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How-to: paint my model; Painting our plastic, masks, paints and all about it
Topic Started: Nov 3 2012, 09:17 PM (5,299 Views)
FiSe
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Heil Mickey!
This is the place where tips, tricks and questions about painting, priming, masking and all paint related matters should be discussed.

I will start this thread with a few posts of step-by-step tutorial on, surprisingly, how to paint model kit to create a base for further discussion.

To avoid confusion, please note, that 3 different models were used during this demonstration and all 3 models are on the photographs: 2 Hurricanes Mk.IIc and 1 Hurricane Mk.I


Step 1: Wash and degreasing
Once the building process is completed, joints filled and sanded, masking is applied and model is ready for some paint, it’s time to get rid of all the fine dust, which can cause a lot of trouble and make paint look ‘hairy’ and dirty or even obstruct some fine panel lines. We need to get rid of grease from our fingers as well to make sure that there will be no nasty fisheyes showing up in the coat of paint and to avoid possible adhesion problems.
All what we need for this job are 2 bowls, washing-up liquid and tooth brush. Bowls are filled with warm –not hot!– water and a few drops of washing-up liquid is added into one of them:

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Process is simple, clean the surface of the model using tooth brush dipped in Fairy/water mixture and then, using the same principle, model is washed down with clean water from the second bowl to remove all traces of the washing-up liquid mixture.

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A hairdryer set up on the lowest speed is used to dry the models after wash. Safe distance from the plastic and constantly checking model surface temperature is essential:

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Here they are, ready for paint booth:

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Filip . . . .

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FiSe
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Heil Mickey!
Step 2: Canopy interior colour painting
Before any paint is sprayed on, canopy frames are painted with appropriate interior colour. This should create an illusion of painted internal framing of the canopy when viewing through the ‘glass’:

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Step 3: Primer application – final adjustments
There are many reasons why use primer of some kind before the main camouflage colours are applied, so let’s just name a few: to create a solid base to which the following layers of paint will adhere to, single coloured primer will show any omissions and surface imperfections like a magnifying glass, Light Grey or White – usual colour of primers – are colours which can be easily covered with almost any colour in a few coats, including notoriously difficult shades like yellows and whites.
I have been using Humbrol No.1 in the past and I am using Mr.Surfacer 1000 for this task for a few years now. Both are excellent products and both do exactly what primer should be doing:

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Primer shows areas which still need attention – this is one of the advantages of solid Grey coat:

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The problematic area has been refilled:

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...sanded:

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...and re-primed again. Much better looking now:

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Before next steps, the whole model will be polished with fine grade sanding stick to remove dust, overspray and specs. And dry-cleaned with toothbrush, again.
Filip . . . .

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FiSe
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Heil Mickey!
- Option: Pre-shading

Once the primer is applied and polished/sanded smooth it’s time to start thinking about the overall look of the model we would like to achieve. Pre-shading is old and simple technique of how to break the uniformity of the camouflage colours.
The technique itself is pretty straightforward, spray panel lines, inspection hatches and any other desirable areas in dark shade. Diluted Black or Dark Grey is usually used for this task. Darker for darker shades, lighter for lighter ones. Camouflage colour is then applied over this net of untidy looking lines and ‘voila’ – we have a constant weathering effect.

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Personally, I think that this technique, no matter how simple, has its limitations and is not the easiest to control and it might turn either way. Too dark or almost invisible, especially when darker shades are used or when 2nd or 3rd camouflage colour is needed.
Filip . . . .

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FiSe
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Heil Mickey!
Step 4: Camouflage application

Camouflage application, usually, begins with lighter camouflage colour and continues through the darker shades. There are exceptions, especially armour heads might use dark shade first, but let’s make things simple and let’s stick to lighter to darker scenario.
Light Grey is on:

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- Option: post-shading

This is basically the same technique as pre-shading, but done the opposite way. Firstly lighter shade of camouflage colour is applied and then slight colour variations of the same shades are sprayed around panel lines, hatches. Some light mottling could be done too to break the uniformity of the single colour shade.
In my opinion, this technique is easier to control than pre-shading and offers great variety of effect, fun and enjoyment during the process. But, as any other technique, requires a bit of experience with airbrush, light hand when mixing the shades – usually drop or two of White, Grey, Black or Blue added into the base shade is enough – and clean airbrush in good working order.

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Filip . . . .

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FiSe
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Heil Mickey!
Masking

- Option: Paper masks

For the darker camouflage colour I have decided to use paper masking on one of the builds, Blue Tack masking on the other and the 3rd one is airbrushed freehand:
Paper masking is another old and effective technique and is excellent if we have 3view drawing of some well know camouflage pattern with distinctive fields of camouflage.
Re-sized and printed drawing of particular aircraft is printed out, camouflage fields are cut out from the print-outs and applied on the model using small blobs of Blue Tack to hold them in place:

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Then, the paper masks are outlined using airbrush and sprayed on using very low air pressure to avoid unnecessary under-spray and paper masking is removed:

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Marked fields are carefully filled in:

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- Option: Blue Tack

Another technique commonly used is Blue Tack ‘sausage’ masking. Again, very simple and effective method of camouflage fields masking. Roll up Blue Tack and apply it to the model. I have used thick rolls on this example – as I have been using freehand to smooth the edges afterwards. If you use thin sausages, you will get excellent and precise edge - note the pre-shading on this model:

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After removing my thick rolled Blue Tack, it looks like this:

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Filip . . . .

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FiSe
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Heil Mickey!
Step 5: The end of phase 1

Those 4 steps described above are all what you need to know to create solid base for a cracking paint job on the model. Each of these steps has its place in the overall painting process and great care and a lot of time should be taken during working on every stage of the painting process.
The basic paint is done and it’s time to move onto next phases of finishing our models: Decal application, weathering and – finally – varnishing. But that’s for another time...

This is what we are after, not perfect, but good enough finish, ready for the next steps, Mk.IIc on the left is sprayed using paper masking, Mk.I on the right is sprayed freehand :

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..and some detail shots, freehand Mk.I

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and both wings side by side, paper masking to the left, freehand to the right. The Roundels are sprayed using self adhesive masking;

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I am big believer that quality of the finish can move model up or down the scale of quality and overall look and good finish can make outstanding model out of the averagely build out-of-the-box kit. And vice-versa, some amazingly built models could be spoiled by rushed and untidy paint application.
I have heard once, that when shopping for your ‘in car entertainment’ the guide price range is roughly 1/10th of the value of the vehicle in question to get a reasonably good sound. I don’t know how truthful that is, nevertheless, if we take it to the model world then I would say, that 1/3 of the overall building time should be spent on the finish of the model. And it, really, doesn’t matter if we are using airbrush or paintbrush at the end...
Filip . . . .

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fs2005
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Great tutorial ,FiSe , thanks for posting!
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