In scale modeling, nothing is more important than the proper weathering. Every scale model kit, no matter how simple it is, how many errors it embeds and how far from the real things is, can be turned into a masterpiece with the proper “make up”. In the same time, even the best kits out there, beautiful and brilliantly engineered toolings like Tamiya’s 32nd scale planes or MiniArt or MENG Model armor vehicles can be ruined if not weathered properly.
Weathering is part of the finishing touches and in art schools they teach you that the thing that matters the most are the last five percent of the product. Those 5% are defining for the outcome of the whole creation. They are the first thing that the spectator sees and in the very first moment of that meeting between the mind and the art, that is when the bond is formed.
Here we will share the Top 10 weathering products available on the market according to us. Alongside with each, you will find a short opinion and its all based on experience and experimentation. They do not follow specific order and they are all very good. So without much more writing, let’s get onto them:
We are talking about the oil sets here. There are many options from Abteilung502 that are sold separately, but the sets are the one that we found to be more valuable. The reason for that is not only that the combo lowers the price in general, but the way they are selected and packed. For example, one of our favorite sets – the Naval and Grey Effects – suits ships and submarines, exactly as well as it fits Naval airplanes and winter camouflaged tanks. It basically covers all the “cold” and “wet” effects in terms of tonality and with it you can recreate pretty much anything in any of the areas described above.
Similarly, the Vehicle Weathering and Effects set should cover almost any amour or soft-skin vehicle that you might have in stash, and even extend to aircraft that were used on unprepared fields. Each of those products contain 6 oil tubes, that will basically last you for eternity, even if you share them with some friends. Of all the oils on the market, we think that this is the best choice for modelers, despite the fact that the competition is very strong.
Xtreme Metal & True Metal Wax
These two products are a hybrid form of paint-weathering tool. They came a bit later compared to Alclad2 paints, but both are very high quality products and superb substitute for the Alclad2s. While Xtreme Metal comes in a liquid form, True Metal comes as a paste and both cover different areas of modeling. Best experience you might get is when you get them served together.
True Metal is more of a weathering product than Xtreme metal, but we consider them both indispensable for every modeler toolbox/paint rack. Both products are from AK Interactive line, a definite leader in the weathering business. If you haven’t tried them out, give them a go, they deserve your attention. They give a very realistic metallic finish, hardly achievable with most of the other products on the market.
Chipping from AMMO/AK
Both light and heavy chipping from AMMO or AK are absolute necessity for an armor modeler. With that said, we know that many of you would go the the grocery store and get hair spray for 1/3rd of their price, but still. Those products are well balanced and as all the others in this article are suitable for more than one area of scale modeling. For example, chipping can be used very successfully with vintage airplanes, not only tanks, and that is why there are two options light and heavy. We suggest you to get them both. It is well worth the money. They are enamel products, that is why you need to pick your paints wisely. Heavy chippings goes for the armor, light one is more suitable for planes.
Yes baby! Those are the nicest, coolest and best pigments on the market according to many. They come in different variations and even though in this list there is a substitute for them in a much cheaper form, we love MIG pigments. Actually either Vallejo, AK or MIG would do – as many of you know -, but it all started with MIG and those huge jars of the not so distant past. We love them and we recommend them with all our hearts! Perfect colors, well balanced and with extremely realistic appearance after fixing them onto the model.
For quite some time we discussed should we put this in the list, because it is a book, not a product. It is true, that it is as good as Michael Rinaldi’s books, however Adam Wilder has its own line of weathering products and they are as good as any other brand, if not better. Many swear to them. And because we didn’t want to fuel any feuds on the matter, we decided that Adam’s book on weathering should be on this list here. Alongside with a full guide useful for every modeler, inside you can find hints that you might implement in your modeling routine. Part 2 is already hard ti find, so hurry up! And don’t forget to check Wilder products too.
Vallejo Model Color
One thing is important here: to make a distinction between Vallejo Model Air and Vallejo Model Color. The latter one is oriented towards paint brushing rather than anything else. That is why it is famous for years as one of the best option for weathering effects. Brush chipping, custom home-made filters and washes and such are best achieved with Vallejo paints and we love them!
Vallejo Model Color can be found as sets or separate paints. They can be thinned down for airbrushing as well, but this is beyond the point of this article and there is a perfect Vallejo set already created specifically for that purpose. The most important thing to have here is a decent brush and steady hand. Everything else – Vallejo already provided.
Tamiya Weathering Master
Yes, your eyes are not fooling you! This is not a set of lady’s make-up, it is a weathering product! And Tamiya choose very wisely, since the weathering is exactly that: applying a make-up over your painted plastic model. The only things that gives up the idea are the small stylized tanks on the plastic envelope.
Each of these can be found as a separate product too, but what we would suggest is go for the set. It will be the cheaper option and you will have anything that you might need either as a ready color or you could mix. The quality is nothing less than the regular Tamiya – the best on the market.
This is the cheapest and one of the most effective solutions for weathering in this list. It can be found in many variations and it can be mixed-matched as much as your own fantasy and vision goes. And even though there are sets that are better than others, in general the colors are what matters. Quite often, the cheapest products of barely-known brands works best, but this is not a dogma. Just ask around and you will find that many modelers use pastels for substituting pigments and soft pencils for substituting metal powder. Why not? After all the final appearance is what matters.
Those come as pigments or paints and they are well respected and loved by modelers. Paints offer experience just like Vallejo Model Color and the pigments are very fine and easy to use. The only let down is the latter ones don’t last long. But the option above is one of the solutions for that. Plenty of sets are available, but we suggest to avoid sticking just to LifeColor. It is better to mix and match with other brands mentioned here.
Washes and Filters are among the most popular products for weathering and altering the final appearance of the model. Nowadays everybody has their own solution for those, with plenty of homemade remedies that fits their style. However we love AMMO washes and trust that they deserve a spot here, in the TOP 10 Weathering products list. Although expensive compared to the alternative, they provide a perfect solution and fine results, which sometimes can be missed when you make substitutes of your own. They are too enamel products and you better watch out for the paint you are about to use on your model.
These are our top 10 pics for weathering products. We can easily put ten more in that list, but it is hard nowadays, since the market is full of superb products. With that said, the option of home-made product always stays and there are plenty of brilliant ideas for weathering that people share on the modeling forums and YouTube. Track solutions deserve a different article as well. There is so much for weathering and it is great! All we know is, that if you go with any of the above products, you won’t be disappointed!