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Painting: Painting with Acrylic
Discuss Acrylic painting techniques.
Painting uniforms
azizmaz
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United States
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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 11:33 AM UTC
I need some help on painting uniforms. I am struggling with painting the shadows and highlights on the uniforms. I need some ideas on different methods. Do you paint each shadow with a brush or use a wash? Do you paint each highlight with a brush or do you dry brush to get them? I am just not sure what I should do at this point.
AndersHeintz
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 12:56 PM UTC
Hola Azizmaz!

I am going to explain real simple and easy to understand with some "defenitions" to words. Im not saying you or anyone is dumb and dont know the terms, but If I explain the terms as I see them (or as they are generally seen) you will understand better what I say. So here we go...

Shade = slight variation of a color, like a redbrown its a red with a shade of brown in it
Highlights - base color with a lighter color added to the mix
Shadow - base coat with darker color added
Mid shade - a shade between highlights and shadows
5 o clock shadows - the darkest shadow areas

What I personally do is this, from start to finish.

Prime the cleaned up figure in a light gray
Paint the base coat on the figure in a mid shade of the uniform color
Now, by using very diluted acrylics ( dilute 1 part water to 2 parts paint approx.) I add the highlights, first I start by adding just a little bit of a lighter shade to the mid shade color, then increasingly I paint the highlights in steps or 'terraces', increase the lighter color each step and when you are at the top of the wrinkle or crease, this is where you should have the lightest highlight.
When I am satesfied with the highlighst I'll move on to the shadows, beware it will look pretty goofy with just the highlights but you will see results as soon as you start with the shadows.
Now, again with the mid shade of the uniform color, add the darker colors to it, in small increases again so that you 'build' up the shadows, going from lighter to darker, and in the deepest areas of the creases is where your darkest shadow will be (5'o clock shadows)

Now look it over and see what you think, also remember, you have to determine where you want your light source to come from and shade accordingly. The most recent trend is to paint with "overhead" lighting, like you have the lightsource directly above the figure (like the sun). This will determine where the highlights and shadows will be at. A good way to do this is to put the primed figure directly under a table lamp and you will be able to see where the shades etc would naturally be.

This is how I do it, but different mediums require different techniques. I am not much of an oil painter, exept for skin tones, but when I used oils for clothing I painted the whole figure in a thin layer of the mid shade and then mixing wet on wet, I would add the lighter colors and blend them into the base color and then add the shadows and blend.

Some people like to use washes for shadows, as the thin paint will naturally flow into the creases, however, I don't like this method for the simple reason I don't feel like I have as much control as I would with a thinned paint. However, this method can be made effective with drybrushing.

And then there is drybrushing, I dont don't hardly drybrush anything on my figures as I don't feel the results are pleasing. But Basically what you do is using a lighter color of the mid shade and wipe most of the paint off so that when you brush the figure only the raised up areas will receive the paint. I am sure you already know what drybrushing is but I thought I'd try to cover them all.

Thats about all I can think of right now, ask any questions you might have about this, try to use specific questions, those are easier to answer Hope this long post been of some elp
PorkChop
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Wisconsin, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 12:58 PM UTC
Hmm, can't add much more to that....

NATE
Wisc. USA
azizmaz
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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 01:51 PM UTC
Thanks so much, your post is a great help. Now it's just a matter of practice, practice, and more practice.
Edge
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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 07:01 PM UTC
Another useful post Anders,
But, how do you go out detailing the areas around belts and straps?
How many, if you can put a figure on it it, layers of the light and dark shades do you apply?
I'm in the middle of my first ever super detailed figure from a Churchill mkVII kit and the figures face atill looks kinda 'plastic' what I mean is, the eyes make the poor guy look like he has had an electric shock!
Any tips on how to get some realism into him?
Many thanks
Edge
PorkChop
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 02:05 AM UTC
Edge:
As far as the belts and straps go... I use a darker wash (the paint broken down with either rubiing alchol (for acrylics) or thinner (for enamels)) of the base color. In the case of the tanker that's probably a dark brown or a darker kahaki than I painted the uniform. Just put a few drops of the wash on and run them into the creases created between the belt/strap and the uniform.
As far as making the guy look alive (and you'll get better advice that this from someone else, I'm sure) practice, practice. Just find some facial colors you like and go to work. I use Model maser flesh base, skin warm tone, tamiya flat white, and a wash of Testors fleash sawdow, or burnt sienna.
There a lot better painters than me out there, so find what works for you and have at it!!!

Hope this helps,

NATE
AndersHeintz
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 03:17 AM UTC
Hola!

A wash will work for bringing the seem lines and belts to life, however, I normally just use a small brush and paint it with diluted paint ( not as thin as a wash) as it gives me a whole lot more control. A wash is easier and more effective if you can pull it off good, but sometimes those washes just drive me nuts!
On an average figure I would say that I do atleast 3-4 shades of hightlights and 2-3 of the shadows. It depends on the creases, where the lighting source if from etc.
The eyes are staring huh, well this isnt really hard to fix! Here is a couple of pictures I posed under a eye painting thread not too long ago.




Paint your whites, then when dry paint a line through the eyes with the color you desire, then using white, make the eyes round and then use flesh mix and over paint the areas where the eyelids are so you get the eye shape. This is a really simple method, however, use pretty thin paint as otherwise it can cake up and loook terible.

Since you already have the eyes painted and you think they look like they are staring or something similar, go back over with your flesh tones and draw the eyelids with a fine brush. draw an "arch" or an half an oval from one cornor of the eye to the other, and then do same under the eye. When finished you should have a pretty decent eye shape. I really hope this makes sense
Another tip to make your figure look more realistic, dont paint the eyes staring straight forward, paint them on one side or the other, more or less, so they are not 100% centered.
As always, if you have any more questions I am sure there are several people here who will try to help you
Edge
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England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 06:02 AM UTC
Thanks to you both, Nate and Anders, the more different options for achieving a decent result the better.
I'll give them all a try and see what happens....
many thanks,
Edge
azizmaz
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United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 06:03 AM UTC
If you were doing a US GI from say the normandy invasion what colors would you use for the uniform to achieve that faded war torn weather beaten looking green uniform color I see in the pictures.
AndersHeintz
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 06:27 AM UTC
Hola,

Look at these picture, and tell me if you like the colors of the uniforms, if you do I can tell you the formulas I used ( I'll try to remember and remix them)





azizmaz
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 06:38 AM UTC
Yes that is what I had in mind. :-)
azizmaz
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 07:51 AM UTC
AndersHeintz, I have seen your work in the gallery. It's very impressive. Do you primarly use craft paint for the uniform colors on your figures?
screamingeagle
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Connecticut, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 08:04 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Another useful post Anders,
But, how do you go out detailing the areas around belts and straps?
How many, if you can put a figure on it it, layers of the light and dark shades do you apply?
I'm in the middle of my first ever super detailed figure from a Churchill mkVII kit and the figures face atill looks kinda 'plastic' what I mean is, the eyes make the poor guy look like he has had an electric shock!
Any tips on how to get some realism into him?
Many thanks - Edge



Hi Edge , Like Anders has mentioned, as far as the belt's and equipnment straps that
are molded against the figures uniform, you are better to outline these things with a very
dark brown or black or even a green-black. This will give depth to things like
backpack shoulder harnesses ..... ammo belts ......pocket's .....pocket flap's .....collars .....and seams. It really add's an illusion of reality. Just use a good quality 3/0 or 00 brush and apply your outline.
I don't have a digital camera, but you can see what I mean by this photo
of my friend, Lynn Kessler's 1/35 figures in his "Frozin Chosin " diorama.
Outlining really can make a big difference, as you can see.


I also use Vallejo acyrlics - humbrol & model master enamels so if you also use
these I can give you the colors for the U.S. invasion uniform's in 1944. Just let me
know which division your figure is from.

- ralph

AndersHeintz
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Texas, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 08:17 AM UTC
Hola!

Thanks for your comment about my figures

As for using craft paints for uniforms etc, yes I do. The only things I dont use craft paints for are skin tones (oils) and metallic surfaces (Mr. Metalizer). When I use washes, its 99% oils I use.
I'll see what kind of mixes I can come up with for ya

azizmaz
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United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 08:32 AM UTC
I also use Model Master enamel paints. What color would you use for the 101st airborne and the 82nd airborne in the Model Master paints? Basically I just want a good basic US GI color that I can work with. Using MM paints and Craft paints. :-)
screamingeagle
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Connecticut, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 05:40 PM UTC
Hi azizmaz. As for the M1942 Paratrooper Battle Dress uniform that
U.S. 82nd and 101st wore when they jumped into Normandy on D-Day, the
closest match for Master Master enamels would be #1704 Armor Sand.
...I can say this wiithout any second thought's, because my friends Father was
with the 501st PIR /101st Airborne Screamingeagles when they jumped into
Normandy on June 6,1944. My friend has all his Father's original airborne uniform's
and equipment and we actually matched it to the MM paint. Since the uniform did fade after considerable wear, you can also use Model Master #1706 Sand as another choice.
All brand's of paint's differ from each other in one way or another, but as for Model Master enamels we have found the 2 color's I mentioned as the closest matches
................." by the way , I wish I could show you all the Wehrmacht Heer & Wafffen SS
war souveniers his dad also bought back with him ! " .... WOOOOOO - WEEEEEEE !!!!!!!!

HOPE THIS HELPS
- ralph
azizmaz
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United States
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Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002 - 04:47 AM UTC
It does help allot, thanks! What color MM paint would you use to match the uniform of the GI's that landed on the beach. Such as the the ones from the ''Saving private ryan" movie? They look like an off shade of green and field drab. I have been able to get pretty close using off shades of forest green mixing white and yellow and celery green in the craft paints.