Burn, baby, burn! Make those afterburners pop on the table!

Burn baby burn!  How to make those engines pop on the table!

Hey guys, Caleb with White Metal Games here.

I recently had a chance to work on a Storm Eagle for a client.  Like it’s baby brother, the Eagle has some impressive looking Vtrol engines on it with some kicking afterburners!  The client expressed an interest in some OSL on the engines.  I had done a little work with Tau OSL before using the Plasma Blue from the Miniataire Paint Line, but unlike the Tau engines, the Eagle engines are very narrow, very deep and pooling was an issue.  So in short, I wasn’t getting a result I liked.

I had seen a tutorial on FTW a while back about heat stains.  I liked Ron’s overall approach, so I decided to take it up a notch, crank that baby up to 11!  Here’s how it works:  As metal gets hot, it changes hue, going from steely blue, all the way up to a much warmer, brassy gold color.

Engines, being so hot anyway, seem a natural place to make this sort of transition work and to splash a little color on a normally bland part of the model.   To start, I’ll need an engine.

Firstly, prime the engine black.  Feel free to go lighter at the afterburner end, but overall you want those nice, crisp shadows.

Go ahead and give the engine a dry brush with your favorite metallic. I used GW Boltgun metal.  Be generous, but leave those nice dark shadows alone.

Next, I dry brush some Tin Bitz on about half the engine.  I wanted to warm up the output end of the engine, to give the impression of heat warping the metal (to a small, tiny degree).

Tin Bitz (or any brassy color) has a nice reddish hue I like, and will help to suggest heat to the underlying model.

 I thin layered in some gold paint (burnished gold I think, but any gold will do) to further highlight the tail end of the afterburner.  Again, we’re trying to warm up the metal, to give that illusion of heat.

Okay, start at the afterburner end (the danger zone . . . =) and lay in some white.  I used an airbrush for this and I highly recommend you do the same.  However, if you were the Michaelangelo of spray paint, you could maybe pull this off with spray paint too.

Diffuse the edge (pull the airgun/airbrush/spray paint) away from the afterburner to help blend out the white.  Don’t drag the white too far down.  A few inches should be enough (that’s what she said).  White forms a basis for the Minitaire Tints (also called Glazes, Candies, etc) to do their work.  You are basically going to stain the white with a thin layer of paint, called a tint.

At this point if you want to keep warming up the engine and just want another transition zone you could now lay down some minitaire brown in a thin strip.  You could also Golden Yellow or a 1/1 mix of both.  They all have advantages.  Bottom line is you are looking for a brown/goldish color.  Don’t overdo it!  Just lay down a thin layer in a single pass or two at most.  Note this step is NOT pictured below, this is just something that occurred to me after doing this tutorial and I thought it might be useful to the would be artist that uses this tutorial as a guide.   

Now use the minitaire magenta.  Just lay a thin layer down over the farther edge of the white.  Don’t go too thick.  You want some of the underlying metal color to come through.  Again, diffuse the edge as you blend out towards the business end of the engine.  Do this by pulling the airbrush away from the model
Now, use the minitaire blue.  You see how this works?  Yep.  Lay down another thin line, overlap the magnenta, etc.

You should still have some white showing at the tip at this point.

From here you could either leave the tip white, use some minitaire plasma glue to create a plasma like engine effect (such as on the tau, above), or go full Top Gun and use three thin/small strips of red/orange/yellow to create a real afterburner look.  It’s up to you!

Now a little clean up.  Take just a little white paint and lay it over the very tip (that’s what she . . er . . never mind).  Just a bit to make the end pop and burn bright white.  If you want to put a little rosy color back into areas you’ve over saturated, take a little warm metallic (gold, brassy, tin bitz, etc) and just drybrush back in a little color, remembering to be sparing.

Now lay down your varnish and BOOM, done.

Here’s a shot of the storm eagle where we tried this effect for the first time.  We actually laid some color inside the Vtrol too, to make it appear the inside was warping from the heat as well.

If you liked this painting tutorial, be sure to check out more of our work at White Metal Games.

And if you aren’t listening already, check out of official podcast over at War Council.  You can also download Warcouncil on Itunes!  Until next time . .