by: Rick Cooper [ ]
The fellows over at AK Interactive are certainly busy. Lately, they have been taking different products and packaging them all together in what they call an ‘All in 1 set’. Well, now they have given us another of those nifty sets designed to add a heavy mud layer. It’s a great idea; I’m sure I am not the only one to pick up some tip on how to achieve a look of greater realism, but when I head out to look for the products needed I can only find half of what is required. This set has been designed to make the average Joe modeler’s life a bit easier by packaging everything you need together in one sturdy blister pack for adding some truly heavy weathering to your latest model.
Contents and review:
The heavy packaging opens easy enough and in such a way that it can be used to store the products when you are done, much better than needing a sharp pair of scissors to tear into the packaging. Once you get the package opened you are confronted with four of the now familiar 35 ml bottles that AK uses for virtually all of their weathering products line and one small poly bag of plaster. Unfortunately there is no how-to guide or instructions beyond the small paragraph and photo on the front of the packaging.
The four bottles consist of the following;
• AK 078 Damp Earth, a very heavy, dark brown enamel mixture,
• AK 080 Summer Kursk Earth, a light brown mixture that replicates a drier earth tone,
• AK 79 Wet Effects, a high gloss clear that looks and acts like Future except that it is enamel,
• AK 81 Dark Earth Pigment, a nice deep brown pigment with fairly good adhesion qualities.
The set also includes a small poly bag of plaster. The plaster is to be added to the ‘Damp Earth’ or the ‘Summer Kursk’ products to give a bit more ‘body’ to your mud. The products can all be mixed in various degrees to obtain different looks, colors, and textures without any problem.
I started with the ‘damp earth’ mixed with a bit of plaster to provide something of a base coat on my test bed vehicle, an old Tamiya Sherman hull. The plaster mixed into the product with no problem and went on quite easily. I would caution anyone who is going to get this set to pick up some junk brushes as this stuff will surely ruin a good brush quickly (I like to grab those sets of 10 arts and crafts brushes for a dollar off the bargain rack at Michaels). I let that dry for about 20 minutes or so. After it appeared mostly dry I reapplied the same mixture here and there in what I hoped was a random manner and then added the pigment. I used a different brush for the pigment and just grabbed a bit on the bristles and worked it in by gently stabbing it into the wet mixture, sometimes leaving it alone and sometimes working it into the wet areas a bit more forcefully, always trying to be somewhat random hoping to achieve that natural look.
Afterwards I mixed up a bit of the ‘Summer Kursk’ with plaster and repeated the process, again it mixed well with the plaster and was added more or less randomly; while still wet I added more pigment. When this dried it gave the pigment a slightly different look than the previous mixture which is exactly what you will want on your own model.
After all that dried completely I went back in with a toothpick dipped in the ‘wet effects’ to add areas of wet mud. To this I added more pigment in an attempt to add another slightly different look to the mud here and there. I also left some areas of the ‘wet effect’ alone to simply dry and soak into the layers of pigment below.
I will let the pictures to the right speak for themselves and allow you to make your own decision as to whether this weathering set was effective. You can see the photos of the other side of the hull with the ‘wet effects’ added by themselves; I think a small pointed brush would look even more effective. The pigments I added to this side were just the dregs from the previous side that I added dry. The dry pigments adhesion was pretty good but fingerprints could be a problem without some medium added (I usually use a bit Tamiya thinner, great stuff when you can get it!)
This set does just what they claim; it will add a nice layer of muddy weathering to any project. I liked the way everything could be mixed and matched to provide various shades of dirt and mud. The ‘wet effects’ are a nice addition to add that bit of glossy wet look mud here and there. I wish they had provided one more pigment in a lighter shade in the package in order to create even more variety. I think two pigments would have made this an unbeatable combination, as is it is still a pretty good combination and a set that will surely see lots of employment by modelers of all skill levels. Highly recommended.