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Drity Down Rust

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Greetings one and all,

Today I’m going to look at a product that, I must admit, had somehow gotten past me; Dirty Down Rust. Recently I’ve been making loads of terrain for a Nercomunda campaign I’ve been taking part in and I wanted an easier way to get that heavy rust effect. So speaking to the guy who runs my local game store, he suggested Dirty Down Rust. And I’ve got to say after using it, I’m blown away at how good it is. But enough about how I found it, let's move on to what Dirty Down Rust is and how to use it.

Dirty Down Rust is a water-soluble paint that, when applied, gives the effect of atmospheric oxidation. It is used straight out of the bottle and can be applied in a number of ways to get different effects (more on that later). Dirty Down Rust comes in 25ml bottles and has quite a strong smell to it, though this does disappear once the paint has set (on a side note; don't lick your brush when using this, it tastes somewhat vile…Not that I accidentally did this).

Another interesting thing to remember though is that this paint is water soluble, meaning that even once it has dried it can be reactivated by adding some water to the surface. This is very useful for getting certain effects with this paint, but it’s even more useful if you’re not happy with how Dirty Down Rust has settled on your model once it’s dried, so you can just wet it again and try again until you’re happy with the finish. However, with this capability of the paint in mind, it’s very important that you seal any item you have treated with Dirty Down Rust, as from my personal experience even the moisture on my hands was able to reactivate this product. I also therefore strongly recommended that you use a non-water-based varnish to seal anything treated with this product.

Now let’s discuss how to use Dirty Down Rust. There are a few ways to apply the paint, but there are some key rules that each has in common, which I’ll explain now:

  • Always use a clean brush and make sure to clean your brush straight away when finished. Do not let this paint dry into the brush or it may cause damage to it.

  • The paint contains some solids; these are normal and part of the solution, but before use, make sure the paint is warm (leave it in a cup of hot water or something before use), then give the bottle a good shake until all the solids have dissolved into the solution. (I strongly suggest adding some agitator balls to better mix the solids).

  • If you use water to thin the solution, do not add the water to the pot. Decant the amount you need into a separate container and then add water to what you’ve decanted to avoid the paint from separating or activating inside the pot, rendering it unusable.

  • The surfaces that the solution is applied to should be warm to achieve the best effects (a hair dryer works really well for this).

Brush Method

Using a brush and either taking the solution from the pot or, if you’ve thinned it down, the container you've thinned it down into, start to apply layers of the solution. If you want a light rust effect then you will only need to apply a single coat, but for heavier effects, you’ll need to add more coats making sure that each layer is fully dry before you add the next.

Cloth/Dabbing method

Pour Dirty Down Rust onto a sponge, cloth, kitchen towel, tissue etc. and then dab the area where you want the rust effect to be. Keep dabbing until the paint has dried. The amount of paint on your dabbing implement will affect the result; a light amount will get you a lighter colour, while a large amount will get you a darker colour.

Spray Method

Spray Dirty Down Rust through an airbrush. Much like other methods, the darker the effect you want, the more layers you’ll have to use. It should also be noted that you should wash your brush immediately after use so the paint doesn’t clog it up as it dries.

This is an example of what can be achieved once you’ve gotten the hang of using Dirty Down Rust. for this, I applied some texture paint to get those darker more flaky areas of rust. Once the texture paint had dried fully (with the help of a hair dryer), I applied a liberal amount of undiluted Dirty Down Rust onto the barricade. I then wiped away the excess so that the main effect would be in the joins, around the bolts, and in the damaged area of the barricade. I then allowed it to dry.

As you can see, the effect is great.

As good as it is though, you will need to experiment with this product to get the most out of it for what you want. Don’t expect to get great results right away, as it can take a bit of trial and error. Also, I’m in two minds in regards to its price; at between £7-9 for a 25ml bottle, you don't get a great amount for your money. And whichever method of application you use, it uses a lot of the solution, so you will get through even one bottle of this paint quite quickly. But it does make painting rust so quick and easy, and it results in such a great effect that it's hard to say Dirty Down Rust isn’t worth the price tag. But it’s your money, so you’ll have to decide if the cost is worth it for you.

In summary, Dirty Down Rust is a great product that might take a little getting used to at first, but it delivers great results so it gets a thumbs up from me.

As an addition, Dirty Down also do Moss and Verdigris Paint varieties, which I’ll be reviewing in a couple of weeks' time.

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