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Video : Weathering

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Naran Baatar

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: Weathering
« on: Jul 11, 2018, 08:50 AM »
Tutorial Video: Weathering
Lead Authors: Naran Baatar, Maia Ocharon
Edited by: MMCC Education Team

The following video will give you a basic primer on weathering as well as some tips and tricks to make sure that your weathering can meet the standards of the Club. As always, work with your Clan's Ruus'alore and the Application Team when building anything (or with your Ruus'sol if you're in a Stronghold), with the goal of approval by the MMCC.
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Video Script
In this tutorial, we will go over the basics of weathering, focusing on the most important aspect of weathering—consistency—and discussing numerous weathering techniques you can try out for yourself—or inspiring you to innovate your own.


Weathering is entirely optional; however, if you decide to weather your kit, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the weathering must be consistent across the entire kit. This means across the plates, across the soft goods, and between plates and soft goods. For example, if a kit has plates that are weathered with burns, gashes, scrapes, claw marks, dents, weapon damage and so on, but sports soft goods that look as if they came fresh from the dry cleaner, the kit will be guilty of inconsistent weathering. 
There are a number of ways to go about weathering your kit, and it really comes down to the level of weathering you want to achieve, as well as the theme of your armor. Whether your Mando fights beasts and monsters from across the galaxy, hunts Force users, treks across the desert, or gets shot at a lot, your armor can tell those stories through the various markings on it.

Mechanical Weathering

This is one of the most enjoyable and tricky types of weathering, and also one of the most important. Mechanical weathering replicates the physical wear to cloth items and plates your Mando would acquire from actually wearing the kit all the time, the small rips, tears, holes, threadbare spots, and ragged edges of daily use.

To start, it is a good idea to rough up the whole item, and an easy way to do this is to use what you have on hand. If you are going for a truly beat-up look, you can drag plates or grind soft goods into rough spots on your driveway or other paved surface, carve into them with a dremel or screwdriver, scrape them with a rock, hit them with a hammer (not hard enough to crack them!), or roughly cut or scrape off pieces off; have fun with it, but try not to go too far. The armor still needs to look functional, after all. Always practice on a scrap of test material so you can develop a technique you like and so you don’t ruin your beautifully made items.

Adding rips, tears, and holes is best used on hanging items like capes and kamas. Use scissors or a utility knife to make small holes, and then use your hands to rip them into the desired shapes. Use mechanical weathering to fray the edges a bit so your rips and tears don’t look too perfect. Targeted mechanical weathering is useful for the hems, thighs, collars, shins, or any area that gets a lot of contact. A cheese grater or piece of heavy-grit sandpaper works great; just pick a spot, bunch up the fabric, and rub vigorously. Careful, though; it’s very easy to totally destroy your soft good with this technique, so practice on a scrap of fabric before using it on your actual kit.

Using Dye

Dyeing works best with natural fabrics, but it can work on any sort of cloth item. When most people think of dyeing something, they think of using fabric dye, which is what is commonly used to color girth belts. But you may actually have what you need in your kitchen cabinets right now.
Dyeing with coffee or tea is very straight forward. Start with a vessel large enough to hold the item you want to dye; acquire a large quantity of cheap tea or coffee, or just raid your cabinets (don’t use the good stuff!); then make enough to fill said vessel. Feel free to use both at the same time!

With tea, it’s best to boil enough water to fill the vessel and then just drop the tea bags straight in, so using a large, stove-safe pot can be the easiest option. Black teas will obviously have a greater effect on your fabrics than green, white, or herbal. DO NOT leave the pot on the stove; once you add your item you want to dye, move the pot somewhere out of the way to soak for several hours or overnight.

You can make coffee in your coffee pot, but that is going to take a very long time. So to save time, take coffee filters and turn them into little coffee bags—just like tea bags. Make sure you close them tight with chip clips, gator clips, or clothes pins; any sort of mechanical sealing device you have on hand will do.
Then it’s just a matter of waiting. Between 3 to 8 hours tends to work best. The longer you let the item soak, the darker it will become. Items dyed this way will never get very dark, but it is a great way to add age to a cloth item. After dyeing your item, let it fully air dry before washing it, wearing it, or weathering it more.

Staining and Fading

There are a number of ways to stain or fade your soft items depending on the desired look. For grass stains, take the item and grind it into freshly cut grass. For sweat stains, using liquid fats, cooking oils, and cooking spray is ideal. When using cooking oil, pour some into a small cup and then use a paintbrush to flick the oil at the item. You will end up with little spots of different sizes. Keep in mind that if you use oils, most washing machines and dryers recommend that you never machine wash those items again, as it could cause a fire. You will need to hand wash them after that point. 

Another interesting idea is to use brake dust off your hubcaps. Use the soft item like a rag to clean off the dust. You can grind the item into wet mud, clay or soil. Spray paint can also be used to weather. Use browns, grays, or tans, hang the item, and lightly mist it with the spray paint. If you want to use acrylic paints, take tiny amounts of colors as above and rub them into the fabric. This works best with thicker acrylic paints.

If you have easy access to whole walnut seeds directly from the tree, you can wrap one in your soft good and proceed to grind it to a pulp on a hard surface for a lovely green and brown stain that will never come out (we promise). It will also stain your clothes and skin, so be careful. You should probably be wearing old clothes for weathering anyway.
Lastly is fading. The quickest way to go about this is with a bleach-and-water solution. As when working with any chemical, take precautions: wear gloves, work in a well-ventilated area where spills will not ruin anything, and be careful not to breathe in chemical fumes. A ten-parts-water to one-part-bleach ratio works well, but play with a mixture to find what works best for the level of fading desired, and once again, practice before working on the final item with this technique. Put your solution into a spray bottle and then, like with spray paint, mist your item. It is best to focus on the top of the item, shoulders, and arms; think about the places most exposed to light.

Paint Weathering Effects

In addition to physical dings, scrapes, and cuts, layering and removing paint can do a lot for the complexity of weathering on plates. Prime and coat it with your favorite primer; after that dries, give it a good coat with any metallic color. From there, a masking agent can be applied. Toothpaste works well; lightly dab it on with a sponge or paper towel, then paint over it as normal. Once you have completed all the painting, apply warm water and soap, and it will remove all layers applied on top of the toothpaste, exposing lower metallic and primer layers for a paint-chipped look. You can get larger jagged areas with some creative use of painter’s tape. After you are pleased with the paint, apply brown and/or black washes to make the paint look worn and give it depth. Washes get into corners, crevices, and places with physical weathering, making the armor look grimy or shaded, making all the details pop out, regardless of the light.
Weathering Black Soft Goods

Weathering on black soft goods often does not show up very well, even if there is a reasonable amount of physical weathering. You can make weathering stand out on black soft goods by using a contrasting color of paint as part of your weathering scheme. Don’t go overboard, but dry brushing a little bit of tan or brown over areas of physical weathering—such as that made with a cheese grater, rock, or other rough surface—could help. You can use a light color, but should probably go over it with a dark wash to make sure it is not too stark a contrast.


After you have weathered your item, make sure you give it some time to rest before washing it, at least two to three days. Then give it a wash so it is “clean” when it comes time to wear the item. Even the most backwater Mando stops by a river and washes out their flight suit from time to time. Trooping in a mud-covered item isn’t ideal. You will lose some amount of staining in the wash, but washing by hand will minimize this, and you can repeat staining or dyeing to deepen the effect. Building up layers of color weathering effects only adds to the authenticity of the weathering. With all of these techniques, test them out to see which you like best before applying to your kit. As with anything, the more you practice, the more skillful you will get.

Good luck!

« Last Edit: Feb 26, 2020, 07:31 PM by Havelock » Logged

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