Scenically Part V
By Bob Beaty, MMR
October 17, 2002
We often add details to a scene, continue on
with the scenery process and later go back and wonder where the details went.
That is because these individual items of detail, trash, cans, junk etc have
the same muted colors as their surroundings. In order to see ‘em you need to
SEE ‘EM! This a method to make these things “pop out.”
What you will need:
Alcohol (rubbing or
Chalks or weathering
powders, at least rust and black
White or cream acrylic
(water based) paint
A small flat semi-stiff
brush or 2
The standard darkening
solution (India Ink diluted in alcohol)
A paint mixing
If the detail parts are metal they will need
to be washed and primed with a neutral color (gray). If you are using resin
castings like from Sierra West or ones you made yourself, these will need the
mold release washed off, priming is not absolutely necessary but will help the
Lay the parts out on the workbench, you can
do several at a time. Color specific parts as desired. You can also paint
these with Floquil or with other acrylic colors. After you have added basic
colors allow to dry. You can add a spray of the darkening solution, this will
seep into the cracks and accentuate the shadows. These probably look pretty
good now but now the fun begins.
Dip your brush into the alcohol then into
the chalk and apply to the detail part as if painting. You can scrub it into
the detail or layer it for a built up effect. Do this with as many colors as
you may desire (or have). Remember if it doesn’t look right at this stage,
you can take it to the sink and wash it off and start over.
The key to making these details stand out is
to accentuate the high spots where light would reflect off it back to you.
But because we are talking a model part of detail we have to over do it
slightly in order for our viewers to really see it. Think of black rivets on a
black car or raised letters on a detail part. These small details will fade
into the over-all colors if not augmented in some way. Here is where the dry
brush technique brings out these details and set this item apart form a “just
Put a small amount of the white acrylic
paint onto your palette or mixing surface. Wet you brush then dry it almost
completely. You want it damp not water logged. Dip the brush into the paint
covering both sides of the tip edge. Now wipe it all (almost) off on the
paper towel. You want just enough paint to lightly mark you wrist if you drag
the brush across it but not make a complete paint stripe. Too much paint?
Wipe of some more. Now you are ready to highlight.
Use a light touch, and gently drag the
brush’s flattened tip over the details, leaving just a hint of paint on the
raised surface. It does not take a lot, but if you are not careful and light
handed you will get more than you want. You can wash or wipe it off and start
over. Add as much as you think necessary. This is as much artist’s eye as it
is technique. You are emphasizing the highlights just as you emphasized the
shadows with the diluted ink.
Back to Clinics