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Tool Review
Weathering German Ships DVD
AK Interactive weathering techniques DVD
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by: Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights


Weathering has always seemed a bit of a controversial topic in ship modeling. With typical fearlessness Mig Jimenez wades right in to demonstrate a multitude of techniques familiar to armor modelers to add to the ship modeler's arsenal.


I'll be up front, I'm in the weathering camp. Be it armor, ships, or aircraft I prefer the look of models that display moderate weathering and I've even swung around to the idea of color modulation, at least when subtly done. However, I am not fond with the "left to rot in a lagoon" method of heavy weathering and chipping and panel lines that can be seen form orbit. What has become known as the "Spanish school" of weathering does tend to skew that way and Mig is one of the most skilled of those artists so I was a bit wary of this title, especially as the promotional video showed some pretty beaten up models. However, I've bought all of AK's videos because the techniques are well presented, extensively demonstrated, and thorough. This video is a perfect example of this track record.

It also fills a pretty big hole in the modeling market. Armor and aircraft are pretty well represented with high quality instructional videos from expert modelers. DVD's have started to trickle out for figure painters at long last. Ship modelers have been left rather adrift. Until now at least. . .

In this DVD you get six chapters that come to a bit shy of an hour of total video. What's in them?

Chapter 1...

Preparing Our Model
This short section provides pointers in how to prepare your model for painting. Basically, keeping the superstructure parts separate, tack gluing small pieces to sprue runners, etc.

Chapter 2...

Basic Painting and Decks
This section covers priming, basic painting, and the use of washes and airbrushed highlights and shadows to bring vertical depth to your model. If you're a clean ship proponent this may be as far as you go but it sure is useful. Mig uses airbrushing to add darker and lighter areas to the ships decks to break up the uniformity without masking different panels. I experimented a bit on my own and if you like adding different tones to different planks this technique still works if you increase the plank contrast more than usual as it will soften the differences in color. He then uses oils to create shadows under overhangs as well as to create highlights and blends them in with a pretty easy technique (once you've seen it at least!). Following this with an enamel pin wash to more traditionally highlight different structures results in a clean looking build but one that doesn't have the typical washed out detail. Mig calls out exactly what products he uses down to the brush type as well so you can put together your shopping list.

Chapter 3...

Painting the Hull
To clarify, this chapter covers weathering and adding painted structural details to the hull, not how to mask off the waterline and such. The first portion covers adding painted highlights and shadows to trick the eye into seeing a three dimensional oil canning effect (where the hull plating has sunken in a bit around the structural elements) and is very effective. This followed by adding vertical streaks to reproduce weathering from the water flowing down the ship's sides. Then we get chipping and the resultant rust streaks. The weathering is very heavy at this point but the techniques are clearly shown and explained and you will get realistic effects using them. Personally, I will probably be more sparing with these but the techniques are rock solid. The hull chipping below the waterline is more complex as it involves multiple layers of painted chips to reproduce the multiple paint layers. However, the use of an overlay of toning/misting/dusting paint is demonstrated to soften the effect and tie everything together to allow you to get the impact you want. Throw in streaking techniques, marine growth staining and subtle rusting and you get a very attractive and visually complex result.

Chapter 4...

Dirt and Rust
Wait, what? What about all those rust streaks we've just seen? Mig is just getting started! If you've seen his work on armor you've seen how he truly believes in multiple layers of painted detail to create a cohesive whole at the end. It'll take longer and many modelers will be perfectly happy with the result already performed on the model. However, when done well it really does make the model more impactful. Here we get ground in grime on the decks around major traffic areas, pin wash horizontal shadows, and the use of enamels to make the long prominent rust streaks from the anchors. This section concludes the basic painting section.

Chapter 5...

Advanced Techniques: Chipping
Here we get a different method for reproducing chipping using multiple layers of paint with chipping fluid to replace the hair spray we used to use. Again, this is a pretty standard technique these days but it is well illustrated and explained to make it seem natural and to guide you through if itís new to you.

Chapter 6...

Advanced techniques: Special Effects
Here we get bare metal and grease/oil staining techniques as well as modeling battle damage from fire and smoke. The last is probably one of the hardest forms of weathering to pull off convincingly and Mig does a fine job illustrating not only how to do it but how to make it seem natural and real. Then we roll credits.


To be fair, if you're a visual learner there's not a lot of competition with this video. However, even if there was this would still be a very good video. The production values are very high, the video is very clear, and it never cuts from the model itself. You're not ever watching a talking head telling you what to do, you always have narration while watching the technique being performed. If this kind of thing bothers you, be aware that AK Interactive's products are used almost exclusively, with some Lifcolour paints thrown into the mix. However, since their products are either better than or at least as good as anything else out there I don't see this as a detriment. If I have a complaint it is that I wish this was more of a painting AND weathering video with tips on masking and getting to those impossible to reach deck areas. I would have also appreciated more guidance on how to use these techniques naturally but there is some homework left to the student. I suppose a last point is that if you are already used to these techniques (from tank modeling, for example) this may be a watch only a couple of times video to learn how and where to apply them. On the other hand, the universality of these techniques makes them useful regardless of what kits you choose to make. Along with David Griffith's excellent "Ship Models From Kits" this is one of the most useful ship modeling references I've come across in several years.
Highs: Focuses on the techniques Informative and teaches the techniques effectively First rate production values
Lows: Focuses solely on the weathering portion of painting Weathering demonstrated is extensive and may be overly "beaten up" for typical models shown as "in service"
Verdict: It's a very useful purchase and well worth the money.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: AK 651
  Suggested Retail: $29.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 25, 2013

Our Thanks to Big Planes Kits!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Matt Flegal (ninjrk)

Copyright ©2021 text by Matt Flegal [ NINJRK ]. All rights reserved.


This DVD looks great, and the model techniques fantastic! ON THE OTHER HAND, when I went to order the thing at 13 Euros (US $29.95) plus, I expected, a reasonable shipping cost, the site showed the postage to come to 19 Euros - more than the DVD itself and more than doubling the cost. I didn't place the order.
FEB 25, 2013 - 02:23 PM
Hi Tim, It is available from US sources at a more reasonable price. Cheers, Joe
FEB 25, 2013 - 02:36 PM
Tim, AK Interactive has a US branch: AK Interactive USA
FEB 25, 2013 - 04:12 PM
Joe and Jeremy, Thanks guys, I ordered it from the US branch of AK Interactive http://www.ak-interactive-usa.com/dvd.html and it came to US $27.35 total including postage - much better! Can't wait to check out the new techniques!
FEB 26, 2013 - 01:40 AM

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