The Weathered Dump Truck


-A Scale-Master Project-

The Weathered Dump Truck

Author:       Mark D. Jones aka Scale-Master


Vehicles Needed:     Matchbox Faun Dump Truck

Special Tools:     Scale-Master Decal Sheet – See bottom of page for details

Rating:       Beginner/Novice
I know most customs are shiny and attractive examples of cool machines and hot rods. But customizing is whatever you want it to be. Sometimes a little dirt can make things better. When I saw this casting in the store, it just screamed to be dirtied up to me, so….   

I started with a Matchbox Dump Truck. It had a green cab and frame and a yellow bed. The chassis was held on with three rivets from the bottom that I drilled out with an 11/64s inch drill bit in a cordless drill. I left the hinged bed attached to the frame and soaked it in carburetor cleaner overnight to strip the paint off. I washed it thoroughly in water and detergent and scrubbed it with a toothbrush to remove any residue.



It was primed with spray can Krylon Red Oxide primer and allowed to dry for a couple hours. The next coat was airbrushed, a thin layer of Testors Model Master Dark Yellow with some white added to it, to aid in coverage. It was allowed to dry for an hour, and then a thin coat of the straight Dark Yellow was airbrushed over it.




Tamiya Acrylic German Grey was mixed with Tamiya Acrylic thinner, about 25% paint – 75% thinner, to make a wash, and was brushed on the trucks recessed details to create a shadowed effect. The truck was left to dry upside down for this reason.


The same wash was applied to the truck an hour later, this time it was set right side up to dry. The grille on the right front area of the cab was painted flat black at this time too.


When dry, the grille was carefully dry-brush painted silver to leave the black in the recesses. Dry brushing is done by getting paint on the brush and wiping most of it off until just enough remains to be picked up by the raised details when drug across them. The edge and other potential wear areas of the whole truck were lightly dry brushed with silver to simulate wear.


DuPont decals from a 1/43 scale NASCAR model were found in my left over parts box and applied to the sides and front of the vehicle. The decals were an afterthought and anything or nothing would be appropriate. A little decal solvent helped with the corrugated sides, but was not an absolute necessity to make them settle down.


When the decals were dry, another light round of washes and dry brushing were applied to them to dirty them up a bit. A little rust color made of Tamiya Hull Red, Flat Red and Flat Brown and was dry-brushed on top of some of the silver “scrapes” to add an even more distressed look to the dumper and above the wheels.


Some dirt and dust were created with Tamiya Flat Earth paint lightly airbrushed on the lower parts of the chassis and truck. The driveline and fuel tanks were painted a silver, gold and grey mixture and then given a wash of the same grey with a little black added in to darken it.


A little Light Tan was mixed into the Flat Earth to make a dryer looking dirt and it was very lightly airbrushed on top of the darker “wetter” dirt, leaving the darker color visible around the edges. This same color was lightly sprayed on the wheels, almost as a tint.


The front bumper was hand painted yellow and black and the lights were painted silver, then transparent amber before being weathered to match the rest of the truck. Extra “wear” was implied by again dry-brushing silver on the ladder steps and anywhere else it looked like it might get more paint rubbed or chipped off.


The bed is looking well used at this point. A coat of Testors Dullcote was airbrushed over the entire vehicle to soften the look and help blend all the colors and decals, and make it look just a bit dustier.


Here it is all assembled, but with no windows it still has a bit of a toy look instead of a model.


Elmer’s White Glue was used on a toothpick to make the windows. Just get a drop on the end of the toothpick and go around the perimeter of each window until you have a little bubble filling it in and let it dry overnight.


As the white glue cures, it gets clearer. Depending on the weather and humidity it may take a couple days to fully clear. They won’t look like clear sheet plastic when cured, but do look better than gaping holes.


This is a fun project since the paints used dry so quickly you can almost work on it non-stop for most of the time. And if you screw up, who’ll know? You can either work it into the finished dirt, or, wipe off the acrylics with the acrylic thinner. It won’t take off the Testors paint and you can start weathering again from there.







Mark D. Jones, Scale-Master

Leave a Reply