Weathering model tanks

by William DeBruin
(Lombard IL USA)

I am working on my first model tank, and would like to weather it with arcylic wash, I want a slight worn out look without having the tank look battle beaten. What is the best way to do that? Also what are some economical ways to weather a model kit.

SMH Replies:

There are seven steps involved in the weathering armored vehicles and you probably will need each of them as tanks, more than most vehicles are subject to extreme wear and tear with little time for maintenance when they are at their best.

None of these steps have much expense involved and even combined, weathering is not a budget breaker. Also, most of the materials you will use can be saved for future projects.

Like other forms of weathering, you apply it after all of the basic painting has been done.
After applying all markings (both painted and as decals) , give the tank a coat of gloss varnish. This will give it a sheen to provide contrast for your weathering.

Follow this with an almost transparent coat of a very thin, (5% acrylic paint, 95% water) earthy tone filter coat. This will tend to smooth the contrasts between the camouflage colors.

Now add wear and tear. You can simulate scratches with colored pencils. At this stage the effect of the pencils may look a bit harsh in places. Don't worry, everything will blend in nicely once the weathering continues.

Another needed element of wear & tear is simulation of chipped paint using paint and a small point brush. A rust color. Works good for this and again I’d go with an acrylic. Apply your “chips” around hatches, foot steps and handles as well as other protrusions which would be subject to high wear.

Finally, you want to enhance areas of light and shadow, making the darks darker and the lights lighter. Use a dark wash, 10-20% paint, and 80-90% water. This is intended to deposit darker pigment in nooks and crannies.

You can brighten lighter areas like stair rungs and hatch rings by “metalizing” edges with a lead pencil.

Mud can be depicted with Celluclay instant paper mache. It can be colored with watercolor as well. When you're satisfied, spray with clear flat to seal. Clean metal not directly exposed to heavy wear may have patina of rust (though sandy desert conditions will scour all track metal pretty clean).

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