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About steelpillow

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  1. Then, there are those real-life airbrush fades, especially on WWII German upper-surface camo. Don't throw that old round brush away, cut it off flat about 2-3 mm (1/10 in) from the end. This is now your stippling brush. A No.2or 3 is about right, but for larger scales use a larger brush. Thin your paint around 50% or more, dip the brush in and dab off any excess with a tissue. Now dab it lightly on the model. You'll soon find the consistency and quantity for the effect you are after. Better to over-thin and under-apply to start with, then build up to the full monty. You can always co
  2. I still tend to mask dead clean breaks, such as upper/lower camo colours on a fuselage. The same junction on wings is just a matter of keeping the brush at a steady angle. Yes, for the rest it's either by eye or a that soft pencil somebody mentioned. I used to faff with masking canopy frames, but there's always somewhere the paint gets underneath the tape, or the special expensive rubbery gunge adheres so tightly in some places that you scratch the transparency trying to lift it. Nowadays I just use the finest brush I can find and keep a sharpened matchstick, with lightly rounded end
  3. Always start by working your way round the edges and the little details. Get a coat on them, before tackling the big, broad areas in between. This was taught me by a cabinet-maker back in the mid-sixties. It is so much part of me that I forgot to mention it.
  4. Many modellers struggle with brushmarks when painting their masterpiece. Choosing the right brush (chisel-ended for large, flat areas), thinning the paint to just the right consistency, applying just the right thickness and brushing it on confidently without dithering or messing with detail is all very well, but can take a lifetime to master, if ever. Certainly, a high-quality brush with fine fibres helps, but there are other techniques that can really up your game. One is to apply a first coat, not too thick, and brushing only in one direction. When dry, apply a second coat, brushin
  5. Some denizens of this forum will by now be sick of me attributing the technique of multiple layers of thinned paint (aka washes) to Rembrandt. Only after I had watched a wonderful documentary on the Old Master by the almost-as-great forger Tom Keating, and tried it out on my Spitfires, did I realise that it was how the airbrush community do it too. Rembrandt also used multiple thin washes to progressively modify a different base colour, typically to build up shadow. I have found it a superb technique for other things too, such as weathering effects or heat-oxidised Merlin ejector exhaust
  6. I generally find that, although matt looks good on first drying, when you apply the satin, the brush strokes suddenly start showing up. Apply a full gloss, and - oh, dear! Any finish other than super-matt needs immaculate brushwork underneath. I cheat by thinning the paint and applying multiple layers. But I suppose signwriters cannot afford that luxury and actually have to be good at it.
  7. One of the traditional things with gold or silver leaf is to apply a primer of a particular colour to bring out the lustre. We modellers do the same thing with our shinier metallic paints. For high silver finishes, a gloss black undercoat is the thing (not white as one might assume). For gold, the European classical tradition is matt red for a warm glow, the Islamic is yellow for a light, airy feel. There are probably others.
  8. Just May I suggest you try a test piece first? Vehicle "enamels" and similar are apt to eat into the plastic, creating various crinkly/crazed effects. Some modellers like to use them, so they routinely apply a safe primer coat first. If signwriting paints are similar, then you might find you have an elegant but not very authentic crinklefire on your hands.
  9. This is what I like about "What-If" modelling. We get what-ifs in real life too, 221B Baker Street being perhaps the coolest example. You have to love the backstory to the backstory: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-mystery-of-221b-baker-street-3608784/
  10. Yep, soap and warm water after every use. If paint does build up as the brush heads for middle-age, then decal softeners or Revell enamel "thinners" both do the biz. Sticking wet enamel/oil brushes in a jar of water overnight to keep the oil in there is an old decorator's trick, works brilliantly. Just shake/wipe the brush off before its first load of the new day. Not recommended for long periods though, because rust.
  11. Stir, stir and stir again. Keep a sharp eye on the end of the stirrer for globs of thick stuff, and keep going til they disappear and you can't scrape any more up. When all looks perfect, keep stirring for another minute. Even if you use it every day, give it a quick stir before use. This has always fixed my drying issues with Humbrol (but see below). The main screw-up was outsourcing to China, I dunno, 15-20 years ago? Quality ceased to exist at that point, but it was a few years before they could bring manufacture back in-house and print Union Jacks on the cans - only to find that the l
  12. Historically, Humbrol just made hobby paints, mostly gloss. Then plastic aircraft modelling took off in the late 1960s and 70s, and they brought out ranges of camo colours to satisfy WWII modellers. Most of us were, and still are, useless at mix'n'matching our own batches all the time, so we wanted them to be "authentic" out of the tin and that meant matt, so matt they were. It also proved popular for two mundane reasons; matt requires less binder in the formula and so has greater covering power, and its surface dries quicker so stops showing finger marks sooner. But then we found that de
  13. Some great models there, thank you. Intriguing to see how fine-grained the model classes are. I knew someone who emigrated to Boise Idaho back in the 'eighties. I wonder if he is still there. Name of Alex Patterson. Not a modeller though.
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