Excessive salt may lead to rusted vehicles

Even though the insurgents like to drive around in technicals, a Toyota pickup often isn’t good for mass transport. To facilitate their more efficient dispersal I managed to find a dirt-cheap transport option from a 100 yen store. This is made even more impressive because it’s not even in Japan.

The diecast truck I found is almost perfectly suited for 15mm scale. Because it was clearly an older model, I thought I should try my hand at the hairspray and salt weathering technique. I’d only recently heard of it, and there’s a guideline to it available here.

I didn’t follow the process exactly as outlined in the link. For one, I don’t really want to use oils. They’re a pain in the arse to clean up, and turpentine smells bad. I also don’t have a brushless airbrush booth, so I don’t want to incinerate my apartment as the fan creates a fuel-air bomb.

The procedure worked for me as follows.

Prime as usual. I use white. You can use black, or I suppose that horrible red automotive primer. I don’t like sandable primer because it fills in the details. This model didn’t really have a lot, so if you do the same thing it won’t matter.

I covered the parts to be weathered with a black and brownish coat. It was intentionally irregular, so that there would be different colours as the undercoat was exposed. I didn’t put it on so thickly as to obscure details. I let this dry over night.

Next, I applied a coat of hairspray. I used the pump style, not aerosol, because a) I’m environmentally minded but mostly b) my wife had a small bottle of it. Note that alcohol can dissolve and strip acrylic paints, so try not to douse the model. Aim for an even coat.

Then, I sprinkled on the finest salt I had in the house. By which I mean fine-grained, not the smoked sea-salt from France. It’s a 15mm scale model, so fine grains are necessary. Even with the fine salt, it was a bit ridiculous how coarse it was.

After all that, it looked like this:

I suppose you could use pepper if you like, but it doesn't dissolve nearly as easily.

The windows are covered in masking fluid, by the way. they’re already painted and shaded.

As you can see, the grain size is totally ridiculous for this model.

It was covered again with a layer of hairspray, and let it dry thoroughly. If you don’t have any patience, you can use a hairdryer. At this point, your model will smell like it just stepped out of a salon.

You can also airbrush hairspray onto your model. The drawback with this is that hairspray has adhesive qualities, so cleaning your airbrush can be a nightmare, made worse by the fact that hairspray has no tint, so you can’t even see where it is.

At this point, I proceeded as normal, and painted the top coat in the desired colour, which was a sort of weathered green. I also airbrushed some highlighting. Drybrushing is inadvisable as the whole thing is lumpy and covered in salt.

The last step is to remove the salt, or at least most of it. With a moistened stiff brush, work at the salt and chip away the parts you don’t want. The moisture from the brush will loosen the hairspray and hopefully cause the salt to dissolve slightly.

After removing the masks from the windows and doing some other weathering with pastels, the whole works came out looking like this:

I think it looks like a convincingly weathered truck. And by weathered, I mean “left at the bottom of the ocean for a few years, the engine was drained and it still starts”. It’s kind of over the top, but it’s conceivable that something could be so crappy yet still mobile.

As a rule, I don’t think I would use this method again at this scale, unless I was modelling some extremely decrepit object. That doesn’t mean my efforts were in vain, though. Using the same method, but without salt, you can easily model realistic scratches and paint chips. Presumably they look very realistic because they actually are scratches and paint chips.

In theory, the salt on this metal model will also cause actual corrosion, which in time will enhance the verisimilitude of the model. To aid this process, you can bury your model in your back yard (or in a pot of dirt if you live in an apartment) for several years.

They didn't get the optional rust-proofing

The wooden parts didn't rust. But dry-rot is insidious.

For no extra money, it's really a cabriolet.

All in all, the truck was a pretty good deal for approximately two dollars. The canvas back is removable, so it’s like having two trucks in one. The build quality was somewhat shoddy, but some superglue took care of any rattling pieces, and I glued the wheels to the axles to stop it running off the table by itself, as I am resolutely anti-basing for vehicles.

It seats 10 with luxurious comfort on its wooden inside benches.

Oh, and here’s a picture of it with a Peter Pig 15mm figure beside it for scale.


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