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Weathering Techniques for Auto Builds
AussieReg
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Posted: Friday, March 08, 2019 - 11:56 AM UTC
A discussion was started in another thread about weathering techniques and philosophies and their application to our Auto builds. Rather than hijack that thread we will create a dedicated ongoing thread to use as a forum for discussion as well as a reference "library" that will hopefully evolve over time into a valuable resource for us all.

Weathering is a very personal choice and has created much debate on many forums. How much weathering, choice of colours, location and direction of streaks and chipping, oil and rust leaks and stains, but in my experience the discussion has been in the fields of Armour, Ships and Aircraft for the vast majority.

In our Auto word I see only two main schools, the showroom high gloss at one end, and the barn find or junkyard dog wreck at the opposite. Both of these schools are perfectly valid and there are thousands of examples of amazing builds, absolute works of art, for each, but what I rarely see are builds showing subtle weathering and the "wear and tear" present on all of our "daily driver" vehicles.

This thread is an open forum for all of us to discuss, explore, demonstrate, and share here are any and all thoughts, references, products, methods, tricks and examples of all levels of weathering relevant to our art. This is the finishing touch that can elevate a build to the next level, whether it is some subtle pin washes on the interior or engine, or half a ton of mud on a rally car or excavator.

The door is open, come on in and put your ideas on the table.

Cheers, D

AussieReg
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Posted: Friday, March 08, 2019 - 11:51 PM UTC
I will get the ball rolling with one of my most commonly used weathering processes, the good old "Pin Wash".

This technique uses a highly thinned paint, in a contrasting colour to the base coat, the highlight or define the features of the part when used lightly, or to represent accumulated dark liquid and/or grime when used more heavily.

There are some basic rules that need to be followed to get an effective pin wash. Firstly, the coat prior to pin wash should be a satin finish at least, preferably gloss, to allow the pin wash liquid to capillary along the recesses of the surface detail without spreading out and creating the dreaded "tide mark". Most modelers I find have a preferred utility gloss finish that is used over the base coat as protection prior to pin wash. Most commonly used are Tamiya X-22 Acrylic Gloss or Alclad Aqua Gloss, but there are plenty of other options out there.

Secondly, the pin wash paint itself needs to be dissimilar to the base coat or utility gloss. If the base coat is a satin or gloss acrylic or lacquer for instance, then the pin wash should be enamel or oil based so that it doesn't reactivate or damage the base coat.

There are many and varied ready-made pin washes or panel line washes available off the shelf, both in terms of colours and material content. The most commonly used would be the Tamiya Panel Line Accent which is just highly thinned enamel paint, and a lot of people also make their own pin wash from high grade artists oils and thinners. The advantage of using the enamels or oils is that it is easy to remove any excess or error using cotton buds or q-tips soaked in the appropriate thinners. Even after hours or days you can "adjust" the finish to your liking.

Choice of colour for your pin wash is important. On an engine you would use dark red/brown/black mix to represent oil and grease. On body work and wheels you might use light brown to represent accumulated dust (or red here in Australia), or darker brown to represent mud or earth accumulated on rally cars or off-road vehicles. On the car interior I generally use a darker shade similar to the fabric colour to highlight the deeper recesses and represent a build-up of dirt.

Below are before and after images of the engine of one of my current builds. The base silver colour is Matt Aluminium Enamel, followed by a light coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss, and the wash was Tamiya Enamel Black highly thinned with X-20 Thinner.




Cheers, D
Littorio
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Posted: Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 09:08 AM UTC
Nice start to this thread D and informative.

I haven’t tried the pin wash yet myself on cars but have used similar on my ships and subs. Most of my cars builds I do intend to build in a ‘showroom’ finish however like a few have stated in other threads a junk yard find / restoration build is something I’d like to have a try at.
betheyn
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Posted: Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 10:53 AM UTC
I always add a wash to engines and such as it pops the details out, even doing it to the Alpine 110, that is supposed to be pristine, not that you will see the engine anyway.
I had to go out today and on my journeys I looked at road cars too see what the weathering would be like, and on the whole (as the weather has been pretty good round here lately) most cars were pretty clean. A few had some greyish/brownish coating on the lower halves of the cars, but the top halves were near enough pristine.
I think if you were to weather a road car, it would really need to go on a base with a bit of road under it, or it would (in my eyes) look rather silly.
A full blown rally car with dirt and such would look ok, but I would still be tempted to model it on a base with whatever you covered the car in underneath it, just to tie it all together.
Andy
AussieReg
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Posted: Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 12:27 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I always add a wash to engines and such as it pops the details out, even doing it to the Alpine 110, that is supposed to be pristine, not that you will see the engine anyway.


But as we always say "I know it's in there"

Quoted Text

I had to go out today and on my journeys I looked at road cars too see what the weathering would be like, and on the whole (as the weather has been pretty good round here lately) most cars were pretty clean. A few had some greyish/brownish coating on the lower halves of the cars, but the top halves were near enough pristine.


That is exactly the level of weathering that we never see on auto builds, I'm keen to explore it on a few of my future projects.

Quoted Text

I think if you were to weather a road car, it would really need to go on a base with a bit of road under it, or it would (in my eyes) look rather silly.


That exact thought crossed my mind, but I have no hesitation in putting a lot of wear and tear on an aircraft and sitting it on a glass shelf or a mirror, and we always see highly weathered and rusted ships sitting on display stands rather than water bases, so I'm trying to get my head around the concept. I plan to build a couple of bases that I can use for photographing my builds, with various typical road or parking lot surfaces.

Quoted Text

A full blown rally car with dirt and such would look ok, but I would still be tempted to model it on a base with whatever you covered the car in underneath it, just to tie it all together.


Perfect scenario to play with a few different techniques there Andy, a crossover into the Armour techniques for muddying up the tanks.

Cheers, D
md72
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Posted: Saturday, March 09, 2019 - 01:33 PM UTC
That's quite the can of worms you've opened here D
Not actually having finished a car model in over 40 years, I don't have much to go on. I did weather an M8 last year, that was a bit frightening. I finished up up pretty well for me and then tried to put a winter whitewash on it


Scariest moment in modeling.

All that said, the possibilities are endless. Not just showroom fresh, concours d'elegance, rally cars, and off roaders. But think about daily drivers up north with road salts all over the sides, there's probably dozens of normal environmental hazards to model. I remember our old '51 Ford with the paint residue the came off on your fingers and the '60 Bug where the road salt ate holes into the chrome and turned the bumpers into cacti.
Kevlar06
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Posted: Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 02:59 AM UTC
As opposed to other model subjects, I don’t like to weather my automotive models much if at all. I prefer to view them as “showroom ready”. However there is one area on car models I always “weather”— the tires around the tread. Even showroom ready cars have some form of wear “where the rubber meets the road” so to speak. My favorite technique for vinyl or rubber is to use a bit of sandpaper or a sanding stick around the tread surface. If it’s a plastic tire, I like to use a slightly darker or lighter shade of “brown rubber”, “charcoal gray” or “dark gray” airbrushed around the tread portion of the tire, with a black wash in the treads. This really makes the tires “pop”. An alternative method is to carefully “dry brush” these colors on. I’ve tried pigments as well, but find they are more difficult to control.
VR, Russ
Littorio
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Posted: Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 05:09 AM UTC

Quoted Text



Quoted Text

A full blown rally car with dirt and such would look ok, but I would still be tempted to model it on a base with whatever you covered the car in underneath it, just to tie it all together.


Perfect scenario to play with a few different techniques there Andy, a crossover into the Armour techniques for muddying up the tanks.

Cheers, D



Now just to throw a swerve ball in there, what about your fully mud covered rally car returning to the service area on tarmac roads. Very dirty car on a clean road.
Dixon66
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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 08:33 AM UTC
I'm in rural Kansas on a business trip right now. They don't use salt on the roads but instead use sand. Every car here looks like a rally car after a gravel stage. You can see the difference in the way it accumulates behind the wheelwells due to the airflow around a pickup vs. a sedan vs. a Wrangler.
AussieReg
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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 02:30 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I'm in rural Kansas on a business trip right now. They don't use salt on the roads but instead use sand. Every car here looks like a rally car after a gravel stage. You can see the difference in the way it accumulates behind the wheelwells due to the airflow around a pickup vs. a sedan vs. a Wrangler.



That is exactly the kind of detail (and techniques to replicate it) that we want as part of this thread. Any photos you could get would be great!

Cheers, D
Dixon66
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 01:09 AM UTC
I planned to, the unfortunate thing is that it started raining yesterday when I thought of this thread and all the cars have washed cleaner.

I've got a couple hour drive today to Wichita to fly home. Hope I can get some still.
Dixon66
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 08:12 AM UTC
I struck out today except for this Earthroamer I saw at breakfast this morning.




So, I dug into some military wheeled vehicles I've done and found some subtly weathered ones I've done.



Cosimodo
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 10:36 PM UTC
Some useful stuff on here. One question I have, is it common for people to do panel lines on cars they way they do for planes. I haven't really noticed it on cars.

cheers
Michael
AussieReg
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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 10:58 PM UTC
I’m about to do it on my 911 Porsche so I will post some before and after shots
Szmann
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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 02:10 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Some useful stuff on here. One question I have, is it common for people to do panel lines on cars they way they do for planes. I haven't really noticed it on cars.

cheers
Michael



I do them. The lines between panels are usually shallow and the paint shows. Actually is a pretty easy way to tell a diecast from a "professional" made plastic model. You can see them in my Chrysler final shots ans also in my latest Porsche GB update, half done in this latest case.

Gabriel
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Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 - 12:01 AM UTC
I always do the panel lines, on my car models. I usually do this, with an acrylics wash, after I have waxed the model. This way, any excess paint is easily removed, with a finger or a piece of cloth.
Stickframe
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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 10:24 AM UTC
Hi Gents,

I just finished a build log here that features a rusty old truck. I'm sure there are lots of ways to recreate the look of rust, for what it's worth, I'm posting a few steps I follow. Something I like about this approach is that you can create numerous variations on what the "rust" looks like, as your project requires. But first, a couple of images of the results using this method, starting with construction equipment:









Next, the old Chevy:





and even on dioramas:







The basic steps behind each of these is as follows.

I start with a base of dark gray, that I paint over the vehicle's base color - it's supposed to look like a primer coat, or, whatever is under the base color of the vehicle, it also provides a nice base for the rust you'll be adding, allowing the rust to show in contrast to the base color of the model, and not appear to be painted onto it.

I apply it with a beat up, old stiff bristle brush - maybe 1/4" in diameter - it took me some practice to get the consistency how I like it. I stipple the paint on, and generally don't directly brush it, but do quickly drybrush:



Next, I make my own rust color:


The paint combo here is Burnt Umber, Orange, White and Sand Yellow. I blend, add, etc until I find a mix that I like - as long as you stick with the basic palette, you can come back and add/modify later or as needed. I only use acrylics. You need some patience, but not the same you need when adding Aber PE to a T-55...that is real patience. In this case, you just need to take it easy and pay attention to what you've painted, and watch out for puddles of washes.

It's not the end if you find general mistakes, as you can generally go back over them later to get a different result.

You can buy rust color paints and "weathering systems" from the suppliers we all know - which work pretty well. I use this method so that I can control the outcome of the color. Sometimes I want really "old" dark, almost black rust (like on the diorama), and other times lighter. Making the color myself allows me to do that. Depending on your goals you can paint in other colors too, like variations of silver as seen on the dozer and blade and part of the roller.

And as with the gray, stipple it on - but vary the color density, and include various washes of the same. For this method, the trick is to "stay loose" with the layers - I don't want my results to look like rust color painted on:



You can see the difference between the left and right sides of the roof. And when you're done:



I make it a point to run several light washes of this color over and beyond the main rust area. Next - I keep the dirty brush water and use it throughout the process for washes etc. Once this is done, I add a dust wash:



That's Life color Dust 1 - the cap is in my tray, I dip the brush in it, then the water, which makes a wash - I use this on all of my tires and on any vehicle I don't want to shine and to have dirty windows, and as before - start light and build up to what you want. The result below:



Ok hope this might be of some use to somebody - just another way to get that lived in look out of your project -

Happy model building,

Nick



md72
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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 10:32 AM UTC
Neat stuff, I can't believe they kicked me off after 2 1/2 months of lurking.
AussieReg
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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 11:34 AM UTC
Excellent work there Nick, thanks for taking the time to detail the products and process for us. That is exactly the content we are looking for here and your results are great.

Your technique is simple in principle but I'm sure it takes a lot of patience and practice to achieve the effect you have.

With the final dust wash, do you apply it as an overall "filter" or more focussed on surface detail?

I will be starting on a rusted abandoned car body soon, and I am planning to use the hairspray chipping method.


Quoted Text

Neat stuff, I can't believe they kicked me off after 2 1/2 months of lurking.



Mark, I can't imagine you getting kicked off anywhere mate, what happened?

Cheers, D
md72
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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 12:48 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Mark, I can't imagine you getting kicked off anywhere mate, what happened?


It's what I didn't do.... If you comment on a post, the latest post screen shows the post with a light green color (at least on my browser) instead of the stock green, blue, brown bar. And if you click on the "My Posts" button, It just shows the posts that you've commented on in the last (2-2 1/2) months. Since my last post in this thread was ~ March 9, it no longer highlited the post.
Stickframe
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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 03:12 PM UTC
Hi D,

Yes, practice....and then more. I tried to do chipping a few years ago and had some mediocre results. This isn’t because the method(s) is/are at all flawed, I just paint with Vallejo acrylics - and I tend to get more peeling than chipping, hence, I pursued other ways to get the results. I think the dark base coat makes the difference in this method, otherwise instead of looking like rust, it looks like rust color painted onto another color. Thinking more about this, the technique includes dabbing, stippling, and dry brushing the base grey and the same for the rust color - to get something that looks like rust, and not rust colored paint.

Your earlier point about random - I agree with! It’s not easy to do. A couple of friends on the Armorama dio site drilled this into my head! Romain, and Jerry R - two master builders - wow - their work is unbelievable! Couple that reality with looking at real rust and grime, where they occur and build up, and I’ll bet you’ll nail it!

About the dust - I coat the entire build with a series of washes. The process takes some time and restraint. Early coats may not appear to be doing anything - but, they are! It can be quite surprising to see how much the base color gets toned down. I also do focused washes and treatments - take a look at the lower red panels on the last photo of the abandoned gas station above - you’ll see some streaking of the dust color - I like that look. The trick seems to be to drag the wash, rather than painting “stripes” on the surface. I also use the grimy water in the paint cup (? the plastic artist color tray?) for pin washes in door jambs, along window trim, hood edges etc - like what you did on the engine above. Subtle but makes a difference.

The good thing about this being an acrylic is if you apply too much - just hit it with water and brush until you get the paint to a level of dilutedness you like.

I’m betting that with your skills with paint, you’ll pick up your own technique and get great results.


Looking forward to seeing your build!

Cheers
Nick
Hwa-Rang
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Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 06:17 PM UTC
Really great stuff Nick. Thanks for sharing.