How to Create Rust on Plastic Car Models

Written by melissa smith
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How to Create Rust on Plastic Car Models
You can make model cars look old and rusty. (model car. hobby, collection image by Ana Vasileva from

Making your model car look antique and weathered might seem like an impossible task. The shiny new plastic of which the model is made can look intimidating. The process of adding a rusty, weathered look to your model car starts with a completed, painted model. It's a simple process that requires little more than some chalk and dull-coat spray.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dull-coat spray
  • Coffee grinder
  • Rust-coloured chalk
  • Powder brush

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  1. 1

    Remove the model car body from the frame. If it is not removable on your car, paint chrome, white and glass areas with rubber cement. Set it aside and give it one very fine coat of dull-coat spray. Allow the spray to dry according to the directions.

  2. 2

    Put a stick of rust-coloured chalk into a coffee grinder. Grind it up into very fine dust. Pour the powder into a flat dish.

  3. 3

    Dip a powder brush into the chalk and get a generous amount of chalk on it. Dust the chalk onto the model car in such a way that it is visible. Put the chalk anywhere you want except for clear details such as windows and lights. If you get any chalk on the windows or lights, remove it with a wet paper towel or cotton swab.

  4. 4

    Apply a fine coat of dull-coat spray to the model car. Allow the rust-coloured chalk to absorb the spray. Allow the spray to dry and then reapply a second coat of chalk followed by another coat of dull-coat spray. Repeat coats until you have your desired amount of weathering and rust.

  5. 5

    Attach the model cover back to the frame and give it a good look over. If your body cover was not removable, rub off the rubber cement from the areas you painted. Finish your model with an sealant and allow it to dry completely.

Tips and warnings

  • For a very heavily rusted car model, try painting the entire car a rusty colour, then dabbing rubber cement on several places. Paint the car another colour and then rub off the cement.
  • Always wear safety equipment when working with model paints, such as a respirator and eye goggles.

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