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Scale Modelling Weathering Tips, Guide and Techniques

Posted March 04, 2020

Whether it be cars, motorcycles, planes or tanks, the pride of completing a new scale model always has a nice feeling, but the procedure can be completely different for what you have in mind. When you see the crisp lines of a perfect coat or the grizzly look of the weathered edges with rusty markings, the model can give off a completely different vibe. With it, you can mold your model into something incredible and take it to new heights. All of this is possible with the correct techniques. If you want to learn how to do it yourselves, take a look at our guide below.


Introduction to weathering


To start with, what you need is an accurate reference material to understand how weathering effects work on the real version of your model. Age, nature elements, frequency of maintenance, build quality and material, all effects how you should use your weathering effects. Sturdy military vehicles usually show minimal rust, but on the other hand domestic vehicles rust all the way through and start to crumble. Since all planes receive periodic care, most of them made of aluminum have high resistance to corrosion, they usually don't show any sign of corrosion anyways. 


The things you need to do to apply to weather:


Before all else, remove any grease, oil, dust or residue from the model. First, apply your primer and then your chosen coat of paint. If you only want to apply a simple coat of dust, then paint all the details and add any decals ahead of time, but if you aim for a large-scale detailed weathering, it could be better to detail on the fly. Colors and weathering styles are all up to your imagination but when you begin, there is a certain order that you shouldn't change because it's crucial for proper weathering jobs. When you start with an assembled vehicle, first clarify the color palette. Then put on the wear and tear effects to paint followed by exposure of elements. Make sure to apply metallic effects where paint scratched or scraped off. 


Military vehicles and tanks


Since the military keeps their vehicles maintained to be operable, most of them undergo heavy visual wear and tear. If you have a military model like Chieftain Mk.5 Great Britain Tank, there are a couple of stages you can follow to make your model as life-like and old as possible. 


Choosing your color


As time passes, any paints usually withers, vehicles become dusty or dirty because of the exposure. To wear a factory finish model, apply whitewash, muddy, corrosive style color and, pale yellow oil paint to the model however you like. After you let it dry for 2-3 days, layer the top of the vehicle with turpentine and let it flow down to the rest of the vehicle. Make sure to color the top with your brush with a little bit of paint to form streaks. This will leave minor color stains when turpentine evaporates. Your creativity is the limit, so change and mix things, make it brighter or darker as you wish and, can change the color any way you like. Use turpentine to bring some strong colors down. Try not to make it too symmetrical or monotone. Make it look more natural, messy and disorderly. Be sure that your model dried completely before continuing.


Making Rust


Rust always forms in trenches and canals where water runs through like rivets and welding points. Edges, where dust and wind scrapes and scratches the paint with humidity ultimately, cause corrosion. Try to decide where to put rust carefully to make the biggest impact. Lower edges are always perfect spots for rust. You can also apply a subtle rust color to leftover surfaces. If any detailing seems too sharp to the eyes, use turpentine to soften it. Again be sure that your model dried completely before continuing(probably overnight).


Wear and Tear


Utilizing soft circular scrubbing motion will simulate decent wear and tear. To do this, use small amounts of white or pale yellow with a stiff brush. However, dappling is not advised. Just use continuous movement. The only thing you need to worry about is the intensity of your touch. Differentiate your touch to avoid uniformity on areas like hatches, ridges, and edges. If you remove or break some decals by mistake, it's okay, just make it look like weathered paint. 


Bare Metal


Constant exposure means that the bare metal will eventually be exposed. Only the most unprotected areas need to have this kind of detail. 


Lightly apply some metallic paint and feather it so the change in lighting will bring out metallic texture when the turpentine evaporates. Steel wash shouldn't be allowed to permeate anywhere other than the necessary areas. If it does, use a dry brush to soak it and apply dark grey or brown to fix the area. Try using dots of silver paint with a dry brush. The turpentine will make the silver, blend with the metallic paint to form patterns across the painted areas. Keep in mind that silver is not easy to remove, so use it sparingly. Another substitute for silver and steel is graphite which looks exceptional on exposed areas of bare metal. 


Overall Equipment


One of the most important aspects of scale models is the smaller details and the nitty-gritty of the model and tending different pieces of equipment with care. Painting grab handles or lids for stains or rust with your choice of color, painting the stains of the exhaust pipe using matte black and adding detail to any grill with diluted black or dark brown paint.



Mud and Dust


Lastly, to reflect the effects of the environment from muddy landscapes to dusty deserts, we use Polyfilla to create a muddy smooth paste and air spray to give a light coat of dust. Use dark earth color with the paste to imitate mud and speck it onto the tracks as well as wheels, under the fenders and, track guards. Use lighter tones to diversify the color. For dry landscapes, use a light coat for the top and then concentrate underneath for realistic results.


Although this is not a complete guide, for starters, it's a good source to understand how and why it's done. Understanding its concept will also allow you to strive for the better.


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