Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scale Model Painting and Weathering Process Flow I

This generic Scale Model Painting and Weathering Process Flow offers general definition of terms used in scale model painting and weathering, tips and the usual order of paint application  and other finishing layers commonly practiced- a simple guide that can help a newbie like me. This is by no means original (is there such a thing nowadays?) but of course is a result of research and my desire to learn more about this craft. It applies to military vehicles, aircraft, ship models, etc. that have a realistic non-gloss finish as glossy finishes (for car models) follows a different process flow.

Painting Process Flow:

This flow itself is just a general guide to achieve a good result on most models.  Not every step is required  in every case.  Some steps may actually require repetition to achieve a desired effect.

1. Wash all parts- to get a dust and grease-free surface. (see my previous post on this topic: King Tiger Build Proper- Prepainting Ritual.)
2. Primer- the very first coat of paint which goes directly to the model’s surface completely covered later by  coats of paint. The main reasons for priming your model is to show up surface defects, improve top coats adhesion and as pre-shading.
The primer coat on this figure revealed areas where the seam was still visible – marked with the red circles)
3. Pre-Shading- (optional); A method of darkening areas, such as panel lines, shadow areas around detail and control surfaces, prior to the main color coats. Primer coat of the right color may make this step unnecessary.
Hasegawa 1/48 Typhoon Pre-shaded
4. Base Colour
Apply with airbrush if possible using several thin layers with care to NOT totally obscure any pre-shading.
I used as base paint for my King Tiger Tamiya Paint 81760 Acrylic XF60 Dark Yellow.
5. Highlight Base Color and/or Post Shading.
Airbrushing a lighter shade of the base color in the center of panels and upper surfaces. Post-shading (airbrushed darker shade of paint into recesses and along panel lines to simulate shadows) can be very easily overdone so very thin paints airbrushed very sparingly is done and built up in layers.  
6. Protection layer (optional)-
Many modelers apply a thin layer of varnish (often Johnson’s Future/Klear to protect the work done so far from the next stages.
Future is a water-soluble acrylic floor coating that was developed by
 S. C. Johnson Company in Racine, Wisconsin for linoleum flooring.
see THE COMPLETE FUTURE  for its full use in painting scale models
 7. Filters (optional).
This is a very thin transparent paint layer that subtly alters the color of the base layer and helps blend in the colors on camouflage schemes. This has become increasingly popular now with commercial made filters available like the one made by The MIG Productions Company.

8. Detail Painting- Brush painting tools, vehicle accessories and similar tiny items.  
9. Washes- These may be applied to the whole model or limited areas of the kit (pin washes).  
pin wash application using thinned enamel MM Burnt Umber and a pointed detail brush

10. Gloss / protective layer. This is another protective layer in preparation for decal application as decals must be applied to a gloss or semi-gloss surface. Some apply this layer only in the decal area (some soak the decal in gloss varnish e.g.  Johnson’s Future/Klear so the decal ‘floats’ on a layer of varnish); while others prefer to put a gloss coat over the whole model depending on previous protective coats applied.
11. Decals / Markings- Applying decals and painting unit markings.
12. Dry Brushing- involves passing a paint brush that has almost no paint over the surface of the model and serves two purposes:  a. to emphasize kit textured surfaces (casting textures on armored vehicles; tread pattern on horizontal surfaces to improve grip, etc.; b. to highlight the edges of models as edges often look lighter because they reflect the light.
13. Protective Layer
This has two possible purposes: a. to seal in the decals before any serious weathering is done; b. to change the surface shine to it’s final effect using matte/flat or semi-gloss over the whole model.

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