Sunday, May 16, 2021

Weathering armor and analysis paralysis

In late 2016 I wrote about the disappointments with several of my builds that year, including my attempts to finish a Trumpeter Pz.Kpfw 38(t). I struggled through weathering it — trying my hand with pigments in particular — and ultimately trashed the model when the results were not up to my expectations.

Since then I’ve gone back to basics with painting and weathering armor, at least the basics in terms of the process I’ve mastered (such as post shading, pin washes, and the use of pastels for dust effects), and I’ve slowly introduced new products and techniques. Usually I try them on a paint mule and then incorporate them into my next build. So now I’m much more comfortable with:

  • Modulation
  • Filters
  • Washes
  • Oil paint rendering
  • Paint chips
  • Hairspray chipping
  • Mud splashes

Despite my newfound confidence with each of these, I now find myself suffering from analysis paralysis, wondering with every build which products and techniques I should incorporate into the model and in what order.

To be sure, I have plenty of books on the topic.

I have multiple products.

I have magazines.

I’ve watched plenty of videos on YouTube, such as Adam Wilder’s incredible 27-episode series on painting and weathering a KV-I.

And I've taken notes on the dozen (hundreds?) of articles and builds you can find on modelers’ personal blogs and Facebook pages.

Despite all of these resources it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the choices you’re confronted with. Every modeler has his preferred products, techniques, and process, and it’s a challenge to understand them and then to incorporate them into your own modeling.

That’s what happened with this build of the Trumpeter JS-4. I'd worked through the fundamental steps of painting and weathering it but then hit a wall of sorts wondering what to do next. I’m figuring it out, but the model languished for a few weeks untouched.

I started moving forward with the model this week, but it doesn’t feel…right. It feels like there was probably a better way, and I’m figuring that out as I go, even if in hindsight, and I know I’ll continue to refine my products and techniques with subsequent builds.

If you’ve had the same experience, my suggestion is what I’ll offer myself with my next build. I’m going to trust my instincts and outline the steps I’ll take to see the model through the painting and finishing stages. It’s probably not going to align with any one master modeler’s process, and it might not work out well for me, but at least having a plan is better than not having one at all.


  1. The amount of weather products available now it overwhelming. I just got back into armor and I’m finding that I can do almost everything with oils which I already have for canvas painting. Maybe something for mud texture as well. I think having too many products can be crippling. Better to be creative with what you have!


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