Battle Damage paint - First Attempt - By a noob


New Member
So in preparation for my upcoming Spartan V build (Read-wasting time while the paper arrives) I decided to try my hand at a Battle damaged paint effect as tutored in this 405th members video:

Needless to say the video was very well done and increasable useful, that said, my reproduction could have gone better......

Here is a list of all the things I used and a photo...

-Fine sanding block
-Matt black Primer
-Chrome Enamel paint
-Ford 'Dove Grey' paint (any colour is fine this is the top colour)
-Painting preparation cloths
-Jerry cloth
-Medium size paint brush (larger bursh shown as well but not used)

(No Prizes for guessing where I shop...)


Step 1

Find something to paint, Normally this would be your armour or prop, but seeing as I haven't gotten that far yet i searched my garage for what I could use.
Behold I found this, an old BMX helmet:

(Disclaimer, you should never attempt to paint, sticker, or modify protective equipment, this can cause unrepairable damage and render the equipment useless[I don't intend to use this helmet for its intended purpose hence I'm painting it])


Step 2

Prepare for painting, I used the fine sanding black all over though this was mostly to remove dirt as the helmet already had a matt finish. (The material the helmet is made of is very thick, stiff, plastic compared to regular cycle helmets otherwise I would not have considered painting it).


After sanding I cleaned of the dust and dirt with some alcohol wipes, these are great because of how quickly they dry so if your impatient like me there isnt so much waiting around.

There was a graphic on the back of the helmet that was stamped on, I obviously didn't sand that enough as it reacted slightly with the paint.

Step 3

Primer, the mat black all over, a few coats to make sure the whole article is covered. I haven't done all that much spraying before so I did my best to replicate the technique used in the video above (fairly quick sideways swipes at almost a foot away from the target, try to achieve an even coat rather than a thick over all coverage).


[Ensure you test the spray paint on something before applying it to the helmet incase there is any sort of issue with the nozzle.]

Step 4

Time to apply the chrome, I was worried that it would be too shiny but after it all went on I was very happy with it. It was so nice in fact I didn't want to paint over it.
Again plenty of coats of this.


Step 5

Vaseline?! Yes Vaseline, for anyone who hasn't seen the video that I based this on. Apply Vaseline mixed with a little sand to places where you want the damage to be, this will give the 'peeled paint' effect.


{Sorry for the colour cast on this image}

Step 6

Primary colour, I used what I had lying around, which happened to be the Ford 'Dove Grey' I wasn't sure the silver would show through obviously enough but well, you will see later.


Step 5(b)

If you are wanting to add a stripe or pattern this is where you would do that, masking off the areas that you down want to add another colour too.

Step 6

Remove the vaseline with a cloth, you might need to be a bit rough with it where the vaseline was very thin. Because the chrome I used was Enamel it meant I can scratch off other bits of the top coat If I felt there needed to be damage here and there without going through the chrome.

Step 7

Like with the video, use a cloth with the black spray on it to add low lights and 'dirty it up a bit', add scorch marks and general blackening.

Step 8

With the small paint brush, spray chrome onto the brush and gently use the side of the brush to paint onto raised edges and corners to add extra paint chip effect.

And Here are the photos of the final Product.
Im not 100% happy with it, especially the blackening, still more to learn here.
However the smaller 'scratches' made with the paint brush do look fairly good.






Hope this helps someone



Sr Member
Not bad at all. I do have a few tips you may want to consider.

First of all, while applying the silver first and making off the damage areas before applying the primary color IS a great method, you may want to take it a step further and instead of going straight to the primary color adding in another layer of primer. I like to lay down the silver layer, mask off the damage areas, then add a dark gray or black primer layer, let that dry then remove the masking. Then I re-mask the damage areas, making sure to mask some of the primer layer as well, then apply the primary color. When the masking is removed, you have both the base metal and a layer of primer visible. Any time something is professionally painted, there is always a primer coat applied first, and this would show if some of the paint was scratched or chipped away. This will help to add to the realism. My Mk VI thread covers this method a bit and shows a few close-up examples (Check out Page 12, post 114).

Second, the locations you've chosen to apply the battle damage are somewhat random. While this is fine, when you start your armor, spend some time thinking about what areas are more prone to damage. Ridges and any high spots are highly prone to scratches and discoloration. You may want to consider brushing on a ligher shade of your primary color much the same way you applied the silver scratches. You can take a look at Cereal Killl3r's Mk VI helmet for a good example of this (specifically page 23 post 230, this is an excellent example of highlights and shading)

One final tip, and this has gotten me a compliment or two, blackwash before your silver scratch layer. After you have applied the primary color and removed the masking for the battle damage, coat the model with a few coats of clear dull coat and let that dry for 24 hours (this will help protect the primary color from the paint thinner you're about to use). After the clear coat has dried, gather some thinned down black paint (you can also use leather dye like I do) some paint thinner and two rags. With one cloth, wipe a thin coat of paint thinner over a small section of the model, then, while the thinner is still wet on the model, take the other rag and wipe a bit of the thinned black paint on, then quickly use the thinner rag to wipe off as much of the thinned down paint you can. This will leave behind a dark residue that adds some depth to the model. Without a blackwash, I find that armor has a tendency to look too cartoony. After you're finished with the blackwash, you can finish it off with the silver scratch layer. As an added level of realism, go over one of your heavier damaged areas that was masked off and it will look as though that spot gets scratched up repeatedly, looking like it was damaged long ago, and scratched more recently (also visible on my thread, page 12 post 114).

I know this is pretty lengthy and you are free to disregard everything I've just typed out. I am just forwarding information and knowledge that I have in order to spread the wealth, so to speak. You've got a great handle on this method and I feel that you will do an outstanding job when it comes to painting your armor. With a little refinement, you could easily become one of the better painters here on the site!


Well-Known Member
You can also use water to water down paint for a blackwash instead of paint thinner.

Where you did the silver on the high edged groove looks really good!


Sr Member
You can also use water to water down paint for a blackwash instead of paint thinner.

It all depends on the type of paint. I tried this with disasterous results. That's why I use paint thinner, no matter what type of paint you use, the thinner will remove it. The only disadvantage is that if you do too much, you could start to remove your primary color layer, perhaps even your silver layer. I've done that a few times, but I just apply some silver scratches over the removed sliver layer to cover it up.


Well-Known Member
One final tip, and this has gotten me a compliment or two, blackwash before your silver scratch layer.

In addition to the blackwash, I like to airbrush matte black or a dark-tinted version of the base color very lightly into the low spots. Weathering can hide a multitude of small mistakes simply by not weathering the errors. The weathering draws your eyes to the details, the lack of weathering helps your eyes slide over a rough spot.

To me nothing quiet says battle damage like authentic damage. Take a dremel or exacto knife and carve into it, lightly. Itll cut through all ur layers to the primer. Just dont press to hard or ull go through. Ive got a few pics of what a dremel can do in my thread and will have a new update as soon as i can, whichll show a closer look. Keep going but


New Member
Thanks for the really great advice, after finishing it and looking at it for a while I was really considering all the things Carpathiavh99 had said, especially the bit about where to add to damage, after rewatching the video I noticed that where his damage was was obviously very carefully chossen.
The part about thinning the paint down for the low lights and scorthc marks makes alot of sence, as the main part that disapointed me and the thickness of the paint is probably a very good reason why it turned out the way it did.

Im glad I did this now rather than on my finished model, I might respray it and try again.