How to Create Accurate Weld Effects


This article is a culmination of ongoing work that has been carried out on a modelling project as well as numerous discussions on the same subject at the Tyneside IPMS UK model club. In this work we shall describe one technique that has been developed to replicate scale welding based upon real-life methods of welding processes. We shall describe the tools and materials used for such work and then illustrate in practice both some simple and complex examples of scale welding. The article will be finished with a brief description of other methods, both scratch building and aftermarket products that can also be used to replicate such effects.

Basic Welding Techniques

Virtually all types of welded joint are classified into two major types:

Fillet Weld
A Fillet weld is roughly triangular in cross section between two sections that are not in the same plane.

Butt Weld
A Butt weld is a weld between two sections in the same plane.

Other weld types often referred to are lap welds, corner welds, edge welds etc but basically these are just variations of the two weld types above. Note that in our work here we are not concerned with the physical process of welding but only the visual product that remains once the welding process has been completed.

In all cases of replicating weld seams some thought must be made prior to actual application as to what kind of effect we are trying to achieve. This must take into account the materials to be welded, the circumstances under which work would have taken place and the skill level of the welder. Whilst the latter three points may seem a bit excessive to be concerned with, if you are trying to make your scale welds as accurate as possible they should be considered. With respect to materials and armoured vehicles we are usually looking at either the welding of armour plates or on-vehicle accessories. The welding of armor plates is usually done under factory conditions with skilled personnel. This should mean that welded joints are very uniform and neat; i.e. the welding of armour on German tanks especially in the early years of World War 2. This can be contrasted with the skill level of Russian welders of the same period whose main tasks were not necessarily to do things perfectly but instead to complete them fast. If you look at welds on Russian vehicles of this period we can see on average that the weld quality on AFV’s was of a very mixed quality. As the project work to be carried out here is on such a Russian vehicle of this time period we will attempt to show weld effects of both good and poor quality.

Some examples of weld joints that can be easily replicated and are relevant to all types of vehicles of all time frames can be illustrated below.

About the Author

About Twig


I read this in a book once,but maybe it would work in a different way,In the book it said to slightly push a pin(not heated) in to the pastic,so it forms a bulge around the tiny ark,that traps the paint and makes a rivit,maybe if you scribed very lightly with that pin to make the letters,and painted,you would get the same affect
SEP 04, 2003 - 02:08 PM
That's an interesting thought Dave, thanks Rob
SEP 05, 2003 - 02:05 AM
Thanks Jim! Your article serves to inspire me to continue with weld seam additions. I've almost given up with the styrene rod method (making it gooey & soft first using thin plastic cement then scribing the weld pattern with a hobby knife). The cement tends to somewhat ruin the surrounding plastic, making the model's surface finish look terrible. The next weld seams on my models will definitely be made of Milliput.... Cheers! Dennis
SEP 06, 2003 - 01:47 PM
Like learning there are more ways to do a difficult task. That's one thing I can always count on here and that's learning new techniques and even getting ideas on areas I hadn't even considered before.
SEP 06, 2003 - 06:20 PM
This is a good article. Wonderfully illustrated. Quality job. Thank you !
SEP 17, 2003 - 08:51 AM
Excellent Article... Made sure I printed it out for future referance!! :-)
SEP 17, 2003 - 01:26 PM
Another informative and well written article. Keep em' comin. Joshua Weingarten IDF Armour Group LINK
SEP 18, 2003 - 11:18 AM
Another informative and well written article. Keep em' comin. Joshua Weingarten IDF Armour Group LINK
SEP 18, 2003 - 11:18 AM
This article still remains a classic. I notice some were asking about welded on writing. I've posted picks of the Abrams welded on numbers before which look far better than the DML numbers. There's a clear rubbery substance (I can't remember the name of it as it dried up at least ten years ago) that you can purchase at art supply stores. It can be applied with a syringe (through the needle even) and takes paint very well. I'll see if I can find it next week when I get home, unless someone else knows what it's called.
MAR 02, 2010 - 01:02 PM
spot on
MAR 02, 2010 - 09:25 PM