More on Techniques

On the preceding page I made reference to scrubbing, smearing and stippling with brushes or cotton buds.   As well as being different ways to apply paint to a basic finish, these methods can also be used to introduce subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) changes in hue.  The important thing with any multi-colour effect is careful blending, avoiding hard edges between the changes of shade – further thin washes can help here, once the first coat has hardened off, but you can also feather in small areas by just dabbing on a cotton bud straight after you’ve applied the paint.

A large part of learning a skill like this is the work that you yourself put in, in developing your own judgement of different techniques and materials. There really are an infinite number of ways of doing the ‘paint on, wipe off’ thing, a lot is dependent on how you work the paint, which is why I always emphasise that you should experiment, getting used to manipulating your brushes and other implements in less obvious ways.

As a more graphic illustration of the above, the streaks on the tank barrel here were achieved largely by working the still-wet paint with cotton buds and fine brushes:

By the way, the basic weathering coat on this tank is essentially the same mix of paint that I’d alway use, but tending more towards black and applied more thickly (in several layers) around the filler.


(coming soon)


Although it was covered in the 6WTS thread, the weathered, unpainted wood effect is arguably a more advanced technique.  But it is nevertheless a basic requirement for the  interiors of a large majority of British railway wagons, and is one of the weathering-type questions that I’ve probably seen asked the most.  Often, a newbie will ask what colour paint to use, but that rather gives away that they possibly don’t understand the nature of the weathering process.  Beyond getting a generally grey-with-a-hint-of-brown basic shade, the precise colour isn’t all that important; what does matter is what you apply over that shade to achieve an impression of subtly varying hues, with just a  suggestion of grain and maybe some load staining.  Although any ‘grain’ would obviously be overscale in 4mm scale, the average observer’s eye does expect to see something more than just one unrelieved colour.  That sort of effect involves layering, it just doesn’t come out of a single tin…

If you have any appreciation at all of the world around you, you shouldn’t need me to tell you that wood varies in colour according to its original type, age and usage.  That said, most of the generic pines used for railway wagons start off as a yellowy-beige and weather through to a silvery-grey, and are obviously prone to darker discolouration from load spillage.

For an everyday vanilla wooden floor, I’d start with a greyish-beigey mix from something like Tamiya XF55 Deck Tan with a bit of XF20 Mid Grey, or Humbrol #72 again with a touch of light/medium grey (the precise shade of grey really isnt crucial, you do want some variations).

The patchy appearance of the 6WTS Conflat here is partly because at the time I was still getting used to the consistency and spreadability of the Tamiya, partly because you do want some variance in tone, but mostly because I’m lazy and I tend to sort that out in the finishing coats!  But here, I was just intending to do a simple wash, so I did go over it again in the worst places. No point in working it into the planking gaps though, that’s the last thing you want:

And this is after just one well-worked wash, which you’ll see I’ve tried to get into all the detail and corners. The only additional ‘going over’, still done with the basic wash but with finer use of the brush, was in one or two places such as is shown by the fourth and eighth planks from the right. The wash in this case was made up from Humbrol #98 with Matt Black:

Bringing in again the notion of differential painting, you might have noticed in the first shot that I’d left the four little oblong plates in the factory dark brown. These are the chain pocket lids, where the securing chains would (or should) be stored when not in use, and they would be steel, so the base colour has now been picked out with a spot of the XF10 Flat Brown.

The other thing you’ll notice if you look at the body framing on the far side are the bits that havent caught any weathering mix (I did the floor and body more or less as one on this).  For the purposes of the photo, these were left deliberately, to show how they stand out and spoil the illusion – so be thorough. Keep looking at the model, from several angles and under different lights, to spot things like this – and taking a photo, of course, is a cast iron way of finding them!

Below, we’re back to the ex-PO again, in order to illustrate a variation in treatment.  The basic technique here was the same, but the model came with quite a nice silvery grey finish – a bit on the metallic side maybe, but a good basis for further work. Very weathered wood does take on a silvery grey appearance, so to this I just added some Tamiya XF20 as a base coat, and then applied washes as per the Conflat:

There’s no set number of coats or washes to use in such a situation; sometimes you’ll achieve a satisfactory effect quite quickly whereas on other occasions you might have to keep working at it, probably in localised areas that won’t quite behave.

2 responses to “More on Techniques

  1. Really great work on the wooden boards. Very nice stuff. Just started following your blog. Looking forward to reading backwards and finding out more.

    • Thanks Andrew. In the case of weathered wood, it’s particularly the case that there is no one ‘right’ colour or effect, it can vary tremendously. Anyway, glad you found it of use.

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