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Weathering : Armor Plate Weathering

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: Armor Plate Weathering
« on: Jul 20, 2018, 11:35 PM »
Tutorial: Armor Plate Weathering
Lead Author: Kris Jasra
Edited by: MMCC Education Team

This tutorial will walk you through some armor weathering techniques to make your armor appear as if it has actually been worn and used for combat and adventure.

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Oooops, I Fell in a Swamp

An Introduction to Weathering
Before we truly get started, an explanation on two words which will crop up a lot when talking about Weathering: Natural and Consistent.

They may sound like contradictions at first, however when applied together they will make sense.

First then, lets think about natural weathering. Unless you've fallen over and crawled through a swamp, mud is more likely to splatter on boots and lower legs. Scratches and paint chips may be more prevalent on more exposed armour parts that are able to knock against more things, such as knees every time you kneel down. Dirt will work it's way into scratches and crevices in armour and along seams on fabric. Blaster bolts are more likely to be aimed at the centre of mass because that's what will kill you.

The basics of being consistent is ensuring that the levels of weathering on adjoining parts is the same. If you apply some blackwashing to all your plates, put the same amount on all the fabrics. (Depending on colours this may leave some parts showing up more than others - that comes back to the natural part, don't try to over weather one colour to match it with the rest). However consistent does not mean that if you want a little mud at the ankles you have to apply that same level of mud to the helmet, it just means that you have to put it on all the items on the lower leg, boot, flightsuit, shin, knee and lesson the splatter effect as it goes up the leg.

The first thing to work out is what you want your kit to look like. You are presenting a snapshot of time.
Have you taken good care of your kit and just cleaned it all off - so you have wear and ingrained dirt on your fabrics that just wont wash out and dirt gathered in scratches and chips that wont come clean, but otherwise you're shiny? Have you just come straight from battle and still have scorch marks from several blaster hits? Did you have to crawl through a swamp to capture your last bounty and the original colour of your kit is now a uniform grey?

These examples are just a variety of effects that can be used to tell a story:

The easiest is to use basic masking to allow areas to remain unpainted to mimic scratched or chipped paint. This can be applied using a masking fluid to stop the upper paint layer from sticking to the layer underneath. When the paint is dry the masked area is rubbed off leaving an exposed section.

Beyond artists masking fluid the following can all be used for masking:
  • Liquid latex
  • Vaseline
  • Toothpaste

To apply masking make sure your prepared surface is clean (see HERE for basic prep and paint application)

Prepping the Surface

For the best effect using several different application tools will vary the style of damage. A small paintbrush can be used to easily apply edge weathering, simulating chips from knocking the edge of the plate against things.

Applying the Masking Fluid

A toothpick/pin can be used to draw masking out simulating a blade or claw that has scratched along a plate.

Simulating Damage

Once you are happy with the amount of masking simply paint the outer color.

Applying Color

Remove the masking once everything is dry to reveal areas that appear to have been chipped away.

The Reveal!

These can be applied with a variety of tools, I find a basic set of graded sandpapers work best as it varies the size of the scratches being applied. These can be used to highlight areas that might need a little more wear without much effort, such as the front of knees where you would have been scraping the paint whenever you kneel down.

Applying Scratches

There are many ways to blackwash, the simplest is mixing acrylic paint and water and apply it to the plates with a paintbrush. A 50/50 mix is best to start with, you can work up to more paint, less water if the effect is not as dirty as you want.

Applying Blackwash

Leave the paint to settle for a short time - around 10-30 seconds - then dab it off with a paper towel.

Removing the Excess Blackwash

The paint settles into chips and scratches in the paintwork and highlights them, making it appear that the damage is older.


Putting all this together will give you something like this.

Finished Knee Armor Example

--MMCC Education Team--

« Last Edit: Jul 23, 2019, 09:06 AM by Raestin Ke'Varek » Logged
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