At around $10NZ a jar, they’re not cheap, but after a little experimentation they seem like pretty good value. The ‘North African Dust’ I chose contains enough super fine pigment to probably coat ten or more 1/56th scale Bolt Action vehicles, depending on how thick you lay it on. Super fine it is too, and the dust goes everywhere if you’re not careful. I took to weathering vehicles in a shoe box lid, just to try and keep it under control.
First up in the paint station was this dirty old Panzer 38(T) that I bought years ago for Pulp campaigns. It had already been experimented on with Tamiya weathering sticks which to be honest I found a little hard to use and also produced a rather crude effect. Using a larger brush I dabbed the African dust on liberally, followed by the enamel based fixative which wicked nicely through the applied dust, hopefully fixing it to the model. The fixative smelt strongly of solvent so I was a little concerned it might effect the existing paint job. Fortunately that concern turned out the be unjustified as it went over the dust, spray varnish, Tamiya and Vallejo paints and applied decals on several vehicles with no problem whatsoever.
It’s quite good fun applying the dust and I had to stop myself from dusting the entire vehicle. The enamel fixative does tend to dull the dust effect down slightly though, particularly if you apply it too wet. The trick seems to be dabbing it on lightly and letting it wick through a large area before moving on. Too much fixative and you’ll either lift the dust off onto your brush, or dull it down too much as it dries.
Happy with the initial test I moved onto the Panzer III I speed painted recently. The paint job on this tank was a little crude because it was rushed, and in particular the treads and road wheels looked a bit too shiny for my tastes. I tried to apply the dust in a more controlled manner than my first attempt and am very pleased with the final result. The dust has blended the crude ‘sand blasted’ paint job down nicely, as well as taken the shine off the tracks and road wheels and made everything look a touch more realistic.
I’ll definitely be investing in some more AK Interactive product in the future, particularly since I have a bunch of Normandy/Western theatre vehicles to paint for a Late War German Bolt Action force.