Building and Painting Scale Figures

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A better option is to have two light sources from both sides of your worktable. I personally like two small tube lights with watt bulbs on both sides. This gives a "warm" effect and makes all the flaws easier to detect. The next step is to choose a subject for painting; a good figure that is well sculpted and well proportioned is absolutely vital. Proportioning is very critical when it comes to selecting a figure to paint.

No matter how great the paintwork is, it will not hide the flawed proportions. Developing an eye for anatomy is very important in figure modeling. Start with subject matter that inspires and excites you, and then shop for the very best figure you can find.

Figures - How to paint realistic pants 1/35 Scale

There are numerous manufacturers out there today with amazingly beautiful sculptures available in kit form. The choices are almost endless, as is the subject matter. In the last few years the giant steps sculptors and modelers have taken in all scales is phenomenal, the figures are really true works of sculptural art in miniature. The range of possibilities continues to widen.

Many accessories, heads, hands and sculpting materials are available; it is up to the modeler's imagination to take this reality a step farther. A good miniature opens a door to another world, a dreamlike place that has endless possibilities. Scale figures are usually cast in resin, metal, or plastic and depending on the manufacturer can sometimes have a rough finish. Air bubbles and distortion are common flaws in resin and metal figures, and need to be addressed before proceeding.

A good primer is absolutely critical. I would suggest Tamiya "Super Fine" gray or white primer, this is a lacquer based primer that really "bites" the surface and is ultra smooth. Another very good primer is "Touch 'n' Tone" automotive primer, as well as the old Floquil model railroad primer. These all have xylene and toluene in the formula and adhere to the resin or metal surface with permanency.

You will be amazed, after spraying on the primer, how even a good looking casting that "seems" almost perfect will sometimes show many minute flaws!

Scale Model Paint Guide Part 1

After finding the flaws, cover the surface of the figure with a diluted solution of automotive primer. A red spot putty, such as "Evercoat" automotive putty is a good choice. Mix a little acetone with it and cover the entire surface. The reason for covering the entire surface is to get an even and uniform appearance. After the drying time, sand the surface with various grits of fine sandpaper, and then finally finish with a Scotch Brite or similar scouring pad. Re-prime the figure and see what it looks like.

This process may take three or four tries before everything is ready. On the seams, such as joints where the arms or legs attach, the head and hands etc. Aves, or Magic Sculpt are good choices, but any two-part putty will work well. This putty dries rock hard and will not shrink.


It's now time to start thinking about the base or "setting" on which the figure will be displayed. Get a nicely turned wooden base or wooden pedestal to mount the figure.

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Groundwork for the figure is very important, whether it's a simple grass lawn setting or a street scene, or perhaps a portion of a house or building in the scene. Take the time it needs to come up with an appropriate setting for your piece. The basic groundwork can be applied with a two-part epoxy putty, then the figure and its mounting pins can be "set" into the putty while it is still soft. This technique will ruin any normal brush and I advise buying a dedicated brush for the job.

The basic idea is to load a brush with paint and then wipe off as much as you can using a piece of kitchen towel. Until only flecks of nearly dry paint remain on the bristles. I achieve this by working the brush in circles on the kitchen towel then testing it on the back of my thumb.

You then take this brush and drag it across the grain of the model. For example the hair flows from front to back so I worked the brush from right to left.

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As the contours of the model rise and fall the pressure exerted on the bristles does likewise. This variance in pressure leaves varying amounts of paint on the raised and recessed areas leaving natural looking highlights on the raised areas of the model. The colour used for drybrushing should be around 5 to 6 shades lighter than the base colour you wish to highlight, but I like dramatic highlights that leave the models with a sketched almost graphic novel look. There is not a sole lot to this step Wow, that one was really bad even for me.

Seriously though this next step simply involves painting any dark areas. For these models it was their boots. Take your black paint and mix with a very small amount of water. Never paint directly from the pot. The paint will be too thick and will clump, obscuring detail. Due to the water and the white Undercoat this may take a couple of coats but be patient.

The thinner paint yields much better results. After the black is dry you can go back and drybrush the black areas with a dark grey to add highlights. It's time to get up close and personal. To begin this step take a flesh tone paint and water it down very slightly perhaps 5 to 1, paint to water.

Paint in all areas of flesh. Again due to the thin paint this may take a couple of coats. Note how the black ink again provides natural looking shadow. Once this is dry use a brown or sepia wash and go over the areas of flesh to add depth. When this is dry mix a little white and your flesh colour together and use this to drybrush the face. Adding water does not provide good results when drybrushing. It's kind of in the name. When this step is complete you should notice that your models are starting to look much more alive compared to their previously inanimate marble statue look. I would also recommend painting in the eyes at this stage but their is already a very good 'ible on painting eyes so I won't go into detail here.

The next phase is the touch up phase.

Welcome to MDF Models

It is easier to avoid making them in the first place. That being said any mistakes you can see, for instance I got some blue ink on their white gloves, can be corrected by painting the mistake white again then building the layers back up. With the Tamiya kit they provide a sheet of waterside transfers and a diagram to show where to place them. I actually don't recommend doing this step the same way I did. I placed all of the decals in a saucer of water at the same time resulting in some the transfers floating around and getting stuck to each other. Luckily none of the transfers I needed were damaged.

So cutout the transfer you need and work with them one at a time. Immerse the decal in shallow water just enough to cover and using a clean brush coax it away from the backing sheet. Use the brush to push and pull the decal into position on the model and leave to dry. This can be a long process but be patient and repeat this for each decal on each model.

If you have one use the instructions to place the decals otherwise put them where you like or examine your team kit on Google image search. So their you have it, your models are all painted up and finished. One last thing, this technique of using washes does not provide a hard wearing finish.

I highly recommend using an acrylic sealer. Preferably a matte finish. As for the Instructable I think we are done.