Monday, 27 January 2014

Quick Tips: Weathering Tanks (chipped paint)

Here's a quick how-to on creating a weathered effect for tank models.

I can't claim to have developed this technique - I stole it from the amazing work of Kris Belleau from It's lifted directly from a video he produced for the MiniWargaming Vault on how to paint a Blood Angels Storm Talon model. Thanks, Kris!

I'd never weathered a tank model before but wanted to apply a weathered look to my Imperial Guard. This decision was made whilst I was working on my Baneblade model, the painting of which is covered here. At the time of writing this guide, I've tested the process but not yet applied it to the Baneblade. If you followed the Baneblade link and found an "off the Mars production line" looking model, check back again in a couple of days!

What I did to test the technique out was to grab a bit of Imperial scrap from my bits box and paint it up to resemble the finish that's on my Imperial Guard tanks:

The method involves using a very small toolset. You need:
  • some open-cell sponge (the sort of stuff minis in blisters come backed with).
  • something to hold the sponge with - tweezers, pliers etc. 
  • some red-brown paint.
  • some silver paint (I found that quite bright silver worked best).
The process is:
  • Paint your tank to the finish you want including all highlighting and decals. This method needs to be applied post-painting but before application of any pigment powders if you're going to do that.
The bit of scrap I used to test
  • Tear off a small (and I do mean small) piece of the sponge. Make the edge as ragged as you can, but try to avoid stray wisps sticking out.
  • Grab it with the pliers/tweezers. I used a rubber band to hold the handles closed - no point in developing cramp whilst working.
  • Dip it in the brown paint - don't completely smother it, but don't under-do it either. 
  • Test it on a bit of paper - make sure you can transfer small, ragged blobs to the model.
  • Apply to the model - target primarily edges and corners - anywhere paint might get scuffed.
  • Using a fresh bit of sponge, repeat the process with the silver paint. Target the same places you've already hit with the red-brown and try to make your impressions overlay the brown areas (so there's just a suggestion of brown left beneath it). If you overdo it with the silver, dab on a bit more red-brown. You can fine-tune that with more silver if required. Remember - the silver should come out as the dominant colour or your model will look like it has "leopard-spots".

And that's it! I found it best not to try to be too precise with the silver paint - the whole point of using the sponge is to get a sort of randomness to the application.