Author Topic: Pilot Figure Painting  (Read 4131 times)

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Offline Keith Diamond

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Pilot Figure Painting
« on: November 17, 2010, 11:28:47 pm »
I don't know about most of you guys, but I'm not a good figure painter.  Sure I can paint small items with a fine brush, but I can't get those realistic shades and tones you find on convincing pilot figures.  There's some effective techniques I've read about that rely on a series of washes, but I think I've come up with something for less skilled or lazy modelers like myself.





For the above figures, I used three different Testors paints: SAC Bomber Green, Dark Gull Gray, and Flat Clear.  I've always used SAC Bomber Green for flight suits, and mix in some Dark Gull Gray for the vest, or sometimes belts.  So, for the arms and legs, I used a mix of 2/3rds SAC Bomber Green with 1/3rd Flat Clear.  For the chest and gloves, I use a mix of 1/3rd SAC Bomber Green, 1/3rd Dark Gull Gray, and 1/3rd Flat Clear. 

Essentially, I create a sorta clear wash that only requires one application, instead of a series of slightly different shades.  Since the paint is partly clear, more paint will settle into the folds of the figure and naturally create a darker shade.  It will be thinner on the crests of the figure, and naturally highlight those areas.

Like I said, its like a wash, but it only requires one application.

Here's how I came up with it:

A few years ago, I was painting a bunch of Hasegawa F-16 pilots.  I was frustrated at how the green was uniform throughout the whole figure (no highlights, no shading)  One of the pilots though, was for a Thunderbird F-16, so I painted his uniform Insignia Red.  I really liked the way that figure turned out becuase it seemed to show every crease and fold on that figure's uniform. 

Naturally, I figured it must have something to do with the red pigment since red is sometimes a difficult color to apply evenly, especially over a non uniform base.  I was thinking that the paint might be thinner that other colors, so on my Academy F-15 pilots (still in progress), I mixed a lot of thinner with SAC Bomber Green. 

It didn't work...

Then I realized that the Insignia Red I used earlier works a lot like any clear paints such as Smoke, Clear Red, or Clear Blue.  The more you apply over one area, the darker the shade.  So, on my Monogram F-111, I mixed in some Clear Flat with my SAC Bomber Green.  It was a significant improvement, but I added too much thinner so it was too runny.

The pilots above were my third attempt, and are pretty close to what I was aiming for.

What do you guys think?
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Offline NARSES2

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Re: Pilot Figure Painting
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 02:13:19 am »
Works well Keith.

It's a similar approach to what one of the UK wargames accessory manufacturers markets. Basically they sell tins of "shader" (basically a tinted varnish) and you paint your figure with the main uniform colours then when dry dip them in the "shader". It then accumulates in the folds and creases and looks quite good. Yours is a nice home grown and cheaper solution  :thumbsup:
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Offline Radish

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Re: Pilot Figure Painting
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2010, 06:36:43 am »
Basically I paint any figures black and then drybrush and do a bit of detail painting if required.
If I'me doing a 1/35th figure, I often start with dark Earth though.
Now that I've got the hang of this sizing of pictures lark, I'll post some pictures....but don't hold your breath...it may take some time!
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Offline Keith Diamond

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Re: Pilot Figure Painting
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 06:32:47 am »
The Shader sounds pretty cool.  I definitely see the appeal of that, especially if painting a figure with a variety of colors.

Man, we should have cloned twenties. Jackson wouldn't have given a poo-poo.

Offline ChrisF

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Re: Pilot Figure Painting
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 02:49:53 pm »
What scale are those photo shots sorry ?

Offline ChernayaAkula

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Re: Pilot Figure Painting
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 04:09:57 pm »
^ Think these are 1/48.

Don't know whether you did this on purpose, but the green tint on the visors really lends them a translucent look.  :thumbsup:
Cheers,
Moritz


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Offline Keith Diamond

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Re: Pilot Figure Painting
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2011, 05:47:33 pm »
Yep, they are 1/48 pilots.

As for the green tint... well I guess the gloss black is real shiny since the green is probably a reflection of my cutting board!
Man, we should have cloned twenties. Jackson wouldn't have given a poo-poo.

Offline ChrisF

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Re: Pilot Figure Painting
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2011, 06:07:41 pm »
If they're that small i wouldnt worry so much.. They look great to me..