Friday, 16 October 2015

In this article I will take you through the basic steps to create realistic paint chipping techniques. This  technique is more commonly known as the hairspray technique and can be easily created by people of all skill levels. The items used in this article can be sourced from your local supermarket. 

You will need: 
Hair spray (Strength 2 or above is fine, or a medium to strong hold). 
Airbrush and Compressor. You don't need a fine detail airbrush. A good steady airbrush will do. I recommend this for first time buyers. 
Paints. I use a mixture of Vallejo and Forge World Air paints as well as formula P3 diluted with acrylic thinners. 

Step one: Prime black

Why black? I want a solid base colour with dark shadows. The rust effect that will go here will be a nice contrast to the light shades we will use later. I used Halfird's Black Matt Primer. 

Step 2: Airbrush. Matt Brown. PSI 20

Cover the whole area with one layer of matt brown. Once this is dry quickly pull and release the trigger of the airbrush for a spotty effect. Use this to unevenly dot the surface. 

Step 3: Airbrush. Dintrilie Orange. PSI 20  

Continue to use the above technique to dot the surface of the plates. We want an irregular pattern. Rust does not form asymmetrically. 

Step 4: Hairspray. Use 2 or above, or medium to strong hold. Use two even, thin layers. Allow to dry completely. Do not use a hair dryer to aid curing.

Step 5: Airbrush. Opaque Raw Umber & Vallejo Hemp. 

Cover the surface of the yellow areas with the above mixture. The slight cracks you can see in the picture are my fault - I was too impatient and sprayed the paint on when the hairspray was still slightly tacky. However it is a nice technique to learn if that is the effect you wist to achieve. 

Step 6: Opaque Black. PSI 20

Mask off the areas you wish to remain yellow and spray the remainder black. 

Step 7: Airbrush. Warm water to cover surface. 

Cover the area with warm water and allow to set into the paint for around ten seconds. With a stiff bristled brush drag it across the surface and scratch off the paint. Yes you will be literally damaging the paint work and revealing the rusted surface underneath. 

And that's how to create a simple chipped surface. This can be used with other weathering techniques to build up layers of damage which we will examine in future tutorials. 

Paints used: Vallejo, Reaper Master Series, Games Workshop Washes, Com Art Medea Airbrush Airbrush: Sparmax MAX- 4 Airbrush Paint Brushes: Rosemary & Co. Raphael 8040, Broken Toad Brushes, Windsor and Newton Series 7


  1. If you only wanted to achieve the chipping effect without streaking the yellow, what would you change in this procedure?

  2. Wait for the paint to cure a little longer.

  3. what would Citadel or Scale75 similar colours be? tried a paint comparison but none list lifecolour :(