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Chassis detailing and weathering techniques and tips


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I want to start doing more weathering and detailing on the undercarriage and engine bay of my builds.  I’ve done it once, but I’d like to hear what processes you guys are using.

The end goal for me personally would be a used but not abused look.  Not too grungy, but not brand new either.  Something you’d expect to see on a nice clean older car if you looked underneath.  Does that make sense?

So what products are you using and how do you use them?

As always, thanks for your input!👍

Edited by atomicholiday
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2 hours ago, atomicholiday said:

Steve, you’ve got to stop posting pictures of real cars…

And yes, just like that.👍

I’m currently at work, but I’ll give you what pointers I have later this evening.

The best part about the technique that I’m using is that you don’t have to buy a whole bunch of expensive or specialized materials to get these results.

All you need is a few bottles of cheap $1.49 acrylic craft paint, and a paint brush.

 

 

 

 

Steve

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Okay fellas.

Here is a synopsis of how I did the weathering on the above chassis, engine and engine compartment.

 

Nothing is required except a few colors of acrylic craft paint, a medium sized paint brush, Q-tips, and paper towels.

 

The colors chosen are a series of 3 colors, mixed from the 4 colors of paint pictured, and thinned to a wash consistency. (all flat colors)

A dark "oily" brown mixed from brown and black, a rusty color mixed from brown and red, and a dirty tan mixed from light tan and a little brown to simulate a little road grime.

 

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First, the oily brown was washed onto the parts, allowed to dry slightly, and then, using a lightly dampened Q-tip, the parts were wiped mostly clean to the point of leaving the color mostly only in the recessed areas.

Once dry, (it only takes a few minutes to dry satisfactorily) the next color, the rusty red, was dry brushed very lightly over select areas of the parts.

By select areas I mean only the areas where you might see light surface rust, such as the chassis plate, lower portions of the engine, and lower portions of the firewall, radiator bulkhead, etc, as you wouldn't expect to see a lot of rust on the upper half of the engine or engine bay.

The dry brushing is achieved by dipping the brush in the thinned paint, and then wiping and dabbing the brush on a paper towel until almost no color is being noticeably transferred to the paper towel.

Then using the same dabbing motion, dab around various areas of the part to be weathered.

Let the paint dry for a few seconds and then with another lightly damp Q-tip, roll and dab the Q-tip over the surface to distribute the paint in a random fashion to blend and eliminate any noticeable brush marks.

The colors should be barely visible throughout the dry brushing process, but the building of the different colors will give a nice grungy weathered effect as you continue along.

Then using the tan, and the same dry brushing technique, again go over the areas where you would expect to see road grime, dust and dirt, and again, use the Q-tips to blend.

Finally the same techniques were used returning to the oily brown to give the effect of a little more surface oil and dirt.

 

Yes, this technique will take some time to get all of the surfaces covered, but in the end, I think it's a nice affect, and a relatively easy one that doesn't require purchasing a bunch of specialized paints, chalks, etc.

And in the end, you're applying oil, dirt and rust, so it's nearly impossible to make a mistake.

Grunge has no pattern per-say.

Concentrate the heaviest weathering on areas where you would expect to see it, (say the lower half of the engine) and lighter where the surfaces are more protected, (like the upper portions of the engine) and you really can't screw it up.

 

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Steve

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Thanks for taking the time to make that post Steve.   Very well thought out and descriptive.   That's pretty much exactly what I'm looking to achieve. 

One question.   Do you use water to thin the paint,  or some other medium?   Reason I ask is that the last time I tried craft acrylics, using water seemed to "break down" the pigment.   I couldn't get a decent consistency.   It was either too thick to brush nicely,  or way to thin, like water colors. 

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5 hours ago, atomicholiday said:

Thanks for taking the time to make that post Steve.   Very well thought out and descriptive.   That's pretty much exactly what I'm looking to achieve. 

One question.   Do you use water to thin the paint,  or some other medium?   Reason I ask is that the last time I tried craft acrylics, using water seemed to "break down" the pigment.   I couldn't get a decent consistency.   It was either too thick to brush nicely,  or way to thin, like water colors. 

I use water.

It works best if it's very thin.

Maybe not quite as thin as water colors, but not too much thicker than that.

 

 

 

Steve

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I do pretty much the same as Steve in terms of craft paints ( and get decent results but his is ridiculously perfect in comparison), also artist acrylics. I'll use water or my own thinner I make up for acrylics. The artist paints get a bit better grip on things like chrome grill washes.

On engine washes I have an oil stain that is water clean up that I use. I don't think they are any longer available though so when it runs out it runs out.

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15 hours ago, StevenGuthmiller said:

Okay fellas.

Here is a synopsis of how I did the weathering on the above chassis, engine and engine compartment.

 

Nothing is required except a few colors of acrylic craft paint, a medium sized paint brush, Q-tips, and paper towels.

 

The colors chosen are a series of 3 colors, mixed from the 4 colors of paint pictured, and thinned to a wash consistency. (all flat colors)

A dark "oily" brown mixed from brown and black, a rusty color mixed from brown and red, and a dirty tan mixed from light tan and a little brown to simulate a little road grime.

 

spacer.png

spacer.png

spacer.png

 

 

First, the oily brown was washed onto the parts, allowed to dry slightly, and then, using a lightly dampened Q-tip, the parts were wiped mostly clean to the point of leaving the color mostly only in the recessed areas.

Once dry, (it only takes a few minutes to dry satisfactorily) the next color, the rusty red, was dry brushed very lightly over select areas of the parts.

By select areas I mean only the areas where you might see light surface rust, such as the chassis plate, lower portions of the engine, and lower portions of the firewall, radiator bulkhead, etc, as you wouldn't expect to see a lot of rust on the upper half of the engine or engine bay.

The dry brushing is achieved by dipping the brush in the thinned paint, and then wiping and dabbing the brush on a paper towel until almost no color is being noticeably transferred to the paper towel.

Then using the same dabbing motion, dab around various areas of the part to be weathered.

Let the paint dry for a few seconds and then with another lightly damp Q-tip, roll and dab the Q-tip over the surface to distribute the paint in a random fashion to blend and eliminate any noticeable brush marks.

The colors should be barely visible throughout the dry brushing process, but the building of the different colors will give a nice grungy weathered effect as you continue along.

Then using the tan, and the same dry brushing technique, again go over the areas where you would expect to see road grime, dust and dirt, and again, use the Q-tips to blend.

Finally the same techniques were used returning to the oily brown to give the effect of a little more surface oil and dirt.

 

Yes, this technique will take some time to get all of the surfaces covered, but in the end, I think it's a nice affect, and a relatively easy one that doesn't require purchasing a bunch of specialized paints, chalks, etc.

And in the end, you're applying oil, dirt and rust, so it's nearly impossible to make a mistake.

Grunge has no pattern per-say.

Concentrate the heaviest weathering on areas where you would expect to see it, (say the lower half of the engine) and lighter where the surfaces are more protected, (like the upper portions of the engine) and you really can't screw it up.

 

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spacer.png

spacer.png

 

 

 

 

Steve

Thank you for sharing your method for detailing the under carriage on your models. I have always wondered how you got such a realistic looking finish. 

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7 minutes ago, atomicholiday said:

Anybody ever tried oil paints?  Just curious how those would work.

One of the big advantages to using an acrylic craft paint is that if you don't like what you're seeing, you can just wash it off and either start over, or leave it un-weathered.

With a solvent based, or oil paint, you're stuck with it if something goes south.

 

 

 

Steve

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Hi Jeremy,

   Steven's method may be more aligned to what you want to achieve but here's my way of doing it. Perhaps a bit too rusty for your needs though.

   Over time I have simplified the product list to what is shown here. All acrylic stuff. I paint the chassis various colors in a matte finish, liberal use of oily earth wash, Mix of Vallejo rust texture mixed with either dark flesh or red paint to get lighter/darker rust effects and then brushing in some tan or ochre pigments.

 

Chassis weathering 3.jpg

Chassis weathering 1.jpg

Chassis weathering 2.jpg

Chassis weathering 4.jpg

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5 hours ago, Pierre Rivard said:

Hi Jeremy,

   Steven's method may be more aligned to what you want to achieve but here's my way of doing it. Perhaps a bit too rusty for your needs though.

   Over time I have simplified the product list to what is shown here. All acrylic stuff. I paint the chassis various colors in a matte finish, liberal use of oily earth wash, Mix of Vallejo rust texture mixed with either dark flesh or red paint to get lighter/darker rust effects and then brushing in some tan or ochre pigments.

 

Chassis weathering 3.jpg

Chassis weathering 1.jpg

Chassis weathering 2.jpg

Chassis weathering 4.jpg

The rust effect looks very convincing.  Looks awesome.👍

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6 hours ago, Pierre Rivard said:

Hi Jeremy,

   Steven's method may be more aligned to what you want to achieve but here's my way of doing it. Perhaps a bit too rusty for your needs though.

   Over time I have simplified the product list to what is shown here. All acrylic stuff. I paint the chassis various colors in a matte finish, liberal use of oily earth wash, Mix of Vallejo rust texture mixed with either dark flesh or red paint to get lighter/darker rust effects and then brushing in some tan or ochre pigments.

 

Chassis weathering 3.jpg

Chassis weathering 1.jpg

Chassis weathering 2.jpg

Chassis weathering 4.jpg

Looks as if the tin worm likes Chargers. 

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