How to paint camo patterns

June 5, 2012 at 13:55 | Posted in How-to | 2 Comments
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Lately I’ve been experimenting with painting camo patterns on my gunpla kits. Theoretically it’s quite simple, but in terms of execution, I still need to polish up on my technique. Regardless, I thought it would be a good idea to share my experiences which involved using spray can paints. So here’s the steps I took:

1. Conceptualize

Before you do anything, you need ideas. For camo painting, you need to decide two things: color and camo pattern. If you need some inspiration, just browse the internet or flip over some hobby magazines. Military style camo is a good start, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to that. If you have Gimp or Photoshop, you can Google a lineart for your model and then apply the camo paintjob that you wish to try out, like what I did with my Jesta:

 

2. Paint the base layer

The base layer is basically the color that you will be masking. For example: if you want a paint scheme which is mainly white with grey camo patterns, your base layer will be the grey color. For my GM Cannon II, the base paint was German Gray. You get the gist…

3. Mask the base layer using your preferred camo pattern

You can use any of the several masking methods which I covered here, but I mostly use masking tape since you can cut it in any shape you want. For digital camo like the one on my GM Cannon II, I cut the masking tape into squares of different sizes to mask the base layer. For my Jesta which had curvy camo patterns, I drew the patterns on a masking tape and cut it out with my hobby blade:

4. Paint the second layer

After applying the masking, just spray in your second layer. One thing to be careful about is to avoid spraying a single thick layer. If you did that, there might be a chance that the paint will seep underneath the masking tape, thus ruining the camo pattern. Instead, try to paint multiple, thin layers. For most purposes, you can stop at this step. Wait until the paint is dry before peeling off the masking tape.

5. Repeat as necessary

For  a slightly more complex camo pattern that involves more than 2 colors (e.g my Jesta), you can continue to add masking (step 3) and the subsequent layer of paint (step 4). For the Jesta, I used 3 different shades of gray and the whole process went something like this:

Spray German Gray (base layer) -> masking -> spray MS Grey -> masking -> spray Light Gray -> masking -> spray Off-white (final layer).

Between each step, don’t peel off the the masking tape yet until after you applied the final layer. Here’s what it looked like halfway through:

And there you have it. I suggest trying out simple camo patterns like squares to get a hang of things. As I said earlier, it’s theoretically simple, but execution is another matter. But don’t let that dampen your spirit. After all, this hobby is about trial and error. Have fun!

Examples:

Here’s some examples of camo patterns that I painted, just to give you an idea of what you can do:

  

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Gundam Mk.II (ver. 2.0)

March 3, 2008 at 13:34 | Posted in Master Grade | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

This Mk-II is actually the AEUG version and is one of the first MG kits to be labeled ver. 2.0. I was inclined to paint it in custom colors. In this case, I decided on Titans color scheme because it just looks more menacing than the plain AEUG colors.

Materials & Methods:

This was basically an out-of-box (OOB) build, meaning no modifications were made to the original kit. I sprayed the inner skeleton with Gunship Grey and painted some internal details with gold + silver paint. The leg + arm armour was sprayed with titans body color spray. For the chest + hip armour, I handpainted with midnight blue. The eyes were painted with clear green, with a reflective sheet (from used CD-R) glued at the back. I took the liberty to paint the pilots as well. For panel lines, I used brown accylic paint thinned with ethanol. I applied a mix of 3 types of decals: the original that came with the kit, Samuel’s decal (ordered online) and Bandai waterslide decals (for RX-78 ver. Ka use). Finally I applied a generous amount of flat coat.

Results:

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Dicussion:

I bought this kit before Bandai released the Titans version which has proper rotating hips not found on the AEUG version.  On the plus side, the AEUG version comes with a base, which the Titans ver doesn’t have.

This is only the third MG I built myself and I’m pretty satisfied with it. The only thing I regretted was separating the groin joint so that they move independently. Now they became too loose. Also, I accidentally broke the Vulcan Pod antennae but luckily it can be glued back. Except for the hip, this kit has great articulation and feels very solid. After putting on the armor however, the movements become slightly restricted.

Overall, if you don’t mind the limited hip movement, this kit is well worth the time and money.

Zeta Plus A1

March 1, 2008 at 14:36 | Posted in Master Grade | 1 Comment
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Introduction:

This was actually the 1st MG kit that I bought. At that time I wasn’t so well-versed in all things Gundam yet; I bought it because it looked cool & was transformable. It was just snap-fitted and was left sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. Then one day I decided to paint & try out some other modeling-stuff on this kit.

Materials & Methods:

This was basically an experiment on detailing. I glued some slices of plaplate on the chest, drilled additional holes on the forearms & hip guns, and drew some additional panel lines on the knees. I also added some details on the forehead sensor using some sliced plastic tubes and also attached a metal pin on “nose” when it’s in waverider mode. I broke the V-fin antennae in the process, but thankfully the kit came with a spare one.

As for the color scheme, I tried to replicate the Hummingbird colors from the Gundam Sentinel series, using whatever colors I have available in a spray can. For the brown parts, I used sand color spray and orange spray can for the orange parts. Then I sprayed a layer of smoke on top of that to give it an overall darker color.  Panel lining was done using black acrylic wash (still couldn’t find some enamel paints at that time). For the decals, I used the dry-transfer & regular stickers that came with the kit.

Results:

Discussion:

Given that this was my first real attempt at Gunpla-ing (aside from snap-fitting), there were a few difficulties that were encountered. Painting wasn’t as smooth as I wanted; the paint came out in sputters, resulting in fine spots instead of a uniform layer. But after spraying multiple layers, it wasn’t that obvious anymore. And then the dry-transfer decals didn’t really came off too nicely, probably because it got brittle after being left for too long.

Regarding the kit itself, articulation around the waist & shoulders is pretty limited. But that’s fine since it’s a fully transformable kit. Aesthetically, it looks very good in either mobile suit (MS) or wave-rider mode. This is in my opinion, one of the best designs among the transformable MS or even among the Zeta lineup.

Initially, I started this project to kill time while doing my HGUC Zaku II, but I ended up finishing this one faster (3x faster???) than the Zaku. Overall, I can’t say I’m too pleased with the final result, but it served as a good lesson for my future Gunpla projects.

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