Hunk of junk

December 21, 2013

I’m currently building up the setup for the next game of Utopia, which means I’m painting and creating yet more generic-ish scenery. In addition to the corky mountains mentioned previously, I’m working on a crashed shuttle.

The crashed Aquila lander (shown here painted by the talented Rob Jedi) that was included in the 2004 WH40K box – yes, that was almost ten years ago – has always been one of my favourite terrain pieces, but somehow I just never got one. Once I decided I wanted one, it didn’t take too long to add it to my collection. LAF member Anpu supplied me with one for the mere price of p&p. Bless those Swedes.

I have long wanted to do some weathering, as I think it’s simply dead fun. I had a fun time with the powerloader three years ago, but I haven’t really had anything to work on. I have especially been wanting to paint something white and then weather the hell out of it. This basically decided that the lander would be mostly white. I wanted a nice, brighter colour to contrast with it, and inspired by the lovely District 9 art book¬†(hint: an excellent Christmas present for any scifi enthusiast, if you’re looking for a last minute find) I settled for a nice bright orange.

What then followed was a regular painting of the piece, and the proceeding with the fun – namely the weathering. I used several techniques, mainly drybrushing and bamboo skewer painting. In case you’re not familiar with the latter, it involves snapping a bamboo skewer and using it as a paintbrush. Snapping the skewer results in plenty of uneven bristles pointing in different directions. Dipping those bristles lightly in paint and painting with them results in very natural looking scratches of varying thickness. I also used different washes quite liberally – they can be interpreted as dirt, oil, soot or whatever tickles your fancy.

I painted the base to match my Zuzzy mat, and it’s a nice fit. I’ve still got three more pieces to paint – it’s actually a five-piece kit but the smallest piece is missing. I’m really happy with the way it’s turning out, and it should make a nice centrepiece for the next scenario! Anyway, enough with the talk – time for some pictures. You can click on any photo to open a larger version in a new window.










  1. Nice work. The weathering looks a lot more plausible than my efforts do. The District 9 influence is immediately evident in the palette, very nice. I must give the bamboo weathering a try. Any pointers?

    I rushed painting my crashed Aquila years ago. For reasons that I cant quite remember that relate to Flash Gordon-esque pulp sci-fi I painted it purple, probably not the best possible choice. Oh well. I would like to go and redo it someday, but I never will I expect.

    The crashed Aquila gets a certain amount of grief from the post-GW crowd simply for being a readily available piece of GW terrain, therefore somehow unworthy. I think that it is a very decent, chunky, durable and evocative little set. All sci-fi toy soldier enthusiasts should have at least one crashed air/space vehicle terrain set and the Aquila is a good one.


    • Thanks for the kind words, Paul! I love the D9 orange/white combination, so I’m really happy the influence is clear. Not too many pointers on the bamboo technique, just dip the bristles in paint, wipe it once or twice on a paper towel to dislodge possible paint blobs and fire away.

      I think the lander is one of the nicest pieces of ready-made terrain out there. Crashed vehicles always tell a story (in this case: “a vehicle, in fact, crashed”) and somehow painting destroyed stuff always gets my imagination flowing. You know, questions like “what happened to the lander?”, “did anyone survive?” and so on. Sort of like painting zombies, in fact.


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