The wash on the base coat looks "dirty"
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The wash on the base coat looks "dirty"

Posted in Custom Workstation

Hi Everyone,

A new member here. The awesome custom tutorials here got me started on the arduous yet (hopefully) excitement-ridden path of customizing action figures.
So I was trying out the "wash" technique on my first action figure, and ran into a particular problem:

Basically, on a Bloode Red base coat (from ModelMaster Acrylics Fantasy Series, as recommended by Jin), I was using a ~ 3:1 of Bloode Red with Dragon Black mixture, thinned to the right consistency with water. Right consistency I'm guessing, because the wash wasn't beading, but it was giving the surface a slightly darker color.

Well, the overall color did darken, but the problem is, I noticed some "dry outlines" of wet spots--fine but rather obvious squiggly lines in random places.
This was made worse by the fact that I blew on the wet spots, which dislodged the wet spots while leaving rings of outline behind.
So rather than making the legs look more 3D, the wash made the figure look dirty.

Has anyone else had similar problems?
Any plausible explanations?

My guesses are the following:

1) Maybe the choice of 3:1 mixture was too dark as a wash. This caused me to see lines I won't see with a lighter shade of wash.
2) I should've applied the wash less liberally. (I.e., make sure the brush is picking up less of the wash solution, before applying to the figure.)
3) I should've used longer strokes with minimal overlap between strokes.
4) Maybe the base-coated surface wasn't clean enough, causing the wash to be repelled from certain spots more than others.
(I did do a quick wash with soapy water; the base coat was cured for at least 20 hours before wash was applied.)
5) I shouldn't have done multiple coats of wash (do people just do one layer??)

Well, it's been only 24 hours since I embarked on painting a figure for the first time, so there's a lot to be learned.
And there's no teacher like experience....

Any comments will be appreciated in the meantime, though.



Posted by Aquila08
on Monday, February 18, 2008
User Comments
Aquila08 -
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Hello again,

Tonight I tried highlighting the "dirty" area from yesterday's wash coat, and to my surprise, the end results came out better than expected.
So thanks for the tip about dry brushing, Dr. Nightmare.

I guess it's necessary to do dry-brushing to even out the shadowing (or in my case "griming" effect from the wash. I will be doing both from now on...

TPCustomStudio -
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I am with you Nightmare, no washes here
Aquila08 -
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Airbrushing, huh?

I may be trying that out in the future, but not too soon.
Thanks for the tip, though.

Henchmen4Hire -
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Whatever works, man! Thicker paint tends to clog the airbrush, that's why I thin it a little.

By the way, you can use the air-brush to do washes too, I don't know if it's any more effective than doing it with a brush, but you can if you want to
Esbat -
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Ya know I never thinned my testors paints when I use air brush via canned air. I'd only have to do one pass with the paint to get the look right.
Henchmen4Hire -
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Since you're using Testors, you only have to thin the paint for washes and airbrushes.

Practice on scrap pieces like useless accessories so you don't waste a figure.

And remember, if you mess-up a figure, you can always drench them in black and green to make a Green Lantern!
Aquila08 -
Monday, February 18, 2008
Hey Dr. Nightmare,

Thanks for the response! No, I have not tried dry brushing yet, though it's next on my list.

BTW, it wasn't clear from Jin's tutorial: Do we "thin" the paint for dry brushing too, or do we use the regular strength paint-- just wipe it so very little of the paint is on the brush???


Since I'm in my "learning phase", I have decided to

1) strip the paint off with Simple Green cleaner,
2) paint all over again, using the colors I have at the moment, improving my technique (including wash and dry brushing)
3) Evaluate results, ask for advice if there's a persistent problem,
3) ...repeat 1) -3) ad nauseum, until I learn a thing or two.

Of course, this is assuming the repeated "stripping" with Simple Green won't destroy the Psylocke base figure....

I only have 6 colors at the moment, all from the Fantasy Series by Testor:

Dragon Black
Dragon White
Argent Silver
Bloode Red
Ghoul Flesh
Centaur Flesh

This limits the experimentation I can do with different color combinations, but
I'm guessing my problem isn't so much color combination, but my basic painting technique
(strokes, right thinning of the paint, etc.), so hopefully I can improve using the strategy explained above...

Henchmen4Hire -
Monday, February 18, 2008
I've heard that adding a little Elmer's white glue helps with washes. I don't use washes though for the very reason you just pointed-out, it's a hassle

Have you learned to dry-brush yet? It gives you much more natural shading than washes.
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