How to Paint Rust like a Champ

John Margiotta joins us again to teach how he approaches one of his specialities: rust, grime, and corrosion. He’ll be painting up a classic 40k Plague Marine mini to show us how it’s done. Grandfather Nurgle will be proud!

Hello all, BaM here. On today’s tasty menu at the Chapel I’d like to introduce a small tutorial on how I went about painting the rust on my beautiful Deathguard that you may have seen in my gallery.

Let’s begin :

First, I used an older model. The reason for this is that I have been meaning to paint him up for a while. Why not use em? He’s a bit older from the decades ago. He deserves to be in the limelight.

I first began spraying the model with GWs Zandri Dust. I then immediately went to work on him. I started basing the model in Elysian Green.

When this dried I took a very liberal wash to the entire model using Carroburg Crimson.

I often use a complement when washing and/or laying in my shades manually. Refer back to my previous article about contrast to understand the theory behind this.

Once dried I reapply my base color.

Most folks ask ‘why go through that step? It seems redundant’. The answer: when layering paint in a diluted fashion, the color beneath the color on top results in a very different look. Trust me on this. I’ve done the work so you don’t have to. 😉


Next up I began highlighting and layering on the Ogryn Camo. You can also see in this next photo that to keep things balanced I’ve begun manually laying in each of the shades.



This takes many passes, usually 8-10. It produces a very nice transition simply because when glazing you have the most control when and where to stop. It’s blending through transparency. I’ve shaded such places like between the thighs, under the gut, lower half of the outstretched arms, etc, etc.

Now comes the good stuff. Let me first say I’d normally have continued to highlight and shade and blend and tidy up, but for the sake of this article I really want to focus on the actual corrosion.

When I’m sketching in rust pockets and/or corrosive spots, or anything with the same type of texture, I’ll start with finding which areas this deterioration would happen. This mainly occurs where one part meets another, or where dirt, grime, and moisture can sit and over time destroy armor with rust or any other of nature’s erosion processes. If you look at the model you’ll see where I’ve chosen these pockets to occur. The more you do this technique the better you’ll get at applying these and finding where they sit on a model.



Once I find my locations I then start by hand drawing in shapes. Say for instance in the legs I’ll draw tiny cylinder shaped corrosion marks. On the torso I’ll draw in a small square, etc, etc. Once my basic shapes are sketched in I look at a natural picture of corrosion and rust and simply add to the original designs I’ve drawn until it gets close to what I’m seeing. After a while, autopilot will take over and you’ll do this with ease. 😉



Next up we will give the corrosive marks a bit of color . When corrosion and rust form it’s almost like a biological infection. It kind of bleeds out its color to the area around it. For instance, the orange-brown type rusting ends up giving an orange or orange-brown hint to the area directly outside the actual corrosion. For this I use my secret weapon. I love it, it’s out of print, and there’s nothing to compare currently: I’m talkin I dilute some Bestial Brown to between a wash and a glaze and I glaze directly over the corrosion marks, making sure it covers a bit past the actual rust spot. You can see it on the picture above.




Now that’s done I start to use a fine brush and begin to draw streaks of the Bestial Brown coming from its origin of the black marks . Some I draw down lighter and some streaks are darker, deliberately giving different ways the water drips have made their impact on the surface. On the streaks I draw small very tiny dots. I mean as tiny as you can. These represent dirt, grime, rust, debris, etc . These have been carried downward due to gravity and have stayed upon drying.

I’ll neaten up at this point . You can also go in and add bits of brown-orange to the insides of the actual corrosion marks.

The only difference my Deathguard for display have from the one we’ve been painting is I’ve neatened them up and made sure they’d be ready for a display style competition. Otherwise these exact steps were done. The only thing that takes a bit of practice is knowing how you shape your corrosion marks. Use pictures from natural phenomena, it will help. It’s gotten to the point I can do it from memory. Here’s a look at my beauties. Enjoy!!!



  • Uncle BaM


BloodASmedium is well known for his gritty, grimy style. In 2017 he won the award for ‘Best Weathering’ at the prestigious Capital Palette at the NOVA Open.

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