Monday, April 25, 2016

Tutorial - Metal with Graphite

While attending this year's Sonoran Desert Model Builders' Scorpfest I observed a demonstration by the club president, Dave "The Weatherman". Not surprisingly his demonstration was on various weathering techniques. While I've been using graphite in my weathering for some time I hadn't ever considered using it in the ways that Dave did. In one example he used it as an alternative to metallic paint. I liked the method he used and the opportunity to use it finally presented itself in my Baneblade Stormlord.

You can purchase graphite, shave it from a pencil, or in my case, I harvest it from my drafting pencil sharpener. On a side note I highly recommend getting a drafting pencil. They are great for drawing as you can purchase any hardness of lead you want and sharpening them is a breeze, there is almost no waste. If you use your shavings for your models there is zero waste with the drafting pencil.

I collect the graphite powder in a small sealable plastic pot.

Begin by priming the object you want to metalize in flat black.

Rub the graphite onto the primed surface. You may use your finger, a compact applicator, cotton swab, or sponge. I used my finger tips, a compact applicator, and a makeup sponge.

The more you buff the surface the shinier and more metallic it will get. It looks great on the above heavy stubbers but looks equally as good on other surfaces.

The exhaust pipes for my Stormlord really came out great!

Dave covered another method for utilizing graphite. He mixed it into a rust colored acrylic paint. After the paint was dried he rubbed the high points with a cotton swab which revealed a metallic sheen. As with the above technique the more he rubbed the shinier the appearance but in this case it was a subtractive technique instead of additive.


  1. Great idea. Reminds me of the graphite Lube we use for pinewood derby car axles. One year my son clear coated an unpainted car but the graphite got all over the place. To his delight lots of folks asked him how he got that dull speckled metallic look!

  2. I love it! Plan to try it on my next build.

  3. Really like these suggestions. Thanks.