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Paint Wear and Tear
Military vehicles are repainted quite frequently for parades, displays, or to protect minor knocks and scratches from rust. Most military vehicles build up many layers of paint during their service life with chips and scratches only being noticeable if the previous layer is a different colour. Gulf light buff and UN white are good examples of what colours can be revealed by flaking paint. Bare metal and rust is more unusual to see than you think on operational vehicles. Painted parts like drive sprocket teeth or towing eyes are probably the most likely areas for bare metal to appear. These areas can be subjected to quite heavy metal on metal contact which is one of the main causes of paint erosion. Sand can also have a very abrasive effect on paint work particularly where it’s channelled by the tracks or scuffed by boots. When tank tracks drive through loose sand it gives them a sand blasted look the colour of gun metal. Rust mostly shows up on static or unused equipment where bare metal comes in to contact with moist or wet conditions, but some military operations or heavy use does produce surface rust. Bosnia is a good example where vehicles are in constant use with only a tank sheet to protect them from the elements. One other area that can be affected by rust if not painted or maintained are exhaust pipes. Only the pipe its self is affected, not the guards or brackets, and the rust is a more pinkie colour than normal. To portray the effect of a recently repaired or new part, use a slightly different tone of your chosen camouflage paint and apply it to an area which might sustain regular damage. Chipped paint is best achieved by rolling and dabbing a partially dry brush along edges, and over raised detail. Do not cover everything and leave some gaps along the edges. Using the tip of the paint brush, break out in small areas to produce small speckles and patches. The brush rolling technique can also be used for bare metal on equipment edges. The effects of sand abrasion can be applied by dry brushing in the areas of most contact i.e. surfaces walked on by crewmen or the sides of the hull where the sand is force out by the track. To represent fresh surface rust which may appear on tracks, use a wash of orangey brown following the wash technique from the earlier section. Older rust needs to be painted on in small patches, using dark brown (oldest rust) and a mid-orangey brown (newer rust). Weeping rust can be applied using a thinned down orangey mix. Don’t overdo any of the ‘Paint Wear and Tear’ techniques unless you have a good real life example to refer to. Also never forget scale when applying rust or flaky paint effect, remember 1mm on a 1/76 scale model is 3 inches on the real thing, which is quite a big rust spot.



The paint has started to ware and flake off this Fuchs revealing its original desert colour. July 1998


Rust is just starting to break out on the damage and scratches of this Saxon L37 return from Bosnia. The exhaust also displays the pink colour that is associated with a rusting exhaust. November 1995
This Challenger 2 has scratches and damage to its side plates probably from branches or other hard objects hidden in the undergrowth. April 2000
The non permanent desert paint, which wear away over time is still visible on this green and black Royal Engineers Spartan. Some other affect has also removed the paint on the side down to the aluminium armour. July 2006
Copyright Tim Neate