Friday, September 12, 2008

Whether to weather

Whenever I build a model, I reach the point when I think it is finished. Sitting there all shiny and new looking, I somehow feel that something is missing. It simply doesn't look quite......real. Of course it obviously isn't but there are so many little touches that can push it just a little closer to real. Just when and where to stop is the key. I often get carried away with weathering I guess because it's one of the facets of modeling I enjoy most. There is however the times that I start out with every intention of building a beater as was the case with the '40 Ford above from Jordan Miniatures. I used the technique of painting the model with a rust colored base and when dry, wet the model with water and sprinkle salt on it in particular spots and again let dry. Then I painted it with the blue color. When this coat is dry I flicked away the salt that had stuck to the wet spots to reveal the rust color under. To this I added a wash of Windex and raw umber acrylic paint and finished with some colored chalk powders. I have no idea what caliber the bullet hole in the driver side glass is.I showed this Ford AA stakebody in my welcome and it is a favorite model of mine. Also a Jordan kit, I simply added the stakebody from a Busch model and left the hood sides off to expose the old flathead engine that came from a different Jordan kit. Most of this weathering was done with a series of washes and chalk powders.

Here you can see a stakebed similar to the one I mentioned on the Ford AA. This is the Busch model 1949 Chevy. Different colored hood and doors seem to be some clues that a vehicle has been well used (and abused). I thought this would be a good example of rust streaking. I use an artists acrylic in burnt umber for this by putting a dab where I want the rust to start. Then wet my brush thoroughly and drag the still wet dab of paint straight down the side all the way to the bottom of the model. A busted headlight with wires hanging out is an easy detail for a beater too.
OK so far I've shown some pretty trashed vehicles. Weathering isn't exclusively for junkers though. Construction equipment gets intense wear and is a good bunch of subjects for weathering. Above is the International Emeryville cabover that has only been moderately weathered but the end dump trailer is what really gets the brunt of activity. Notice the tires have been dusted with some chalks to bring out the tread detail and add a sense of realism here.

Another example here of the business end of a vehicle getting severe weathering but the truck itself is rather well maintained. This scrap metal refuse container truck is a Mack RD 899. The cab is a solid resin casting from one of the most outstanding modelers I know of by the name of Ralph Ratcliffe. The refuse container sides were bulged using a soldering iron placed along side of a small sheet of brass inside the plastic. The rusting was done by painting a rust color first and then while still wet, sprinkling rust powder followed by a series of washes after the paint dried.
Here's a look you may want to replicate. The model is a diecast 1950's International TD25 dozer from First Gear. The tracks, blade and ripper bars have been painted a dark gray first. Then a wash of raw umber was put on. Allowed all to dry completely and then I used a flat clear acrylic painted in specific areas and while still wet sprinkled a "coffee with cream" colored chalk to these wet areas. Lastly I use a very short bristle brush and dab it into a product called RubnBuff in a silver color and dry brush the high spots and edges that would get the most wear. I should note the heat discoloration at the base of the muffler done with red and yellow transparent paint.The last example in this session I'd like to present is a military model in the form of the famous deuce and a half GMC from WW2. This model is an injected molded plastic from Roco Minitanks. Military modelers have probably given me the most and most valuable techniques when it comes to weathering and they need to be paid close attention to if you're interested in learning anything about weathering. In this model I tried a technique of fading paint by hitting it with a dull coat finish and when dry, brushed the model lightly with alcohol which gives it the whitish look of a faded paint. This is probably one of my first attempts at weathering.
I'd like to make mention of another group that has helped me immensely, they, the folks over at who generously and cordially take the time to give advice to even the most novice.
Well thanks again for taking the time to peruse the site and hopefully I'll have more soon.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Chester, great technique for the bulging of the scrap bin.