Realistic Armor Finishing Techniques

Presented by Marcus Nicholls


Available from Compendium Films

In the ‘Realistic Armor Finishing Techniques’ which is part of the Expert Model Craft DVD series, the host, Mr. Richard Windrow, introduces the viewers to Mr. Marcus Nicholls, the editor of the Tamiya Modeling Magazine International. Mr. Nicholls’ modeling specialty is Armor Modeling. He produces many models for the Tamiya Magazine. Mr. Nicholls has developed various techniques to produce the necessary weathering and detail effects he wants on the model within the constraints of having to operate under a deadline. Mr. Windrow points out that Mr. Nicholls does not have the luxury of “taking his time” to produce the desired effects. In this video Mr. Nicholls shows us how he accomplishes the excellent work that is pictured in the Tamiya Magazine. Anyone who has seen Mr. Nicholls work knows that he is a world class talent and he is presented in this DVD giving us insights on how to weather and finish armor.

This DVD is divided into three sections, comprising some 33 Chapters. The three sections are the Main Program, the Index, and the DVD Extras. During the course of the Main Program, Mr. Nicholls demonstrates his techniques for weathering armor. The Index section lists the individual topics presented in the course of the Main Program and Extras. It is recommended that you view the entire DVD before going back to review sections that may be of particular use to you.

In the Main Program, Mr. Nicholls uses a T-55 Soviet Tank to demonstrate his techniques for weathering. He has applied a coating of Buff colored Acrylic paint. His first topic is the application of Color Washes to such a vehicle. He uses Oil-based paints for his washes, so as not to disturb the original color of the vehicle he is working on. Mr. Nicholls personal preference is to apply a dark color wash to the vehicle, first to bring out the details. He uses old packaging blister or film canisters as mixing bowls, so they can be discarded quickly instead of spending time cleaning them for the next go-round. After creating his first wash, he uses plain white spirits on the model to create a base for the wash to adhere to. This allows the wash to flow freely and is less likely to leave “tide lines,” those annoying demarcation lines where the brush stops moving.

After doing his initial shading, he applies “field applied” camouflage to the vehicle with his airbrush. He notes that paints applied to a metal vehicle are not completely flat in texture and his preference is to apply a coating of floor wax, such as Klear, to give the satin look effect to his models. This coating also protects the model finish from any further weathering effects including oil and grease stains and rust stains.

His next weathering technique is to show the wear and tear that a vehicle accumulates from the crewmembers climbing over it and just mounting their stations. This is done with a small brush and Acrylic paints. To simulate chipped paint, he takes a color near to the base coat and with small brush strokes leaves color deposits on edges where the crew would put their feet while mounting or servicing the vehicle and conceivably would wear away the painted surface. To simulate areas where the painted surface has been scuffed down to the bare metal, he applies the edge of an artist’s graphite pencil, smoothing it with his finger to get the effect he desires.

Rust stains and oil stains are accomplished with the use of washes and small-brush techniques outlined previously. He recommends the painting of the vehicles’ tools while they have been affixed to the model, as you then have to paint only one side of the tool and it is not moving around or awkward to hold while being painted.

The Index section can be utilized as a short cut to the section that is of most interest to the viewer.

The Extras section includes an in-depth description of how the modeler paints tank tracks. First, the track to be painted is affixed to a piece of foam-core with straight pins; this allows the entire track to be painted without smudging and creating a mess. He then goes on to show how to create mud, rust build-up and how to paint the rubber blocks that generally are part of modern tank tracks.

Additionally, in this section are hints from Mr. Nicholls on how to correct mistakes that take place during the course of modeling, including too much wash and the occasional breaking off of parts from the finished model; to quote Mr. Nicholls, “This is why Super Glue was invented.” The Extras section finishes with a profile of Marcus Nicholls as modeler, a portfolio of his works and a four-page compilation of the products mentioned in the course of this video.

I have been a modeler for a number of years and have seen various techniques in magazines and books regarding the weathering and aging of armored vehicles, and I have tried quite a few. I can honestly say that the techniques presented on this DVD, while maybe not new, are presented in such a way as to make me eager to try them on my own models, as I hope you will too. This DVD is highly recommended to any modeler, whether experienced or novice, as I feel that the information provided will enhance your experience and enjoyment of the hobby even further. HAPPY MODELING!