Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Chipped Paint III

Following on from the relative success of my new "urban rubble" bases, I decided to try some chipped paint using a masking agent to simplify the process and reduce the thickness of the paint layers. I have been using Vallejo Medium for a while now to thin paints and mix pigments, and after a lengthy browse of the local store stumbled across their "Liquid Mask" which seemed suitable for re-creating the effect in the photo below.

After a quick shake to make sure the resin was mixed correctly, I began applying it using an old brush. Drying quite quickly and nearly clear, it was hard to tell which parts I had applied the masking agent to, and in the end I applied more than I had planned. After letting it dry for a few minutes I applied the top coat, and once that was touch dry I merely brushed my finger over the surface which began to peel away very easily.

I was very impressed with the speed and ease of use of the masking agent, and apart from the need to hold the model up to the light to see where you've actually applied it (being mostly transparent as above), I would thoroughly recommend using this instead of any other salt/hairspray/chipped paint method you might read about. After a little weathering and shading I had the base all done and ready for a model!

I must admit the photos in the last post were poorly washed out and over-exposed, and although I haven't gotten the focus right yet I took the opportunity to use some of the lovely summer sunshine to snap a pic of all the bases so far. I'll be picking up the models for this set from the store this week, watch this space!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Urban "Rubble" Bases

After watching one too many episodes of "The Walking Dead" I am really digging the urban 'environment', particularly one which has seen some form of damage and then languished with grass, dust and debris gathering without being disturbed. I have also previously thought of basing as secondary to the model, but would now like to separate the two from each other when painting to make it easier to dry-brush evenly, paint legs and feet more easily, as well as provide more of a theme or 'frame' for the model.

I kicked things off with some "Gale Force Nine" plastic tubing and sand to represent the exposed rubble beneath bitumen or concrete, inspired as I was with recent trips around town. I then added some "liquid green stuff" for the top layer on which the model would stand. I haven't used this product before and wasn't expecting such a pasty compound, which required a sharp hobby tool rather than a brush to apply. Fortunately it set as expected, molding to the surface in a more liquid sense, and after a second coat I was quite happy with how it looked. I will definitely be using this in the future for some interesting textures.

It was a treat to paint these bases, as the texture really rewarded dry-brushing and the palette was quite different from my desert basing of late. A little brown and metallic paint on the piping was a good base for some of the weathering powders representing rust on the pipes and seeping through the bitumen surface. By this stage the large flat areas were looking a bit drab so I added some "ash" from the GF9 range for a bit of extra texture.

"Ash" on the left, without on the right.

All that was left was to add a little colour. I mentioned the word "languished" at the start, but what I was really itching to try out was some "Meadow Flowers" by Army Painter to represent new growth aside from the usual static grass I would normally try. It also adds a bit of fun to the usual "grim dark" basing style.

When applied sparingly I think it doesn't look too bad! Of course it will all depend on the positioning of the model as to whether the flowers will be prominent or not. I will probably make a few more of these before breaking out the models and trying a few complimentary paint schemes. The thought of drilling into the bases for pinning the model is the main worry at the moment, I'm not sure if they will crack open or not?

You can "click" for a larger photo.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Model preparation: Mold lines, gap filling and so on...

After the excitement of putting together my first Dakkajet and starting weathering with some pigments I realised I had rushed some of the model preparation, quickly filing here and there but neglecting to fill gaps and the like. As it was to be a gaming model rather than long term painting project I wasn't too concerned but was kicking myself as the base coat had been sprayed on and would be very difficult to reproduce.

A 'thick' undercoat has done little to disguise the obvious gap here.

Despite careful filing, the ridge across the top is still visible.
With the second Dakkajet still in the planning and assembly stages I realised filing alone was not going to cut it, so I used green stuff to fill the problem areas, filing them down first and then using sausages to fill the areas. I put a lot more than needed, with the notion of filing back as required. I was careful to smooth the green stuff down at the edges as my files tend to catch and pick up whole sections. Filing in only one direction is a must, as is using only light pressure and clearing the green stuff from the files regularly.

Green stuff, smoothed down across a larger area.

Allow 24 hours to fully harden before filing.

A 'gentle' use of the file leaves a smoother surface.

The nose was tricky with all the rivets, and looks messy until painted.
 At this point I took a leaf out of the automotive trade and painted the area to be smoothed, then filed down until there were no 'low' spots in the green stuff. The original plastic area doesn't matter so much, but the idea here is to file evenly until all the paint is gone at the area you are trying to smooth out.

You can see the 'low' spots here where the paint remains.

Nearly there...
 Of course, one of the critical factors in creating a smooth base coat is getting rid of all the plastic and green stuff filings from the model so they don't get caught up in the paint. Dust is also a big enemy, and to this end I washed the model using some soapy water (to remove some of the green stuff residue) and then rinsed it and allowed it to dry outside away from the dusty carpet. After this I started with a thin undercoat which could easily be dusted off once I had sorted out my colour scheme, there's no cure for painter's block though!

A little bit of elbow grease does wonders as well...
Looking much better!

Hindsight is a great learning tool.