No. 21 in action!
Pigments produce varying shades, vibrancy and coverage depending on technique and binders used. Showing you just the powder in a jar is not enough. For your convenience we made a presentation of the applied pigment so that you may better assess what to expect from it.
IN THE JAR
PIGMENT WASH + DUSTING
How to produce pigment wash effect? (matt finish)
Mix your pigment with either Alkyd or ENML 2.0 binders "standard" type. Apply resulting weathering liquid with a brush as if painting. Evaporate the solvent using hair drier. Remove the pigment from outer edges of track links to reveal bare steel. Swipe the cotton bud along the links (inner side - where road wheels have contact with the links) to reveal bare steel. If you use ENML 2.0 binders you can remove excessive pigments with a cotton bud soaked with Universal weathering carrier. If you use Alkyd binders you may do the same without additional carrier - dry cotton bud will do the trick!
Pigment wash + dusting on top?
Once you apply the pigments with binders as described above you can apply raw pigment on top of the layer for lighter shade - use bigger brush and rub the pigments into the layer.
What's the best base coat for tracks?
Dark steel metallic acrylics work best. This pertains to plastic and non metallic (for instance Dragon® DS) vinyl tracks.
Alkyd, ENML 2.0 and Acrylic binders what's the deal with these products?
VMS offers specialised pigment binders for creative modellers! All binders fix your pigments but they do so in different ways. Alkyds cure slowly (up to 9h manipulation time after the solvent is gone!) and allow you to remove portions of pigment without using additional solvent, once cured they are permanent. ENML 2.0 binders cure rapidly and are fully reversible - very safe for your model, you can always remove them. Acrylic binders cure very fast and have top sealing capability but are not reversible, these are best for quick wet effects. You can use the binders not to just fix your pigments but also create your won weathering liquids and pastes! Please visit Pigment Expert page to learn more about the binders.
How to tell the good stuff from colourful dirt?
It's simple really. Good pigments have the colours up to scale (toned down) and easily cover the surface when applied as weathering liquid (mixed with binders and spread over the model with a brush). Even coverage is the case when grain size is in order, cheap pigments and fillers alike have big grain size which causes all sorts of problems in modelling. Poor adhesion and coverage issues are the main concern.
On the left VMS Spot-on EU brown earth on the right generic "sienna". Not only is the colour way off but look at the grain size and uneven coverage of "sienna' generic colour! We used the same binders and technique, gritty pigments will always lose to finer powders!
What's the deal with natural and synthetic pigments?
Contemporary pigments used in modelling fall into two categories: natural pigments or simply “earth” pigments which are ground minerals and synthetic pigments obtained by chemical reactions. Earth pigments have crystalline structure, while synthetic pigments have microcrystalline structure. Both types have their strengths and weaknesses.
Crystalline vs. Microcrystalline?
Crystalline earth pigment particles are slightly bigger, they adhere a bit worse but they allow the light to pass through and a result they produce more vibrant and natural effect. Microcrystalline synthetics have smaller particle size, they easily form tightly packed clumps and don't let so much light through. As a result they produce dull layers but adhere better. We determined that best results can be achieved while using blends of two pigment types rather than sticking strictly to earth or synthetics. VMS Spot-On pigment blends get the best of two worlds as they combine crystalline and microcrystalline pigments.
What are fillers?
Fillers are cheap white powders with grain sizes much greater that those of pigments'. Smaller pigment grains surround and stick to a bigger filler grains. The volume is increased, less pigment is needed to fill a jar, price is reduced but so is the pigment's quality and the final result - your weathering job. If some pigments you came across seem surprisingly cheap this might mean that fillers are involved. Fillers include treated plaster and chalk variants.
How do fillers affect my pigments?
Remember those grainy pigment that wouldn't stick to your model? Addition of fillers makes pigments lose vibrancy and fall off of your model easily as the grains size is out of order and don't fill the micro pores on your model so easily.
What about conserving my pigments by using plaster? My mates at modelling forum say it's OK.
You are free to add fillers like plaster to your pigments to conserve them, the problem is you may find it difficult to properly mix it in - white clumps of plaster may appear later on as you spread your weathering liquid or paste. Another drawback is the loss of vibrancy - colours will get washed out and present bad finish. Therefore we generally don't advocate the use of fillers such as plaster. To ensure that Your creative process is unhindered we offer bigger jars of the real thing and more affordable textured pigments. If there is pigment shortage and you are in a dire need of it you may add from 10+15% of plaster and be safe. For creating mud deposits; increasing volume use textured pigments which form realistic structures more easily than pigments mixed with simple plaster which lacks texture.