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Phil32

Washing a Spitfire...

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Hello folks

As I dive ever deeper into this hobby I find myself looking at "washes". I say "washes" because everyone seems to have a slightly different way or product and I'm frankly lost!

I'm working on an Eduard Spitfire IX at the moment and am as far as looking at wash effects in the cockpit. Nothing mega-fussy in terms of aircraft age but more to make a pleasing realistic looking result.

I brush paint in acrylic due to time/space realities, and if I can I really want to avoid oils etc - anything that will permeate an odour around the house through applying and cleaning brushes off. I don't have the luxury of a garage or basement to kick up a stink in unfortunately!

That being my situation, can I ask what anyone can recommend? Other than moving to a bigger house??

Cheers!

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you can make acrylic washes, or even use watercolour.

these cockpit parts have a thin black wash

fusehalveswintandseatS7303107.jpg

and here

cockprimerS7303206.jpg

though I didn't add a tiny amount of washing up liquid, which helps to break down the surface tension, as you can see in the 2nd pic, you can get watermarks.

You could also used thinned ink.

Usual thing, do some tests on a scrap kit before applying to prized model!

Edit - not tried it, but thinking about it, try tinting acrylic varnish maybe worth trying, maybe with india ink or tube acrylic.

you can always paint a dark base colour, then do the main cockpit colour, leaving the darker in the shadows.

As for oils and odour, there are low odour thinners for artists,

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Low-Odour-Thinner-DALER-ROWNEY-Bottle/dp/B002AFGXBS

a small bottle will go a long way for washes.

and a very good thing for washes is lighter fuel, the stuff for zippo's, it very volatile so flows very well and evaporates really fast,

You could always do washes outside or by an open window, and just used sealed jar to keep thinners for washes out brushes, it won't be open very often, so you may find the odour is much less of a problem.

there are also tricks for absorbing paint odours, eg

http://www.jackspaint.co.za/blog/site/how-to-get-rid-of-paint-smells/

Onions

Onions, once cut open, are very powerful absorption tools. Cut a number of large onions into quarters and place them on plates throughout the room. The onions will effectively absorb the paint smell and for those sensitive pregnant noses, not to worry, the smell of onions will dissipate from the room far quicker than the smell of paint would have.

Coffee Grounds

If the paint smells are of a milder nature, you can place bowls of coffee grounds around the room to mask the odour and replace it with a java-lover’s dream scent.

Vinegar

Bowls of white distilled vinegar placed around the room will diffuse the chemical paint odour.

Charcoal

Charcoal is an excellent neutraliser of strong chemical odours. Crush whole pieces of wood charcoal into small pieces and leave it overnight in containers placed around the room.

Vanilla Extract or Peppermint Oil

Vanilla and peppermint are delicious scents with which to fill a room. They are also effective in getting rid of paint smells. Add a few drops of pure vanilla extract or peppermint oil onto cotton balls, or put them into small bowls of water and place them around the room.

Light a Candle

Placing a lit candle in the room for a few hours will burn out the flammable substances in the solvent. To prevent any fire risks, place the candle in a bowl filled with water and keep children and animals out the room so that it cannot get knocked over.

Lemon

Cut a dozen lemons into slices and place them in bowls all over the room for a couple of days. The lemons will absorb any horrid paint smells and should be discarded immediately after use.

A Bucket of Water

Although not as effective as the candle method, placing buckets of water around the room will help with absorbing any solvent vapours.

Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)

This method will only work if you have a carpeted room. Generously sprinkle bicarbonate of soda all over the carpet, leave it for 24 hours and then vacuum it up in the morning. This will freshen up and deodorise not only the room, but your carpet too.

these are tips for whole rooms, not a model cockpit!

HTH

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Thanks Troy. So looking at that, I could water down some say Humbrol 33 black virtually nothing, whack it over a desired area and wait for evaporation to take its course. Looking at your pictures, it looks like you've pretty much covered the whole surface area. Is the best technique to applying sparingly, or to whack a puddle into there and let nature take its course?

As for the onion trick, my word, it would be worth doing that just to see the look on my girlfriends face! :)

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Thanks Troy. So looking at that, I could water down some say Humbrol 33 black virtually nothing, whack it over a desired area and wait for evaporation to take its course. Looking at your pictures, it looks like you've pretty much covered the whole surface area. Is the best technique to applying sparingly, or to whack a puddle into there and let nature take its course?

As for the onion trick, my word, it would be worth doing that just to see the look on my girlfriends face! :)

Hi Phil

do you mean acrylic black? Yes, you could, but it might be a bit harsh, dark grey or even the cockpit green plus black may work better.

Looking at my pics you can see the water lines quite a lot, but they are less noticeable when assembled. But, I didn't add any washing upliquid or flow improver.

Also, gravity can help, if you stand up the sides, the wash will be pulled down more under details than above.

Another product you may find of use is acrylic flow improver, which is basically a detergent, which reduces the water surface tension. It's useful for brushing acrylics anyway.

http://www.reapermini.com/Thecraft/15

You can also use Isopropyl as thinner, though this could cause the acrylic base to dissolve

, and read this, as it has a lot on brush techniques in general

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234982693-calling-all-brushhairystick-painters/

But the best thing is to test out some of the suggestions, and see what work for you.

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Brill! I have some Humbrol 106, some fairy, a small pot and my trusty test Hurricane. Time to investigate! Thanks again for the answers, theres far more there than i've yet digested but i'll start simple and see how deeply I go.

Cheers!

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You could always forget about it; this is a Mk.I, built in 1941, never rebuilt (at the time of the photo,) though used extensively in an O.T.U., and had a replacement wing fitted during the war:-
scan0005_zpsde26uqba.jpg
People tend to forget that riggers (and other groundcrew) looked after "their" aircraft, and took immense pride in presenting the pilot (who was only allowed to borrow it) with a clean airframe.

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Victor is (as per) absolutely right regarding aircrew keeping stuff clean, so some of the rationale for washing/drybrushing is not to produce a dirt effect, but to give a sense of depth/contour/shadow above and beyond what the kit gives.

I have had quite a lot of success using acrylic inks and flow improver/Klear. The main issue is that these dry very, very quickly and you have to pretty much apply exactly what you want, where you want, first time round, because you can't easily wipe it off as you do with oils.

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That is indeed a very clean Spitfire! I was trying to get shots of the Mark 1 cockpit at Cosford yesterday, although i'm aware that aircraft has had work done to 'downgrade' it back to very early spec.

The first (cautious!) wash efforts i've applied certainly do look more like depth than muck it has to be said. I suppose until i've tried a few things I wont know what I like and what I dont.

Incidentally, pre-shading of panel lines, do many tend to do that? I've thought about brushing in something like Humbrol 27 on a test model before doing the main scheme (33 too dark?). Having spent the day at Cosford yesterday I again noticed the lack of visible panel lines a real 50 or 70 feet away, but from an artistic effect on a model point of view i'm torn.

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Spitfire panels overlapped, mostly front over back, to cut down on drag; there was (at least one coat) grey primer over the joins, and then the camouflage coats over that. Quite how dirt was expected to ooze through that lot I've never been able to work out. Dirt might (repeat - might) have collected where removable panels (cowlings, gun covers, etc.) were fitted, but that was all (and a quick wipe with a cloth would have sorted that out,) and bright silver "paint chipping" belongs in the realms of fantasy.

I've posted this photo of a really hard-worked Spitfire II before, but I hope it'll give you some ideas:-.

IIA_zps3b767b59.jpg

Edited by Edgar

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Edgar, that's a great photo, which shows exactly what I'm talking about. Washes are all about adding depth/shading that the model itself can't, not making it look dirty.

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Thats a cracking photo, from the colour hue and the state of the aircraft i'm guessing its an original 40's colour shot? It also brings me back to external pre-shading, theres just not a lot of blatently visible panel lines there. I know thats very much personal preference but I can feel myself shying away from that.

Would a wash be recommended to bring more depth to the outside of the aircraft? Presumably different wash colours over each colour of the camo scheme?

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I sometimes use a different wash colour over each paint colour. I use oils, and mix burnt sienna, burnt umber, yellow ochre and French ultramarine in varying proportions to give a range of "dark" colours, from a dull neutral grey through to near black. I have to confess I haven't tried it but I wonder whether using these in watercolours might work?

TBH, the amount of oil paint you use (a smear, literally), thinned with some lighter fluid or odourless turps, is barely noticeable, scentwise.

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An alternative to a wash that can create a good effect is to use a dark base layer then overlay the cockpit colour lightly so it doesn't fully occupy the corners. This also gives a good effect of shadowing which is often what we are trying to replicate through a panel wash.

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An alternative to a wash that can create a good effect is to use a dark base layer then overlay the cockpit colour lightly so it doesn't fully occupy the corners. This also gives a good effect of shadowing which is often what we are trying to replicate through a panel wash.

If you have the time and patience, you could use the trick of painting the wholething in a very dark shade of the appropriate colour, then highlight with gradually lighter shades, via the "true" colour, with the lightest shades picking out tubing, struts and the like.

A shorter version you might like is the way wargamers prime figures with black - a bit like preshading, but the whole figure is black and you add positive highlights.

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Chuck's Me410's build with wash then dot filter, using oils (I have used the Windsor and Netwton 'odourless' oil thinner Sansodor, and the smell is minimal).

I used this technique, and it is really easy, but you need to protect from dust for a week after the oils go on, and seal them with a varnish afterwards.

Before:

FR-2013-031.jpg

During:

FR-2013-041.jpg

After:

FR-2013-042.jpg

For time reasons, I did the panel line wash and dot filter in one step; ideally these would be one then the other, with drying and sealing between them.

After flat coat:

fr-rfi-005.jpg

Acrylic washes: these are best for interiors, wheel wells and undercarriage. I like the Games Workshop 'Shades', as they are the right thinness, and flow well (not cheap considering how thin they are!), and are available on the high street, rather than having to wait for something to arrive in the post.

Example (1/72 Brengun Typhoon):

Before wash:

4typhoons034.jpg

After wash (covers not yet washes):

4typhoons036.jpg

After detail painting:

4typhoons040.jpg

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Though I've been experimenting with other techniques lately, for years my weathering materials were limited to a set of simple kid's watercolor paints, artist's oil pastel chalks, and Prismacolor colored pencils.

The watercolors are ridiculously cheap, can be mixed to any color needed, used over any type of paint with no harm, can easily be adjusted or added to after application, and of course be completely removed if desired--ideal for learning the "tricks of the trade!" You do of course need a sprayed clear overcoat of some type to seal them in, for any surface which will see subsequent handling.

I fully agree with the sentiments above that you often see weathering on scale models these days that is quite overdone! A little can go a long way.

This 1/72 Kawanishi "George" prototype was weathered with the three simple materials noted.

engine.jpg

Edited by MDriskill

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Chuck's Me410's build with wash then dot filter, using oils (I have used the Windsor and Netwton 'odourless' oil thinner Sansodor, and the smell is minimal).

I used this technique, and it is really easy, but you need to protect from dust for a week after the oils go on, and seal them with a varnish afterwards.

Before:

FR-2013-031.jpg

During:

FR-2013-041.jpg

After:

FR-2013-042.jpg

:doh: just had a real DOH moment there. I have used this technique for armour models in the past, never once did i think to use it on an aircraft!!

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I never had thought to use something so simple as watercolours before this thread. Its amazing how hard you can look sometimes and make yourself miss something so seemingly simple.

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I've yet to see anything better than Peter Cooke's method; he contended that, if (big IF) dirt collects anywhere, it's more likely in lines across the airflow, rather than with it.

After the model was finished, he would smear black Designer's Gouache (a water-soluble paint) over the entire model, then, using a handkerchief moistened with saliva, he would (sometimes partially, sometimes completely) wipe it off, always working in the direction of the airflow.

Some of the pigment would catch in the transverse lines, but not in the lengthwise, and he reckoned that the saliva made it stick more readily. With care, it's possible to get faintly darker patches on an otherwise pristine finish. For oil leaks, he used a brown dot, which he "swiped" with the damp cloth, so it produced a tapering streak.

As he said, being water-soluble, if you didn't like the effect, you could wash it off, and start again.

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Washing a Spitfire?

Not what I expected. :photo:

TE308 at Fort Dodge, en-route Aspen, Colorado, to Oshkosh, July 1990.

Owner Bill Greenwood, right.

PeterA

9-TE308%20%20Fort%20Dodge%20enroute%20As

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Like Edgar posting that wartime shot of that well used Spit,the maxim I've always used for weathering is simple:

Paint what you see and not what you don't see.

I don't do "artistic models",I try to do historical snap-shot in time models,so if I see a modeller yapping on

about pre-shading,pin-washing,post shading and washing this that and the third thing,I avoid that post in RFI

like the plague because I know I won't like what I see unless the modeller can supply a period photo to show

what the real aircraft looked like.

A while ago,a gent posted "his" interpretation of Airfix's 1/48th Seafire 46.

It was well built,well painted and carefully decalled.

It looked as though someone has just cleaned the coal house out with it,the only thing was,it was

Lossiemouth base Commander's personal Seafire and if presented to him to fly in the state it

was modelled in,his ground crew would've walked the plank most robustly at the very least.

What that showed was that while the modeller was undoubtedly very talented,his research into his particular

subject(it is a very,very well known Seafire too) was absolutely zilch.

You must remember though,that your model is your model and you've modelled it how you like it to look.

Period.

Must admit Peter,when I saw the "Washing a Spitfire"header,I did think bucket and sponges too.

Edited by Miggers

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Does anyone know how long it took to do paint touch ups with the paints available back then? Drying times? I expect primer then paint..but how long between coats?

My thought being a BoB Spitfire or Hurricane. Say a few pebbles get kicked up taking off or landing..would the ground crew have time to touch up paint, wait till the end of the flying day? Or is it all situational?

Edit: I would happily volunteer to do a soap and water bucket wash on a real Spitfire/Hurricane. It is still a dream of mine to one day sit in a real Hurricane & real Spitfire.

Edited by Av8fan

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Hoorah I got Quite a lot of abuse on another forum for saying I didn't like the pre-shading/ post shading finish and that I didn't think it looked realistic (plus I can't get the finish myself)...

Having said that, most of my builds are FAA where from photographic evidence most aircraft look quite heavily weathered. I am trying a technique where, for the American built fighters (Corsair & Hellcat) of the British East Indies fleet and BFP, I undercoat the aeroplane in Halfords aluminium acrylic spray, and once dry spray a coat of acrylic Yellow zinc chromate which is then sealed.

The camouflage, either Temperate Sea or Sea Blue is sprayed over the top. Scratches and wear are quite literally scrapes through the top coat to the primer coat. Along areas of high wear I, using polishing paper I rub away at the paint exposing the primer and in small patches through to the bare metal finish...

I am working at getting the grime into the paint surface and will have a crack at the techiques shown above... Dot it on, wipe it off...

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At the risk of being repetitious:

It isn't dirt, it's accentuating shadow the model can't create.

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'Washing a Spitfire'

Guys, I have nothing if not a way with words!

Saying that, Mitch has really nailed words to put to what I was looking for; a way to increase depth on the model without neccessarily going for a dirt look and not pre-shading. Knowing so little about the topic, I didnt quite know how to articulate what I was going for at the start of this thread. Asking the question and getting the varied responses and knowledge has really helped me get a sense of direction with this.

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