Weathering (“Battle-damaging”) Gundams

August 21, 2015
(Originally written on January 2, 2002)
By Jordan Connor

Quick Guide for making your Mecca Models More Mangled...(say that three times fast)
In this article I will be touching on a few techniques on Weathering Gundam Models. These few tips that I will explain are only the ones that I use and have heard of. I am sure there are many more. Please feel free to try them all and find what works best for you.

OK on to making your Gundams look nice and Battle Hardened! I will list a set of materials that I use to get my Gundams looking like they had been through a few good fights.

Things you might need

With all of that...or even some of it you should be able to make your nice “new” gundam a battle hardened warrior. A few quick tips: when first starting out you might want to try this with either a new gundam that you haven’t been that fond of or a really old one. Just in case you mess up, you can't just “go back” once you have burned a few holes into the plastic.

Another useful tip may be to look into what type gundam you have. Some are meant for close up battles with “Beam Sabers” or their own personal type of up-close weapons; they may be able to take some cannon blasts, but not do well as a longer-range fighter. An example of this would be from the Endless Waltz 1/100 line. The Heavy Arms Custom would be a good example of a long-range fighter, and the Sandrock Custom would be a good example of a more “close up” fighter.

Ok, with a couple of tid-bits out of the way lets move onto the main event!

Bullet/Cannon/Machine Gun blast marks.
Ok, time to figure out where your nice and shiny gundam will receive it’s thrashing. I usually go ahead and Prime, Paint and Detail my gundam all-nice before I start to tear down. I mean, essentially this is the process anyway right? - :-)

One of the first things I start out with is the bullet holes, (Ed. Note: these "bullet holes" may be actually "rounds", which are in effect larger, more powerful bullets).

You have to figure where bullets/rounds or blast marks will be hitting your Gundam, like it's forearms, legs, skirt armor, shield (if they have one), and body. Think that if too many bullets/rounds hit it's head, it would blow up! That’s why you would put some holes on the arms (for blocking).

Now that you figured out where you want to make the bullet/round holes, plug in your soldering iron. If you do not have one, time to break out the lighter, pliers, rubber bands and needles. Honestly, a Soldering Iron is safer when handled correctly. If you are going to be using the Needle-lighter method, be careful, and if you are young, DO THIS UNDER ADULT SUPERVISION!!!!

Ok, with your metal hot, go ahead and make your mark! Remember, that with a soldering Iron, the longer you hold it on your Gundam, the more the plastic will be melted and sticky.

Try to also “visualize” where the bullets are coming from, and you can even make some angled holes. I went burn crazy on my first try just to...well, burn the gundam up! While with plenty....PLENTY of detail to make this look good, I could have used a lot less bullet holes to make it look a bit more real.

Go ahead and use your X-acto to cut any loose plastic off. TA-DA you have a gundam that has caught a few bullets the wrong way! Rather than going into the Painting section I will cover some Beam Saber and also a denting section before the Painting.

Slash Marks!
Now you have a gundam that has a few bullet holes, how about those big glowing green and pink - (PINK?...I just don’t get it?) beam sabers!! Another quick way to add some really cool looking gashes or even pieces totally missing is to keep that Soldering Iron plugged in! Again, figure out where your Gundam may get slashed! Arms, Skirt, Legs some upper body.... remember if that head got hit with a beam saber it will blow up!

Get your soldering Iron out and touch it against your gundam in a good angle that would represent it trying to block or getting hit by a beam saber. The marks should start small then get bigger and small again!

The cool thing is you can take parts off. Like shoulder pads (the tips) and parts or the skits. If you are really brave, even half of the arm. Just be careful how deep you cut!

In the New Gundam Wing and End Less waltz models, they are all hollow inside! The Master Grades with the internal skeleton would be best for these.

The Mass production ground types would be great for this because you can have one really beat up! Also going back to the head. On the big V shaped pieces on the heads of the Gundams, you can take a part off to show it like it was cut really close.

Being very careful, you can make some small scrapes on the armor with the soldering Iron like the Gundam was dodging a blow! Again, just experiment with what you like. After all you paid for the model you can make it look any way you want! Have fun with it! - :-)

This is something all together over looked in “weathered” Gundams. They are in a fight and have some bullet holes as well as some major gashes from some beam sabers.....but where are the small dents in the robots?????? After all, these are “scale” versions of their larger forms.

You can do this a few ways. I have mentioned the Soldering Iron more than the Needle-Lighter technique, because I use that for most of the detailing. The needles come in handier now along with the X-acto and the sand paper. Dents will occur in battle when the Robots are fighting more hand-to-hand. Also if the gundam comes with large guns that go on the shoulders or they have to go on one knee to fire the weapons.

A quick way to add some dents with the Hot Needle, that being get the pliers, a rubber band tightly around handles of the pliers so the needle is held it place. Get a lighter and make it nice and hot. OH, for this you will want to turn the needle AROUND, so that there is the more wider-rounded side that will catch the heat. This also works really well with metal thumb tacks. By holding the pointy end, you have a really nice and round surface, because when it is can make some really nice “dent” shapes.

Ok heat up your Needle/Thumb tack and touch it to the surface that you think will get some dents. (Knees, forearms and any armor that is sticking out a bit from the more inner armor). As long as the needle/thumb tack wasn’t that hot, you won’t have that much to clean and sand.

If it was really hot, trim down the excess plastic with the knife and then sand using the 320-400 grit and buff smooth with the 600-800 grit.

Another way to create dents is by cutting small little areas with the very tip of your X-acto knife. If you are using a #11 blade, be careful, because that tip may break off! I use a #10 blade because it is more rounded and dents can be a little more easily carved. Either way works!

Then again you will want to clean the area up with some sanding paper using the same mixture of grit sand paper to make it nice and smooth!

Ok now you should have a nice beat up gundam, depending on how much you decided to damage him up! If you’re like me, then you have a lot of detailing paintwork to do!

Ok On to the finishing steps!

In this part, you will be getting out your paintbrushes. Silver, chrome or Gunmetal will all work great here, to add some metal look to your gundam like it was metal underneath the paint job.

Also, get that flat black or Dark Flat Grey out! The way I went about it is as follows, with a series or dry brushing.

Dry brushing is really just dipping the paint into your bottle, then dabbing it on either paper or a paper towel until there is only a little bit of the paint left on the hairs of the brush. I might add at this point that it would be good to get a brush with real hair. The sable brushes or any type like that. Some of the other brushes make it really hard to get a good wash because they have harder bristles.

Anyway, I usually go with the Flat Black for the first wave of dry brushing. I go over all the holes and inside them to make sure that there is no extra paint or the original model color “poking” through.

When that is all dry, I move on to the silver. I apply the silver usually just on the outside of all the bullet holes and some of the scrape marks.

This would be a good time to add some silver to the dents that you made. Just put a little on this that way is gives the impression that the paint was just lightly scraped off or cracked. You might want to also add some silver dry brushing on some areas that may just get scraped up to add a little more “uniform” look to the scrapes and dents.

Some other good places are by the joints and some of the weapons if you want a really “used” look.

Then I go over it AGAIN in a dark grey or the Flat black, just to make sure that I didn’t put too much Silver or not enough black.

Once that is all done it will truly bring out all the holes you just put in your Gundam.

Other Quickies.
You can burn the incense a little and use the burned parts and apply it on either with the stick it’s self or scrape it off with the X-acto and apply it on with a paintbrush. Do this around some areas where burns would occur, either from thrusters and or some bigger bullet holes or scrapes!

This is pretty much the same as the incense. Black will give a really good burn affect when applied right. You can just draw it on then with your finger or a paintbrush add some “fading” affect to the burn. The only problem is repeated touching of this will get the black pastel everywhere. I have sealed Pastels with the Testors DullCote but again it will keep the style of the burn but it may take away the affect.

RapidoGraph Pens/Technical Pens.

I wrote an article about the use of these pens and allied them to Gundam Model building. These are not mentioned in the Materials section.

You can apply really cool “scale” Seepage from the bullet holes because the ink is shiny and the colors you used to make the weathering is Flat. This would be great for any Hydraulic Oil dripping from the wounds. Simply draw a drip mark under the hole and fill it in. Experiment with this if you have them at your disposal. This is also a very cool affect, you can make the Oil drip down from the wounds all the way down the leg, arm, chest, wherever there is inner fluids.

With all this said and done, hopefully this comes as some help to all of you who like building these models and putting and extra flare on them. Again, I know there are plenty of other methods to making the Gundam Models more “worn” and Battle Hardened. These are just the materials and steps that I use to make mine more “personal”. Using some of these technniques along with possibly altering the color scheme, you can build your own Gundams and stray from the hum-drum of just coping the colors, to make a totally one-of-a-kind Gundam!

If you have any Questions/Comments/ or anything you want to tell me Tip wise that works for you, Please E-Mail me at

Until then, Happy Modeling!!!!

(Tips and Techniques Page)

Copyright © 2015 Anthony I. Wootson Sr. and Jordan Connor. No material may be reproduced without permission of Anthony I. Wootson Sr. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.