Painting Basics: Battle Damage
Battle damage on miniatures can be something you either love or hate on miniatures. I used to hate it, reasoning, why would you want to paint a figure well, then make it look battered. R Kid’s Black Templars look stunning, as they are pristine, armour polished and not a chafe in sight.
Nowadays I like a bit of battle damage. Not too much, I’ve seen some are over the top, and I’ve done that myself, usually in error, but done right it can look pretty good, and add a bit of depth to an otherwise flat surface.
For this post, I’ll be showing the build up to the battle damage using a Sons of Horus Contemptor, mainly on it’s leg as there’s a nice flat surface there, but the overall damage (more than usual on one of my dreads) I’ll show at the end.
The images below are a few examples of how I do the damage, and it’s another quick and easy method of getting decent results. The first shows just next to the cockpit of a Storm Talon gunship, and I wanted to do a bit more than usual there as it would be an often scraped section of the craft. You can see the basic idea of it on this pic, the black base – sponged on with a piece of blisterpack foam, the silver on top, then the highlight below. On this one, there’s a bit of black shade following the ridge of the cockpit to make it look a little more 3D, as the Chrome can look a little flat over an angled surface.
Below is a slightly blurred picture of one of my Wolf Lords. Again, the damage is sponged on in black, chrome added to them, and the highlight is done underneath the damage itself.
The next two pictures are from my Red Corsairs Obliterators, who I’ve only done light damage to.
The next two pictures are from my Scythes of the Emperor, the first from the Space Marine Vanguard Veterans, and the second is the standard bearer. I wanted them to look more battered after their hiding from Hive Fleet Kraken, so I also used a little weathering powder on them too, primarily around the exhausts of the jump pack, and their feet.
With those pictures in mind, it’s time to show the method of getting that kind of damage.
The contemptor I’m working on at the moment has been painted up in the same way as my Master of Signals in terms of the greens (link here) and I’ll be working on it’s right foot for this post. After the main colour is on, I sponged on some Abaddon Black (Citadel) using a piece of blister pack sponge, and added a few slices by painting a straight line in the desired direction.
Once the black is in place, it’s time to add the metallic. For this I used (you guessed it) Vallejo Model Air Chrome. This was added to all the larger spots of black, and to the centre or to the side of the ‘slices’. The idea is to leave a little bit of black showing around the Chrome, as this gives it a more 3D look, as though there are layers of paint or similar. It’s an easy way to add depth.
I change legs here, because there was a section of Abaddon Black that looked like something had exploded nearby, maybe a grenade or mine or something, and I wanted to develop that a bit. So below we have the right foot which is what the remainder of the post I about.
The picture below is at the same stage, but is illuminated by my new daylight lamp (details below). It appears to bring the colours out a lot more, and is way better than the moody energy saving bulb in the living room.
Next was the highlight to the damage. For this I mixed a tiny bit of White (VJ) to some of the Sons of Horus (Forgeworld) air brush paint. This has then been applied to the lower edge of the battle damage, leaving both the chrome and black above it. This should give the impression that the light is catching the edge of the damage, again, adding a little bit of 3D to a flat surface. There’s three shots here to show you the front, outside and rear of the foot, so you can get the full picture.
Next I added some Citadel Nuln Oil to the gaps between the armour plates, and also to the area that looked like it was damaged by an explosion.
Over the explosion point, I tried to get all the lines of Nuln Oil so that they were aiming to a central point just down left of where the plate finished, as though something had blown up as it strolled past – heroically, obviously. You can darken the area further by applying additional layers, but you will have to wait for each layer to dry before adding another, or you’ll end up with gap and a pretty hideous mess. ALWAYS leave each layer to dry.
Once the final layer of Nuln Oil was dry, I added a few layers of Citadel Agrax Earthshade using the same method as above, but to a lesser extent.
And that, is how I do quick and easy battle damage on my miniatures. You can get it looking a lot better if you take your time and add different shading/highlights to all the colours, but for a miniature that’s going to be on the table a lot I’m happy enough to do it this way.
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6 thoughts on “Painting Basics: Battle Damage”
What brushes do you use for your metallics? These lines are a lot cleaner than anything I’ve seen out of synthetic brushes.
For this one I was using the old Citadel Basecoat Brush, it had a great point on it. Now I’d use either a Citadel Medium Layer Brush, or if it was really thin, I’d go with an Army Painter Wargamer: Character Brush. If you drag the brush downwards, away from the tip, you can get really thin lines. I’ll do a video tutorial and link it here for you, once you see the method you’ll be able to do it no bother. 🙂