Monday, January 9, 2012

Air brushing is AWESOME.

So, Christmas day arrives and I unwrap my present from my wife to find she has got me a dual action, internal mix air brush! Which is pretty cool, as I've been going about them right up to the point I found out how much they can cost! Since then my air brush and I have been starring at each, both in the knowledge that the time was approaching when I will have to have a go and use it to create 'artistic' modelling effects. This filled me with some intrepidation, given my normal inability to transfer the glorious image I have in my head, down my arm and into the paint brush, pencil or whatever where, as usual, it becomes some sort of childs drawing complete with stick figures next to a square house, all being overseen by a very yellow and smiley faced sun.

So this weekend the moment had arrived - I had the paints, I knew how to clean the air brush (essential!) and I was ready to go. For my first outing with my new tool I decided to paint clouds onto my backdrop. I read a few articles and watched a couple of videos on youtube to get the general gist of things. The clouds were for the winter sky, so they needed to be quite heavy (snow laden) but also I wanted some drama to them. After some practice I hit the layout for real. I started first with laying down a random medium grey to create the basis for the area by clouds would cover. Then, using a darker grey and a torn piece of paper as a loose mask I created the bottom of the clouds, which makes a sort of layered effect. I only held the mask lightly, and moved it a bit to make sure the lines didn't appear solid. Finally I changed to a light grey/white, and picked out the high lights at the top of the clouds, and underneath the dark layers that are on top to the other layers of clouds.

I finished off with some more touching up in places I wasn't happy with - places where I had misjudged my target area, or got the flow wrong. The beauty of airbrushing is that is dries very quickly, so adding more on top of what you have already painted is a simply affair.

And viola, here are the results...

I was so pleased with what I have done. Comparing it with what I've seen on other models I believe its not a bad job at all for someone who can't paint for toffee and has only just picked up an airbrush! But I must confess, I'm addicted to the airbrush now.

Whilst I was on a roll I decided to have a go at a simple bit of weather on my plastic peco tunnel entrances. I sprayed them over with a bit of medium grey and then got the black out and added some grime...

They still look a little flat, but not bad for 5 minutes work.

So here is Simon's top tips and advice... so far...

  •  Getting the paint mix is essential, too runny and it'll look uneven and runny on your medium, to thick and it won't spray well/at all. Mix seems to range from 1:1 to 2:1 paint to thinners ratio. Your thinning solution depends on your paint, with the acrylic paints I used it was just water. best to experment
  • Get some sealable containers to put your mixed paints in. I means you can mix enough paint at the right consistency and keep it, and its easily to hand when you need it.
  • Have something to test spray onto before you spare onto your medium proper - at least until you are used to the brush. I'm certainly not used to it.
  • Clean the airbrush IMMEDIATELY after use and learn how to do it properly. Using the acrylics I used (Revell Aqua Color) it was just a case of using water. Follow the manufactures cleaning instructions. Don't be scared of it though, it doesn't take long, and its not difficult to do properly.
  • Practice first with cheap paints and get used to how the paint flows through the airbrush.
  • Look up airbrushing tips and tricks on the internet, if you want to do something, some is bound to have done it before!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Under the arches

And so to my final update of the week.

First of all the arches are finished, fix and lit. The "Gentleman's club" is now known as The Peppermint Hippo, a club for all the local gangsters and criminal elements to go to unwind after a busy day lawbreaking. Owned by a Mr George 'Hammers' Dale Esq, this seedy establishment features acts for the discerning gentleman that could only be described as "Gentleman's relish", with extras for those who can pay. But what ever you do, remember to pay your tab, or Georgie's boys will be paying YOU a little visit!

Unfortunately I put the sign on a little skew-wiff, so I had better fix that before Mister George sees it! You can also see the ramp has been smoothed out with a filler adhesive cement, and painted in.

I also bought some mounting card this week, colour called Porcelain, and cut out the backdrop from it. Even without painting it is an instant improvement.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thinking ahead

For some time I have been concerned that my idea for summer/beach scene, with the tracks coming straight out of a tunnel and along the sea front, wasn't very realistic. However, I recently saw a video of a perfect example of the kind of layout I'm going to model, at Dawlish in south Devon.

(*Image from Google Street View)

So all is well!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let there be light!

Over the last few days I have also installed the lighting bus using a power jack mounted in the new side boarding and wiring under the board. To this I will wire my new 'warm white' 3mm LED's from an eBay seller.

So finally the time has come to start wiring the lights and placing the first buildings! First comes the station building. The first test with the lighting showed up a couple of problems I half expected... the light makes the walls glow ever so slightly, plus light comes out from underneath the buildings. Also, the bulb could be seen from through windows, which wasn't great. So, I made a cardboard mask for the inside of the buildings, cutting out the holes for the windows and door lights. I then covered those holes over with masking tape. This diffuses the light through the windows, and hides the unpainted insides and bulb from sight. Finally, I created a skirt for the bottom of the buildings, on the insides, out of black insulation tape. This seals the building against the platform.

The other mod I made to the building was to move the supporting poles in a bit, as they where on the edge of the platform. A nail has been placed in the platform to hold the poles in place.

And here are the results!

More tomorrow...!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Side boarding on

Today, and over the last couple of days I have made quite a few changes.

Firstly I have remove the tacked on beach section. Its not gone for good, but I'm going to turn it into a separate slot in module. This will make moving the layout a lot easier, and reduce the weight - it was getting heavy!

Then I added new handles underneath and new felt feet. Finally I added the side boarding to protect the sides of the layout, and to tidy up the appearance. The beach side is cut away to allow the module to connect with the main board.

The boarding is Tongue and Groove cladding, with is cheap and the perfect side. these will get a coat or two of glass at some point.

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Station buildings

Last night I finished some station buildings. These ones have been built from Metcalfe kits, and I was impressed with how easy it was to build, given the arches I previously built were from (printable PDF kits) and as such are a lot more labour intensive and prone to mistakes/general untidiness!

That said, I still think the scalescene kits are excellent, with nice detailing, flexibility, great instructions, and excellent value for money! But for quick building times and tidiness, Metcalfe win hands down.

Metcalfe Models PN134 - Island Platform with Buildings. Excuse the poor photography!

When I can get at the railway again I'll place it, but at the moment I have this problem...!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The arches

Been making some buildings for the town scene, so here is a work in progress of the arches, with shops underneath, and a road bridge. When I can get to the railway i'll place it!

*Edit - uploaded new photo...