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How To Weather Your Model Car

Jul 25, 2008
You have just finished assembling your latest model car. It is a vintage 1950's era sedan but something about it just doesn't seem right. It is all new and shiny and totally out of place in the here and now. You want to make it look like it has just been dug out of the weeds after sitting in someone's yard for the past forty years or so. How can you get this sort of realism out of your model car? You could try leaving it in the dirt and dust for awhile and see what happens or you could weather it prematurely yourself. You can imagine which would be the easier route.

Weathering a model car is a rather simple process that does not require too many extra supplies. You just need to have some red and brown ink, a brush and some water. You can go ahead and paint your model car as you normally would. One thing you might want to do is to intentionally leave some spots thin. This will help the rusted areas to stand out better. Other than that you should have a nice even coating over your model car. Once your ink has time to dry you can prepare your ink "rust."

To prepare this ink you will need to mix regular ink in the color combination you want and then combine it in a 1 to 1 ratio with water. This will give you what is referred to as a wash. A wash will leave behind a light paint residue without covering up the base coat that is underneath. Make sure that you completely blend the water and ink. If the wash is separated it can cause you to have spots of thick paint over the top of your undercoat which can look very bad.

Once you have the wash prepared you are ready to apply it. Dip your paintbrush very lightly into the wash. You do not want to load your brush with the color because it can be very hard to control how much you leave behind on your vehicle. By just dipping the tip of your brush in it will allow the rest of the brush to draw some of the wash into it. Now touch your brush lightly to your model car. It should be in a spot where you want the rust to start.

Draw your brush away from this point which will make it appear that the rust is radiating from the area. It can make the difference between it looking real and it looking like a poor attempt at painting fake rust. Once you have applied your wash in this manner give it time to dry. The length of time it takes to dry will depend on how much color you have applied.

If you want to make the rust stand out even more then you can repeat the previous steps. Each time you do this it will add a layer to the model car that it did not have before making it look older and older. The more you add the more weathered it will appear. Make sure to mix different washes each time. Rust is not uniform in color so neither should your wash. With a bit of practice you will be creating vintage model cars in no time at all.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for vintage model cars, model trains, and model trucks.
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