Tips and Tricks


Tips and Tricks

Accumulating the Drift... Weathering Products

by Eric Christianson

With the sky-rocketing cost of modeling products these days it’s hard to settle on just the items you need, especially if you haven’t even tried them yet. Enough people have asked me what products I use for weathering models that I thought I’d create a little list of those items that I feel are indispensable for my own work. Keep in mind, some folks may disagree on what I’ve included (or excluded) so hopefully this list will open a discussion on that as well.

Except where noted, all of these products can be purchased at local hobby shops and/or online.

I use the following products perhaps 90% of the time, for weathering aircraft and/or armor, listed in order of use/importance:

  • Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner
    I use this to thin all non-acrylic weathering products, including washes, filters and pigments. It will not affect underlying paint. It comes in several sizes and can be found at Home Depot, Benjamin Franklin’s or Michaels.

  • Mig Wash Brown (tube) Oil Paint
    This has a very fine pigment; I mix it with Mona Lisa and keep in a jar. I use it for filters and washes.

  • Mig Dark Wash (pre-mixed bottle) (P220)
    I thin this in puddle on an old CD and apply it as a wash. This is nearly identical to Burnt Umber Oil Paint in color and hue.

  • Vallejo Model Air Light Brown (squeeze bottle) (71-027)
    I spray this on as road dust thinned heavily with Vallejo thinner and one drop of Liquitex Flow Aid.

  • Mig European Dust Pigment (P028)
    I apply this mixed with Mona Lisa for mud or as is for dry pigments.

  • Mig Russian Earth Pigment (PO34)
    Same as above.

  • AK Interactive Track Wash (bottle) (AK083)
    I use this un-thinned on armor track before pigments.

  • Vallejo Model Color Oily Steel (squeeze bottle) (70-865)
    I use this to paint steel items (guns, shovels, etc.) before applying a black wash.

  • Mig Dark Rust (tube) Oil Paint (ABT-070)
    I have a jar of this mixed with Mona Lisa thinner for filters.

  • Mig Black (tube) Oil Paint (ABT-110)
    I mix this with Mona Lisa and keep in a jar. I use it for washes and filters.

  • Gamblin Sliver (tube) Oil Paint
    I apply this with my finger and/or an artist’s blender to highlight metal edges.

  • Vallejo Model Color Buff (squeeze bottle) (70-976)
    I spray this on as road dust thinned with Vallejo thinner and one drop of Liquitex Flow Aid.

  • AK Interactive Streaking Grime (bottle) (AK012)
    I streak this on un-thinned, wait a few minutes, and then stump it with a clean brush damp with Mona Lisa.

  • AK Interactive Streaking Grime for DAK Vehicles (bottle) (AK067)
    same as above.

  • Fine grade sand, real dirt, and Plaster of Paris
    I use these for mud. These items can be found at Benjamin Franklin’s or Michaels.

Other Items I depend on…

If you are just starting out, I think the best way to approach something like this is to look at a modeling article that sports the finish you are looking for, and (hopefully), the author has listed what he or she used. Over time, you will accumulate just the items you need and (hopefully) not too much that you don’t!

Please Note: To show no favoritism to any of the modeling supplies websites, the Web Coordinator has chosen to show only the manufacturer's website where possible. While this may be overall the most "fair" way of showing these products, it is probably neither the most convenient nor inexpensive avenue of obtaining any of these products. Many of these products can be obtained through local craft stores, local hobby stores, online hobby stores, or even a particular online bookstore.