The American Dream; Dusty Roads

“In order to keep rolling over hot roads for long, dusty miles for days on end, a light, mobile tank was needed which the terribly extended supply line could adequately furnish with precious gasoline…”

Lieutenant Colonel Albin F. Irzyk

Everyone knows that a nicely painted army performs better on the tabletop – this is a hard fact*. Whilst I generally subscribe to the “5ft Army” school of painting, that doesn’t mean I don’t like trying new things.

Weathering is one of those new things that I’ve never tried and have always been put off by a variety of reasons.  One of the main ones was using none water-soluble products. It’s an odd thing but after more than 25 years in the hobby, I still dislike the thought of using enamels.

So when I found these water-based weathering washes from True-Earth, I decided to take the plunge and have a go at adding a new dimension to my painting. They have some interesting guides on the website and have a range of products whether you are looking at dust, rust, earth or mud. I went for their Dust wash for my North African US and their Earth wash for the tracks of my NWE US forces for Late War.

Both are completely water-based – so no thinners required – and it means you won’t need to seal your miniature before applying them these both are big ticks in their proverbial boxes for me.

The consistency is a little unsettling. I know it is called a “wash” but I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so thin, to be honest. The consistency is that of skimmed milk and takes a little getting used to initially. 

I decided to use my new T30 75mm support halftracks as guinea pigs for this experiment. I figure that they had nice strong panel lines and some variation with wheels, tracks, gun and gunshield and crew compartment.  

I think you could wash the entire model with the dust wash but I chose to try a more controlled pin wash along all the recesses on the model.

It looks heavy and clumsy but you can feather the edges where the wash spills over the recess and when it dries it has a rather lovely effect.

The puddling won’t be as harsh as this once everything dries out. You can go over each area a few times to build up the dust effect. 

I also tried this out on a flatter surface to see what that looked like – I’m not sure how plausible it is to have dust embedded on the wing of a Warhawk but it looks nice if nothing else!

As a comparison, I have some other US vehicles that I know where weathered with AK Interactive Weathering powder and enamel thinner. This was liberally washed over the entire vehicle – this seems to have a more pronounced visual effect than that of the True-Earth wash.

Once the wash is completely dry – it doesn’t take long the same as a paint wash – this is the final weathering results.

I really like the end result. It’s very simple to achieve and has none of the fuss that I was dreading when it came to weathering vehicles. A coat of matt varnish and everything is sealed and ready for the tabletop. 

I’ve also used now used the Earth wash on the tracks of my M4A1 76mm Shermans and I’ve been similarly impressed with the speed, ease and results.  The finish gives you a decent amount of weathering without swamping the detail on the model or turning it into a sand coloured paint job.

The washes are not spectacularly cheap but they are not expensive either, especially if you pick up two or three and get them all shipped together, and I would definitely give them a try if you, like me, have been put off trying to create a less factory fresh finish.

Until next time
– Dunc

Category: Flames of WarMid WarPaintingUSV4

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Article by: Duncan Gosling