Weathering & masking with salt crystals

Tools 'n' Tips Article by Saltydog



I built this model over 2 years ago and when I posted the pics of it many of you asked me to do a "how to" article on the weathering methods I used.  

I'm far from a "pro", as a matter of fact, this is my 8th or 9th completed build with a half a dozen that didn't make it to the finish line and became airbrush fodder.  I'm still just enamoured with the "build" process and haven't delved into "accuracy", and I don't really know all the "lingo", so just bare with me please. 

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As stated above, this is the 1/48 Acc Min. SBD-3 straight from the box.  

I mixed all of the exterior colors from Tamiya acrylics.  I mixed 4 (from lightest to darkest we'll name them 1,2,3, & 4) different shades of the original topside color for the weathering effects, and just one shade of the bottom side color.  I painted her up factory fresh with shade 3 to begin with and when it had dried over night, I applied a couple of coats of future til' she shined like a new penny.  After all had cured, I applied her decals and put em' to bed with some Micro sol and set.  I then applied an artist oil wash of dark grey.  Then another coat of future to seal the deal. 


I began the weathering process by taking a spray bottle of water and misting the model damp with it, then I sprinkle table salt onto the upper side.  When salt hits water it clumps up into many different shapes.  I would move the salt around as needed with a toothpick.  When the mist dried, the salt would stay in place as a "hap-hazard" mask.  I then loaded my airbrush with Tamiya smoke and thinned it down 50/50.  I worked the smoke around things that weren't in the direct sunlight all the time, like the side walls of the fuselage.  I would darken a few panel lines here and there with no real method to the madness.  When the smoke dried, I washed the salt off underneath my bathroom faucet.  Then, I repeated the process except now I'd load my airbrush with shade 4, repeat the process and load shade 2, then 1, each time misting, salting, spraying, and washing the salt off.  The lighter the shades got, I'd concentrate on the top of the wings and fuselage.  I would hit the decals with a light mist to fade them a bit.  I masked off different panels so it would be lighter here and darker there.  Everytime I salted the model, as physics would have it, the salt never landed in the same pattern (which is what you want) so this created a splotchy looking paint job that you see on most navy planes.  Don't panic, with acrylic paint, I accomplished this whole process within 4 hours.  After the final salting and washing, I thinned down shade 1 to about 70% thinner, 30% paint and softened up the salt mask edges and loaded other shades and did the same to my liking.  The rest of the fading and such was done with dry brushing and pastels.  


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Photos and text by Saltydog