(F) Steve's Wood & Rust Painting; and more

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(F) Steve's Wood & Rust Painting; and more

Postby Steve Bennett » Fri May 30, 2008 1:27 pm

A recent posting HERE , triggered an often asked question, on how I get the wood effect on resin castings. To save flicking between threads, here is an example of what this is about:

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The technique I use is very simple, it is also far from predictable, so I'm never quite sure what the final results will be like, despite having used it for years. Thankfully, this suits the painting of wood very well.

OK, enough of an intro, let's get started. First off, the ingredients used for this particular recipe.

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Starting from the rear left, a small jar of plain old water, next to that, Windsor and Newton black poster paint. Other makes are equally suitable, but you will find that artist quality Poster Paint has a finer pigment than the stuff produced for kids, which will still work (and is a lot cheaper).

Next we have the two base colours I used for this demo. The Revell Aqua Colour is in Beige (36_314), the decking at the head of this piece, is the first time I have used this paint and I'm very impressed with the results, when used with an airbrush, I haven't tried brush painting with it yet. The second colour is Humbrol Peach (255), probably not what you would think of as a suitable colour for something like this, which is the reason I chose it, the exact colour is really not too important.

Finally on the right at the back, Polyvine Dead Flat matte varnish, which I like for its ease of airbrushing and the really flat finish. If you don't have an airbrush, you will need an aerosol type matte varnish, something like Testors is ideal. Unfortunately, brushing on a matte varnish is not going to work with this method.

In front we have an artist acrylic palette, which cost pennies and are extremely useful. An alternative is a couple of lids from old 35mm film canisters. Finally in the photo, a syringe containing windscreen washer fluid, which you probably won't need if you have airbrushed the basecoat on, but will almost certainly be useful to break the surface tension of the washes if you brush paint.

Not shown, but very useful, are a couple of paintbrushes. Nothing special needed here, though for the washes, you want a brush that will hold a decent amount of liquid. I used a cheap imitation sable (size 4) from a bargain shop, made in China of course and they were 12 for a Pound. The second brush is just for mixing the wash and can be anything, I used another cheap imitation sable, size 0 this time though.

That's about all you need. I wont go into painting the base coat on, other than to say that I use a Matte Black car aerosol as a primer, then apply the basecoat over this. Now to get started properly, at last.

First off, preparing the black wash. No scientific measuring here, simply put some clean water into your mixing bowl, dip your paintbrush into the poster paint (you need very little) and add the paint to the water, giving it a good stir. Wash that brush out and put it to one side, any remnants of undiluted paint would be too intense if it got onto the surface you are painting. Take your clean brush, load it up with the wash and apply to your model, time for another pic:

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Here you can very clearly see the wash is put on quite liberally. The piece on the left, which is done with the Revell Beige, was done first, the wash has started to evaporate and the paint is settling into the moulded detail. On the right is the Humbrol Peach coloured piece and you can clearly see that the paint is still very much in suspension in the water. This will start to settle quite quickly. I should point out, that all the way through this process, you can keep manipulating the wash, even after it is dry, as I will illustrate later. One big advantage over using acrylics for washes.

If you brush painted the base colour, there is a good chance that the wash will not spread evenly over the surface, but will gather together in blobs (technical term). If that happens, this is where the Windscreen Wash comes into play, simply add one drop to your wash, this will break down the surface tension and you should see it will spread evenly. It is quite surprising how much difference it makes, but DON'T be tempted to add neat screenwash to an acrylic paint surface, it will at the very least soften the acrylic, it may even dissolve it completely. Yes it can be used to strip some acrylic paints.

Next we see it after the wash has dried out further, the piece on the left is almost there, with a bit of moisture still glistening in the nooks and crannies, while the one on the right is still fairly wet overall, but the paint has settled out.

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I picked the above two pieces to illustrate this technique, as they have a very pronounced grain moulded into them. This helps to get the idea across, but of course, not everything has that kind of relief, so a slight variation is called for. Here we have a third piece added to the collection.

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The piece on the right I hope you can see, has a much lighter texturing to it. For this, exactly the same wash was used, but it was put on a lot less heavily, the way the paint acts though is exactly the same. The brush is fairly lightly flicked across the surface, going with the grain, so that not too much wash goes on. A paintbrush with a nicely pointed tip is a real bonus here as you can place the paint just where you want it, attention being payed in particular to the nail holes and gaps between planks. An added plus point is that the wash dries a lot quicker, as it is not applied so heavily. This is going to be more used than the really heavy washes, the reason for showing that was to illustrate how the paint reacts and settles into the crevices, kind of exaggerated for illustration purposes if you like.

Well, that concludes the rather long winded intro. In Part Two for which I just have to type the words, I will take things a little further and show how the idea works with more 3D shapes. Back soon(ish).
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Postby Steve Bennett » Fri May 30, 2008 2:53 pm

So, to Part Two. Here I hope to show more practical uses for the wash technique and also some things that can go wrong and how to correct them. Don't forget, as the poster paint used in these washes is water soluable, even after drying, if you make a mistake, you can wash it off and start again, that is until you seal it with a matte varnish.

So onward, here is the piece I'm using for this demo:

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I chose this as it is the shape of a lot of our wagons/cars and this has very little grain texture on it. Even so, it can still be made to look like wood. The base colour is again the Revell Beige used previously, though I hope you will have seen from Part One, that the exact colour is not too important. Here I have applied the wash fairly lightly to two surfaces, this will be repeated on the other sides, allowing each to dry before doing the next one. It is best if the painted surfaces are kept as flat as possible while the wash settles out and dries. This takes a while and if you are doing several pieces at the same time, so much the better.

Now the main problem with doing 3D shapes like this, is that at some stage, the wash is going to run, thanks to gravity. There is a good chance that it will also get onto areas that you already finished. When this happens, dejection is normally the first feeling, but don't worry. Here is an example of what can happen.

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On the face of it, the paintjob looks ruined and if you were using acrylic washes, that would be the case. Not so here though, it is very easy to remedy. First off, rinse your brush out in clean water, then have a piece of absorbant kitchen roll handy to remove most of the water from the brush. You don't want a dry brush, just damp, then lighty flick the brush over the offending area. This will lift the offending paint and redistribute it, a lot also being absorbed into the brush itself. Here is the same side partially corrected.

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As you can see, the run on the right has gone, as has the one at the centre of the base. The run on the left side has not been touched yet, that's next.

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There we have the problem sorted, you would never know that there had been that horrible run of paint at all. It actually took longer to type this than it did to correct it.

When all four sides have been done, attention can turn to the floor. On this piece, I wanted to represent plywood, which doesn't really have a pronounced grain from more than a few feet away, so instead of working along a grain, the wash was puddled onto it and the paint pigment allowed to spread where it wanted. You will find that a lot of the pigment will gravitate to the corners and edges, which is convenient, as that is where dirt, dust and grime tend to collect. This is what the almost finished piece looks like:

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All that really remains to be done, once you are happy, is to give it a spray of matte varnish to seal everything in place. Even though the poster paint is not really permanent, once sealed, it is as tough as any acrylic paint and will easily stand up to regular handling, so just treat it like any other paint finish.

I hope this gives a few ideas for your own experimentation, the materials may be a little unconventional, but I hope I have shown that they are versatile and effective, well worth trying and another technique to add to the armoury. So, who is going to have a play?
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Postby Steve Bennett » Sat May 31, 2008 2:06 pm

I won't say this is the last installment, but I want to tie up a few loose ends and pass on a few more tips and tricks.

Firstly diluting the poster paint. I said earlier that you need very little for these washes and I guess there is no better way than to show the approximate amounts, no science here and it's not critical. First pic shows the amount of neat poster paint, straight from the jar on a pretty worn size 0 brush.

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Now with the water added and mixed together. Note also that there is still a fair amount of paint still stuck to the brush and won't be used.

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Moving on, so far I have only shown the effect using black washes. I find this the most useful, but other colours can be used for different effects. Time to remedy that now. Still staying with the wood theme, this time using Burnt Umber (dark brown in plain speak) to which, just a touch of black was added. Using one of the original flat pieces for a direct comparison.

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The eagle eyed may notice that one plank which was originally done with the black wash, has also had a bit of the brown added. This does give a nice depth to the colouring, but you do need to make sure that the black is really dry first. You only really get one shot at this, a quick wash over it will leave the black intact, but try to work it around and it will start to lift. Of course, if you give it a spray of varnish in between, you can do what you like on top.

To again show the different effect between the black and brown washes, here are a couple of boxes side by side.

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Sticking with those same two boxes to demonstrate another little trick now. First off we go in pretty close for a before shot.

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Now the second shot of after, I wonder if anyone will spot the difference?

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For those that didn't spot it, the top edges of the sides of the boxes have been given a bit of a clean up. If you look at wooden items like boxes (or indeed, wagon sides) that are in regular use, the edges tend to get a bit worn, allowing the base colour of the wood to show through. This is very easy to achieve, simply lick your finger so it is moist and rub it along the top edges. This will remove some but not all of the paint, revealing more of the lighter base colour underneath. If you don't want to lick your finger, the same can be acheived with a moist paint brush, but it takes a lot longer.

Well, I guess that is me about done here. I hope that this has at least inspired a few to have a play with the ideas, which makes it worthwhile writing it all up. I will leave you with one final photo of some of the pieces from this demo, plus a few more that I did while waiting for the washes to dry. Pulled together like this, I think it will show how much variety, but subtle differences, can be obtained by these methods. Have fun.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Sat May 31, 2008 6:37 pm

Quick question - do you thin the matte varnish and what with? I am using the same stuff and spraying it neat -- maybe I am putting too thick a coat on, but seem to use loads, and it's not the cheapest stuff!


Yes, I thin it about 50/50, usually with screenwash rather than water, which goes on a bit too wet for my tastes. For really quick drying, Surgical Spirit is better and gives a really matte surface on locos, wagons and figures, again about 50/50 dilution.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:30 pm

Waking this thread up again to pass on another little idea, didn't really seem worth starting a new thread and it does include using a poster paint wash again, so it is just about on topic.

Not sure about anyone else, but I find picking out the metal fittings on the side of a wagon, both fiddly and tedious and often the results are far from perfect, anybody else have trouble getting a nice clean edge to the paint? Well here is an easy way, which I find gives good results. Instead of using a brush and paint, how about a permanent marker pen instead?

There are plenty of marker pens around, ranging from very cheap, to those intended for draughtsmen, which are far from cheap. I'm pleased to say that cheap and cheerful works great for this and the ones that are for writing on CD's and the like, do the job very well. Here's an example:

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My preference is to go along the edges first, then fill in the middle, like so:

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One drawback of using a marker pen though, is that some do dry a little shiny, the one here gives an almost dark bronze type finish, could be useful in some situations, but not for this. Luckily, when combined with the poster paint washes described earlier, this just about kills all the shine and it starts to look a whole lot better:

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As before, the poster paint wash needs a coat of matte varnish to seal and finish it off. With these wagons, I did include a touch of the beige that was used as the base colour, mixed into the varnish, in effect, sealing and lightly weathering the wagons at the same time. Final pic shows the completed wagons, can you tell the metalwork was done with a pen, rather than paint and brush?

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Hopefully this will be of use to somebody, I have been using the technique for a while now and am totally sold on it (find it quite relaxing too).
Of course, there is always the other option of using the paint pens that are available from the likes of Tamiya, which do give better results, but they also cost a lot more, guess you could call this an affordable alternative.
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Postby Rockley Bottom » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:47 pm

I have used this method on wagons. I have also used the method of using a silver pen under the black so that it gives a metallic look.
I also add a little weathering over the strapping and the wagon side to blend it all together.

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Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:26 am

I have also used the method of using a silver pen under the black so that it gives a metallic look. I also add a little weathering over the strapping and the wagon side to blend it all together.


Yes, you are only limited by your imagination. These marker pens are useful for many small jobs in modelling. Just on a loco for example, things like radiator grills, or wasp stripes work well done with these, then there are small details, like the knob on the end of a control lever, or a filler cap. Just a few examples.

One less obvious use is to blacken etched brass pieces or whitemetal castings before painting, so if you get a chip in the paint, it's not so shiny underneath. Which reminds me, must try the pen on etched brass before chemically blackening, have been meaning to try it for a while.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:16 pm

Following on from a question on another thread about using poster paint for rust effects, here is a very quick demo to show the effect. I know it's not wood, but as I started the thread, I dont feel guilty about changing the subject.

The technique is same as for the wood effect, but with quite a different result. I started with a loco underframe, sprayed with a matte black aerosol, and using a wash of Burnt Sienna poster paint all over. With this, you will almost certainly need a wetting agent to break down surface tension, just dipping the brush in some windshield washer fluid will do the job.

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As you can see the colour is quite intense and if I was going to use this piece, I would go back and with plain water and rework it to remove some of the pigment. As it is, it shows quite well how the pigment gets drawn into and around the raised details. The intensity of the colour is also useful if you intend airbrushing on extra weathering.

For a slightly more subtle effect, a Raw Umber paint gives a much more understated rust effect, as below:

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Taking things a stage further, the two can be combined, first the Burnt Sienna is applied and allowed to dry fully:

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Then a very thin wash of Raw Umber is applied on top. This is put on pretty wet and quickly, trying not to disturb the paint that is already on there, they blend together all on their own. This is the effect you get, not quite so intense. Unfortunately, mixing both colours together and applying as a single wash, doesn't give anything like the same effect.

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It will also work the other way around, applying the Raw Umber first, then a thin wash of Burnt Sienna on top, will give more orange rust.

As always with these poster paints, if you don't like it, just wash it off and have another go. Only when you are happy with the finish, do you apply a matte varnish to hold it all in place.

Have fun.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:41 pm

I will say again, it is just one wash across the whole thing. The pigment gets drawn into the raised detail, don't know why, but it does. This shows quite well in the second photo, where there is a clear area just inboard of the line of rivets, the pigment has been sucked into the base of the raised details.

A very similar effect can be acheived with a dark paint on a light colour. For instance, on a yellow loco, a black or brown wash can be used and it will gather in the corners and around details, giving a grimy sort of effect.

If you try it, you will probably find at first that you have too much paint in the wash, it does need very little, because the paints dry opaque, unlike acrylics which are transparent. It is pretty unpredictable too, you can never be sure how it will come out, that's one of the reasons I like it.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:02 am

Had a bit more of a play with the sideframes. Although it showed quite well how the paint worked, it was a bit overdone.

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A bit more subtle and more realistic to my eye anyway. All that I did was to apply a couple of brushfulls of plain water and worked the paint around a bit more, after which, where too much pigment collected, the brush was used to suck up some of the excess. To do this, use a piece of absorbant kitchen towel, to remove most of the water from the brush, then touch the tip of the brush to the area where you want to remove paint and it gets sucked up into the brush. As simple as that.

Here is an extreme close-up to show how effective the technique is:

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Postby Steve Bennett » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:35 am

Returning very briefly to the use of marker pens, as the question of using them to draw on warning stripes was raised in another topic.

Here is an example of the drawn on stripes being used on the buffer beam of a loco:

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This is easier before a loco is assembled, as balancing a straight edge on a built up model can be difficult. First step was to paint the yellow on, then once dry, draw the stripes on with the pen. I find it easiest to do the edges of the stripe first with a fine tipped pen, then fill in between, similar to the wagons described earlier. The drawn on stripes will have a sheen to them as the ink doesn't dry matte, so a matte varnish over the top will be needed to cover the shine. On this example, I airbrushed on a matte varnish with just a hint of colour added to it, to give a very light weathering.

I find this a lot easier than using decals/transfers, but you do need a reasonably steady hand.
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Postby gfadvance » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:20 am

I'm not nicking your thread Steve, just wanted to pass on my thanks for the tips on using watercolour paint. When weathering in the past I have always used thinned enamels with all the associated problems.

Tried your poster paint method, actually struggled to get poster paint so went for "gouache" -- basically the same but in a condensed form in a tube.

You probably noticed I used your method on applying the first coats of rust/weathering on Titch/Tiny but it really came into its own when I was working on the peeling/rusted pant effect -- hopefully these two photos will show what I mean:

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Image

The great advantage I have found with this technique is the fact that you can clean up up the areas painted after initial coats are dry -- very useful when I was trying to just rust the edges where paint had been damaged, still got some more cleaning up to do as these somewhat cruel pictures show. Any more tips gratefully welcomed.

p.s the real secret is the use of windscreen washer fluid -- magic!
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Postby Steve Bennett » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:43 am

WOW, feel free to add what you want Gordon, that looks fantastic, especially considering how much you have increased the size in the pics.

I'm really glad this topic helped produce results like that, even if I am a little jealous of what you achieved. Please feel free to add more if you feel the need, would love to hear more on how you did it.

p.s the real secret is the use of windscreen washer fluid -- magic!


Yes, it really does make a huge difference to the way the paints work. It is equally effective with other water based paints, not to mention with dilute PVA glue for ballasting and landscape work. I always have some handy on my workbench. Oh, and it is a great brush cleaner and conditioner as well.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:49 am

Tried your poster paint method, actually struggled to get poster paint so went for "gouache" -- basically the same but in a condensed form in a tube.


You raised a good point here Gordon. Gouache, or in German, Plakatfarbe, is the same thing as Poster Colour and available in both jars and in tubes.

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I prefer the jars, as often you only need a touch of paint on the tip of the brush to do a small job. One such, is illustrated below. A commonly available commercial figure, to which a very light wash of Burnt Umber has been added to the face, plus a Black wash to the hair. If the wash goes onto areas that you don't want it (like the eyes), no problem, a damp brush or cotton bud, will easily remove the paint from the surface. Not the best of figures to illustrate it, but the only one I could find that was pre-painted.

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Hopefully another tip that will prove useful.
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Postby gfadvance » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:26 pm

OK, I realised that I had forgotton to paint the front panel of Tich/Tiny so I could put together the process and finish my painting at the same time.

First of all sorry for the size of the pictures but had to have them of a reasonable size to try to show the effects.

Products are the same as Steve has detailed earlier; Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Windscreen Washer fluid - I used Gouache water colors but poster paint will obviously work the same way.

Image

Panel is sprayed with grey primer, spray from a distance to get a nearly dry surface -- you are looking to achieve what you are told you don't want -- an orange peel effect with the paint:

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Spray your choosen color -- in my case I've gone for safety first beige. Again you are looking for the spray effect you get from spraying too far away and on the dry side -- orange peel . Give it a couple of coats about five minutes apart to give a reasonable thickness of paint to allow for next step.

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How does Steve take pictures and hold tools at the same time? Here I am using a blunt blade dragging it across the paint surface -- the paint is touch dry but still soft under the surface, after about an hour. As I say drag do not cut on the places where you want rust to show. This picture also shows the orange peel effect I keep talking about:

Image

Here the panel has first of all been given an overall wash of raw umber, this helps weather down the new paint -- use some washer fluid to help get it to flow/stick to painted surface. Then the rust spots are filled in roughly with a reasonable strong wash of burnt sienna.

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When wash is dry you can then start to clean the non-rusted areas with a damp brush -- you are trying to leave rust in those areas you have distressed. Does not look right does it! Classic case of falling into the trap of all weathering techniques -- doing too much:

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Resprayed and this time a degree of restraint and less is more. Hopefully you will agree this looks better, as you can see the orange peel effect helps keep some of the color on the overall panel to bring it all together, also should mention that after cleaning the panel with a damp brush I went over the centre of the rust spots with a strong wash of burnt sienna just to darken them a bit more. I will be spraying the whole model at the end with a glaze of matte varnish with a degree of color in it - which should tone things down a bit as well as tying the whole together.

Anyway sorry for the waffle, hope it makes a degree of sense and that it helps -- it takes a lot longer to describe the process than it actually does to do it.
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Postby Steve Bennett » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:23 pm

How does Steve take pictures and hold tools at the same time?


Have to confess, I cheat:

Image

Thanks a lot for writing this up and adding it to the thread. It is great to see broken down into the various steps how it was done. I hope it will show others how fairly simple techniques, when combined together, can give outstanding results, I certainly learned a few new tricks to play with.

As you said, it is very easy with weathering to go too far or apply too much, good to see on this though, covering up some of it, added to the overall effect. Outstanding results, thanks again for taking the time to write it up.
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Postby Dragon » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:31 am

I've used a similar effect before on my plasticard 16mm diesels ...

Only my paint chips were use and abuse! Where ever the paint flaked off or was cracked, I painted the bare plastic with silver with a spot of black in (to tone it down), waited for that to dry and then gave it a wash of rust colours.

The effect is quite convincing. I was asked by a model engineer where I'd got the steel from for the bodywork, he was quite shocked when I said it was plastic!

Have to say tho, very good work Gordon. I'll be giving that a try soon!

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Postby Dallas_M » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:33 pm

Wow, it only took me a month to get around to trying this out (that actually is very good turn-around on retrieving something from my "idea" file).

I've tried a variety of techniques and a variety of washes, but never used the gouache/poster paint ... so decided to give it a whirl on the doors for my "Uncle Buck" rail truck:

Image

Followed the basic idea with some slight variations ...

Basecoat: Sprayed flat black followed by light mists of dark tan, light gray and khaki ...

Then dry-brushed with light gray and warm brown acrylic paints before using the gouache wash (say that three times fast!) ... used a touch of windshield washer fluid and that probably added to some of the random graying effects ... which is very much what I was hoping for ... so:

Thanks, Steve!
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Paglesham
'boxer
'boxer
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:33 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK
Interests: Narrow Gauge, old bikes, canals, boats, scenic modelling

Postby Paglesham » Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:54 pm

I use gouache all the time. Sometimes I'll put on a coat of duck egg blue matte enamel first just to help the gouache key in. Gouache is marketed as an "oil based water soluble colour". Poster paint is not oil based or they wouldn't let kids use it at school.

Plaka is made (or was) by Pelikan and is a wonderful paint for figures. Gouache or Plaka, the great thing about them is they are absolutely flat matte and shine on a model is usually its undoing, especially a figure.

Gouache is cheap as chips if bought from the German discount supermarkets that are opening all over Britain. I got several sets of paint, an easel (I also do 2D modelmaking), a brush washing/keeping pot and a bendy man in wood, all from supermarkets.

Also bear watercolours in mind for buildings and scenic work as you can build up subtle layers with it being translucent. Gouache is opaque.

For final weathering I always use fag-ash and powders. So I don't get ripped off, I grind my own out of oil pastels and apply with brushes and bits of cotton waste on a stick. VERY subtle and very cheap.

Cheers,
Martin - Labore et Orare

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Steve Bennett
Millegniumer
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Posts: 4512
Joined: Sat May 17, 2003 12:55 am
Location: Exeter, UK
Interests: railways?

Postby Steve Bennett » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:59 pm

Bringing this thread back from the depths, as I have found a new method which might appeal to others.

I don't think this will replace the poster paint method shown at the beginning of the thread, for me anyway, but it is a lot quicker and easier.

Anybody who follows the military modelling forums will probably be aware of this stuff, but it was new to me. Vallejo Acrylic paints have become quite popular over recent years, but I think they have only recently introduced their range of Washes and that's what I used here.

Image

It really couldn't be any easier to use. Simply put a few drops onto a palette, take a fine tipped soft brush and apply light strokes along the grain of the wood. Then sit back and let it dry for a few minutes.
I started with a base coat of Tamiya Buff and then brushed on the wash, taking a little extra care to get it into nail holes and in between the moulded planks. It really was that simple. The finish is very nicely matte and appears to be pretty tough, so I didn't bother with a varnish over the top.

Here for a comparison, the table with the Vallejo wash on the left and my normal poster paint technique on the right:

Image

Strange, but I couldn't find these washes on the Vallejo website, but one of their UK based distributors does list them HERE on pages 4 and 5.

Hoping this might be useful to some of you.
Steve Bennett

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