AK Interactive's Weathering Pencils--Buy or Not to Buy?

I saw the YouTube reviews and I read some of the posts on Armorama about AK Interactive’s Weathering Pencils. They’re not cheap pencils.

Thus, I am wondering if they’re worth the price and what modelers have to say about them. The posts told those buyers to post follow-ups after they used them, but I do not see recent follow-ups on how these pencils really are and work.

Can cheaper artist colored pencils be used? Are the AK Weathering Pencils used for more than just stains, chips, and scratches? And do they actually mark and color well? Some of the reviews state that the color is too muted and hardly shows whereas the black and grime pencils work extremely well, meaning that stains and washes are great with these pencils, but coloring and fading isn’t.

Thanks in advance.

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I haven’t tried them yet. I just watched a few YouTube videos on them. They are water soluble. I’m not sure that’s useful to me. I could brush paint where I want to be precise or make streaks and airbrush or pastel powder for other effects (and again for streaks). I’m already using a 6B pencil to add a metallic shine to edges.
If you get them let us know what you think.

I don’t know, @SSGToms and myself never got them to work for us. I think some others on here did.

I would say buy one or two to test and not get the whole pack like we did.


I’ll get right to the point - don’t waste your money on these pencils. Nobody I have talked to (dozens of experienced modelers) can get them to work as advertised. I bought the $70 full box, after reading the literature, thinking they would revolutionize my weathering. I got them home and started testing them. They don’t work. Not a damn. At all. I tried them on all surfaces and colors and all of the pencils left a faint streak or smudge. AK has changed their marketing twice since these have been issued and they still can’t give people a straight answer. They make washes if used with water. Well, that’s what washes are for. I wanted markings and detailed effects like they advertised. Not happening. Ever. These pencils don’t work, bottom line. If you want some pencils that DO work on models, go to the art store, spend 1/3 of the money, and buy Prismacolor pencils. They work on models and do everything the AK pencils can’t. They even have a light olive and a 70% grey that’s perfect for scrapes and chips.


My personal experience with AK pencils has been meh. I used them to add oil stains for a UN T-72, but they were too brittle (cracked quite easily). The biggest issue was that no matter how much I soaked them in water, they never deposited much pigment. Using them was just not really that worthwhile considering that enamel paints exist.

But to each their own! Perhaps you’ll love them, we all have wildly different experiences.


I find standard art supply water colour pencils great.

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I bought them all too, and it seems like the rust-colored pencils work pretty well. (Is it a coincidence that a lot of the AK videos show the rusting of a barrel, tank hinges, etc?) Many of the other colors do not seem to leave much behind, wet or dry. I will say that they worked best on a military forklift I painted a greyish white. The pencils made some nice scratches and worn spots. And if you mess up, the marks come off with a dab of water or a gum eraser. I keep trying them, but so far, not worth the money to me.

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Thanks everybody. I made up my mind to not buy these.


Hi Trisaw,

Although you decided already, let me please add my experience, perhaps others can learn, too.
I bought some 5 small boxes (6 pencils each or so) of AK sets, mainly for armored vehicles models and most of them did work for me as I do very subtle weathering usually. I could even use some of them for filtering on flat areas (after heavy dissolving them with water) but most cases I applied them for scratches and built-up dirt on a Leo2 model. Most cases I over-wetted (???) the pencil strikes so had to re-apply the effect 2x-3x to make it “visible”. Learning curve issue.
Some of the pencils did not work though. So I also bought 2-3 artist watercolor pencils to extend my set and those did work.
It is important to understand that one should apply the pencils dry and after it is done, the effect would be finalized using water. Never the other way around, wetting the AK pencils will kill them!
My verdict is like this: do buy some pencils for weathering, but prefer artist ones if available (may buy AK if no artist ones are around) as a “nice” weathering will require mixture of different tools and techniques.Beside artist oils paints, chulks or pigments, normal modeling paints such (watercolor or acrylic) pencils can be very much useful. Just buy them one-by-one if possible, starting with rusty colors or greys (for dirt). Later you can buy more if satisfied.

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Hey folks, I would also like to add my two cents in to the discussion as I’m someone who found the pencils useful but maybe not as much as was advertised.

  1. I like the earth colored ones - I’ve used them for applying streaking grime or build up of dust/grime in areas of my model. Here’s a Tamiya M4 where I extensively used the dust pencils of the set I bought

Here’s a Dragon M46 with similar application of the pencil

I used a lot of the different shades of the pencils near the hatches and areas surrounding the raised details of the kit.

  1. I found that the pencils go on top or under other weathering products such as Oil + Enamel paints. This is a big deal to me as it makes layering weathering techniques on top of each other much easier (acrylic + weathering pencil + enamel/oil washes for the weathering)

  2. It is, however extremely brittle. I’ve had some of my pencils reduced to half because they kept breaking when I sharpen them as AK recommends. What I do nowadays is use a sharp hobby knife to sharpen the dull pencil ends. This makes having a sharp end a bit harder though.

  3. The effect is better on matte surfaces than gloss - the latter doesn’t give enough bite for the pencil to smudge

  4. I’ve applied these dry, then used a slightly damp brush to soften the effect/spread it to other areas.

That’s all for now, but I would say buying the big set isn’t great (like what I did) but the indivdual sets (dust set, rust set, etc) is a good choice - you can pick what colors you want and go with those


Thanks again.

Many here mention using “other artists pencils.” What artist pencils do you recommend for weathering since there are so many types and brands out there?

I can really see the benefits of drawing in fine lines and controlled stains and scratches.

I was about to buy a small box of AK Interactive’s weathering pencils but I stopped myself if artist pencils will work even better. Thanks again! :grinning:

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@Trisaw As I mentioned in my post, I have had fantastic success with Prismacolor colored pencils. They are available in any art & craft store, both in sets and individually. The control they give you for making chips, stains, and scratches is incredible. They mark perfectly on matte model surfaces and the color selection is huge. They are inexpensive and long lasting. I recommend the 70% Grey pencil as the perfect chipping color. They are also so consistent that you can color small areas for wood, steel, etc.


Any appreciable advantage over pigments (pastel chalk powder)?

Aside from the pencil format. I use a small paintbrush.

I do have a huge set of artist color pencils already so I suppose I can try that.

Furthermore, I discovered that I do have a couple of AK Interactive weathering pencils given to me as free samples so I’ll see how they are before committing for more.

Thank you all. :grinning:

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Like to see how your test goes.

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The pigments I use (vallejo, AK, ground up hard pastel) still tends to leave a mark even after you try to remove most of it.

The pencils on the other hand can be nearly totally erased if you don’t like the effect you made - it can also be made to be very subtle.

Both have their uses and respective strengths/weaknesses. I prefer pigments if I really want a heavy buildup of the dust/mud effects though.

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I use a small army of pastel pencils from at least 5 manufacturers; Koh-I-Noor, General’s, Stabilo, Faber-Castell, Derwent and although not pastel chalk pencils, I have AK’s too. The AK’s are too hard IMHO, but I like the ability to blend them with water. I use water-color markers too, along with Pigma Micron pens with 0.15mm tips for fine outlining.

Without wishing to sound obtuse, I have the whole set and I love them. I have actually ordered some refills of ones i have used up.

I think it depends on how you do your streaking and rust effects. I think if you are someone who uses washes instead of enamel “spots” then they might be a bit limited for you. I prefer using enamel spots and streaking with enamel thinner and for this, the pencils are great.

Key is, I’ve found anyway, is:

A) you do have to press quite hard to get anything appreciable to go down and care must be taken as, as others have said, they are frangible.

B) wet the area you want the streaking effect on with odourless thinner first. They don’t go down as well on a dry, unprepared surface.

C) exception to this is using the lighter coloured ones for quite nice chipping effects in certain instances. I cant remember where I saw it but there was a guy on one of the forums I saw who reckons he has changed his whole chipping process from sponge for the lighter first step to just using the lighter coloured AK pencils and then brush chipping the dark second stage over the top by hand. Evidently he found it greatly beneficial and I tried it on my latest model recently and - to be fair - it does work nicely. Especially for running along sections of exposed straight edges etc. No need to thin first or after, they go down just fine on their own. I dig it. I cant see myself replacing sponge first stage but it for sure does have its time and place.

I use them mainly for rust and grime/rain streaks as they are a little more precise than the streaking brushes I was using before. I quite the combo actually - Mig Streaking brush rust for the streak as it is a nice deep orange colour and then over the wet area adding the red rust streak over the top as it is darker and makes the effect more two dimensional. It works nicely.

I also like using them for running over the exposed areas of rubber and running gear as it is like a more precise drybrushing effect, and the ability to use greys and even blues etc really add to the creativity.

If I had a complaint about them it is that they are too frangible for a product that requires you to press quite hard to get the best out of them but I wonder if we might see a second generation of them using pen bodies instead of wood, with a nib designed to help stop the breakage by supporting the torquing load of you pressing down better than the wood does.

I also think they are very overpriced for what they are but that’s a modeler thing not limited to these pencils or indeed just to AK. It feels sometimes like normal tools and paints, glues, handy bits and pieces, varnishes, mats, etc you name it, tend to triple in price as soon as you slap “MODELLER” on the packaging. I love Tamiya but they are outrageous for this.

Anyway I digress.

Bottom line is it depends what you use them for and how you fit them into your work process. For me I really like them and they do have a place for me as they fit nicely into how I weather models. I fully get why others wouldn’t see a need for them or have space for them into their processes. They don’t do anything we couldn’t do before, they aren’t revolutionary as such, they are just handy and helpful and push creativity a little more vs paints in my view. Whether that is worth the high cost of buying a set is up to the individual - its horses for courses as they say.

I think if you are wavering about whether to buy them, buy the Dust, Rust, the light grey and the Buff coloured ones first as these are the ones that usually get used the most. See if they work for you. If they don’t, then you’ve only lost ten bucks and not the six or seventy odd for the full set.


Turned out that I received two AK pencils free with an order.

I tried both of them and you’re correct in that they’re very subtle in marking and often hardly show up at all. They did mark OK in my trials.

I used them on a very dark green 3D printed Sci-Fi soldier and they made some difference, more so than graphic pencils, but in the end, they’re just that…color drawing pencils. They allow finer control of the weathering process; however, I find that pastels and washes will have more impact because the AK pencils’ lines (and granted I just have two pencils) don’t really stand out at all in terms of making scratches…perhaps markers are better for that. It’s really subtle shading but it does tone down gloss and provide a matte finish.

Thus, one has to consider if one should acquire the AK pencils or colored markers and then use water to tone down the marker ink. I found that markers provide more contrast than the pencils.

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I guess the biggest advantage of AK’s pencils over the “artist pencils” is the variety of colors range they offer.
I’ve bought some artist pencils in my local art craft store and the choice was limited for earth and greyish tones.
The pencils are nice alternative to oil based products. They dry faster however their effect still can be fixed when wet if you’re not happy with it. Once it’s dry, ti’s dry.
From my experience you have to “overdo” the weathering unlike with oil based products.


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