major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
[personal profile] major_clanger
A bit more than a year ago I went on an introductory course on airbrush painting for model-makers. I ended up buying an airbrush and I've been using it for various of my modelling projects since. However, I wanted to try some more advanced techniques and the same company runs a two-day course on camouflage and weathering techniques. The first part was mainly about practising painting camouflage patterns (fiddly, but I learned some ideas to practice with) and the second was about how to make a kit look less like a small clean model and more like a real plane or tank or whatever, complete with dust, dirt, mud, rust, stains and so on.

We had to bring a kit to work on so I went to the local model shop and picked up a BTR-70 Soviet-era armoured personnel carrier in 1/35 scale. This wasn't too small, given that I'm very much learning in this area, and was rather simpler than many tank kits. I built it up in advance, and took the assembled but unpainted kit along with me.

Here's the starting point, this kit built but not painted (and with a couple of the smaller external details left off for now). The metal parts are brass photoetch, thin metal you bend to shape and glue on for extra detail. (This is often produced as an aftermarket upgrade for kits but this kit included PE parts as standard). The tyres are rubber.

BTR_Kit_Build - 4

The first step is to prime it, having removed the tyres.

BTR_Kit_Build - 5

I then sprayed it green with an airbrush. This gave a nice smooth finish but it looked too even and flat. Real paint varies in shade slightly, and one way of achieving this is 'paint dotting', which you can see I've started here. You get several colours of oil paint and apply small dots of them with a cocktail stick, then use a brush moistened with thinners to smear them together. You finish off with downward brushstrokes to mimic the effect of rain running off the vehicle dragging dirt with it.

BTR_Kit_Build - 1

The result looks much more realistic.

BTR_Kit_Build - 2

However, it's still very clean and in good condition. We can do something about that! I didn't want to go overboard on rust - most military vehicles are, as our tutor noted, actually quite well looked-after - but I used red and orange pigment (like fine coloured dust) added with a small brush to mimic rust stains in a couple of places. I've also used a dark wash (a thin solution of coarse-ground pigment) around hatch edges etc to bring out detail, and finally some mud pigment has been splatted on with a coarse wet brush.

BTR_Kit_Build - 3

I've now added some final details, including the gun, the shovel on the side, and external jerrycans - I've done those with a gloss finish as the ones I've seen often look like that. I also did a bit more muddying-up.



In many ways I'm surprised at how well this turned out, although we had a very good tutor and with only four students we got a lot of guidance and supervision. It's certainly encouraged me to try new ideas although I'm going to have to resist the temptation (rather too common if you read model-making magazines) to build every kit looking as if it's of something that's been jumped up and down on with hobnail boots and then left in a wet field for six months....

Date: 2016-03-20 10:37 am (UTC)
cmcmck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cmcmck
Something model makers of my own period (17th century_) often forget- those big guns would have been filthy after being dragged miles to or from a battlefield!

Date: 2016-03-21 07:33 am (UTC)
benicek: (Default)
From: [personal profile] benicek
I used to marvel at the lengths my ex-brother-in-law would go to 'distressing' his model railway carriages. There is something a bit zen about producing these static scenes of worn machinery.

Date: 2016-03-22 07:13 pm (UTC)
watervole: (Default)
From: [personal profile] watervole
I find it fascinating how much the primer alone makes details stand out sharper.

The overall result is impressive, but I'm not sure about the angle of the mud splashes. I can't quite convince myself that it flew off the wheels.

Date: 2016-03-19 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm actually toying with booking their 2 day intro course in May.

I'd like to learn to use an air brush even if most of my painting ins figures - but do have a share of 40K Tanks and vehicles to do ... not to mention a certain 22 inch Eagle I recently ... acquired

Date: 2016-03-20 02:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can very much recommend their courses. Also, if you're looking to stay over, I stayed in the Village House Hotel pub in Findon, a few miles inland from Lancing and definitely worth checking.

Date: 2016-03-28 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That looks amazing! I used to paint *cough* certain miniatures when I was a young 'un and young me is very very jealous :)


major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
Simon Bradshaw

September 2017


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