Weathering a model for me is where in my opinion a kit turns from a commercial kit that can be made by anyone into a very personal interpretive piece of art. Yes I am sure that some of you may think that this statement is a little "too much" or even grandiose. When you consider the time spent, the materials chosen, the exact distribution of weathering materials and choices of whether its weathered for an arctic or desert environment; how can you not describe it as a piece of art? Anyway; I'm getting away from the subject of this review. I had seen a couple of advertisements for these pencils online, in magazines and on social media but I had not really thought about buying them as I was quite happy with my current methods of weathering and if I'm honest a little "advert blind" being as we are constantly bombarded with adverts every day. This changed after seeing a series of photographs of beautifully weathered models. The detail and accuracy of the weathering was stunning and after reading the blurb underneath the model I was confronted with "finished with AK pencils". A quick search on Amazon and after 5 minutes I had ordered:
Dirt & Marks set AK10044
Chipping & Ageing Set AK10042
Rust & Streaking set AK10041
After waiting 2 days, they arrived at my door and I was immediately struck by the quality of the product. The wood is excellent. The paint coating on the wood is fantastic and the "lead" is nice and thick which allows shaping into a fine point or wedge with a sharp blade or will "melt" and spread around a wet surface quite easily. I have tried these pencils in a number of ways
Direct to the model where I used the gunmetal pencil directly on the edges of sheet metal panels on a model. Run the rust colours around bolt heads, panels and panel edges and as a general weathering coat by wetting the model surface and "melting" the pencil into the water and spreading around with a brush. Each one of these methods proved to be easy to control, remove and blend (using a damp brush tip and light strokes).
Each of the above packs cost me £5.25 on amazon (at the date of publishing this review) and they are more than worth the money. They will (based on my current usage) last me a good number of years of model making. I have already bought another set in the range and am eagerly waiting for it to turn up! The only real regret that I have is that in my haste I bought three packs of these pencils. In hindsight I would have probably bought only one of these sets to try at first as AK also sells the complete range of pencils in one set for approximately £40 (at the date of publishing this review). This set as well as including all of their pencils also comes with an AK pencil roll up for storage instead of the individual boxes that I am now resigned to collecting. If anyone finds a link where you are able to just buy AK's pencil roll bag please let me know in the comments as I would love to buy this and use as I collect each of their pencil packs over the year.