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Rusting, Chipping and Weathering

OK, pigment application! This is another one of those interesting areas where there are several styles of application and countless products to choose from. If just starting out don't worry too much about filling 8 cabinets with 7000 jars of pigs and washes, trust me, you will end up there soon enough.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. What I am showing here, besides a confusing mess of stuff, is a starting point of some items you can use from this point on in the project. For the most part I will be using the pigments located in the far left of the picture in the square cylinders but always play around with whatever comes to mind. Nothing special about these pigments, they are just the ones I chose.

One thing to remember about pigments is to first be comfortable with what you are using and second, quality. There are several on the market that are, let’s say, not up to snuff. The big kids on the block....AK of course, and Mig, along with the new kid, K4 which is just getting to the market, are all great! A small amount goes a long way. They can be applied with alcohol, spirits, and water or pigment fixers. These all have a great consistency and stick well to most surfaces.
Here is my pallet.

Armed with a little bit of pigment (lol...more than I said I would use) lets dig in!
First, I like to wet the area with some pre-mixed enamels.

For this I actually use AK Interactive's Streaking Grime or Track Wash, NOT mixed. If you do not mix these up they make great pin washes and of course a great base for pigments. This can also be achieved with just spirits or a real thin wash of whatever, like Burnt Sienna or Umber.

After you dampen the area, take your damp brush and grab some pigment. For this I want the rust to remain darker. Being left in the woods in a damp environment the rust will be moist and dark on most areas. Then blot lightly into the pre-mix you just applied.

With a fine tip brush, pin point some spotted rust areas with just the dampened mixture. REMEMBER...less is more always! It is always easier to add more of anything, not always easier to remove some things.

After the dry pigment has been added to selected areas, take your clean brush and dip it in some spirits and wipe off the brush on the edge of the bottle or container, leaving the brush wet, just not soaking and dripping.

Apply this to the area where you put your pigments. What I am doing here is softening the look to the pigments I just put down and effectively feathering out the pigment and giving the rusted area a more natural appearance.

This is repeated for each side of each door and so onto the rest of the model.

In this next picture, I added a wash using AK Interactive's Track Wash to the inside of the cab. This area would be dark and damp, so this is a great base to start with. After applying the wash, I took a clean brush with spirits and went back over the area to remove residual wash exposing my rust base and paint.

Next up I wanted to hit the firewall. I stated with the same approach as the base to the doors. Dampen the area and then apply some dark pigment. I feel it is always good to go dark to light when applying these pigments. You obtain a much better blend I think.

Next I used slightly lighter rust coloring. This looks really bright when it is wet, but it will dry much lighter. It is always good to test things out on a separate piece of plastic if you are ever unsure.

Here is what it looks like while it is still wet. You can see this is a bit shinier and brighter at the moment.

Once dry though, we can take a stiff bristled brush and lightly stipple the area. This will blend the colors nicely.

And this is what you end up with.

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