Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Confessions of a Rust Junkie

I hate rust. The tetanus inducing kind. But then again I absolutely adore rust. Well, the painted kind. Cognitive dissonance you say? Nah, we just tend to underestimate our ability to hold two opposing thoughts in our mind at the same time. Anyway, there is a certain kind of charm exhibited by a scale model kit weathered in rust hues on an appropriate base coat colour for contrast. In almost every instance, a weathered scale model kit scales up realism a few notches higher compared with a scale model kit painted up to look brand new. And let's face it, most of us are in this hobby because we have this insatiable itch to recreate a piece of reality in miniature form.  

Over the years I've slowly but surely amassed a collection of rust weathering primers, paints, washes and pigments for use in my yet-to-begin weathering projects. While predominantly a figure painter, I've always wanted to expand my skill set to include vehicle scale model kits be it science fiction or traditional military armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs). While I've done so and will continue to do so with the former (as evidenced by my TIE Fighter projects) I've yet to properly begin my journey on the latter which will comprise mainly military AFVs. But I think it's about time I got started. 

Mr Hobby and Tamiya spray can primers come in oxide red, the colour of anti-rust paint
Brush-on primers with rust hues from AK Interactive (Tracks) and Vallejo (German Red Brown)

Why now? For one, I believe I finally have enough tools and materials at hand to approach a rust weathering project from a variety of angles. This is a good thing as each method has a unique  finish which mimics a small piece of our rusted reality. Methods differ in materials used e.g. salt, chemical fluids, paints, washes, pigments, etc. as well as tools used e.g. brushes, sponges, abrasives, etc. Regardless, most weathering projects would start with rust-coloured primers of either the spray can or brush-on variety (see above), followed by either chipping or masking techniques (see below). 

Commercial chipping fluids from Vallejo and AK Interactive which allow chipped paint effects
Masking fluids from Vallejo and Mr Hobby can be used to create chipped paint effects as well

More controlled rust weathering can be achieved through paints and washes as well as specific environment effect materials (see below). This group of materials can generally be divided into either acrylic-based or oil-based products. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, oil-based paints can still be manipulated with solvents/thinners even after they have dried up while water-based acrylics are both safer and easier to use as they do not require organic solvents. 

An acrylic paint set (Vallejo Model Color & Model Air) for creating rust stains and streaks
More rust related products from Vallejo - Acrylic rust texture environment effect and washes
Enamel rust washes, streaks and deposit from AK Interactive
Mr Weathering Color rust-like hues: WC02 (Ground Brown), WC03 (Stain Brown) and WC08 (Rust Orange)
Windsor & Newton Winton Oil Colour - Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber, both look just right for rust effects

Then there are the drier mediums such as pigments, pastels and abrasives. Pigments have the added flexibility to be used together with fixers/binders to recreate wet or dry mud. Meanwhile, abrasives are something of a last resort for me as I feel this method is both harsh and offers the least control. 

AK Interactive pigment fixer and rust-related powders i.e. Light Rust, Medium Rust and Track Rust
Vallejo Pigments 'Rust and Oil' set with pigment binder; they have since produced a better rust set
Tamiya Weathering Master - Rust (in Set B) and Orange Rust (in Set C)

Even with what seems like overkill in rust effect products, what I have in my obsessively garnered collection is way short of what is actually available in the market. In fact, there are many pieces missing from my collection such as AK Interactive's Rust Primer as well as Medium and Dark Rust Deposits, other rust coloured Winton oil paints, most of Vallejo's rust pigments, and so on. Those will eventually join the collection when my perennially limited hobby budget permits. Moreover how these materials/tools are used will be made clearer in future posts, if you were wondering.   

Abrasives are the absolute last resort; shown here is the Mr Chipping Rubber Block from Mr Hobby

Other than feeling like a squirrel who has just shown you his nuts stash, this blog post actually serves a more personal role. As silly as it may sound, I wrote this blog in part to vanquish the mental block that has build up against a weathering project from ever starting. Each new tool/material added to the collection seemed like a new brick in a wall of procrastination. There was always one more paint/wash/pigment I needed before I could start. The situation was becoming absurd. Bottom line is I've more than enough to embark on a few weathering projects. And it begins in the very next post!



  1. Thank You for these stuff review!

    1. It's not really a review but at least it introduces new paints/tools. We miniature painters can never have enough new paints/tools to use. :)

  2. My goodness me, what a collection! I suddenly feel that I need more pigments in my life. Currently my favourite is Modelmates rust effect, certainly works for me.

    1. Ha ha :) These were accumulated over a lengthy period of time but I do admit the collection has become quite big. It's silly enough that I should start using them and stop collecting them like a rust paint junkie :)

  3. Indeed. Crack some open on some diecast cars and sell them on perhaps as experiments to try stuff out on?

    1. Good point Simon ... that's an excellent idea. I have seen them done up on weathering magazines too. I still have my diecast cars from when I was 6 years old ^_^ although they now belong to my son and since he is reaching his teens they are in storage somewhere. Either that or the missus has given them all away O_O :)

  4. I'm sure it'll be an amazing experience to follow you on this journey!

  5. Replies
    1. It's starting to get silly. I'm almost obsessed with getting the next rust shade and not use it. LoL ^_^

  6. Wow, that's a collection! I'd love to try some of those pigments and stuff. It fascinates me as much as it scares me to use them!

    1. Same here Suber ... lol ... :) Maybe that's why I keep collecting them over the years and not use them. XD ._.

  7. Wow with this lineup you could likely weather a real car and still have some left ;-)

    Still since I am beginning to fall into the same hole, I´d love to see you put this stuff to use, so I can borrow for my own projects.

    1. Ha ha ha ... :) you are so right! I would love to see your weathering projects too. Be sure to post the links to them in the comments when you start on your own projects so that I can start following your progress. :)


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