Tutorial - Weathering with Salt

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong

Heyho, it's Kong again :)

This article is again nothing very new as Raffa explains this technique in moving pictures inside Massive Voodoo's Weathering Tutorial, but i did write an article about weathering with salt a while ago and found some more photos to bring you my thoughts on more aspects of the theme...

Weathering with Salt
The technique itself is nothing new too. Using Salt'n'Hairspray on models is very common in the historic military modeling and since some years also very public to all the Fantasy painters. Maybe some of my thoughts will help you, but that is not in my hands. Check out the Weathering Overview to get inspired and keep your eyes saber sharp while running through your life. There is also another article on how i weathered a wall with hairspray to be found in the Jungle's article section. Enjoy the read and have some fine music to it!

What you need:

- common Salt out of the kitchen
- Hairspray
- Colours
- a model
- an Airbrush if you got one (can be done without too, explanation follows)
- an old brush or a toothpick or your fingers

Weathering happens not really controlled, so it can't be painted really planned. It most time shall have a random look. It is good to get experience by looking on real life weaterhing to get a feeling for where the weathering takes places. It is most time on edges which are used often or at places where water or dirt gathers over a long time. The following technique works well to bring you this effect of out of control weathering. Now finally there comes my explanation, first on some tanks to explain how it worksm but with the wrong colours i did choose. This was also my own first try back then. Black colour on the main body won't work good with dark rusty brown, remember that - explanation follows.

Take your tanks and after priming put a layer of brown on the complete areas. I did this with an airbrush, but you can also do this step with your brush. At this point you also can use different browns to make the rust appear even more randomly (i did not in this example):

Now bring on some hairspray on the models at the places you want to work with the salt technique. In this example here i did it much too wildly, but the effect i want to explain appears well, even with these wrong colours and too much salt, haha. While the hairspray is still wet bring on some salt at the places you want to. For the more detailed and calmed work the issue of statement and the guide follows later on. Your tanks can look like this when you are too wild:

After this is completly dry i did use another run at the airbrush to bring on some black as these tanks have been on comission and should be made in this colour. For sure this is not the perfect match in colour for this technique. Brighter and more powerful colours will look marvellous done in this way, a black tank simply looks like this after this step:

You can also do the step above with a brush, but it won't work as good as it will with the Airbrush. The colour you put on with the brush will have a harder grip around the salt pieces as it got with a layer sprayed with the gun. After this is dry move yourself to your basin and wait until warm (!) water comes out. Don't use cold water, it won't work good and don't use too hot water as it can transform your plastic models into something you don't want at all. Now hold your model under the warm water and if the area you are working on is big you can now ripp of the salt with your fingers, if it is small use an old brush or a toothpick. If you want to work with this technique in a finer way read the guide following later on. The warm water will remove the salt and the rusty parts appear again:

When it is dry you can now use this effect to build up your further work around it. As i mentioned already a thousand times, black isn't very good for this type of thing - a closer look:

After black is stupid, i will show you how it will look with a different colour, on a smaller model (GW Space Marine) in a more detailed way. Therefore i found some Work in Progress photos from a White Scar i did paint a while ago. White will look much better than black believe me. Same procedure, same steps, self explaining if you did read all my blabla above:


Again now starts the painting process. If you are intrested on how the model looked in the end you can find it here. To finish the model i did paint the areas around the weathered places, staying concentrated at it helps. You can always bring back a place by painting some rust again or even find out another working order that fits your style of painting.

Here follows an example where i completly did these steps with a brush, no airbrush used. Some salt pieces have been easy to ripp off, some really damaged the coloured area as the colour around the salt piece was too thick -but find out yourself and learn from your own experience, which is always better than putting trust in my words - they are just meant to bring you inspiration:

A tip i've learned over the years: You can make your salt even smaller by stamping it or rubbing it between your fingers. Smaller Salt pieces will mean smaller random weathering effect, it is just that simple.

Another example of this technique follows at one of my actual projects, the RENEGADE, where i've calmed myself and did not went completly mad with salt and tried to focus on smaller damaged areas, also with small and big salt pieces - just for the eye:

I hope you've enjoyed reading this, but as i told in the beginning it is nothing really new. Give it a try, collect your experience and pump up your own level of painting with your experience points :)

Keep on happy painting!
Kind Regards


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