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Pre-Shading, washes or both


Sean_M
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I have been doing some reading on getting a competition finish to one's model. I fully understand the use of pre-shading and applying washes. However, my question is do you do one or the other or both?

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This is gonna open a can of worms i think....

My 2 pen'orth..

Pre shading is practically pointless, it relies on not having a dense topcoat for it to show through, IMHO post shading( if u want to get a sun bleached look and washes in certain areas is the way to go.

Pre shading with a watercolour sludge wash IMHO makes everyones models look the same and like they have come out of one of the magazines( which i think kind started this craze and is just someones interpretation of what THEY think looks good but everyone tries to emulate it as they saw it in a magazine or online

the style of model that comes out of TMMI or similar do have a certain charm,but every aircraft looks the same which is just not the case in my opinion.

If you are trying to build models to competition standard i would rely on you own skills and experimentation to get there, rmembering that there is no shortcut to being able to do it, its just practice practice practice until you find a style and finish that YOU like.

Edited by markjames68
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The way I do preshading is I put a few thin coats of the colour(s) on, then I pre-shade and then put a final top coat on.

I find (and maybe it's just me) that preshading before putting any paint on completely disappears under the top coats, or the top coats ar too thin...

I'm not too good with washes....just can't get the hang of them...yet!

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I'm not intending to upset anyone about pre shading as it seems to work OK on models I've seen done this way but I feel its like making something dirty and then trying to hide it with a coat of paint! A bit like wearing dirty underwear with fresh clothes on top. My opinion any way.

Post shading or washes applied to models,on the other hand, seem to be more appropriate as wear and tear and grime etc happen after a length of time in use and gathers in nooks and crannies of any vehicle. Flying or earthbound.

Edited by Paul J
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Well Chaps,

Thanks so much for the comments and posts so far. If I did open a "can of worms" then I am glad to have done so. It leads to an interesting debate. That way we all learn. I have learned from the comments above. I am still working on my first model after a long time. Of course striving for perfection (....ok someone tell me that we never reach perfection). However I do want to enter some IPMS shows and heven forbid sell a model here or there to rebuld the cash flaot so I can buy more. I digress as that is another topic.

I see a lot of "1/32" metail scale models avaiable at the hobby shop, but they lack that "battle" or "used" finish. I am will be happ to come close to a realistic reproduction of the real aircraft in squadron life. My gratest fear is my airbrush. I am still getting used to it. I hope it wil become my best freind.

I saw weatheing overdone on a Hurricane, showing metal where there should only have been canvas. IMHO weathering should not be overdone. but depict an aircraft in the middle of its service life, especially if you are like me and stick to WWII.

Keep the comments coming

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If you are wanting to get to competition standard then be prepared to put in a lot of hard work, ruin a few kits and have your confidence knocked in the process and remember there's more to competition standard than just a good paint finish. I've seen models in competitions that have won prizes but the most basic errors have been made on them, at the end of the day it all comes down to the individuals judging and how they interpret each build.

Pre-shading, post shading and Weathering washes all work if done correctly and they each complement one another then again they can just as easily ruin a build if done incorrectly. I use all three methods and I'm happy with my results, I've had a few "highly commended" but I've never won a class??

It all depends on the subject as well, for instance there is no point in using shading methods on say a Red Arrows Hawk as these are always in pristine condition but a F-14 Tomcat coming to the end of a cruise would be weathered to hell.

So to answer your question I would use all three methods in varying measures, but practice is the main key here.

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Sean: I have mostly used post shading/wash on my a/c models....careful paint chipping in the appropriate places....it helps to have actual photographic references to see where the wear and tear occurs on the prototype.

IMO, a "perfectly" pre-shaded, painted and prepared model a/c certainly pleases the eye...but, i wonder if in real life if the a/c ever looked like that....like...each panel deftly shaded, every panel line highlited just so.... :winkgrin:

i try to build up the effect(s), blending all elements in an effort to get the illusion of " it looks 'real"

Cheers,

ggc

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Hi Sean,

I have used both the pre shading and the washes. I have hade no trouble with it exept on dark colours. But you could also use some post shading.

I always start with pre shading, then do the maincolour in the centre of the panels. This looks scruffy. But then I give it a light coat from a distance to bring it al together. If you are pleased with it I lighten the main colour up wih a lighter colour to get some extra shade and thin it more and put it sparingly in the centre of the panels. This is done in one go. After finishing the painting I let it dry and after this give it a coat of Klear/Future. again after this is dry (I always wait 24 hours) I put the decals on and again a coat of Klear. After this I use the wash and that is normaly sealed in with a coat of klear or other transparrent paint. This is my methode and I have hade no problems with it. You could also go to town after the last transparrent coat with some extra weathering. If you want to.

Don't be afraid of your airbrush if you use it frequently it will become you friend. And the more you practice will make you beter with it every time.

Cheers,

Edited by Arniec
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My take on the pre-shading is that, if done randomly, it can look really good. If someone picks out every panel line with it, it just makes the model look toylike. I don't use this technique myself, if I want the paint too look uneven, I'll just paint it unevenly over a base coat of grey or silver.

Washes I do like, but again they need to be done well to look nice. Having every panel like picked out perfectly in black looks crappy. I try to use a more translucent wash that is streaked backwards.

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Nobody has ever explained, to me, how you preshade under a decal.

I've yet to see a method better than Peter Cooke's, who used Designer's Gouache (usually black, but other colours, especially brown, for oil, can work.) After the model is finished, smear the paint all over the model, then use a handkerchief (piece of cloth, if the wife's nearby) dampened with saliva, and wipe it across the model, in the direction of the airflow; wth practice, this can have the double effect of imparting a slghtly streaky finish to the gouache, and getting a very small build-up in panel lines, which run across the airflow, while leaving the lengthwise lines clear. Since it's water-soluble, if you don't like the finish, just wash it off, and try again, since the underlying varnish will be untouched. A dot of brown, swiftly streaked, with a light pass of the cloth, or a cotton bud, will give a very nice streak of oil.

I realise that the idea of saliva will turn off many, but it seems to have a natural adhesive quality, which helps the gouache to stick, and visitors shouldn't pick up your models, anyway.

Edar

Edited by Edgar
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As Edgar says - though I'd varnish traditional gouache, because it can be re-opened easily (can be smeared by adding water/sweaty palms)

You could try acrylic inks, which look and feel like gouache - maybe more transparent - but will set off.

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For a competitve model, basic construction should be the primary focus. Are all wheels touching the ground), is the rake of the landing gear the same for both sets of main gear, are the wheels alligned, are all seams properly filled and any panel lines that got obliterated during assembly restotred, Unless it is an F-4 Phantom :) are both tailplanes 900 to the fin and do both (all?) wings have appropriate dihedral? Once basic construction is accomplished, then you can work on the finish, although again things like silvering decals and orange peel paint will probably hurt more than whether pre or post shading was done.

Personally I have only tried preshading once or twice and didn't particularly like the results I was getting. I will use an oil wash on occasion amd also will use an arcylic gauche although unlike Edgar, I use a tapwater dampened paper towel to wipe it off :D

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Not a huge fan of pre-shading - when it works it's probably only applicable to regularly removed panels where grime could accumulate around the edges of the panel and the opening (gun bays, cowl panels etc.) - but post shading/oils prolly better solution.

I use pretty much the method Edgar mentions on my projects - but use oil paints...

As to what judges are looking for - what Chuck1945 said :)

Just my 10 pence...

Iain

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a competition finish

No such thing. There's a finish that you're happy with, that's it.

As for your question, real airplanes are clean, then they get dirty from the outside. Airplanes don't get dirty (neatly along every panel line and control surface edge) and then get painted. I try to build models that look like real airplanes, and that includes the way they weather.

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No such thing. There's a finish that you're happy with, that's it.

As for your question, real airplanes are clean, then they get dirty from the outside. Airplanes don't get dirty (neatly along every panel line and control surface edge) and then get painted. I try to build models that look like real airplanes, and that includes the way they weather.

Jennings is spot on here! Real aeroplanes accumulate dirt they don't start off dirty!

Panels and hinges can fret and create dirt, fluids - especially lubricants and hydraulics leak and accumulate in certain areas, NOT every panel line and not all over the aircraft, another thing to consider is whether the fluid originally leaked when the aircraft was static and then smeared by the airflow OR whether the leak occured during flight and streaked in the direction of the airflow and then started to follow gravity when the aircraft was static.

Some panel lines accumulate more dirt than others, it's not something that's even.

Finally, an aircraft that left the paintshop in a matt or semi-matt finish will not stay uniformly matt, those adjacent to oil leaks will become glossy when the offending leak is wiped off and those areas which are frequented most by groundcrew will show more signs of wear and tear or look more glossy due to the buffing effect of the groundcrews clothing.

This whole subject though is a bloody minefield and I've seen good results created either way. Find a way that works for you and perfect it.

Wez

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Well, with regards to how aircraft weather, it is going to depend an awful lot on the environment and the wear and tear. Birds at a peacetime land base are going to be kept pretty clean almost universally (especially American and British planes). But if it is say a Kittyhawk I in North Africa, the sand is going to potentially mess with the finish, but differently from a Japanese or American fighter on a rocky Atoll frontline base (where the coral dust can wreak havoc on paint). Then you've got the Russians who cared more about how the plane operated as opposed to how clean the finish was (especially in Winter when the operational readiness of a plane was more important than how clean it was when cleaners might freeze on contact (assuming they had any). Germans on the otherhand at least early through mid war tended to keep their birds a little more clean in the finish department. I would say resist the urge to go too trashy on a bird though as the paint also serves as a form of corrosion control (one reason why US Navy ships and planes get touched up when chips form).

I've known modelers who have used the exact same weathering techniques on ALL their models and they end up looking the same. Weathering I say should be treated like anything else... only in moderation and not every technique should be used quite the same on everything. I would say you don't want to go for too trashy a look, UNLESS you've got some excellent photo documentation of said condition.

Now concerning building and finishing for "competition" that gets into some interesting interpretations. Do you mean "competition finish" from the standpoint of just achieving good looks for a model, or do you mean "competition finish" because you plan to enter your models in competitions. If it is the later, there are some things you should address first before you even get to paint. Granted I don't exactly know how things are treated in Britain, but based on the two Telford shows I attended in 03 and 04, they seem to use a similar criteria to how it is done in the states with IPMS USA.

I would say the main thing to focus on for contests is to focus on the basics... clean build, seams dealt with, parts of the plane (wings, tailplanes, fuselage, landing gear) all in proper alignment according to the references. If you go so far as to crank the ailerons or drop the elevators, make sure they are consistant (no two ailerons sticking up on a wing as if one is up, the other should be down unless they are possibly flaperons). Once those factors are addressed, then you can focus on the paint. Make it even and clean. Decals should have no signs of silvering. Clear parts should be nice and clean with no blemishes or scratches, unless you are trying to achieve a certain look. In the US system, the fit and parts finish of the model is going to be looked at before the paintwork and that will be looked at before the decal work. Only then if the model makes the cut does the weathering usually come into play.

Now concerning pre-shading and washes, I admit I have yet to master the art of pre-shading. But I have tried to do it with control surface splits at least and have gotten some reasonable results. I've tried post shading a little bit (i.e. perhaps spraying a slightly lighter color over high spots on a model to simulate sun fading), but it can be tough to do as well. On aircraft models, I don't try to go for large general coverage washes. Instead I primarily use spot washes in places with high surface relief. So I tend to do that in the cockpit, on gear struts and gear wheels to simulate where one would potentially see shadows on an actual subject as opposed to general "wear and tear". For environmental weathering, such as exhaust stains, dirt and maybe fluid leaks, then I usually resort to ground up pastel chalks, rather than trying to do things with paint and I mainly do it as the final step after the model is decaled and clear coated.

Ultimately, it is going to be your own decision as to what to do though. I would say feel free to try techniques as you see fit and find what works well for you (every modeler is a little different). I've generally found that there is no 100% right or wrong way to do something. Long after the contest is over and regardless of whether your creation got something or not, you are still going to have to live with it. So if its looks don't please you, try something until it does.

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Pre-shading around panel lines appears to be the done thing now I have noticed at the model shows I go to. To the extent of a modern airliner having it! I work in heavy maintenance for an airline and panels removed for access and resealed afterwards get the sealant painted over as a matter of course. You will see the odd panels not resealed/painted if they are opened out on the ramp with no time to restore the finish, but it's not that common. You can also see "rivet rash", paint flaking off the rivet heads on some airlines. Good luck with replicating that in 1/144! Do it then book yourself a room in a funny farm for a few months. When all is said and done it's up to you, and as has been pointed out earlier if you do lots of panel joins to me it looks a bit wrong and the idea of doing it in 1/72 or smaller is so wrong. This is all my opinion and sorry if it isn't in agreement with everyone elses, but it is up to the individual. Happy building

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Hi, all,

I think that they are best used together. Using only one technique is a tell-tale, it is easily discernable, and a bit "stiff". A couple of techniques in combination provide a kind of randomness to the finish which usually looks more subtle and real than relying on only one, which would almost inevitably lead you to exaggerate it.

Fernando

Edited by Fernando
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No such thing. There's a finish that you're happy with, that's it.

As for your question, real airplanes are clean, then they get dirty from the outside. Airplanes don't get dirty (neatly along every panel line and control surface edge) and then get painted. I try to build models that look like real airplanes, and that includes the way they weather.

This is much as I was getting at. Pre shading and then painting on top is like painting over a dirty airframe....badly. Not for me and I don't really like the technique despite many beautifully finished models seen here and at shows. Thye just don't look right. But again my opinion

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I personally, as a new returnee to the hobby have tried every technique and have picked the ones that work for me the best. Which I will summarise here:

Pre-shading - I couldnt get it to look good, or appear at all - this was due to two things. 1) IMy preshade lines were far too 'wiggly' and could be seen under thin coats of paint 2) To circumvent issue one, I had to user more coats of paint which obliterated said pre-shading!

Washes - I use washes for interior areas where I can use dry-brushing afterwards to make the highlights 'pop'

Post-Shading - I use oil pastels (black and dark grey), powdered on some wet n' dry and brush it onto the panel lines after a matt coat, it works really well for me and takes me about 2 hours for a 1/48 fighter

Chipping - My technique for this varies, in cockpits and interior areas I chip utilising small dabs of 'undercoat' paint, followed by aluminium paint in high wear areas. For the airframe itself I will prime the aircraft, then Alclad the entire aircraft, then stipple on some liquid mask on chipped areas (propellers, wingroots, inspection hatches, leading edges etc)

This is the kind of finish I get http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=234909395&hl=podmore&st=0 and more details at http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=78483&st=20&hl=podmore#entry861210

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There's a lot of sense being talked here about pre-shading, which seems almost to have become "de rigeur" for some modellers but I've never found it convincing (quite attractive in a toy-like way, but not convincing). The master of weathering as far as I'm concerned is Chris Wauchop, who often works with Brett Green. As he says, subtlety is the key to successful weathering but too often it's over done.

Max

Edited by galgos
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I agree with JMChladek. I think that there was a lot of wear and tear during the Battle of Britain. I joined IPMS UK and have the illusion thay I could win a competition. I have not been to a show yet but hope to catch the next one near Milton Keynes soon. I have come back to the hobby hoping to strive for the type of detail that I never had the maturity or patience to master as a kid. Having looked aat a number of Airfix Model World Magazines, pre-shading seem standard. I started the thread because I read somewhere that it is supposed to give the model depth??? If it is just part of the weathering then I agree that it should not be uniform and perhaps there is something to be said about washes. I uses to just do exhaust smudges and gun ports. It's time to progress beyond that. Thank you all for your wide and varied opinions. IMHO no one is right or wrong. The diversity of the feedback has taught me a thing or two and given me food for thought

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