A painting question

Started by pyro-manic, November 13, 2008, 07:33:14 PM

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Right, this is a question that I cannot find a decent answer to on 't'interweb, so I'm asking here:

How do you weather black?

My thoughts so far are paint scratches (tiny bits of metal showing through on leading edges etc - possibly applied with a toothpick or something similar?), and some light drybrushing the middle of panels with grey/white to give a faded effect . What else can I do? Washes won't work, and the usual grimy streaks will be rather hard to do...  :huh:

Any suggestions and tips will be very welcome.


pyro :)
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Ed S

The key to weathering black is to remember that seldom is anything a real black.  Most "black" is varying shades of gray.  So weather the black using shades of gray.  If you start with a dark gray, you can weather that with shades of gray and then use pure black in the shadows to add depth.


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the faded trick works or try a grey wash for engraved panels Go lightly as it is easy to overdo the darker the grey the more subtle it will be.If your'e doing a prop driven craft some silver dings on the underside from prop blasted rocks are easy to acomplish with a silver colored pencil it's easier to control than paint.and exaust stains on black usually seem to have a brown tone to them,I hope this helps I have used this technique on a F-82 twin mustang and a black cat catalina for my great uncle
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Another approach might be to paint the undercoat a very, VERY dark grey, and then apply a translucent wash of "pure" black over the top. Some blacks are actually extremely dark blues (the SR-71 paint was "very dark indigo" IIRC), so a little blue in the "pure" black might be good too.

Note that I have NOT tried this.....

yet........ :wacko:
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Yeah, I've heard about using blues to weather black aircraft.  Again, I've never used it, but I think the emphasis is on not overdoing it.  RAF Special Night, used on nightfighters would weather down rapidly (they simply added charcoal or ash to achieve the ultra-matt effect) & a blue tinge could be seen.
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You might want to try something like NATO Black or anthracite black as your base colour.

Both are very near black, but not quite there, more the tone of asphalt than true black. Black panel washes will show up on them in a noticable, yet pleasantly subtle way.
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Daryl J.

If starting with a true black, one must remember that most weathering will look extremely 'thick' and 'on' the model rather than a patina of wear as everything exaggerates immensely with black.  That exaggeration only magnifies when done in scale.    Smooth surfaces begin to look uneven and bulged and the like.

Agreeing with others, it is best to start with a very dark grey or dark blue and then weather with blacks and umbers.  Siennas will look too brown often and greys which are lighter look very very thick even when done sparingly.    My own personal best luck was a mix of RLM-66 and black which was postshaded randomly with highly thinned burnt umber and highly thinned pure black.    Also, one needs to remember there are warm blacks and cold blacks, as black is not black as commonly taught.   

So, through this technogobbeldygook hopefully there is something that makes for better success.
Daryl J.


I've already sprayed a base coat of black, so I'll try and take it back a bit with a paint I have called Vallejo Black Grey, and then weather and shade from that.

Most appreciated, peeps. :cheers:
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Can't find a detailed link but Lifecolour Paints do a "Black Set" which has all the pre and post shades mainly for figure painting but might be useful for future ref ?
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Another way to 'weather' black is by 'polishing' some sections of a flat black paint scheme with a piece of cloth or paper towel.

Varnishes... gloss, satin or matte, can also be used on various sections to indicate wear (frequently handled flat painted surfaces often take on a 'shine'); fuel, oil or coolant leaks/spills etc.

Changing surface reflectivity and texture in these ways can be very effective.



Hi Pyro
Whats the black on?   Black on metal, wood cement material etc will all weather differently.
Cheers  :drink:
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Some of my models can be found on my Flickr album >>>HERE<<<


Well, I experimented, and the results can be seen here: http://www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php/topic,21447

Many thanks to everyone for their input. :)
Some of my models can be found on my Flickr album >>>HERE<<<


I rarely paint anything straight black. I always mix in a tiny bit of white, just to shade the colour a little bit. The effect can be seen when comparing the FS numbers: pure flat black is FS 37081, while the black I normally use (also called "Teereschwarz" or Tar Black in the RLM catalog) is 37031.

Colour theory states that we primarily perceive colours by what is around them, i.e. by contrast. So using a very dark grey in place of pure black works on a scale model just fine. It's easier to weather, too.

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I have recently returned to one of my preferred mediums (back in the college days) :  India Ink.

It is cheap. It is sprayable right out of the bottle. You can fill a tech pen with it. It does not run. It is tintable.

Yikes.   A good product !!!!!