AK Weathering Pencils for Modelling + Weathering Pencil Techniques | Armorama™

Darren Baker takes a look at a couple of AK Interactive products that make for a perfect pairing being AK Weathering Pencils for Modelling and Weathering Pencil Techniques.

This is partial text from the full article (usually with photos) at https://armorama.com/news/ak-weathering-pencils-for-modelling-weathering-pencil-techniques

Hey @SSGToms this is what we are missing to making the pencils work. :crazy_face:

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AK wants me to give them MORE money to get their pencils to work? I don’t think so.

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You should not think of the book as a way to get the pencils to work, the book is a guide to getting the most from the pencils.

When I think of getting the most from the AK weathering pencils, I think of lighting one on fire to make stretched sprue, or placing one under the leg of a wobbly work bench, because these pencils sure as hell don’t work on models. At all. Not a one. I bet that’s not in the book.

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A fine use of $70… :rofl:

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Well I’m not going to get my $70 back and I can’t hand them down - I couldn’t do that to an innocent kid!

You know what this thread has me thinking.
Im gonna dig up and try my two AK pencils and see if I can get anything out of them.
If not into the trash they go and Im never buying another AK product. :rofl:

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I have the pencils and I find that they work very well. Like many modelling tools and products, they take some practice (and I am definitely still learning how to use them) but they have so far proven easy to use and effective in doing chips and scratches, metallic effects, wood grain effects and other things. If you think that the pencils will give instant simple results, they will not. Again, it is something that takes time and practice to learn how to use.

@jfeenstra Jon, I have tried every color, on every type of surface, and get either no mark at all or a faint waxy smudge. Around a dozen other modelers on this site have reported identical results. What are we all doing wrong?


I do not know if the recipe of the pencil has changed since you got yours and if you are failing to obtain the desired results I can understand your angst. I went into this with an open mind and I was content with the result I got, and I am looking forward to using them on a figure to give the hair and eyes a better result. What I will say is I used them on a matt surface paint that was an undercoat and did not suffer the issues you did.


Is there a way you can ask AK if the formula has changed? One thing I noticed is I had the box set and this showed a cloth bag.

@jfeenstra Jon, please share your technique/s.

Message asked.

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I do not believe that the formula has changed. I think it’s just a case of perhaps the bag being more convenient than a box - I have the boxed set and wish I had the bagged one now to save space.

I can’t say I have any techniques. I just play with them until I get desired results. One thing is that I find they need to be really sharp to have good control and thus found a good quality pencil sharpener. As Darren mentioned, they do seem to work better on a matt surface, but I’ve tried them on a glossy surface and they can work with a bit more pressure. They can be frustrating at times but that’s more my lack of experience with them I think. I too struggled at first and only got faint marks or none at all, but once I sharpened them found this became less of a problem It just takes playing around and finding the right pressure to apply. And again, keeping them sharp.

For chipping I find them much easier to control then paint. I apply dots in random fashion around areas that I want lots of tiny chips and also use them to apply chipping effects on edges of things like fenders and hatches. I still use paint and sponge techniques as well, but the pencils provide a good “in-between” method. I also find them good for putting on longitudinal surface scratches (i.e. in a color slightly lighter then base paint) on things like schurzen or such.

For metallic effects I find the pencils to be of medium hardness; I have graphite sticks that are hard and soft, so the pencils again provide something in between. I’ve used the aluminum to provide some very fine highlights on MG barrels that have been painted black and then rubbed with graphite. Again, this is simply taking a sharpened pencil and gently rubbing the side of it on edges of the barrel.

I tried applying woodgrain on the base of a wooden box and also wood chips on the antenna trough of a Panzer II. Not as happy with that but I think that perhaps is more to do with the fact that the base color is too light to see the effect.

One thing that people don’t realize is you can use these wet. Dip the tip of the pencil in water to make it slightly damp and it goes on easier and produces different effects. You can also take a damp brush after applying the pencil to blend it. I’ve only tried this once with a rust tone to blend the edge and it seemed to work ok. Need to experiment with this more.

The AK book does have some good ideas on using them and it’s only about $12USD so not a huge investment. Many other AK books have modelers using them in their articles as well, and I believe I read one article where the author only used the pencils (except for the base paint) to finish the model to see what they can do. I thought the results were as good as using all the other techiques.

They can be and are (at least to me) one more tool to use for finishing. Again, they won’t replace other tools and techniques, but simply add to them. I find that they are a lot easier for me to control then a fine paint brush so that is why I want to continue working with them.

I would post a few pictures, but I am unfortunately away from home for 10 days so am not able to until then.

AK specify not to wet the pencil but wet the application area as it can damage the pencil and these are not cheap pencils.

I know what they may say, but slightly dampening the end of the pencil (keeping the moist area on the lead and not the wood) does not have any impact that I can see. You do not want to immerse the complete pencil in water as the casing is wood of course.

OK bud just checking as this is a review Q&A

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Pencils and crayons work best on matt surfaces.
On satin surfaces, they can also be used, but it’s a fact that they will mark less.
If they are being used on an unprimed plastic, photo-etched or resin surface, they will not mark , since it is not a product with grip for a base coat, but rather it is a product to do weathering effects / details.

I have tried them many times on a flat (matte) surface with little or no result. Many modelers here have reported the same failure. So it’s not just me.

I remember using AK pencils to make a United Nations T-72. Or rather, trying to use them, because they literally cracked into nothingness on contact with water.

My allegiance to Tamiya remains ironclad.

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