Dust, dirt and oil are the three main ingredients of weathering on military vehicles. In this article I will look at some of the more usual forms of weathering and how we can apply them to our models. Knowing the ground and conditions in which your chosen vehicle is operating, helps enormously when it comes to weathering. As most of the photographs used to illustrate this article were taken on Salisbury Plain, I will firstly explain the terrain and conditions for a better understanding of the weathering effects depicted. Salisbury Plain is chalk grassland with a scattering of woods and plantations. The Plain has only a handful of public roads, and in recent years’ dozens of compacted hard-core tracks have been constructed. This has aided the movement of heavy military equipment and reduced damage to the countryside. These tracks have a noticeable pinkish hue particularly when wet and are extremely dusty when it’s dry. The Plains brown soil can vary in colour, depending on how much it mixes with the chalk beneath. The way the soil and chalk mixes are also influenced by the amount of traffic a particular area gets. The continual pounding of heavy tracks in the summer months can reduce the surface to a fine dust. This is soft like talcum powder, but rain can quickly turn this powdered surface to liquid mud which flows like custard. All this is very important to understand the conditions and circumstances that will affect the appearance of your model.

Model Preparation
Before starting any of the following weathering techniques, have your model in a finished state and thoroughly dry. My process after constructing a model is to paint the entire model with my chosen camouflage colour or scheme, which is left to dry overnight. All others details and accessories are painted and left to dry thoroughly before shading and highlighting. After another overnight drying session, apply a protective coating or varnish. I have used Winsor & Newton oil colour Artists’ Original Matt Varnish on Humbrol enamel paints and Johnsons Klear on Vallejo Model Air. Once the protective coat is dry, your model is ready for weathering. The colour of your dust, dirt or soil will vary depending on the makeup of the terrain you have chosen. Study photographs of vehicles serving in these conditions and this will be your best reference and will help you when applying the following techniques.

The best order to apply your weathering is to paint wear and tear, followed by dust or spray, then dirt and finally fuel/oil/exhaust. Some effects may not be appropriate to your models situation, so just leave out those particular techniques. You may need to apply some effects in a different order depending on the circumstances surrounding your model. For example sandy desert conditions may need dust to be applied first, then some paint erosion, finishing off with some bare metal effects. So you need to think a little bit about your model’s situation and how you want it to look before you start. Always remember that a wash will remove paint or weathering effects if they are not thoroughly dry. Alternatively paint or weathering effects will run or disperse if applied on top of a wash which has not been allowed to dry. Study your reference, take your time and don’t overdo it. “There is no shortcut to good weathering.”

Factory fresh AS90 ready for issue.
October 1993
A very dusty AS90 from 40 Regiment Royal Artillery.
July 1996
Copyright Tim Neate