Saturday, 19 November 2011

Base Coats - Basic Advice

Notice the white spots?
Ok, so i've put my MASSIVE ORDER of Cygnar guys together, so what next.

Well, Step two of any good paint job is under coating.

The best way to think about under coating a model is as "laying a good foundation on which to paint"

Seriously though, if your undercoat is crappy and uneven, very little you do will make the model look any good.

Thankfully there are many nice and easy ways to undercoat a model effectively.

You can use spray coat, and I recommend the Citadel Black undercoat.... I don't use white undercoats very often. Mainly because my painting guru (A sagacious man known only as "The Colin") taught me that black is the way to go. Something about showing off the colours better, I trust him as he can paint a model to a far better finish than I can while still playing a guitar at the same time. (Anyone who has met "The Colin" will agree with this)
Black Jacks!

Another, hideously more expensive option is to use an Airbrush filled with black primer paint.

Airbrushes are like TOTALLY AWESOME. But in an incredibly hard and annoying to use way.

Airbrushing, as i've discovered, is a totally new skill and takes you back to square one with painting. Basecoating a model with the airbrush works well, if you can get an nice even finish. This might require some practice and sacrificing a few models to the altar of experimentation. Long term, it might be a more economical solution to expensive spray undercoats.

The key with undercoats are, a nice even covering of the model, so that the metal/plastic isn't showing but the detail isn't obscured. Practice, makes perfect, but I find it's best to spray until it looks covered, move the model , spray again, and leave to dry. Come back later and check what you missed. It's normally the underside of the model, so spray those bits once more.

For my Cygnar Warjack I decided to go one step further and load the airbrush up with the base colour of the model.

As you can see in these pics the blue base coat for this Lancer turned out pretty damm well. I used the airbrush with a 50/50 mix of thinner and Vallejo dark blue paint.
Ready to spray some blue.... CYGNAR BLUE

Look at this GQ Lancer

    I recommend the Vallejo paints for airbrushing over Citadel and P3 for one reason. The squeezey bottle make it SO MUCH easier to put in the mixing bowl for the airbrush. The same logic for undercoating applies to spraying base colours, keep it even, keep in thin, but cover the model with out killing the detail.


  1. I still think white undercoats are worth experimenting with, particularly for bright colors.

    Totally jealous of your airbrush, have you considered using it to experiment with.. I forget the exact name of the technique, but where you prime black, then, a 45-degree spray of grey (or thin white), then a spray of pure white from directly overhead? It's supposed to add subtle overall highlighting. I've wanted to try it for a while but I haven't had the chance.

  2. Oh, I read an article on that technique in No Quarter recently, it looks awesome. Does look good and relies on thin paint coats to use the airbrushes natural highlighting.

    Totally sounds like a plan, just a bit cagey until i get the hang of basic airbrush functions.

    Just worried i'll munt it up, might try it on some old disposable models first

  3. Zenithal highlighting I think it's called?

  4. Not quite Megapope, Zenithal highlighting is different but uses a similiar process

    In this process its just the undercoat that's done using that technique and then light layers of paint are used over the top.

    I'll find the No quarter its in

  5. Or, perhaps not after looking at some articles.

    Hmmm, certainly the same principles at work

  6. Yeah, I think the principle behind the black+white priming and zenithal highlighting is the same. The big difference in my opinion is it feasibility if you don't use an airbrush.

    Priming a model black and then dusting some white primer with a 45° angle works with both an airbrush and a primer can. According to massivevoodoo

    Using zenithal highlights, esp. if you use more than 2 shades of your basecoat color, don't work that well with a can. Less control compared to a dual action airbrush and getting the colors you need is pretty hard too.

    Personally I'm a huge fan of the (air)brush primers Vallejo sells. After getting myself an airbrush I stopped using primer cans. Vallejo sells white/black/grey primer and some ww2 colors like russian green, german panzer grey or dark yellow.

    The only gripe I have with vallejo is their lack of certain colors in their model air range. I really do prefer the VMA colors over their other brands, but the range is heavily focused on the scalemodel crowd.

  7. The funny thing is I may still buy cans of primer. Some days its easier to get out a can and spray than set up the airbrush, mix the paint, and clean the damm thing.

    I really should try out this zenithal spraying thing


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