Ron's 'No Frills' Brush Painting.

spanner570

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#1
In response to painting questions on my Stug thread, from our good buddy PhilJ. I thought it a good idea to start the ball rolling with some brush painting tips separate from my actual build.


We all have our own way of brush painting, so rather than add your method to this thread, can I politely ask that you write your own 'My Method' post on this painting section? That way members can read various methods separately, rather than all over the place on this one thread.
Thanks...
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

When my late father was trying his best to teach me how to paint, A.B.'s for modellers were unheard of, so it had to be brushes. Retarders and enhancers were regarded as something not much better than some nasty alien deposit. So my dad attempted to show me how to brush paint without these additives....and I'm happy to plod along with his method......Ta, Dad!

Here's a brief summary of what I learned.

Dad's Cardinal Rules......

Always have a brew on the go.
Use the correct brush for the application.
Primers are not always necessary.
If required, always use a pencil to mark out camo. Paint covers pencil marks, but not ink etc.!
Thin your paints.
Keep you brush well loaded with paint.
Lightest colour paint first.
Don't be tempted to thicken paints for subsequent coats,
Work quickly and don't hold your breath, or you will suffocate.
If possible, don't use masking tape
Don't overwork your paints.
Clean your brushes carefully.
No need to buy expensive brushes.

In more detail:-
For large areas, I use as big a flat headed brush as possible. I have a 1, 4, and a 7. The 7 is about 12mm across and is great for large areas. For detail work I have fine pointed in the common sizes from 00 up.

I rarely use primers. I just make sure the plastic is well cleaned with soapy water to remove the release agent. I have no problem with paint adhesion.

For acrylics I use Vallejo Model Air. These can be used straight from the bottle, but I do tend to water them down just a little. Note I wrote 'watered'. I find tap water suites me just fine and I'm more than happy with the result. I get good results with Vallejo Model Colour too, but these require more thinning than 'Air'.

I use Humbrol Enamels. I thin these paints with ordinary turps substitute. Works for me....

Always keep your brush well loaded with paint, not swamped, just enough to get a nice even , first time coverage. Go over this just once then leave it alone. Mess with it anf you will get streaks.

When applying acrylics, I thin the paints. I haven't a clue about ratios. I just paint something plastic and adjust the mix until it runs, but has a bit of body to the paint. Likewise with enamels.

If your paints are thin enough, you work quickly enough and don't overwork you paints, you don't need fancy retarders etc.

Folks brush painting usually fail in 5 ways...
Wrong brush, the paint is too thick, the paint is applied too slow and then 'Messed with'! Disappointing first couple of coats leading to the temptation to thicken the paints..DON'T!

For medium/ large areas, a flat headed brush must be used.
All liquid is self levelling, However, if your paint is too thick it won't level out as readily, and will start to dry too soon.

Always paint the lighter colour first. This makes it easier to 'cut in neatly' later. Try over painting a dark colour with a light one!

Work quickly and without fuss. Don't worry if you over paint some areas. (You can start to tidy things up with subsequent coats) That is why I don't use masking tape. If you do, you will tend to fiddle about trying to carefully follow the tape edge and could even get a paint 'ridge' once the tape is removed.

When painting aircraft wings, throw the stuff on in one go, then work from the centre line to the outer edges. Again..Don't fiddle. Let the paint find it's own level.....If you work inwards, you will get paint runs under the wing edges.

Once the paint is applied, just go over it once with your brush...then leave it alone. It will level out. Keep messing and it will leave brush marks or even ripples...be warned!

I clean my brushes by adding a small amount of washing up liquid in the palm of my hand and gently working the liquid into the bristles, and work the stuff well into the ferrules, don't dab. I rinse them in cold tap water (not even warm) Then place them bristles down. I use a peg and suspend the brushes over a glass to allow moisture to fall from the ferrule.

I don't buy expensive brushes, I really don't see the need. I have a few middle of the road ones. John here on S.M. has some excellent and very reasonably priced brush sets. But, because I also use ( sorry, abuse) mine for painting dioramas as well, most of my collection are cheap ones from a pound shop or The W***S.

To sum up. Thin your paints. Work quickly and be patient, the first 2 coats will look bl***y awful! Don't thicken the paints. Keep adding more coats. If your paint is thin enough you won't loose any surface detail.

I hope you don't mind, but pictures paint a 1000 words, so here's the best example I can find to try and illustrate my writings...

The plastic was dk. green, so as I knew there would be a fair bit of light colours, I painted the whole tank white....Remember, dark on light. P1160684.JPG

Dark on light, and see the awful painting lines....be patient! You can also just make out the pencil guidelines.
P1160693.JPG

Keep in mind that each coat will produce a darker tone.

Next darkest coat applied. Again it's streaky. At this stage you get a feel for the final pattern, so you don't have to think what goes where, and can proceed a lot quicker. I added the dark wavy lines first coat using a small, fine pointed brush. Although not much left, see how the initial white coat has come through and the pencil marks have gone. Imagine painting that over the darker colours.....
P1160696.JPG

It took a further two coats to get to this final paint stage. Stay patient, keep your paints thin and all will be good. Trust me, I'm a Doctor.......;)
P1160699.JPG

The finished model ready for weathering. Normally, I would paint the rails etc. in situ, but as it was an awkward pattern, I fixed the bits on afterwards and painted them with a fine point brush. This made the initial hull painting much easier.
P1160719.JPG

So there you are. I hope this has been of some help to someone. I have no doubt raised a few eye brows with my very basic and simple approach to brush painting, but I'm happy with my method.

I've probably left loads out. If so, I will amend the thread as and when I come up with any omissions / tips.

Very finally, there are folks who, no matter what is presented, consider it impossible to get the same finish as an Airbrush. You brush hands don't despair. Wave your banner (Brush anyway) and shout "Yes you can!"
In fact, there are certain applications an A.B. can't achieve - but a brush can!

So walk proud.

Don't forget...Separate thread for your own methods please.

Cheers.

Ron
 
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SWR

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#2
Well I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Ron.
All explained very well with good pictures to make your point.
It does not matter how long a person has been painting,we should all, always remember the basics.
For only with basics can we advance.
All the best to you.
Ralph.
 

PhilJ

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#6
That's excellent Ron, I wasn't expecting a whole thread as an answer but it's very much appreciated and I'm sure many can take value from it.
I won't stop using my A.B that's for sure but will certainly get the hairy sticks out more often and mix it up a bit as I think it's a very important skill and needs to be practiced to be a good all round modeller, in fact you'll be happy to know I've been brush painting only tonight and the thin multiple layers are working a treat so thanks.
Phil
 
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#7
Thanks very much for this, Ron. It's really informative and helpful, and helps debunk a few myths spread about by those who want us to buy more expensive stuff. I've been brush painting for years (and airbrushing for rather fewer years), and I've learned lots from your mini tutorial. I'll be a bit less afraid to abandon my airbrush when the situation arises from now on.
 

SteveTopp

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#13
I’m starting again after a very long lay off and that post has answered so many of my questions.
Thanks Ron
 

quieto

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#14
Dear Ron,
I spent many hours to apply your suggestions (I had to remove paint at least twice) and I obtain these results using brush only (Red coat + gloss coat).

Thank you: the finishing is probably not perfect, but I never thought to be able to obtain it! 20180506_164441.jpg
 

Allen Dewire

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#15
Ron,
Fantastic tutorial on a dark subject that many don't understand fully. I am included in that group. Even with a hissy stick you still have to fall back on brushing all too often. Thanks so much Doc!!!
Prost
Allen
 

John Race

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#17
Doctor Ron .
Really impressive work, looks a very crisp finish.:thumb2:
Is there any thing you can do to help the infirm amonst us :surprised: ?
John.
 

spanner570

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#18
Doctor Ron .
Is there any thing you can do to help the infirm amonst us :surprised: ?
John.
Dear Mr. Race.
Thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately there is medically nothing that can be done for your unique condition.

Can I respectfully suggest a lovely early morning walk in the woods?........With a loaded 12 Bore shotgun!

Your Obedient Servant.
Dr. Ron Crippen
 

John Race

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#19
Dear Doctor Crippen.
Thank you for your reply. At least my condition is unique !
Unfortunately due to an earlier epsode relating to the carrying of a shot gun which I refuse to discuss unless I have legal representation. I am banned from using one.
I have come across an African Witch Doctor who upon a bank transfer to Nigeria has said he can cure me .

Thank you once again .
Yours .
J Race .
 

Jim R

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#20
Hi Ron
Very useful - thanks. Brush painting can save on masking which for me is a good thing.
Jim
 
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