Register Register

Author Topic: Advice and info needed on shading BT miniatures in a quick and efficient way  (Read 980 times)

RazorclawXLS

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 315
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

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1757
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

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 348
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

  • Ombudsman
  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 24431
  • 504th "Gateway" Division
    • There are Monsters in my Sky!
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.
* 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"

TheoLehman

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 248
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

  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1004
  • I paid for my Atlas by selling action figures.
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

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 315
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

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1757
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

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 315
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

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1757
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

  • CamoSpecs
  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 208
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.

RazorclawXLS

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 315
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.

You're not late, mate. Thank you for the info on the technique that you are using.

I haven't gotten any new materials for shading/panel lining yet, as I haven't even painted the camo pattern on my mechs that I intend to shade/panel line. I am currently trying out various colors on the base coat color I have chosen and how to blend the camo shapes as much as possible with the base coat, using materials I have available. (going over the edges of camo shapes with a glaze of the same color seems to be the best way to blend)

Vallejo Mecha range paints/washes are not available for purchase in my country. I can get Vallejo Black Wash though.

I have Games Workshops shades, but they tend to stick and stain the base color beneath in a way that I do not like for camo patterns, and I haven't had much luck in using a damp brushes to take of the excess where I didn't want it. I haven't tried using them on surface with gloss varnish, though.

I don't know if I am missing some piece of the puzzle here, for acrylic washes and how to do a clean-up after them. So I don't know if I would be able to do a clean-up to a degree that would satisfy me.

« Last Edit: 29 June 2022, 17:33:50 by RazorclawXLS »

Crackerb0x

  • CamoSpecs
  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 208
I don't know if I am missing some piece of the puzzle here, for acrylic washes and how to do a clean-up after them. So I don't know if I would be able to do a clean-up to a degree that would satisfy me.

A cured gloss coat before and alcohol after is generally a good way of removing acrylic washes if they haven't cured yet. I would also recommend Games Workshop's new Nuln Oil Gloss that's either just now released or to be released soon. I've seen reviews and video footage of it in action that show it behaving like an oil wash and leaving behind almost no staining.

Ghaz

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 348
A cured gloss coat before and alcohol after is generally a good way of removing acrylic washes if they haven't cured yet. I would also recommend Games Workshop's new Nuln Oil Gloss that's either just now released or to be released soon. I've seen reviews and video footage of it in action that show it behaving like an oil wash and leaving behind almost no staining.

Nuln Oil Gloss has been out for a while and has been discontinued.  You're probably referring to the reformulated Nuln Oil (all of GW's shades have been reformulated with a Contrast-type medium except for the gloss shades which were discontinued).  The Shades have gone to the 18ml Contrast pots so you'll know if you have the new shade or the old which came in 24ml pots.  They will be available in stores on the 16th.

Crackerb0x

  • CamoSpecs
  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 208
Nuln Oil Gloss has been out for a while and has been discontinued.  You're probably referring to the reformulated Nuln Oil (all of GW's shades have been reformulated with a Contrast-type medium except for the gloss shades which were discontinued).  The Shades have gone to the 18ml Contrast pots so you'll know if you have the new shade or the old which came in 24ml pots.  They will be available in stores on the 16th.

I was in fact referring to nuln oil gloss. I was under the impression it was still in production, which was my mistake. I was also under the impression that it was also part of the overhauled shade line, which was a second mistake.

Regardless, the new Nuln Oil shade looks like it's much less prone to staining, not to belabor it.
« Last Edit: 05 July 2022, 13:47:26 by Crackerb0x »

carlisimo

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 465
I'm a fan of oils for panel shading, too.  An airbrush helps, though (for the varnishing steps), because spray can varnishes aren't reliable in all weather conditions and they're not something I'd ever use indoors. 

The important thing is that the glossier the varnish and the shading paint is, the more it'll stick to the recesses.  Oil paint (well, any paint) on a matte finish will stain everything it touches - which can be desirable.  I've seen some painters create very interesting shading by going heavy on the oils, covering the entire mini in black and then coming back a day later to remove some of it with a mineral spirit-soaked Q-Tip.  But I'm not sure it's ideal for mechs.

If oils are intimidating, gloss acrylics on gloss varnish are nearly as good, hence all the Nuln Oil Gloss talk.  But I'd try oils.  They're more forgiving, and art/craft stores (including Michael's) sell odorless "artist spirit".  It's probably still bad to breathe in so open a window and run a fan, but it doesn't stink.  Don't forget to varnish afterward.  Acrylics over oil can break up over time.