Simple weathering with oil paint

Don’t look so worried.  With this tutorial you will see that once understood, oils are more forgiving with mistakes than acrylics and you will love them.

Firstly you are going to need your oil paints, for this I used buff and shadow brown from Mig but any similar oil paint will do. You will also need some kind of mineral to mix/dissolve the oil paints, I use odourless turpentine from Mig again. The last things you will need are an old detail brush to apply the oils and a small/medium flat synthetic brush. The synthetic bit is important because oils will stain and ruin your £15 W&N No.7’s in a second. If its an old brush don’t worry but for longevity a synthetic is best.

Before I go into the tutorial proper, I just want to show a few pictures of the technique before it is applied to a tank or armour. These are dots of oil paint on a tile and you can see the the effect you get from simply running a brush across them using some turps, once, twice and three times. If you make a mistake you can rub the oil paint off with more turps. Try doing that with acrylics. Another advantage is that if you let it dry for a bit you can take a damp brush and blend the paint seamlessly.

1.We will start with the water marks as this particular kind of weathering will begin from the outset of the tanks life. This is something that will need planning and needs some thinking about, when and how damage takes place. Take your freshly chipped tank. THAT HAS BEEN VARNISHED!!!!! In either a matte or satin will do. Very important or oils will saturate into the paintwork and not give the desired effect.

2. Take the buff oil paint and add in streaks with your old detail brush. If you remember the less is more speech I gave in the chipping tutorial this is where it will show, now those large open spaces you left free of chipping will allow these oils to show this up nicely. Make them random and remember the direction the water will travel. If you are applying to the top of the tank just add random dots of buff.

3. Take your flat synthetic brush and dampen it with turps. Do not overload the brush as you will just rub the oils straight off  or simply get a bad result and will have to reapply the streak again (See it is not scary.  Rub it out and start again). Pass over the streak in the direction of waterflow. As you can see the more passes the more realistic the effect. The only real difficulty here is that you will think you may have rubbed the paint off but once the turps dries you will have a really subtle and realistic effect.  This will only come with practice but soon you will know when enough is enough and that the paint will show even if you cannot see it.

The top of the tank is a little different. As the water will pool or run randomly depending on the level of the land the tank is on. All you do is take the flat brush and work the oil into the surface in all directions randomly until you cant see it.

4. Once dry stand back and and nod knowingly as you are now a user of oil paints.

Now we will add the rusty/grimey effects in very much the same way BUT first, VARNISH AGAIN!!!! If you do not varnish the water marks will disappear.  Apply the same streaks but this time use the chips as a source for some of them. They could be old and the rust will stain the tanks surface over time, some rivets may be rusting or have dirty water running off them so put the streaks below them. When you go over the brown oil paint it will appear to be staining the surrounding area. Do not panic it is not staining, but if it does linger when the turps have evaporated and you do not like it, then simply dampen the synthetic brush and blend in/rub out. Keep the mantra going at all times…..Less is more, less is more…..

Dont be afraid to run the rust/grime over decals either. In fact strategically place chips above them so you can purposefully do this and blend them into the model, sometimes it helps to eliminate the ‘halo’ around decals.

Hopefully your tank now looks like this.


Next one is the last one in the Hades trilogy and shall be focused on the use of pigments, the most fun technique of the lot!!!


My name is Joel and I am the other half of Fifty Shades of Wray. I started this hobby with Airfix kits over 20 years ago, painting any military models I could get my hands on. Then I discovered 40k and my sci fi addiction spiraled out of control. I now put my military modelling knowledge to better use on Rhinos and Landraiders!!