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Sprocket

The Salt technique for rust and worn paint

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Rust and worn paint is a fact of life, reproducing it in scale model form is difficult to say the least. I have ben developing a method that gives me a way of making realistic rust and worn off paint on Desert Vehicles, ships, cars AFVs. It's also a technique that can produce a small part of a model, such as the exhaust and manifold parts to look rusty and weathered, when the vehicle itself is in great condition.

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so the first step is to identify your area to be detailed in the salt technique way. You need to study the real thing, rust on areas of the vehicle just like the area you intend to copy.

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this is vital to learn how and where the original objects rust or wear, quite often it's not how you imagine, but if you get it right, it will look right. Consider other areas of weathering such as moss, algie and other fungal growths. They can all be applied using this method.

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a great way to check out stuff isn't just typing it into google, but by keeping your eye's open on your country walks, cycle ride to work. or out and about with your pet Hamster, check out farm vehicles, plant machinery such as diggers and bulldozers, always carry a phone camera or like me, carry a small digital camera to separate your model images to everything else on your phone. Don't worry about looking eccentric as you bend in close to photograph the manifold of that old tractor, or the bare wheel hub of that dumped car, or that rusty Tug boat in the local Harbor.

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step one, use a paintbrush to apply water from a jar with a little washing up liquid in it (that lowers the surface tension of the water), sprinkle table salt between you thumb and forefinger, grinding it as it sprinkles down and sticks to the wet area. This is the start of step one.

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I use an airbrush for this method, I can't see it working with a hairy stick, the salt is allowed to dry overnight, it won't work if the salt is still wet as the air flow will move the salt, first coat, and there is no hard and fast rule of what that is, it depends on the effect you are going for, if it's rust, then a deep rust base colour.

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the distribution, of the salt will dictate the effect at that stage, the individual grain of salt acts like a tiny mask, so it's important that the salt is swept off to reset the surface for the next application, Grinding the salt will alter the grain s size and shape changing it's uniformity. Don't be perturbed by the first result, it's just the first step of several, there's no scrubbing and starting again, you just keep going stage after stage.

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when you see it starting to work don't stop, there are further stages still to go, the more colours the better. With rust it's good to go dark tones to lighter tones.

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as the layers increase, the next colour influences those below it. It takes patience to achieve it as each layer has to dry before going on with the next.

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it's important to remove the salt from the previous application as it will only mask that area from further influence.

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the salt leaves a residue that needs to be washed off when the paint from the last stage has dried.

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using the salt technique you can partly obliterate previous overpainted markings from other units or companies that own it previously.

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Edited by Sprocket
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That's a very informative tutorial Dave. Which paints do you use for the rust colour – it looks very effective?

I'm also very interested in learning about making glazing using the PVA glue method which you mentioned in your Sunderland thread. I've seen it referred to before, but I've not seen the method mentioned. Any chance you could post another 'tip' please?

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For the rust shades I use Lifecolour.

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but not everyone gets on with them, any colour set can be used to achieve the same type of results

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On 2/13/2021 at 10:01 AM, Gorby said:

That's a very informative tutorial Dave. Which paints do you use for the rust colour – it looks very effective?

I'm also very interested in learning about making glazing using the PVA glue method which you mentioned in your Sunderland thread. I've seen it referred to before, but I've not seen the method mentioned. Any chance you could post another 'tip' please?

hi Gorby, I'll be doing the Bridge windows and the portholes in the Northsea Fishing trawler, I'll take pictures that shows the process on there, it'll be short and sweet and not really long enough for it's own thread.

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