Nuclear waste: painting

The construction of the kit went quickly and smoothly. However, I knew from the start that the painting would me much more complicated. To make an old wreck like that you need a seasoned, nuanced surface with a long history of decay and neglect. And the painting stage is the time to start working on this surface – the weathering just wouldn’t be enough here in my opinion. I was curious how far I can go with this strategy on a tiny 1:72 model.

If you missed the first part of the SBS, here’s the link:


As usual I started with a clean primer layer. And before that, I divided the model into 3 parts. The design of the kit makes it very easy to put those parts together after painting.

Priming the model, ZIL-131 by AVD Models

It’s also the last opportunity to check if the surface is clean and polished. For example, I totally forgot about those nasty marks on the hood. It was the time to deal with them. Then I reapplied the primer.

Priming the model, ZIL-131 by AVD Models

And here comes the usual rusty base for the chipping. I used the dedicated Ammo paint for that. But later I realized the shade is actually too dark for the scale, so I lightened it a bit with other rusty shades.

Then I covered the model with the chipping fluid.

When using the hairspray technique it’s essential to keep the layers of paint as thin as possible. On the other hand, it takes a lot of paint to build up a solid colour on a dark brown base.

I’ve found a way around this problem: before applying the actual colour I lighten the base with a thin layer of white. This way I can get a rich colour afterwards without using too much paint. I’ve already talked about this on my Ferguson Tractor project.

From now on I’ ll be using Tamiya paints only. I started to create my basic red colour with a faded pinkish shade. It’s a good middle ground base for both highlights and shadows.


I added a little bit of white to the mix and I did some zenithal highlights using a piece of paper as a mask. Other highlights were done more randomly: with free hand and with masking tape.

Then I went sort of the opposite way by darkening some areas with the flat red colour.

I am still trying to conform to zenithal perspective here, but a little bit of randomness will work as well. Also, the red goes on the horizontal surfaces to create some artificial shadows and to accentuate panels.

The chipping is done mostly with a needle. Considering the scale, I needed those chips to be as tiny as possible.

Needle gives you a good control over the process. Just remember not to use the pointy end, it may damage the base colour. I prefer to work with the sides of the tip instead.

The next step was to paint the white parts of the car. I started with another layer of hairspray. Then I masked all the areas carefully. I really hate masking but I hate overspray even more, so I took my time here and I double checked if everything was solid. Then I started the chipping.

The important thing here is to conform to the layer that you’ve already done. You need to match the intensity of the chips and sometimes even recreate the scratches that were partly covered by the white paint.

Also, you have an option to go straight to the rusty base or create a more shallow scratch only reaching to the red colour. I tried to do both.

I applied another layer of chipping fluid. Yes, again! Now I mixed a very light shade of red and I sprayed it with a very thin layer. One quick pass will do. Then I washed off some of the paint with a big brush dipped in water.

The point of this step was to create a rich and interesting surface – as if the paint was peeling off. Just remember: the very thin layer of top colour is the key here.


I took another look at the reference photos only to realize I actually went very shy with all the chipping.

I resprayed the dark brown colour on some of the panels. Then, to spice up the rusty base, I created some mapping effects with the Lifecolor palette.


The interior is very basic in this kit and I didn’t plan to do anything about it –  it will be almost invisible eventually.

I painted it quickly focusing on the seats mostly. The result you can see below is a combination of hairspray technique and the sponge chipping. I also weathered the seats with an oil paint wash.

The wheels were painted the regular way: starting from the black and gradually lighting up the colour – check out the SBS here. This time I went to town with this technique as I wanted the tyres to look particularly old and weathered.

As always, I painted each of the rims a bit differently to get some variety.

All the remaining details of the model were painted with a brush. I also attached the sirens that were previously covered with Tamiya transparent blue.

Then I put all the loose parts together.

I decided to paint the numbers free hand with a brush. I added a little strip of masking tape in the middle to simulate the stencil shape.

There were another numbers and inscriptions on the original car, but I just gave up. They were just to small for me to paint them with a brush. It’s a shame I don’t have decals for this version.

And here’s the model after painting stage.

I like where this is going, but there’s still a lot of work ahead of me. Next time I’ll be doing the weathering which will hopefully conclude this project. And until then, take care guys!


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