Muddy Vehicles Title

Muddy Vehicles

For automotive and military modelling

A little "How To" on an easy way to create the lumps of mud that get thrown up by the wheels on vehicles and the track on armoured vehicles. All that is needed is some model paint, scenic scatter and some imagination. This method can be used on scales from 1/72nd and larger.
In this example, I am demonstrating this method on a HobbyBoss 1/48th scale M4A3 Sherman tank that I have been building.

Click on each image to view the larger version

The basic ingredients for making my mud is some modelling paint and scenic scatter. It is best to use a good quality brown fine scenic scatter preferably, I usually use the stuff from "Woodland Scenics". The coarse scatter would be okay for the large scales (i.e. 1/12th, etc.), but it dose not absorb the paint as well. The second ingredient is some matt modelling paint in the required earth or sand colour. I have used paint from Tamiya, Humbrol and Revell for doing this, my Lancia Stratos is done using Revell's Aquacolor waterbased paints. muddy 01
Tip a quantity of the scenic scatter that you require for the job in hand, into a container for mixing with the paint. Make sure that the container is clean and free from any rubbish. Add small amounts of paint to the scatter in the container and mix it together. You need to get the mix to be the colour of the paint and the consistency where the scatter is wet enough to hold together enough to stick to the underneath of the mixing stick or a scrap piece of plastic. If the mixture is too wet, add a little extra scatter or if too dry, add some more paint. muddy02 muddy 03
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With a pair of tweezers or a toothpick, take a small lump of the mixture from the container and position it on the model in the require place. You can add more to build it up to the required amount on the model, then sculpt and manipulate the mixture into shape with a shaped toothpick. As long as the mixture is right, then it will hold its position and shape on the model. Enamel based paints will tend to be more tacky then the waterbased acrylic paints from Revell. Any of the mixture left over, can be tipped out of the container and left to dry. When dry, this can be broken up and used for detailing on dioramas. muddy 06 muddy 07
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Use various amounts of the mixture to build up the deposits of mud where it has been thrown up by either the wheels or tracks. Do not forget about the areas where the mud can get, especially on tracked vehicles. It is down to you how much build of mud that there is to be on the model, but think about where the model has driven through. Once you are happy with the look, leave the model to dry and harden for a few hours (depending on the paint used), but I usually leave the model overnight to dry.
When the model has dried, it can be finished off with a bit of weathering. The amount of this weathering is down to you. Just take some paint of the same colour as what was used in the mixture and thin it down for airbrushing. You can also use different shades of weathering colours to vary the look.
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Here is the finished M4A3 Sherman tank after the weathering has been completed.
The mud has been stuck in the areas that you will expect the mud to be thrown of build up whilst the tank was in transit. The weathered effect has been finished by airbrushing some of the thinned earth paint and then with some of my darker dirt washes that I use for airbrushing.
More photgraphs of this model can be found in the Gallery section of this website or by using the direct link below.

M4A3 Sherman WWII

M4A3 Sherman Tank

The weathering on this Lancia Stratos rally car was created using this same method. It can be seen how the mixture has stuck on the lower areas of the bodywork and the rear mud flaps, just as if the car has been on a couple of stages of the rally. Mud has been placed behind the wheels, over the front and rear, then over the roof, windscreen and spare wheel. It was then finished off with some airbrushing in the same earth colour paint as used to make the mixture.
More photographs of this model can be found in the Gallery section of the website or by using the direct link below.

Lancia Stratos

Lancia Stratos

Downloadable Word version of "Muddy Vehicles" tutorial

© Copyright Michael Lomax
All images © Copyright H M Lomax
Page last updated 09/09/2009