by: James Bella [ ]
introductionPigments can play a large part in weathering a model. From a light dusting on a vehicle rolling off the production line, to a heavily damaged burned out wreck, pigments are another tool that helps to bring life to your model. Pigments are quite versatile and can be used in a number of different ways to achieve different effects. Dust, fading, creating mud, soot and ashes are just a few conditions that pigments can help depict.
Modeler’s Warehouse is a relatively new company whose goal is to bring ‘hard-to-find and not-so-obvious products under one roof’. Their start-up product is a new line of pigments called Warpigs, which we’ll take a closer look at here.
WarpigsWarpigs are offered in a range of 20 colors, each packaged in a 20ml screw top container with a see-thru lid. They can be purchased separately, in sets of 3 for ‘rust’ and ‘earth’, sets of 5 and 10 of pick your own or the full set of 20. Modeler’s Warehouse sent a set of 11 individual colors for review along with 2 empty containers, which are handy for saving your favorite ‘blend’. The individual colors up for review are; 001 Burnt Umber, 002 Natural Umber, 003 Brown Ochre, 004 Burnt Sienna, 005 Red Ochre, 007 Natural Sienna, 013 SOF Green, 016 Natural Black, 017 Faded Panzer Gray, 018 Pewter Gray, and 020 Titanium White.
How the pigments come packaged is an important feature as this may determine ease of use. Warpigs uses a three part container consisting of a clear screw-top, an insert which ‘sifts’ the pigment and helps to seal the container and, of course, the jar section.
The see-thru top makes it very easy when searching for the color, especially when they are stored in a drawer or on the bench top. The insert does a good job of sealing the pigment in, though a bit of care needs to be exercised to keep the sealing surfaces clean. I’ve gotten into the habit of giving the seal a quick wipe with my brush to get any excess pigments off and haven’t had any leakage problems. As the pigment level goes down this will lessen as the sifter section will be the ‘work’ surface. Cross threading can occur if you’re not paying attention, leaving a gap, though I would consider this as being operator error. I find this a small price to pay for a wide open work surface. The short and squat container also helps prevent accidental tip-over's.
The pigments themselves are finely ground and consistent in texture. The colors are vibrant and deep, with a wide array to choose from. Mixing different colors in powder form was no problem, so a complete range of colors can be created. As you can see in the photos, I used a bit of Titanium White and mixed it with Black to create a shade of gray. An important aspect of weathering models is to vary the shades, so mixing different ratios of pigments gives a wide range of colors. These pigments also mix very well with different mediums, such as distilled water, white spirits, oil and acrylic paints. Only small amounts need to be used since the colors are so rich and deep.
To see how the Warpigs perform, an unsuspecting Panzer 38(t) was captured, disassembled and used as a test subject. Painted in a monotone Panzer Gray, with just a light amount of weathering done, it was a perfect candidate. Different methods of application were tried, to further determine compatibility with different mediums, coverage and ease of use.
Starting with the turret, brushing the pigments on dry was easy to control and covered well. Towards the front of the turret the dry pigments were moistened with white spirits, blending was more complete though the decal carrier film was left ‘clean’. This is easily remedied with a bit of dry pigment. By using different colors and/or mixing shades, a variety of effects can be achieved.
The wheels also had two methods used, the first had dry pigments applied then moistened with white spirit. When dry, it was easy to remove the desired amount with a soft brush. The second wheel had a wet mixture brushed on, using pigments mixed with distilled water. When dry, the excess was removed with a stiff bristle brush and then even further by rubbing a finger across it. Again, both methods were easy to control and covered well.
The same methods used on the wheels were tried on track sections. The upper track in the photo had the Warpigs set in place dry, then the white spirits were allowed to wick in. The bottom track had the pigment/distilled water mixture brushed on, and again when dry, removed with a stiff brush. The upper track in the photo also had heavily diluted Future applied to give a damp mud look.
Lastly, some rust shades were used on the exhaust. Black is not a good base color for rust, but I wanted to see how much would show through. This will give an idea of how much of the base color shows and how the colors will vary.
The final photo compares both dry and wet applications on a basecoat of flat Tamiya Dark Yellow with the product number indicated. All in all, the Warpigs were easy to control and allowed for varying effects.
conclusionIt’s stated on the Modeler’s Warehouse website that their pigments are no different than any others, and with that statement I disagree. With the other brands I have access to, only one well known manufacturer is equal in quality, the others do not even come close in vibrancy and texture.
Even though Warpigs are listed as non-toxic, precautions against fine dust should be observed. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are available on the Modeler’s Warehouse website.