Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flesh and Windex

My buy/paint ratio is looking bad at the moment, and I realized some drastic action needed to be taken. Yes, dear reader, I needed to take a bite out of the lead pile to show it who is boss!
Recently I found myself with a hour to kill and scoured my shelves for something I could knock out quickly, and after a couple of laps I realized the flaw in my thinking. I was categorizing figures into a 'want to do justice' pile. In other words, things I will do later when I have time to make them really good. Aka, wont happen because I am too busy.
What to do?
I have been kicking around that thought for a week or so like a baby in a sick joke, when I came to the conclusion that...

a: I would rather my collection painted to some basic standard rather than bare metal.
B: as I game with them, a brighter, more contrasted paint job would help my models 'read' better on the tabletop.
C: my current layering up from darks to lights using thin layers takes ages and has too many steps to completion. This puts me off tackling figures.
D: Carob is no substitute for chocolate.

In order to get revving I would have to adjust my paint style to a more traditional method of hitting the mid tone, then shading both down to shadow and up to highlight. Rather than murky glazed layers, a crisp, clean, even foundation base for each color would be a great start.

I formed the strategy that if I took a base color, say flesh or leather brown, then applied it to every single mini in a sitting, in a few weeks I would have the majority of my figures flat colored.

The fun bit for me has always been shading, and having a load of base coated figures ready to roll would mean I could just grab a few and start finessing.

I kicked this strategy off at lunch today by 'retiring the skin job'. 54 figures got their skin knocked out using a mix of tallarn flesh, bugmans glow, windex and flow aid. Thats right, windex.
You know, that blue stuff people other than yourself clean windows wiv.
Windex contains alcohol and ammonia, so promptly evaporates leaving pigment behind. Airbrush artists have been using it to thin acrylics for donkeys years, and no, the blue color does not effect the paint color.
So using it instead of water to thin foundation/ base acrylic means a fast evaporating thin matt layer is left.
Flow aid helps break the surface tension, allowing everything to mix and flow off the brush.
Load your brush, then wick off excess moisture onto a tissue before brushing. 3 quick coats was enough for a flat and thanks to mr windex, by the time you have done the front of a leg, the back is dry enough for the next coat. Thin, even, unclogged and hella fast.
The result? 54 figures skin in a lunchbreak. Admittedly lots of these where just face and hands, but the technique is proven and I look forward to the next few sessions. I think reds next. :)
Finally reading airbrush blogs and magazines paid off!
The downside is nothing to show for a while, but after that period is up you should see an explosion of productivity from me!

Good luck with your own windex experiments. Just dont lick your brushes.
Post your Baby kicking windex jokes below.

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