Painting tutorial: Tower from Imperial Terrrain


In this tutorial I will show you how to paint, design and modify 3d printed buildings by the example of the Desert Tower from Imperial Terrain. Beside that Desert Tower, the american supplier Imperial Terrain is offering some awesome buildings, that are mainly designed for the use in the game Star Wars Legion, but can be used for other sci-fi games as well. Because my Desert Tower shouldn’t be placed on a desert planet, but on the green planet Batuu, I developed an own painting scheme that is not based on the name of the tower.

Step 1 – Preparation of the model

As I have already described in my Moisture Vaporator Tutorial, all 3d prints show more or less fine printing lines, depending on the quality of the print. So before you start painting you have to remove these lines. It won’t hurt if you don’t do this, but the tower will look better without them. For this purpose I have initally been grinding the tower with a very fine sandpaper.
Step 2 – Optional modifications
This step is merely optional an can be left off or can be used as an inspiration for own little modifications of the model. Because I prefer rather “sealed” buildings, I have closed most of the openings of the tower. So I filled the opening on the roof (the vent) with modelling compound (Green Stuff). The window over the door has been sealed completely with a piece of foam. The other windows of the tower has been closed by using pieces of styrofoam as well. These pieces have been rounded on the edges to match the shape of the windows and structured by pressing a comb onto them. The door has been cutted down 1-2mm on the lower frame, so the it won’t stick out so much from the frame on the house section.
Next up all areas that belong to the housewall have been painted with several layers of filler that have been grinded with sandpaper after drying. You rerun this step until the surfaces are rather smooth. I have been using a mixture of PVA glue, acryilc sealant and water as filler. The mixing ratio has been about 1:1:3. Basically the filler mixture may not be to viscous. It is better to work with several thin layers than to paste up the model with a thick mush.
Step 3 – Texturing the housewall
The given holes on the housewall of the model have been painted with Agrellan Badland Texture from Citadel. Alternatively you can apply PVA glue to these holes and sprinkle them with fine sand. After that all elements that doesn’t belong to the housewall have been taped with masking tape – so for example all pipes, windows, vents, controls or crates.
Now I have been providing some texture to the housewall. Therefore I used water thinned acryilc sealant, that has been applied to the wall and be smeared and smoothed carefully by the use of my fingers. It is important not to smooth the sealant too much but to create an unregular pattern. As soon as the first layer has been dried I used some roughly ripped parts of masking tape and stick them on areas where no sealant should be applied by the next layer. As a result these areas will look like some plasterwork has come off. Now the next layer of thinned acrylic sealant is applied as described above.
Attention! The whole step is propably pretty messy. Lay out some coverage or paper below your working area. Wear old clothes and latex gloves!
Step 4 – Priming & washing the tower
When the last layer of acrylic sealant has been dried the whole masking tape has been removed and the building has been spray painted with white primer. While the primer has been going to dry I have been preparing the next process step. Herefore I have been mixing Strong Tone Wash from Army Painter with water and Medium Thinner from Vallejo as long as it has become a dirty, greyish fluid. I unfortunately can’t remeber the exact mixing ratio but I would assume it has been something around 1:4:4 (Strong Tone, Medium Thinner, water). I have been painting this mixtured wash on the whole tower then.
Subsequently I have been dry brushing the tower with Model Color Pale Sand first, followed by Model Color Foundation White. Additionaly the edges of the broken plasterwork have been highlighted by using Foundation White as well.
Step 5 – Priming the roof
The roof area beside the dome has been a bit to flat in my opinion. So I have been cutting a 5mm wide and 1mm high ring from styrofoam which I placed exactly on the edge of the roof. To cut such rings with your Proxxon hotwire cutter, I can recommend the Circular Cutting Board from Shifting Lands. This ring is totally optional of course. After that the dome, the roof and the platform underneath the windows have been smoothed over with water thinned acrylic sealant. The window section has been treated liked the housewall described in step 3 and 4.
Step 6 – Painting the door
The door has been taped with masking tape in the area above which sticks out from door frame on the tower. The rest of the door has been primed silver. Subsequently I have been creating a chipped paint effect with hairspray and salt as described in my Moisture Vaporator Tutorial. The masking on the upper edge of the door has been removed as well now. The whole door has been washed with Strong Tone Wash from Army Painter. As soon as the wash has been dried, I have been applying some dusty pigments. Finally all edges have been traced slightly and unregularly with black acrylic paint. Inside these black lines I have been painting some white strokes and points. In this way a rough and used look has been created.
Step 7 – Painting the roof
The roof with the dome and the platform below has been primed with a 1:1 mixture of Model Color Bronze and German Grey. On the pictures left the antennas, the chimney and parts of the platform are not painted. That’s because I have been experimenting with colors and ideas at the time I made these pictures. At last I decided to paint all metal parts as shutters, vents as well as the antennas and the chimney with this dark bronze primer. All dark bronze painted parts have been dry brushed lightly first with Model Color Bronze and then with Model Color Pale Sand. Finally I have been mixing some green and blue acrylic paint to a loud turquoise color. The mixtured paint has been thinned with water in a ratio of about 1:10 and has been applied to all dark bronze painted parts. On the shutters, vents, antennas and the chimney I have been wiping the turquoise ink downwarts with my finger. In that way a nice weathering effect has been created.
Step 8 – Weathering & details
The pipes on the roof and the big pipe on the side of the tower have been coated with a dark metal color (e.g. mixing silver + black paint) and have been weathered with brown and rusty colors. Unfortunately I cannot remember the exact colors I have been using, since I have been experimenting a lot on this step again.
The crates have been primed with different colorful paints, washed with Soft Tone from Army Painter and the edges have been highlighted as described in step 6 (the door) with black and white paint.
At the end I have been washing the whole tower with a thinned down brown wash (Soft Tone Wash from Army Painter and water in a ratio of 1:4) and wiped off the wash downwarts with my fingers to create some more weathering effects. I have been applying some green pigments on the lower edge of the tower to simulate slight moss vegetation and dust.
Step 9 – Optional garden
Since the tower won’t stand in a desert, but on the green planet Batuu, I build a small garden from styrofoam. This one can be placed on the round housewall and has been painted and textured like it. I have put several kinds of model making foilages and two trees into the garden box.

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