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HOBBY TUTORIAL: Painting Bronze Like a Pro

3 Minute Read
Sep 24 2014

One of my techniques I get asked about most is also one of the quickest and easiest.  After the jump, we’ll take a quick look over how I paint weathered bronze.

a column by Brandon Griffith

To paint a bronze effect, all you really need is a good combination of colors for your metal and verdigris, and an awareness of where to place the verdigris.  The hardest part is not going overboard with the application – on such small models and details, what we normally see in a lifesized statue will end up looking out of place, especially if your model also incorporates OSL effects.  For this, we’re going to use the “less is more” approach.  It’s unassuming, but will really bring a piece together without overpowering the other effects you might prefer to draw the viewer’s eye toward.  Let’s start with a paint list.

VGC Brassy Brass
VMC Mahogany Sand
VMC Gunship Green
VMC Bluegreen
GW Tin Bitz
GW Devlan Mud
GW Thraka Green

As is typically the case with me, I start with a black primer before I get to the process pictured below.

1: I start by basing the bronze with a 1:1:1 mix of VGC Brassy Brass, VMC Mahogany Sand, and GW Tin Bitz.  The Mahogany Sand does a pretty good job of beefing up the coverage of the paint, but some areas might require a second pass to get an even coat.

2: Next, I give the area a good wash of GW Devlan Mud.

3: I then go back with a lighter wash of GW Thraka Green.  The impact is very subtle, and mainly only serves to remove some of the redishness of the colors in the first step.

4: I start the weathering process with a wash of VMC Gunship Green.  This is simply 4 parts water to 1 drop of paint.  This wash goes on pretty heavy, and I quickly go back in with a clean brush and soak up some of the wash, unless I’m looking to make a particularly heavy verdigris effect.


5: I then add a drop of VMC Bluegreen to my Gunship Green wash, and use that to more carefully add heavier verdigris to deeper areas, or places that would retain more moisture and result in greater oxidation.  Adding more drops of Bluegreen will give you brighter oxidation, but I have a lot of blue OSL in my army due to my love of plasma weapons, so I’ve toned my verdigris back to avoid the “glowy” look that it can take on (causing the verdigris to look more like misplaced OSL)

6: Finally, we’ll go in and edge a few places with pure Brassy Brass.  This gives the final finished look to the metal, and should focus on areas that might suffer wear, rubbing away any oxidation that might try to take hold over time.

And that’s all there is to it!  You can play around with it and make the verdigris heavier, if you wish, by adding a bit of ivory to your mix and going even deeper into the recesses, but be warned: it will very quickly start to look like a glow effect and is easily picked up by the eye with the contrast against the bronze metal.

~Brandon wishing you happy painting!

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