Tutorial: AK Interactive Worn Effects (Chipping)

I have had a few questions about this fantastic little product, so thought I would write a tutorial about how to use it. AK Interactive Worn Effects are an extremely effective and straightforward way to age minis in a way that looks organic. It is a product intended to replicate and replace the ‘Hairspray Technique’, which involves putting a layer of hairspray underneath a layer of paint so it can be “chipped” away with small amounts of water. AK chipping medium is worth considering as it will produce a much more predictable and manageable result than hairspray. Please note this product does not require an airbrush to use, any steps done with the airbrush were just done for speed, and will work just as well “old-school”.

For this tutorial you will need a long and complicated list of products:
1: Varnish of your choice (Vallejo Matt 65ml for me)
2: AK Interactive Worn Effects
3: (Optional) Masking tape (3mm Masking Tape)

Step 1:
Basecoat the area you want to weather. Use aggressive orange and brown transitions if you want to reproduce rust! Then varnish it to protect it, two thin coats will do. Always Varnish before using any AK Interactive product as they will damage unprotected paint-jobs! After the varnish, apply AK Interactive Worn Effects in two thin coats over the entire area**. If applying with an airbrush it is fine to mix in thinner at a ratio of about 1:1-1:2 of Thinner/AK. Allow for drying between layers. You can speed this up with blow drying, but do not use heat from a hairdryer.

Step 2:
Mask off your intended area with your masking tape. I do not recommend using post-its, in this instance I had misplaced my tape!
Top tip: I use masking tape widths to keep things parallel when painting stripes. I work my way in from a fixed point, then remove the middle strips.

Step 3:
Paint on your top-coat. No need to be too careful here but, as ever, thin layers is best.

Step 4:
(Optional) For coherency I faded the back of my white areas to tie them in with the basecoat. In this situation I airbrushed Army Painter Dark Tone + Blue Tone + Thinner at a ratio of 1:1:1.

Step 5:
After allowing the paint to fully dry, but not waiting more than a few hours, use a stiff brush without water for very small scratches. Alternatively dampen the surface with water and more carefully scrape for larger ones. It is a physical process as the varnish beforehand ensures you will not damage the area you are painting. A toothpick can also work well! Take your time and work gently.

Without including drying time this is only ten minutes of work and can add great detail to your mini. AK Interactive Chipping can be combined with other weathering to get very effective results fast. See below for a work in progress shot after a little sponging.

**You can vary the final result by using more, or less, AK fluid. Over a thicker layer paint will be removed more readily, while a thinner layer makes it harder work but results in smaller and more subtle scratches and scuffs. A thicker layer results in a result similar to that which you’d achieve using Vallejo Chipping Medium, or AK Chipping Medium. I haven’t fully grasped the finer details of the product, but suffice to say you can really vary your results!

As ever, if you have any questions please feel free to contact or follow us on:



Citadel Air Mini review/Initial thoughts:

Slightly late to the party Games Workshop has joined the future with a range of airbrush-ready paints. The 52 paints have been selected from favourites in their existing range, and have been adapted for ease of use with an airbrush. Normally a companies’ airbrush ready range is similar to their pre-existing paints with two key differences:

1.) Finer pigments, and more of them.
2.) Pre-thinned

In relation to number one, modern paint ranges should be doing this anyway! However it is particularly important, especially for those obsessed with fine nozzle airbrushes, that your pigments are nice and fine to help them flow through your brush. You also want plenty of them to ensure good coverage.

Number two is typically useless in my opinion, as I end up adding thinner to whatever paints I use in my airbrush regardless of them being pre-thinned. On the plus side it does help avoid separation.


Initial thoughts:
When unshaken the Citadel Air range looks far more consistent compared to normal GW paints and there is generally less separation apart from the metallics, which in my opinion are where the range falls down a little. The pigments do seem to be finer and this was particularly noticeable with Mephiston Red, of which the CA version was a pleasure to use through the airbrush and felt more potent colour-wise. Yet with both of them thinned appropriately (see below) I didn’t feel it was any smoother through the airbrush, there was just less time fussing with mixing, no bad thing! Tip drying needs a special mention, this is no Tamiya, and it is unavoidable when using Citadel Air, a tiny drop of glaze medium in your paint will reduce it though.

These paints still need thinning:
As stated above these paints are definitely not airbrush-ready out of the bottle. For a smooth result I ended up with a ratio of about 1:3 or 1:4 thinner to paint. This is admittedly very different from the 1:1 that I use with Citadel Base, or 3:4 with Citadel Layer. Yet the ‘neat’ paint splatter on my test box (below) shows nicely that the paint is not suitable for undiluted use.


Brush Painting:
To return to point one, the hallmarks of a good airbrush range should be the same as a “normal” modern range, by which I mean non-technical paints and exempting glazes/washes/inks etc. Citadel Air is brilliant for brush painting as a result of this. Tricky freehand and general ease of use will be improved. However it is worth noting that some of the CA range does feel overly pre-thinned, and may be a little lacking in lustre when used from a brush.


Inconsistent Consistency:
One of, if not the only, downside of airbrush paint ranges is that you cannot remove thinner from the paint. This is a key reason as to why you still have to pick and choose paints from a number of manufacturers. There is presently no range on the market that consistently gets thinning or pigments spot-on across their selection! Citadel Air is no different. Some paints have a higher pigment count and are perfectly thinned, others aren’t and feel too thin, lacking in pigments, or are just a bit odd (Leadbelcher).


VGA Silver

Army Painter Gun Metal

Citadel Air is occasionally superb and occasionally underwhelming, and is thus like any other modern paint range! As with Vallejo, Army Painter, and the current Citadel range, you need to pick and choose your colours depending on application. The old Dark Angels Green used to be one of my favourite colours because despite its terrible coverage it had a really deep colour, which made it perfect for using over pre-shading on Necron Vehicles. It is never right to label a paint ‘good/bad’ for this reason. It may not work for its intended use, but that is not always what it turns out to be best for.

Of the colours I tested there were two clear standouts:

Tau Light Ocre – which instantly made me want to do a Tau army.
Mephiston Red - which just got redder!

I have the feeling that any traditional-scheme Tau painters are going to be over the moon, as the tan, beige, and browns are incredible. As a painter who loves the rich browns of the current GW range it should be no surprise that this has continued into their airbrush range. Moot Green was a pleasant surprise as it came from the brush smoothly and turned out very strong given how light the colour is.

Metallics are the real wobbler for me as both Relictor Gold and Leadbelcher are not as strong as their rivals. Gun Metal from Army Painter covered better than the new Leadbelcher, and the former is not airbrush paint! This was the most disappointing discovery in testing a selection of the range, as I was expecting more Retributor Armour equivalents. Retributor Armour is by far and away the best conventional non-alcohol based gold paint I have used, and covers beautifully through an airbrush or with a normal brush. It also has the added bonus of being an amazing gold glaze when left to settle. The colours in the airbrush range were great; the coverage just wasn’t quite what I was expecting, the silvers paling in comparison with competitor’s offerings – Vallejo Game Air for example.

Game Air

Model Air

That’s it! Grab a few or grab the lot, test them out and let me know your thoughts!

Citadel Air


If you have any questions please feel free to post them in our forum, on the blog (down below), Facebook, or Twitter.


Boiler Beginnings – Part 2

Just a little update this time, I got an hour or so to have a fiddle with the figure a couple of days ago, mainly on the cloth and the base.

This figure is from the lovely Guild Ball range, available this Christmas, here he is amongst his team mates:
butchersThe Butchers can be found here on our site.

This is the ‘light’ version of my painting of Boiler, for the full-on, ‘I can’t bloody remember how to paint’ epic + paints list see the bottom of the post.

Pallet corner so far for boiler:

Army Painter’s soft tone, all over the entire model, keeping things sepia.
While the sepia was drying I took some steps to play with the base, as I wanted some colour indications of where it was going to go.

I tend to do this at a middle stage if I am unsure exactly where I am going with a miniature, the base frames it, so it’s easier to see where you’re going, even just with base layers down.
boiler7Basecoat repeated on the cloth over the mini.
boiler8Black base rim neatened up, rocks on base painted, white added to cloth for a highlight. I also washed around the stitched in order to help them stand out better once highlighted.

boiler9Pigment picking time, this is definitely the easiest way, pick the prettiest :).

boiler10Base all but done, if I decide to alter it it isn’t complicated, but this seems about the right level of detail.

boiler11The cloth didn’t photograph fantastically, even so it has brought it to my attention that it could go brighter possibly. Once I have done all of the beige I will decide whether I want to highlight it a step further or not.

That’s it for now, hopefully more updates coming soon!


So far I have used

Doombull Brown
Skrag Brown
Pigment: Burnt Sienna
Base Tufts:Wilderness Tufts

Rakarth Flesh
Matt Black
Plate Mail Metal
Soft Tone Ink (Sepia)



Boiler beginnings – Part 1

Hello there, I am about to embark upon a new adventure, I have my hands upon the cheeky little chap from this piece of artwork:

If you aren’t aware of this kickstarted phenomenon check out Guild Ball!

This is the ‘light’ version of my painting of Boiler, for the full-on, ‘I can’t bloody remember how to paint’ epic + paints list see the bottom of the post.

The casting quality is supreme, this is one hell of a beautiful miniature, until you pop the bits together you can’t get an idea of just how dynamic he is though.

Cool dude :).


Boiler0-2I filled his base with a little Greenstuff , dropped on a couple of rocks and sand, and he’s ready for painting. I left the crossed hatchets from his back for painting ease.
Black prime, &grey airbrushed from above.

boiler1A quick basecoat to the base, I decided to stick with warm reds+browns, plus a cloth/bone colour. Basing roughly first is to see how I think it’ll work, outside of these 4 colours I’m only really going to be using ‘non-colours’ – black, white, silver etc.

boiler2More colours.

Boiler3Carefully building them up, I am roughly using Boiler’s art for reference for all of these in terms of what goes where.

That’s it for now, I am having a blast painting him! I am really going to have to be very well behaved in and resist covering the lovely looking meat-cleavers in gore, some trailing out behind him would look fantastic I think!

I may not successfully resist…

Full-on, ‘I can’t bloody remember how to paint’ epic:
It has been *months* since I have painted properly, if I am not mistaken half a year. As a result of this unintentional hiatus I have actually found picking up the brush very difficult! For that reason I set myself some very solid rules before starting out.

1.) No time deadlines.
2.) Limited pallet (simple scheme).
3.) Keep it simple, paint in the lines.
4.) Do not cry if this isn’t the best paint-job I have ever done.

I am fairly good at getting frustrated in situations like this, especially when a brush feels alien in my hands. Setting some solid guidelines, and in-line with them solid expectations I will hopefully be able to warm up into painting again.

Limited Pallet
I kept on the bloody-side of brown for this, in my opinion GW make some of the best browns out there, to these I added Rakarth Flesh for anything cloth-coloured, and to be used instead of white to lighten where needed.

I am also hoping that sticking to these, and avoiding, or being very careful with super-bright highlights will help the minis look a little gritty. If I decide at a later date to add a really bright contrasting spot colour (e.g. crystal blue) it’ll ensure it pops very nicely also.

So far I have used

Doombull Brown
Skrag Brown

Rakarth Flesh
Matt Black
Plate Mail Metal


As ever  if you aren’t already please feel free to keep up to date with Element Games goings on via :


Basing Schemes #2 – Basing for Cohesion

Hello again, this post continues on from the first one on Basing for Contrast, and is part 2 of 3 in a little tryptic of articles/posts on basing schemes.

  • 1.) Basing for contrast
  • 2.) Basing for cohesion
  • 3.) Basing for interest

I briefly touched upon this in the last article, mentioning my Daemons (see point 1 below). Essentially this is an easy one though, basing for cohesion touches on one of two bases (we’re generalising to an army-based perspective here, that could mean squad, group, whatever).

  • 1.) Cohesion across an army
  • 2.) Cohesion between miniature and base

Cohesion across an army:
So, because it’s something I know well I’m going to talk about my Daemons of Chaos here. My DoC, unfortunately play havoc with the colour wheel, Green Nurgle, Pink + Blue Tzeentch, Pink + Purple Slaanesh, Red Khorne.

That looks something like this….


That is no shape I’ve ever heard of, my lumpy half semi circle…

So to fix this I chose grey (not a colour, no further screwing with the above disgrace), ironically it provided contrast, it’s dark, the miniatures are light. That’s from mini to base, across the entire army however it tried to beat some cohesion into the kicking and screaming mess which is my rainbow warriors of evil.

Cohesion between miniature and base:

This one is simple, you’re marrying your chap/chapess with what’s under their feet, you can go wholesale on this: (beautiful example provided by Picster, of Massivevoodoo fame):


You could do this very simply, by taking one of your predominant colours from your army/miniature, and using it in your basing, or a highlight colour throughout and using it for the final stage. The beautiful example below by Alexi Z has carried clean blues from the mini to tint the greys of the base. The Green clump foliage also echoes the gems lower down the mini, and the cloak.

Another (and very realistic+fast) way to this, to a lesser degree is just to ‘pull’ some of your basing up your character’s legs/feet, if you’re using pigments dirty up those feet + trousers, some careful drybrushing works just as well.

Note: It does not have to be all over the base!
One clump of grass, fallen leaf, or bunch of flowers could do just fine.

That’s it for part 2, this should have been more easy to follow than the last one, however you’re probably realising one key thing now..the complete contradiction I’ve been preaching: you can have a base contrasting strongly in terms of brightness, whilst keeping coherency in terms of colour theory, and contrasting hues.

That’s fine! These are not hard and fast rules: Playing with these contradictions is what allows you to find a scheme to fit almost any purpose/idea, and possibly do something unique in the process. Doing one does not mean not doing the other etc. Pick and choose which you want to play with, and act accordingly.