Advanced Method - Mask and Paint Step 1 - Dark Green Base Coat
The first step will be to give the pieces a base coat of dark green. In order to do this, you will need a few materials such as:
Rubber gloves. When you paint your model, paint will end up getting all over your hands. Rubber gloves (especially a left glove) will help keep your hands clean.
Trash bag. Tape a trash bag down to the table. This will also keep the wet pieces from sticking to the table after they dry.
Paint brush. For the first coat of paint, I use a 1.5" wide trim brush that you can find in the paint department of most stores.
Paint. I prefer to use flat latex exterior house paint because it will hold up the best during game play, but you can also use acrylic craft paint found in the craft department of most stores. If you end up using craft paint, you will not need to dilute it with water as much as the house paint.
The color for the base coat will be dark charcoal olive drab, the exact same color used on the Descent game board. If you would like me to send you a sample chip of this color, mail me a self-addressed stamped envelope or send me an e-mail when you place an order. Any place that sells paint can mix up a quart the exact color to match the samples.
Here is the color formula from several different paint brands so you can mix up your own without needing a paint chip.
Color Place (Walmart)
Water Cavern Dark
Battersea Bronze HGSW3271
Blackened Pine 5003-2C
Austrian Alpine Forest 10697
Latex house paint straight out of the can may be too thick to flow down into the cracks very well. In order to get it to flow, we need to thin it with water a bit.
I've found the best ratio to thin the paint is 3 parts paint to 1 part water. Mix the paint and water completely.
Put the glove on your left hand, hold the piece you want to paint over the cup and slop the paint on. Let the excess paint drip back into the cup.
You want the paint to run down into all the cracks. One way to do this is to scrape the brush against the walls. The excess paint will run down the sides and into the crevices.
The grate tiles can be difficult to get the paint down into. What happens is that air bubbles form in the little holes and paint doesn't get down in there very well.
To work around this, slop the paint over the grate sections.
Then jam the brush straight down into the tiles with a jabbing motion.
Once the piece is completely coated, you will notice there will be pools of paint forming around the edges of the piece. We need to remove this excess paint from the piece.
To do this, scrape the brush off onto the side of your paint container. Then jam the brush into the corners to remove the excess puddles of paint. Alternate scraping the brush and jabbing it in the corners until the excess paint is gone.
After the piece is painted, set it on the trash bag to dry. A trash bag works well for this because you will have excess paint on the bottom of the pieces. Pieces remove easily from the trash bag after they're dry.
This base coat takes the longest of all the painting steps. There are a lot of pieces to the space hulk board, so be ready to devote several evenings to the base coat alone.
Step 2 - Silver Dry Brush
The next step will be to dry brush the floor with silver. For this job I'm using Games Workshop Mithril Silver. In my opinion, this is the best possible silver you can find for the job. One bottle was enough for my basic set and 2 bottles were enough for my basic and advanced sets.
Do not get the cheap silver craft paint at Wal-mart! It will not do the job. I have also used the Vallejo silver which does a fairly good job but nothing compares to Games Workshop when it comes to the amount of metal flake in the paint. Be sure to take a paintbrush and stir the paint well before you use it.
To prepare your workspace for this, tape a paper towel down to the table. I'm using a nice soft 3/4" wide brush for the dry brushing.
Be sure that your paint brush is as dry as you can possibly make it. Dip your brush into the paint and paint off the excess silver onto the paper towel.
Then move to a clean spot and wipe the excess off until almost nothing shows on the paper towel!
Gently brush back and forth across the surface of the floor. Be very careful with the diamond plate tiles! These are very easy to get too much paint onto. Continue to brush back and forth about 20-30 times.
If almost nothing shows up on the floor then your brush is in the perfect state! Now you can jab the brush into the grate and "X" type of floor pieces.
Continue brushing until it's as bright as you would like it. Once you are finished, set this piece next to you while you paint all the other pieces in the set.
This original piece will be your guide as to how much paint to put on the remaining pieces. Try to match them to this piece and your whole set will end up being the same brightness.
Unfortunately you will need to clean your brush after you paint about 12-15 pieces. If you wait too long, your brush will continue to flare out until it becomes useless.
To do this, put your brush in a cup of water and roll it along the side of the cup until the brush is clean.
Afterward, you need to dry the brush completely. Take a paper towel and squeeze all the water out.
I cannot stress enough that your brush needs to be dry. This is especially difficult just after you clean the brush. Continue to wipe and jab the brush on a paper towel even after you think it's dry.
Here's what happens:
You push the brush around on a paper towel and think the brush is dry. The bristles at the end are dry, but as you continue up the brush the bristles slowly become wetter and wetter.
You lightly dry brush on silver and everything is looking good. Then you jab the brush and splotch! Wet silver deep in the brush comes from nowhere to form a splotch on your grate.
The only way to avoid this is to jab the brush on a paper towel first. Instead of jabbing it on your grate, jab it on the paper towel first and see what happens. If a splotch happens on the paper towel, then keep jabbing on the towel until it stops. Then resume lightly jabbing the brush onto the piece again.
Step 3 - Optional Color Adding
Upon further painting after this article was written, I realized that you can go ahead and paint silver completely over the whole floor first instead of painting it around the color afterwards.
Painting the color afterwards is easier, the colors end up brighter and you can get the circle of light much more round. So feel free to dry brush silver over the entire floor of all the pieces first and add the color later on.
On some of the larger rooms, I want to add a color to the center, to look like a colored light is shining down. To do this you will need some bright opaque colors. I'm choosing Games Workshop putrid green and a Vallejo electric blue.
These colors need to be fairly light in order to glow against the dark green background. I would only suggest doing these colors with the "X" and grate tiles. Colors do not come out well on the diamond plate tiles (for me anyway).
Dry brush the color on the same way you would the silver on the floor, brushing more in the center of the floor and fading out towards the outside edge.
You want the center to be fairly solid and bright but be sure you take your time so that you do not get streaks or get paint down into the deep recesses of the floor.
I suggest that you do not use regular colors on the diamond plate tiles. The texture on these tiles is so shallow that it's very easy to accidentally paint them solid. Since the color needs to be fairly solid to look like a light source, the texture will get completely lost.
For these tiles, I suggest using any other metallic such as gold, copper or bronze. These can be lightly dry brushed on but still appear fairly bright as well. Be sure to brush these on very lightly and do not jab the brush onto the surface of these tiles.
Here are examples of the different colors with silver added around the outside.
On a few of the rooms, I want to add a red light to them. This is difficult because red is a transparent color in most cases.
The only way to make a bright red show up really brightly is to put white under it first. If you paint red straight onto the floor, it will be very dark. You can continue to add coats of red until it's fairly solid but it will not be as bright as putting it on top of white.
Using the same dry brushing method as the silver, dry brush white paint onto the floor. Continue until it is fairly bright. Be careful if you have any diamond plate tiles (as shown in this photo) because too much brush pressure and you will have a solid white tile. I do not suggest doing this on a room with a diamond plate tile in the center.
Next, dry brush bright red over top of the white. Be sure to completely cover all the white that is there. If you overpaint a little, the red won't show up too much because of the dark color under it.
The next photo shows what happens if you try this with a diamond plate tile in the center. It's very difficult to cover up the white without making the middle tile solid red.
Afterwards, you can dry brush silver around the outside edges of the room to complete the floor.
Don't worry if you get silver on the edging machinery in the room. This will be painted over on the next step.
Step 4 - Mask and Paint Medium Green
Now we need to paint the edges of our board sections water cavern medium color. This is the exact same medium green used on the Descent game board.
If you would like me to send you a sample chip of this color, mail me a self-addressed stamped envelope or send me an e-mail when you place an order. Any place that sells paint can mix up a quart the exact color to match the samples.
Here is the color formula from several paint brands so you can mix up your own without needing a paint chip.
Color Place (Walmart)
Water Cavern Medium
Olivine Crystal HGSW2214
Sweet Annie C11-4
La Fonda Olive 6006-6B
Rocky River Reed 10545
To keep the color edge off of our silver floor tiles, we're going to tape down a mask over the floor. You can find these painting masks on our printed plans page labeled as "Ship Corridor Painting Masks". Simply print them out and cut them out with scissors on the thick black lines.
Be sure to measure them with a ruler to make sure the size is accurate.
To stick these masks down, I'm using Scotch double sided removable tape. You can usually find this anywhere Scotch tape is sold.
Place strips of the double sided tape on the back of the mask.
Center the mask over your floor to exactly cover the floor tiles.
Fold down the tabs on the ends. These tabs will help so you don't accidentally get paint under the mask while painting the very edges.
Dry brush the medium green as you would any other color. You can apply it a little more solidly than you did with the silver on the floor grates.
When you're finished, the sides should be fairly solid green with the dark green showing in the holes and recesses.
When finished, remove the mask and place it on the next piece you need to paint.
When finished with your first piece, set it on the table and use it as a guide for painting the remaining pieces of the set.
Once the piece you are painting on matches the guide piece on the table, you know when to stop painting. This will help all of your pieces to be more uniform in color.
Step 5 - Mask and Paint Light Yellow Green
For the final highlights, we will use a paint mixture made of:
2 parts water cavern medium color (used above).
1 part white paint. Cheap craft paint will do.
1 part yellow paint. Cheap craft paint also.
Mix these together to get a fairly bright yellow green. It's surprising how far this paint will go because we will use very little of it.
Mask your sections off just as you did in the painting step above. Chances are you will need to print out another set of paper masks for this painting.
Lightly dry brush the light yellow green on the sides. Do not jab the brush but simply swipe the brush side to side.
We only want this to highlight the very edges of the machinery so that all of the edges pop out fairly brightly. This will more clearly outline all of the shapes on the sides of the section.
When you get the final dry brushing the way you like, set it on the table next to you and use it as a guide for how far to dry brush the rest of the set.
Here is a sample of before and after the final dry brushing. Click on the photo for a larger image. You may not see a lot of difference but I think it really helps the walls stand out from the floor much better.
Here is a finished photo of what the hallway sections look like put together after painting. The soldier figure was painted by Greg Cymbalist of Distant Light Miniatures.