Weathering AFV [Part 1]

The Workshop on Nov 27th 2010 highlighted some techniques for weathering AFVs using the hairspray technique and chips and rust using acrylic painting.

This article hopes to record some of the items presented

1. Hairspray techniques

The hairspray technique is not a new technique, but one popularised by a certain Phil Stuchinkas in his not too recent locomotive build.

Essentially, the hairspray technique uses a medium (in this instance, hairspray) as a temporary barrier between 2 coats of finishes. This temporary barrier should be water soluble to create the effect. Hairspray is a suitable candidate as it dissolves easily in water.


This first image shows a placard intially coated with with an intial black base, left to cure, and then coated with a layer of hairgel as a substitute for hairspray. The gel can be seen as it is rather reflective in the light.This coat was lightly brused on in areas where chipping is expected to occur. After it has dried, the top coat is then airbrushed over the treated panel (shown at the top of the panel in dark yellow).

After the top coat is cured, some water is either airburshed over the panel of a wet brush will serve equally well. The function of the water is to seep through the top dark yellow coat and dissolve the dried gel making it easy to lift off from the black base coat.

A stiff brush is then used to break/ tear the top dark yellow coat and instant chipping is achieved. In order to control the size of the chipping, a tight control on the thickness of the gel must be maintained. The thinner the gel coat, the smaller the chip will be.


This second  image show a black base part coated with a pigment rust coat at areas where rust is wanted. After the pigment is dried, a coat of futures is airbrushed and allowed to cure before gel is applied on the rust spots. After the top coat is airbrushed and cured, the paint is the chipped exposing the rust underneath. Detail is then added with oils and graphite pencils to increase the realism.


This image shows a technique on a rushed sample without the pigment coat but only using oils to create the rust streaks. WIth some better tonal variation and brush stroke control, some rich detail can be achieved.

2. Painted on effects

Painted on weathering effects require a bit more care and skill but once mastered can produce stunning effects like that in the next few shots.


All the samples except for one was handpainted with a fine brush using a variety of sienna/burnt sienna. black and lighten base coat colurs to trick the eye into seeing amore 3 dimensional effect.

3. Salt technique


The salt technique employ a similar technique as the hairspray coat but using fine salt as a substitute. In this instance fine salt is sprinkled onto a damp base coated panel and set to dry , dilluting some of the salt in the process. After drying the base coat is airbrushed over and then the lumpy salt is either dissolved off or brushed off the surface.