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Rusting, Chipping and Weathering

the base colors
This is one of my favorite stages...Priming!! There something really nice about the clean appearance of the primer. What a great feeling to start slinging some paint.

Next up after the primer dries is laying down some base coat of rusting color. Any questions along the way on this, please feel free to ask. I will do my best to give, or get the answer!
It is time to apply a little base coat. This will be a rusty color that will show through in the form of scratches and chips and such.
Here I started out with just Tamiya Flat Brown.

This is just a quick and easy rusty color straight out of the jar. Vallejo, Badger, LifeColor and countless other brands have this same color as well as specific "rust" colors. This is a preference call when choosing the color. Ask yourself if the rust needs to be lighter or darker, browner or more orange and so forth. This little planning will help later on when finishing your model.

The rust base color is merely a stepping stone at this point. Most dark browns will work to start. I like to mix right in the paint cup on the airbrush or a separate jar, a drop or two of white or orange...or even a drop of each just to lighten the initial coat. This modulation is similar to how metal will fade and weather without paint.

As you can see on the door and hood, the center of the panels are lightened. This is the same process as panel line shading with a black or dark grey and letting the darker section show to bring out the depth in the nooks and crannies.

In not spending a bunch of time on the base colors, as these can still be manipulated even more in later stages, we can move on to some important steps in painting and chipping. First, after your base has dried completely, you will want to protect the work you have done with a clear coat.

This is achieved many ways. Some like Future, others a matte finish and on and on. I like the old reliable Testor's in the rattle can. Whichever clear coat you choose, make sure it is fully cured before heading to the next stage.

About the Author

About Todd Michalak (TRM5150)

I am building what I like, when I like and how I like it; having fun doing it. I have been building and finishing models on and off my whole life but the past ten years things really exploded. Just about anything goes when it comes to hitting the bench, but wrecked armor, rusted hulks, ships or ...


Finally I got the time, to sit down and read this feature thoroughly. The SBS is very well writen and the work OUTSTANDING. Thanks Todd, for taking the time to do this brilliant feature.
AUG 27, 2012 - 09:09 AM
LOL...only off a couple weeks here Jesper...sorry bout that!!! Thank you for the kind words, it is most appreciated!!!
SEP 22, 2012 - 09:07 AM
it's been a while since I've done done heavy rust effects and enjoyed your approach and presentation very much.well done sir! Chris
OCT 18, 2012 - 07:45 AM
Great Job thank you for showing us this!
OCT 30, 2012 - 08:21 AM
Excellent tutorial, great photography as well
MAR 22, 2013 - 11:56 PM