Monday, August 3, 2015

[Project][WIP] Penelope Ep4: Painting Session for the Model Comprehend RX-104 Penelope Gundoom

Penelope Gundoom WIP#4: Time to Paint!

Last time, I sorted out the metallic parts of the build.  Now it's time to do the rest - finally!

Modus Operandi Step 1: Priming

In my HG GP02 MLRS build, I used shading techniques which I really liked due to its final result.  Given so, I decided that in all my future GunPla projects, shading will be mandatory - no more 'plain' painting.  My main philosophy for this is that since people consider GunPla as a scale model and not a 'toy', doing shadings will make it more look less of a toy and more of a true scale model.  So if you are reading this, don't just color it plain - do something special! (specially if you are sensitive to GunPla being called as a toy like a lot of people out there); all other model kits out there always require painting and post-painting methods, GunPla is so far one of the few model kit series that is more toy-like because it now spoils the builder to just snap-build it and do minimal painting making the builder stagnant in terms of skills and prevents one from becoming a better builder.  Anyway, enough of my 'philosophy', I just really like shading as it makes the kit more realistic/life-like in any light conditions.

So anyway, first step as the picture above shows is of course to prime the parts.  I already built and painted the inner frame with DS Paint Gunmetal as illustrated in the first WIP episode.  Now for the outer armor, the parts were pre-assembled into more manageable portions that will not make painting difficult.
For the white, blue and grey parts, I used Alclad II Grey Primer and Microfiller:
I think I will need to stock on this one
Alclad's Grey primer is of a light-grey color which will help me spot out imperfections on the plastic and enable me to fix them before painting, which I did due to Model Comprehend's way of casting (sub-Bandai quality I would say).  Here are some pictures of the primed parts:

Now for red parts, I used Alclad II White Primer and Microfiller instead.  Using grey or other colors as primer will mess the red color I will use (or any red paint in that matter).  Just remember if you are going to paint a part red, always prime with white.  Actually, the best primer for red is Mr. Hobby (GSI) Base White 1000 as it will give the most flat white you will need to give the best red shade you are aiming for.  I also saw one process to getting the best red, this is to prime white, then paint pink, then lastly paint the final red you desire.  But for this, just a white primer will suffice.
One thing you have to note with Alclad's Whiter Primer (and also most of the white primers out there) is that they tend to be on the thin side, in which they still tend to show the original color underneath, specially red colors.  This might have something to do with the pigments used in the plastic for red colors and how light interacts with the colors.  The white-priming left me with a pink shade which is actually good for red colors.

Modus Operandi Step 2: Shading and Highlighting

In the shading process for my HG GP02 MLRS, I predominantly used pre-shading as my main method.  Pre-shading just means painting areas where you want shadows to exist with a darker color (usually flat black) then paint it with your base color.  The pre-shaded areas will produce a darker shade of the color your sprayed which will simulate shadowed areas no matter the light source.  For the Penelope, I will use highlighting instead and just reserve pre-shading to the red parts.  Highlighting is a technique where you will just paint the whole plastic with the darker shade first then just paint over it with the color you are aiming for, effectively highlighting the part and still produce shading.  Here is are the examples:

For the white parts, I used Bosny Dark Grey as the base color:

The main trick in highlighting is to paint the larger surface areas more with the target color and just paint the areas near depressions (e.g. areas near panel lines) thinly.  Here is a test-painting I did over a spoon (white over dark grey):
To ensure success, I used an airbrush with 0.2mm nozzle installed as you will need precision and accuracy when doing any kind of shading to your build.  For the white, I used Bosny White:
Here are the results of the white parts:

Next, the blue parts.  For the blue parts, I used Bosny Dark Blue as the base color:

For the highlight, I mixed Bosny White and Bosny Dark Blue to create the lighter shade I am looking for.  The same technique of spraying was done to highlight the blue parts.

Lastly, for the red parts, I just used pre-shading.  This is to not distort the red color that much and just produce a shadow on selected areas of the parts.  To pre-shade the parts, I again used Bosny Black and used Nippon Paint Deep Red as my red color:

Modus Operandi Step 3:Something different

I tried to something different for some of the parts to add some 'personal touch' to entire build.  I must admit, some succeeded and one particular part was not up to my expectation.

First the bad result.  The part I kind of failed is the back-butt armor.  I first highlighted it with Bosny 'Primer' Grey (yes, Bosny's primer-colored grey - not an actual primer), because I am aiming for a neutral grey sub-color.  I then proceed to mask off some parts:
 I then proceeded to highlight again using Bosny White which is my target color:
 But when I removed the masking tape, this is the disappointing result:
 I just realized that I put the masking too close to each other and they where too thick and uniform that it did not come out as I wanted it to be.  I will need to do more research on patterns of this kind of pattern for my next projects.
Disappointed as I was, I decided to keep the pattern and just softened it by highlighting the areas with a tint of Bosny White.

On the other hand, I achieved good results with some other parts, mainly the blue parts.
Again, after the dark blue as base color, I masked off some areas of the parts:
 I highlighted using the Dark Blue + White mix I said earlier
 I then removed the masking tapes and here are the results.  Looks better than I expected this time.  I guess the main point in this type of pattern is that 'less is better'.  I also think that if started off with a lighter blue instead of the dark blue, the stripes will look better.
Regardless of the results, doing this pattern enabled me to learn even more to painting plamo :)

Modus Operandi Step 4: Hand Painting

 I won't be using stickers for this build and so hand painting is required specially for the small details the stickers were meant for.  One particular part I would like to show here is the head.
 The Penelope, as depicted in the box art, has red eyes (I think almost like the Gundam EZ-8).  For this I hand painted the details as needed.  For hand painting, I started to use enamels.  I also use acrylics like the vallejo model color line but I now tend to use enamels due to their ease of use.  Just to note, I used lacquer/solvent-based acrylics to paint the parts.  Using enamels as the detailing paint will not re-activate the paint beneath it and helps me cleanup mistakes by just using paint thinner (mineral spirits).  Enamels are known to have the best opaqueness even when just brushed.  Enamels also work well with hand brushes and due to its relatively slower drying time, it actually has the best levelling property which results to a smooth finish with virtually no brush-stroke marks left.  For the head (and I guess, generally for the whole Penelope), I only needed black and red enamels (Humbrol Enamel Gloss Black and Tamiya Enamel Red):
 Using a fine brush, I proceeded in painting the head details to finally finish the head assembly.

All the head needs is a flat finishing coat and its gold parts.
I also hand painted a few other parts to add more detail.

Modus Operandi Step 5: Savepoint

With everything nice and painted, it's time to save my progress.  Time to seal the paint with a clear coat.  After a few days of curing, I next coated the parts with a clear gloss coat.  In model building, this step is technically an optional step but one which I tend to do when painting plamo.  Coating your painted parts with a gloss coat will provide your progress with a savepoint to protect your current state and to avoid damages in the future.  The gloss coat will also help things up during washing (or pin-washing in this case) and decalling which will be the next steps for the build.  But remember, if you are going to do this, make sure to let your paint cure for at least overnight just to be on the safe side.

For the gloss varnish, I mainly used Pledge Wipe & Shine and Vallejo Polyurethane Gloss Varnish.
I usually use Pledge as it is a more sustainable method of gloss-coating (because it is easier to find and cheaper to purchase) but I decided to also use the Vallejo Gloss Varnish this time.  I had this varnish in stock for some time now but I failed to 'tame' the first 3 times I attempted to use it.  It always fail to shoot through my airbrush (I used Vallejo Airbrush Thinner) and it just gunks up my nozzle.  I just learned recently that I only need a few drops of water to make this work and work it did, finally.  Given so, I now have a main glossing agent for my future builds, but I still need to work out the best water-thinning ratio for this as too much water does not help either.
Here is one example of the result of the gloss-coating:

Modus Operandi Step 6: Pin-Washing

With the gloss coat on, it's time to do the washing or in this case, pin-washing.  GunPla builders usually call this method Panel Lining or in verb form 'to panel-line'.  In military armor modelling, it is referred to as pin-washing as you only precisely apply a washing agent to bring out the details of a model (like the panel lines or the places where armor panels meet) that are too small and have been obscured by the painting process.  Casual GunPla builders, scour hobby shops and bookstores/office supply stores to look for fine-tip pigment markers or Gundam Marker GM-01 to GM-03.  I also use an Artline Pigment Marker (0.1 and .05 tips), but I only use them for very fine details that need accuracy and less cleanup.  Also, using these fine-tip markers does not give the best looking results as more often, it will just make your GunPla look more toy-ish and cartoon-ish due to its too perfect lines.  If you aim for convenience, I suggest using a Gundam Gray Real Touch Marker instead.

Okay, in the first place, you should not use a black marker as a panel-liner specially on white parts as this will just make your GunPla look like a plastic toy and not a true model.  Second, Real Touch markers have the soft and fine brush tips and the ink they carry is relatively thin.  This results with the panel line looking more of a shaded area and less like a 'line that was drawn in a cartoon'.  Also, cleanup after the Real Touch Marker is easier.

But the real way to handle panel lines is thru pin-washing.  For this we will need the help of enamels again, preferably black or a dark german gray.  Like in all washing processes, you will just have to thin the enamel paint very thin that it is almost like water in consistency (but not too thin that the pigments start to break up).  I like to use enamels or any oil-based paint for washing as it automatically rides the panel lines by itself using capillary action with just the tip of the brush touching the crevices.  Again, using enamels for this helps make cleanup excesses easier.  You could also use Tamiya's Panel Accent Color or Mig Washes for the same purpose.
Photo from Tamiya USA website
Photo from Mig Web Shop
Just using a fine-tip brush will do the trick for all these.
This time, I used both methods.  For the white and some other parts, I used a Grey Real Touch Gundam Marker, since I like the way it adds another level of shading and weathering.  For the blue parts, I used something different: OIL PAINTS.
Yep, oil paints.  Oil paints are similar to enamel paints in such a way that they are both oil-based paints.  I also saw a lot of military armor scale modellers using Abteilung Oil paints as washes and filters.  Others also use plain Artist's Oil Paints as washes and for streaking effects.  But convenient as it may be, I feel that you should use turpentine if you are going to use oil paints.  I tried using normal paint thinner but I think mineral spirits (aka paint thinners) are more effective when used on enamels (alkyd-based oil paints).  I am saying this because it seems that artist's oil paints get broken down harder more severely by paint thinners than by turpentine.  Nonetheless, it might have been just my mix - I need to do more trials to come up with a proper mix for wash using oil paints.
One advantage of making your own washes, is that you can create any color that you want.  Since the blue parts are dark blue, I wanted to try something different.  I used these:
This is just White and Blue oil paints.  I blended them together, roughly equal parts and diluted them using paint thinner (mineral spirits) to a very fluid but still relatively opaque consistency.  Here is the result:
This technically makes the panel lines 'glow' making it distinguishable over the dark shades and adds an interesting dimension to the parts.  You might be able to use this same technique to make some 'minovsky' style lines or something.  Once finished with the pin-wash, next should be the decals.

Modus Operandi Step 7: Decalling

Well, not exactly painting but it does add some more colors to your kit.  This part is not that hard.  You'll just need tap water, cotton buds, tweezers, cutters and to ensure good decal adhesion, I also used Mr. Mark Setter and Mr. Mark Softer.
The only daunting thing about the decals of this kit is that it is Ver. Ka - level.
I forgot to take a pic of the decal sheet but it is roughly an A4-sized sheet like below (upper left corner of the photo):

Aside from that, putting the decals on should be routine and nothing special:
After all the decals, the next step will be finishing, which I will be doing in the next log.
I hope I was able to share something useful to you.  Stick around for the next log as I finally finish this baby.

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