Painting Metal Miniatures: Part 5 - Advanced Techniques

STAGE#13 - Techniques in painting.

Now that we have finished the figure I felt you might like to try out some advanced techniques.

These final touches will adjust and enhance the contrast between the different areas and details of the figure. The Transparency and colour intensity possible with acrylics makes them the best choice for these procedures known as toning, outlining and edging.

Toning: When painting with acrylics there are times when you may find that your highlights and shade are just too stark, you need a small value adjustment, or maybe a slight tint for a particular effect is required. In these cases we use what is known as toning, which is nothing more than a very diluted transparent layer of colour applied over an area in order to soften harsh contrasts or add a special effect. The dilution rate of 1:12 is a good starting point and don't forget to unload your brush several times before applying it.

Outlining: Outlining is the application of a solid dark thin line that separates areas and defines details like seams, pockets, flaps, etc. by acting as a bold shadow. This is done by layering a very thin line with the lowest colour value for each area to be so defined using a dilution rate of around 1:2 in order to build up colour slowly until the desired intensity is attained.

Edging: Although not as widely known as outlining, when accurately placed, it is just as important and it's effects can be quite stunning. Similar to outlining, it is the application of a solid light thin line that separates and defines different areas and details by acting as a bold highlight furthermore increasing the overall sharpness of our figure. A high colour value with a 1:2 dilution is required for gradual colour build up.

Further Reading:

"Building and Painting Scale Figures" - Shaped Paine - Kalmbach Publishing Co.
"Military Modelling Masterclass" - Bill Horan - Windrow & Greene Publishing
"Color Theory and Application" - Bob Knee - R&K Productions
"Color Theory" - Parramon - Watson-Guptill
"Brushes, A Handbook for Artists and Artisans" - Jacques Turner - Design Books

Article by Mario Fuentes "Painting with Vallejo Model Colors Acrylic Paint"- No.20. Historical Miniature Magazine - Sept/Oct issue.

Painting a Dragon next Tutorial, a must for Fantasy lovers. See you in September.

There is a message board on Yahoo Groups that talks about our moulds and I have been reading and submitting to it over the last few months. Lately some advise on casting has been added and I decided that such information should be passed on to answer any similar questions.

Q. Will a very highly heated metal damage the mould?
A. 'A higher temperature will shorten the lifetime of a mold, but will not ruin it immediately. I use plain lead, which melts at 100C (isn't that 180F ?) higher than tin, and my most used moulds show no significant problems after over 120 castings per figure. I do let the moulds cool down a bit between casting, however. Mind you,with your metals the moulds will undoubtedly last longer,and more tin helps bring out the details better.' - Gerrit A. Postma

Q. Should you re-talc between castings?
A. 'Yes! A light talcumpowdering should be done before each casting, besides which I talcum all of my moulds before I store them again. I must be doing something right, since some of them ar 36 years old by now!' - Gerrit A. Postma

Q. How many castings should one attempt before letting the mold cool?
A. 'I usually have an "assembly line" of some eight moulds that I cast in rotation. Say I cast one, and take number two or three back in line out of the moulds, then it still has a bit of time to cool off. Very hot moulds tend to feel a bit limp, I consider that as a warning, but it is not a science'. - Gerrit A. Postma

Q. Find it difficult to cast the smaller moulds successfully, What can I do to make it work better?
A. 'I think your metal may not be hot enough, it needs to be hot enough to flow through the mould before it solidifies... 400 F or 200 C (think). Also I find that talc helps for detail, but if your mold is clamped too hard, to the point it creates an air tight seal, it will be difficult to get complete castings. I clamp loosely to let the air escape, even to the point where I get some flash at the mould lines. I would rather remove excess flash than have an incomplete castings. Additionally, I find that the mould has to be warmed up to get complete castings...I rarely get a good casting the first 1 or 2 pours... thus i will not let the mould cool off and will likely do about 5- 10 castings with one mold in a row. I used to heat the molds up in the oven before using them... but I have been recently banished to the shed by my wife, and started to do my heating pours... Lastly, I find when you pour ...your flow has to be constant and not stop until it reaches the top of the mold... this does not give a chance for a little bit of the metal to solidify in one narrow part of the mold, since molten metal behind it is keeping it fluid'. - 'kwheatonca'

These tips and advice came from the following Yahoo Groups Board. Have a look yourself.