Posts Tagged ‘Tips & Techniques’ »
I was playing around with the salt and rust techniques and thanks to the inspiration from those modelers whose threads I’ll link below, I came up with the following for making an interesting rust texture.
1: Spray the part to be rusty with several shades of rust-colored paint mixes. I spray the part with a solid rust mix then randomly spray with darker tones. Finish it up with a light coat of Future Floor Acrylic to seal it.
2: Spray the part with a generous coat of hairspray then coar with kosher, then table salt. Don’t be stingy but make sure there’s gaps as well.
3: Now spray a few parts of the piece with some black-brown and follow up by spraying in other spots with some orange.
4: Dip the part in water and use a soft brush to remove all of the salt. The end result will leave a desireable rusty dextre both visual and tactile. (note: white specks are styrene beeneath and not salt… I was careless and salt IS an abrasive. Take care!
Thanks to Luca Z, vsuarez666, and Marc Reusser! How here’s some links to chipping and rust effects with various implements:
When I first decided to add a blog to this site I told myself that I wasn’t going to use it to bitch and rant about personal problems and such. There’s enough of that out there already and frankly who cares? This gets close to the rant line, but hopefully it’ll be more informative and useful than a mere BAWWW session.
There’s been some chatter lately at a few boards about helping the newbies, making the newbies be better modelers, and how those of us with experience just don’t do enough. Well, I take a bit of offense to that as I and many of my peers definitely do their part to be helpful and share our knowledge.
Being Helpful Â»
I get a LOT of emails asking for help on this or that. Honestly, I don’t answer half of them. For one, there’s just not enough hours in the day and two, the information requested is out there and easy to find if the person writing would take the minimal effort to do a quick search. Why waste my time when someone isn’t willing to attempt to find info on their own first? This is why I create in-progress pages and the occasional tutorial. This is my way of helping out those that posess the initiative to do some research on their own first. It’s far too easy to ask for help and sadly, there’s a lot of lazy people out there looking for quick answers. Plus when I do answer, it’d be nice to get a thank you for my troubles. Maybe 25% of those I help bother replying one way or another as to whether I was helpful.
When I don’t know something I search for the answers. Do I always find what I’m looking for? Heck no! But in the process of that search I find that my efforts are seldom wasted.Â I often discover new techniques, designs, and inspiration that I can apply to future projects. I’ve got hundreds of bookmarksand saved pages from my travels through various modeling sites and put these to good use. One of the first things I was taught in graphic design was to keep folders full of reference and inspiration. Be a pack rat of knowledge as it does help!
Now this begs the question: “can I do more?”. Of course I could do more and so could other experienced modelers, but people need to realize a few things. As modelers, we love to model. It’s a passion, hobby, and takes time. We also have things that we like to do or need to do aside from our hobby. Family, work, other hobbies, etc…Â It’s easy to get sucked into everyone elses problems, concerns needs, etc… and I could spend hours every day helping others with my wealth of knowledge. But then where would I be? When would I have time to model? Spend time with my family? Work? Exercise? Do the bills? Shop?
I think you get the point. Show some patience to those you want help from and remember that they have lives too. Show some appreciation for the help they provide and let them know that they’ve helped you out. And show some initiative and do some research first on your own. I find that I am more likely to respond to someone asking for help if they’ve shown they’ve done some research on their own first. For example:
“I was reading through your progress page for the ______ you did. I read it, but you didn’t mention how you did _____. Is it something I can find in another in-prog?”
As opposed to:
“I like Gundam. What kind of airbrush should I get”
The first question shows that research was done. The second… not so much. In fact there’s a plethora of airbrushing information on this very site in the help section of the forum, tips, and even this blog. Not to mention the countless other sites that cover that exact same topic. Initiative people! Show some!
But to sum it up, we do what we can and have time to do. Remember, it’s a hobby. Your hobby, my hobby and other people hobby and all of us only have so much time to practice it.
Leveling Up Newbies Skills Â»
Another issue has been regarding the quality of work shown at various modeling sites, especially BAKUC. Some argue that these people need to up their game and do better work. Others argue that “it’s a hobby” and that people grow at their own pace or desire. While I’d love to see better work on BAKUC.com’s gallery, (who wouldn’t?) I also realize that we all start somewhere and that people posting their work for critique at all means something.
When I started modeling, I produced a bunch of crap. My first few kits were just snapped, panel lined, and decaled with minimal painting. Then I got a compressor for my 10 year old airbrush leftover from art school (that I still use to this day) and began painting them more. At first I painted only a few colors, then started painting more, then the whole kits got painted. After going through my 5 1/100 EW Wing kits and an MG Stamen, not seen on this site, Igot the hang of airbrushing my kits and began posting them online and experimenting with the paint more. After I got comfortable enough with the paint, then decals, I felt the desire to start tackling seams. Then flash, then scratchbuilding, and so-on and so-on… you get the point.
We all start somewhere and many of these early attempts of mine can still be seen in my gallery. You’ll see seams! You’ll see bad paint! But what you’ll also see if you look closely is that every kitwas hopefully better than the last. And with every kit I tried something new. I still do that to this day. Never stop learning and growing, but do so at your own pace, not what some troll on the interweb thinks you should do. At the end of the day ask yourself if you’re happy with it. Did you learn from your mistakes? If so then you’re on the right track.
Then when you’ve learned enough, do your part to pass on the knowledge. Do this in your own way though and on your own schedule. I help by chronicling what I do in in-progs, tutorials and forum posts. That’s not helpful to everyone, but like I said, “do what you can”.
One of the questions I get in my inbox at least once a month (including today)Â is regarding airbrushes. Specifically questions like:
“I read your tutorial and want to improve my painting by getting an airbrush and compressor. I want/need something cheap though to start with.”
Well, here’s the solution to this common new-modeler problem. The Central Pneumatic 1/5 HP, 100 PSI Compressor and Air Brush Kit available at Harbor Frieght stores and online. At $84.99 (under $100!!!), this is a fantastic set-up for the money. This is the compressor that I am currently using and I really like it so far. The airbrush is a close knock-off of the Badger 155 and great for a beginner. I use a Badger 150 and a 175 with great results. Some folks will recommend something like an Iwata, but seriously, if you’re new to the hobby that large chunk of change can be intimidating.Â (or if you’re a cheap-ass like me who believes it’s more the skill of the modeler than the tools he uses/can afford)
Â This is a great investment for the newbie and his wallet. It’s cheap enough that you won’t have to worry too much about screwing thing up during the learning process, and with the money you’ll save you can buy a few more practice kits!
This tutorial is on how to create tall grass from 3 Ply Jute (aka Yute) from Darice Craft Designer (TM). I purchased this either at Michaels or JoAnn Fabrics. It’s been a while and frankly I can’t recall where it was. All I know is that it was cheap and I didn’t buy it for modeling purposes, but for a Halloween costume.
First you’ll want to cut some 3″ pieces of the Jute and soak them in a grass-green wash of cheap acrylics (Apple Barrel, Liquitex, Americana, etc…) thinned with water. Soak for a minute or 2 then dry on some paper towels which will draw away the excess. This will give you green fibers later on.
Now take a 3″ strand of the raw Jute and fray it out with a wire brush. Without removing the fibers from the brush split 1 of the 3-ply cords from the green Jute and fray that out. You’ll now have two potential bunches of grass. One neat bunch and one from the frayed brush-stuck material.
Take the brush mass and give it a few pulls to get it straightened out into more of a strand. Set aside. Take the green and natural “neat” strands and pull them together to make a second strand. See below:
Now fold each strand in half and using scissors, trim the bottom to be flat. You’ll have two clumps of grass now ready to be glued to the groundwork. The neat is good for the middle of a grassy area where the messy brush-gathered clumps work best as borders.
Hold a clump of grass in your hand and apply white glue to the flat trimmed underside. Press this onto the base and use some tweezers to pull the clump apart and slide it around a bit so that you don’t have a badhair plug-look, but a more natural random setting. Add the next clump as above and let dry.
Once dry you can tease the grass and blend it into the adjacent clumps. You can also use scisors to trim longer straglers too. Mash down a little grass where it meats trails or the edge to hide the glued-down “roots” and to create a nicer more natural edge.
Below is this grass applied to the base for my KV-X2. You can use different lengths of clumps to get a nice random and natural effect. Be sure to blend the clumps together to avoid the bad hairplug look.
^Above: Jute grass used in conjunction with Silflor grass and other natural materials to create a natural, random look. In that scene, far less natural colored Jute was used since it was for spring/summer.
^ Above: Jute grass as shown in this tutorial applied by itself for a grassy brush-strewn field in winter.
I had already started the groundwork for my KV-X2 when Maschinen Kreuger posted his great tutorial on making groundwork with textured gel medium and trees. I loved his tutorial and ended up integrating some of his techniques into this build. I made some changes such as starting with Celluclay (I bought a HUGE brick of it a while back and need to use it up eventually) which he really dislikes. Anyway, this tutorial is not to step on his toes, but to show his methods used a slightly different way for those of us using Celluclay.
Start by finding a good supporting base to work on such as a finished wooded plaque, scrap wood to be later finished with a basswood outer wall , or as in this example the bottom of an Italian Ice container. If you’ll be creating a sloped or tiered/stepped surface, create that first using foam, wood, balls of foil or whatever. The idea it to try and get as much of the basic shape down BEFORE applying the Celluclay since you’ll want to apply the Celluclay as thin as possible.
To mix your Celluclay for groundwork, start by throwing out the instructions. We’ll be mixing in a few things and using less water. First take a clump of dry Celluclay from the bag and place it into a container. Next drizzle some white glue on top of that like icing on a cinnamon roll. The glue will help it stick to the base better and help prevent warpage later. Next get a cup of water and mix in a little dish soap. Add just enough water to the mix to make it clay like. Less water will help it dry faster which in turn will prevent warpage later.
Once mixed, apply in as thin as possible onto your base. Try to apply it no thicker than 5-10mm. Use wet fingers to smooth it as flat as possible. The Celluclay will still go on lumpy which is desirable, but you want to avoid peaks. Now sprinkle the surface with small rocks and grit (sand, crushed talus) and press it in with wet fingers. Now take a 1″ paintbrush and wet it. Stipple the surface of the groundwork creating a pocked texture and further blending in the rocks and grit. This works the celluclay into the base and helps in drying. Place in a warm spot or in front of a fan to dry. The faster it dries, the less likely it’ll warp or crack.
Next up we prime the base. I used a dark gray Krylon primer.
When the primer is cured, airbrush the base with Polyscale Dirt paint thinned with a little water.
Now we take some acrylics and paint some of the rocks in various grays.
Then again we give it a spray of the Polyscale Dirt. Spray in very thinly just to tie in the rocks with the groundcolor. Rocks are dirty afterall!
After that is dry I dusted the surface with some MIG Pigment > Russian Earth. This darker color is to help simulate wet soil. If your soil is to be dry or even sandy, lighter pigments can be used.
Now we drill a small hole and glue in some dried dead roots from the backyard or dead dried plants. This is to simulate leafless brush.
Next we apply some grass made from Yute (Jute) twine. My next entry will be on creating grass with this material.
To help make the soil look moist and to add a little more variance in the tones I thinned some black oil paint and worked it into the visible dirt which was first wet with a little thinner. Blend this in good and apply it randomly. Note the difference between the above and below images.
Now we can stop here OR we can continue and apply some light snow. Let’s do a little snow! First take some Prepared Matte Medium(matte medium thinned with water) and airbrush it all over the top of your base. You want to spray straight down (impossible so tilt you base instead!) and get it damp. Don’t overdo it and soak it. Immediately sift a little baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) straight down over the damp surface and let dry completely. You’ll want snow on the top of the brush, but not clinging to the underside. That’s unnatural! For a light, windblown snow sift unevenly over the surface. This will let some of your earth show through.
Once dry, tip it upside down and tap off the excess powder. I didn’t like how much snow gathered on the grass. I wanted it to look a little more windswept and moving/blown grass wouldn’t collect much snow. So I took a brush and brushed around the grass to dust off the excess powder. To create the footprints I took a damp brush and swept it away in the footprint shapes.
This can be modified and further combined with Maschinen Kreuger and other techniques. Check the Help > Dioramas section of my forum for more! Below is the base for my KV-X2 done up to the point right before applying snow. Once I apply snow, I’ll add an image to this post.
Every once in a while I decide to take a lot of step-by-step photos and make a tutorial out of them. I figured that this small jeep kit from the Gundam UC Hard Graph line would be a great piece to test out some techniques and write about the armor painting techniques I’ve picked up. So let’s get started!
1: First up of course is the pre-building of the kit. In the stage you cut, sand, and figure out how everything fits together, what will need masked, and what can be glued to start. Once done, parts can be attached to skewers and whatnot to hold them during the painting processes.
2: Primed jeep via airbrush with Mr Surfacer 1000 thinned with lacquer thinner and a few drops of Mr. Retarder Mild.
3: Sprayed jeep with gray then random swaths of Nato brown and a rust mixture. All Tamiya Acrylics. Later this will show through as random rust and primer coats under paint chips.
4: Clear-coated and sealed jeep with Future Floor Acrylic (FFA) thinned 50% with Tamiya Thinner.
5: 24 hours later 3 thin coats of hairspray (hair lacquer) were applied.
6: Jeep was sprayed with Olive green then parts were highlighted with JGSDF Olive Green which is a little lighter.
7: A few hours later, using clean water, various brushes were used to wet the model and loosen the water-soluable hairspray undercoat. This makes the topcoat of greens unstable temporarily so that they can realistically be chipped away with the wet brushes. Other implements (toothpicks, styrene card shards) can be used on the unstable surfaces to create line-scratches. Larger areas of paint can be removed as well as I did on the fenders. Remove as littler or as much as you want.
8: Now that the chipping is done, it’s time for decals. Normally I would coat the whole kit in gloss Future Floor Acrylic. This time however I just brushed a few thin coats where the decals would end up. Note the gloss on the front fenders.
9: Decals were applied and tools, dashboard, seat cushions, and other hand-paint-necessary bits have been painted. Mirrors and lights were painted with silver. Later clear Tamiya was applied where necessary based on the light color.
10: Now a satin coat of FFA was applied. This seals the topcoat from firther chipping attempts, accidental or not and seals the surface for the solvent-based weathering apps.
11: Next up, three applications of filters have been applied to all the jeep parts. Filters are kind of like a wash, but not really… they’re hard to explain, but add a lot to the depth of a model. For this filter I mixed up a pale blue-green oil-paint mix with some turpenoid. This alters the color slightly and blends colors together between the various colored parts. It also “seasons” or tooths the surface slightly for the next step, discoloration. Note also as I go, more and more of the jeep gets put together. This is based on what needed painted when and with minimal masking.
12: Once the filters have dried/cured for 24 hours, it’s time for the discoloration. This technique involves applying small dabs of various oil colors then blending them in with a thinner dampened brush. This gives the surface more variation in color and a more realistic and deep appearance.
13: After the discoloration has dried, about 24 hours, a wash is applied. This wash is a mix of oil paint to a dirt-color then thinned with turpenoid. This thin wash is applied to the whole vehicle and all external parts such as wheels, seats, etc… While it’s drying you might notice pools or water (thinner)-lines. These can be blended out with a stuff soft brush before the wash fully cures. Another 24 hours.
14: Next up is pre-dusting with the airbrush. For this I’ve mixed Tamiya Flat Earth with Flattened FFA to make a semi-transparent dirt-mix. This is sprayed in very light mistings where larger amounts of dust would collect. Side skirts, underside, and the rear pannel. More specific dusting effects will be added next with pgment powders.
15: The windshield was masked off where the window wipers would hit. Then the windshield was lightly sprayed with my Tamiya Flat Earth + Flat FFA mix.
16: The tires were painted in flat black then had a satin finish applied. Pigments were dusted onto the wheels and then rubbed off with rubber gloves. This removes all the pigment except for what’s around raised edges and in the treads. A little bit of pigments were then brushed around the road-hitting edge of the tire since it’s been running on a dirt road and would pick that dirt up.
17: The machine gun was painted in flat black and given a flattened FFA coat. Powdered graphite was rubbed over the weapon to give it its gunmetal sheen. After it was attached to the jeep it had just a little disty pigment applied since the weapon would generally be removed and kept very clean and maintained.
18: Pigment powders were applied dry with various brushes. Thinner was applied to these dry pigments to affix them to the surface better. The end result is still fragile and should not be handled much, especially not with bare hands as that could leave fingerprints in the finish. The underside and rear panel recieved a lot of pigment, while the rest just got dust added in specific places. A little powdered graphite was rubbed onto the floor grates and sides where the crews feet would rub/polish the surface.
19: And that’s pretty much it. Different colors and conditions would call for different pigments but these techniques can work for just about any armor/robot subject. I hope they can help you and as for me, this tutorial will help me remember what I did for next time!
As I gain experience in this hobby I find myself trying more and more to recreate nature in various scales. This involves plenty of research on modeling materials and real life examples/images. For my current project I’d like to place some moss and lichen on some rocks. Just a small amount, but it’s become a big learning process. As usual I went in search of examples and such done by other modelers to see the good and bad and learn from it. I didn’t find a whole lot aside from people using the ground up foam or real moss… neither of which looked like what I wanted, but the real moss looked to make some nice additional greenery.
For this article, I’ll avoid my trial and error processes and focus on the technique I stumbled upon while mixing various concoctions. You’ll need the following supplies for this method:
- Model car interior flocking (gray)
- Baking Soda
- Cheap-O acrylics
- Black India Ink
I started off my making some rocks using the Woodland Scenics rock molds and plaster of paris. These rocks were gived a few washes with diluted black india ink and a wash of russian earth MIG pigment for a little color.
Next it was time to add the lichen. Lichen often appear as pale white/blue/green plants on the surface of rocks. They look a little like mold in some of the images. To recreate this I applied random layers of white, gray and pale sage green acrylic with a small piece of sponge.
Now it’s time to make the moss. You start by mixing equal parts of baking soda and flocking. Then you add just enough green acrylic paint to make a thin paste about the consistency of white glue. Add a little ink to this for a deeper/less saturated color.
This mixture can be applied two ways. First I took the same soft brush I mixed it with and dabbed in on thinly in spots. This gives you a light covering. I then took a toothpick and applied small glops of the moss mix on the tops of the rocks and over the thin areas. This gives you the thicker heavier moss look. The mix will look a little solid, but this is where the magic of the baking soda happens. Originally I added the baking soda and no flocking. The BS was just for bulk. That happened while drying however is small gas bubbles forming adding texture. With the addition of the flocking the texture went from bubbly to fluffy in a scale moss kind of way.
Let this mixture dry completely as acrylics of this variety can lighten or darken while drying. When dry you can add thin acrylic washes of brown (for the not-so healthy spots and roots. Then once the wash dries, you can drybrush the moss a little using a color that’s only slightly lighter than the dried moss mix to bring out the texture and tease out the flocking fluff. Here’s the final results.
This is the basics of my method, but I’ll be playing with different colors and different add-ins later for different projects.
About The Kit »
Another armor model from me instead of mecha and Gundam. This is the old Tamiya JGSDF Type 74 model kit. Accompanying it is figures from the Tamiya JGSDF Iraq Humanitarian Assistance Team and one head from a Trumpeter model kit of the Type 87. I’d go on about what I did to the JGSDF Type 74, but instead I did a lengthy and well detailed/documented in-progress page. Click here to see it. It’s intended to be a guide on how to model in 1/35 scale so there’s hundreds of images.
Reference for Type 74 »
Below you’ll see the pages from which I got my reference shots.