Tool Review
Rust Solution
Triangle Crafts' Sophisticated Finishes Rust Solution
  • sophistacted-finishes

by: Matthew Quiroz [ RED4 ]

Every once in awhile, we stumble on something that is not designed specifically for our hobby and this is just one such instance. A good friend of mine builds WWI aircraft and he was always able to achieve some very realistic appearances on the exhausts of his aircraft that were textured, rusted, etc. I asked what his secret was and he showed me: Sophisticated Finishes. It is an aging solution designed for use on pottery, crafts, figurines etc. and consists of a two-part system, an Iron Metallic Solution and a Rusting Solution. The first part consists of 100% iron shavings suspended in an acrylic water-based medium. The second material contains ammonium chloride and copper sulfate. When applied over the iron surfacer base coat it reacts by actually oxidizing/rusting the underlying coat. The more rusting solution applied, the more rust will appear.

Apply the Iron solution first followed by the Rusting solution. For more orange-looking rust, apply the rusting solution while the Iron solution is still somewhat damp. For darker brown looking rust, let the Iron solution dry more. The dryer the Iron solution, the darker the rust finish will be. Several light coats will produce a better finish than one heavy coat. Additional coats should be applied 24 hours apart, although I have added additional coats considerably sooner and still achieved very good results. The effect achieved on the photos to the left took less than an hour.

Since there are some caustic chemicals in this product, it is advisable to use proper safety measures when using them. Obviously, you should read carefully the instructions and warnings on the product. I paid $18 for my set, but the solutions can be purchased individually too. There are other products in the same line designed to achieve different finishes; a patina finish, and copper, among others. This product is available at most craft stores and well stocked art stores.

My test subject for this article is an old Tamiya German lower hull. The Iron solution was shaken well and applied with an old brush. Even though the solution cleans up with water, I wouldn’t use a good brush to apply this stuff. I used a hair dryer set on high to help speed the drying time. Once dry, I applied a second coat and again used the dryer to help speed the drying time. The Rusting solution was applied and allowed to dry on its own as I typed this. Even in the short amount of time that it sat drying, the rusting process has started as you can see in the photos. I applied a second coat and also set this aside to dry while I worked on some other projects. Now some 25 minutes later there is a definite change in the rust. Once you see where the rust is developing, additional coats can be added to customize the effect you’re after. I concentrated the applications to the drive sprocket area and the upper and lower areas of the hull. After three applications you can really see the difference from when the initial coat was applied. Once everything is dry, it is suggested that the surface be sealed. Once sealed, washes and dry brushing can be added to enhance the look of the effected area.

While this method is a little involved the results are well worth the effort it if you are going for a seriously rusted out vehicle or just some nice looking exhausts.
Highs: Achieves a very realistic rust appearance. Easy to use and a little goes a long way.
Lows: Somewhat lengthy process. Caustic chemical in the rusting solution present some hazards to be managed.
Verdict: Four thumbs up from this user. A new approach for a great effect.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Suggested Retail: $18.00
  Related Link: Sophisticated Solutions
  PUBLISHED: Dec 15, 2007

About Matthew Quiroz (Red4)

After a several year break from the hobby I have happily returned to it. Slowly, but surely getting my mojo back.

Copyright ©2021 text by Matthew Quiroz [ RED4 ]. All rights reserved.


There are a few other products on the market that do the same thing. If my memory serves me correctly I think I saw Cammett's selling something similar at one of the model shows I went to. Can't remember the name of it, want to say Rustall, which is another product to do the same, but don't think that's it. Nothing listed on their site so an email or telephone call my answer your query. Happy Christmas Alan
DEC 22, 2007 - 11:56 AM
Hi I found the one I saw, here is web site LINK scroll to page bottom left Alan
DEC 22, 2007 - 01:43 PM
Hi Matt, I understand you're a Scout/Sniper and having just read a book on Sgt. Carlos Hathcock's life as an USMC sniper my hat goes off to you . As far as this solution is concerned I don't wanto to rain on the parade but I must say that,having used a similar (not to say identical) combo called Rust-all or something like that,I'd steer clear from this stuff.even if it Tamiya Magazine harped about that as if it was the best invention after sliced bread !For starts the iron shavings are too coarse to faithfully give the in-scale effect of a,say,rusted exhaust pipe in a scale smaller than 1/8 ,and after a few weeks the acrilyc solution in the SEALED bottle containing the metallic surfacer evaporated somehow leaving a heavy lump of steel shavings mixed with what looked like diluted white glue!Maybe the rusting solution could be used after some ground iron from a big nail or a piece of scrap metal is applied with your favourite medium to the surface you're going to "rust"!The shavings in this set are too big to texture a 1/35 turret but could be used on a 1/16 T34 for example! Me,I haven't liked this product the least but,'s only me!The idea behind the stuff is great and I know that it's widely used by restorers(and fakers) but we must find something more refined for our hobby! As a side note you can have just about the same results buying a VERY CHEAP bottle of blueing solution for guns,a small jar of artist's iron oxyde and by spending a few minutes at a smith's workshop and get a life-long supply of iron dust! Cheers Manny
DEC 30, 2007 - 03:49 AM
Manny, Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for the recognition. Carlos was one of those guys that always seemed larger than life. It was a sad day when he passed. I'm not sure if the stuff you used was the same as this what I reviewed, but I have had great success with it so far. I just finished a PzIII G DaK and used it on the exhausts for it. I'm still adding some solution to it at this point, but I think it looks good. The iron in mine isn't so much flakes as they are specs. I mean really, really fine specs. Like pin-point fine. Here's the results I've had thus far. As I said earlier, I'm still adding rustng solution to it so it will rust up even more. Thanks, "Q"
JAN 09, 2008 - 01:50 PM
I was actually testing this stuff out after seeing this article on ArmoramA and was going to do a little mini-review of my own based on some tests I did. Got it at Michaels for $5 with the weekly 50% off coupon. The tests I did look amazing and real. Wish I knew about it for my Gone Fishing diorama. Reading the reviews it seems like this stuff might continue to corrode if not sealed. So my tests were more based on what to seal it with. These tests were done a few days ago on 1/2" squares of styrene. About 3 applications of the ruster was applied over the iron paint to achieve this level of rust. More apps = lighter rust. Also placing the parts in an air-tight container after application speeds the rusting as it allows the chemicals to react longer before drying. All of these were handbrushed on (not airbrushed) and only 1 thin coat was applied. A: Plain Future Floor Acrylic out of the bottle actually made it rust a little more and go a few shades lighter as far as rust color. Similar to Migs light rust pigment. B: Prepared Matte Medium (from scenic express) This worked well. It darkened the rust slightly, but in other tests it left it the same and unaffected. C: Ouch... Future Floor Acrylic + Tamiya Flat Base thinned with Tamiya Thinner. This reacted with the corrosive agent and frosted everything. The culprit based on other tests is the Tamiya Thinner mixed with the FFA. The Flat Base had no ill effects. D: Decoart DuraClear acrylic varnish (Satin). Similar to Apple Barrel and Liquitex brands. This actually worked the best IMO. E: This is the control with no sealant applied. So beware what you use to seal it and always test on scrap first. Overall I love it and can't wait to apply it to a model.
JAN 10, 2008 - 12:43 PM
Michael, good addition to the review and thread. Thanks for sharing your results. Most appreciated. "Q"
JAN 10, 2008 - 04:38 PM
I just bought and tested some of this product today and it produces some great results. I think this may now be the defacto product for rust finishes in modeling. Someone should do a review of their patina finish products as well, as they could certainly be useful in diorama construction when a set piece needs an aged brass or copper look.
JAN 13, 2008 - 03:46 PM

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