LittlePlasticPeople (website, Instagram) sent me some of their awesome A.R.C. terrain to check out and I thought it would be a great excuse to try out some weathering techniques and special effects. As an added bonus, the displays and screens add-ons and inserts work perfectly with our new transfers, which contain lots of useful elements for such things, as well as for vehicle cockpits and HUDs.
The techniques, products and processes I used are documented below. I hope you’ll find them useful!
Part 1: The walls
This isn’t so much a step-by-step tutorial as it is a demonstration of various techniques and products. You can of course follow all the steps, but if you have a lot of terrain to paint and want to save time, you can just pick and choose the effects you like the look of best.
I primed the wall sections with Vallejo 70.605 German Red Brown using an airbrush. I built this up in light coats, from a distance of about 20cm.
1.2 Rust base
To create the rusty base, I sprayed some browns and reds over the primer. This is the layer that will be visible after chipping the top coat. The colours used were Vallejo 71.041 Armour Brown, 71.003 Red RLM23 and 71.129 Light Rust and I sprayed them in a random pattern, going back and forth with each colour until I was happy with how it looked. Once this was dry I gave the whole thing a coat of Vallejo 62.062 Matt Varnish.
1.3 Chipping medium
Once the varnish was dry, I applied AK089 Heavy Effects Acrylic Fluid. This is a chipping medium and similar products are available from many brands. The product creates a layer between two coats of paint and when the top coat is moistened with water, it permeates through and reactivates the chipping medium, allowing the top coat to be chipped / scratched away, revealing the base coat underneath. I applied two or three coats making sure to get into all the cracks and crevices. You will only be able to remove the top coat where the chipping medium is applied, so make sure you get good coverage. It’s important to apply the top coat quite soon after the chipping medium, so do this as soon as it’s dry (as soon as it no longer looks wet).
1.4 Top coat
For the top coat I chose Vallejo 72.024 Turquoise. This is quite a bright colour but it will get significantly toned down by the weathering stages. I applied this with an airbrush, diluted slightly with Vallejo 70.524 Thinner Medium, building up in light coats. I didn’t want to paint the pipes and grates on top of the wall sections with this colour, so I placed a piece of cardboard on top to mask this area.
Now the fun part! Moisten a section of the wall with water and after a few moments, agitate the surface with a coarse bristled brush. Start off gently until you get a feel for how much pressure to apply. You can also use a hard tool or tooth pick to create long, straight scratches. It’s best to work a small section at a time, but you can repeat the process as many times as you like, re-wetting the paint hours or even days later and continue to chip away at it. Once you’re happy, give the wall section another coat of varnish. Note that you won’t be able to do any more chipping in this way after applying the varnish.
1.6 Streaking Grime
Once the varnish was dry, I painted some vertical streaks on the walls with AK Interactive AK014 Winter Streaking Grime. After allowing the paint to dry for about 15 minutes, I softened and blended the streaks with a brush moistened (not wet) with mineral spirits, using a downward motion.Note: Make sure you use spirit-based paints and thinners in a well ventilated room and / or wear a mask!
1.7 Light Rust
Next I applied some AK Interactive AK046 Light Rust Wash to the recesses and around the rivets. Use this minimally as the effect is quite strong, but it will be toned down by the subsequent steps. The edges of the wash were softened and blended with mineral spirits.
1.8 Dark Rust
Building up the rust effect further still, I added some AK Interactive AK013 Rust Streaks. This was applied similarly to the Winter Streaking Grime, but instead of vertical streaks I applied dots and ‘splodges’ (technical term!). After about 15 minutes drying time, I softened and blended the dark rust patches with mineral spirits using predominantly a downward motion.
1.9 More Rust!
The final part of the rust effect was created using Dirty Down Rust. This is a fun and interesting product. It’s water-soluble – and in fact reacts at all times to water (meaning you can manipulate or even remove it with water – even after it’s dry). You can achieve a broad range of effects and colours, depending on how thickly or thinly you apply it. For example if you apply it straight from the pot or thin it with water, it will dry with a light / bright colour (orange, yellow or even white depending on the amount of water added). However if you leave it to partially dry on your palette, it will start to congeal and become tacky. When applied at this stage you can create more texture and it will be much darker in colour (brown, purple or even black). So with a single product you can create a huge range of rust effects and colours.
It’s important to shake the pot very thoroughly. Get the ball bearing agitator inside rattling for a full minute. And be aware that the effect can change quite drastically as the paint dries, so apply a little and wait a few minutes to see how it looks. You can then apply more or manipulate with water and keep going until you’re happy with the results. You can create some amazing effects after a little practice, once you get the hang of the product.
1.10 Final touches
The final touch was just to push the contrast a little. I applied some Tamiya Panel Line Accent Dark Brown into the deepest recesses, and created some edge highlights with a light blue weathering pencil from AK Interactive. After this, a final coat of matte varnish was applied.