Topical v Layered Paintjob

Jesuit24

Hunter
I'm trying to upgrade my helmet from the scratchbuilt one I made a couple of years ago to a nice new GMH in time for the Star Wars premiere next month. Originally, I was going to do the layered method but I've not left myself much time to do it so I was wondering what are the benefits to doing a layered approach? Obviously the paint is all through an airbrush so it reduces the risk of brush strokes but my topically painted scratchbuild doesn't show any brushstrokes either. There's the question of accuracy as well I guess but the same steps could be taken to mask off the damage and a brush tends to provide finer detail anyway. At this rate, topical seems to be a quicker method for very little disadvantages.
 

Fett 4 Real

Sr Hunter
Community Staff
Topical isn't really any faster IMO more precise for sure....and if you do it right you cant tell its topical. Super Jedi does a really nice job with topical paint application. I have used his method and it works really well. Mind you it may not come out just the way you want but if you follow along SJ's ways you should do pretty well....theres still air brushing the main colors so the dome green isn't hand brushed on. It still takes a few weeks to do a layered job.
 

Evan1701

Hunter
I think the layered method leaves a little more room for error as well. You basically have two extra chances to make sure it looks right- first when you stencil out the shapes, and second when you actually apply the masking. As I'm applying my masking I have reference pictures up, so I know for a fact it will look good when I'm done. Masking is also very forgiving, so if you screw up a shape you just peel off the offending section and redo it.

The biggest downside, to me anyway, is that you can't mask up really thin details very well. All of my "scratches" are pretty fat, which is just a byproduct of the masking fluid. If I was painting all of the silver damage on, I could get a really thin brush or some other thin utensil and make the scratches really look like scratches.
 

Jesuit24

Hunter
I just really hate masking. I've used Maskol a couple of times before and it's always nervewracking. Applying it is difficult since it dries so fast and half the time, it doesn't want to come off clean. I was thinking by doing a topical application of the weathered parts, I'd cut out an entire step going straight from wax paper to paint which would save me time and remove the chance for something to go wrong with masking fluid.
 

TheZeroEffect

Active Hunter
I’m a fan of layers myself, and have used a few masking techniques..
I like to use the rubber headed brushes used for smudging pastels, as the masking fluid cleans of easy between each application, which in turn lets you apply the fluid cleanly. I also will use sharpened thin wooden rods to get fine scratches and chipping.
Any othe fine details I leave till the end and go over the area and manually add scratches and chips, with eith my micro dremel or an awl.
 
I painted mine topical, I've got more control over a paint brush than airbrush, so it worked better for me. Dom/Fett 4 Real gives solid advice. I drew each stencil on tracing paper, lined up each section and transferred it that way. took longer, but everything lined up where I wanted it. I too followed Super Jedi 's painting threads.
 

e3kehoe

Hunter
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I did a combination of topical and layered on mine. Worked great and cut a lot of time down. For example on the dome I put down the gray then masking fluid then the green then painted on the silver with a brush. Of course the other parts were similar but more colors but still hand painted the silver last. I just found it quicker.
 

lowberg

New Hunter
Can someone recommend a good self leveling silver enamel paint that;s good for topical damage?
I know the popular one is Floquil , but it seems to be discontinued and not available anywhere.

I've tried Testors Model Master Enamel paint but it has a "splotchyness" too it I don't like.. If I thin it out ,the metallic pigments start to separate and don't look right.
 

Evan1701

Hunter
Humbrol Silver 11 is pretty common. I don't love it since it can look "sparkly" if you don't apply it quite right, and I'm a terrible painter so that is quite often, but when you do get a nice coat it looks pretty good.
 

Fett 4 Real

Sr Hunter
Community Staff
modelmasters aluminium, works just fine with model masters thinner. You have to constantly shake it up, or use a paint mixer.
 

RealMatix

Hunter
At my current paintjob i have this not "self leveling" paint problem, at the backpanels. I think you need much more practice at paint thinning and appling, if you try to do a topical paintjob.
Brushstrokes everywhere...frustrating. You need Fett4Real or SuperJedi skills to do so. I think about switching the style for the rest of the helmet.
 

Jesuit24

Hunter
Yeah, it's been a nightmare trying to get the correct paint consistency for topical damage; a lot harder than it was a couple of years ago when I did the topical damage for my first helmet (although my standards weren't as high back then). Humbrol quality seems to have gone downhill recently. I still have a couple really old Humbrol paints that paint like a dream, yet every new tin I buy seems to come as a thick sludge, even after aggressive shaking and stirring. It goes on far too thick right out the pot and even with the slightest thinning it loses any coverage ability. I feel like these days Humbrol is only any good through an airbrush. But I'm thinking about getting the base helmet painted professionally anyway; it'll take a lot of hassle off my plate, I'm just nervous about sending an expensive helmet off to get lost in the post.
 

Fett 4 Real

Sr Hunter
Community Staff
What are you stirring with? Humbrols always been thick for me... I don't use it really. But years ago like when I painted Wasted Fetts helmet for example it was really sludge.

I enjoy using model masters
 

Evan1701

Hunter
Yeah, it's been a nightmare trying to get the correct paint consistency for topical damage; a lot harder than it was a couple of years ago when I did the topical damage for my first helmet (although my standards weren't as high back then). Humbrol quality seems to have gone downhill recently. I still have a couple really old Humbrol paints that paint like a dream, yet every new tin I buy seems to come as a thick sludge, even after aggressive shaking and stirring. It goes on far too thick right out the pot and even with the slightest thinning it loses any coverage ability. I feel like these days Humbrol is only any good through an airbrush. But I'm thinking about getting the base helmet painted professionally anyway; it'll take a lot of hassle off my plate, I'm just nervous about sending an expensive helmet off to get lost in the post.
With the couple things I've topically painted on my helmet, I absolutely agree with you. As soon as I thinned the paint, it wanted to go on like water and I had to put on coat after coat to not see the previous layer underneath. The white was especially maddening. I still have to do the bright red on the mandibles and trim along with the tape residue, so I'm gonna try a few different amounts of thinner and see how it works.
 

RealMatix

Hunter
To which consistency do you thin your paints when you apply them with the brush? Same as the bluemilk airbrush-consistency?
 

Evan1701

Hunter
To which consistency do you thin your paints when you apply them with the brush? Same as the bluemilk airbrush-consistency?
I did this with my white paint which I think is why it went on so terribly, but I didn't thin my black near as much and still had trouble. I also have a hard time lining up the edges of each coat of paint, so parts of the edges of my horseshoes look like ziggurats :p

Topical painting just ain't my gig...
 
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