Painting the Fortrezz


Hello BoLS readers! I am back, and this time figured I would do a little coverage of the backdrop for the recent Orruk army I finished.

I really like this board, it’s simple but effective.  The more I make the more I learn, what works for models, display and photography.  I do enjoy the green screen effect I do on some, but for this one wanted to try a large cabinet shape similar to the Admech one I did for the Adepticon charity army last year. Large and a bit curved to cover a wide range of photo angles.

Building was relatively simple, as with all things natural means lots of small layers.  Foam, clay, cow skull and spine, lots of stacks of materiel while keeping an eye on the end goal makes something with “shelving” for good display and optimum space usage but still natural and realistic looking.

Anyway, let’s get painting!  I do not prime displays, since they do not get much heavy use, and the light color of the clay makes a good color base.



Rough basecoat using a few different colors.  I cover the entire thing in a relatively thin main color, slopping on water so there is no large chunks of solid color.  Uneven is better than completely solid, adds and variation.  Before this dries a couple more similar colors are worked in, for even more variation in the color and just a bit of depth in the shadows.



A few colors of airbrush set yet another base of color.  Airbrush is good to get in some shading, but not too much or it will not look realistic.  Airbrush is a hammer, handwork is a scalpel.


A heavy drybrush of a light tan then a lighter bone color picks up a lot of the edges.  This is still in the “setup” phase of color.  Put down shadows, now raising up highlights.  The airbrush also hits a lot of edges that you want to be sharp.

Now for the juicy part where it really starts to come alive – the hand work.  Essentially like shading a model, or painting a watercolor.  Picking out all the rock edges with shading that got covered with airbrush and highlight.  This is three colors, starting light with a rust brown, then a ruddy dark brown, then a very dark chocolate brown.

One last VERY light drybrush to bring it back up, and some tufts of grass.


And the final result with the army!  Again, nothing too fancy but just right amount of character, use of space for photography rather than a flat surface, and a good bit of darker complimentary color behind.

That’s it for this one!  The next project will have another new backdrop, this time a little darker and more sinister.  See you then and thank you!

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