Editor’s Note: Greetings Cravers! Please welcome our resident custom’s mad scientist, Joe Lewis, for the long overdue second installment of his Megatron repaint project. The delay was not Joe’s fault as we were having issues getting the post up. However, whatever glitch that was stopping us before is gone and we are happy to be back on track! Here’s Joe…
Welcome to week two of our first big repaint project! As a quick refresher, last week we stripped the paint off of our test subject using isopropyl alcohol and a stiff brush. This week, we get down to the fun parts, and start laying down the first coats of paint.
Before laying down any paint, remove your figure from the alcohol and rinse it off thoroughly. Make sure you’re not leaving any loose bits of paint on the figure as they will get under the paint you’re going to be putting on and make the coat uneven. Once that’s done, you need to wait for it to dry. One of the main things you’ll learn is that repainting a figure with brushes is an exercise in patience. If you try and rush things, you’re not going to be satisfied with the results. I usually leave things on a towel overnight to dry.
Next, we’ll start laying down the color on the figure. The first decision you have to make is if your project is going to be fully transformable or not. If it is, you’ll want to identify any places where two pieces of plastic can rub together… usually at joints or when one piece fits inside another. At these points, use very fine sandpaper or a file to shave down the joints slightly, to account for the added thickness of the paint you’ll be adding.
For this particular project, the figure’s transformation is fairly simple, and the figure itself isn’t very complex, so I’ve opted to leave it in one piece when putting a base coat on it, instead of disassembling the figure first.
For my base coat, I use the Games Workshop primers for their ability to go on thinly and smoothly, their durability, their quick drying, and because it sticks to surfaces easily. This base coat comes in two colors: White and black. In order to choose the right color, I have to think about what colors I’ll be using. For figures with a lot of darker colors, I opt for black, but since this figure will have a lot of light grey parts on the legs and shoulders, I use white. Remember, when painting it’s easier to layer from lighter to darker, than the other way around.
The first thing I do is put down a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. I spray one side of the figure with a light coat of paint, starting and ending each stroke off the figure, to avoid overspray and clumping. Remember, the key is to use thin layers to avoid filling in small details with paint.
Allow each layer to dry before starting the next, and make sure you spray from multiple angles, to get all the surfaces equally covered.
After each coat has dried, I flex and move all the joints to make sure they don’t get stuck in a position, and to identify any trouble areas that might scrape later.
Once everything is nicely covered and dried, it’s time to start adding our main colors. For this part, you want to use soft brushes, as brushes with stiffer bristles are likely to leave brush marks that are more obvious.
I use Citadel Miniatures paints, because I like how well they flow, and they provide a good, consistent color.
While painting, remember to take your time, and not to rush yourself. Each person is going to work at their own pace, and it’s usually going to take longer than you think it will, especially if you’re new to painting. The trick, as with the base coat, is to put the paint on in thin layers that you can build up if needed. Some colors will go on more evenly than others, and some will require multiple layers to get a good even coverage.
Here you see some of the first coats of my basic color. You’ll notice that some colors, like the light grey, look much smoother than the darker colors. The purple in particular looks fairly patchy. The first goal is to just get the base colors down as smoothly as you can, but again, in as thin a layer as possible. It’s better to have to make a second or third pass with thin layers than laying it on really thickly.
While painting, if you find that your paint is too thick, thin it out with a drop or two of water, but make sure it doesn’t get too thin, or it won’t cover as well. Test out your color on a paper plate before applying it to make sure you’re comfortable with how it flows from the brush.
From here, I’m going to continue to block out areas of basic color, while continuing to flex the joints in between each layer. Once the first layer of basic colors is down, I’ll go over areas (such as the purple) that need to be evened out with another pass of color. Making sure everything is well covered can be a time consuming process that I find is best done an hour or two at a time. I like to do my figure painting while watching TV or a movie, as it makes me feel less rushed.
For the next installment, we’ll have a figure that’s got the base colors fully blocked out, and we’ll begin defining and building up the more detailed areas of the figure.