|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.