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  • Weathering Tutorial

    Since I was unable to complete the weathering session at the recent Wamp event I was asked if I could translate my plans into a tutorial. Happily I excepted the offer and here it is.

    From a weathering perspective I like to build things up step by step in the same way as they would happen in real life. For example, the first step would be for any paint on top of the base coat to chip off leaving the under lying colour showing through. Then in the weathering process undercoat would show up, followed by dark rust spots, grim, rust streaks, oil streaks, dirt and finally worn but shiney metal. In following the natural process the weathering looks pretty convincing and quite realistic.



    Of course it's often said that less is more and the same is true of weathering. It's hard to know when to stop and how much is too much. But that's the fun of weathering, if you're anything like me you'll find it difficult to do it sparingly. Also try to follow the natural contours of the object, think about where water and oil would run as that would give a good indication where rust should be. Also think about which parts would be worn and which not so much. For example around doors would be pretty well worn whereas center of panels less so.

    When it comes to rust, old rust can be a very dark brown whereas very recent a yellow orange colour. Using these colour changes gives an impression of time and history to a object that can be fun to play with. Sometimes a contrast between a new part that's in mint condition on an old assembly can be cool too.

    Really it boils down to weathering adding interest and history in a natural kind of way.

    Here's how -

    For this tutorial i started with the back door of a GW tank painted Kommando Khaki with a nice blue stripe of Shadow Grey. I airbrushed the Khaki but just brushed the blue on. The metal parts got a quick base of silver.


    The first step is to give the impression that the blue stripe has been painted over the top of the Khaki but along the road it's been chipped off - in other words the base coat is showing through. To achieve this I used Khaki paint straight out of the pot and a corner of a sponge in a dabbing motion onto the blue stripe. I use the paint out of the pot as it gives nice crisp paint chips whereas watered down paint tends to leave more fuzzy marks.

    This stage can be used for simulating chipped camo patterns or decals.



    This stage simulates the undercoat bubbling through the base coat. I've found this is an important stage as it gives the weathering life later in the process and really adds a great deal of realism and depth.

    To do this I mixed the khaki with some white paint + water and dabbed it on using a sponge again. As I added water the marks are a great deal softer with less defined edges. In places I've lightly dragged the sponge across the base coat to give impressions of scratches rather than bubbles.

    This works with any paint scheme, blue with a sponge of light blue, grey with light grey and so on. I'm concentrating this onto the edge of panels or to places where I think rust or scratches would naturally be - around the door frame or near handles for example.




    Here I'm adding old rust starting to show through the undercoat.

    Using a mixture of black and scorched brown without water I've dabbed on the rust spots and rubbed on some scratches. To load the sponge I dipped it into the paint mixture and dabble most of it off onto some kitchen towel until it's almost dry. You can tell when it's ready as rather than leaving a great big splat it leaves tiny random spots and shapes.

    Once again I'm following the natural places where rust would occur.



    Next I add general grime.

    I mix plenty of Gryphonne Sepia with a tip of black to make quite a dark wash. I only use these colours as I like how it turns out, I'm sure the mud or new earth washes would work equally as well.

    I spread the wash all over the whole part but leave it to pool in panel recesses and along edges. I wait for this to dry naturally as using a hair dryer sometimes blows the wash to strange places I also like to leave it flat to dry out so that the wash isn't pulled away by gravity.



    At this stage I'm starting to build the grime up in specific places.

    Using the same mix as the last stage I'm starting to add some grimy streaks and areas of more dirt. For this example I concentrated on a couple of rivets, below the door and above the right piston. These were build up slowly over about a dozen or so thin layers being careful to let each area to dry before applying the next.



    Here I'm starting to add a rust colour to the areas of increase grime.

    Using many glazes of Graveyard Earth I once again build up areas where I think the rust and dirt would naturally build up. Again I'm careful to let each layer dry before doing the next. If I didn't do this I would drag off the previous layer to leave tide marks.



    More and more rust streaks are now showing through.

    Using glazes of bestial brown I'm increasing the rust effect. At this stage the glaze covers a lot smaller area then the previous. Remember that newer rust is a lighter colour so this is a medium aged stage of rust.



    Very new rust is now coming through around a couple of rivets and in areas of pronounced age.

    Using a small amount of glazed vomit brown I've now finalized the rust streaks.



    I've just reapplied the metallic colour to give me a nice starting position for the next stages of oil damage.



    Oil stains on the pistons, handles and tow hook.

    Using a mixture of gryphonne sepia and a little more black than last time I use it as a glaze on the metallic parts to give the impression of oil stains. Building the colour over many layers it adds lots of depth to the metals. I paint the glaze toward the point I want it darkest as it naturally pools at the point the brush leaves the item. This stage is particularly good on the pistons and perhaps less so on the door handle.


    I'm then showing places where a oil O ring has blown and oil has seeped out.

    Using a mixture of back with a little sepia I add areas of oil spills. Adding gloss varnish to the mix gives impression of wet oil and without old oil stains. Note I've added some of this mix to the door hinge area to help make the thing look more real.



    The final stage - dust and metallic parts.

    Using dry weathering powders, both dark sand and light earth, I carefully dusted the powder onto the lower areas. This gives the impression the items in the real world and adds another layer of interest. Once again less is more! For a display piece I wouldn't fix the powder with anything as it's not going to be handled. If the item was a gaming piece I would fix it with artists white spirit.

    The final stage is adding some metallic back to highly worn or rubbed areas. In real life the highest spots are often bright metal as the rubbing naturally gives the metal a shine and keeps the rust at bay. To simulate this I use a tiny amount of graphite powder (from a pencil or in the form of dark iron weathering powder - they're the same thing) on my little finger and rub the high spots in a few places. As always less is more here. A edge highlight of silver works as well but often doesn't look quite as good.



    So - have fun, make a mess and get your sponges out!
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Captain Sprout's Avatar
      Captain Sprout -
      Excellent article, nice one!
    1. megazord_man's Avatar
      megazord_man -
      Cheers!
    1. Sparks's Avatar
      Sparks -
      Fantastic article! What 'consistency' do you use for your powders? That's my main gripe with them, can't get them to work at all (either too thin or too thick)
    1. megazord_man's Avatar
      megazord_man -
      Thanks Sparks :). If its a display piece that's not going to be handled I use the powders dry - just dust them on. If its a gaming piece I'd put it on dry first then fix it with artistic thinners. From your description it sounds like you're doing a premix of wet powders which until I was experimenting the other day I've not tried on a real mini. Have you seen my tutorial on the use of powders?
    1. Darklord's Avatar
      Darklord -
      excellent article John. I use powders dry. I have found testors dullcote holds them in place fine (even after several coats over several stages) I use MDP Pro Pigments (available at the wampstore!!) not sure if othes hold with testors
    1. Sparks's Avatar
      Sparks -
      So just dab your brush in the pigment pot then straight onto the model/base? Haven't seen your article, but will go off and have a rummage!
      I'm currently mixing with water and then applying to the model. Sometimes works, usually too overpowering though.

      And DL, would you add a bit of powder, dullcote, add more, dullcote,etc or would you keep dabbing stuff on till you were happy then 'cote the thing?
    1. megazord_man's Avatar
      megazord_man -
      The thing with powders is that their extremely powerful, but less so if you just dust them on dry and you don't fix them. But that's only part of the story to be honest because the first question to ask is 'what do you want to use the powders for?'

      if it's to mimic the weather tutorial above where I just added a dusty kind of finish to make it look like its been in a desert and it's just to display its easy. All you need to do is; using a brush that's bone dry dip it in the powder, knock off the excess and lightly dab it on the the areas you want dust. - simple as that!

      If you want to handle it afterwards you need to use a very small amount of powder as fixing it will enhance the effect and it's easy to go overboard. Once it's lightly dusted, using a clean brush loaded up with thinners lightly touching the brush on the area of powder you should see the wet thinners bleeding out of the brush and onto the dusted area. What you'll find is the the powder disappears when wet but comes back quite powerfully when dry ( as if by magic!).

      Hope this makes some sense!
    1. Foamfrog's Avatar
      Foamfrog -
      Great Tutorial!! will have to this a go!