Advice Needed: Best Paints for Weathering Tanks?

Hi everyone,

I am new to the hobby and currently working on a 1/35 scale tank model. I’ve done the base coat but now I am looking to add some realistic weathering effects like rust, mud and wear.

Can anyone recommend the best types of paints or weathering products for this ? I’ve heard good things about enamel washes and pigments but I am not sure where to start. Also, any tips on application techniques would be greatly appreciated!

I also checked this: but couldn’t get the suggestions what I wanted to know.

Thanks in advance for your help.



I have been enjoying the AK line of weathering products, but u are going to get a different answer from everybody who answers this question. There are just that many techniques and products.


I agree. I think that AK has been a leader in putting out good quality products for weathering.

This includes how to videos, (On YouTube) and the FAQ series of books.

It has really helped me make my models look so much more life like.

One suggestion, In opinion… There is no wrong way to weather something. Take for instance, a tank just gets dirty, messy, muddy, fuel stains, and it gets banked up! Paint gets worn, scratched, and chipped… Like a rental car after a family vacation.

One of the moist effective weathering products I use is called dirt and dust, it brings a lot of realism. Also, one trick is to take a look at where your vehicle has been operating. The dirt and mud color is a lot different in Italy than in Russia.

Just have fun!


Please understand that there is no magic formula or a can’t fail product or technique. Before you go all in on any of the products out there I would suggest you experiment with less expensive materials. For example, rather than buying a couple of jars of pigments, try Michales or HobbLobby and find a box of pastels with 8-12 colors. You can grind them or shave them to get fine dust just like the prepackaged stuff. I have a set that I’ve used for about 15 years and still have plenty left. Same goes for washers. Mix your own be they enamel or oils. Much is simply experimentation and trial and error until you find out what you’re comfortable with and works for you. I am admittedly somewhat old school in that I prefer to make my own. Using home brewers is less expensive in my opinion. Not to say that the prepackaged stuff isn’t nice or doesn’t work but you pay a premium for the convenience.

Your mileage may vary.


Most products offered these days will perform well when one takes time to master the product. It’s less Best Product and more gain experience and learning techniques with products.

As ArmorSmith mentioned homebrew washes and pastel chalk work very well. They also offer the most flexibility at the least cost but not the instant convenience of the prepacked items.

I mix my own wash with oil paints or with enamels in general. I’ve used Tamiya panel liners. They are OK but I generally like mixing my own washes best. Can’t give much informed opinion on premixed washes by AK or MIG, other than they offer convenience.

Mig’s Acrylic Mud product is an excellent product for adding dirt & grime to lower hull and suspension. I typically thin a small dab in a paper cup with water and apply sparingly in thin coats to my personal tastes.

Still use a set of pastel chalks from the 1980’s, 99% of the time. They offer far more flexibility in mixing to taste so I use AK/MIG’s pigs :pig2: sparingly.

The pigments all seem the same or similar quality to me. I like at least 3 different colors of pigment mixed together for dust as dust particles aren’t monotone.

These two YouTube channels are excellent demonstration of products and techniques. Both are well worth a look.




I’m always an advocate of learning to use the “classic” finishing materials before spending lots of money on “proprietary” finishing and weathering materials. With experience, you’ll learn that most of the proprietary products are just brand name packaged classic or generic stuff that could have been purchased much cheaply and in larger quantities if you had only understood their true nature.

So, for a beginning modeler, I’d suggest a couple of tubes of artist oil paints and some odorless mineral spirits. Learn to make general and pin washes and how to do dry-brushing. Ivory black, titanium white, yellow ochre, raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber and Paynes gray are your basic weathering colors. You can make washes and dry-brush models for years with just those tubes of paint.

Once you have the basics of color mixing down, add a couple of blues and reds and you’ll be able to match any base color (OD through Dunkle Gelb and all points in-between) for dry-brushing for shading, The siennas, burnt and raw, are the basic rust stains and streak colors. Oil-dot filters are also possible.

As for pigments, once you learn a bit about mixing colors with the oils, you’ll be able to buy artist dry pigments and mix your own earth colors. The same for using artist textured gel mediums (mixed with pigments for color, if you wish) for some 3D texturing and on landscaped bases.

If you want to learn to use “weathering” pencils, look no further than artist water-color pencils (in the same basic colors as for the oils).

Learn to use these materials and then, when you look at the zillion proprietary weathering products, you can make some wise and informed decisions about what would be most useful to you. It’s not that these proprietary products are somehow “bad” (I use a number of such products myself), but rather that before you can take short-cuts, you have to understand where you’re actually going.


Excellent advice, and I totally second it. I buy most of my weathering products at an art supply store - much cheaper than proprietary products. :+1:
:smiley: :canada:


Weathering is a totally personal thing. I like to see how other people weather it clues you into their style.

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I agree with @Brantwoodboy , weathering is down to your imagination. Try to think where the vehicle is operating and maybe how old it is etc… The end result is yours and if you’re happy with it, thats important.



I guess the product is not really important, if you watch what Mario Rinaldi is doing with a bunch of oil colors from the art shop next door. It’s mastering the technique 99% of the effect. I got one of his tankart books where he explains every step but that does not make me a weathering god like him, try and error is probably the way (Mandalorian Series 1)


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Might try looking at youtube?

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