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Wamp - Getting Dirty: a Review of Tamiya Weathering Master Pigments
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  • Getting Dirty: a Review of Tamiya Weathering Master Pigments

    Using pigments to add weathering effects is a technique that scale modelers have used for a long time, but it's only become popular with miniature artists over the past few years. Today I'll be reviewing Tamiya's weathering product line which is simply called Tamiya Weathering Master.

    These are kits which look like a compact and come with 3 different shades of pigment and a brush/sponge combination tool. Each kit comes with a predefined set of colors- which kit you buy depends on your project, but at $11.00 per kit, it could get expensive if you needed to stock up. Some of the available colors include Sand, Snow, and Soot. The set I chose came with Orange Rust, Gun Metal, and Silver.

    The brush end of the tool is used for diffuse application over an area and for getting the pigment into recessed areas of the model. The sponge lays down a much thicker line and is perfect for area coverage.

    Once I was done drawing on paper, I conscriped a few Space Marines who I covered with Skull White. I used the brush end of the applicator on the Right leg and the sponge on the left. As you can see, there's a big difference between the two. It took a number of passes with the brush to lay down the heavy coat you see; it would take a lot of effort to over-weather with it. Ideal application would require use of both ends of the tool.

    Cleanup is very easy, just wipe the tool on a soft, clean cloth until all the pigment's gone. For more serious cleanup, you can use soap and warm water, but I would only do this at the end of a workday because it takes a while for the tool to dry.

    The biggest issue I ran into was that the brush lost a lot of bristles when I first started using it. It's not unusable, but I did have to stop a few times to blow away the bristles it shed. After a few different applications they stopped falling out on their own, but it is very easy to pull out more with my fingers. I'm hoping this stops soon, because the brush really is a perfect working size. Also, I wouldn't want to purchase a replacement tool- the one Tamiya sells is larger and retails for ~ $7.00.

    Weathering really does add a lot of character and life to a mini, as you can see in these comparison shots of a Dreadnaught I recently completed.

    The Breakdown:

    Quality: 8.5 / 10
    -Pigments blocks are well formed and do not crack or flake easily
    -carrying case closes snugly and has a good design
    -I would have given this a 9, but the bristle loss knocked off half a point

    Ease of Use: 9 / 10
    -Beginners could easily use the pigments
    -It only takes a couple of minutes of playing with the tool to learn how to use it
    Value: 7 / 10
    -3 colors for the price of 2 of a competing brand
    -Color selection in kits means you could buying colors you'd never use to get what you want
    -Tool quality could require future investment for replacement

    Overall: 8.5 / 10 - Excellent
    These kits are a great value if they contain the colors you need. They're easy to work with, easy to obtain, and they're priced less that most competitors when you compare the cost of 3 colors to 1.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Shades's Avatar
      Shades -
      Thanks for the review, Cregan. It served double-duty as a mini-tutorial, which I found more helpful than other sources to get started with my own pigments.
    1. Boris's Avatar
      Boris -
      Buy spare brushes/sponges from the make up area in your local Poundland or Dollar store - very cheap for a set.

      Image, comp from istockphoto
    1. Cregan Tur's Avatar
      Cregan Tur -
      That's a great idea Boris- thanks for sharing. This is why we need more girls in the hobby
    1. NathanS's Avatar
      NathanS -
      Nice review mate really informative.
    1. Captain Sprout's Avatar
      Captain Sprout -
      Nice review, thanks, I was looking for an example of those pigments on paper etc..really useful!