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Old 06-28-2004, 10:10 AM   #1
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Shieldwulf's Modelling Tips

The tips below are from Shieldwulf and NOT myself!! He deserves all the credit for the tips provided!!
0) If you ever want to learn from someone, then learn from the best. I feel privileged to learn from the "chief student" of a Japanese scale model master in a local hobby shop. The Master (a.k.a. "Sensei") has "retired" and spent most of his time taking naps (or snoring?) in the shop, while one of his "chief student", a.k.a. my Instructor, showed me the ropes. The critical part of this learning process is to think through the hows and the whys of his guidelines. My Instructor will never tell me too much until I became "over guided". Just enough instructions in "point form", and leave it for the rest for me to think and ponder about it. Mistakes are acceptable. Because mistakes are where you began to realise something or to improve on it. Whenever a major blunder happens, he will just say, "don't worry its just plastic only". Though I could hardly smile at it.

1) Patience. There is nothing unique or special which I have done which will make the build look clean except that this time, I have withheld the urge to rush any work. Patience is key. Patience should be built on each successive completed model kit. I'm sure many of the modelers in this forum have more patience than me, especially for those doing mods. So compared to the experts doing the mods, mine is really a box-stock "chicken scratch".

Truth be told, I actually creating a lot of wailing noises in the process of painting this kit. And I also made horrendous mistakes. I even accidentally flushed down one of the side view mirror holder down the sink while wet sanding. And I had to get another box of the same kit just to get a replacement for it. It was my Instructor who pressed me on and to remind me to be very patient when building car models.

2) Proper masking. When masking, make sure the masking edges are pressed down properly so that you did not miss out covering any corners. Apply masks by joining small pieces of masking tape together if you encounter areas with undulating shapes. For example, the exhaust pipe of the chassis in above last photo. (Regret that I should have taken some progress pics to share) For me, I used Tamiya masking tape. There may be varying instructions on masking, but what works for me is that after applying masking tape, I airbrush a thin mist layer, and repeat for subsequent coats in short intervals (1 to 2 mins) until I am satisfied there is enough paint. Then, I remove the masks while the paint is not fully cured. However, also don't remove the masks while the paint is still very wet. Basically, just remove the masks about 3 to 5 mins after the last coat of paint. When removing masks, pull the masking tapes off in as parallel direction with the painted surface as possible and away from the painted edges.

3) Airbrushing. I airbrush almost all the parts except for the dashboard panel details. I mask and airbrush the parts. For really small items, like the dashboard audio system buttons or the chassis screw nuts, use a fine-tipped silver paint marker or Gundam marker for "dot" painting.

4) For car model kits. I use Gunze's Mr Color series of paints for a really thin and smooth finish. They are great for airbrushing. That doesn't mean that other brands are not good enough. Just sharing with you what works for me. And for brushing painting, I would use Gunze's Aqueous Hobby Color series of water-based acrylics because they dry slower and so its easier to brush for a better finish. Brush painting using Tamiya Acrylics works for me too, for small areas, but the finish is not as nice as Gunze's unless you thin the paint properly. But don't use Tamiya Acrylics for car body painting, or painting large surface areas, the paint pigments are not as fine as Gunze's. You may also use Tamiya Lacquer Spray or Gunze Spray on car body painting.

5) Subtle highlights. I used Tamiya Enamel Flat Black diluted about 1 part to 10 parts of Tamiya Enamel Thinner. Dip the mixture with a fine pointed brush to do the panel lines. Just place the brush point on a spot on the panel line (don't brush paint the whole line), and let the capillary action of the diluted paint flow along the line. If the paint stops flowing along the line, repeat again by "refilling" the brush with more of the diluted paint else apply at another part of the same line to make both paint flow "join up". For paint smudges outside the panel lines esp. on the spot where you placed the brush on, let it dry then lightly remove it with rubbing compound using a cloth in a swirling motion.

6) For a clean build. Do everything slowly and modularly. "Modularly" means focus on each part or segment one at a time. Let's say you may want to focus on constructing the chassis only. So spend quality time building and painting the chassis. Only go for other "modules" while waiting for glue or paint to dry for the current module. Try to mask and paint one part or module at a time. Too many at one go, and you may lose focus. When you lose focus, the finished work may not be as good as you wanted. Keep your work area clean. Avoid having glue and paint bottles placed near your model kit. You may never know when will the next spillage is going to happen. Spills are rare. So the worse culprit is paint splashes!

7) Visualise. Imagine and visualise what you want your completed model to look like. What paint job do you want. Try to have a strong idea of what you really want for each part and its colour. Do what you like, do what you enjoy. There is no hard and fast rule that each part must be in a certain colour, although some are based on common sense. This is very applicable to the body paint and the interior passenger compartment areas. Decide on the colour scheme and go for it. Remember, do it slowly and surely with patience.

8) Paint the body. Apply the same methods as described in the Car Modelling FAQs section for primering and painting the car body. Only the final layer of polishing, you may want to use an old lint-free cotton shirt or cloth in place of cosmetic cotton pads to do the polishing. Microfiber-based polishing cloth is good too.

9) Polishing. Always polish with the rubbing compound in a circular or swirling motion, one small area at a time. Never linearly across the whole body kit.

10) Line demarcation problem. Some parts can be a nightmare to mask and paint. For example, looking at the passenger seats of my Honda Fit photos, you can see that the seat is painted in 2 shades of gray. For the lighter tone gray, I used the Tamiya Neutral Gray because I like this gray and I don't seem to have found a Gunze equivalent yet. Also, because the pigment is more coarse, it looks good for the seat, for a cushion "lint" effect. For the darker tone parts, I used Gunze's German Gray instead of Tamiya's (as stated in the Instruction sheet). The seats were a failure at first because I experimented by brushing painting the darker gray areas. Uneven and brush lines appear when dry. Then, I washed them off with Gunze's Mr Color Thinner. Take note that Gunze's Mr Color Thinner will make the plastic brittle after washing however since these are the seat parts, which are very thick, I don't have to worry. Just take note when doing the same thing for thin or small parts. Then I masked and airbrushed for the 2 tone gray. Yet still, it looked poor. Then I realised that the molded-in panel lines that separated the 2 tones were not deep enough. When I tried to cut the masking tape along the lines with a blade, it wasn't very "clear" as to where the blade was going. So I washed off the paint from the seat again using Mr Color Thinner. Next, I changed the blade to a fresh piece, and used a line scriber to scribe all the lines on the seats. Once I'm satisfied the lines are deep and "clear-cut" enough, I lightly sanded the areas along the lines to smoothen the edges of the lines caused by the line scriber. After that, this time, I apply the primer to the seats and lightly polished using grit 1500 or 2000 sand paper. Lastly, I mask and airbrush again. This time it is nice, because the line demarcation is clearer thanks to the line scribing. I learned that I cannot take painting short-cuts for the seats!

Last edited by tonioseven; 07-26-2004 at 03:35 PM.
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