Wednesday, 11 January 2012

painting - how to get it wrong

OK, this one is tough for me.  I have to show you my worst piece of painting ever.. Not that my usual painting is all that.
So, without further ado, here it is..

Pretty bad huh?
So what went wrong?

Bad undercoat.
Paints too thin
Badly posed (for painting purposes)
Should have been painted before being glued together.
Missed areas
Paint where it shouldn't be.

Is there anything else?  Could there be anything else?
Lets break this down..

Undercoat.  I have struggled for some time with white spray undercoats.  I'm fine with black, goes on fine, but white?  Shake it as much as I like, whatever brand, whatever temperature, it just goes on gritty and not smoothly.  This model was one of a batch that I did as a last attempt.  I should have stripped it but I didn't.  I've since started hand undercoating using Foundation paints as I don't like to undercoat in black as I can't see the detail.  I've also found that a wash applied afterwards counteracts much of the problems that arise from such a poor undercoat.
The roughness of the finish is murder on your brushes, and makes it difficult to control where the paint goes, especially if you..

Make your paints too thin.  Had a brain storm, decided really thin paints were the way to go.  Which maybe it might be in the right conditions, but with this rough finish the paints just get pulled all over the shop I think via capillary action or something similar.  Check out the paint from the hood on his face and the big line across his chest.  Again a pre-wash would have limited this problem, but never the less it was rather stupid and naive of me.

Badly Posed.  Well, I don't mind the pose really, but it makes it almost impossible to get every surface covered in paint.
Check out the crook of his bent arm.. There's a bloody great white patch, and trust me, there's more of it than you can see here, some form the arm, some from the torso, so multiple colours will be required.  We might have a view in form here but getting a brush in there?  it might be possible to get it all covered, but make a good neat job of it?  I'm not so sure.

Which means it would have been much better to have painted this model before I put it together.  My impatience has cost me again.  I rarely pre-paint and I really aught to, it can pay dividends.  The alternative is to find a pose that isn't going to cause you problems, but do give it some consideration before you apply the glue.
The base would have been much easier to make a good job of if I'd painted it before glueing the figure on, with the fallen statue facing the Executioner it's going to be a 'right laugh' getting any detail painted on it.  Might have to leave it as base coat and wash.

Missed areas.  This is just plain sloppy on my part.  If I have an excuse it's the poor light I work in most of the time.  Poor lighting is unhelpful with any of the issues I've had with this figure so do ensure you have plenty of lighting, daylight bulbs if you can.

Paint where it shouldn't be.  Again, this is just me being sloppy.  Mostly this will be easy to tidy up, but is just another example of things to get wrong.  Don't paint when you're tired, be careful and steady handed.  Odd misplaced spots are not unusual, but can be avoided.  Luckily they can also be easily covered, especially if you're using foundation paints that cover so well.

I think it's going to be tough to turn this into anything other than a poor figure, but I'll post my efforts once done.

(previously published elsewhere November 2011)


  1. Thanks for the tip on the grainy white primer. I have had problems with this, too! I just recently primed a Seamus crew in white, and it is nothing but grit, grit, grit. I think I'll also try scrubbing it with a dry toothbrush to try and remove some of the mess. I'll let you know how it works!

  2. Glad it was of use, a layer or two of wash really helps. Am interested to know how the scrubbing goes so please do post back and let me know.