How To Weather Model Cars

Model cars are incredible miniature representations of different types of vehicles. A very common and fun way of adding more character to a model car is to weather it. A lot of car model enthusiasts opt to make a more realistic representation, especially of the vintage ones, by custom detailing these models to look like they've already aged and have gone out from a junkyard.

There are a lot of ways to weather your model car. Whether you choose to apply rust, paint, or some trashy upholstery in it, you are sure to give your model car a very unique and impressive appearance.

  • Paint your model car. A good way of making your model car appear weathered is to make it look like its paint is already chipping. You can start by applying an undercoat, preferably a silver metallic paint to replicate steel then let it dry. Paint the car with your preferred color but leave some areas lightly coated or do not paint some parts at all, particularly the dented portions or areas where you would like to create your "chips." Make sure that you have wiped your car clean with a dust rag before painting to prevent rough finishes that can affect its over -all appearance.
  • Apply rust. Prepare your rust or ink mixture by mixing equal parts of red and brown ink with water. Blend it well to prevent the mixture from separating which might cause you to have thick paint spots when you apply it to your car. Slightly dip the tip of your paintbrush into the mixture and lightly apply to the parts where you want the rust to start. Repeat the process if you want to create a more weathered look. But be very careful in applying the mixture. Gently brush your paint and allow the ink to run into the cracks or dents to make it look more realistic.

Make sure that the ink is completely dry before applying more details to your model car. Inks that are applied thinly will usually take a couple of minutes to dry, while the thickly applied coats will take much longer. It would be better if you give your car 10 to 24 hours to dry before moving on with your custom detailing.

  • Another good option in weathering your model is to make damages in it. Use heat, a candle for example, to create bumps in the model's fenders to make it look like it was hit by another vehicle. Be extra careful in doing this procedure. When the plastic styrene of your car model starts to soften, use your pocket knife to wrinkle or dent the exposed part or the fender. You can also use and apply your ink mixture to emulate rust where you made the dents.

It takes a good amount of creativity and patience to come up with an attractive and natural weathered look for your model. Keep in mind that most of the techniques mentioned above are irreversible. Be very careful in applying the techniques outlined above to your model, especially in applying heat to make dents, or puncturing holes to the car's body. Decide and think hard about how you would like the car to look like before you start personalizing your model.


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