Marmite Chipping Process

What is Marmite Chipping For Models?

One would question the marrying of a product designed for human consumption, with a plastic model kit but hopefully this brief introduction to Marmite chipping will relieve the reader of such a head scratcher.

The end result of surface chipping can also be achieved with mass marketed, purpose made products, so to substitute those with this "love it or hate it" TM yeast based product can raise a few eyebrows. What are the benefits to using Marmite?

There must be cons surely?

Allow me to explain...

So why? And more importantly, how?

Well the properties of Marmite allow the user a good deal of control for sure. Application with a cocktail stick or similar gives near micro control.

It's sticky texture can be manipulated on the model easily, provided it's applied sparingly, in that, and I must stress this, whatever it touches is tainted forever. It's easy to apply, but it's easier to over apply.

So, you're saying it's not very forgiving. That's correct. It isn't. Whatever it touches, it's protecting whatever is underneath.

Paint, airbrushed on (I haven't tried this with aerosol can paint) will not penetrate Marmite. So the medium is perfect for this chipping application. Chipping on modern build models can be over exaggerated to the extent it looks unrealistic.

Weathering in general is an argued topic across social media because the people who work closely with vehicles & aircraft argue that they're kept pristine. The modellers in the world however, especially with access to the Internet, simply counteract that argument with "its returning from recent operational activities", therefore showing classic bashed up, paint stripped wear & tear signs which can be expertly replicated, especially with Marmite.

What Marmite chipping does is allow for a more natural wear look, which is difficult to replicate on top of paint. What I mean is, it’s easier to rub paint off to show what's underneath than it is to apply more layers of paint trying to simulate weathering.

But how does the Marmite work?

It's basically a blocker. Applied over dry paint in small amounts it protects the paint until the Marmite is reactivated with warm water and a stiff stubby brush.

I've layered many coats of paint over Marmite, and even applied it intermittently in random areas on a piece to give a more harsh look on the rub back and it's worked. Whatever it touches is protected.

There has been a recent spate of tutorial videos made showing how to create the chipping effect using hairspray. Another application I'm familiar with and one I've used myself to good effect.

Well, what's the difference?

Quite simply it's the rub off process.

Marmite rubs back with the faintest of touches so is more suitable for delicate areas of a build. It never really dries out or goes hard.

It keeps its gooey consistency throughout its life on the model. Yes it's covered in paint but the most delicate of touches will remove it so you have to be very careful in handling the model once this whole chipping process has started.

So why have I suggested that removal is best achieved with a stiff stubby brush?

Because over time it will take on a slight stubbornness, although nothing like the hairspray.

The hairspray technique does work to great effect but, as mentioned, the rub back takes more vigorous activation which isn't favourable on delicate parts.

They can easily break off during the clean up process which just leads to frustrated modellers.

Marmite Chipping Process BARTSHARP Airbrush

The following image shows the gun metal paint cover and you can see the paint layer looks uneven.

That's the Marmite that's protecting the XF-1. Once the gun metal dried (I gave it 2 hours to be guaranteed a totally dry bed) I applied the Marmite with a flat wide soft bristled paintbrush, using an up & down motion, as I figured the dirt and earth the dozer excavated would be pushed up & down the blade in this direction.

The application was light. Barely touching the gun metal colour, but a soft delicate approach is all it took.

As previously mentioned, whatever it touches is marked!

Marmite Chipping Process BARTSHARP Airbrush

Picture 3 shows 2 more colours carefully airbrushed over.

A Tamiya red brown and interior green. These colours were added to give depth of colour as the top paint scheme planned was caterpillar yellow.

I wanted to give the model a look which replicated age and these underlying colours would provide that effect.

Marmite Chipping Process BARTSHARP Airbrush

Picture 4 shows the end stage paint process.

On top of all those other colours there's a thin layer of XF-2 then 3 coats of yellow

Marmite Chipping Process BARTSHARP Airbrush

Picture 5.

All the paint has dried thoroughly  (over 24 hours) and with the stubby wide bristled brush and a pot of warm water the removal process begins.

You can clearly see the bulk of colour has been removed to show the gun metal colour.

Exactly what I wanted. Specs of random colour accentuate the blade all which were protected by the brown gu.

And further pictures show the remaining structure with the full rub back process complete.

This effect is difficult to achieve with over layering, as a slip of the airbrush can ruin all the previous work you've done.

Rubbing back is much more effective.

Marmite Chipping Process BARTSHARP Airbrush

Why Marmite?

You'd be expecting a highly technical detailed answer. One where I explain the scientific benefits where the properties are measured over substantial vigorous tests in laboratory conditions against the specific purpose made chipping blockers on the current market.

You'd be wrong.


It's cheap.

It works.

With this application less is definitely more. The sharp end of a cocktail stick just coated in Marmite is enough to dab on areas which you think need weathering.

Aircraft wing leading edges, walkways, panel edges and any other leading edges. Anywhere that could take a scuff on the real machine.

Apply too much and it's a mess. I'm not saying it won't work, it will. But, all you need is a very light, thin layer. A small amount does exactly the same job as a blob, so use it sparingly.


Really hope that the above post helps you out with the Marmite chipping process!

Mark Andrews

Marmite Chipping Process BARTSHARP Airbrush