Industrial, post-apocalyptic grim dark terrain needs to look not just lived in but heavily worn out and grimey. It should lean towards toxic rather than factory fresh.
How can you get that necromunda/bladerunner/alien feel, without spending a fortune on expensive brand-name paints?
Turns out your dollar store or supermarket probably has what you need
You are going to want to follow the cheap-and-plentiful part of my DIY nuln oil and contrast paint guide, but make the mix a bit extra pigmented and thick. Rather than use it as a wash, we are going to use this grime-liquid as almost a second base colour, to build up off of.
That means adding a bit more pigment than you would ordinarily dare, and rather than just, say, black, add in a bunch of browns, greens, oranges, depending on the specific toxicity you are going for.
If you have a lot of surface to cover, consider using a spray bottle like I did. You will need to dial in the water to pigment ratio so that it doesn’t clog the nozzle. I didn’t mind spatter as I want it to be pretty nurgly, but I did add more flow-aid to ensure it ran and got into all the nooks and crannies. An old brush helps distribute the paint to where it is needed, especially if you don’t want it to pool.
In my case I went extra gloopy because I had base-coated in silver, and I wanted it to appear like the surface had almost stripped back to bare metal.
You will find it looks really over-done when wet, but as it dries you will see it is a lot less exaggerated than you fear. Remember you care going to paint over this too – your additional paint, weathering, and dry-brush will make some of this blend into the final whole.
Terrain tells a story
This isn’t a one and done, necessarily. Add coats and layers, this will give the impression the grime has built up over time like a historical record of the terrain’s neglect.
Mix in extra colours in subsequent layers to ensure it doesn’t just look darker, but looks really corroded.
The layers and colours, the contrast and the shades, all add up to a story. You are literally painting a narrative on the building.
- What is it made of, what is it for?
- Who made it?
- How long ago?
- Who is using it now?
- How did it change hands?
- Has it been repaired? Has it been neglected?
Perhaps thousands of years ago an advanced space-faring race built it, and once it was cutting edge, but now it has an Orc infestation?
Greens and bright yellows will add to the toxic feel, red-brown and orange will give the impression of rust. Have a play with your paints, and if you don’t like the effect, cover it up with another layer!