Weathering Techniques

This tutorial will be completed in multiple parts. The idea is that any of these techniques can be stand alone, or can be combined in any number of combinations depending on what effects you want. There isn’t a specific order of operation but a matter of personal preference. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m starting with the filter/fade technique.

Filter/Fade Technique

This technique is similar to the wash technique for panel lines. There are rules that MUST be followed for this technique to be successful. The kit’s painted surface must be protected with a clear coat that is a different type of paint from the filter. On the Gouf Custom’s leg in this example, the paint surface has been clear coated with a lacquer based gloss, Mr Super Clear Gloss. The clear coat layer has been cured for a full day. Next, I’m going to use enamel based paints which do not react with the lacquer based super clear. Effectively, for some of you folks that use graphics programs, I added a new layer when I clear coated the surface. The underlying paint, decals, panel lines, etc, are preserved under the clear gloss.

The filter/fade technique basically adds some tonal variance to the part. A filter uses multiple colors to create different tonal effects to the surface. A fade uses one color to create a tonal effect. There are many ways to use the filter to create even more interesting and varying effects such as applying the filter to a satin finish, or applying the filter to a flat finish. This example only shows the application of the filter to a glossy surface. The enamel paints I’m using are model master’s white, dark earth, and rust. The first part of this technique is to dot up the surface with a fine tipped brush, and let the dots dry for a minute or two. See the video below:

The Gouf Custom’s leg is now dotted up with different colors of paint. Note that the choice of colors is entirely personal. Color choice should be based on the ideal environmental effects you want affecting your model. With the part dotted up, here is a picture with both Gouf legs for comparison.

The next part of the technique is to remove the dots. The dots allowed to dry for a small amount of time, then a stiff rough brush is dipped into some lighter fluid and then used to wipe and blend the dots. See the video below:

Now with the dots blended, you can clearly see that one leg has a great deal of tonal variance and looks quite weathered. Below are a two pictures showing the comparison between the two legs on each side.

Dry Brushing/Paint Chipping Technique

After the filter/fade has cured, you can optionally spray a lacquer clear coat to preserve the filter before moving on. Again, this is the layering technique of saving your previous work with a protective layer of clear before moving on to the next step. With that done, I’m using an enamel based paint for the paint chipping. Color choice here is also open to personal preference. For this demonstration, I used a metallic silver.

This technique is a continuation on the dry brushing technique. The brush is loaded with paint then the paint is wiped away leaving very little paint on the brush. The brush is dry as opposed to wet with paint. The brush is then carefully applied to the hard edges of the part. I used reference pictures of old equipment, old aircraft, and tanks for ideas on how to place paint chips on gunpla. If too much paint is applied, it can be easily cleaned off with some lighter fluid and a paper towel. If you clear coated the part, doing this does not remove the previous weathering effects. This is a very slow and tedious process, but the results are worth it. Watch the below video:

It is also very easy to go overboard with this technique, but again, the amount of weathering is personal preference. Depending on the situation, you may need more or less weathering. Here are some pictures of the legs for comparison.

For some close up pictures, the chest piece looks almost like I went a little overboard with the paint chipping. It is a good idea to look at your other pieces and keep a certain balance so that the weathering isn’t overly heavy on one piece in comparison to another.

Pigments and Chalk Pastels Technique

After the clear flat has cured, we can move on to the third weathering technique. This technique uses pastels and pigments to create effects like rust, dirt, dust, oil stains, etc. This technique relies on a flat coated surface as the tiny bumps on a flat coated surface work to hold the pastel or pigment particles. These particles will not stick to a glossy surface; so it is very important that the surface of the parts are flat coated. Here I will be using chalk pastels and weathering kits from Tamiya.

The pastels I use are found at your local art stores and are soft chalk based. Using a hobby knife or sand paper, I can grind/scrape the pastels into fine pigments into a paint tin, then apply the pastels with a brush. Once applied to the surface, a q-tip, cotton swab, or paper towel can be used to blend the pastels or create directional streaks. Using some lighter fluid with the ground up pastels is another application technique, and I can create little oil stains with the black pigments and the lighter fluid. The Tamiya weathering kits work the same as the pastels, they’re just already ground up. The benefit of the pastels is that you can grind different colors and custom mix a color. The tamiya weathering kits are basically glorified makeup sets without the perfume. Modelers have been known to use makeup kits to create these weathering effects on their kits. Below is a video that shows the application of the pastels and pigments to the surface of the kit.

Below is a comparison picture of the legs.

After this third weathering session, I sealed everything up with an optional clear flat. Since I travel and handle my kits often, I spray on a final clear flat to seal all the pastels. This is completely optional. The clear flat has a tendency to fade out the pastels so a little heavier pastel weathering may be necessary if you are planning on sealing this. There are modelers that do not seal the pastels as they feel that the additional clear flat will diminish the pastels effect.

Here are some sample picture of the Gouf after application of the three weathering effects. Soot marks were added to the bullet areas, some rust is added to the corners where the paint was chipped, dust was added to the feet to show the terrain the suit has been traveling through, oil stains were added, and dirt is added in the corner areas of the kit. Pigments are a very powerful tool for creating a huge array of effects.

This concludes the three basic weathering techniques. There are hundreds of variations on these techniques and several cool effects that can be achieved. Using these three basic weathering techniques, it is highly recommended to experiment further to explore additional effects aside from what was shown here and in the videos.

2,521 Comments on “Weathering Techniques”

  1. This is a very powerful technique. An alternative method often used in armour modeling is to apply a thinned (5% paint/95% thinner) full surface wash over a clear flat coat to filter the surface. The advantage of the dot method you use is it can go over a gloss or flat clear coat. Both technique are absolutely awesome for adding depth to a surface.

  2. Pingback: » Weekend Update: dinner at Opaque, Comic Con, and a Gouf

  3. Has to be one of THE BEST/MOST THOROUGH weathering write up I have ever read, thank you for writing this! I found it extremely useful and easy to follow :) Well done!

  4. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS! I’ve looked and read and watched over this page many a times in the last month since I’ve gotten back into Gunpla. May I ask where you got those alligator clips with the sticks attached to them. Or if you made ’em yourself, where I can get the supplies, thanks. ^-^

  5. Fantastic article! This will definitely help me add a whole new level to kits.

    Just one question though… is there a damage guide somewhere here? I’ve looked a bit… I would just like some advice on how to do holes/cuts… I would like a bit of advice before I take a drill/other-tool to my model >.<

  6. Pingback: Weathering your Gundam Kits | Deathmarked: MTG and Other Stuff to Think About

  7. I see you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn extra cash every month because you’ve got high quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra money, search for:
    Mrdalekjd methods for $$$

  8. Just desire to say your article is as amazing. The clearness for your submit is just great and i can assume you are knowledgeable on this subject. Well together with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to stay updated with forthcoming post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please carry on the enjoyable work.

  9. 391977 731751Thank you, Ive just been looking for data about this subject for a while and yours will be the greatest Ive discovered till now. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the supply? 873506

  10. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time
    to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions.
    Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to read more things about it!

  11. Hey there would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must say this blog loads a
    lot quicker then most. Can you recommend a good hosting provider at a reasonable
    price? Thanks, I appreciate it!

  12. I will immediately clutch your rss as I can not find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Please let me recognize so that I may just subscribe.

  13. I actually wanted to construct a brief comment to say thanks to you for some of the unique guides you are showing at this site. My time consuming internet investigation has finally been rewarded with reputable know-how to talk about with my family and friends. I would admit that we readers actually are very endowed to exist in a good place with very many special professionals with interesting concepts. I feel very privileged to have encountered the site and look forward to plenty of more pleasurable minutes reading here. Thanks a lot once more for a lot of things.

  14. By way of introduction, I am Mark Schaefer, and I represent Nutritional Products International. We serve both international and domestic manufacturers who are seeking to gain more distribution within the United States. Your brand recently caught my attention, so I am contacting you today to discuss the possibility of expanding your national distribution reach.We provide expertise in all areas of distribution, and our offerings include the following: Turnkey/One-stop solution, Active accounts with major U.S. distributors and retailers, Our executive team held executive positions with Walmart and Amazon, Our proven sales force has public relations, branding, and marketing all under one roof, We focus on both new and existing product lines, Warehousing and logistics. Our company has a proven history of initiating accounts and placing orders with major distribution outlets. Our history allows us to have intimate and unique relationships with key buyers across the United States, thus giving your brand a fast track to market in a professional manner. Please contact me directly so that we can discuss your brand further. Kind Regards, Mark Schaefer, [email protected], VP of Business Development, Nutritional Products International, 101 Plaza Real S, Ste #224, Boca Raton, FL 33432, Office: 561-544-0719

  15. Hi, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!