Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Converting Tips - Camo

Balangaz Here. Some things make or break a model, and with some help even the most mediocre paint job a nicely converted model will stand out. 

Conversions are a bit tricky. You'll want to do them when you start to compare your models with others on the web and you feel very sad when you finish your first one. You see, practice makes perfect, but for conversions you'll want to stay away from that because you may feel that you are ruining you model. I did the first time I cut a hole on a tank (on purpose) but even bad conversions can be hidden with better ones.

Today we are going to talk about something that can hide even the worse mistake you made on a model tank. Today we give our salute - to camo nettings!

The Camo nettings

There are several things you can use to create a realistic camo netting, some are home-made and others are bought. 

You can use a lightweight aluminum or plastic mesh. I believe there was even a tutorial with this material on WD back in 09 but I don't have it with me to be certain. The aluminum would be a better choice between the two of them since you can shape it to fit your tank, remove it, cut some strips of tape and create a nice looking net.

This is an example of camo netting one can buy over the internet, I found this on this site Build-a-rama

The price is not wrong and you will end up getting a nice product but I just feel that it's too much to pay for something I can do with some effort on my part. Of course I have a friend that will buy anything just so he can not scratch build something, so we have to give it the credit it deserves. The plus side is that you will get a product that delivers when you buy 'industrial' camo net.

Also, you can find them in the form of decals like this one that I found for a 1/35 tank at Bnamodelworld

They apply differently from what you might expect. You don't actually apply the decal while it's wet but you peel it off, wait for it to dry and then you place it onto a model. Never tried it and have to say that I never will.

Now, you ask, why am I not telling you how to create some by youself? I mean, if you guys don't know it yet I'm a little cheap, so why not share how you can get away with some decent looking, easy to apply camo net for your tanks

First, for the material, you get some medical gauze. I prefer to use the square one instead of the ones that come in a roll but either one is just fine and you will cut it to size, but after a few times applying it I noticed that when you wet it and apply onto your model it tends to shrink a little and since the square is larger you can just apply it and cut away the extra. Also, some art store acrylic paint, either green, brown or sand, depending on where your models are stantioned. I tend to use ocre yellow with some splotches of light brown or some brown wash.

What you do is you put some paint on a recipient and adds lots of water to thin it down, then you soak the gauze and leave it there. I use a few paints on my mixture but I don't mix them all so I can have several different stains on the net. You can leave it overnight and when it's done you just toss away the water and wait for the gauze to dry.

First time I tried using camo net on a tank I glued the net before painting the tank and it was hell, I had to paint each and every spot the tank was showing under the net, and as you can see the results weren't nearly as good as the stained gauze

By staining the gauze it won't be hard since it doesn't have a lot of paint and you can place it on the model without thinking about how to paint it.  This is what you end up with

Hope this helped some people and keep in mind this is just the basics on camo net as it can get much more complicated once we start with masking tape and airbrushes, but that we'll leave to another Thursday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tank 101 - The Primer

I said I was going to try and create a posting routine and since today deserves a post I had to come up with something that I'll be able to keep up for the following weeks, so here is "Friday's Tank 101", where I'll address some basic concepts about painting all sorts of Vehicles, and not only tanks as the title may imply. Let's begin then.

There are plenty of details that make or break a vehicle paint job but these first steps are the cornerstones of a good looking model. Today we give our salute- to Primers. But we will talk about a specific type of primer.

The Primer

Bad application of primer will destroy the tank making either too hard or impossible to get a good final piece. There are so many things that can go wrong with the primer (believe me I've experienced a lot of bad things with primer). It can be too thick, it can leave brushstrokes, it can be spoiled and deliver a bad finish or maybe it won't stick or dry. That's why choosing a good primer is essential for achieving a good piece.

My father in law was on the business of painting motorcycles for about fifteen years and when I started whit the hobby he gave me a lot of tips. The best one was to use Polyester Automotive paint as my primer and undercoat.

Now, why should you use automotive paint on your Leman Russes, Land Raiders or even as a primer for your models? I mean, they are only soluble in thinner, have a rather strong smell and have to be applied with an airbrush, so what's the advantages of it?

For those of you who live where you can get a can of army painter for a few bucks this may go under the radar but where I live I have to pay almost 7 usd for a small 17ml bottle of Vallejo paint, so price is an issue. A half-gallon of automotive paint normally goes for 15 usd and after diluted you end up with over four times the amount you had without losing any coverage!

As they are intended to be used in a professional work they will indeed achieve a professional finish very easily. They leave an extremely thin layer and even when applied for the first time and with no experience you will get a wonderful result. I can assure you that no details can ever be lost when using it, I mean, unless you dip the model on the paint that is.

For example take the right tank on the bottom picture. Its a scratchbuilt tank that was handed to me on the plastic, as since it was so inexpensive I decided to try this paint for the first time. Note, that was the first time I was using an airbrush and this kind of paint so I was expecting to mess things up.

The end result was this, a nicely primed tank. I used the base coat color since I knew nothing about pre-shading at that time but even so it
worked very well.

Also, they are very resilient, as they are intended for outdoors, and they will not peel off the model ever, even when exposed to harsh conditions, say like carrying a just primed tank on a backpack without protection. This happened to me yesterday and the tank has no paint chip on it, it's amazing.

The only thing to look out for is that thinner. I'm not talking about the smell nor the dangers of inhaling it, but since the paint have to be so much diluted to be used on an airbrush you may end up putting too much thinner and that may be bad for your plastic models. That's very hard to happen but the second time I used it I lost a Termagant, he looked like he was hit by a melta shot! So, until you have some experience I would advise you to test the recently diluted paint on a sprue piece.

It was brought to my attention that you can get Polyester paint in a spray can, and even though my father-in-law despises it since you have no control on the application and it's way more expensive that buying it by the quarter-gallon, it's still a very good alternative.

I think this covers the Polyester paint quite well, if you guys have any questions about it fell free to leave a comment and I'll be most pleased to address it.

I believe introductions are in order.

Hello and welcome to you all. Let me begin by introducing myself, I'm Rafael "Balangaz", a modeler from Brazil, and I've been working with plastic models for almost an year. I collect a fe 40k armies, mainly an ever-growing Tallarn Imperial Guard Army, a small Space Wolves force a respectable Tyranid Hive Fleet. I try to juggle between all three armies so I don't get too bored just painting and modeling one and when I'm tired of plastic I create some terrain pieces to relieve the spirit.

I got into Warhammer mainly because of terrains and IG tanks - I remember spending the whole night reading a 500 pages thread about tanks - and that's been my favorite thing so far in this hobby. I find it so relaxing, to create a tank, modify the original design and make it into something unique, something that will steal a couple of looks from everyone who passes by and I bet you like that too.

Since we all agree that modeling and painting Tanks are just so much fun, what I will try and do is to pass a few things I've picked up to you guys, from painting tips to conversion ideas, WIPs and finished pieces, as well as ways to cut corners on the hobby without losing any quality whatsoever.

I expect this to be at least a weekly updated blog but as many of you know, some weeks there will be much more updates while sometimes they might be sparse.

Also, I'll try to diversify things so I can keep a nice posting schedule by having some Space Wolves, both conversion and painting tips, as well as Tyranid-related posts and terrain making tutorials, this last being another great passion of mine.