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Thread: PC built like a tank - Painting worn metal

  1. #1

    Default PC built like a tank - Painting worn metal

    I'm taking the leap from building gaming PCs to case modding.

    For my first project, I'm teaming up with another friend to build our mutual friend a solid gaming rig and style the case so it would look at home sitting on a WWII Pershing tank (here's the case we're working on: He loves playing Company of Heroes as an armor commander, so this seemed like a great way to make the rig even more of a special thing. I want the case front to feel like a tank tread and the sides and top to look like they're from the body of a tank. I'll be stenciling insignia and details as well.

    So, my question is: does anyone have recommendations for making something look a bit like this:

    I'd like it to be a matte army green with a small bit of dirt and a bit of metal wear, as though the green paint has been worn off on the edges of the case and gotten discolored a bit. I'm considering some bullet hits as well (not holes, just strikes that dent the case and remove spots of paint). I'm not sure how best to give the paint some texture and give it that heavy cast metal feel (here's a real-world example that's a bit more brown:

    I'll be working with spray paint, brushes, sand paper, etc. No compressed air or spray guns this time (budget). I've got about 3 weeks from when the case arrives. I have access to a vinyl cutter, but I think I'd like to do as much with painting and hand work as I can.

    I've seen some amazing stuff here, so I know there are a lot of experience modders out there on this board. I've read up on the basics of painting already and I'm exploring the tutorials and tips section for painting. I'm looking for specific techniques at this point. Any tips, pointers, resources, how-tos to get the tank effects would be awesome.

    Last edited by tresistor; 10-30-2009 at 04:51 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention that I read tutorials and tips.

  2. #2
    Spam Sniper SgtM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Default Re: PC built like a tank - Painting worn metal

    What I would do is 2 coats of paint. Make your base coat the color that you want to see after sanding off a little of the top coat to make it look worn. Since you're working with hairy brushes (as opposed to air), you could always dry brush the case too. Dry brushing is where you get a little bit of paint on the brush, wipe it off with a paper towel or something, and then brush your project. You'll still have a little bit of paint on the brush which will come off on your project giving it a weathered look.

    Another thing you can do is put some paint on the case, let it sit for a few seconds, and then wipe it off with a paper towel. That's what I did with the picture frame in this thread. The shelves are airbrushed. I used Auto Air paints. FYI, if you already have a compressor, you can get an airbrush at Harbor Freight (if there's one near you) for next to nothing. I actually prefer airbrushing/HVLP guns to rattle cans now.

  3. #3
    Strip it, paint it, and love on it... Commando's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    29 Palms CA

    Default Re: PC built like a tank - Painting worn metal

    Did someone say Tanks....?

    I do admit, only amongst you friends, I had to look it up.

    Yes that's a M28 Pershing Tank.

    The Heavy Tank M26 Pershing was an American heavy tank used during World War II and the Korean War. It was named after General John Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. (thank's wikipedia)

    My recommendation is just what SgtM said. If it's going to look weathered, don't spend that much time on prep. Just blast it with some green and some clear on top to keep it from peeling.

    I also highly recommend that everything should look like a tank...


  4. #4

    Default Re: PC built like a tank - Painting worn metal

    Thanks for the advice. I'm definitely in a place where I keep wanting to overthink it, so I'm glad to hear that the simple approach is the best approach.

    My wife, who has theatre set design and propping experience, is suggesting Bondo putty (which could withstand heat) to create a thin layer for creating texture like the cast metal and some damage/dirt. It could also be striated for panel seams, etc. She thinks that giving it a truly 3D texture will make it feel more substantial close up.

    I originally wanted to achieve everything with paint, but now I'm thinking that the true 3D appearance could be cool. I saw that the crazy cool Doom 3 City mod used some Bondo for the terrain effects, so this doesn't seem outside the realm of the reasonable. If anyone has tips for this kind of thing, I'm happy to hear 'em!

    Case arrives on Tuesday... I'll post pics here once the work is done.

  5. #5
    Fresh Paint
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Cold part of CA

    Default Re: PC built like a tank - Painting worn metal

    Not sure if this is active...Here goes:
    1. Base Coat - olive drab
    2. Take off all the itty-bitty parts (front panel/fans)
    3. Hook it up to your car and drive around a bit, preferably down a gravel path (no freeway action)

    That should give you that dented/worn look, might even make it appear "3d" =P. Then you can dry brush it like SgtM said, and maybe add some putty (no experience).

    *Edit: Dont forget to cover corners and such with protection on your ride.

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