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Author Topic: Advice and info needed on shading BT miniatures in a quick and efficient way  (Read 539 times)

RazorclawXLS

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I am working on a lance of mechs, and I finished re-applying the base color back on raised surfaces and panels on the last mech, after using Basilicanum Gray as wash.

This step took a lot more than I expected, as it took me almost 5 hours yesterday to finish applying the base color on the Battlemaster after the wash, so I don't believe I will using the same washing technic again for shading (basecoat -> wash -> reapply basecoat color on raised surface).

I am thinking of using Tamiya's Panel Line Accent color, which I never used before, so I have some questions for people who used this product for their Battletech miniatures.

I know there is a clean-up needed for this, with Tamiya's X20 enamel thinner suggested for it, but I've seen some videos where people are using Zippo light fluid. What about White Spirit, shouldn't that also work for cleaning up excess spillage?

Should I be applying a varnish to my miniatures before applying Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color? I've seen some tutorial videos for this on Youtube, but it was being applied to a bare plastic (Gundam models).

Do you apply this product at the end, or can it be used as a "middle step" in painting (before fine details and drybrushing highlights)? If used as a middle step, are you applying the varnish immediately after that, or is it OK to continue painting with acrylic paints over the mini treated with Tamiya panel liner?

As a second alternative option for shading the miniatures, there are oil paints. For them I have the same set of questions as for Tamiya panel liner above.

Any feedback on using Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color or oil paints for shading is highly appreciated.

abou

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In general, I think that basecoat, wash, cleanup with basecoat is inefficient. I also think that Citadel contrast paints and Army Painter speed paints don't really give an effect you want with the shapes of BattleTech miniatures. I do believe you are on the right track with enamel panel liners or oil washes. I have been using oil washes so I will speak to those.

If you want a clean effect, you will want to seal the miniature in a gloss varnish, which will protect the underlying acrylic paint. If you don't want a super clean look, the oils will stain the acrylics to a degree. Removal of the oils requires a bit of finesse not to damage the underlying acrylics.

Don't cheap out on the oils and get an artist grade. You might even want to invest in artist grade thinners for cleanup, although your hardware store mineral spirits will work. Cheap makeup sponges and cotton buds are your friends for cleanup.

As soon as the solvents evaporate in the oil wash and the paint is dry to the touch, you can go over them again with acrylics. You can do this as a middle step or you can do it at the end. But if applying over an unvarnished miniature, it might be best as a middle step so that you can then do any highlighting to improve contrast.

Ghaz

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You can still use the contrast paints for recess shading by painting it into the recesses instead of covering the entire model and then going back and repainting the raised panels.

worktroll

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Left field: make your base colour(s) lighter than you want them to end up, then cover all over with Citadel shades (aka washes). Nuln Oil black, Agrax Earthshade brown, and Biel-Tan green are terrific washes. They'll settle into the panel lines and darken them reliably, you just have to avoid pooling by using a dry brush to sponge pooling off. They're also not too thick, so you can use two coats if you want to darken things up.

The trick is to recognise the wash will darken the mini, so plan accordingly. I'm about to do a brown/brown/green camo scheme. I'll base tan, then put in the camo patches in dark brown and med-light green. When hit with a brown ink wash it'll tone down and blend, and the green will look a little olive.

You can take that a step further by a very very dry drybrushing (I call it ghostbrushing), which leaves paint on the edges, not the panels. Use a lighter complementary colour. Then wash, and the edges will stand out.

I paint battalions at a time, so getting a good reproducable result is very necessary for me.
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TheoLehman

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Because I'm That Guy, I prime in black and drybrush the whole model.  Then hit the cockpit and other little details.  It's relatively fast, and while it sure won't win any painting competitions, I like to think my 'Mechs have "table ready" paint jobs.  Just don't try it on skin, hair, or fabric, it won't go well.

Joel47

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I don't like working with solvent-based paints indoors, and the air here in Phoenix is so dry wet-blending acrylics just doesn't work, so what I've been doing lately is to do the panel lines with black ink cut with flow improver using a long skinny brush. Then to get the shading on panels themselves I blend two or three shades of the color on my (very) wet palette into a long strip, doing the wet blending there and just working my way along the shade continuum I've created with frequent back-and-forth between palette and mini.

RazorclawXLS

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Don't cheap out on the oils and get an artist grade. You might even want to invest in artist grade thinners for cleanup, although your hardware store mineral spirits will work. Cheap makeup sponges and cotton buds are your friends for cleanup.

I never worked with oil paints and thinners before, so I don't know what brands I can find in my country and city. I would appreciate it if you could mention some oil paint brands that are worth buying, and I will check if I can find them locally or I would have to order online.

As for the makeup sponges and cotton buds, I've seen people mentioning that regular cotton buds are a no-no, because their material frays and they can leave fibres stuck in the oil paint during cleanup. Can I substitute cheap makeup sponges with cheap makeup applicators?

Left field: make your base colour(s) lighter than you want them to end up, then cover all over with Citadel shades (aka washes). Nuln Oil black, Agrax Earthshade brown, and Biel-Tan green are terrific washes. They'll settle into the panel lines and darken them reliably, you just have to avoid pooling by using a dry brush to sponge pooling off. They're also not too thick, so you can use two coats if you want to darken things up.

The trick is to recognise the wash will darken the mini, so plan accordingly.

In certain cases (this being one of them), I want my minis to be the exact base color I chose (I love Vallejo's Model Color Olive Grey and Russian Uniform, perfect for military paint jobs and camo), and I would not be able to emulate that by washing a lighter color.

You can still use the contrast paints for recess shading by painting it into the recesses instead of covering the entire model and then going back and repainting the raised panels.

I wanted to avoid pin washing as I thought that it would take more time than I was willing to spend on that step, and I would probably miss recesses and panel lines somewhere.

Because I'm That Guy, I prime in black and drybrush the whole model.

Drybrushing the base color on is something I have thought of, but ultimately didn't go with it, as  I wanted a nice even coverage with the base color I chose for these mechs, and due to my hands shaking, I tend to make mistakes, which would be significantly harder to fix on a drybryshed surface.

When I saw that the current procedure was taking me so long, I thought that I would be better off by applying the base color directly on the black primer, paying attention to recesses and panel lines, as I basically already did that to fix the darkened base color by the wash.

abou

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I never worked with oil paints and thinners before, so I don't know what brands I can find in my country and city. I would appreciate it if you could mention some oil paint brands that are worth buying, and I will check if I can find them locally or I would have to order online.

As for the makeup sponges and cotton buds, I've seen people mentioning that regular cotton buds are a no-no, because their material frays and they can leave fibres stuck in the oil paint during cleanup. Can I substitute cheap makeup sponges with cheap makeup applicators?

For paints, good brands are Winsor & Newton or Gamblin. Paints tend to be split into student, artist, and professional grades. That gets a lot into the weeds about single pigment paints, how finely they are ground, etc. At least get an artist grade. The nice thing about blacks and browns, is they tend to be single pigments and affordable. You can start with an ivory black (made from burnt bones) or lamp black (made from soot).

For thinners, grab a small bottle at the same store. You'll want to get odorless mineral spirits, also known as white spirits in the UK. You can get more from your hardware store for cheaper, but you'll never use it all and it likely won't be as pure.

Cheap makeup sponges are the way to go. I got a package of "cosmetic wedges" for a few dollars. You can also use an oil brush for cleanup as well to get into tight places. When using them to clean the miniature, don't be too aggressive. You can use the thinner to dampen the sponge to remove more of the oil, but you still need to be careful not to damage the acrylic paint underneath.

I used an oil wash here to hit the deep recesses and missile ports: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/miniatures/nova-cat-xi-galaxy-mad-dog/

It's a good technique. And if you become more adventurous, you can use different colors to get different effects.

RazorclawXLS

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For paints, good brands are Winsor & Newton or Gamblin. Paints tend to be split into student, artist, and professional grades. That gets a lot into the weeds about single pigment paints, how finely they are ground, etc. At least get an artist grade. The nice thing about blacks and browns, is they tend to be single pigments and affordable. You can start with an ivory black (made from burnt bones) or lamp black (made from soot).

For thinners, grab a small bottle at the same store. You'll want to get odorless mineral spirits, also known as white spirits in the UK. You can get more from your hardware store for cheaper, but you'll never use it all and it likely won't be as pure.

Cheap makeup sponges are the way to go. I got a package of "cosmetic wedges" for a few dollars. You can also use an oil brush for cleanup as well to get into tight places. When using them to clean the miniature, don't be too aggressive. You can use the thinner to dampen the sponge to remove more of the oil, but you still need to be careful not to damage the acrylic paint underneath.

I used an oil wash here to hit the deep recesses and missile ports: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/miniatures/nova-cat-xi-galaxy-mad-dog/

It's a good technique. And if you become more adventurous, you can use different colors to get different effects.

Thanks for the feedback. Finding this stuff is harder then I thought it would be. I will have to order online from several "local" stores. It's mostly student grade oil paints here.

Anyway, I forgot to ask last time, how long does it take for the oil paints to dry before I can start applying a varnish on top, or acrylic paints directly? Are there any potential issues with using oil paints and acrylics for Battletech miniatures that I should be aware of?

abou

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Anyway, I forgot to ask last time, how long does it take for the oil paints to dry before I can start applying a varnish on top, or acrylic paints directly? Are there any potential issues with using oil paints and acrylics for Battletech miniatures that I should be aware of?
The simple answer is that, "It depends."

You can paint with acrylics directly on the oils as long as the mineral spirits have evaporated. You can varnish as well, but you might want to wait a few days.

The thinner the paint, the faster it will dry; however, dry is not the same as cure. Oils paints tend to use linseed oil, which cures by crosslinking when exposed to oxygen. Your wash will likely be dry within 30 to 60 minutes to clean up with your makeup sponge -- and probably dry enough to do any touch-ups with acrylics. When applied more thickly, it may take 2 days to dry. For a full cure, it really depends. It could take 5 to 12 days.

But if you wait at least 2 days, you should be able to varnish it without much problem. At least I haven't seen any problems.

Crackerb0x

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There's a lot of good answers here and I'm coming in late to this. I like to recess shade with four tools: Enamel Gloss Coat, a black wash, Matte Varnish, and makeup blending sponges.

In effectively the same process that you do with an oil wash, I spray with the Enamel Gloss Coat (My favorite is Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel). I follow that up with a generous wash of Vallejo Mecha Black Wash or Vallejo Black Wash that I've added some water to to dilute to a 1:2 ratio of water to wash. It might drip, it might not. You can it up with a brush with a big belly if you want, but the next step will be clean up. The Mecha Black is my go-to because it behaves like an oil wash.

Now, after waiting maybe half an hour or so, this will give the wash some time to dry without it being totally dry. Take a makeup sponge that's damp and wipe away the wash. Because the sponges shouldn't get in the panel lines, the panel lines should be the only thing shaded when you're done.

This process won't work very well with older models or models with super light detailing.

Finally, spray the model down with your favorite matte varnish after it's been given time to fully dry. I like to use Krylon Color Maxx Crystal Clear.

I guess it does take some time when you take into account dry times, but it's a really easy way of dealing with panel lining/recess shading that I've used.

 

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