions and click on the ads if what you read was helpful. Thanks for reading.


  1. Very useful tutorial and good looking results, thanks for posting.

  2. looks very good. do I understand right then that the fortifications tiles have to go on top of a normal tile? That seems really chincy to cost you two tiles instead of just making them have the correct size and connector spaces??

    Regardless (since I didn't buy fortifications anyways) the look of the different coloured connectors is very nice and I'll have to try something similar with some of the small bulkhead connectors that come with the standard tiles.

    1. Yeah, I think the idea is to use them to 'fortify' your existing buildings, if you will. So you can use normal connectors and windowed tiles if you want, or spruce them up to look tougher. I quite like it - it adds to the versatility.

  3. I like the paint job. Very nice, very simple... very good. Greetings from Spain.