How to use weathering pastel

November 11, 2013 at 19:34 | Posted in How-to | Leave a comment
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Weathering pastels are like ground-up crayons that are used on model kits to simulate worn-out and dirty effects. It is mostly used by military scale modellers and people building dioramas. I like to use it on my Gunpla kits since I like the weathered & dirty look. The most widely available type is the Tamiya Weathering Master (approx. 500 yen) which comes in a small case with 3 different colors of pastels and an applicator brush:


Applying them is pretty straight-forward: just dab the applicator stick on the pastel and rub it on parts of the model kit. There is no hard & fast rule on what pastel color to use and which part of the Gunpla to apply it on. But generally, I tend to use black pastel (simulates soot) on parts near boosters & thrusters and on the barrels of rifles & bazookas. Here’s some before & after examples:


You can also use them to simulate the airbrush shading effect by dabbing black pastel on raised edges of your gunpla. This method only looks good on weathered models, however.


Finally I’d like to show how to apply it with some thinner & paintbrush.  First, scrape the pastel using a toothpick or stick until it’s like a loose powder and transfer the powder to a mixing tray.


Then add a few drops of thinner (use aqueous thinner if your base paint is lacquer-based) and mix it until it becomes like a thick paste.


Lastly apply it to your gunpla using a paintbrush. Since this method simulates thick mud & dirt, I mostly use brown colored pastels and apply it to the feet using an old paint brush. If I feel that it’s too thick, I would just use the brush to spread it around.


After it has dried, the pastels can still be removed by touch. That’s why I seal it with a layer of flat topcoat. And that’s about it. Like any weathering method, it’s very easy to overdo and not so easy to undo. So my advice is to start small & experiment until you get the look that you want.

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