With the advent of pigments or weathering powder for military vehicles, a new window of opportunity was opened for extremely realistic finishes in static scale modelling.

In this article, I will show how easy it is to obtain these materials without spending crazy amounts of money and also obtain infinite tonal gradations, adaptable to every model. In the modelling world, the need to create dust effects, mud and earth is an important aspect that contributes to give the model that ‘used’ patina that all military vehicles end up having during their use.

To recreate these effects, there are various methods, ranging from oil colours to chalks to fine pigments.

Here, with the use of fine colour powder [at the cost of just a few Euros], we will attain very satisfactory effects, comparable to the much more costly specialised materials used for static modelling.

Health Precautions

The materials we will be using are chemical substances [oxides of various substances including magnesium, titanium, zinc and earth minerals] which, although inert, should always be handled with care, since they are in the form of a very fine dust that spreads very easily and can be ingested or inhaled. It is highly recommended to store and/or handle them away from children and other persons who would be unaware of their peril. The use of a dust mask is highly recommended during the work described here. We shall never tire declaring that modelling is a healthy past-time ….if practiced safely.


• Colour powder [found in paint stores and fine art shops] Dark Brown, Red Ochre, Titanium White and Yellow Ochre

• A few glass or plastic jars

• A sifting net or a fine mesh sieve

• Teaspoon

Tinte utilizzate per realizzare i pigmenti

Selezione di pigmenti base da miscelare


Put into a jar and mix the various colours paying attention to the amount of Dark Brown [use a little] and Red ochre [use very little]. There is no need sift the powders for the time being. Close the jar and shake very well.

Miscela di pigmenti

We thus get a compound that already mixed but still a bit rough.

Now we place the net or sieve on top of a clean, empty jar

Preparazione del setaccio

And after pouring some of the mix, we start to spread it with the teaspoon

Trattamento della miscela di pigmenti

We thus attain our combined and filtered pigment.

Una prima miscela così ottenuta

By varying the amounts of component colours we can achieve an infinite range of pigment tones. Here are some examples.

E' possibile ottenere differenti tonalità di pigmenti

And their use on military models

Esempio di utilizzo dei pigmenti: fango sul treno di rotolamento

Andrea Sala