Wash Techniques

  • SdKfz232_Rear1
  • KV-85_8_
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  • DDsidebow_edited

"Washes are used to accentuate panel lines and detail and to add a bit of interest to the surface of the model." - Mal Mayfield [ HOLDFAST ].

Washes can also be used to create and unify diverse weathering effects and finishes. I have been dissatisfied by traditional methods of making POL (Petrol, Oil & Lubricants) stains, of simulating dust and dirt accumulations, and especially large areas of rust. Rust is often more than just orangish streaks running down vertical surfaces. It can be on a flat horizontal surface where water has collected and seeped under the paint, attacking from below. POL spills can collect, repel and wash away particulates. Dust and dirt on a moving, jostling, vibrating machine, can be agitated up against raised items and into corners. All three of these phenomena in unison can produce complex patterns that ordinary weathering techniques just can't capture, at least not without hours of delicate, dedicated effort.

Seeking more authentic methods of mimicking these effects, I hearkened back to my art school days. With various media, I experimented with ways to create different effects on models. Three media in particular have been very successful; guache, india ink, and the new water mixable oil colour. Distinct effects can be created when mixed with equally unconventional mediums, these being ammonia, vinegar and Future (Johnson's Klear), as well as good old windshield washer fluid.

These washes can produce feathered, graduated effects which I once could only create with an airbrush. Unlike spraying these, this is a quick and easy way to cover areas large and small. And if you are that rare modeler who makes a mistake, you have time to dilute, increase, wash or wick the error.

About the Author

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...


Fred did a lot of the tricky experimenting for us, so we can get right to the good stuff. Nicely done!
DEC 12, 2017 - 07:59 PM