While weathering a model to realistic standards takes a huge amount of skill, and years of practicing, everyone has to start somewhere, and knowing where to start is the hardest part.

Some website have real pros showing you how to do it, but if you are just having a bash for the first time its not much help, so I am hoping to give you a basic insight into simple methods to get you started. 

As they say, from tiny acorns, grow mighty oaks.

So this is my scratch built boat which when done will be radio controlled.  After going through many guises, it has ended up being a 1950 ish light cargo vessel in appearance, but instead of the out of the showroom look which most model boats you see on boating ponds are, this is going to have that old and very used look about it.

Prior to the weathering stage all the other painting needs to be completed, as weathering is the final layer, to simulate usage and age.

As you can see I have painted the hull to match the boats and era I am aiming for, and also added the green algae line which is purely cosmetic, but something boats from then had, as they were very seldom cleaned.

I want the used with a few dents and scraps which have been left to rust over months and years look, so a selection of light, medium and heavy rust will be applied.

As you can see I have already done the surface rust on the upper cabin bits, as these were made to simulate riveted steel. 


So the first stage is almost not seen on the final finished item, but I find dusting the item, in this case hull with fine dust, (this is sieved dust from my extractor bin which sucks up stuff from my sander,) gives a good dirty dusty finish, which looks fine.

As I said this will hardly show when finished because as soon as you spray clear varnish over it, it all but disappears.  However saying that a very slight amount can be seen in the finished effect, adding a very random effect to it.

Obviously if your model is not going in the water you can miss out the clear varnish coat, and the dusty look will stay put, but as this is going in the water it need varnishing to keep the dust from washing off.

You can do weathering by using various shades of paint and paint washes and powders, but that's not so good if it's your first time but there is an easier way, Quickee Rust. This is something I have been working on for some time now, and in short is a sprit based wash, which can be applied either by brush or air brush, and in its most basic form can be done in three easy steps. It can be applied straight, or for heavier rust deposits add a bit of course powder first to give that rough rusted look, which also comes in the kit. So to rusting, and as I wanted heavy rusting I applied the matt basecoat in what looked like a heavy rust pattern then with the model sitting so the part being rusted is horizontally flat sprinkled some course powder onto the matt basecoat and let it dry.  Leave for an hour or so to dry, and if when dry it looks too much just gently rub with your finger to remove access powder.  In the kit there are two powders a course for larger scale models and a very fine for smaller models, as it you use the course powder on say a 1:72 it will look far to big in proportion to the model, so you would use the fine.

When the varnish holding the dirt on is dry, you can begin to apply the Quickee Rust.  There are two brushes in the kit, so for bigger models choose the thicker brush.

I find three coats are enough to look fairly old and well rusted.  So apply the first coat to just the dirt covered areas, as the more coats added the rustier it looks.  Then for the second and third coats go over the edge of the dirt just a bit, and this will give the appearance of new rust starting to form, while making the dirtied area look darker as in more rusted.

When doing this you need to apply what I call real world effects to it.  By this I mean look at something that has rusted to see how rust forms.  Often with rust you get rusty water marks, and if there is rust above a ledge the rust water gathers on the ledge forming a sort of rusty puddle.

When painting and weathering a model, try and think where and why it would be rusted in a certain place, and what other effects it might have on the surrounding area.

Hopefully this close up will show better than I can explain what I mean about real world effects.

On vertical surfaces due to gravity pulling the water and moisture downwards rust will advance far quicker down than up, but it will also go up but not as fast so bare this in mind when applying it.

The rust marks around the band line need to look like it has crept down onto this, then started to spread along and down it.  As the band sticks out proud of the hull it would act as a sort of barrier, letting the rust get a good hold and spread around before finally going over the edge onto the front.

You can also see the rusty water effect, which needs to go just in the crease to look like has slowly run along over a period of time.

The other thing is pay attention to what you are rusting, as different things rust differently, also depending on what the item is, to its use to possible rust marks from usage and damage.



With the rusting done, next you need to fad the item being painted, as anything that is weathered and rusty is not going to be new, so the paint will also look old and faded.

For some reason when you look at pictures of old British ships with the red and black hulls they are streaked with white which apparently is where water runs down the side carrying dirt and dust with it, which dries to create these marks.  (So I have been told anyway.)

The best way to achieve something reasonably close to this is to use a wash on it. this is a few drops of paint to a lot of paint thinner, giving a very watery paint. In this case I used 6 drips, (as in dip the wrong end of the paint brush into the paint and then transfer it to another container letting it just drip off.) drops of  matt white revell to 14ml of thinner.  This gives a very faint white that can be built up if needed.

You can see the difference in the done and not done halves, but remember on boats this is not a uniform covering, it sort of streaks.

So this final picture is the complete hull.  As this will be used as a radio controlled boat and actually go in the water, it needs sealing with a satin varnish once complete to seal it all, and protect it from the water.  I find spraying is the only way to do it, as using a brush can lift and drag some of the paint and details up, ruining all your work.


Last off donít be afraid to have a go, until you try you wonít know what you are capable of.