Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Misadventures in Weathering

...or, how I learned to hate Vallejo liquid mask.

For fun tonight, I decided to try a weathering technique that sounded like it had potential.  The premise is to paint an item metallic, wash it and stipple it for rust, then apply liquid mask, paint a color over the whole thing and remove the mask.  In theory, it would look like the paint had rubbed away to reveal the metal.  This would hopefully give a more realistic look than the "paint wear over the color" method.

Plans sometimes go awry.

Here are each of the steps.
We begin with a garden variety IoB rat ogre

paint the arm guard Reaper shadowed steel
highlight with Reaper honed steel and polished silver
wash with Gyphonne Sepia stipple with some VGC hot orange for rust.  Not too over the top.
Here is where we start to get fancy with the mask, preserving the weathered metal areas.

Apply Vallejo liquid mask along wear areas, especially the outside edges and on spikes.
Here is where things start to go wrong.  That huge blob is the dried liquid mask that I had to extract from the bottle to get to usable liquid.  Upon trying to apply it with a brush, I realized that I could not get it off the brush.  I am so glad I didn't use my W&Ns7 to apply this junk.  I still don't think I have all of it off my cheap brush, even with hot water and dish soap.  Seriously, this stuff is brush poison.
paint a horrible thick green over the whole thing.  Okay, maybe "horrible thick" wasn't what I had in mind.
The prior step took so long that I just slapped on the green.  I was getting frustrated with everything being sticky around my painting area.  That stuff just corrupts everything it gets near.
rub the crap out of the horrible green until you can see the primer color again.
And the fact that it doesn't come off was the icing on the cake.  I'm pretty sure my earlier attempt at this with a tank was much easier to do, so the age of the liquid mask must matter a lot.  This time was torture to remove it.  After colour shapers wouldn't work I finally resorted to a toothbrush and rubbing off way more than I needed to.

I can not stress enough how sticky everything was when doing this.  I ended up throwing away the paper towels I was working on and my palette sheet just to ensure I didn't get any of that crap on my brushes.  As interesting as the idea was to start, I think I'll just paint on wear.


  1. ouch. You could have a go at hairspray and salt technique.
    Detailed here: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2011/02/tutorial-weathering-with-salt.html

  2. The dreaded march of the gloop. I have problems getting my home made resin terrain to harden - gloop everywhere.

  3. I was given an old vallejo crafts masking liquid (the round big one, not the model color bottle) and it was like over 10 years or so and still worked.

    Sure some of of dryed out but we are speaking of serious aging here. I guess she preserved it right if that was still usable.

    My recommendations:

    1.-Aply with a sponge. It's quick, random and hence realistic looking and brush saving.

    2.-Always do over an exaggerated rusted surface. It works better (visually) if you go a bit over the top the effect you wanted. AND WAIT TILL MASK FULLY CURES.

    This may take longer than expected so maybe letting it set all night long should be fine. I'm saying that cause in your pic your masking looks like gooish or milky and mine looked liked lovecraftian piles of blobs, very rubbery.

    3.- Best way to remove is using just your finger or something else that will ensure doing it gentle, like a pencil eraser or a blob of blue-tack.

    Also, a nice way to paint over masking is to use airbrush. If not possible use very thin layers. Thick paint will bury your mask locking it under the paint.

    Oh, and since you are using masking techniques, get full advantadges of it: do your shading and highlighting before removing the stuff. that will get you better results in less time-effort.

    I hope you will figure out what went wrong. Cheers.

  4. example of weathering done easy (both inks and masking were done with sponges.

    before mask

    after mask


    Can't believe it's 5 years old stuff now and I haven't manage to finish it yet! :D


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