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How to "Weather" a Plastic Model

Updated on April 30, 2012

Making your plastic look like grimy metal.

This lens describes my favorite technique for making plastic models look old, worn and battle weary, commonly known as "weathering". Here demonstrated on a Star Wars AT-ST Walker. I used testors enamel paints for this project.

Step by Step Weathering

Dry-Brushing,Washing and Dusting.

Step One.

I painted and dry-brushed the model.

Dry-brushing is a common technique when weathering a model and can be enough to produce a good effect but to get that professional look you have to take it a step further, as I will explain later. In case you don't know what dry-brushing is here's what I did. I painted the walker in gun-metal gray, making sure I the paint goes into all crevices. Don't put it on thick, we want the detail to still show. Then I used a lighter gray to highlight the details using the dry-brushing technique. Dip only the tip of the brush in the paint and then paint on a piece of paper until very little paint is left in the brush. Gently brush the model and you will see the detail stand out. Make sure you brush the flat surfaces as well. Use even pressure and a random pattern. This is important for the steps to follow.

Step Two

In order to get the weathering perfect I helped it along by applying a wash of rust color to the crevices and around areas where you might find rust, and another wash of black color where you might find oil. The wash was very thin, something like

4 parts thinner and 1 part paint. You have to try it out to see what works best for you. The trick is to pick up just enough on the brush tip to make the wash float out over the surface. In this case I made sure the rust color ran down the crevices in the AT's leg details, and around the feet.

Step Three

Next I will dust the model with earth-tone pastel chalk powder. You can find the pastel chalks in any art store (or even better, order it from this page), I use a brand called Alphacolor. I scraped the chalk gently with a scalpel to produce a fine powder. Now the reason for dry-brushing all surfaces become clear since the chalk will not stick if the surface is too slick.

Apply powder on the surface you want to grime-up, and use a paint brush spread in

increments. I used a dark earth tone for my for my first color.

Step Four

My next earth-tone was yellow. This brings out some of the detail and makes the

dust look more realistic. Dust and sand consist of many colors, you need to experiment

and see how many colors you need to make it look realistic for your particular model.

Step 5

This is what the model looked like after the dusting. Notice that it looks

very dusty, as it should, because you need to spray the model with flat lacquer

if you want the dust to stay on.

When you lacquer the model the dustiness will subside, but don't be alarmed that

all your hard work went out the window. The effect after spraying becomes more realistic

since it is a little more subtle.

Here's the model when it is finished.

And here it is mounted on the display case base.

Great Reference for Star Wars Modellers

Chalks used for this project.

Quartet Alphacolor Soft Square Pastels, Earth Tones, 12 Pastels per Set (145011)
Quartet Alphacolor Soft Square Pastels, Earth Tones, 12 Pastels per Set (145011)

I like this brand. It powders easily and comes in a lot of earth tones, so you can experiment and get the shade just right for your your particular scene.


May The Force Be With You.


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      8 years ago


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      10 years ago

      This is so cool!


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