PG 1/60 RX 78-2 Weathering Process

As requested, here's every step I took to achieve the weathering look for my RX 78-2. The weathering on the shield is a bit heavier than the rest of the kit, but I figured that the shield is what will be taking the heavy hits, hence the couple of big scratch marks I've put on it. Hopefully this is clear, I'll go into as much detail as I can, but if there are any questions just post them in the comments.

Without further ado...

First of all, after panel lining and sanding, I prime with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer. Then the base coat which, in this case, is the blue colour I made from leftover paints from other things that I had lying around. It was a worry that I would run out before completing the build and be royally stuffed, but that hasn't happened and I'm done painting all of this colour now.

Next is to add some highlights between the panel lines and edges. This is just the blue colour with a little white added. Then I mask off shapes for any white markings that I've been using as part of the colour scheme to break up the surfaces. In this case I've used the panel lines as a guide for where the markings should go.

When painting on the white, I leave some of the blue showing through to create a pre shading effect. The masking tape is then removed shortly after the paint drying. You're supposed to leave paint to cure over night but I rarely do that, I'm very careful with my parts, and if they do end up scratching or chipping it doesn't matter because it's a weathered build and can be easily covered up. I've gone over the panel lines slightly in the lower area, which would be a problem if it was a clean build, but I will just cover it up with chipping.

The next stage is to post shade quite heavily using Tamiya Smoke X-19, which I've thinned about 50/50. There are some areas where it's blotchy and uneven, but I've found whilst doing this build that these are desirable effects, if the shading is too even then you lose that randomness of damage and weathering. I've also placed the cross on to shade around. The cross is Tamiya Gold Leaf post shaded with Smoke again.

A gloss coat next. The last time I was in America I bought loads of Future Floor Acrylic, which I now use exclusively for anything topcoat related. I've got 4 bottles and I'm barely a quarter of the way through the first one, it just goes on forever! After the gloss coat it's Decal time, one of my favourite parts. Decals are really important and so often overlooked, it's what makes a model kit in my opinion. I set the decal in place with water first, then once that's dry I paint Microsol over the top to seal it to the surface.

If decals go over panel lines I cut them with a sharp scalpel and paint more of the Microsol in the gaps to make sure it sucks down into the panel line. When it's all dry it looks like the picture on the right. Before panel lining I do another gloss coat to protect the decals. 
A quick note on the Decals - These are 1/60 version of the Real Grade type markings, I got them off eBay from this Chinese company called Noble Model. I was a bit sceptical as the shop looks really moody, but they are excellent quality. They are all bordered so you don't have to mess around cutting too close to the decal, and they are really nicely printed. There's a bit of pixellation on the big decal pictured above, but it really doesn't notice to the naked eye. Highly recommended. 

For the panel lines I use AK Streaking Grime, painted loosely into the gaps and corners. I rub away the excess with a folded piece of kitchen paper dipped in Odorless Thinner, using a circular motion. I then use the cotton buds dipped in thinner to get into the corners and also to drag down from the panel lines to create a very subtle streaking effect as pictured below. 

Weathering is all about building up layers. I think the subtle streaking really adds depth to the overall finish. After the streaking has dried it's time for the final topcoat. I used Tamiya Flat Base added to the Future Acrylic, the mix is about 1:5, but it's not exact. Just don't put too much Flat Base in the acrylic or the finish will be irreparably cloudy.

When that's all dried I use the AK Chipping Colour and paint the chips in with a very fine paint brush. Like I mentioned previously I've gone heavy on the shield but on the rest of the model I've tried to keep the chipping quite fine. I messed up a bit and ended up using a bit of isopropyl to remove some of the chipping as you can see in the left picture, but I wasn't too concerned about this as it will be covered with the streaking effect. Next up I paint on AK Rust Streaks in the direction that the rust would run down the shield. It looks pants at the moment but there's one more magic step.

I take a flat soft-ish brush, dip it in the Odourless Thinner and wipe off some of the excess using a kitchen towel. Then very carefully I drag down the shield in the direction of the rust streaks to draw them out and soften them up. Sometimes they disappear or streak too much but it's easy to go back in with some more streaking fluid and do the process again carefully over parts that need touching up. As you can see the area that I messed up before has been covered with the streaks.

As the different paints have different effects and levels of matte-ness I don't apply any more topcoats as I don't want to lose the mix of finishes. The chipping colour and the streaking are pretty solid once they've dried, and if there are any chips when it's assembly time I can just dab some chipping colour to cover it up.

Hopefully that was helpful. It's a relatively simple process and it's nice to have an alternative to the hairspray technique. Any questions do let me know. The kit is nearly done, this will probably be the last WIP post before I post up the final pictures.

And to finish off there's a picture of my workspace at the moment. Needs a clean! 

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