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First Look Review
Modelmates Weathering dye's
Modelmates Weathering dye's
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by: Mal Mayfield [ HOLDFAST ]

Modelmates Weathering dye's

I saw this product at Scale Modelworld at Telford and stopped to listen while Alan Taylor was explaining how it worked to another modeller. At first I thought that it gave a too heavy effect but, as I listened I realised that it could be one of those products that would prove to be very useful.
The product, under a different name, is used by the film and TV industry for making things look used, old and worn and weathered; it’s even used to make things look mouldy. Modelmates weathering spray dye comes in a 200ml spray can which, on aircraft, might make it scary to use but, if the instructions on the can are followed it will be fine. On armour and dioramas and other, more heavily weathered models, this won’t be an issue. Once sprayed on the acrylic formula dries quickly and can be removed easily using water. Modelmates also comes in 22ml glass jars for airbrush use and, in this form it is concentrated and so can be applied by brush, just as a normal panel line wash. Thinned for airbrushing it will go a long way. Brushed on, as a panel line wash, may be its best use on aircraft models, as it leaves a lovely even colour in the panel lines. The product can be built up in thin layers, and with different colours used, with areas removed or streaked, or otherwise played with, before the next layer, so building up interesting effects. This would work brilliantly on Armour. It doesn’t actually require thinning to airbrush, but I’m thinking that on aircraft models if airbrushed on thinning would make it more translucent and less of a “dirtying” effect. I need to try this out.
On Alan’s table at Telford were a 1/72 Tiger and a 1/144 F-14, both had had the spray applied numerous times and were looking very over weathered, to say the least. While listening to Alan explain how to use Model mates I picked up the Tiger and a cotton bud, which I dipped in water, and started to work on the model. I was able to easily remove the excess and, if I used clean moistened cotton buds it was possible to keep removing the excess. I also found that a cotton bud that had picked up the product could be used to add streaks back on to the model. It will take a bit of trialling and testing to see what can be achieved with both the spray and airbrushing medium, but I will report back as I use this new product.
Another area that needs to be investigated is the fact that, although Modelmates dries very quickly it never goes off. This has the great advantage that it can be worked for ever, until you are satisfied with the result, however you cannot use a solvent based varnish to seal it, as it could react. I use Winsor and Newton acrylic varnish so I’ll be reporting back on that, but it shouldn’t affect it. One other thing that Alan mentioned was using Modelmates over high quality paint; otherwise it can be absorbed into the paint. I would imagine that the majority, if not all paints manufactured for models will be fine; the pre-painted models that I was playing with showed no sign of any problems. I intend to use it over a coat of Klear.
Modelmates also produces a range of matt primers, which come in 4 colours; white, black, light grey and dark grey. See the product information at the end.

Information on the products.

Weathering Liquid - 22ml Jars:

Ready mixed, water soluble translucent weathering liquid. It’s dye, not acrylic paint.
For use on models and scenery.
For interior use, (but can be applied to exterior surfaces if sealed first with a matt sealer/varnish spray).
Can be applied to plastic, metal, stone, plaster, painted surfaces, card and paper and dries quickly.
Pour straight into an airbrush for spraying, or into a paint pot for painting, does not need thinning.
When dry, the weathering liquid can be rewetted, using  just water, and smudged or wiped to create more realistic weathering effects, just like the Modelmates weathering spray cans.  
To make recesses and panel lines look dirty, apply the weathering liquid by paint brush or airbrush, wait until dry, and then wipe the weathering liquid off the surface using a slightly damp tissue or cotton bud. This leaves some of the weathering liquid trapped in the recesses and panel lines. The dryer the tissue or cotton bud, the less weathering liquid is removed.
If a surface is porous it will absorb the weathering liquid and cause permanent stains, apply a small amount to hidden a surface to test if it is porous and also to ensure compatibility and adhesion before final application. Please read instructions on jar before use. If application is by airbrush, use a lower pressure when spraying. Always use in a well ventilated space and wear a good quality face mask. Wash airbrush in warm water after use.

Weathering dye, 200m spray cans

Soot black: A really matt black, almost like coal residue.
Slate Grey: Black/blue slate grey colour.
Light grey: Very light grey.
Mud Brown: Muddy, dirty colour.
Oil brown: Dirty Oil green/brown. Similar to Mud brown, but slightly oily green.
Sand brown: Light brown, slightly golden sandy brown colour.
Rusty Red: Rich rusty red/brown colour.
Moss green: Dirty mossy/khaki green colour.

Primers - 400ml Cans
Super matt acrylic paint with a fine spray nozzle.
For use on plastic, card, timber, moulded acrylics, paper, and metal. 
Flows well into fine details and panel lines without filling them.
Contains high quantity pigment to give a great finish with less amount of spray used.


Practise spraying before final use and always test on hidden surfaces or off-cuts to ensure compatibility and adhesion. Apply several light coats rather than one heavy coat. Ensure surfaces are clean and dry. Mask areas not to be sprayed. Use suitable protective sheets. Shake the can hard, with the ball bearing rattling, for at least 10 seconds before use and often while spraying. Spray upright 30cm from surface. Touch dry in 10 minutes, fully dry in 30 minutes depending on conditions. If the spray runs then it is being applied to heavily. Excessive application may also cause damage to surfaces. To prevent clogging, when through spraying invert can and spray for 3 seconds to clear nozzle.

Translucency, (according to Wikipedia), is the physical property of allowing light to pass through a material. Modelmates has this translucent property and surfaces are usually still visible after a fine spray has been applied to them. The majority of paints are opaque and usually obscure a surface. As more coats of Modelmates are applied to a surface, the layer of dye gets thick and the colour gets darker and less translucent. This is very different to a paint which usually stays the same colour no matter how many coats are applied. Soot Black is our least translucent spray, and is almost opaque. See the translucency table click here.

Water Soluble:
Water soluble means that a material is capable of being dissolved in some solvent (usually water). Modelmates has this water soluble property and is capable of being dissolved in water. Surfaces need to be non-porous for this to work, otherwise the dye will be absorbed causing permanent staining – (please see the How To Use page). Instead of washing Modelmates off completely, wipe and smudge it with a damp tissue to remove just a little dye, leaving the rest on the model. Re-spray and re-smudge several times and the dye will build up where it has not been removed and will get darker and darker in these areas. This creates a great weathered effect. The wetter the tissue the more dye will be removed.

What Can It Be Used On:
Modelmates can be used on many types of materials such as plastic, card, wood, plaster and metal. Modelmates is for interior use only. It can be used outside if a surface is sealed after use with a suitable fine matt varnish. Always apply the sealer spray in fine coats otherwise it may dilute Modelmates.

The price of the weathering spray dyes is £7.75 each.

The price of the 22ml jars is £3.50 each.

The price of the 400ml acrylic primers is £8.00 each.
These are recommended prices and include the January VAT increase.

Check out the Modelmates web site for more information and for where you can buy this new medium:
Mal Mayfield (Holdfast) looks at the range of weathering products produced by Modelmates.
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: see text
  Suggested Retail: see text
  Related Link: www.modelmates.co.uk
  PUBLISHED: Dec 04, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Modelmates!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mal Mayfield (Holdfast)

Hi, my name is Mal Mayfield and I have been modelling seriously for about 25 years. My main interest is 1/48 scale second world war. I build all types and all combatants. I have built 1/35 scale "targets" and 1/72 scale modern aircraft, plus a couple of cars. I have also dabbled with figure painting...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mal Mayfield [ HOLDFAST ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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