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Weathering Ordnance

Weathering Ordnance

It sounds strange, but how many of us here would think that the armament we hang from on our models would need to be weathered along with the Aircraft? What I mean is, we strive to show wear and tear on the aircraft we build-or on any model for that matter.  We use the many techniques mentioned on Armorama such as Pre-Shading, Shading, Dry-Brushing, Stippling, or whatever your favorite weathering technique is. The thing that I notice is, and I am guilty of this as well, is that the ordnance hanging from the plane looks clean and pristine. So why not weather it along with the rest of the plane? We love to show the abuse that these planes take while they were in flight but most of us never think that the ordnance hanging from the wings is subject to the same abuse that the aircraft takes-if not more. Yes more abuse believe it or not and hopefully I will be able to explain this to where is it makes sense.

As I do not build armor models that often, I will stick to the three most common aircraft ordnance types that you will find in most of the kits you will build but hopefully some of this can carry over to other models and weapons systems as well.

As most of you know, aircraft models are broken down into what I like to call five separate little models:

1) The cockpit. It can show wear and tear on the seats, floor pans, control stick, foot pedals and so on. The possibilities are endless.

2) The Fuselage. It can show chips in paint around access panels, wear and tear of the step ups, and just general dirt overall in the panel lines and such.

3) The Wings. They can show fuel spills, wear and tear of the wing walks, fluid and fuel leaks and chips on the leading edges.

4) The Landing Gear. They can show hydraulic fluid leaks, general maintenance dirt and tread wear on tires.

5) The Ordnance. What can we show here?  Let's see:

    A) Bombs. Generally are stored either outside or in a magazine. Fact is they get dirty, rusty, and chipped by tools during build up and breakdown, loading, hoisting, unloading.
    B) Missiles. Although stored in air tight “coffins” they will get scratched, chipped, and subjected to the same harsh environment the aircraft is during flight. Leading edges of fins can get silvered from paint or finish being worn away (just like the wings on the plane). During assembly and disassembly paint on the motors will get scratched and chipped. Really only the seeker heads are treated with kit gloves for obvious reasons. They are cleaned off after every flight, covered up for transport and place back in the containers. The motors are just hoisted and placed back in the coffins or covered with a tarp, left on the cradle and placed back on the Aircraft for the next flight.
    C) Rocket Pods. These are the some of the dirtiest, if not the dirties, of all “dangly things” there is. Whether it is a 5 inch launcher or a 2.75 inch launcher, the motors of these rockets put a beating on their pods. The front 1/3 of these things can be burnt, sooty, rusty, and in general just plain nasty for lack of a better term. The only thing that actually gets cleaned on these things are the inside of the tubes and firing contacts. The rest is left as is.

I hope that this has given you some ideas on some future projects that you may have planned. So if you like to “dirty up” your aircraft like I do to show usage don’t be afraid to include your weapons load on them. I was lucky enough to spend 8 years working with this stuff and I can tell you this, I never went home as clean as I did when I showed up in the morning. Go ahead and experiment. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. Have fun with it. The results may surprise you.

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About the Author

About Paul Parsons (warlock0322)


Thanks Paul Really neat!! Full-size refs are invaluable.... It's amazing how dirty even modern-day ordnance looks when it's loaded. Great pics Rowan
JAN 24, 2004 - 09:52 AM
Great Paul. Another area to look at. Very useful. And the break down of your "modellettes" is a great guide for modellers old and new. Thanks. Cheers Peter
JAN 24, 2004 - 05:35 PM
Thanks guys for the kind words. It was just an idea that hit me one day and decided to write it down is all. Thanks Tin for the work it took to post it. I just hope it wasn't too much work to correct the spelling and gramma errors. Which are not my stong suit. Thanks Again and anymore help I can give don't hesitate to ask. Paul
JAN 24, 2004 - 08:07 PM
:-) Nice one Paul, very useful and plenty of food for thought. More please Mal
JAN 24, 2004 - 10:59 PM
Nice one! Great tip! Keep 'em coming!!
JAN 24, 2004 - 11:40 PM
Paul, this is awesome stuff, as we had discussed in the chat, um.... lots of options for the soon to be built F105G there then... Thanks! :-)
JAN 25, 2004 - 04:46 AM
Very nicely written, Paul !!!! I am going to try it out on my next "Wingy Thingy" (++)
JAN 25, 2004 - 01:00 PM
Definitely something to keep in mind when I get around to building on of the three aircraft kits I have that keep staring me in the face on my workbench! Thanks Paul
JAN 27, 2004 - 01:33 AM
Warlock, glad to see someone has exposed this overlooked part of air modeling. I have noted that bombs look nasty in photos, and the recent books of color photos, such as 8th AF in Color, really suprised me about how rusty these things could get. Thanks!
OCT 15, 2004 - 07:05 PM
great tip , this is one area i had not considered to weather, it does make sense to weather this area also in that, as stated above, it takes the same amount of use and abuse as the aircraft itself. again thanks for the tip
OCT 15, 2004 - 09:04 PM