Tuesday 21 April 2020

Famous For Nothing-Weathering Style

A few Danish friends have asked how I did the rust on the skips I showed in the last blog post. In fact it was a really fun process where I threw caution to the wind, uncoupled the mind and worked with hardly any control.

In armour modelling every self-respecting semi-professional modeller has invented a style of painting or weathering. Naturally named after themselves. I don't pretend having invented anything. Perhaps I have merely gone insane after more than 4 weeks of working from home due to the corona situation. My weathering method involves beer and loud rock music and if neither appeals to you in a combination with model trains, you better browse away.
One ingredient in the Famous For Nothing-weathering style: real rust. I break up the flakes of rust into dust with the end of a scalpel handle.
Once all ingredients are assmbled and ready for action it's a fast and enjoyable experience - and the result isn't the worst compared to what is usually attained in company with beer and loud music. Here is my recipe:

  • 2 0.5 liter cans of Guinness
  • 2 16 mm scale skips
  • 4 acrylic rust tones
  • 2 tubes of oil paint - burnt sienna and raw umber
  • old 35 mm film can with turpentine
  • 2 old brushes - not the smallest ones
  • fine rust dust (preferably donated from a 1:1 skip)
  • one wooden stirring stick
  • Dropkick Murphys playing 'Famous for nothing' (preferably a live version) really loud.

Open and enjoy one can of Guinness while preparing work area, getting the ingredients ready and fitting earphones. Make sure everything is within easy reach and paints are opened and well stirred.

Open the second can of beer, select 'Famous for nothing' and turn the volume up high. If Dropkick Murphys isn't exactly your cup of tea, select any other music with a fast rythm. I have found that Flogging Molly with 'Drunken Lullabies' works almost as well. Beer and music enables you to work in a fast rythm with less controllable movements than normal for modelling and painting. Switching randomly from one pot of paint to the next and stipling the paint on in a fast pace matching the rythm of the music creates a random 'smearing' of paint. Once in a while scoop up a bit of powdered rust with the stirring stick and apply over the wet paint. Remember to enjoy the beer. Keep working, pushing the repeat button on the music as necessary, and just keep at it until the skips are completly covered in paint and grainy spots of rust. While the acrylic paint dries, clean the brush, sip some more beer and then apply a dotty pattern of variably turpentine thinned oil paint over the skips. Then put the skips aside to dry. It's not advisable to drive a car immediately after this painting proces.

I haven't any in-progress images as I found myself totally absorbed in the painting process. The below images are 'post production'. The fine thing about the process is that the colours and rust powder is applied in a very randomized way without much chance for thought or planning.
Two skips ready for the next stage. At the time I had not decided if I would simply varnish these after weathering and add dust and traces of gravel or if I'd apply a patchy dark grey on top of a layer of chipping medium. 

In the end I decided to do both. Painted one with faint traces of a covering colour of grey (applied with a piece of torn off kitchen cleaning sponge) and left the other in bare rust. Both will later have dust and traces of gravel added and probably an extra layer of matt varnish.

Here is an earlier example of a skip with texture from rust powder. The number is ready to be stenciled with white paint. The stencils are etched metal, cover 0-9 in several fonts and sizes, and can be combined into any number with masking tape. After stencilling, the skip will be treated with a moist brush to reveal the rust colour under the layers of dark grey and chipping medium.
The Famous For Nothing-weathering method probably isn't applicable in the smaller scales, but in 16 mm scale it is an enjoyable way of combining 3 great things: rock music, beer and railways. All without getting hurt. What's not to like?


  1. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend Guinness for this job 😂

  2. Add a shot of dark rum to the Guinness next time. Very nice looking skips Claus.