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Brushwork/Painting. Hints and tips (walkthroughs to follow) Options
Capt Stedders
#1 Posted : 03 April 2010 11:34:17

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Hi. This thread is mostly aimed at beginners/improvers, although I'd like to think that there may be one or two useful ideas contained within for more experienced modellers too - if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Likewise, if you feel I have missed out any details or useful nuggets of wisdom, please feel free to add them! Apologies for the 'wall of text' effect to this thread, I'll be adding some pics in when appropriate

Whilst HMS Victory will be my first wooden ship model,(I will, like many others be ferreting out advice on how to do the tricksy stuff with the planking and rigging from some of the more experienced chaps on this forum), I do, however, specialise in painting /finishing techniques and have certain modelmaking skills. I hope to share some tidbits of advice on these matters with you over the coming months.

Since it is very early days in the construction of this potentially magnificent model there is little to share with you at the moment but this is sure to change in the not-too-distant future. I have not even assembled the first cannon yet, since it will be far more time-effective to paint these in batches and besides, I have some issues with the fit of the cannon pinion and detailing which I will address when the time comes, Therefore I will stick to addressing the basic requirements for now and focus on various subjects as they become available.

PAINT: Acrylics Vs Enamels
I have noticed that many forumers are planning to paint this model and are using a variety of mediums (Enamels/acrylics)to do so. Each has its advantages and disadvantages - Enamels will provide a tougher, harder wearing finish but tend to smell rather strongly, take longer to dry, are difficult to get out of ones clothes in the case of accidents and require specialist thinners - whereas Acrylics dry quickly, are water soluble and don't smell the house out.

Whichever finish you choose, it will be important to prep the parts before painting (I noticed that the cast metal anchor had some mould-lines which needed filing off and sanding down before painting) and for that task a variety of files and abrasives will come in handy.

A lot of folk appear to be very concerned about the historical accuracy of the colour of the paint they use - the actual 'accuracy' of these colours is debatable due to scale issues - I will be making suggestions, using appropriate Vallejo and Games Workshop colours at a later date

SEALANTS
Untreated wood is not usually paint-friendly and requires a bit of prepping before one applies any paint - the same applies to cotton. Sanding sealant (shellac based) is perfect for sealing the wood prior to de-nibbing (removing any stray fibers that pop up annoyingly when painted) with fine wet&dry paper and provides a smooth surface for the paint/varnish - You can find sanding sealant in most hardware shops.

The drawback to using sealant is that, being meths based, it does tend to honk (smell strongly) a bit so either ensure plenty of ventilation or do it in the shed/outside.

Thinned PVA (white glue) is also invaluable for damping down those stray fibers on the cotton used for ropes and rigging (It also helps the modeler to give the illusion of 'weighted ropes' by allowing him/her to tease the ropes into shape whilst the PVA is drying - a quick look at similar models will show how otherwise heavy ropes, when represented by cotton thread, appear almost weightless and do not hang correctly - simply make a solution of PVA at around 20% PVA, 80% water and apply with a brush. At this rate of thinning the PVA solution will dry, leaving all the detail of the wound thread, damp those stray fibers down and provide a good surface for the paint.

FILES AND ABRASIVES
Needle files are an important part of any modelmakers toolkit, try and acquire a decent collection of straight and curved ones - steel ones are good for metal parts and the diamond encrusted ones work well on plastics and wood. Use them for hardcore tasks such as shaping and removing mould lines

WET&DRY Vs Glasspaper
A selection of abrasive paper is also nigh-on essential when prepping wood and other parts for painting - simply filing will leave marks that will invariably show up after painting.

Wet&Dry paper (available from most car accessory stores) has the advantage that it can be used, as the name suggests, both wet (for lubrication and clogging avoidance) and dry - Since the HMS Victory is mostly made from wood 'wet' might not be such a good idea - but it's still preferable to glasspaper due to the huge range of varying grades.

The grades follow a numbering sequence - the lower the number the grittier the paper, P240 is about as fierce as I would go for modelmaking purposes and is useful for initial shaping, P400 is good for initial prepping and P1200 is perfect for final prepping, polishing and removing paint blemishes. A selection of intermediate grades eg. P600, P800 will also come in handy


Traditional Glasspaper is a very crude alternative to Wet&dry, and (depending on the quality, of course) will shed grit and all manner of crud around your workbench/tray - Avoid if possible.

BRUSHES
A good quality brush is worth a dozen 'hobby brushes' - it won't shed bristles, it will retain its point or edge for much longer and will also ensure that you get the best finish possible.

As a Miniature painter, I use Windsor&Newton Series 7, Kolinsky sable brushes for fine detail work (A size 1 and a 0 will come in handy for the crew figures, stern applique detail and bow when they arrive - I will do a full tutorial for these in due course) -

As for the less fiddly stuff, I will be using some Vallejo brushes and ones from Games workshop - both brands are of very decent quality but given the likelihood of wear and tear on the bristles over such a large model it would be uneconomical to use premium grade brushes.

Techniques (adding the 3 into 3D)
Most folk tend to use colour, straight from the pot - which is fine, but tends to look a bit flat and uninteresting - I shall try to explain, using pics, how to add shading and highlighting techniques which really bring paintwork to life.

Its a mammoth undertaking, but together we shall prevail..

England Expects..






Schnellboots on back burner

Tools.


jonny5j
#2 Posted : 03 April 2010 11:43:13

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very nice and useful pice look forward to your next post
john
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HMS SURPRISE
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dtgray
#3 Posted : 03 April 2010 11:48:21

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Excellent information which will be very useful. Thanks.ThumpUp
Regards,

David

Horatio's Eyepatch
#4 Posted : 03 April 2010 12:06:03

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Thanks for this useful info Cap!! Regardless of whether members will be using paint or not, preparation of surfaces is key for a realistic "lay" and ultimate overall finish.
Mac
#5 Posted : 03 April 2010 12:16:42

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Great info Capt! looking forward to 2nd part of your masterclass. thanks

Regards Pam
Pam's shipyard is closed for now no more room!




Boaz
#6 Posted : 03 April 2010 15:49:22

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Nice one Capt.Laugh
Tiswas
#7 Posted : 03 April 2010 16:37:20

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Very intuitive Capt, look forward to further hints and tips.
TIS
tomo29
#8 Posted : 03 April 2010 17:35:49

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Thats good info matay could u put up some in fo about wood filler and how to use it if we do need to use it plz .
diamondscull
#9 Posted : 03 April 2010 18:41:34

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It would definitely be useful to refer back to this sort of information at leisure at a later date.
Boaz
#10 Posted : 03 April 2010 20:18:13

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Copied & pasted into a word dockCool
Capt Stedders
#11 Posted : 04 April 2010 11:27:02

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Before I add descriptions of some of the tools and what-nots that I somehow neglected to include in yesterday's post, (with age comes forgetfulness Crying ) I'd like to add a quick 'thanks' for your appreciative comments. I, in turn, am particularly appreciative for the posts/articles from the research hounds who introduced me to the joys of Puddening and siezing found on the anchor rings - details I would have otherwise missed. Cool


PAINT II: Using Matte, Satin and Gloss finishes.

In my first post I covered different paint mediums and its worth pointing out how simply using different levels of sheen (for want of a better description) can improve the appearance of a model - especially when using colours straight from the pot

Without getting too bogged down in theory, we generally get quite a bit of information from simply looking at an object and seeing whether it is shiny or not - metal, glass and reflective surfaces tend to be hard, whilst wood and other porous materials tend to be matte - a modeller should, wherever possible, pass that information on through the model by either trick painting techniques (careful) highlighting and blending, or (considerably more simple) applying the appropriate varnish.

Generally speaking, a gloss finish should be avoided - it may be harder wearing than a satin or matte finish but, on a 1/84 scale model, the level of shiny-ness will be out of scale. Even if you plan on making your model with a natural, wood finish, I would strongly recommend using a satin varnish.

For those of us who intend painting our models, a combination of matte and satin finishes (in the right places) will give a more convincing, appealing and informative result.

Painting the Anchor (example)

Lets look at the anchor as an example; we are all aware, from looking at pictures of the real thing that it is 'black' in colour and has a moderate degree of shine from the paint that has been applied. However; simply giving your anchor a coat of Satin Black paint in an un-prepped condition will result in several things happening - the wooden bit will absorb paint and, being porous will dry leaving the paint considerably less shiny, the same will apply to the untreated cotton lashing (and puddening) with only the metal part giving the right degree of sheen.

With everything nicely prepped beforehand, the same paint will provide a uniform and satisfactory, semi-gloss finish - you could easily and justifiably sit back at this point, content that you have made a good job of things. If however, you happen to be inclined to go (quite a big step) further, you can then add some highlighting to bring out the edges of the part. (I'll go into highlighting later).


The main point to consider is that objects do not simply consist of shape and colour, but also have a degree of reflectivity depending (amongst other things) on their density, porosity and finish. Choosing an appropriate varnish will help convey this


Another point worth bearing in mind, is that you can either use varnishes as a finishing coat or, providing that the varnish and paint are of the same medium (Acrylics and enamels don't mix) simply mix gloss or satin varnish into an otherwise matte paint to subtly increase the level of sheen (its well worth making batches of paint if you do this)

TOOLS II: Sanding Block
How I forgot to add this invaluable aid in my first post defeats me, but still...

Proprietary sanding blocks come in quite a few shapes and sizes (and even materials) but generally speaking you can easily make your own by either glueing or simply wrapping a bit of wet&dry around or over a suitably sized and shaped object for the task in hand.

Simply grabbing a bit of abrasive paper in your hands and getting stuck in can result in all manner of problems - for example, the instructions for the anchor assembly suggest that you gently round-off the sharp edges of the wooden bit before
applying the lashing. Trying to do this without using a sanding block (or laying a piece of abrasive onto a hard, flat surface) can all-too-easily end up with uneven edges on your workpiece that look thinner at one (or both) ends, have a dip in the middle or some other not-quite-right appearance. By using a sanding block - you have a invaluable point of reference that will provide much better results - every time!

Suggestion
To make sure you get right angles.. er.. 'right' May I suggest making an L-shaped sanding block whilst we are waiting on the next issue.

Simply fix two pieces of flat, square edged wood or MDF together to form a right angle and glue some P400 W&D paper to one of the internal sides - this will ensure that you can sand down any square-edged pieces with ease whilst maintaining the angular integrity.

Another useful sanding block variant is the 'encrusted foam pad' (you an pick these up in most DIY outlets) - these come in very handy for sanding down contours as they flex around the shape you are working on whilst still providing a more evenly distributed pressure than 'fingers-in-some-wet&dry'


As a rule of thumb, it really pays to take very regular breaks in your sanding activities to see what is going on with the piece you are working on and also to alter the 'angle of attack' (the direction you are sanding in) to avoid taking too much material off one end.


In response to tomo29's suggestion, (good point!) I shall cover the use of wood fillers and stoppers in my next addition to this thread, in the meantime, Happy modelling!





Schnellboots on back burner

Tools.


Mike Turpin
#12 Posted : 04 April 2010 11:35:32

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Glad to have been of help!! I rather like the term 'research hound'

I have been building HMS Halifax on and off (mainly off) for the last eight years with little or no practical advice, learning the hard way. Also for six of those years I have been following the step-by-step instructions with Bounty partworks kit. This has helped considerably.

My passion is reading and researching the Georgian Navy which is why I want accurate detail where feasible/practicable. Advice such as your articles will prove invaluable - keep up the good work!

Mike T.
tomo29
#13 Posted : 05 April 2010 13:02:43

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can we hav all posts by Capt Stedders as a stick plz cos there are very usefull hits and tips in it and most of us would not like to go thought all the pages looking for them
jonny5j
#14 Posted : 05 April 2010 13:26:52

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Another nice article captain
thanks johnBigGrin
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Jamie
#15 Posted : 05 April 2010 18:01:22

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Thanks for the excellent hints & tips Captain Stedders ThumpUp please keep up the good work.

What we could do with is these tips locked and in a topic of an appropriate heading so Captain Stedders can add the tips with no other replies so when we go looking for advice we don't have to scroll several pages of comments. Don't mean to sound rude Blushing just thought it would be easier.

One question I will ask, if you don't mind Captain Stedders is: You've said in a previous hint about painting that we should use sanding sealant before painting wood, what would the difference be in using a primer or undercoat instead?


I wish I were a glow worm,
A glow worm's never glum,
'Cause how can you be grumpy?
When the sun shines out ya bum!!
Capt Stedders
#16 Posted : 05 April 2010 19:25:10

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Jamie wrote:

One question I will ask, if you don't mind Captain Stedders is: You've said in a previous hint about painting that we should use sanding sealant before painting wood, what would the difference be in using a primer or undercoat instead?


Not at all, good question.

You can, quite safely use a primer if you intend to paint the ship in its Trafalgar colour scheme, I just find the consistency a little thick (which can, if you are not very careful obscure fine detailing). In this case I would recommend using a couple of coats of thinned primer - giving the first coat a light rubbing over with some P1000 W&D when it has dried thoroughly to remove those pesky little fibres that have an annoying tendency to pop up when painting wood.

Sanding sealant is a bit thinner (one still has to apply it carefully around highly detailed parts though and has the benefit of drying to a clear finish, it is however thicker than varnish (if your varnish is thicker than sanding sealant, you really need to thin it down!) and therefore does a great job of filling in surface imperfections and preparing the ground for clear lacquer or varnish.

Hope that helps.
Schnellboots on back burner

Tools.


Capt Stedders
#17 Posted : 06 April 2010 20:11:06

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Filler, Stopper and Putties

Invariably, we will either come across or create chips in the wooden parts of our models, if left they might splinter further with handling and may well spoil the appearance of your model. This is where modelling putty of wood stoppercomes in handy

There are many types of wood fillers available, all in a bewildering array of shades of brown - some actually match the colour of the wood mentioned on the tin but, from my experience, most don't. Whilst the purist, ship modelmaker may swear by a particular brand, I prefer to use epoxy sculpting putty for all my filling-in and sculpting needs (although this might not be an option for a lot of people).

Most wood stoppers and model fillers come in conveniently sized, squeezy tubes - just squeeze a bit out and, using either your fingers (messy), a suitably small putty knife or (preferably) a sculpting tool and get filling! If you are faced with a large gap or hole that needs filling, take care not to try using too much at a time, some model fillers and wood stoppers can sag.

Once the gap or inverted blemish has been filled and the stopper has dried, use a mild grade (P600/P800) W&D, wrapped around a sanding block to bring the filled area flush with its surroundings.

If anyone reading this has a favourite and trusted brand of wood stopper, please feel free to chime in.

Two Part Epoxy putty and 'Green Stuff'


My favoured medium is 'Green Stuff', it's a two-part Epoxy sculpting material (not to be confused with Milliput) that just so happens to be great at filling holes and small gaps too! The major drawbacks to using this medium on a wooden ship model are that you'll need to paint it to match the wood, not a problem if you are either a; good at colour matching and have a comprehensive selection of paint colours to choose from, or, b; going to paint your model in Trafalgar colours.

It can also be quite tricky to get used to due to it's stickiness when initially blended (you need to roll, knead and squish the blue and yellow components until it turns a uniform green and can be worked). Another drawback to GS ist that it doesn't respond well to filing (unless you use diamond files and W&D in a wet state)

In its favour, it cures reasonably quickly (an hour and a half usually), can be painted almost immediately after being applied (it doesn't sag), it is also reasonably flexible when fully cured (yet hard, in a vinyl-y kind of way), but best of all, it can be manipulated into forming details (sculpted). An example of GS in action can be found in my build diary.

An Intermission

Whilst not exactly 'tools' I have found a couple of household items quite useful in my modelling projects and will, as I use them myself in the building of the Victory, share them with you.

Wire and Blu-Tac
When faced with small, fiddly parts that need painting it pays not to try and use your fingers to hold said fiddly parts whilst working on them. Both wire and Blu-tac are really useful items in such circomestances - as you can see from the photo's of the #1 wheels and cannon barrel being supported whilst being painted below.


A quickly made painting jig for the gun carriage wheels


Using wire to hold the cannon barrel whilst being painted.

A lot of small, fiddly bits? Simply break off pea-sized bits of blu-tac and stick them onto a bit of firm card, or an offcut of MDF/plywood. Gently push the small parts into the blue tac and paint them in situ. turning them around to paint the other side if required.

Simples.



Schnellboots on back burner

Tools.


Jack Sparrow
#18 Posted : 06 April 2010 22:25:25

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Mmmmmm blu-tack!!! So simple yet so far from my mind!!! Nice one!
tomo29
#19 Posted : 07 April 2010 14:18:12

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some more good tips mate thanks
jonny7england
#20 Posted : 07 April 2010 15:32:51

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Thanks for the brill tip BigGrin
Current Builds: Deagostini HMS Victory: Deagostini HMS Sovereign of the seas. Completed Builds: Del Prado: HMAS Bounty: Hachette: RMS Titanic: Del Prado: Cutty Sark...
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