Friday Quick Tip: Beginners Oil Paint Weathering

For some time now, I've known about using oil paints for use on scale models. It's one of the many tools in the military modelers repetoire that are used quite frequently and quite commonly. So what's so great about it? What can this do that I can't do with a wash? I decided to sit down and find out a couple of weeks back and was extremely surprised, and happy, with the results.

As you can see above, you need a few things that you likely don't have already. Of course, you'll need to pick out some oil paint colors that will work for what you're working on. I decided to pick up a few standard military modeling colors, a dark brown, a yellow and a white. The only one you'll see me using in today's tip will be burnt umber. You'll also want to have a brush that will be dedicated to painting in oils. Finally you'll need some sort of thinner medium. In this case, I've gone with Odorless Mineral Spirit

Other materials you'll find useful will be a dropper, a plastic palette such as the one featured here in our cleaning tip, and a can of spray varnish. In this tip, I've used GW's Purity Seal to seal everything.

I've gone with a great resin base from IronHalo.net I picked up from BoLSCon last month as my test piece. It's got a lot of nooks and crannies to really test out the effects of the oils, as well as a few nice flat areas. As always, your basecoat color is really up to you and your style. I've gone with Chaos Black GW spray because it will be an overall darker piece. If you're having issues picking an appropriate base color to work from, check out this Ask the Corps article for some tips.

Ok, so I know I am skipping an entire step that we've talked about before, but for the purposes of this tip, I think we'll be alright! Here I've painted the entire surface Boltgun Metal. I used two thinner coats as to not obscure the details we are trying to pick out with the oils.

Now the fun starts. Here I've taken the top off the burnt umber and am pulling paint directly from the tube. I then dabbed the brush on randomly along spots and areas I wanted weathered. Don't be too worried about getting things exact, unlike acrylics or even washes, you have all the time in the world to get the paint just where you want it. Once you've gotten things roughly where you want them, it's time to break out the thinner medium.

This is where the eye dropper came in handy. Take a few drops of your thinner medium and drop it into one of the wells on your plastic palette. Then take your brush and swirl it about in the medium, this will dilute what is on the brush, and give you a nice wash of color to work with as you spread your color around.

With your brush charged with thinner, it's time to thin out the oils on the model. Wipe the oil streaks and spots you were put on the piece earlier with your brush. The color will start to pool and go translucent. Use this to work it into the crevices and details. You'll notice you have complete control over how much and where the color goes. If the gradient on a flat surface isn't to your liking, wipe it away and try again.

Oils are going to take practice, but it's practice well worth your time, as you have 100% control over your finished product. Compare this with normal washes where many times you are victim to the whims of gravity and viscosity of the wash. Continue to work your oils until you are satisfied with the effect. Once you are finished, let the piece dry.

Oils take some time to dry, so be a bit more patient with them. I believe I waited a day before messing with this piece. No reason to ruin the work I put into it by getting overzealous! When I came back to it, and it was dry, I hit the entire piece with a spray of Purity Seal to lock in all the hard work! Oil paints require this step and they never truly dry as an acrylic does.

So why bother? Control. Just in this small test of the technique, I've found I had far more control with the color than I would have ever imagined. The long dry time gives you a near infinite ability to get things just how you want them. It just takes a bit of thinner medium and you're working again! The long dry time is also one of the drawbacks though. Don't expect to do any work on a piece back to back with oils. It's just not happening. But a bit of additional time to contemplate what's going on next is usually a good thing, especially on display pieces!

This is my first experiment with oil paints on models and I can see myself using them on many different projects in the future. As I learn more about them, I'll be sure to pass that knowledge on to everyone here as well!

If you have experience with oils, we'd love to hear some beginners tips.


Ask the Corps: Primer Colors

Today it's time to take a look at one of those very subjective parts of the hobby, Primer Colors. Everyone has a different preference on the question of what color to base coat your models. So to start the conversation off, let's see the email that has sparked today's post!

Ryan Writes:

Thanks for all the tips and insights to painting miniatures. Your sight has significantly increased my skill. I do have a question: Which color of primer works best, white, black, or grey? I know that much of depends on your style but if you could give a pro/con of each that would be great! I did white when I first started painting and while it brightened my colors, it also showed my streak/paint lines (didn't know how to dry brush at the time). So then I went to black, which worked wonderfully but the colors for many of them were so dark that it's almost black! I had ultra blue look like very very dark purple and olive green be almost black. Now I did see the grey primer and I haven't tried it yet. So it may give me the best of both worlds. Thanks again for all that the corps have done!

Pros? Cons? Different ideas? Let's hear em!

And if you have a question you'd like to see us bring to the community here, hit us up at ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com!


Friday Quick Tip: Simple Gap Filling

Another tip today coming from LBursley, this time in regards to an alternate method of gap filling using super glue and baking soda! Check it out:

If you haven't already, be sure you head over to AwesomePaintjob.com and see what our boy Les has been up to. He's a busy little bugger.


Ask The Corps: Hazard Stripes

Derina writes:

Im having trouble doing the hazard markings any chance for a how to please?

I've never worked much with hazard stripes/markings myself, so I'm opening this one to the floor!

How do you go about them?

And if you have a question, email us at ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com!


Friday Quick Tip: Drop Pod

After getting through half of this mountain of Drop Pods (I've now built eight of the new models), I've settled on an assembly technique I'd like to share.

I always tend to play with my models before I get around to painting them and doing this for Drop Pods either led to models that fall apart (as you can see in the pic above) or were impossible to paint later.

The key for easy use while painting and priming is to assemble them into three pieces: the "wings" with center weapons tunnel, the base with doors and the center harness console.

This assembly technique gives you enough space to do a good job painting and priming, but still lets you play without them falling apart.

Assemble the wings by push-fitting them into the base, but only gluing at the top. The harness inserts into the wings and then the two pieces push into the base. (If you are worried about sturdiness, hit the base-wings joint with a drop or two of white glue the night before you play.) Or even skip the harness until they are fully painted.

Happy Friday and happy podding!


A New Feature - Contest Calendar

Some of you might have noticed in the right column on the site, but I've created a Google Calendar for TPC purely to catalog painting contests/events and give a heads up to our readers on upcoming deadlines.

This is my call to the community, if you know of a contest, read about one, or have one that you will be running in the future, let us know at ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com! Link us the info and we'll add it!

Be sure to check back often on the calendar posted here for new additions!

The functionality of the calendar heads up isn't up to snuff just yet (you need to open the links in a new window or tab), but it's doing it's job well enough to keep people informed! Though if anyone knows how to fix that, I'd also love to hear from you!!


Friday Quick Tip: Master's Brush Cleaner

Ok, I've never used much in the way of cleaning products for my brushes. I've always just used water to rinse my brushes out often while painting. But I always end up throwing brushes to the terrain pile down the road and I've never thought to try using anything more than dish soap ( IF I think about it! ). But after watching this video by Les, I'm most definitely going to be picking some of this stuff up. Check it out:

(Edit:  Video no longer available.  This brush cleaner works wonders, you can find it from Dick Blick: 
Master's Brush Cleaner and Preserver

Anyone have any good cleaning tips to share?