Skip to toolbar

Military Scale Modelling

Tips and Tricks: Weathering How to : The Dust Effect with pigments

Weathering How to :  The Dust Effect with pigments

What are we gonna do?

The dust effect is very popular among us scale modellers. You can get very realistic results with this weathering effect, and make it look like your model just rolled out of the desert. A dust effect can be achieved in multiple ways, by airbrush, by wash (with oils) or by pigments.

In this how-to / tutorial I try to explain the dust effect with pigments as best as possible with the help of pictures I shot during my process.

The products and tools I used are described in the sidebar.

In this tutorial I will show you two examples of where you could apply the dust effect

  • The whole hull of the vehicle
  • The drive sprocket area

Step 1 - Applying Pigments

Ok! lets start with step one! Specify the color of the pigments you will need. Do this by checking pictures of the real vehicle or watching videos, 9 out of 10 times you will find multiple tones of dust on your vehicle.
Once the colors are chosen, your first real step would be to apply them dry with a brush (see pictures below). Use a brush you feel comfortable with, the bigger the desired scale of the effect, the bigger the brush.
When using multiple colors of pigments, add them all to the surface, one by one, play with how much of each color you add to achieve different effects.
Make sure not to tilt the model in this state, most pigments will fall of in this state, completely finish (all three steps) on one plane of the vehicle and move to the next one.

Step 2 - Soak the Pigments

The second step would be to soak all the pigments you just dry applied to your model, that way you make it look more realistic and fix them to the model so they wont fall of.
You can’t soak the pigments with just anything, use white spirit or specially made pigments fixers. I prefer white spirit since you can adjust the pigments once dried, fixer would fix it and make it hard to adjust, white spirit is cheaper as well.
Soak your brush and gently tip on the dry pigments, you will note that the pigments will form around edges and other small details, just like in real life! Make sure to apply the white spirit irregular to achieve the best effect, with that I mean, dont make it look static and vary with the quantity of pigments you put at certain points.

Once everything is soaked you can easily play with the quantity of pigments on certain points such as bolts and other detail items. You probably noted that once you soak the pigments, they kinda disappeared, don’t worry this is normal as they will return visible when fully dried

Step 3 -

Well, all the precision work is done! all left to do is let the model dry. At this moment you should check what you just did, does it look irregular, does it look realistic, did I play with the pigments colours enough, did I accidentally skip certain areas? When you are happy with it, let it fully dry and you will notice that the pigments colours fully return to visible over time. You should never touch the pigment areas, it will leave visible fingerprints, so don’t!

That’s it! Be patient when applying the dust effect to your model and everything will be fine, most important thing is not to rush and be secure with each brush tip.
If you like this how-to please let me know by sharing this page or leaving comments, I appreciate it.
If you find any errors please let me know as well, if you have any questions ask them below in the comment form.
Good luck!


Your fellow users gave this Article an average rating of No ratings yet.

Comment and Rate!

Here you can comment and rate on this Article.

4 thoughts on “Weathering How to : The Dust Effect with pigments

  1. WannaBuild !!

    I sometimes will use retail pigments it I want a dirt clump effect.
    i find chalk dust in various oil or alcohol mediums to work best. Osage Orange sawdust makes the best dark brown/red oxidation and I find it amazing no one sells it. I build lots of custom order modeling bases and cases from exotics, so I have a lot the best material pigments from wood. It also makes the best flock foliage. I think some coarse modeling paste around the base would have added an excellent fine coat of life like earth.

Leave a Reply


Not recently active