How to make lava splashes – Tutorial

While working on my latest commission, I had to find out how to make lava for the model’s base.

Introduction

I already did several lava bases. So in order to avoid boredom I had to come up with a new idea or end up with boring and uninspired results.

So I returned to browsing the internet for photos of lava:

Lava splashes - tutorial (1)

Lava splashes - tutorial (2)

Lava splashes - tutorial (3)

Lava splashes - tutorial (4)

Now this is something I haven’t done before! 😀

What we need to make lava

How to make lava that is boiling and splashing? We will need:

Lava splashes - tutorial (5)

  • sheet of plastic (I used a thick plastic sleeve)
  • scissors
  • source of heat (I used a candle)
  • filler putty (I used a modeling putty for plastic models)
  • Vallejo Water Effect
  • hygroscopic balls (you will find them in a new wallet or handbag, where they’re supposed to absorb moisture)
  • Maskol
  • foam
  • airbrush (you can do without it, but I used mine)
  • paintbrush
  • paints: white, black, Vallejo MC 952 Lemon Yellow, Vallejo Ink Skin Wash, Winsor & Newton Orange Ink, Vallejo MA Mahogany, Reaper Red Brick 09001, and saturated red of your choice.
  • retarder (because regular Vallejo paints tend to clog my airbrush)

So how to make lava like that?

I pulled, stretched and bent stripes of plastic over fire:

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How to make lava splashes - tutorial (7)

I made a test application of the lava surface on a sheet of metal. The consistence of my putty made it a suitable material to imitate lava:

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How to make lava splashes - tutorial (9)

I ruffled the fresh putty with a toothpick and added the splashes I formed from plastic:

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When the putty was dry, I finished the rest of my lava base with Vallejo Water Effect. Its thickness is similar to that of mayonaise, so it feels perfect for the task. If you want to make finer splashes of lava than mine, you can apply some water effect on a piece of thin wire:

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Lava splashes - tutorial (14)

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Painting lava

I left the base to dry overnight and in the morning I started with priming the base. Then I used my airbrush to apply several layers of paint to build up colors of lava:

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I checked if it fits to the scenic base:

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How to make lava splashes - tutorial (29)

I could see I was going in the right direction. Now I only needed more contrast, so I returned to painting.

I highlighted the hottest parts once more with Vallejo MC 952 Lemon Yellow. Once more I applied Winsor&Newton Orange to increase saturation. I glazed some parts with my red. And then with the side of a paintbrush I painted cooled cracks with Reaper Red Brick 09001 and black:

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Finished lava base

Finishing touches were done later, when the model for which the base was made was ready. Now you should know how to make lava splashes for your minis and see the finished thing here:

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I hope this tutorial was helpful to you. If you have any hints or tips, feel free to let me know about them or discuss this technique in the comments below.

— Ańa

Lava tutorial – Base for Taxxis

A long long time ago…. 😉
… various lighting effects were quite trendy (and now they’re pretty oldschool, so maybe nobody cares for a lava tutorial?). Current trends in miniature painting moved away from them – which is partially caused by currently trendy color schemes. Natural colors and realistic compositions are popular now.

Why write a lava tutorial?

My ignorance made me chose this lava effect anyway, or maybe it was my contrariness? Because I still approached this subject in a different way than in the days when the whole painting community was amazed by bright and vivid colors and sharp lighting. I minimized the effect of lighting and I hope it’s enough to avoid calling this paintjob OSL 😛 After all it would make this article an OSL tutorial instead of a lava tutorial – and it’s not the purpose 😉

I don’t know if in this situation anybody is interested in a lava tutorial, but I’ll encourage you by saying painting lava can be very easy!

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Preparations

This lava tutorial isn’t anything unusual, so just like with most tutorials, it’s best to start with the very preparations. On grey basecoat I applied white paint to the parts where lava and glowing cracks were to be seen. I needed a few layers as the paint had to be smooth.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

First colors and choice of paints

When it was dry I left white in the hottest parts, and brushed Vallejo Model Color Transparent Orange. It cannot be called drybrushing, because if you have worked with Vallejo transparent paints you know how hard it is to do. Take an old big brush, and when you load it with paint, remove the excess so that the paint doesn’t run into recesses. Transparent paints are very saturated and so without big effort I achieved first effect of glowing with just two layers.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

The heat is on!

Where the heat is less intense (which means toward the top) I applied stronger orange color. I don’t know if this stage can be omitted, so if you feel like experimenting this might be the right and not very risky moment for trying. 😉 For this stage I used Transparent Orange mixed with Transparent Red (both from Vallejo Model Color range) and applied this mix onto a smaller surface than previously with the same technique similar to drybrushing.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Cooling down…

I was happy to use the Black Ink from the P3 range, which I thinned even more, I brushed it onto the horizontal surface of the rocks and I also caught a part of the highest rock.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Then I took black paint and – like on the picture – drybrushed the sides in the very normal way. Once and twice, and… I don’t remember how many times, but I believe you will see when it should stop. You see – we even found use for drybrushing in our lava tutorial!

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Not so harsh!

To soften the contrast between blacks and hot parts I mixed Transparent Orange with Woodgrain. It’s important to keep this layer transparent, because no opaque layer would join the parts we’ve already painted.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

If you don’t have transparent paints, then I would suggest to start the whole painting from pale and cold yellows, and then add darker and warmer shades. And when we reach this point I recommend going from yellows to dark warm reds, and only now brushing it with black paint.

Detailing

Now it’s time to improve details, as real lava is speckled, and if you feel like playing a bit more, just take white, orange, or orange with woodgrain, and splatter some of it onto the surfaces. You just need to aim well! 😉

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Finishing touches

No lava tutorial would be complete without the finishing touches… So now I brushed the upper parts of the most protruding rocks with light grey, and added some vegetation which wasn’t burnt by the heat. In normal conditions I wouldn’t expect anything to survive… but I am no expert in lavas as I live in a pretty safe region, but for this model it seemed acceptable.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

The finished model can be seen in my gallery.

Tell me, please, if you found this lava tutorial helpful. There is a follow-up to it on my Painting Mum blog, which presents a slightly different approach to the subject. Can you tell me which one suits your needs better and why? Thanks!

UPDATE: If you would like to know how to make more dynamic, splashing lava, follow the link to my other tutorial: How to make lava splashes. Enjoy :)

— Ańa

How to paint OSL effect on a jump pack

This is a little tutorial on how to paint OSL to give a little color to your assault packs, giving them a brighter and yet a very real effect making them unique in a table without spending lots of time, since the end result can be achieved in more or less than 15 minutes to a full 5 man crew.

Why go with OSL?

I’m painting an assault squad form my Imperial Fist Army and decided to give it an extra touch to the jump packs, usually we give them the burnt effect some battle damage and we are happy, but what about give them something more?

So I remember just how fantastic is the effect of a welding torch when in use, something like this:

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

Painting OSL

Then I decided my jump packs should look like this but in standby mode, I didn’t want to sculpt the flame.

After I painted the jump packs and gave them a dirty look with black and Smoke (VGC) they looked a bit boring

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

Next all the recesses were painted with Necron Abyss (GW foundation) leaving the rest of the reactor untouched. This was made painting always three levels: top ring, middle ring and bottom of the reactor (fig.2)

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

The result is almost unnoticeable but in the end will give you the blue shine needed to stand out from the black.
Now begins the highlighting of the reactor by brushing just the lines that define the several rings of the reactor with a mix of Necron Abyss (GW foundation) + Magical blue (VGC) and the bottom of the reactor, leaving always the darkest parts untouched.

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

Now we start to see results.
The highlights continue with Magical blue (VGC) but now we start to decrease the area painted leaving some of the previous color showing.

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

At this time there is no need to be overcautious when painting since this will make the effect more real.

In the next step were used magical blue (VGC) + Space wolves grey (GW) again your stroke is getting smaller.

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

Now we start painting with a little more detail, using Space wolves grey(GW) the brush strokes were done in a kind of checkered pattern, the top level of the reactor paint was applied in the edges, the middle level the color was painted in a cross pattern and a dot was made in the middle of the lower level.

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

Now it starts to look like a welding torch, finally the pop-up factor was used with plain white doing small dots in the edges of the top and middle level, in the bottom dots were painted randomly to give the final look.

Photo: How to paint OSL on jump pack - Tutorial

Possible improvements

I know that the gaps should have been filed, and with them filled the final result would be much better, but this was a speed painting and the crew was already assembled.

Now with a little more time and care the end result should be fantastic. As I finished the assault crew I started to think how cool it should look given some purples to the blues, if someone tries this let me know how it looked.

Hope this was useful, have fun.
— Pandadosmares

“C’mon baby, light my fire!” – OSL tips

One of the most mysterious and impressive techniques used in miniature painting is the enigmatic OSL, which translates to On-miniature Source Lighting. Whether you like it or not is a matter of personal preference, but why shouldn’t you learn how to use this technique? These tips may be useful for this purpose.

I wanted to explain my way of painting light on miniatures. On our forum we had a discussion about Ana’s spellsinger, and it inspired me to writing this article.

General OSL tips

The way of painting light will be explained using my Demon of Chaos for the example. To begin with, we’ll remind several technical things that everybody should know:

  • The closer to the light source, the stronger the light, and the shadows too.
  • One needs to know what kind of light the source casts: fire – red/yellow, lightbulb – whiteish, etc.
  • We’re painting only these fragments of the mini, on which the light would fall in reality.
  • The best method of learning this technique is looking at reallife examples or works of other artists, and the metohds of trials and errors. Usually only experience and practice can show you how it’s done, so I am not teaching you any “success guaranteed” method, but only giving you some hints which can be useful.
  • Light looks different on different surfaces, eg. leather, metal, porous surface, or smooth surface. On a cloak or other fabric the light will remain matte (check the torn clothes on the demon’s front), while on metal the light would “slide” on the surface (the demon’s weapon).
  • Weak light will make weak intensity of the effect, small small reflections, it doesn’t reach far. On the other hand strong light source casts much light, and has better range. It’s up to you to decide on the intensity of the color and its luminance. And the intensity and luminance define the what the reflections will look like and how far from the light source will they be.
  • The further from the source, the bigger radius of the light, but lower intensity.

Photo: OSL tips - Tutorial

In my humble opinion it’s best to start with painting the mini in any way you like, and only then apply the light and shadows. More work will be needed, but the effect will be better (I know it from my experience). If we start with painting the effect of light, we can en counter various surprising problems, and they will not help us for sure…

Maybe not a step-by-step OSL tutorial

When the mini is painted, we can start painting our light. We’re starting with painting the light source (in this case – from the lamp), which will be helpful when we’ll be painting the reflections.

I started with the darker colors, and I worked toward the lightest point (Fiery Orange, Golden Yellow, Sunburst Yellow, white). We’re keeping the transitions smooth. The reflections can be made with glazes, which will create the natural effect of light falling on the surfaces.

Photo: OSL tips - Tutorial

As for the reflections, we’re starting with the surfaces positioned close to the light source, where the reflections will be stronger (the demon’s stomach and head). One can start with a darker color (eg. Blood Red) and mark the places where the light would fall on the whole mini, which will allow us a more complete view of the whole project.

Using glazes for the large surfaces we’re applying successive layers, until the effects satisfies us, but let us keep the color darker than the light source. Glazes will be no good for smaller elements, because thinned paint can run into recesses, etc. And that’s how we paint all the lit surfaces.

The last thing you can do, if there is such need, is making the surfaces opposite to the lit ones darker. I can give you another advice: the reflections near the light source will connct with shadows in a more rapid way: much light – much shadow (eg. the demon’s head). The farther reflections will have more delicate, subtle, and smooth transitions into the local color and then into the shadow (eg. the demon’s tail and tentacles).

And then we can use the same method for the miniature’s base :-)