Monday, August 13, 2012

Making Industrial silos

Wow! Already the 13th of August and I'm only two posts in for the month. Gotta love how time fly's when you're  having fun.......or just working like crazy!

I had a few requests to show how I did my industrial silos, so I thought I'd go ahead and write up a tutorial for them. 

 First step is to gather up your Materials. Here, I've scavenged parts from sprinklers, old printer parts, and random bits of PVC piping that I pick up from the Hardware store.
 I assemble everything with hot glue because it bonds extremely fast and strong. Ive also added part of a toy (yellow pipe)because I thought it looked cool and my son asked if I would use it on my next project.  :)

 Next, what you'll want to do is punch out a massive amount of rivets. I use Very thin plastic card and a 1/16th hole punch to make them. Apply them to the silo by stabbing each rivet with an exacto knife, and then dipping into a reservoir of superglue. Then you just hold the rivet to the desired spot for a few seconds and it should be stuck pretty securely.

 After you have applied a sufficient amount of rivets it will be time for the undercoating of rusty paint. any rust colored paint should do. I would advise against the real cheap stuff because the tape may peel it off in a later step. Paint big swathes of color in random spots all over the silo.

 Now that the rusty colored paint is applied, you'll want to attach randomly cut pieces of masking tape to the painted spots.  I lay out a long piece of Masking tape on my cutting mat and then use my exacto to hack it into odd shaped pieces. Try not to cut out square shapes if you can avoid it. Rounded and jagged pieces of tape will look more natural.
Make sure the tape only covers rust colored spots.

 You will need to buy a spray paint that specifically adheres to plastic or make sure to give it a proper priming first. The color of Spray that I liked for my silos did not have a plastic adherent type, so I just use my regular, white model primer before I apply the color. This will help avoid drips and having to use a ton of the colored spray.
 If you're stumped for a good color to pick, go have a look at a sewage treatment facility or construction site to get a good idea of what the real life stuff looks like. It could vary from an Aqua blueish colored to light tans, depending on whats inside.

 Now, once the paint is thoroughly dry, use a pair of tweezers or your exacto to pry up and gently peel off the tape to reveal the "rust underneath"

 Now comes the fun part. I add decals and printed placards to the silo to help with a sense of realism. The placards were just printed out from a "hazard sign" google search. I cut them out of the printer paper, dipped them in water and they stick very nice. The Decals came from various military model kits that I've collected over the years. Once they are dry (or mostly) give them a god shot of matte varnish so they don't come off in the weathering step.
I also jumped the gun here and started adding my dirty washes before I took the picture with just the decals.

For the final stage, I add washes of dark brown and the original rust color to the silo. make sure its nice and sloppy with drips and pooling all over the place. Once the washes are dry, I use a spare piece of blister foam to apply random scrapes and pocks to the entire surface. Just dip your foam in some of the (thicker) paint and dab most of it off on a paper towel. Then make quick, precise dabs randomly all over the place.
I added some some black MIG pigment to the tip of the pipe to show that it belched thick, black smoke at one time.
Seal with Matte varnish and you're done!
You could make quite a hoard of these things in an afternoon. Just keep your eye out for cool and unusual pieces of junk that could be used for similar projects.

Here's the finished product.


  1. That a kid!! Great write up bro! This should be another great addition to our sweet Dark Age games....

  2. Great tutorial and a clever use of things lying about the house.

  3. Very cool little tut here mate.. nice idea on the quick and easy rust effects also!

  4. A great tutorial; many thanks for sharing.

  5. Another masterful job Mr Scotty.

  6. Awesome stuff! I read that another masking solution for easy rust effects is to use cheapo mustard. It sticks to the first layer of paint but doesn't dry, so when the top coat is dry you just have to wash it off.

    Might be easier than having to cut up all that tape.

  7. Mustard eh? Might have to give that go.

    Thanks for the comments everyone!


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