Thursday, 19 January 2017

Making weathering powder

The hobby industry, as we all probably know, operates in a very competitive market. And as such, each manufacturer is trying really hard to come up with new & exciting products for us hobbyists to buy. But quite a few of those products are a bit of a con i.e. Clump foliage, Basing material, Gravel....for christs sake! and Weathering powders.

About five or so years ago when weathering powders hit the market (in my hobby sphere they did anyway) I had no idea what they were, just thought it was some new magic stuff that made metal look aged. But after I saw how much they wanted for the them I gave them the middle finger. Did a bit of a research online though, and discovered what they were derived from, but took it no further, as I didn't really need them....just wanted them :)

Just in case your not aware, weathering powders are just pigments. The "base" that gets added to the liquid mediums to produce paint. That's it!

Fast forward a few years when I started doing a bit of Kitbashing, and that's when I thought about pigments again. Weathering large areas with paints can be a bit of a pain in the rectum. So I decided to make my own. Thought I'd do a small tutorial on how I go about making them at the same time. So read on if I've not bored you to tears already :)



First, get hold of some cheap acrylic pastel sticks. Just make sure that their acrylic and not oil! otherwise your stuffed. Then steal a small cheese grater from your kitchen without your other half finding out or she'll brain you.


Grab one of the little bastards and....


Grate like a madman! It's actually really easy, just use the finest grating side and apply a small amount of pressure. I found that grating at an angle reduces the chances of the pastel chipping quite a lot. Just play around and you'll figure it out.


You'll end up with a nice pile of brown.......weathering powder!


Here I'm just showing you a comparison of the "real product" beside mine. It's just the same stuff! 


And after about half an hours work I ended up with every colour in the rainbow. I can mix & match to my hearts desire. Piece of piss hey!


Hope I haven't done one of those "sucking eggs" tutorials again. If I have, just let me know in the comments section and I'll delete it, seriously!


Cheers fellas :)

29 comments:

  1. Thanks for teaching me to suck eggs. Top tip I will definately use.

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    1. If I've taught you to suck them well then my job is done :D

      I just wasn't sure if it was a widely known fact. I'm glad you found it helpful :)

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  2. I have had a collection of pastel stick for years, but I rarely use them due to fixing issues. So if you have any tips there, that would be useful. ;)

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    1. I have heard people using alcohol to help apply it and/or set it, but I tried it and didn't have any luck. It just turned to mud, or wouldn't stick properly.

      The way I do it, which is just my method, I'm no expert ok :) Is that I usually apply them after I've hit the model with a gloss coat. That's when I do all my weathering stuff i.e. oils, rust etcetera. So, once the powders have been applied to the model, using a fat, soft bristled brush, I hit it with a matte varnish from pretty far away, so as not to blow it all off. Once it's set in place I can move in closer to give it a proper coat. Just have to take your time with it.

      Hope this helps :)

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    2. Thanks, i will have to give it a try... maybe the weather will be more accommodating to sprays sometime too.

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    3. I've got the complete opposite issue in my neck of the woods :D

      Cheers :)

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  3. I'm now crying into my very expensive Forgeworld weathering sets. Both of them. :((

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    1. Don't do that, you'll ruin them!!! :)

      Sorry I couldn't have shown you how to do this earlier. But hey! Look on the bright side, at least you know how to make them yourself now.

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  4. Like it. And I bet that the home made weathering powder is WAY cheaper than the packaged "pay for the Name" stuff.

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    1. Yeah, the pastel sticks are dirt cheap. I think their available in just about every pound shop, 2 dollar shop....or any other discount currency related outlet!

      I picked mine up for B60, which works out to be $2 AUS.....basically nothing really.

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  5. Genius! That's a top tip mate - I've avoided them up until now, partly due to price, and partly not really knowing what to do with the stuff.
    How about a post on using them??

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    1. Ooooh, another tutorial hey? Well, I've got a Siege Dreadnought that's just about ready to weather up. Gotta solve a slight, possibly catastrophic, glue issue with it first. But as soon as that's rectified I'll give it a bash and take some pics along the way :)

      But I must warn you, I don't use the pigments strictly as "weathering agents". I do use them as their intended, but I add them to the oils and acrylics as well, just to thicken them up and add some coarse texture variation to them.

      Anyway, leave it with me. Glad you liked this little how-to :)

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  6. Hadn't thought about doing it this way and I must say it had made me go for ready made pigments. I'l follow this path in the future. ^^

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    1. Glad you like the way I do it JB. It's too bloody easy to make'm yourself than to buy them ready made.

      Cheers mate :)

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  7. Please show us how they look applied. Also, where did you find such a small grater? They dont have them in the UK!

    The problem with powders is that they come off. If you try to fix them it changes how they look. Tricky.

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    1. You also use a course grit sandpaper to abrade chalk pastels, that's what I use.

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    2. Keep your pants on Curtis, the tutorial for that will be coming soonish :)

      Regarding the grater, I think I got that little sucker back in Aus? But if for some reason you can't find them there in the UK, just use a lemon zester.

      I've not had much luck with the usual way of applying them either i.e. alcohol.....just turns it to mud :( I fix them with spraying matte varnish, at a distance! It works great!

      Regarding the sand paper method, there's a few reasons why I prefer to do it this way;

      1. It's a lot cleaner, you don't have to hold the sand paper with your other hand while grinding the pastel stick.
      2. The pastel powder will embed itself into the sandpaper as you grind it, so that you can't use that section again for other coloured pastels. Otherwise you'll contaminate the next colour.
      3. You then have to transfer the powder from the sandpaper into your chosen storage container....an extra step.

      For all of the above reasons I prefer the little grater method :)

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    3. Now that you mention it, I bet you could use a coarse wood rasp as well, if the hardware store is easier to find than the kitchen goods store. Probably more expensive than a tiny cheese grater, though, and maybe slightly more of an issue cleaning it off. But if you have one sitting around anyway . . . That said, I'll have to ask my friend Ali where he got his cute little key fob sized grater.

      When I was . . . fifteen? . . . I scraped the mess out of the bottom of the family chalkboard rail. We used colored chalks often, but not always, so it was a pleasantly light earth kind of color, and ever so slightly inconsistent, which was fantastic. Playground grade colored chalk is also cheap. Probably just a little harder than a pastel, but not so hard you can't use it. Hmm . . . You're making me wonder. Haven't tried weathering powder since that teenage episode.

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  8. I've thought about doing that...but, damn, am I lazy 😀

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    1. Well, you can't argue with "can't be arsed" now can we :DDD

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  9. Thank you for this helpful tip.
    I use sandpaper and graphite to make "Kossute Ginsan" (Chrome powder)that is just a powdered graphite used to make a Chrome look (black base layer of paint and then you use the graphite powder, topcoat it and polish with cloth)

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    1. Cool! Nothing says 80's more than chrome :)

      Cheers.

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    2. When you say "topcoat it" are you talking a fixative, or a thin color coat or wash of some kind to lighten it up? How bright is the graphite? I'd have thought it would be too dark, but . . . maybe I'm way wrong there.

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    3. Hi.
      First you need to:
      - use a Gloss Black as a base paint.
      - place a graphite powder on that part using a cotton q-tip
      - rub that powder on, using cotton q-tip (use latex etc. gloves, it can get messy with graphite powder)
      - at first it will be dark colored, but after more you rub the graphite powder it will get lighter and shine more
      - BONUS - now you can use any CLEAR paint (red, yellow etc.) for "Candy Paint effect" (like on those custom Hot Rods)
      - use clear topcoat to cover the chrome and prevent it from falling of/ dirting other parts

      Not mine pic but it will look liek that (depends on the quality/type of graphite)
      http://out.pl/mporta/B-170/B-170_33.JPG

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    4. Thank you! I will stash this away and give it a shot.

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    5. It looks ace Ranalcus! I'll be giving this a try too :)

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  10. You are an evil genius. I'll have to steal my wife's pastels and grater when she's out spending my money.

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    1. Damn right! They never use half the stuff they buy anyway :D

      Cheers :)

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