Glossary of Weathering Terms/techniques.


thanks to Jamie Degenhardt


First published in the October 2009 AMMS Brisbane newsletter


Armour modelling uses quite a number of different techniques to weather and finish models. Personally, this variety is part of the appeal that a rmour has for me over other modelling subjects. Whilst I’m sure everyone will be familiar with what is listed below, I thought it may be of some benefit to compile some sort of glossary and put it in the newsletter. These are obviously my own interpretations and uses and understanding of how they are applied, and the fact it is coming from one source does limit the benefit somewhat, however as there is sometimes confusion as to what a specific term actually means hopefully this can alleviate some of that confusion.


Wash; Traditional technique of using a heavily thinned dark paint, usually artist oils or enamels and applying to the overall model. The idea being that the dark paint will accumulate in panel lines and around raised detail to accentuate shadows and simulate dirt and grime but as the thinned paint spreads over the whole model it also helps blend camouflage colours. This technique will tend to darken the overall appearance of a model.


Filter; Applied in a similar way to a wash, although the paint is even more diluted but generally using lighter colours and applied in multiple coats. The idea here is to blend and harmonise camouflage colours and to help alter base coat tones but the build up of the paint around raised detail and in panel lines as with a wash is to be avoided. Usually applied with a broad brush, and in a number of light coats.


Pin or detail wash; A heavily thinned paint similar to a wash as mentioned above but applied in a more specific and precise manner. The idea here is to place the wash in recessed panel lines and around raised detail to accentuate shadows and simulate the build up of grime and dirt but avoid a general application over the whole model as with a wash. Light coloured paints could also be used if the build up of dust or sand was the required effect.


Pre-shade; The use of the airbrush to apply a dark paint before the base coat to simulate a shadow effect once the base coat has been applied over the top. Generally either applied around panel lines and detail and in nooks and crannies or over the whole model. The application of the base coat is then carefully applied to leave some of the shadow effect showing through.


Post-shade; The use of the airbrush to apply a dark paint after the base coat, generally in nooks and crannies and around panel lines to simulate the build up of dirt and grime and also to give a shadow or shading effect. The paint would be thinned more than for normal base coating and care is required in its application so as not overwhelm the underlying coats.


Oil Paint Fading/Dot Technique; This technique is the placing of small amounts of artists oils of various colours in a random fashion over the model and these are then smeared and blended in with either a dry brush or a brush slightly moistened with thinner. The idea is to give tonal variation and a fading /highlighting effect on the panels especially on the horizontal surfaces. Artist oils are preferred due to their slow drying time and ability to be blended.


Streaking; A similar technique to the oil paint method where once again various dots of oil colour are applied on the vertical panels of the model and then smeared with a downward motion with a slightly moistened brush. The idea here is to simulate rust streaks and the effect of moisture running down the dusty vertical sides of the vehicle.


Rain Marks; Another technique to simulate the effect of moisture / rain running down the sides of the vehicle however this normally utilises enamels or acrylic of buff or similar pale colours. Heavily thinned, these are then dragged down the sides of the model and slowly built up to the desired effect.


Mapping; The application of diluted paint applied with a brush in a random fashion over a base coat to simulate weathered and worn paint and to help give some variation to the base coat. Acrylics or enamels can be used, the idea is to apply larger chips but as the paint is reasonably well diluted it gives a transparent effect, so the base coat is not obliterated.


Profiling; A technique to generally achieve the same effect as a pin wash but using a mush thicker consistency of paint, and usually darker shades. This is then applied with a fine tipped brush specifically around raised detail to once again accentuate the build up of dirt and grime and to give a shadow effect. The advantage this technique can have over a pin wash is that the paint will stay where it is applied whereas the heavily thinned paint of a wash can bleed out into the surrounding panel and not stay where it is supposed to, and therefore require more clean up. Light coloured paints could also be used if the build up of dust or sand was the required effect.


Chipping – Sponge Technique; The use of a small piece of fine kitchen sponge or packing sponge used to apply paint chips and scuffs over the model . This technique is advantageous as it is a lot quicker than applying individual chips by small brush and can also leave some really small, in scale, delicate chips however is probably best used in areas where a lot of chipping is required such as high traffic areas i.e. around hatches or on floor tread plates as the sponge can quickly apply a lot of chips with only one or 2 dabs.


Hairspray Technique; This technique has been around for a few years now, normally used for a heavily weathered winter white wash and it can also be used where heavy chipping is required. Hairspray is applied over the top of the base coat and then the acrylic white wash is then airbrushed over the top of the hairspray. The white paint is then chipped or scraped off, usually with a moistened brush although other implements such as toothpicks can be used to help remove the paint and give different effects. The water on the brush dissolves the hairspray without affecting the underlying basecoat.


Drybrushing; Well known technique, where paint is applied, usually with a broad flat brush, over raised detail and along panel edges to create a highlighting effect and add colour variation. The paint used is usually a lighter shade than the base coat. Most of the paint is removed from the brush on a piece of paper or cloth beforehand so that not too much paint is distributed with a pass of the brush and the effect is kept subtle and built up gradually. Several layers may be added with each subsequent layer being a lighter shade. Drybrushing can also be used over the large flat panels to give a faded effect and to help blend camouflage colours.


Dusting; Specifically with the Airbrush, a suitable dusty colour such as Tamiya Buff XF -57 or Humbrol 72 Khaki Drill which has been well thinned, and is then gently applied with the airbrush to give a dusty build up. Applied more so on the areas of the vehicle closer to the ground such as the running gear and lower hull, but can also be used on the horizontal surfaces of the upper hull and turret to simulate settled dust. It works best if the paint is well thinned and applied at a low pressure, to give more control so the effect can be built up gradually. This technique can also be used prior to the application of pigments as these will adhere better to the matt paint better, rather than if the pigment were applied directly to a satin or gloss finish. A light dusting can also be applied over the whole model to help blend camouflage colours, similar in effect to a filter.


Colour Modulation; Not so much a specific technique, but more of a finishing style. This relatively new approach is another method of creating highlighting and shading to add visual interest to a model. The basic idea is to paint the model suggesting that the light source is coming from a certain direction. Airbrushed lighter and darker shades of the basecoat are then applied in a number of layers with the angle of the light source being kept in mind to accentuate this. Subsequent to this raised detail such as hatch covers, etc are then brush painted in lighter shades than the basecoat to further enhance the overall effect. Artist oil paints are then used to accentuate the shading highlighting effect but also to help blend the sharper and unnatural looking contrasts. The effect at this stage can be rather stark and garish, the normal weathering techniques are then applied to help bring this back to a realistic and natural look, whilst still keeping the original highlighting and shading effect visible.