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810 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi there heretics. Never done a proper tutorial before, so let me know what I need to do better.


The technique I have got for you is called salt/hairspray weathering. It is a way to create convincing paint chipping and peeling to reveal metal underneath. On my example I have used a rusty colour to simulate that metal rusting after being exposed. This would look great on any painted metal you want to look weathered, be it terrain or vehicle.

I need to note that while you could probably achieve this effect without an airbrush, having one makes it hugely easier for reasons that will become clear.


Household Salt
Any cheap Hairspray
Clean water
An old stuff bristled brush (the old citadel stippling brush is perfect)
Airbrush/brushes and paints


1. Firstly prime your subject either a rust colour or metal colour that will be exposed once the chipping is done. Mine is a base for a kitbashed hive ganger. I used the GW mournfang brown spray paint to make this quicker but you could also prime black and paint the colour on like a basecoat.

2. Next you need to add some interest. I stippled on some Dryad Bark to add colour variation but you could also add a wash or drybrush. Don't go too crazy however, make it look fairly consistent so that the chips won't look strange once done.

3. Now the interesting part. Take a small paintbrush and dip it in clean water. Apply this water like you were painting to the areas that you want the rust or metal to show through. Think about this step before you do it. Raised edges will receive the most wear so focus on those. Now before the water dries, sprinkle normal household salt over the entire piece. Leave it for a few seconds, and the areas with water on should melt the salt into the piece. Now pick up the piece and shake off excess salt. To secure the salt, give the entire piece a coat of hairspray.

4. After leaving the hairspray to dry for a few minutes, you can begin painting. Paint over the entire piece in the colour you desire (I chose a rather sickly yellow mix, 2:1 Zandri Dust and Yriel Yellow). Do any shading or camouflage you need to do at this stage too (it should now be obvious why an airbrush makes this so much easier. Painting by hand would mean you disturb the salt with your brush and potentially dislodge it, destroying the effect).

5. After the paint is dry it is time for the big reveal. Take your stiff bristled brush and wet it. Now use it to poke and dislodge the salt areas. The hairspray layer means you can actually scrape off lots of the upper paint layer and remove it, the salt just makes it easier and provides a pretty realistic chipping pattern if you aren't willing to create it manually. Once you are happy you have removed all the salt I suggest dunking it in water or putting it under the tap for a second just to clean off any remaining residue or partially melted salt particles.

6. You can leave it at that, but I like to go one step further and add a bit more weathering. I stippled some Ryza Rust onto the large areas of rust to simulate very strong oxidation, the used Leadbelcher and manually painted on recent chipping down to the base metal on some of the raised edges. I also added some grime and dirt using thinned Typhus Corrosion.


This effect can actually be achieved with the two materials on their own, just the salt or just the hairspray. The salt alone means that the chipping is purely what is covered by the salt, you remove none of the paint with the brush manually. Just the hairspray alone means the paint you chip off is entirely done with the brush. I combine the two as you get best of both worlds; you can rely on the salt chipping as a start but if you aren't happy with that you can take off any more paint due to the hairspray layer.

(If you are wondering about the small black hole on the left of the plate, it is the hole that the miniatures foot will be pinned through to attach it)

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and I would love to see/hear your results with this method.

3,700 Posts
Nice tutorial! Have a cookie!
However i must say i'm not a fan of the greenish appearance at the end... maybe a less green and i'd be 100% sold :)

Premium Member
4,356 Posts
Very nice tutorial.

You can also use tooth paste to mask out areas that you want to do this affect with if you don't have salt and hair spray. Just apply it with a tooth pick and then airbrush. it is thick enough that it doesn't go anywhere then just give it a rinse with some soapy water to get the stuff off.
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