Painting early medieval buildings – a walkthrough rather than a tutorial.

Last Wednesday we managed to get a couple of SAGA games going, to break up the avid 40k activity, at our FLGS here in Malmö. In preparation for the battle I thought it was about time that I slapped some paint onto a couple of terrain pieces that had been lying around for a while now. First up was an early medieval cottage in resin from Gripping Beast Miniatures. After undercoating the house black with a zenithal sprayed hightlight of white, I basecoated the entire piece in Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rust (70.302). I then gave the thatched roof two coats of the old (now out of production) GW color Iyanden Darksun (I’ll cry when I run out of this wonderful paint!), followed by a rough wash using the Armypainter Strong Tone Ink. After letting the roof completely dry I went back in and built up a rough color transition with  a heavy drybrush of Iyanden darksun, Iyanden darksun+Vallejo Panzer Aces Iraqi Sand (70.819), and then finally Iraqi Sand straight out of the bottle on the very top and edges of the thatch.

The mud walls were then airbrushed with a layer of Vallejo Model Color Old Wood (70.310). I left some of the previous Dark Rust near the wooden beams and right under the roof overhang to create shadows. As real life mud walls needs to be repaired and maintained from time to time I wanted to immitate the look of both wet and dried mud, and also create an illusion of texture on the otherwise flat walls. So I airbrushed patches of Iraqi sand in a random pattern onto the walls and on the raised areas around cracks and crevices. To finish the piece off I drybrushed the wooden beams with Iraqi Sand, and gave the cloth-covered entrance a grey undercoat with a couple of highlights. As a final detail I washed the damaged wall cracks with Strong Tone ink, and used a thin brush to make simple streaks in order to emphasize a weathered look. I also splashed some sloppy mud onto the bottom of the cloth using the same wash.

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The next piece of terrain is indeed a piece of eyecandy in itself. A couple of months ago I bought the Windmill from Tabletop World terrain to use as a centerpiece terrain for my fantasy table. Now, before the flamewars begin, I am aware of the fact that this model of windmills was probably introduced in Europe around the late 13:th century, so for a trained eye it may break the SAGA illusion, but I think it’s such a damn fine piece that I’m willing to compromise for this time.

After undercoating the windmill in the same manner as above, I covered the entire thing with Vallejo Game Color Cold Grey (72.050) using an airbrush. I then darkened the color with a couple of drops of black paint and covered random stones with the dark grey mix. I also made sure to paint the stones directly under the roof, and at the very bottom of the mill as well as the areas underneath the windows in darker grey to create a simple shade effect. After letting the stones dry i gave it all a light drybrush using a mix of the Cold Grey and some white paint. Some streaking effects using Dark Tone Ink was then applied under the window racks to create an impression of dirty water pooling up underneath the windows after heavy rain.

The roof itself was first covered in Dark Rust (which by this time you should know is a wonderful brown that I use for undercoating almost everything), and then lightly drybrushed with the Old Wood paint. The edges and top were also picked out with a light drybrush of Iraqi Sand to add depth and layers in the lighting. All of the metal bands and plating were covered in Vallejo Model Air Silver (71.063) followed by a wash of Armypainter Dark Tone Ink. I was thinking of painting these in copper as you can really create some nice weathered effects on copper-plated roof tops, but then again, who would spend money on covering the roof of an old windmill in copper plates? The sails of the mill were basecoated in Vallejo Game Color Dwarf Skin (72.041) as I wanted to add some color to the piece and not just paint the sails flat white. The canvas was then gently highlighted with white using an airbrush. I haven’t painted any ropes or windows yet as I painted these pieces up in a hurry, but they still turned out really well and I can always go back later and pick out the details. To finish off the windmill I weathered the metal bands on the roof with a rusty wash made out of some old watered down orange paint.

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Below are some pictures (sadly shot with a smartphone) of the terrain pieces on the table that we played on last Wednesday night. Note that the models were rearranged for the pitctures only to give it more of a narrative feel, and does not represent the actual gameplay.

s1
Normans vs. Byzantines, perhaps fighting over the remains of the Western Roman empire in southern Italy?
s4
The Byzantine Strategos standing safe behind his skutatoi.
s6
Normans don’t take rebellion lightly…
s7
Irish Bonnachts rush out to meet the invaders! (the building to the left was painted by a fellow hobbyist)
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