Echo: Shinies, sir?
Commander Cody: That's right. Your armor it's shiny and new. Just like you.
Badass characters get thrown through the wringer all the time. To show the ordeals that they have been through, the equipment they use is just as scarred as they themselves are. This tends to be a way to contrast the newbie/fresh meat who has the unused equipment with the veterans whose armors are proof of experience. More realistic works have their Cool Car with scrapes and dings. Fantastic works have their body armor and weapons scratched and pitted from battle.
Don't be surprised if someone looking at that equipment has a What a Piece of Junk reaction.
- The first five tanks for the Ooarai Academy in Girls und Panzer were abandoned and left to rust. The Panzer IV was in a garage with a broken track; Team Turtle's 38T was found rusting in a wooded area; Team Duck's Type 89 was found in a cave facing the sea; Team Hippo's Assault III was found at the bottom of a pond; and Team Rabbit's M3 was stored in a livestock pen, being used as a rabbit hutch. Nevertheless, the Ooarai girls restored all five tanks to operational and battle-worthy condition, then started schooling competitors with bigger machines and greater numbers.
- The pilot suits and space suits worn by the mechanics in the anime adaptation of Knights of Sidonia are all rather scratched and battered from constantly being re-used. Averted by the mechs themselves, especially later of as new models are introduced.
- The title character of Goblin Slayer has two odd nubs on his helmet. They are what's left of the horns that used to be affixed to said helmet. He hasn't bothered replacing them.
- Bleach: The Blood Knight Zaraki's Soul-Cutting Blade has a ragged, pitted edge, as though ruined by innumerable battles. Since it's an extension of his soul and is powered by his spirit energy, it's got enough Absurd Cutting Power to shear through buildings anyway.
- In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Inosuke's dual katanas are so chipped and worn from combat that they look like saws. Comically when he receives two brand new katana, he picks up a rock and chips the blade until they look like the old ones, right in front of the outraged swordsmith who made them.
- The Redeemer: Klovis executes one of his men from not taking optimal care of his gear (which sees daily use).
Klovis: I am the most forgiving of men, but standards must be maintained!
- In the Darkest Hour of Fear Itself, Captain America's Shield gets utterly shattered by the Serpent. In the leadup to the final battle, the dwarves reforge it but in haste left a crack running from the edge to the center. They offer to buff it out, but Cap keeps it because he feels it adds character.
- Unintentional example in Kid Icarus Uprising 2: Hades Revenge, where "The Three Sacred Treasures" gets misspelled as "The 3 Scarred Treasures".
- Minor example in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. The mine-robbers' armor is all scarred up, which indicates to the four that they've been involved in some hot and heavy action in Boidan Mine. When the four gently curb stomp them and take their stuff, they toss the armor away because it's so beat up.
- Most Predators have damage on their masks to show battle scars from previous kills.
- In Pacific Rim, the interface suits the pilots use have dings and scrapes from their former battles. Notably the new suits look pristine, and the Jaegers never look this way. Mind, they are expected to do battle in water, so dings that could turn into leaks are immediately patched.
- The Troll Hunter has a vehicle that, on top of having a multitude of equipment on it, is covered in slashes and marks from his profession.
- 300. The shields and helmets of the Spartans are battered to readily show the warrior culture they come from.
- Star Wars: A New Hope:
- The first time Luke Skywalker lays eyes on the Millennium Falcon, his immediate reaction is: "What a piece of junk!" Captain Solo counters by saying, "She'll make .5 past lightspeed." It proves to be no boast, as the ship quickly launches when Imperial troopers arrive, and makes lightspeed despite three Imperial cruisers in pursuit.
- Before the final battle, as the Rebel Alliance fighters are preparing to launch, Luke is offered a new R2 unit to go with his red 5 X-Wing. Luke declines.
Crewman: This R2 unit seems a bit beat up. Want a new one?
Luke: Not on your life. That little R2 unit and I have been through a lot together.
- Boba Fett's armor also shows significant wear and tear, especially when compared to that of his father, Jango, or of the titular Mandalorian.
- Dredd. Dredd's armor and helmet are thoroughly scratched up from years of service policing the violent streets of MegaCity One. Anderson's starts out pristine (it is her first day on the job, after all), but starts getting battered over the course of the film.
- Spider-Man: No Way Home: Doc Ock's tentacles have all the damage that they took in their original movie, so they are still marred and pitted with battle damage and the once prominent yellow stripe down the side is barely visible. After the apartment fight Goblin's armor is heavily damaged but still functional. Which serves as a metaphor for the Goblin within.
- Ciaphas Cain series:
- In the novel The Emperor's Finest, while sparring with Drumon, Cain manages to land a blow on him with his chainsword and mark the former's Powered Armor (they both assumed he wouldn't be able to since Drumon's a Super Soldier; Cain's just that good). Drumon decides to leave the mark to remind himself never to let his guard down (and possibly out of respect for Cain).
- Early in The Last Ditch, a new Commissar takes a second look at Cain's battle-worn chainsword and decides withdrawing her previous comments (which bordered on grounds for a duel) would be a good idea.
- Averted in Cain's Last Stand: the power armor worn by the Sororitas novices is battered, but that's because it's practice armor that's been used for Emperor knows how long. The wearers are young enough that Cain thinks they should be worried about acne instead of the best way to disembowel a heretic. In the same novel, Cain notes that the carapace armor he picked up (and forgot to return) in the first book (which took place roughly seventy years prior) has gotten rather battered over the decades.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry's car starts every book with new scars from damage that happened offscreen since the last book, as well as all the damage it takes during the books themselves. Harry's staff and shield bracelets are often described as looking rather worn (not surprising, considering the amount of abuse he puts the poor things through).
- In the Discworld books, Commander Vimes prefers his dented and slightly rusty armor to the shiny stuff that he has to wear for official functions. He chooses to wear his old armor during his diplomatic trip in Monstrous Regiment. It's known, though unofficially, that he doesn't like his Watchmen's armour to be too shiny; if it doesn't look like it's been doing its job, the wearer probably hasn't been doing theirs.
- In Excession, the Affront, being a Proud Warrior Race, deliberately tweak their ships' auto-repair systems so that battle damage, even after it's fixed, leaves superficial marks on the hull. This allows a character to scorch a coded message onto an Affronter warship just before it kills them, leading to a big part of the plot.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Inverted in the prologue, where two low-ranking Night Watch rangers note that the new Officer and a Gentleman who's been given their command has high-quality equipment that's obviously never seen a lick of use. They don't survive long.
- Battlestar Galactica (2003) specifically made sure to include the damage that the ships in the series suffered as they went on. As a result, Galactica had an increasing number of dings, missing hull plating, and battle scars as the show went on.
- Doctor Who. In "The Day of the Doctor", the War Doctor's TARDIS is beaten, scarred, and faded after hundreds of years worth of Time War.
- Used as a plot point in The Mandalorian, with the title character being paid in Beskar steel that can be used to repair and improve his damaged armor. The suits of the Stormtroopers seen in the same episode have also definitely seen better days, likely since they aren't being cleaned or replaced now that the Empire is history.
- Shows up again in the Season 2 premiere, where the titular Mandalorian's shiny new armor is contrasted with Boba Fett's.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Painting guides often suggest customizing models this way (along with physical scars where applicable). The exact extent depends on the model in question; for example, Astartes vehicles have less damage because their serfs take maintenance quite seriously, while Ork vehicles are basically beaten into working properly.
- The antagonist of the Gaiden Game Imperial Knights: Renegade, Litany of Destruction, is identifiable by the heavily damaged faceplate that it has sported since turning against the Imperium. An article in the magazine White Dwarf gave advice on how players could model this on their miniatures.
- A common feature in BattleTech artwork. It was especially common in the time period between the Third and Fourth Succession Wars, as the level of destruction in the Inner Sphere meant that simply keeping a mech semi-functional was considered an achievement. Keeping it in perfect condition meant you were either insanely rich nobility or so politically connected you never actually saw combat (or both, given that there was a suspicious overlap between those two groups).
- Many Transformers characters have damage on their armor from the millions-of-years long war for Cybertron on their body. In fact, the 2018-2020 War for Cybertron toyline features painted-on scars and scuff marks as a selling point, along with fire blast effect parts that can be attached to represent them taking more damage.
- In every game of the Batman: Arkham Series, the Batsuit starts out in perfect condition and ends up heavily damaged at the end of the game as the result of Batman having a very busy night.
- Dawn of War: The grim darkness of the far future is such that even freshly-built structures have scars, burn marks, and chunks missing.
- In the original Doom games, the Marine wears a green uniform in which the belly area is torn (the first game's cover art also represents him with a tearing on one of his thigh). Because of the low-resolution graphics, in-game the character looks like he was wearing a highly impractical combat armour exposing his stomach area for absolutely no reason.
- In Evolve, all of the hunter's gear and armor show signs of wear and tear, ranging from worn paint and rust to combat damage.
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: The Black Knight's armour has two visible scars on it, one across the chest, and one on the helmet, the same spots that Ike would hit when using his Aether skill.
- Zig/zagged in Halo. Sometimes the armor looks pristine, other times it's damaged from warfare. In particular, the Master Chief's armor in Halo 4 has a noticeable gash inherited from his adventures in Halo 3.
- Mass Effect 2. Garrus's armor (as well as his face) bears the scars of a missile he took point-blank from a gunship while Shepard was recruiting him.
- Reinhardt of Overwatch still fights with his 4-decade-old Crusader Power Armor. Much like the man in it, the suit has accumulated many scratches, dings, and chips over the years.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic. The Battleworn Triumvirate armor is a set of equipment with dents and scars on the pieces to make it look battleworn.
- Team Fortress 2 has weapon skins that come with different grades of wear, from factory new to battle scarred, though it has nothing to do with how much the weapon of used, but is rather a sign of rarity. The more wear it has, the higher the grade.
- World of Warcraft. This is the design philosophy for the look and feel of the Horde, something Blizzard has described as "battered, but not broken".
- XCOM 2 has DLC that, among other things, lets you outfit your soldiers with battered, decades-old suits of combat armor from XCOM: Enemy Unknown, some of which are literally held together with duct tape.
- Turn Signals on a Land Raider has a strip where two Ultramarines show up (whose Chapter colors are bright blue and white), barely recognizable as such because their owner "likes to give us battle-damage".
- Extensive use of a tool will always have a negative effect on it. Maintenance will prevent it from breaking down, however its appearance will never be the same by time and use.
- Prominent in the centuries when armor was still in vogue, the reasons are varied and depend on the time period. For example, good cuirasses always had a bullet mark that proved its effectiveness to protect its user (the origin of the term bulletproof was an armorer shooting a gun at the cuirass to prove its worth).
- This was common during the times before the musket was made more lethal: good armor and weapons were at times scarce and one had to take care of their equipment because there weren't repair places available.
- One of the reasons why the ones with the nicest uniforms are the ones that lose.
- New guitars and basses can be bought "reliced" or "roadworn" — intended to look like they've been gigged for the last 30 years. Hilarious examples of badly "reliced" instruments can often be found on eBay where a cheap guitar has been obviously attacked with a sander or blowtorch by someone who has no idea how to use them.
- This is a huge part of building sets, props, and costumes, either for film and theater or just for cosplay. New items will often be manufactured for a particular part, but making them look like they have been around for a while is a big part of selling the image of them. Painting a prop to look like the paint is worn a little thin around the edges, for example, can be the difference between something looking "real" and looking like the piece of painted plastic it literally may be.
- For this same reason, miniature modelers often "weather" their models, strategically applying paint washes to make a model look like a piece of well-worn equipment. Some even lightly scar models with surface deformities for greater effect. Good weathering can make you forget it's a plastic model.