16mm Projects

Paul Howard: Weathering

Firstly, I cannot claim to be an expert in using these powders. I only began using them a few months ago but have been impressed by the finish that can be achieved and also by their ease of use.
Secondly, with the possible exception of turning cast iron, this is one of the messiest processes you will use when making models. I recommend that you spread out lots of newspapers to catch any fallout. If you do tread in any of the powder by mistake, you can easily spread it through your house. It might be better to do the job outside now that the weather is warming up.

PLEASE NOTE: I cannot be held responsible for any divorce resulting from the use of this procedure !!!!

You won’t need much. The powders themselves of course ( I use Revell and Tamiya), some matt varnish, loads of newspapers and some soft brushes. Make up brushes are perfect - I bought a pack of cheap ones from Wilco. Of course, you might get some odd looks from the shop assistant........

After painting your wagon, give it a coat of matt varnish. For many years, Testors Dullcote spray has been my varnish of choice. Unfortunately, this is now unavailable in this country. I still have a few cans left but will then have to look for an alternative and will probably try a Tamiya product. You might have your own favourite. This first varnish coat is important because it will allow you to wash off the weathering powder if you don’t like the result.

Take a good brushful of the powder ( this is a Sand Hutton coal wagon so I am using mostly black), brush onto the inside of the wagon, then along the edges of opening doors, along rivet lines, on the top of the chassis, anywhere, in fact, you think muck might accumulate.

You will see from the second photo how much of the powder falls off the wagon. If you are working on a newspaper, just tip this surplus back into a jar. Next, take a clean brush and work the powder around.to get a subtle effect. I find a circular motion can be useful here. If you are not pleased with how things have gone, simply wash the powder off with water and then, when dry, start again.

When you are happy with the result, give the wagon another coat of varnish to seal and waterproof and job done.

If you have bought a mixed pack of weathering powders, the sands, browns and rusts are useful to give some variation.

Another 7/8 brake van just waiting for the roof to be weathered.

As I said, I am no expert but I do like the controllable effects that I am able to achieve using weathering powders. It is an easy process - it probably takes less time to use the powders than It does to read this article. Give them a try.


Weathering powders are also great for producing rust effects. I use two colours of rust powder, one dark and one light. Dip the tip of a fine paintbrush into matt varnish then into the darker rust powder. Take the excess off on a piece of card then stipple onto the area to be rusted. This will give the effect of old rust. Now do the same with the lighter rust powder to give the effect of fresh rust coming through. The picture will show what I mean.

You can also use the dark rust powder in this way to simulate the vertical stains produced by water has run through a rusty patch.


March 2021

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