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Author Topic: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions  (Read 404 times)

Raellus

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Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« on: 21 May 2020, 01:16:34 »
I just got my BTGOAC box set today and I think I might be ready to try painting my minis. I haven't tried painting a plastic model kit since 1992 so I'm a bit nervous. I need to get prepared, but I'm not quite sure how to start. Please forgive my ignorance. I'm trying to learn!

I've got a bunch of questions. Instead of trying to search through this sub-forum for a la carte topics, I'm going to ask them all here. I've numbered/lettered them all to make them easy to reference in your answers (I hope).

The Scheme: For most of my minis, I'm going attempt to paint everything from the knee up multicam black. From the knee down, I'm going to attempt a standard multicam pattern.

1. Regarding primer...
A. Is it safe to assume that black will work best, since most of the mech will end up black?
B. If I prime it black, do I still need to paint it black?
C. Will black primer make painting the legs standard multicam (brown, tan, olive) difficult? In other words, do I need to use a lighter color primer on the lower legs, or can I make all-black work?

2. Washes?
A. As I understand it, most washes are dark, to brink out the seams, crevices, and other details on a lighter color base color. Since my mechs' base is going to be black, is there still a way to make it pop? Like, is there a certain kind of wash that can work on black? (If so, please do tell.)
B. If washes are out, are there any other tricks that can bring a black base color to life?

3. Painting camo?
A. Will this work- lay down a solid base color, then apply other colors over the top by dry-brushing them on to the base?

4. Painting canopies?
A. Is there a convention for painting mech cockpit "plexiglass" (not sure what the lore calls it)? Like, is there a certain color that is used more often?
8. Is there a special technique that one uses when painting "plexiglass"?

5. Painting weapons?
A. Is there a color associated with a particular type of laser. IIRC, in the BTCG, mediums are green, heavies are blue. Smalls are... ?
B. Is there a color that is commonly used to denote missile warheads (the nose cone that you can sometimes see protruding slightly from the tube)? I often see missile tubes painted darker (shadow) than the surface paint, but since my mechs are going have black uppers, I'm not sure that would work.

6. Glue?
A. What's the best kind of glue for attaching plastic/resin models to hex bases? Plastic cement, Gorilla glue, other?

7. Brushes?
A. Is there a particular brand that works particularly well?
B. What sizes/types of brush are a must?

I think that's it. I'm pretty much starting from square one, so if there's anything else you think it would be helpful for a newb mech painter to know, please don't hesitate to share. Any and all advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.   

 
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

worktroll

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #1 on: 21 May 2020, 01:46:51 »
Megaload! I'll try a few.

1 a) Re black primer, it'll work for pretty much anything. You'll find if you want a lighter paintscheme, it'll darken it a bit.  But your your scheme, it'll be fine.
b) probably. Most primes are a little - not so much rough, as powdery; this helps paint hold, and it's sufficiently low relief that the paint coat gives a smooth layer.
c) As noted, if your colours are already on the darker side, and the paint brand has good cover (eg. not too thin), it's fine. You should be OK with giving the legs a base coat of one of your camo colours.

2 a) Washes! I thorougly recommend Citadel's washes (aka inks). They're good strong colours, but not too heavy; you can always add a second coat if you want strong colouring. But one coat is usually enough to bring out details beautifully.
b) Black! Hard to do excellently, easy to do pretty well. Some folk recommend basing a dark grey, then using a black wash to bring it down and highlight. I do the other way - base black, then use a very very dry  drybrush (call it ghostbrushing) of a medium or light grey to add highlight to the edges. And a real cheat - semi-gloss black self-highlights all the panel lines, because the panels are slightly brighter and the panel lines darker ;) But don't then try matt sealing it, it ruins the effect.

3 a) Yup, that'll work. So will base colour, plus painted on contrasts. I do find for most camos, a coat of Citadel's Agrax Earthshade (brown ink) or Nuln Oil (black ink; depending on colours) helps bring all sorts of camos to life. This can be handy when trying to do splinter camos, or other schemes with defined edges.

4 a) No. Black is a common default, and if you gloss it after matt sealing, again it self-hightlights for you. Some like silver. I've found metallic greens and reds are cool. There's no practical limit.
b) Doesn't have to be, but a reasonably common approach is jewelling, to replicate reflected light

5 a) Whatever floats your (laser) boat. There's sort of a convention of normal lasers red, pulse lasers green, PPCs blue/metallic blue, etc etc
b) Likewise. White with red tips is a classic look, but no reason not to use other colours. You might steer away from blue, because for the USN/USAF I believe blue missiles are training rounds, but ...

6) I'll swear by cyanoacrylate (superglue) gel; I get great control from that for all purposes.

7) I don't know the official brush size codes, but you'll want a bunch of different sizes for laying down base coats, large colour swathes, smaller details, teeny ones for weeny bits, etc. Be warned - drybrushing does tend to chew up brushes. for most purposes I'd recommend sable brushes, not plastic - they last much longer.

Things to know? Ask questions here. Oven cleaner and simple green both remove paint well. Acrylics, for Ghu's sake. Avoid the Citadel vs Reaper culture wars. Experiment. Have fun! Do proofs of concept before yo8u commit to doing too many minis in one scheme. Borrow good ideas. Have fun! Please yourself, not others.

And post pics here!
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Raellus

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #2 on: 21 May 2020, 21:21:25 »
Thanks, Worktroll! That was very helpful. I'll be ordering supplies shortly- primer, paints (includes a dark wash), brushes, and glue. Anything else I should pick up while I'm at it?
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

worktroll

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #3 on: 21 May 2020, 21:54:42 »
I do a lot of modding and reposing of my minis. I strongly don't prefer the "parade rest" pose of many of the older minis, and while I'm opposed to WYSIWYG in principle, I do enjoy being able to make different models/configs for my own satisfaction. If you're going to do much modding - and with the new plastics, it's much MUCH easier than the metals - I'd recommend:

* Hobby knife. I prefer the stiffer Stanley blade over craft or hobby knives; I can exert more pressure, and still control it better thanks to the larger handle and harder blade. YMMV; work with what you're comfortable with (this minimises blood sacrifices). Avoid cheap hobby store 'scalpels', as the plastic bits often won't take the pressure

* Optionally, a razor saw. They're simpler to use than knives, do bigger cuts quicker, but remove a slice from the mini, whereas the knife just slices.

* Pin vise, with thin drillbit. Pinning plastic is terrifically easy, and gives more strength than glue alone. In practical terms, this means "won't fly apart when I drop it". Plastic parts don't impose the same weight issues as metal, too.

* Wire to pin with. I'm using old fuse wire here - I find it's sturdy enough, and bends and cuts easily. Paperclips are the other traditional source of pins. (Note: don't use real pins. They're hard steel, and are a bugger to cut.)

* Hobby clippers. Not really essential for plastic mods, but when you just want to hack stuff off (not slice it off for later use), they're a great time-saver. They're also needed to cut lengths of pinning material.

Plenty of shelf space. The hobby grows on you ...

* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Raellus

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #4 on: 27 May 2020, 18:31:45 »
Painting is going pretty well so far. Is there some sort of sealer- preferably, spray on- that I should use when they are done? I don't want anything that's going to gloss them up too much.
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

worktroll

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #5 on: 27 May 2020, 18:33:45 »
Depending on what stores you have access to, get matt acrylic sealant. I used to be able to get a great hardware-store brand (Wattyl), but that disappeared. Now I use the Humbrol Acrylic Matt, which works really well for me, albeit a bit expensive for smallish cans. Plenty of USAian brands I'm assuming.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Raellus

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #6 on: 27 May 2020, 18:40:09 »
Thanks. Looks like there's a few to choose from on Amazon.

I got a Dark Tone wash from Army Painter but I've heard good things about Citadel Shade Nuln Oil. I take it that they do more or less the same thing. Thoughts?
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

worktroll

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #7 on: 27 May 2020, 19:32:38 »
Go Citadel washes. Talent in a pot. Also Agrax Earthshade (brown), and Beil-Tan (green).

The only trick is, when applying with a good sized brush, have another (dry) brush handy to dab off any pooling. Wiping can leave streaks, and suck wash out of the panel lines. Dabbing somehow just doesn't.

Sorry, the other trick - plan for the impact of the wash. Sand or tan hit with brown wash becomes light brown. Medium brown becomes dark brown. Light grey with black ink becomed medium grey. White can produce an interesting charcoal look with a couple of coats of nuln oil, and so on.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Raellus

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #8 on: 29 May 2020, 00:01:49 »
I've decided against using a wash. I'm worried that it will dull the camo (which was already muted by my first attempt at dry brushing) too much. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the way my minis are looking so now it's time to seal the deal (see what I did there).

I'm not sure, though, whether I should go with a matte or gloss finish. My first instinct was matte, but I'm a bit worried about over-muting. Maybe gloss would actually make the camo pop a little more? I don't know.

What's your advice?
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

worktroll

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #9 on: 29 May 2020, 00:37:35 »
A) The Citadel washes do darken a bit, but a) not as much as others, and b) can be planned for. You can always use an eggcup or something & mix up a half-strength batch.

I've got some good pictures, but I can't post from work - later.

B) I, like most people, prefer matt finish. "Real" war machines (like all gant stompy robots) are not glossy!  :)) I find it adds to the "toy-like" look to have them gloss. But there are some who prefer gloss - good luck to them. I do have a small pot of gloss varnish; occasionally, I'll redo the cockpits (gloss black is a nice way to do cockpits on more colourful paintjobs).

Even metallics look good under a matt coat, to my eyes.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Major Headcase

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #10 on: 29 May 2020, 03:44:06 »
A trick to washing for definition without staining the paint is to use a semi-gloss (satin) clear coat on the model before the wash. Then the ink/wash solution flows into the grooves but wont absorb into the paint, you can even clean any of the wash residue off the raised surfaces using a slightly damp cloth or paper towel after its dried a little (but not dried completely, that takes some scrubbing!) I've used this a number of times on minis I'm working on, to help keep the colors "true".

Raellus

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #11 on: 29 May 2020, 11:25:01 »
Thanks. I'll have to try that sometime. The minis I'm working on now are clad in a dark camouflage scheme (my approximation of Multicam Black) so I don't think a dark wash will do much in terms of accenting details. I already dry-brushed them with a light gray to bring out the edges and that's given them some definition. I worry that a dark wash will mute the already dark camo, and/or dull the dry-brushed lighter highlights too much. My brother, who's done a lot of model painting, told me I should have washed them before dry-brushing, but it's too late for that (I was going by a tutorial I saw on Youtube). I'll probably experiment a bit with wash but I think I may already have reached the point with this batch of minis where trying to "perfect" my work will end up ruining it. It's usually hard for me to recognize that event horizon.
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

Raellus

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #12 on: 30 May 2020, 16:45:36 »
What's a good source for hex bases? The ones on Amazon are all slightly undersized and $10 for four 3D-printed hexes on Etsy (not including S&H) seems pretty steep to me.

Also, what should I search for in terms of artificial gravel, grass, etc. for decorating bases? 
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

worktroll

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #13 on: 30 May 2020, 17:56:51 »
3D printed plastic bases is about the most difficult way to get them. It's almost like asking someone to carve them from a plastic block ;)

Assuming you're a USAian, people used to swear by Chessex's plastic hex bases. But I can't find any on their website. Anyone else got details?

Also there used to be a company called Proxy Models, they appear to be on Amazon. BT hexes are 1.25", which is 30mm, point to point - not flat to flat.

Reaper have 1" plastic bases. From my experience with them from the CAV minis, they're slightly larger than a BT hex but entirely usable. https://www.reapermini.com/miniatures/hex/bases

As a non-USAian, I enjoy not paying enormous postage fees, and get my hex bases from Ral Partha Europe. http://www.ralparthaeurope.co.uk/shop/battletech-c-1/miniatures-c-1_3/accessories-c-1_3_68/99125-plastic-hex-bases-10-p-1858.html I usually get bulk lots of 10 packs at a time. RPE also has metal hex bases, as does IWM of course.

Some folk worry about models overtoppling on plastic bases. I've found that unless you're dealing with very edge cases, as long as you keep the centre of gravity of the mini over the base, you're right. so mount a front-heavy mini at the back of the base, and so on.

Best place for (technical term) flocking is your local hobby store, or any railway hobby store. Get a couple of different types - burnt grass, summer grass, run wild. The "bushes" material is also useful.

Best place for sand & dirt is your local garden supplies store. Many have mounds of sand, gravel, dirt, you name it, in a variety of colours. Tell them you'd like some samples for a project you're planning - they'll give you plastic bags, and you can score a pound or so of each for free. That'll last most of your lifetime :) When you get them home, I recommend running them through a sieve to remove stick, insects, bird crap etc; put them on a baking tray somewhere inside to dry for a couple of days. Then jar up, and you're good!

I tend to get "little gravel" bits from the roadside, local building sites, etc.

And off the wall suggestions:

- the best Martian surface material is the "dust" from around clay tennis courts. If you've been to one, you know exactly what I mean!
- Coffee grounds make a great dark earth. Just they're much lighter than dirt/sand, so you need to press them down into the glue.

Some people user superglue for the glueing; I prefer white glue (like from school) as it's more forgiving, and less likely to weld my fingers to the base.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Raellus

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Re: Black Paint & Assorted Other Newb Questions
« Reply #14 on: 30 May 2020, 18:18:28 »
Again, thanks for all of your help, Worktroll. I really appreciate it.

BTW, I ordered some Reaper 1" hexes but they actually turned out to be a couple of millimeters a side smaller than BT hexes.
« Last Edit: 30 May 2020, 18:49:15 by Raellus »
“It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.”— Robert E. Lee

 

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