I dedicated all of my hobby time over the Christmas and New Year holidays to painting my set of 24 Tablescapes urban tiles (20 clean and four damaged). I had just over a week off work over Christmas and New Year, so knuckled down to getting them done.
I undercoated them all using black spray paint. I’ve found that here in the UK the matt black car paint you can pick up from Poundland or Poundworld is just fine for undercoating Tablescapes tiles and Battlezone tiles. It has quite a smell to it, but if you spray outside and then bring the tiles in to dry, leaving the windows open for the smell to get out, the odour fades overnight.
These cans are a lot cheaper than GW or Army Painter sprays and I don’t like using my airbrush to undercoat scenery, as the paint coverage is very fine and rubs away when handled. I went through just over three cans to undercoat all 24 tiles – not bad for £4.
Here are the rest of the tiles, drying in the kitchen. They do look a bit shiny in these photos, but GW, Vallejo and Army Painter paints adhere to this undercoat just fine, both when applied by bristles or airbrush.
I picked two test tiles to determine if the colours and techniques I’ve chosen work well; a plaza tile and a straight road section. If I was happy with how they looked in the cold light of the following day, I’d crack on with the rest.
I used Vallejo Model Colour Medium Sea Grey (#70.870)as the base colour for the pavements (the sidewalks for those of you in the US of A). Using my airbrush I applied a heavy coat of this paint along the edges of each flagstone on the tile. Having a uniform colour at the edge of each flagstone and thus the edge of each Tablescape tile means that when tiles are set next to each other, they should look consistent and blend in well together.
I then lightly filled in the centre of each flagstone, allowing some of the black undercoat to show through to give a more natural and irregular feel to the colour. In the photo below you can see a progression from right to left from the edge of the flag being delineated to the centre being filled in.
Here’s how both tiles looked after this stage:
I then made a thin mix of Citadel Zandri Dust and Vallejo Medium Sea Grey (a 5 drops to 2 ratio) and lightly airbrushed that into the centre of each flagstone, adding a heavier coat to a few, scattered flagstones. This both added some ‘warmth’ to the cold grey colour and added further irregularity.
Now to paint the tarmac. Firstly I masked off the pavements/sidewalks, using standard masking tape and clingfilm. A coat of Vallejo Model Colour Dark Grey (#70.867) was then lightly added with the airbrush, again allowing the black basecoat to show through here and there, to give a non uniform effect.
I the added a few drops of Vallejo Model Colour Grey Blue (#70.943) to the Dark grey (a 5:2 mix of the grey blue to the dark grey) and used this to highlight the road surface, spraying lightly along and around the cracks in the road and adding further variation to the surface in the more plain areas.
The manhole covers and grilles were given a coat of Citadel Leadbelcher and a wash of Army Painter Strong Tone Ink.
To further exaggerate the cracks in the road surface and dents and cracks in the flagstones, I added some black to the Vellejo Dark Grey and lightly airbrushed over the cracks, finishing off by thinning some Army Painter Dark Tone ink and using a brush to run some into the cracks where they are deepest. By now it was dark outside (at 4pm – blummin’ winter months!) so this photo has shadows from the overhead light, but you can see the difference adding the Zandri Dust has made to the pavements/sidewalks and the grey blue shading along the cracks in the road.
I was happy with how these two tiles looked in daylight the following morning and so set about painting the rest of the tiles in a production line using the methods for the pavements and road surfaces described above.
I saved the four damaged urban street tiles for last, as they are very intricate and I wanted to have the practice of painting the 20 other tiles before tackling them. I also decided to leave adding any road markings until after all the tiles had been painted.
I painted the plaza tiles and road sections (straights, crossroads and t-junctions) first. The plazas comprised fully of flagstones took the longest to do, with all the individual flagstones to delineate:
I painted the other plaza tiles (with the central square) so that some of the central squares where the colour of the road surface and others where the same as the pavements, to add more variety to the finished tiles.
The two unique straight road tiles were fun to paint. One has a huge grate/grille on it and the other has a nifty security barrier that can be raised and lowered.
After a couple of afternoon’s painting, I had all 20 of the clean urban street tiles finished and so set about the four damaged tiles. These are gorgeously detailed and before I started painting any of the urban tiles, I was a little concerned at how long it might take for me to do them justice – but when I came to paint them, I found that the techniques for the clean tiles worked fine. I just needed some careful airbrushing with the nozzle set to a narrow setting, to be able to get effects I was very happy with by carefully spraying around the cracks and damage, so that colour built up around them, leaving the black undercoat visible in the recesses.
Two of the four damaged tiles I bought have craters on them. I painted these a light brown, adding darker brown in the centre and then pure black in the very middle of each crater, which gave a nice, blasted effect. The pavements and roads were then painted as above.
Now, to add road markings or not? I decided some yellow lines would add a nice contrast to the overall light and dark grey of the tiles, so added a strip of 6mm Tamiya Masking tape to the centre of each straight road section, a further small piece either side of this as a 6mm measure and then standard masking tape either side of these to make a double yellow line template. To keep a uniform edge to each road section, I masked off the end of each tile so that the yellow lines didn’t extend all the way to the edges (I decided not to try and add any yellow lines to the t-junctions).
I then airbrushed Citadel Averland Sunset straight onto the existing grey. A couple of coats of this built up the yellow lines nicely. I forgot to take a photo of just the masking tape in place, but you can hopefully see how I set it all out in the photos below.
Here’s where I made my first real mistake, too. I should have masked the rest of the road surface with paper or clingfilm. I was very careful to only spray the yellow paint where I wanted it to go, but some still drifted onto the grey of the road surface. When I removed the masking tape I was miffed to see where the yellow spray extended onto the road surface. I didn’t think to take any photos of this a I was keen to immediately set about correcting my mistake and crack on with the rest of the work.
This was nothing that couldn’t be fixed by spraying on some more dark grey and then the darkgrey/blue grey mix, but it was an irritating waste of half an hour of daylight. So; learn from my mistakes: always mask off more of the tile than you think you need to!
Otherwise, the lines worked very well. Here they are fresh from the masking tape being removed:
They did look too pristine though, so I sponged on some of the dark grey paint to make them look more worn and realistic, which I think did the job just nicely:
I debated whether or not to add some white pedestrian crossings to the cross road tiles and was initially planning to, but by the time I had worked my way through the yellow lines, I was beginning to get a little weary of masking and airbrushing that day and so shelved doing the pedestrian crossings for another day.
I gave all the metal manhole covers and grilles a light drybrush with silver paint, then mixed up a brown/orange colour which I dabbed on here and there for a rust effect. I’m not happy with how the rust looks, so will be buying some rust effect paint or a pigment and revisiting these in the near future.
Here’s the finished damaged tiles:
The security barrier tile was next. I decided to add some warning markings to the road surface and a black and yellow hazard line to give the tile even more variety from the others. My amigo Andy has loaned me a set of stencils by Anarchy Models and I used them to add the warning words and the hazard stripe.
The barrier’s raised up in the photo below:
Here’s the other side of it:
I noticed that the gutters on all the road tiles looked very pristine, way too clean; so mixed up some Army Painter Soft Tone ink with green ink to make a suitably mucky colour and brushed this along the gutters, dribbling some into the cracks and manhole covers on the roads too.
I then used a large drybrush to brush some Vallejo matt varnish over each tile. When the weather is warmer, I’ll add a couple of thin coats of Army Painter anti-shine as I’ll need to spray these outside and if I do it in the cold, the varnish may end up with that ghastly frosting to it.
I’ll be coming back to them to add pedestrian crossings to the crossroad tiles,but otherwise, I’m very happy with how they have turned out.
EDIT: About a week after writing this blog, I acquired some Modelmates Rust Paint, which I’ve applied to the metal manhole covers, grates, grilles etc. This is a great product (and as Modelmates are no longer trading, I was very happy to find some, with help from fellow gamer Nick ‘Daedle’ Williams) wich gives a great effect and dries very quickly.
Here’s a look at several more of the finished tiles (which hadn’t had the rust effect applied at this point):
As I’ve found with the Rolling Fields set; Tablescapes tiles give you soooo many options and variety when setting up your gaming board. I now have tiles from the Rolling Fields, Forgotten City, and both clean and damaged Urban Streets, so am absolutely sorted for my games of Kings of War, The Walking Dead:All Out War and Warpath. Here’s few final photos to show off the Urban tiles.
This first set up was with a (big) game of The Walking Dead:All Out War in mind:
And then for Warpath:
And with some scenery added:
Thanks for reading 🙂