I have had a few questions about this fantastic little product, so thought I would write a tutorial about how to use it. AK Interactive Worn Effects are an extremely effective and straightforward way to age minis in a way that looks organic. It is a product intended to replicate and replace the ‘Hairspray Technique’, which involves putting a layer of hairspray underneath a layer of paint so it can be “chipped” away with small amounts of water. AK chipping medium is worth considering as it will produce a much more predictable and manageable result than hairspray. Please note this product does not require an airbrush to use, any steps done with the airbrush were just done for speed, and will work just as well “old-school”.
For this tutorial you will need a long and complicated list of products:
1: Varnish of your choice (Vallejo Matt 65ml for me)
2: AK Interactive Worn Effects
3: (Optional) Masking tape (3mm Masking Tape)
Basecoat the area you want to weather. Use aggressive orange and brown transitions if you want to reproduce rust! Then varnish it to protect it, two thin coats will do. Always Varnish before using any AK Interactive product as they will damage unprotected paint-jobs! After the varnish, apply AK Interactive Worn Effects in two thin coats over the entire area**. If applying with an airbrush it is fine to mix in thinner at a ratio of about 1:1-1:2 of Thinner/AK. Allow for drying between layers. You can speed this up with blow drying, but do not use heat from a hairdryer.
Mask off your intended area with your masking tape. I do not recommend using post-its, in this instance I had misplaced my tape!
Top tip: I use masking tape widths to keep things parallel when painting stripes. I work my way in from a fixed point, then remove the middle strips.
Paint on your top-coat. No need to be too careful here but, as ever, thin layers is best.
(Optional) For coherency I faded the back of my white areas to tie them in with the basecoat. In this situation I airbrushed Army Painter Dark Tone + Blue Tone + Thinner at a ratio of 1:1:1.
After allowing the paint to fully dry, but not waiting more than a few hours, use a stiff brush without water for very small scratches. Alternatively dampen the surface with water and more carefully scrape for larger ones. It is a physical process as the varnish beforehand ensures you will not damage the area you are painting. A toothpick can also work well! Take your time and work gently.
Without including drying time this is only ten minutes of work and can add great detail to your mini. AK Interactive Chipping can be combined with other weathering to get very effective results fast. See below for a work in progress shot after a little sponging.
**You can vary the final result by using more, or less, AK fluid. Over a thicker layer paint will be removed more readily, while a thinner layer makes it harder work but results in smaller and more subtle scratches and scuffs. A thicker layer results in a result similar to that which you’d achieve using Vallejo Chipping Medium, or AK Chipping Medium. I haven’t fully grasped the finer details of the product, but suffice to say you can really vary your results!