Making Plastic Rust

So, as I’m building an Imperial Guard Army for 40K I was bound to get a couple Leman Russ tanks (being a treadhead had NOTHING to do with it, I swear…). While not very realistic looking, they do look a bit like a French Char 1 tank, which I’m a fan of, so I was immediately smitten with the thing.

Leman Russ
40K’s ubiquitous battletank

char 1
The French Char 1
(Ok, it’s a very passing resemblance.)

Anyways, like most of my 40K stuff, I got my Russes used. While the kits were ok, one thing was realllllly bugging me: the exhaust pipes. Not only am I not a fan of the design itself—looks like a chromed stack for a midget semi—but it’s a two-piece part that has a seam running up and down the middle.


And with the molded in bracket, kind of a pain to fill and sand. So My Lemans have sat for awhile while I tried to come up with a solution. Making and casting my own? Maybe, but what kind of exhaust do I go with? Panzer IV style horizontal canister style? Perhaps the more car-like design of the M26 Pershing? That was a lot of work for a relatively minor problem, so I never really went anywhere with it.

Then the solution came to me while I was talking to a friend about his Lemans. Make the exhaust really rusty. I had just watched this video about making textures with GW’s Liquid Green stuff and thought maybe that I could texture the putty on the hide the seem and not have to worry about sanding, etc.

So that got me thinking about an old article in Finescale Modeler about using plastic cement to stipple a tank turret (Sherman, maybe?) to give it that rough cast look.

I wondered which technique would make give the exhausts that really grainy texture that cast iron or steel gets when it’s exposed to high temperatures.

So I decided to do some experimenting.
In the end I tried three products: GW’s Liquid Greenstuff, Testors Plastic Cement and Gunze’s Mr. Surfacer 1000.

I used the same brush (a cheap child’s nylon job with all but 4 or so mm cut off so the remaining bristles were nice and stiff) for all three experiments, cleaned in thinner and then water and dried to the best of my ability to make sure there wasn’t any solvents lefts.

I did two applications of each product, holding the brush at a 90 degree angle to the surface and trying to make sure push down as hard as I could without causing the exhaust piece to go flying (I was not completely successful). I waited about 10 minutes between each application.

Liquid Green stuff: The first layer didn’t really do much for me, I’m not sure if the plastic below it was too smooth or if the the Green stuff was too thin. However, the second layer(which I got out of the cap and was much thicker) went on phenomenally. It was exactly what I was looking for!
I think one more coat and it’ll look perfect.

Testors Plastic Cement: Perhaps it’s because I was using the liquid stuff in the glass bottle as opposed to the old-school tube, but the results weren’t anywhere what I was looking for. After the second coat I did get some texture, but not the rough grainy rusty one I was going for.


Gunze Mr. Surface: Nope. Didn’t even get a texture, except maybe for ‘gloopy’… I even waited till after the second coat sat for 10 or so minutes, got my brush wet with some paint thinner and tried to stipple. Nothing.

The clear winner here was the Liquid Green stuff. Not only did it do exactly what I was looking for, it didn’t have the horrible smells that both the Liquid Cement and the Mr. Surfacer did. I’ll make sure I get a blob on my (dry!) palette to thicken up a bit before I apply it, but I’m really chuffed at how it came out! Some dark red paint, some pastels and with a little bit of luck, I’ll have some convincing looking rusty exhaust.
(Granted, it’s a rather exaggerated effect, but it’s exactly what I was looking for.)

Some more pictures of everything:









Tags: , , , , ,

About greatersarcasmo

Father. Husband. Model builder, miniature painter, TV watcher and book reader

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: