The past few weeks I've been working on my awesome Bobamaker armor and have been EXTREMELY happy with the results. I feel that with the experience I've gained painting up my bucket, I've gotten a better grasp of not only how to effectively use the airbrush, but how to get MUCH more accurate stenciling done.
But this won't just be an ordinary WIP thread. I'd really like to share a "tutorial", if you will, of how I got the stenciling just right, and how I add in every little detail I can possibly see using the hundreds of reference photos from the Art of Star Wars Museum exhibit. Also, a BIG thanks to terminalfettlter for suggesting the colors. So, lets get started:
Assuming you've prepped and primed your armor (mine already came like that), first, put 2-3 coats of Humbrol no. 11 Silver on.
Once COMPLETELY DRY, we can start stenciling in the silver damage.
Now, before we can trace from our computer monitors, we have to obviously scale our reference pictures to our armor's size. One thing I will give Bobamaker credit for is that his armor dimensions are very close to what you see in the reference pictures, thus making this part of the job very easy. I use whats called a "micrometer" at my workplace. Being in the Old Guard, our unit has to have our dress uniforms absolutely PERFECT in regards to the measurements of where our awards and unit ciations are placed. This 6 inch stainless steel ruler measures at both 1/32 and 1/64 if an inch, so this thing is SUPER accurate. I believe you can pick them up at lowes.
So, using photoshop, you get your reference pictures scaled to how big your armor is by measuring your armor's sides and then how it sizes up on the monitor. NOW we're ready to trace!
Cut out a small piece of tracing paper, and use painter's tape (won't leave residue on your monitor) to attach it over the section you wish to trace. Then, using a drafting pencil, CAREFULLY trace the OUTER portion of the damage, on the line. Now the reason I say trace the outer portion is so you don't overlap the actual image, thus making it smaller when you transfer it.
Next, match up the stencil to your armor, and by using your trusty micrometer measure out where the distance is from the top/side of the damage to the edges of the armor. This will gauge proper placement/positioning of the tracing to get the most accurate stencil:
So how are we going to transfer that image onto our armor? Well, I believe I've found a method that gets you probably the most accurate results. Its called "Graphite Transfer Paper", and I found this at PEARL arts and crafts. I'm sure they have this stuff at most Michael's and other art stores:
Before I was using the trace method where you would trace the image from your monitor, flip the paper, trace over that with a pencil, and then flip it over AGAIN. Not only are you already 2 traces away from the actual image, creating a less accurate representation of it, but half the time the transfer won't even APPLY! Not with this stuff. This graphite paper will give you a guaranteed transfer EVERY time, and plus, it cuts stenciling time in half!
So once you have your trace in position, CAREFULLY hold it in place while sliding the graphite paper (dark side down of course) underneath. This ensures you don't lose you're spot on the armor:
Now, tape them BOTH down so that when you trace its secure:
Now here's the key part to transfering...trace just outside the lines. Why? Because if you trace the lines exactly, you're actually making the transfer smaller than what it really is. Plus, when you have to use the masking fluid to mask up the silver layer, you need to stay inside the lines which will make it smaller to begin with. Hope that made sense.
And voila! A perfect transfer of the damage you just traced from your monitor!
Now just spend the next few hours obsessively scaling your armor and tinkering with the proper placement of the damage stencils, and mask off all that silver damage. Don't worry about the tiny scratches and nicks, those will be scratched through using a compass needle or small paintbrush:
Don't overwork yourself too hard...
That's it for now. I'll post up my progress with the yellow a bit later. Hope this was able to help a few guys out starting their armor. I'm really striving for perfection on this piece folks, and from experience with this I can tell you that getting EVERY detail perfect is nerve-racking. But, I think it'll be worth it in the end.