18 July 2008

A Couple of Painting Tips You'll Want to Try!

Another scorcher here in Central Illinois today! So, I’m in the semi-darkened cool of Zum Stollenkeller, letting the cool, dry air of the central air conditioning system drift over me. The Grand Duchess finally relented and turned in on a little while ago. Hurrah!

Today was one of those mornings when you just wake up super early and can’t return to sleep, so I brought a big glass of iced coffee down here for some early morning touching up of the Revell pioneer battalion featured here in recent weeks. Also added tiny bits to finish the mounted colonel’s horse, the drummer’s shoulder belt, NCO’s canes, and the three field officers’ gorgets. With the exception of the protective coat of Future, these figures are well and truly done now.

On a similar note, have you ever made a glaring error when painting, dripping paint on a figure where you don’t want it, or inadvertently making a mark on a part of the figure you’ve already done? Right. We all have. But there’s a quick way to fix these mistakes without opening up your bottle of dark blue to repaint that sleeve.

About a year or so ago, Jim “Alte Fritz” Purky mentioned the following tip for removing still wet paint on either the Miniatures Page or Old School Wargaming. In any case, I’ve used the following method repeatedly, and I think it will help lessen your frustration factor as well as speed up your painting a bit too. So, here we go. . .

As soon as you make a mistake with the bush (i.e., while the offending paint mark is still wet), rinse the color from you bristles thoroughly. Working fast, soak some of the excess water from the bristles onto a handy paper towel – I always have one folded to my right on the painting desk. Then, touch the still damp brush to the offending streak or white, blue, or whatever. Wipe the paint your brush picks up onto your paper towel and repeat the sam step a few more times until the misplaced blotch of paint is magically soak up before your eyes.

There are a couple of caveats to keep in mind with this method though. One, you’ve got to work fast. After a minute or so, acrylic paints will set, and they become difficult to remove in this way. Two, if the offending mark is a particularly dark color on a lighter background, for example dark blue or black on white, yellow, or light blue breeches, there will still be a faint trace left of the darker color. So, depending on the part of the figure where the painting problems has occurred, you might want to lightly retouch the lighter color after removing the darker. Three, don’t use a brush with too much water in the bristles, or you will flood your figure with a thinned wash of the offending color.

There you have it! Jim’s method really works. You just have to experiment a tiny bit, but you’ll find your sea legs pretty rapidly and be as surprised and pleased as I was to have another painting trick at your fingertips.

Speaking of painting tricks, Jeff Huddelson gave me another good tip the other evening, this time on how to paint hat tape (and other things like piping) along the edges of figures. Rather than trying to do this with the tip of the brush, load a bit more paint onto the bristles and pull the side of the bristles across the hat edge, following the shape of the hat (or, later, shako). The result will be a fast, neat line of color all along the top edge of the hat where it belongs. I managed to apply white “hat tape” to 24 plastic pioneers in just under 30 minutes the night before last, and it was much easier than trying to keep the tip of the bristles on the tiny edges concerned. Thanks Jeff!

Next on the painting table are those Zvezda-Revell cuirassier conversions, which I started in December 2006 but never finished. In just over the month left of summer vacation, I hope to finish the conversions and the painting of 30 or so of these figures. We’ll see how it goes right here. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

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