After I posted a work-in-progress shot of my partially painted Flames of War DAK Panzers several people expressed an interest in the weathering technique I was using. This brief tutorial will take you through the process. Please be aware I can’t claim to have invented the technique myself, I’ve just been applying it to my 28mm and 15mm war gaming models since reading about it in Issue #6 of Model Military International, and I can confirm it works just as well in smaller scales as it does in 1:35th.
Base Coat your Model
For this tutorial we’ll be applying the base weathering coat to a Flames of War 15mm German ‘Famo’ 18-ton half track. This first photo shows you the model after it’s been base coated a with Tamiya German Gray spray can and left to thoroughly dry. You can also see the other supplies I’ll be using: a Tamiya Dark Yellow spray can, a fresh pot of delicious Marmite, an application tool and an old toothbrush. As our European or American visitors may have some difficulty finding Marmite, they may wish to experiment with other foodstuffs. The Marmite is really just used as a cheap masking medium that can be dabbed onto a model easily, isn’t too greasy or sticky and dissolves in warm water. Let us know what else works! It’s also worth noting that this technique requires you apply the top coat of paint as a spray, so you’ll either have to find a spray can of your chosen colour or own an airbrush.
My Marmite application tool is made from an old paintbrush handle, a rubber band and a torn half from one of my lovely wife’s round makeup sponges. Marmite is applied with the torn edge of the make up sponge which of course has a nicely random pattern to it. Dab the tool into the Marmite to load it up. Don’t get too much Marmite on there at once, I typically dab it on the bad of my hand or a scrap of paper to remove any excess until it produces a nice stippled pattern. I then dab the Marmite over the vehicle in appropriate places wear would occur. Reference photos and common sense apply here. Paint chips and damage usually happen to the fronts of vehicles and wear from crew entering/exiting the vehicle happens around doors and hatches etc. This second photo shows the Famo after I’ve applied the Marmite. Generally I’m not too fussy when it comes to applying the Marmite. If you end up with a few dabs here and there in the wrong place it doesn’t matter because you can always block paint over those areas while you’re finishing the vehicle off post weathering. For this particular model I haven’t bothered weathering the back tray at all because I have a set of stowage glued to some plasti-card I’m going to paint separately and drop into that space.
Once you’re happy with your Marmite application simply spray the top coat of paint on and leave it to dry. Here’s the Famo after a Tamiya Desert Yellow spray. It’s essential that both the base and top coats of paint are completely dry for the weathering to work correctly. This is because the final step involves a moderately vigorous scrubbing with warm water and your old toothbrush. So leave your vehicle until you’re absolutely sure the paint has dried to a sturdy top coat – otherwise you’re likely to scrub the vehicle back down to the base coat!
For the final step, take your painted model and immerse it in a mixture of fairly warm water and household dish-washing detergent. Leave it there for a minute or two for the Marmite to soften and then carefully scrub every surface of the model with your old toothbrush. The Marmite will dissolve into the water, taking patches of the top coat with it and reveal the base coat underneath. Keep scrubbing until you’re confident you’ve removed all trace of the Marmite and then leave your model to dry.
Here’s the 18 ton Famo after it’s been scrubbed. This completes the basic weathering effect and over-painting and detail work can now begin. The weathering at this point may look quite stark and a touch over-done, but it’ll be toned down with futher painting steps. Typically I brown ink-wash my vehicles after this step to bring out the edges etc. and then block coat the basic colour over the vehicle again, fixing up any overly zealous weathering as I go. Then a couple of layers of lighter colour are drybrushed on to pick out the edges and mute the weathering down.
Comments and questions are welcomed as always!