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The "Oily / dirt" look approach to weathering test

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Hey guys. I wanted to try a different approach to weathering, and I think I like the results!

I remember reading that they use motor oil, dirt and sand to weather the armor on the set. There's this old photo from the set of the guy using a brush to paint on this mixture to weather the armor.

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So I decided to do another "CSI experiment": what exactly does motor oil, mixed with dirt and sand look like? Why not try and replicate this, since this is what they really used? We all see in the film stills that the weathering looks dark and patchy in some areas, and it's actually not very "sand" or grey colored like we would think it would be.

I had some old used motor oil left from an oil change I did a while back (so it's nice and gunky!) and I added dirt / soil and sand. After I let it sit for a day, this is what I got:

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Notice that the dark areas are where the oil has saturated the dirt is quite dark. The sand didn't add too much other than "grain" and grittyness.

But I think the most interesting part is the color of the oil. In some areas it's darker where it's thick. In thin areas, the oil is more transparent and a warm reddish brown translucent look appears. This has a much more random organic quality to it.

So how do i replicate this with acrylic paint? One thing I noticed is that the paint in a tube is not the same color when it's sponged on and thinned down. Here's a test swatch I did on scrap plastic. The right has the burnt umber spread out and the left is my "oil" mixture - replicated with paint.

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I took a 2 layer approach. Do one pass with Burnt umber, thin it down and applied via sponge, let it dry, then used a terry cloth and wiped it off in circular / dabbing motions to make it look like dried transparent oil. Then let it dry overnight so that it "binds" with the plastic.

I did a second pass with my own oil mixture which was actually 70% Burnt umber, 20% black, and 10% warm grey. I only let this sit for about 5 mins, then rub / dabbed it off. I let some brown show through in some areas, and in others I built it up on top of the brown.

The result is that it creates this rich layered look, which is very similar to the oil / dirt / sand test I did. Here's a comparison of the ammo strip and the oil / dirt / sand test.

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Some weathered pieces

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Chest plate does not have the second pass with "oil" yet

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Right thigh

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I did the boots too, which in my opinion should be the "dirtiest" item in the costume (your lower body gets more heavily soiled than the upper body)

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Shin with boot

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Here's another cool test. I wanted to see if these results replicate the film used suits. I took the photo of my "oily" weathered ab armor (far right), then colorized and blurred it to match the set lighting from the film (second from right), then added some noise to simulate film grain (third from right) and lastly compared it to a screen grab of the the STS trooper ab armor (left). I will add some more details to make the weathered shapes similar, but the look is very similar to what was seen on screen.

Keep in mind that things are usually more detailed in real life than what is seen on film (loss of detail). So the still photos we have seen from the set are closer to what was really done in real life, to get what we see on screen.

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I really like this "gritty, oily" look. The armor looks very tough, and abused and has a lot more depth to it. The great thing is that you can make it as heavy or as lightly weathered as you like.

What do you guys think?

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I think it looks awesome man....your doing an awesome job with your build. cant wait to see the finished product :)

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Yeah... how's it holding up?!

And, again... do you contribute this much to ALL the detachments?! :salute:

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Thanks guys, glad you approve!

The acrylic holds up VERY well. Its an ATA kit and its HIPS, plus when i polished it, I only buffed the high spots so the paint clings incredibly well on the "low" areas. On the high spots, the paint still sticks very well. When you rub the excess off it comes off a hair easier since its smoother, but all you need to do is rub a little lighter and you still get a great texture. But there is absolutely no flaking or chipping or anything like that once its dried.

I'm using Liquitex quality acrylic, which I think is higher quality than Woodland scenics which is more of a craft paint. I have a background in illustration, and I know that the binding agent is stronger with Liquitex.

The paint adheres really well, couldnt be happier with the results. I troop a lot, so the durability is really important to me. The sniper knee is ABS, so I can report back with how well everything holds up to trooping.

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Yeah... how's it holding up?!

And, again... do you contribute this much to ALL the detachments?! :salute:

Well, I'm only a member on 2 detachments!

I try to contribute to anything I'm passionate about. Sandtroopers is one of them. :)

I also think theres still lots of opportunity for discoveries and different ways of doing things. Hopefully we can all share and learn together.

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wow cool weathering effect and technique!!

i already try old oil + sand just for fun :D there is now few months.

it is just awesome you had succes to replicate with acrylic paint!

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I love the results Terry! I think this is more in line with what the dirt actually is - not sand per se but more that the armor gets spray from "oil" and "grease" and the dirt just clings to it.

Excellent job, and way to both raise the bar and provide some excellent new research :)

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(Clarification on my earlier query) How does the oil mixture hold up? Does it thicken and get grimy, or is it still really low viscosity and easy to wipe off? If it's caking on (like the grunge on my engine), that's awesome! If it's still pretty light, I'd be afraid of rubbing it off on everything I touched. Kinda like eating fried chicken and not washing your hands...

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Hey Russell, don’t use a real oil and dirt mixture, it won’t work long term. I only left it for a day, and it was still high viscosity and it smelled. It rubs off easily, but stains the plastic and the smell is still there. It’s not going to “cake” because there’s no heat like an engine.

I noticed that in the film, the weathering changes / degrades in different scenes. My thinking is that they applied it, it caked a bit and they had to reapply it for various scenes. Sometimes the same trooper is dirtier, sometimes they aren’t.

They are also cleaner in the docking bay / alley way scenes than the “look sir droids” and “move along” scenes because Tunisia scenes were filmed first.

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Ah, so you replicated the oil effect with paint, then? Nice work, 'cause it looks fantastic! (Yeah, I was a little worried you'd be a walking grease-ball.)

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Love it Terry.

You have done it again, making a freaking cool topic :)

I´m happy to have you on board here on the mepd, you are our very own new TD Wizard ;)

I have done a few TD suits over time, in the start i used many different sand/brown/grey a like colors on the suit.

But on the last one, i only used one color.

Because i study the pics, and heard about the same mix of things making the weathering.

So i did a few text.

I came up whit this.

I only used a Raw Umber, whit a little bit of concrete in.

Both brand from the woodland weathering series:

http://www.nairnshire-modelling-supplies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=25&sort=20a&filter_id=181&alpha_filter_id=0

Only using one color might seems wrong, when looking at the screen used.

But the Raw Umber, mixed whit a little concrete.

Do the same as the oil weathering.

It makes the areas, corners darker, where you add a "thicker" area, just like the screen used.

It also make different tones of color, all after how much you add on, whit thick your layer is, how much you take off again, patterns etc.

Heres a few pictures of my last suit, using the method.

Not the best pics, too far away, but here you go:

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Thanks Rolf, Paul, everyone! Glad everyone seems to like this look.

I've decided to make a more detailed tutorial for this technique. I will share it with everyone shortly... :)

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Rolf, Those are quite simply some of the best pics I have ever seen of a fan made. I know they are oldish pics now but they're still my most favourite EVER!

Brings a tear to my eye ;)

(sorry to high-jack the thread briefly Terry!)

Smally.

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Rolf, Those are quite simply some of the best pics I have ever seen of a fan made. I know they are oldish pics now but they're still my most favourite EVER!

Brings a tear to my eye ;)

(sorry to high-jack the thread briefly Terry!)

Smally.

Thanks for the kind words, means a lot to me.

As i have put years, hours of study into this hobby over the last 10 years.

My goal have all ways been, if i just could be among one of the best sandy´s out there.

Not the best, just one of them.

I remember seen BraksBuddy suit on he´s site way back in 2004, or something.

And TD-1536 our former CO here Mike Harrison, those among many others have been my big idols.

I hope to take some to take some even better pics, then the ones here, of my new 1mm TM flex abs Sandtrooper suit coming up..

If its not too cold around here, and all the sand graves in Copenhagen have turn into ice.

If then, i might take it to a pro photographer then.

Here a few more shots from the day back then :)

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The once above was from my second TE2 suit, heres a few from my first TE2 suit, taken summer 2008 ;)

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Thanks bro :)

Yeah i like them too, and just wanna show a few of them again.

The TE2 suit are also still among the best, so good pics are not so hard to make.

If you got the extra gear, and a nice location for the shooting.

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Personally I really like this type of weathering, gives that extra feel..I have been experimenting myself with mixing colours creating textures and all but I'm definitely gonna try a mix between your method Terry and Rolf's with my other armor.. :)

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