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Amazing Weathering with Modelmates Sprays

21 September 2011

  Modelmates weathering sprays  

Amazing Weathering with Modelmates' Sprays

Modellers are always looking for new an interesting ways to weather their models, after all weathering is very individual and the one thing we want from our models is individuality.
Up until now, most weathering is carried out by using enamel or acrylic paint in the appropriate ‘dirty’ colours or weathering powders (actually paint pigment). Well now there’s another dimension in Modelmates’ spray dyes.

Available in 200ml Aerosol cans or 22ml jars for airbrushing, the range was created for the TV and film industry to ‘age’ or ‘distress’ sets and clothing to blend the scene together. This technology has now passed through to the modeller, allowing them to do just the same.

Unweathered wagon - Modelmates weathering sprays

Like all techniques, it’s best to test the process on an old wagon first. Here’s the effect of a couple of coats of various colours of the Modelmates sprays, with a fair amount of rubbing off with a cotton bud.

For comparison, here’s the other side of the same wagon (the missing buffer head is now hidden!). This is a much better base colour for the sprays, although they won’t affect the underframe. weathered wagon - Modelmates weathering sprays

At the outset, it must be borne in mind that this is a dye and not a paint. The coat applied is quite thin, but can be built up with successive coats. It tends to work best on base colours of a lighter shade, the colours are not ‘strong’ enough to affect a black underframe for example, this will still require some work with weathering paints or powders.

Indeed, this is where the range really scores - as an addition to other weathering processes. It’s the perfect medium for getting dirt and rust into the corners, cracks and crannies of models and also can provide a useful thin coat of weathering on top of stronger paint or powder finishes. Easily shifted from areas where it is not required by the deft use of a dampened cotton bud, these sprays must equal weathering powders for ease of use and removal.

[Below] Here’s the same (and rather heavy) style of application on an old BR maroon Lima ‘Warship’ . Due to its base colour, only the grey and black tones tend to show - more work with a cotton bud is required!

Weathered warship - Modelmates weathering sprays

Weathered warship - Modelmates weathering sprays

Available in a range of useful colours, these sprays vary in opacity, the Soot Black being the least opaque, as you’d expect.

  Snow - Modelmates weathering sprays  

[Above] Let it snow! The effect of the Modelmates snow spray on the baseboard and a Landscape Company tree.


Let it snow
As well as the dyes, Modelmates produce a snow spray which can be used to create snow-type effects on any surface. The harder the nozzle is pushed, the greater volume of ‘snow’ produced - so be careful! Gentle pressure produces a fine sprinkling of fresh snow,  pressing harder produces snowdrifts! The ‘snow’ produced is colour-fast and can be removed at any time after application, though it will be more difficult to remove from textured surfaces such as trees, where any scraping effect may damage them.


Prime product
As well as their range of dyes, Modelmates also produce a high quality extremely fine acrylic primer in light and dark grey, black and white. As one who is used to using that famous standby, the Halfords’ car primer, this version was quite a revelation. Being much finer and having a much more controllable spray nozzle, it took far less coats of acrylic to cover the surface and all the detail was preserved, making it ideal for priming finer work such as model figures and small parts.

White primer - Modelmates weathering sprays The quality of the Modelmates white primer is visible in this cruel enlargement of an Aidan Campbell OO figure.

The translucency of the various sprays - the grey tones being much more opaque.

Translucency - Modelmates weathering sprays

This is an excellent product to add to the weathering ‘armoury’. I’ve not yet experimented enough with airbrushing or brush painting from the smaller jars, I’ll leave that up to another article where I’’ll be combining Modelmates products with other weathering ideas and methods. As can be seen by the photos, the sprays are quite coarse, but any overspray can be removed easily with water and various coats of different colours built up over time. As a quick weathering option for those who are a little timid to weather their stock, the nature of these products makes the process considerably less frightening.

Modelmates weathering sprays
Modelmates weathering sprays   Modelmates weathering sprays

Aerosol Spray Cans - 200ml

Water soluble, translucent weathering spray dyes, or inks, that make things look dirty, old and weathered. There's no acrylic and no resins. Very fine spray gets into the smallest of indents. Quick and easy to use, just shake them and spray. The more coats applied, the darker the colour gets, this is because it is a dye (or spray ink) and not an acrylic paint.


Weathering Liquid Jars - 22ml

Weathering liquid is a water soluble, translucent ready mixed dye (or ink) that makes things look dirty, old and weathered. Rich concentrated colours can be applied neat, straight from the jar or diluted with water. There's no acrylic or resin in the mixture, nothing to make it go permanently hard. Apply to a non-porous surface like plastic, let dry, then smudge and wipe using a damp cotton bud or tissue to create great weathered effects.

Modelmates weathering sprays

Email:  modelmates@yahoo.co.uk
Tel: 07926 196471
Fax: 0845 2992299

This article was originally featured in the September 2011 edition of British Railway Modelling magazine.

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