Creating distressed metal effects is a great way to add age, wear, and tear your scale models. And it doesn’t need to be a difficult process either. A few simple paints, some basic application tools, and you’re well on your way.
A key thing to decide is “how old should it look?” Having an idea of the final effect you are going for is quite helpful. It will let you determine what you use, and in what quantity.
While this demonstration uses a Warhammer 40K model, it works well on any genre. I’ve used it for Bandai Gundam, Maschinen Krieger, Star Wars, and even traditional subjects. At most a few adjustments might be needed for the subject of your choice.
Creating Distressed Metal Effects
First, I start with a dark foundation of black primer. Alternately, using a mahogany brown will also add to a more rusted effect. Next, I layer on a darker silver paint using a stippling method. This helps establish a “scratchy” foundation. The more stippling that shows, the older it looks.
Second, additional layers of lighter silver are applied with a sponge. This brings out a more distressed look. This can be repeated with multiple colors if desired. Opacity can be your friend here. It allows for many layers to be built up. This helps achieve the desired effect.
Next, acrylics washes will define details, but it also dulls down the metallic paint. This will bring out the contrast between the various layers. If you’re not trying for a rusted look, this could be a stopping point. However, continuing on with a few rust colors will sell the notion of age. Sponging on a few layers of various rust shades works nicely. As before thinned paint allows great control over the effect, and gives flexibility.
Take a look at my other Warhammer 40K models!
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