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Old 08-08-2005, 09:20 AM   #1
MPWR
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How To: Using Washes

Although it's considered a 'weathering' technique, using a wash is even more useful in bringing out detail in parts than in making them look 'dirty'. Simply put, washing is applying a thinned dark color to a part and letting it collect in corners, crevices, and low lying areas to simulate shadows. It has countless uses in car modeling, from highlighting engraved manufacturer logos on intake manifolds or darkening the recesses in dashboard A/C ducts, to bringing out the cooling fins on an air cooled engine, raised ridges on transmissions, weld seams, bolt heads, recesses between damper spring coils... and on and on. It may seem that shadows in these places shouldn't need to be added- if the part is molded and painted correctly, the shadows should fall exactly as they do on the real thing, right? Unfortunately, they don't. The differences in size, the ways the human eye percieves depth, and lighting conditions of models verses real cars doesn't create shadows where your eye expects to see them. Putting them in place makes a big difference in making a model look like a convincing substitute for the real thing. Even if the model you're building is of a clean, pristine engine that's never been run before, adding a wash will greatly improve it's appearence- and it can do so without making it look dirty.


Here's a newly painted engine. The kit part has plenty of detail on it, but somehow, it looks alot more like a kit part of and engine block than an actual engine block. Fortunately, we can remedy this pretty easily.




There are a number of choices for media to use for washing. Some options are India ink cut with water, thinned Tamiya acrylic smoke, or thinned enamels. Having tried alot of different ways, my favorite is to use artists oils.



Windsor & Newton (only the best!). I like to thin it with 'odorless' turpentine, although you could use the real stuff, too. ('Odorless' here means it has less odor than normal turpentine- but I still use it with a bit of ventilation). You can find this stuff pretty easily in art supply stores. I like artists oils for washes because they flow very well, have excellent color and appearence, and dry very slowly. With acrylics, you really only have a few seconds to get it right- then the paint drys, wether you're happy with it or not. With artists oils, you can easily make adjustments to your wash (or remove it entirely) 10-15 minutes or longer after you've applied them. Because of this, they're very flexible and forgiving.

A VERY IMPORTAINT consideration with washes is you must be sure not to use anything that will attack your basecoat of paint. Enamels offer some of the same advantages that artists oils do, but I've ruined far too many paint jobs when enamel thinner in the wash I applied ate the paint underneith. I've been using oils and Turpinoid for years and haven't found a paint they've attacked, acrylic, enamel or laquer. I do most of my painting using Tamiya and Model Master acryl, and there are no shortage of things that will attack acrylics, but with this I haven't had a problem. Be sure you test first, though, as your milage may vary.


To apply, squeeze a dab of paint out onto a pallette- I'm using a yogurt container lid here. My two favorite colors for washes are black and raw umber (above). Raw umber has a nice 'filthy' kind of appearence, and is good for simulating a little bit of dirt collected in corners and crevices, along with shadows. On most models, I use it straight, or with a little bit of black, on everything on the underside- engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, radiators, etc. This engine, however, is going to be for a more prisitine showcar (bit of a change for me), so on most of it, I'm going to just use straight black.




Take a pointed brush, load it up with thinner, and mix it with the paint (I've made a pool of thinned paint here, next to the dab of unthinned paint).




Simply apply it to the part. Let it run into every corner and crevice on the part. It will naturally collect in any low spots, just as it should.







On the underside, I am using a bit of raw umber. If the engine has been filled with oil, transmission fluid, etc, a little will inevitably spill out, and collect in low places. A little bit of dirty color here will help suggest that even though it's in a showcar, it's still a real, living, breathing engine.


That's a bit heavy with the color- but with oils, it's very easy to correct. Just wipe it up a bit with a piece of paper towel. If you wiped up too much, add a little bit more. It's not going to dry on you, so you have plenty of time to adjust until it looks just right. Another thing you can do is wipe all of the raised surfaces of the engine, and get them clean- leaving wash only in corners and crevices. This helps highlight raised areas a bit.



It doesn't even realy look dirty- but you can clearly see all the fins and bolts now.


Before and after. As with everything in modeling, it's a matter of personal tate- but I think the one below looks like it has alot more life to it. Notice the bolt heads on the engine mounts.




Another before and after.




Since you all seem to like pictures so much, here a couple more gratuitus shots of what you can do with washes. Just kit parts, nothing added but paint and wash (except for the dampers on the F50). When at it's best, you don't even really see the wash, only the depth that it adds. Enjoy!










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Last edited by MPWR; 08-09-2005 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 08-08-2005, 10:12 AM   #2
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Thats what I've been waiting for ! Thats pretty much what I do but I've never used oils. Looks like I'm gonna have to dig up my old W&N set.

Cheers

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Old 08-08-2005, 10:15 AM   #3
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Re: How To: Using Washes

Thank you!

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Old 08-08-2005, 10:59 AM   #4
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Great how to.. That's just about how I do my washes, just that I also use black ink.. Pre thinned for you, as I'm lazy..!!
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Old 08-08-2005, 04:03 PM   #5
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Re: How To: Using Washes

Superb! I've got a 1/20 Renault coming up & I'll put this tut to good use. Thx for sharing
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Old 08-08-2005, 05:14 PM   #6
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Re: How To: Using Washes

Outstanding! finally i can put my girlfriend's art stuff into use
Thank you for this great tutorial

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Old 08-08-2005, 05:37 PM   #7
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Re: How To: Using Washes

I agree with everyone... great tutorial! Thanks for posting it.

Can I suggest to the moderators that this How To be submitted to the How To Tread.
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Old 08-08-2005, 07:13 PM   #8
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Nice!
I'm just getting back into modelling and this was something I was having problems with... I think this will remedy it.
Thanks!
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Old 08-09-2005, 12:01 AM   #9
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Great tut,

I used thinned Humbrol black, but on my next model I┤ll give this method a try.
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:37 AM   #10
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Re: How To: Using Washes

Thanks - it was worth waiting for
Now maybe, I'll be able to get the hang of this at last...?
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Old 08-09-2005, 04:27 AM   #11
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Excellent !!!
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Old 08-09-2005, 01:31 PM   #12
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Thanks to you, I bought today W&N Ivory Black and Burnt Umber. I'll try this method later on.
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:02 PM   #13
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Re: How To: Using Washes

This is going into ScaleWiki and the AF How-to thread!
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Old 08-09-2005, 03:20 PM   #14
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Re: How To: Using Washes

Thank┤s a lot - will be fun to use on my Porsche 934.
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Old 08-09-2005, 05:54 PM   #15
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Re: How To: Using Washes

Great tutorial. Added to the how-to thread.

Hope Jay doesn't mind me editing his thread, but I haven't seen him around much lately...
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