I have become a fan of plastic modelers who build armor and aircraft models. No, I am not building them but I am learning new techniques from this band of talented modelers. I know many of you share my interest in seeing what the other side does.
I found several techniques on the web that were similar in approach. It involves the use of salt crystals to mask a base coat on a model. In my case, I am finishing an older single sheath boxcar that had a galvanized steel roof. This type of metal doesn’t hold paint well. Some roads apply car cement to the roof to improve finish retention. Car cement is a tar-like substance.
I started out by applying a primer or base coat that is similar to the color of galvanized metal. Once the paint is cured, I began the process by moistening the roof in spots with distilled water with a wetting agent added. You don’t need a lot of moisture to hold the salt. Next apply coarse rock salt. Try to use crystals only and not the “dust” that comes with it. Once this is set, shake off the loose salt.
Now, drag out your air brush and shoot the final color on the car. Once it has cured, remove the salt under running water with an acid brush (soft bristles). Make sure you get all of the salt off the car. Your roof should look like the shot below.
The color contrast is too much for my taste. I decided to weather the weathering. My method was a wash of Vallejo acrylic finishes. It took several attempts to tone down the contrast. The one part of the technique I didn’t like was the finish on the wood running boards. I will go back and use acrylic paint to dry brush the wood parts with a warmer color of gray.
I believe the salt method has value and will continue to play with it until I am happy with it. Give it a try!