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Realistic Painting Tips :- ' Hunkered Down ' U.S. Army On30 Boxcar
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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2013 07:18 pm
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Dallas_M
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Greetings On30ers!  (Read that in Bullwinkle's voice for extra amusement) :)

In today's episode, we'll have some fun with acrylic paints!  For inspiration, let's take these standard gauge (sigh) Army boxcars rotting away in the dual-gauge (hooray) EBT yards ...



And combine that idea with one of the new Boulder Valley Models "Hunkered Down" 18' composite boxcar kits ...



Which is a freelance design based on several narrow gauge prototypes, such as the old boxcar turned into a shed here, the WDLR composite boxcars built to serve the trenches in WW1 and several other narrow gauge examples.



And we'll capitalize on the idea that narrow gauge railways in Alaska and Hawaii served an important role during WWII to tie it all together!



This time around, let's try some intermediate and/or slightly advanced techniques and do some stuff that may not be "familiar" in the world of painting model TRAINS ... we'll draw on techniques used by military modelers to enhance realism, figure painters for the same ... and a gifted On30 modeler and artist for more inspiration.  It's tricky as heck to shoot step-by-step photos of every little bit of the process (glare from wet paint, trying to work with the paint before it dries vs reaching for the camera, etc) ... so here are some videos that do a good job of demonstrating brush techniques and lots of interesting ideas.

HOT LEAD / How to Paint a Better Miniature:  This is my favorite painting DVD and it has NOTHING to do with model trains!  It focuses on painting figures for war-gaming, mostly in 28mm size which is a bit  smaller than O scale, and IMO does an outstanding job of covering all sorts of interesting techniques using acrylics.  He covers the "basics" from mixing paints, blending colors, using dry-time extenders, glazes, washes and so forth and so on ... then covers a variety of techniques like wet-blending colors, layering colors, using glazes to tie things together, etc, etc.  For me, this made a huge BREAKTHROUGH in my approach to working with acrylics ... but I lent the 3-disc set to a friend whose painting I respect and his response was "meh" ... so, um ... well, there are sample clips on you-tube and I think it's great stuff.  I got mine at FRP Games for a discount ...



AFV Acrylic Techniques by Mig Jimenez:  Mig is one of the "greats" from the military modeling field.  After developing widely-followed techniques using solvent-based materials, he turned to using acrylics for this demo.  IMO, there are some weak spots, like clumsy use of pre-mixed acrylic washes ... BUT ... holy mackerel, there is some amazing stuff.  He covers pre-shading, color modulation and so forth, which is all about PAINTING LIGHT & SHADOW on the miniature (which has a very different effect than just using your room/desk lights to light up the model!) ... and it's truly amazing to watch the finesse with which he freely hand-paints little tiny chips in the paint, etc.  I'll be attempting some of that here ... but, fortunately, there's no video to show my lack of grace!  Various sources, including FRP games.

Realistic Color for Railroad Modeling by Troels Kirk:  Now this one DOES come from the model railroad field ... and On30 to boot!  Troels is a gifted artist who has created The Coast Line On30 model railroad to the delight and amazement of many modelers.  On this disc, Troels talks about PAINTING LIGHT & SHADOW onto the model as well.  He uses a much simpler palette and also much "simpler" approach to achieve his amazing results ... but, er, um ... well, I just don't have the "gift" or finesse or something to do it that easily.  So, if you're like me ... or more like me than Troels, maybe my somewhat more complicated, convoluted approach will help you get there too!  (Maybe we should wait and see how this boxcar actually turns out?)



The idea of painting light & shadow that isn't "really there" is nothing new ... it goes back to the Old Masters, who often did an under-painting using umber tones BEFORE adding color.  The dark areas of the under-painting add depth to the shadows, while the lighter or untouched areas of the under-painting allow the light/highlight areas to "pop."

Now, give me a "few minutes" to sort out the next batch of photos and we'll get started.  :Salute:



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Dallas
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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2013 09:19 pm
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Dallas_M
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The step-by-step by follows is "almost live" ... haven't done this particular project before, so there may be some mistakes or miss-steps, but  we'll fix any of those along the way.  (So, if you decide to follow along, you might do well to read ahead!)

Now, going back to the "under painting" idea ... we're working on a 3-D object rather than a canvas, so we'll start with a flat black or dark gray base coat (like Krylon or Rustoleum spray can primer) ... that will put shadow into all the little recesses and such without  a lot of brush strokes (well, we'll actually go back and enhance some of those) ... and we'll use a sort of dry-brushing technique to put some "light" into the under-painting.

BTW, the base coat looks a bit patchy here, because I painted the interior flooring before gluing the roof on ... then masked off the door to paint the roof ... and used a different paint can to paint the roof ... so you see both dark gray and black, but that shouldn't make much difference.



We'll "wet-drybrush" the wood surfaces using these Vallejo and Reaper (Master Series) paints.  You can use various other acrylics from the craft store, Polly S, etc.  The exact colors don't matter ... just a variety of similar tones will do.  For military colors and inks, I tend to favor Vallejo ... for non-military colors, metallics and flesh tones, definitely Reaper.  Both are available from a variety of sources.  I like Miniature Market, because they carry BOTH brands at a discount and have good service.



Did he say "wet" DRY-brushing?  Huh?  Yup!  It's just like "regular" dry-brushing ... but you use a damp brush and diluted paints.  Dip the brush, wipe out most of the paint on scrap paper and then apply to model.  The advantage is that it builds up more gradually and provides more control.  If you look at the paper above, you'll see that even the darkest tones are actually translucent.  BTW, I love having a ceramic palette for acrylics, especially this one with 12 little wells.  Easy clean-up and I frequently use many or all of the different wells -- great for mixing tiny bits of a lot of different colors.  Search "12 well mini ceramic palette" on the web if you like the idea!



Let that crazy wet dry-brushing begin!  The paints were mixed 3 drops paint to 1 drop wet water.  (Wet water is 90% water + 10% Liquitex Flow-Aid or similar.)  I started with the Splinter Blotches, then the Golden Skin, applying them somewhat randomly in a cross-hatch pattern -- to catch the grain without going up/down.



Finished dry-brushing with the Dirt, Weathered Stone and Golden Shadow ...the amount can be varied to suggest more or less wear, tear and paint chipping ...



Now we'll use some Vallejo inks ... these are great!  They're transparent and mix/blend with all your other acrylic paints ... don't think there's a craft store equivalent, so if you're only going to splurge on a few "special" items, the inks and glaze medium are  a good choice!



The inks were mixed 1 part ink to 3 parts wet-water ... a pretty dilute mix.  Here, I've switched over to one of my "good" fine-tip sable brushes and used the black ink to outline the groove between boards and along the edges of the ribs ... that's been done on the area to the left of the door ... and makes a difference when compared to the area to the right, eh?



Here I've used two more applications of ink:
-- The Vallejo "brown" ink has a very reddish tone to it ... used that to apply a second layer of ink into the groove between boards and along the underside of the diagonal braces.  Then lightly streaked the surface of various boards.
-- Sepia ink (very golden brown tone) streaked across the surfaces of various boards to add a little more color variation.
-- The door is "closer" to the viewer ... and the "foreground" details on the car should get more light ... so the dry-brushing was done to create a brighter effect there, followed by the same inks ...

And, that's a good place to take a little break.   Obviously, this isn't a "quickie" approach with the various little steps, but if you're steady with a fine-tip brush for the outlining bits, the process is pretty easy ..



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Dallas
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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2013 10:05 pm
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Dallas_M
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Now let's try something really weird!  Whaddaya say we use RED to darken our greens ... and PINKS to lighten them. :shocked:

Well, yeah, it does sound weird ... but it works because red & green are chromatic opposites, so they tend to cancel, neutralize or "gray" each other when mixed ...



If you make up your own formula, be sure to take notes so you can go back and reproduce the colors for touch-up ... or to paint another boxcar! :)

Here's the formulas that I used, from darkest to lightest (Vallejo colors unless noted):

-- Darkest/shadow tone:  1x #347 Splinter Blotches (dark, reddish brown), 1/2 drop #343 Shadows Flesh (deep crimson), 5x #318 US Army tank crew.
-- Mid-shadow:  1/2 drop Shadows Flesh, 1x #330 Highlight Russian Tcker, 5x US Army tank crew
-- Mid-tone:  6x Highlights Russian Tckr
-- Mid-highlight:  5x Highlights Russian Tcker, 1x Reaper #9067 Rosy Shadow
-- Highlight:  4x Highlights Russian Tckr, 1x Rosy Shadow, 1x #70928 Light Flesh



Added just one drop of wet water to each and mixed 'em up.  Here you can see how those opposite colors blend ...



Even on an On30 boxcar, the spaces between ribs are a little snug to use sponge painting or other chipping techniques, so I decide to tap or dab the paint on ... and practiced that touch a bit on paper before moving to the car ...



Here it is with those colors tapped/dabbed on somewhat randomly and unevenly, going from darkest to lightest ...



Now that we've got some chipped, oxidized paint on the wood parts, let's see if we can make the metal parts look like metal or something! :)  



These colors were mixed 3x paint to 1x wet water and tapped onto the ribs and metal surfaces -- used them in this order:  Splinter Blotches, Oiled Leather, Chestnut Gold and then the Stormy Gray to tone that all down and blend it a bit ... you can go back-n-forth between colors, etc ...



Then it's back to those inks again ... Sepia ink diluted 1x ink to 3x water streaked across the surfaces of various boards in varying amounts.



Then mix a touch of the hideous Vallejo Green ink (really vivid!) with a touch of that nice golden Sepia ink to produce a pleasant mossy green ... add some water to that ...



... and streak that on various boards in varying amounts.  Be CAREFUL not to overdue it on the Vallejo green (favor the Sepia!) ... because that green is really vivid, and even here it's starting to jump out just a bit.



Now we'll blend those tones and put a little more olive drab onto the boards ... the Vallejo Glaze medium is great stuff for making TRANSPARENT layers of color ... that allows the "under painting" to show, but adds another color and helps blend/unify the underlying colors a bit ...



For this, I mixed 1 drop Army Tank Crew to 2 drops Glaze and a tiny touch of the black ink to darken it.  You can see that even the darkest brush stroke is translucent ... much like a water color effect (which is also great for adding SUBTLE rust streaks, hard water stains, etc with the appropriate colors!)



And here we are after only 109 million little steps!  I did mention that this wouldn't be a quickie, didn't I?  ???



Planning to have my car be a little more "serviceable" than that rotting prototype, so I think we're headed in the right direction here ...

Not only is this a good place to take another break ... that's all there is right now!  :P

More to come ... as time allows.  Thanks for looking in! :wave:






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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2013 11:46 pm
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Chiloquinruss
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Thanks for taking the time to produce this great essay on painting that car.  I have collected a fair number of unpainted resin castings for use on the layout and when I get around to painting them this will come in very handy.  Thanks again!  Russ



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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2013 01:42 am
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Ray Dunakin
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Very interesting tutorial, thanks for posting!



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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2013 10:54 am
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mwiz64
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Holy smokes, Dallas. If I didn't know better, Id say your did this how-to post just for me. Thanks for shearing your techniques here.

Last edited on Fri Jan 18th, 2013 10:54 am by mwiz64



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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2013 02:10 pm
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Huw Griffiths
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I'd like to echo the above sentiments.

Even if I'm not ready to use this stuff yet, I'm sure I will be in due course - and it'll come in very useful.

What I've seen so far is excellent - I'm sure what comes next will be well worth the wait.

Thanks for posting,

Huw.

Last edited on Fri Jan 18th, 2013 02:11 pm by Huw Griffiths

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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2013 02:22 pm
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Dallas_M
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Thanks guys, much appreciated! Really looking forward to doing more on this, but two things ... one, other business tasks to handle ... and, two, it's at a point where it seems like a really good idea to pause and ponder a bit! More to come ...



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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2013 03:36 pm
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SJSlots
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This really proves to me that I need to stop taking the fast and easy way out like I tend to do. For me it's typically the fewer steps the better but its pretty clear to me how the time and effort pays off.



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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2013 03:52 pm
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mwiz64
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Dallas_M wrote: Thanks guys, much appreciated! Really looking forward to doing more on this, but two things ... one, other business tasks to handle ... and, two, it's at a point where it seems like a really good idea to pause and ponder a bit! More to come ...
OK fine but if I gotta wait then I want my money back... Just kidding. :P

Thanks again for being so generous with your time and efforts to post things like this.



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