Wednesday, October 8, 2014

REVIEW: Tamiya Weathering Master

Been a little while since we put up a review.  Today I'd like to share my initial thoughts on a product I've just started using: Tamiya Weathering Master.

Back in May, I went on a business trip to Hong Kong and got to spend some of my downtime in the hobby district (yes there's actually a little area of town with several hobby stores, lucky bastards).  I picked up a couple tins of the Weathering Master powders then, along with a bunch of other fun stuff you can't easily find in the States, and it sat in my box of modeling stuff unused until I got to the final stages of my Stormraven. I was a little worried about trying out a new product on a model I'd spent so much time on but after a couple of quick YouTube videos, I thought it looked pretty safe.

What these are is essentially weathering powders suspended in a little more oily base to keep it in a cake rather than loose powder.  Yes, it looks like your girlfriend's eye shadow, and even comes with a similar applicator.  What it does though, is more of how I expected weathering powders to function.

In my (admittedly limited) experience, powders are (counterintuitively) great for doing wet stuff, but not great for dry dust.  In order for powders to set and stay on your model, you have to fix them with something.  I usually hit them with some isopropyl, either from an airbrush, sprayer bottle, or brush, and they turn in to great mud that looks partially dried out. You can then put some matte spray over the top and keep them semi-muddy, or put gloss over it and get nice soggy mud. That's what I've used them for with good effect.

Powders look great when you just dust them on- like...dust. Because they are. But without a fixative, they'll come off your model if you're handling it and leave fingerprints everywhere. I suppose I haven't tried just matte varnish directly over the powder, so maybe that'll get me there.  But I digress...

Who needs it when you've got Weathering Master?

Before I forget- you should do a quick sealer coat with your matte/semi-gloss to "save" your work before starting with weathering mediums.

Each tin comes with 3 colors.  I started with just the two tins, and have now grabbed 3 more (about $7US ea. on ebay) for a total of 15 colors. The color selection is a little weird for me. Metallics, OK probably be useful. Reds and blues? Really? Gimme more browns and blacks- earthy colors, you know? Tour the world's mud supply. Maybe it's just the stuff I'm painting currently, but I think the first tin (A) will definitely get the most use as it's all earthy. Using the little applicator sponge tip, you mop up a little powder and then casually dust it on your model. Done. That's it. The oil on the pigment keeps it on the model.  If you don't like how it went on, you can smudge it around a little more with the applicator or wipe it clean with a damp cloth. Yes, you should probably do a final sealer coat on your model before gaming with it, but it's that easy.

All TWM here using all 3 colors from tin [A] - nice, matte and dusty

This was powders to get the chunky stuff, then TWM for some added interest

It goes on great- looks nice and dusty.  I recommend mixing the colors up a little, because battlefield dirt isn't one color (unless you're in a monochromatic desert maybe) and it'll look more realistic with a mix. You can also do some edging with it as it'll be really easy to just hit the corners of bigger things- maybe that's where I'll use some of those other colors I picked up.


The applicator that comes with it is pretty rounded- not great for tight corners.  It also doesn't look like it'll last that long, especially if you're dragging it over gravel like I did.  No problem- your local drug store will have plenty of replacements in the makeup section for cheap.  The back end of the provided applicator also has a brush, which should help you get down in to cracks and corners. In my experience it's rubbish for picking up the powder from the tin, but a YouTube video I saw recommended breaking the powder up a little with a toothpick before hand.  That just seems like a good way to waste a lot of powder, but we'll see.

Here you can see the downside of the large round applicator inside the barrel and vent holes

After the success on my Stormraven, I decided to spruce up one of my Tau models as well.  It was quick, and I wasn't really giving it my all, but I still think it looks pretty good for minimal effort. That's what we all want, right?

Anyway, I'm quite happy with my purchase. It's got a very shallow learning curve and I anticipate it saving me a lot of time and helping to make some slick looking models in the near future.

Anyone else have experience with it?  Have another product you like better?



  1. The soot version of their powder is great. The application is easy, and is fantastic for engines. You can keep slowly applying it (and pulling away from the nozzle) until you get exactly the amount you wanted.

    That being said, I think if you are looking for a more drastic effect (such as rust), you'd want to look into something like the secret weapon pigment powders. It's a very different method of application, and both could work together. (Different tools for different effects).

  2. Great write up. The end result really speaks for itself on the storm raven

  3. "It was quick, and I wasn't really giving it my all, but I still think it looks pretty good for minimal effort. That's what we all want, right?"