by: Bill Cross [ ]
Weathering didn't exist when I was modeling in the 1970s.
Now, it seems we spend as much time weathering our models as building or painting them.
And that's a good thing, too. War is fought outside, in the elements, not under a glass display case. Tanks, airplanes, soldiers, everything gets dirty, faded, rusts, peels, chips and otherwise loses its factory-new finish (unless you're doing a factory diorama).
Now AK Interactive, the new company formed by Mig Jimenez after he left MIG (don't ask, it's confusing) has launched a magazine devoted just to weathering. And rather than combine articles on different aspects of weathering into each issue, they're devoting the entire issue to one topic.
The first one is about rust.
The magazine is printed on a very high quality glossy heavy paper, and is 78 pages in full color.
Weathering in general and rust in particular are divisive topics: some modelers detest "excessive" weathering, yet when done right, everyone seems to agree that it improves any build, taking a kit from "plastic model" to "real world." And the ways to recreate rusty metal are expanding all the time. I can remember when all we had was "rust" paint. Now, there are washes, paints and powders that can recreate rusty metal in all its various forms.
And there are many, from abandoned vehicles, salt-rust at sea or metal in constant use. But be warned: almost every article is a platform for pitching AK Interactive's line of pigments and washes. While I appreciate the "shout out," and use AK products in my own modeling, it can get a bit annoying when it hammers on you like a drum.
The first section is called "Rusting a Paper Panzer," and shows a Porsche Tiger vk 4502 that never made it off the factory lot. Master modeler Mig Jimenez takes readers through a step-by-step process with photos from finished build through pre-shading, filters and washes, and finally rust.
Next comes a feature on "Raw Steel Plate" that gives the Meng Models VsKfz 617 done by a "Mr. Scratchmod." Some of the interesting techniques are creating chipping with a fine sponge like those used to pack electronics. This section is followed by Martin Kovac's "Bare Metal Armour" showing a Tamiya BT-7 with some added (and rusted) plate armor. The techniques include giving the metal a "milled" look through the use of gray paint carefully abused.
While modelers might think we "own" the world of weathering, John Murphy's transformation of a spanking-new box car with a shiny roof into a well-used (and more realistic) version will interest railroaders and those of us in the 1/35th railroad fraternity. The masking technique John uses on the support frames is something I haven't seen before, which is what you want from a new reference source.
Next is Fran Romero's take on a German heavy cruiser in the North Atlantic. Combining both how-to modeling advice with some real world photos of rusted ships, the effects should be embraced by any plastic salty reading this.
The mysterious Mr. Scratchmod returns in the next section with a technique called "rust chipping." Most of us have been taught to apply rust AFTER the painting and weathering, but the process here starts with the rust, and is then overpainted with various shades of color. The paint is abused with any manner of stiff tool, chipping it off to reveal the undercoat of rust. The three-dimensional aspects of this techniques are, to this reviewer, a game changer.
John Murphy returns with an article on "Old Metal Fixtures & Fittings." Again, this is boilerplate in the world of dioramas: objects left outside degrade in the elements. The hinges on doors and gates go to hell in a matter of time, and few farmers or city fathers have the time (or resources in poor countries) to paint and re-paint them.
Next is Mig talking about weathering metal tracks. I have had lots of problems getting the mold release chemicals off Friuls, and never thought to use Acetone. This is another tip that makes this issue "worth the price."
The ubiquitous John Murphy takes another star turn in "Small Chips & Rust Stains." The thing about rust is that (as Neil Young once crooned), it never sleeps. Even metal that isn't particularly rusted with exhibit stains and streaks from scratches that rust, bolts that have been scraped by tools and the usual dings and dents.
One of the better items in the issue is a full-blown treatment of an old M60A1 tank. The results are among the most-realistic I've seen. Note the photos at right.
Not to be left out, the Sci-Fi/Fantasy modeler finds rusty metal aplenty in "Sand Blown Old Rusty Steel," which showing an old space suit abandoned on some dry planet. These techniques, though, could be adapted to any metal object in the desert.
Recreating REAL rust means being a good observer of nature, so the next section is 5 pages of rusty vehicles, ships and other metal surfaces. Lots to ponder, believe me. This is followed by a page of rusty profiles that I found too small and lacking in detail to be useful.
Not all the material is about combat vehicles, and David Marti has a fine piece showing the "destruction" of a Volkswagen "classic Beetle." The techniques will adapt well to modelers doing modern trucks or Meng Model's "insurgent" pick-ups. Third World finances sometimes result in trucks with significant wear & tear, something that revolutionary warfare doesn't leave much time to remedy.
The next section called "Choose the Right Products" is a bit of a disappointment, since it's more of a sales pitch for AK Interactive products. Yes, there are products from other companies (Humbrol enamels, LifeColor paints), but as has been pointed out, the articles are already filled with pitches, subtle and not-so-subtle, for AK. Coupling it all with a busty model in a tight corset adoringly fingering some AK products, well....
She's Leticia Crespo dolled up as Akatsiya (?), both voluptuous and easy on the eyes. But I'm not sure why she's in the issue, other than to make male pulses race. Well, maybe that's enough.
The final section ("Postcards from the World") are mostly from the 2012 Shizuoka Hobby Show in Japan. While interesting, they seem unnecessary in the age when these sorts of images are readily available on the Internet. Could it be that the photos of Mig or AK's Japanese staff are the reason? Hey, vanity isn't a BAD thing!
The issue closes with Leticia/Akatsiya having a close encounter with an AK-47. Again, very lovely to look at, but the kind of blatant sexism that seems somehow cheesy, though is more common in European advertising or many RC aircraft magazines.
If all the other issues of "The Weathering Magazine" are as good as this one, a subscription is more than worth it.
Thanks to AK Interactive for providing this review issue. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here when subscribing. Issues are also available individually.