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Michael Morris

Weathering advice please.

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I'm just finishing off an Airfix Orion Shuttle (2001: a space Odyssey) kit.

I'd like to include some simple and very subtle weathering.  I want to add a tiny bit of exhaust streaking around the thrusters and the exhaust outlets on the in-wing engines. I'm also thinking about having a VERY subtle weathering effect on the main body.

It would be great if anyone can suggest SIMPLE techniques for achieving the desired effect. 

Note:- please be gentle with me, I'm a virgin when it comes to weathering!



Edited by Michael Morris

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I've just read a very good technique for oil streaking.

Have a look at @shortCummins Hasegawa lightning build in the aircraft WIP section.


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For subtle exhaust staining I recommend pastels or pigment powders. Easy as pie.

For the main body maybe do a Flory wash. Also easy. 

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With almost every technique, it's usually better to experiment on a kit you don't care as much about in case things go wrong. Most of us have at least one old kit we keep as a "paint mule" to test different finishing methods.


As far as the "easiest" technique, I think for your application chalk pastels are the best way to go.  Assuming you have an otherwise "finished" model including final decals and clear coat (with possible exception of masking windows, etc.), you can apply small amounts of pastel as you choose.


Tamiya and various other companies make "weathering powders" with a range of colors and very fine pigments, but you can do just as well with a set of chalk pastels from any art supply store. You'll want to make sure you have earth tones and black/gray/white. With a full range you can mix in small amounts of different colors for subtle effects. An ordinary pencil lead (or graphite powder) is also handy, used by itself or mixed in with other colors to give a metallic sheen.


You only need a very small amount of pastel powder, and can apply with a soft brush using various techniques. Longer strokes can be feathered out from a source of stains (e.g. an exhaust port), or stippling (brushing downward perpendicular to the model's surface) will creat more of a "spot" stain. Look at real-world examples (in this case something like the space shuttle or X-15, or general jet aircraft) to get an idea how their weathering looks and the effect you want to create.


The beauty of pastels is that if you mess up and add too much or something in the wrong place, you can wipe off the excess with a damp, soft cotton swab or makeup sponge and start over. This "forgiving" quality is why you want to have a clearcoat down before you start to protect your base paint and decals.


The only other thing to keep in mind about pastel weathering is whether or not your model will be subject to future handling. If so, you can apply an additional clear coat over the pastel work to seal it, but keep in mind this may slightly reduce the effect (the wet clear coat will subtly "settle out" some of the pastel pigment, and the force of air from an airbrush or rattle can will "push" a small amount off the surface).


The other most popular techniques are washes and dry brushing, neither of which is that difficult but both are potentially less forgiving than pastels.

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