^u^ You’re so welcome!
Tape (especially painter’s tape - not as likely to leave residue and easy to take off when you’re done) is really handy, but I haven’t really used it much yet for models. I was considering using that for adding finer details on my Shadow Fox. c: Basically, you can create shapes, stripes, patterns etc with bits of tape and spray in those details while leaving the already-/not-painted surface clear… OR risk straight up painting with a brush (though I think brush painting is more likely to bleed in under the tape…)
I love, love, LOVE the idea of LEDs being added, but I’ve no idea how to approach that… D: I’mmu solly. I imagine there’s some tutorials on the ‘Net somewhere that could prove pretty valuable, tho.
All right! I’ll give you what tips I’ve gathered over the years building Hasbro models and more recently, my HMMs.
0. PLAN AHEAD! -
So you have an model that you wanna spiff up with some paint, odds and ends. Where to start? My advice is, figure out your theme. What colors do you want? Figure out which colors work well together and whether or not you’ll need primer before even applying the first layer. Gaudy or dark-colored Zoids will need primer if you plan on applying a light color or paint that isn’t very opaque. It’ll save you money on buying more types of paint than you need and keeps things simple.
What I tend to do before the brush ever touches armor is find a photo of the Zoid I have or want and pull it up in an art program like Photoshop, PT Sai, or GIMP. I use layers to colorize or tweak the colors and look to something I think will work - now I have an idea in mind, even if it doesn’t end up as the final product.
1. NEVER PAINT THE PARTS STILL ON THE SPRUES - I foolishly thought this was a clever shortcut for my Gun Sniper, but sometimes parts are meant to snugly fit with others, and adding paint can make them completely incompatible, or cause them to break when you attempt to take them apart again. Do not do this. DO NOOOOOT DOOOO THIS.
2. SMALL, SHARP SCISSORS ARE YOUR FRIEND - What I’ve found to be most effective in getting the pieces off of the sprues in the first place. Smaller bladed scissors are easier to use and handle, and the sharper the better. You want the cleanest cut you can manage and the ability to scrape away excess plastic still stick to a piece. Dull blades can also cause parts to break instead of being easily removed from the sprues. You can also use X-Acto knives for trimming and cutting, but those can be extremely dangerous and can cause terrible injuries if you aren’t meticulous. I really don’t recommend that, even to experienced model builders, just because exposed blades are scary.
3. DO NOT CUT THE PIECES THEMSELVES - this seems like an obvious thing, but sometimes tiny pieces are difficult to figure out where the sprue ends and the piece begins. Look carefully at the instruction booklet to figure out what the piece’s shape should be before cutting or breaking them free from the sprue.
4. TINY THINGS BREAK - Yes, yes they do, and it’s frustrating as heck. You may want to keep plastic cement or super glue handy if you accidentally break/snap a piece that didn’t agree with being removed from the sprue or got stuck in another piece. Be sure not to force parts off the sprues if they’re being difficult. Bend or move them slowly to weaken the plastic if you can’t risk using scissors - they should eventually come loose.
Okay, all that aside, customizing:
5. USE HIGH-QUALITY PAINTS - I can’t stress this enough. Cheap or incompatible paint means a bad time later on. Avoid acrylics or paints you’d use for painting on canvas. That don’t bond well to plastic and are just …no.
I almost always use Testors enamels (the kind that comes in tiny glass jars or small spray bottles. I’ve found that flat spray paint has the best results overall, but if you want to do fine detailing, use small Testors brushes and invest in primarily flat paints. They also make metallic paints (gold, silver, aluminium, bronze, rubber etc) that work very nicely and have the same flat texture for all of your shiny metal needs.
Glossy paints (including some that aren’t labeled as such but still have a thick sheen) destroy articulation in the pieces and really takes away from the “heavy” feel of a Zoid for photos. My Shadow Fox had a flat white spray paint coat and it looks and feels perfect. I also used flat red paint from the jar for the detailing, which looks uniform as opposed to random glossy spots. Granted, it can be done and it’s up to you what you ultimately choose, but I really don’t like the look/feel of glossy overall. My Berserk Fury got that treatment and it’s so shiny it just doesn’t even feel realistic. However, it might be fixable with…
6. FINAL TOUCHES - Totally optional, but if done right can be totally rad.
I’ve yet to post decent shots of my Gun Sniper, but since I royally buggered it up by painting it before assembly, I figured I’d make it look “scrapped” and beaten up. I used an X-Acto knife to carve a little out of the armor here and there like scrapes and scratches and battle damage. I gave those same spots a slightly different color as if paint had been scraped off. Think how human scars look - it’s like the same idea.
On top of distressing it with some varied paint and texture, I also invested some cash into a Tamiya Weathering Master kit at Hobby Lobby (40% coupon pls - each kit’s like, 12 bucks otherwise - wooh!) It’s basically powder makeup for mechs (only more deadly to humans and really flammable). You can apply some of a wide range of textures to the model - snow, soot, oil smudges, rust, sand, silvery wear and tear… they’re fantastic and not very hard to work with, though I’d definitely recommend playing with spare pieces or a sprue sheet to figure out how they look before going all-in.
They give even glossy finish a dry, rough feel and can add a lot of detail and scale to a model if done correctly. I’ll be sure to post the Gun Sniper soon to showcase the effect, so keep tuned!
7. PUTTING IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN -
Use cotton gloves or even old socks, if you haven’t anything else to work with. Sometimes paint will stick to the oil in human skin and travel from your fingers to other parts of the Zoid you didn’t want painted that way. That’s a huge pain and it sometimes calls for going back and fixing it all over again. Be sure NOT to paint inside parts or on areas that fit into/with others, because that will make assembly a huge pain, might cause breakage, or may even cause you to never be able to disassemble the model ever again. That might be okay with you, but that’s just fair warning. Paint with purpose.
Apart from these cosmetic touches, you can use anything from tiny springs to pony bead tubing to metal jewelry to make your models unique. Stick to a theme and have fun with it - don’t rush and be patient. It’s worth it to make every bit of work you do count. <3
I hope that helped - I’m still learning and I know other techniques (airbrushing, etc) are even better for preserving articulation and stuff, but I’ve never done it and it’s a bit pricey to buy up on if you don’t own stuff already.) If I think of something else, or if you still have anything you wanna know, feel free to fire away and I’ll be glad to reply. :) Thanks for the question!
Good! Life’s been crazy. :P But I’m well.
As for SAI… for uber-straight lines, I use a Linework layer and stick to the Line Tool - perfect circles are tricky, but if you use a giant round brush in place on a normal layer and then erase a slightly smaller size brush centered inside, you can get a line circle. When I do lineart with varied lines, I stick to my Intuos 3 with SAI’s stabilizer up around 5-10 with the Pen tool on a normal layer.
comforting ur friends when they’re feeling bad about themselves like
So I saw this on my dash
I literally have no idea who this is
or where its from
but I was compelled to make it even more (in)appropriate.