Cargo containers – Star Wars Legion scenery

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In this article I want to show you how to prepare and paint cargo containers that will serve as scenery for the Star Wars Legion game or any other wargame. These steps can actually be used to paint any type of cargo container.

These cargo containers in particular are a 3D models designed by and printed by Imperial Terrain, which you can find here. If you haven’t yet seen the previous cargo pallet tutorial, I recommend you reading it.

1.- Preparation of cargo containers

First of all, I will show you how the original models of these cargo containers look like. As you can see, these are high quality models.

The first step was to sand the surface of the cargo containers to eliminate imperfections or 3D printing lines, although in later tests that I have made, this is not necessary to sand if we are going to apply the Gesso primer, which I will also apply in the next step.

If you want to sand the surface a little bit, you can use sandpaper or even a Dremel tool with sanding nozzles. Here you can see some tools you can use for sanding:

The next step is to apply the Gesso primer, which, being a thick primer, it will cover all the printing lines in 1 or 2 coats. As I said, if you apply 2 coats of Gesso, you don’t need to sand the 3D model:

Once dry, we can apply another coat and we will be able to create a texture with the same Gesso primer. When we are satisfied with the final texture, before we star painting it, I have primed the cargo containers with the German Panzer Grey Vallejo Surface Primer.

2.- How to paint cargo containers

We will start painting the cargo container with a dark base color, in my case, applying using an airbrush (but you can use a brush too), and then I have increased the shading of the color by applying airbrush on the upper points and where more shading/contrast should be due to the light. Below is an example of a cargo container to which I have applied a dark blue (mixing Ultramarine Blue with Black):

To this initial mix I have subsequently lighten the color and airbrushing each time in less areas. I have applied another 3 layers more or less, each time with a lighter color:

Here you can see another example with a grey container:

Once done, we apply a very light tone of the base color in the different corners of the container. To do this it is recommendable to use a flat brush because it will make the task easier. Here you can see the example with the blue container:

If the container has more details to paint, we paint the base colors in this step as well.

Now we only need to apply some weathering and rust effects, for this I will use Vallejo Model Air paints, in the following order:

  1. 71042 – Vallejo Model Air – Camouflage Black Brown
  2. 71080 – Vallejo Model Air – Rust
  3. 71129 – Vallejo Model Air – Light Rust
  4. 71033 – Vallejo Model Air – Yellow Ochre

We will begin to apply Vallejo Model Air – Camouflage Black Brown, using a sponge mainly, and also a brush for some points. After applying this color, sometimes I like to apply a little bit of Citadel Typhus Corrosion to give it another brown tone to the rust, as well as a texture in some parts. In the example I’m going to show (blue container), I’m going to make a exaggerated weathering, but you will see that in other containers I’ve applied less weathering or rust effects so that you can see different results.

The next step is to apply Vallejo Model Air – Rust. In this case we will mainly use a brush (although in some areas also with sponge) to mark edges where we had painted with the brown color previously.

To continue with the process, we will now apply Vallejo Model Air – Light Rust. As you can see, I have generated vertical lines with this color.

To finish with the rust and corrosion colors, I have applied a thinned and in very small quantity, some touches of yellow, with the Vallejo Model Air – RAL1006 Gelb color.

Here you can see an example of another container:

Finally, to finish the container painting process, we just need to apply a wash. In this case, I have applied Citadel’s Agrax Earthshade.

Here are some photos of the finished cargo containers for Star Wars Legion:

I hope you liked this tutorial, if you have any questions or queries feel free to ask.

If you want to buy this design from Imperial Terrain:

– Design already printed in 3D: Cargo Containers

– STL files for printing on your own (includes small cargo pallets): Ficheros STL


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One thought on “Cargo containers – Star Wars Legion scenery

  1. These are just amazing. I am trying my best to replicate; curious if you could direct (apologize if I missed it above) what color grey you used on the larger containers?

    1. Thank you! I don’t remember at this time the exact colors, but it has 2-3 different tones form the Vallejo Model Air range, each time using a lighter grey. Hope it helps 🙂

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