Saturday, 28 April 2018

Star Wars AT-ST [WIP - Phase One of the Hull, Drive Engine & Gyro System; Basecoat, Wash & Panel Lining]

There was once a time I would've stopped here. Weathering with washes and panel lining over a basecoat was all it took to momentarily scratch that ceaseless itch to paint up a monotone grey hued vehicle of the Galactic Empire's Imperial Navy or Army. And in most cases it would've been enough seeing that such vehicles are almost always in good working condition hence require minimal weathering. Now though, this step is only Phase One of Five in the AT-ST's weathering process.   

Star Wars AT-ST upper hull armor plating work-in-progress: washes and panel lining

Even at this early stage, a lot of time has already been invested in the painting of the AT-ST. And the amount of work involved so far is perhaps best encapsulated in the picture below. To put it as briefly as possible, phase one starts with a light grey primer coat followed by a basecoat of Tamiya AS-16 (Light Gray USAF) which is then protected with a gloss clear coat. This is followed by enamel/oil-based panel lining and washes (Tamiya Panel Line Accent Colors, Mr Weathering Color and their corresponding solvents), which in turn is sealed with a semi-gloss clear coat in preparation for the oil dot filter weathering technique. Frustratingly though there is so much more to do ...    

Paint, protective clear coats and solvents used in Phase One of the weathering process

.. cue Phases Two through Four for the upper/mid section. Phase Two will see the use of oil dot filter technique to add a more varied chromatic sheen to the AT-ST's monotone color scheme. Meanwhile, Phase Three is expected to consist of the painting of micro paint chips which will then be tied-in with the rest of the color scheme with either a wash or a clear semi-gloss coat or both. And Phase Four should comprise the painting of metallic parts (e.g. flexible steel pipes) which will be given a black wash for depth and definition. All four phases will be repeated for the AT-ST's weapons and legs.

AT-ST top with the open hatch option after initial panel lining, washes and rust stains
Back view of the AT-ST top with its top hatch open

There is an additional fifth phase but this extra weathering process does not apply to the hull, drive engine and gyro system. Phase Five will be localized around the lower section of the AT-ST's legs. It will comprise either mud or snow depending on whether the Imperial walker is situated on the forest floor of Endor or the snowy plains of Hoth. I'm leaning towards Endor as that was when the AT-ST took center stage for the first time and, for me, became one of the cooler Star Wars vehicles. 

Angled view of the AT-ST's work-in-progress upper hull armor plating
Rust stains were applied onto the side armor platings as subtly as possible
AT-ST command view port hatches and side sensor pods

Any vehicle in the Imperial Army that is in working condition shouldn't be over-weathered hence rust stains were applied lightly and sparingly. To complement the stains I'll likely try to paint in micro paint-chips during the third phase. Even the mud (or snow as the case may be) on the 'chicken legs' of the AT-ST will be kept to a minimalistic level. Enough weathering to make the AT-ST look realistic but not overbearing to the extent that the weathering itself takes center stage.

Back of AT-ST upper hull comes to life only after panel lining, washes and yet more subtle rust stains
Flexible steel piping underneath the AT-ST's upper hull will likely be painted in metallic hues later
AT-ST gyro system which sits in between the upper hull and drive engine (aka mid-section)

But one thing is for sure. Panel lining is absolutely essential in the painting of the AT-ST. It's the bare minimum weathering that needs to be done. Even if you do nothing else, at least apply panel lining on the model kit. Without it, the AT-ST will lack depth and look extremely one dimensional.

AT-ST drive engine (mid-section) with initial panel lining, washes and rust stains
Back view of the AT-ST drive engine (aka mid-section)
Bottom view of the AT-ST drive engine (aka mid-section)

Having a five phase a weathering process means the road ahead for the AT-ST is going to be a long one. And knowing myself, that spells trouble as I'll tend to get bored when a project drags out thus affecting the paint job quality. The only solution I've for this problem is kind of a silly one. What I usually do is to flood myself with even more projects. It keeps things fresh and helps me retain a high level of enthusiasm about any given project at any given time. Sure it might result in the occasional abandoned project but the trade off is worth it. So get ready for garage kit resin figurines; mechas; an Empire Wants You 1/12 scale figure pairings (more on this later); cult classic anime figure/vehicle combos; iconic WW2 tanks; and much, much more. Isn't this just the best hobby ever?    

Note: Photos viewed on Samsung devices will have an unnatural greenish tint. 


  1. Looks nice and realistic!

    1. Thank you Phil ... there is a long way to go yet for the AT-ST.

  2. Looking great ! I'm looking forward to see more progress !

    1. Thank you Mario ... a lot of boring work-in-progress shots to come but I hope in the end it will look great.

  3. Tremendously promising. Don't worry about flooding yourself, I do that all the time!! :D

    1. Ha ha ... the next new project is like the next high for us modellers XD

  4. Cracking work. I so do enjoy these builds as they come together.

    1. Thank you so much Simon. I'm glad you liked them. I must admit WIP shots can be boring at times but hopefully they are at the very least useful to other modelers in a small way.


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