I purchased a toy tractor, which is a near perfect scale for MUMG. I was interested in working out how to quickly paint and detail it (in addition to also using this for several other toys I’d acquired, including some $2.80 cars from Daiso) to make them look a bit more muted so they’d fit in on the tabletop more than the bright and glossy red and white it was straight out of the packet.
I addressed this by using a ‘salt chip weathering’ technique which I find to be a very time efficient way of adding a heavily weathered look to models. This effectively sees you paint on a base coat of a certain colour (I used Vallejo Air Colour Armour Brown in this case, but you can mix this up depending on the piece) which will be the colour of your ‘chips’.
You then put a light coat of hairspray on the model (my girlfriend kindly let me use some she had), and you then throw salt at the model. I use rock salt I’ve pounded a bit in a mortar and pestle to get different sized pieces to make it more ‘random’ which is what you’re going for with this technique. I then pop another light coat of hairspray on, but this is somewhat optional as the salt will usually stick fine to the first coat, I just find the second one prevents bleed under the salt and makes sure it stays in place better. You then set your model aside to dry for a while, I try and leave it around fifteen minutes to half an hour to make sure the hairspray is fully set (especially if I’ve gone a bit heavy on it!).
Once some drying time has elapsed, you then respray the model with whatever the main colour of the model will be, I actually taped the model to do the roof white, and the balance of the tractor red. Then we wait again for this to dry, I usually try to time my painting so I can leave this for a prolonged period if possible (e.g. overnight) to make sure the top paint is properly cured as we will be getting a little brutal on it in the next step.
This is where we get the chipping effect, effectively by knocking off the salt to reveal the first base coat on the model. For this I use a toothbrush, but the rubber gum-cleaner bit on the back, rather than the bristles themselves. You can also use a bamboo skewer, a plastic ruler, or anything else that has a little give and can knock the salt off. Effectively you’ll use your tool to rub the model, which should knock off the salt and leave a heavily chipped paint job look to the model.
After that, I will, on some models, highlight some of the bigger chips evident to give them a bit more depth and improve the aesthetics some more, and otherwise block back in other details (like the tyres and hubs of the tractor, as you can see below). Another further element might be the use of pigments or oil paint washes to add further weathering effects to the model, which I’ll be doing for the tractor, but I’ll cover that in a future post (once I’ve got around to doing it!).