Chipped Paint with Chrysnbon

Hello again! Progressing on with our “more fun with Chrysnbon” series, this tutorial requires a couple of skills that can be a drag to master but are (I think) really worth the frustration. In particular, we’ll be doing a lot of both dry brushing, and “chipping” with small pieces of sponge. Chipping is basically like dry brushing in that we want to start with almost no paint on our applicator; when it comes to weathering, slow is the name of the game. It is a lot easier–and more natural looking–to build up effects over time than to slop everything on at once.

The supply list for this tutorial is kind of long. My recommendation, for those not using an airbrush, is to either a) water down the wash a lot or b) skip it entirely. You can get a tremendous effect just with dry brushing and chipping; let me know if you’d like to see that in a different tutorial, down in the comments. Otherwise, onward and upward!

We will need:

For the cabinet:

  • Vallejo Surface Primer, desert tan*
  • AMMO by Mig Jimenez, transparator*
  • Vallejo Model Air, US interior yellow*
  • Vallejo Model Wash, dark brown
  • Vallejo Model Color, chocolate
  • AK Interactive, British khaki
  • AK Interactive, sand yellow
  • AK Interactive, weathering pencil, sepia**

* You only need to purchase these products, if you are planning on airbrushing. For those who aren’t, please substitute spray paint of a similar colour. The yellow we’re using as our base is, as we’ll see in a moment, extremely bright and that’s ideal as we want it to shine through all this weathering. You can, of course, substitute a different colour entirely; there’s no rule saying all dry sinks must be yellow. The chipping colours we’re using are meant to represent the underlying wood, so they’ll work with anything.

Note though that if you are planning on painting your dry sink something other than yellow, you’ll want to swap out the sand yellow, colour, above, with a colour (in a dry brush suitable paint) that closely matches your base colour. This is because we are using this colour to dull down some of our chipping, in places, especially in those areas where we want to represent layer upon layer of grime, as well as also when necessary add highlights.

** AK Interactive makes some wonderful weathering pencils, but they are pricey. You can buy them by the each online and at most hobby shops (please see my Where to Find Supplies page), but you can also swap them for something most crafters already have and that’s watercolour pencils. We will be using our pencil exactly like a watercolour pencil, applying pigment from the tip of the pencil to the model with a wet brush.

LASTLY, you will need both a quality dry brush and some foam. You do not want a sea sponge, here, as the “chips” it’ll produce will be far too widely spaced. Rather, you want the kind of foam that comes as packing material and that most of us save for later use with one of any dozens of imagined upholstery projects. Oh, that’s just me? Well, in any case, on the off chance that you haven’t any of that to spare you can also usually find some small “hole” synthetic foam at the supermarket. One sponge should last you several projects.

For the pump:

  • Vallejo Surface Primer, desert tan
  • Vallejo Model Air, German red/brown
  • Vallejo Model Color, German black/brown
  • AK Interactive, camouflage grey
  • AK Interactive, weathering pencil, black

We are going to start the tutorial here:

“Here” means: you’ve prepped, primed, and base coated your piece and are ready to begin the exciting process of weathering. If you’re looking for direction on how to reach this point, please check out my tutorial on how to prep a Chrysnbon kit. The first step I took, in my “new to old” journey, was applying a wash. As I mentioned above, friends who aren’t airbrushing might want to skip this step. At the very least, you should absolutely dilute the wash 50/50 with water before applying it as otherwise you’ll end up with this:

This is what I wanted, but it is emphatically not what you want if you aren’t planning on going over your model with a second coat of your base colour. This is way too dark! What I did, though, was mix about a 40/60 mix of “transparator” to paint to create my second coat and spray it on after the wash had dried. I didn’t wait as long as I should have for the wash to dry, but did leave the resulting…interesting effect to dry overnight. This time of year, in my part of the world, I have to time my crafting sessions fairly carefully as by mid-afternoon it’s getting dark. I try to plan my “oh no, now it needs to dry overnight” experiences for right after lunch.

This looks really old, and really gross, already. Had I wanted my sink to look less gross, I would have used a ratio of medium to colour something more like 20/80. My coat also went on somewhat unevenly, due to having sprayed over a still somewhat tacky to the touch wash. However, “happy accidents” like these often produce the most realistic results and, really, every new kit is a challenge. What I like about Chrysnbon is that, even before one gets into kit bashing (which we will, soon) it’s possible to finish the same kit, twice, and have both final products come out so differently as to be almost unrecognisable.

These are the colours we’re using for chipping. We want to recreate the effect of old, worn, and because this is a sink assuredly stained wood peeking through. I used a combination of dry brushing (especially over larger areas, such as the basin of the sink where most of the paint would have been worn away) and sponging to create the effect. Remember, slow and steady wins the race! It is a lot easier to add more on, than it is to take some off.

Ignore the random paint jar in the background. I used a pair of tweezers as a handle when I was applying “chips” to the trim. I dabbed off my sponge on some clean towelling until most of the paint was gone, before approaching the model. Glops of paint do not look good!

Think about, when you’re applying your weathering, where the paint would actually chip off and why. If there’s a second key to weathering, other than my favourite mantra of slow and steady, it’s to obey the laws of realism. Before beginning a project, I always like to google for reference pictures. I also, if I’m creating a piece for a particular house, like to think about how it fits into that house’s overall story. In this case, for example, I am creating a series of pieces for…I suppose the English term would be haunted house. Think Addams Family meets the American Midwest. A true haunted house, I suppose, would be inhabited by ghosts and in that case I’d go overboard. But, here, living inhabitants (of some sort) are keeping everything going and so from that perspective I want my sink–along with everything else–still functional.

We’re using our pencil, here, to fill in those cracks and crevices. What I did was apply pigment with a liner brush, then feather it out with a slightly, slightly wet flat brush. As this second step removes most of the colour (frustrating, but nevertheless what we want) I repeated the process…in some cases again and again…to build up colour in those areas that would naturally be darker.

Here, I’ve dry brushed some yellow back in to create highlights. This is an extremely subtle step, subtle to the point that it’s possible no one noticed the difference but me. I also wanted to, in some areas, dull down the contrast with the chipping a bit. How dark–or light-you go will depend entirely on how worn you want your piece to be. When we lived in the US we went “antiquing” quite a bit and battling spiders for primacy in dozens of different barns has taught me that there’s really no wrong answer to the question of “how old.”

Don’t forget the area around where the pump is installed! Spots that get cleaned a lot aren’t going to have much paint (if any) left. I checked this discolouration I was creating against the actual pump itself several times to make sure it looked right and was in the right place. And yes, as an aside, I did change the pump’s colour. I thought I’d love the green with the yellow; I didn’t. I put the green pump aside for use with a later project, and started out fresh with a second.

Normally, darker colours take two coats to cover. Here, to recreate the more mottled effect of old paint, I used one. This isn’t really necessary, though, and the effect is so subtle that it really won’t be visible once the sink is installed into the house so if you’re using spray paint don’t worry.

The next step is to brush on really, really subtle highlights meant to represent where the paint has worn away. I used my detail dry brush, but any flat brush will do. Just make sure to unload 99% of your paint and “dry brush” only with the flat edge.

My next step was to dry brush on some of the same chocolate colour I’d used earlier, followed by a few final touches (in those most handled, and moved) areas with the German black/brown. I used a tiny bit of sponge to work discolouration onto flat areas like the back of the handle. I didn’t add rust, only preludes to it, as this pump is still in working order and somewhat well looked after. Were this a true ghost’s house, though, I probably would’ve taken an entirely different approach and made the whole thing a ball of rust.

And then, finally…

I used the second of our watercolour pencils to work some discolouration into the crevices. I am sorry for the quality of these last few photos, it was mid-afternoon and so I had to hold the pump directly under my work light for any of the detail to be visible. Red is great, but it’s the first colour to disappear from the spectrum and that’s why red cars are dangerous!

I hope this tutorial has been helpful! In our next tutorial, we’ll be looking at the accessories in the kit and a few strategies for finishing them. Afterwards, we’ll move on to the rest of the kitchen fixtures, accessories, and etc before eventually building the kitchen itself. Why am I doing things backwards? Because I want to make sure everything fits in my proposed kitchen area, before I fix in the divider! Moreover, I’m also still working on the house’s façade and yes, I do (also) plan on creating a tutorial with that. Assuming everything comes out alright!

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