It all ends here, our quest to complete some nice scenic tiles using some of the AK Interactive products only has a few tiny steps left. This article will focus on the use Enamel products and some water effects.
With our oil washes completed and the tiles essentially finished, we only need to focus on the small highlight features before we can call these done. Enamel weathering products are what AK Interactive really do best so we’ll be taking advantage of a few of them here.
Enamels are quite similar to oil paints in application and most of the same rules apply when using them over acrylics. It’s still a good idea to varnish the subject first with some gloss and to use white spirts for cleaning and thinning purposes. A key difference is that they dry and cure quite a bit faster than oil paints so while they can still be adjusted later on – the working time is significantly decreased. Many of them have quite specific purposes, but as you’ll see in the examples below, they can be quite versatile when used correctly. I choose four different key enamel products to use and primarily used them on one tile.
As you might notice, there were a few areas which I initially went too heavy with my oil washes we’ve damaged parts of the acrylic underneath. Believe it or not, this was intentional, I choose not to gloss varnish this board to see just how well the diorama textures would hold up without that layer of protection. As you can see, it has taken away a lot of the acrylic pigment and there is a noticeable difference between some areas. The next stage will help us correct those issues. I’ll note here that it looks a lot worse than it really was in person – flash photography just doesn’t take any prisoners. With this board, I chose to again skip the varnish step – we’re experimenting after all!
Starting with Fuel Stains, I added a bit of this to a few areas I thought needed more colour and variation. This product is designed to do exactly what it says on the bottle and is very similar in colour to what you might see underneath someone’s not-so-well maintained car in the parking lot. It has a satin finish once dried to complement this look. It has quite a thick texture as well, which makes it easy to build up in solid raised areas and gives it more body. Once dry, I moved on to improving some of those damaged acrylic areas.
When it came to colour, I choose three weathering enamels which I thought would work best when combined. A key point here is colour, the three effects I choose are all quite analogous in colour to each other so they will blend well. We’ll need to move quickly here to avoid the enamel drying – especially as we haven’t got our gloss varnish layer. I started with a simple Track Wash and placed it on a few areas around the board – no thinning here, just well shaken and right out of the pot. I choose this first as it will be my ‘base’ if you will. It’s a pretty neutral brown colour and as a ‘wash’ it doesn’t have any specific properties other than being a bit thinner. Placement was fairly random, other than picking out a few damaged spaces, and application was mostly just loading up the brush and lightly dabbing the surface.
Moving quickly, I began adding some Streaking Grime for Panzer Grey around the tile – again the same method and focus as before. I made sure to put some over the top of the existing Track Wash as well so I could blend them together later. I choose a streaking grime here because they are quite effective at creating not only the streaks the name suggests, but also blend well. After leaving to dry for a small time (10 minutes or so) you can add some white spirits and blend it around the area. Obviously if you use a downward motion with a brush it will create the streaks it’s designed for. Simply using a different brush stroke will change the results and create different looks. I didn’t do this right away as I knew I had one more colour to add!
The final touch will be some Light Rust Wash, mainly to act as a highlight. Obviously the bold orange tone fits our existing colour scheme but the Rush Wash has another feature which really makes it awesome. Natural rust is generally quite textured and ‘crusty’ an effect this wash perfectly emulates. It’s more obvious in the pictures, but the final look ends up being more like a pigment, resulting in a very vibrant and dry colour.
Now that they have all been applied we can grab a bit of white spirts and carefully (remember no varnish here) pull away and blend these tones together. For perspective, from the initial Track Wash application this whole process probably took about five minutes.
All done! The colours have blended together nicely – although I haven’t been quite as successful at covering the damaged areas as I’d like. If anything however, it’s a good example of why that varnish step is so important when working with oils or enamels.
As a final step, I wanted to play around with the new Puddles water effect. If you’ve used any other brands like realistic water from Woodland Scenics or still water from Vallejo – you’ll find application and the results are fairly similar. The key difference is that the AK version is actually coloured with a slightly off brown tone – giving it that perfect look for a filthy puddle. I also found it dried faster and was able to be built up in slightly deeper layers than those other products.
Starting simple, I wanted to add a bit of water leaking from this sewer grate – so I dropped a bit of the product near the surface and teased it using a little stick . It actually responded really well to some of the things I tried – in particular when I ‘flicked’ it outwards it made very convincing splashes and pooled in a realistic way. You can see the dried results after 24 hours below.
Aiming to push it a bit further – I used it in some of the craters on another tile. Application was the same, just a fair squeeze into the crater and then stirring it through. I was able to achieve a fairly decent depth with just the first application – more than enough for most use cases I think. Results and process is outlined in the images below.
Pretty good for what it’s made for, no noticeable shrinkage and the colour is just right for the effect I’m going for. AK advise that you can mix these with standard acrylics if you’d like to change the colour as well. Ever curious however, I did decide to add another layer on top to see if it would have that common ‘droop’ that you see when doing large areas with similar products.
As you’ll note: pretty impressive result here overall, no noticeable areas where it’s overly cloudy or sinking in under it’s own weight.
As a final touch, I added a bit of blood coming out of one of the sewer grates – just cause. This is a simple technique I’m sure people have seen before. You mix a bit of Tamiya Clear Red with some brown wash and just apply it to the area. It has a really thick texture which suits the fresh blood look very well and can be teased easily – much like a water effect.
That’s it! all varnished and complemented with a few miniatures – our tiles are now complete.
Thanks for sticking around through these little experiments. I’m really happy with how the new Dioramas range from AK has worked out and I’ve already begun using it on other projects. The colours are nice and the ability to scale the look easily by thinning it down is a big bonus. I found that it was overall a lot easier to apply than similar stuff from Vallejo and dries much faster. Certainly worth a look.
Thanks again – we’ll be taking a break from Field Testing for a little while but we’ve got some great features coming up in the next few weeks so stick around!