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Author Topic: What's the best way to do detail work?  (Read 503 times)


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What's the best way to do detail work?
« on: 07 June 2022, 04:11:34 »
So, I'm working on painting my minis. Because I can't make things simple, I decided on making a mercenary company who do fancy detailing on their mechs. Problem is, I'm really struggling to do the fancy detailing. I'll attach some images below of what I'm doing, but I'm really struggling to get fine, straight lines that don't end up looking uneven and blobby.

At the moment I'm using a windsor newton series 7 size 0 brush, which is supposed to be good, and it's certainly better than my broken toad brush, but, the lines are all just coming out sort of amateurish and since I'm so proud of the rest of the model I always feel like I'm ruining it by adding uneven detailing.

Is there a better way of doing this? Is there a better brush, or pen, or technique or suchlike that I could be using? I know about transfers, but since each mech is a unique sort of shape I don't think those would be much use.

(Sorry about the bad quality for the images; it's shockingly hard to resize photos on your phone.)


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Re: What's the best way to do detail work?
« Reply #1 on: 07 June 2022, 04:44:26 »
Long form: practice, practice, practice. You're not bad as it is, but I see why you're not happy. I suspect shorter lines are going to be more consistent than longer ones in a single go.

Medium form: go back and correct (possibly several times). Like the cockpit on the Dragon - the lines are a little wobbly. So go back with the cockpit green and even them out.  And if that wobbles, go back with the detail colour.

Short form: there are different ways of achieving edge highlighting (eg. panelling) without painting the panel edges by hand. Not necessarily helpful here.

Cheat mode: buy a coloured paint pen with a fine nib. You can find these wherever Gundam kits are sold. The average person is far more accurate using a pen than a brush for drawing detai.

Hope that helps some!
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Re: What's the best way to do detail work?
« Reply #2 on: 07 June 2022, 06:51:48 »
Yeah, the problem is these things are awful to go over the lines on, because they're painted with a top down gradient across the whole model, which looks great as long as you then don't have to try and repaint any of it. As I said, i don't make life easy for myself....

I don't have any modelling shops near me, and it's not just panel highlighting,  I've also been drawing wing icons on parts and little logos on flat parts, but, yeah


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Re: What's the best way to do detail work?
« Reply #3 on: 07 June 2022, 08:39:15 »
As I said, i don't make life easy for myself....


practice, practice, practice.

And that.

Don't worry too hard about it, struggling with something when you first try it is completely normal. Reminds me of an episode of Bluey (yes, I have a 4-year old), where she can't ride her bike well and sits down with her dad frustrated that she can't get it straight away. They watch the other pups at the park struggle with different tasks before finding their own way to do things. Likewise, there's no one right way to paint, and with practice you'll hone in on what works for you. As long as your brush keeps a tip, a size 0 should be fine. If you're not already using a higher-end paint, I'd suggest something like Vallejo for this sort of thing; white is notorious for being thick and chunky, and detail work makes things worse by having to use such a small amount of paint at a time. By starting with a higher grade paint, you can afford to thin it a little either with water or an extender to help keep it wet longer and continue to flow (important not to go too heavy with the water or it'll just be a mess). You can also keep another brush handy with just some water on it to quickly clean up mistakes you make along the way. You may need to take a break from that section for a little while after, but better to be able to come back to it and give it another shot than worrying about only having one shot to get it right. Practice will help, so don't give up. It's all about developing your brush control and making it work for you. You'll get there. And you'll also figure out that things don't need to be perfect, just good enough to fool people into thinking they are.  ;)


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Re: What's the best way to do detail work?
« Reply #4 on: 07 June 2022, 08:52:11 »
Another tip, rather than putting down purple then drawing the white wings on top, try putting down white where the wings will go and painting the purple in around it. Sketching the shape lightly with a pencil, if needed.


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Re: What's the best way to do detail work?
« Reply #5 on: 29 June 2022, 17:57:10 »
A little off topic, but, one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received in regards to detail painting is also in how to use protective clear coats.

After you have your Primer/Base/Wash/Basic paneling done,  give it a good coat of Hard Clear Gloss coat.

THEN once you have that dry, go in & try to paint the detail work, at the very least, its quick & easy to wipe off errors or even lightly wash off some paint while its still wet.

Once your happy with the details, throw on a layer of Dull Coat to take the shine off the mini & protect the details.

The double coating is a common technique but I found the part about doing the detail work in between the 2 layers to be particularly handy.
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Re: What's the best way to do detail work?
« Reply #6 on: 22 July 2022, 16:08:43 »
I'd use the same brush you're using.  One problem is the use of white.  A lot of white paints have a difficult consistency to work with, and none of them cover all that well.  Try a gray or silver instead, and go over that with lighter gray as a second layer.  You should be able to thin your paint more with those colors and that'll give you more control.  It has to be really thin. 

Paint while breathing out, not holding your breath. 

It may take a lot of mechs before you're really happy with your work, but there are a lot of mechs to paint...


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Re: What's the best way to do detail work?
« Reply #7 on: 23 July 2022, 00:18:58 »
Something that helps me when I know I have small work coming (which I'm not good at) is laying off caffeine, I find it makes my hands a little steadier.  I mainline coffee, so I have to really plan this in advance :)