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Tamiya 1/32 Spitfire - painting tiny pieces


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Rookie and old person trying to build this beautiful model and made the mistake of thinking larger scale models means larger pieces - big whoops there!  In the very first step the instructions are telling you to paint the radio black and all of the knobs/dials red.  The knobs/dials are barely visible to the naked eye and I quickly realized the need to magnify.  Even so, when I simply touch one of them with the tiniest brush I own the color spreads out and it is ruined.  Any advice on how to paint these tiny pieces would be most welcome.  If this post belongs in a different forum please let me know.

Thanks,

Stuart

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Sounds like you might have too much paint on your brush. Are you familiar with the concept of "dry brushing"? This entails wetting the brush with a bit of paint, then removing most of it by wiping it on a paper towel or something else absorbent, until just enough paint is left on it to leave a bit of pigment. So first paint the radio black and allow it to dry. Then dry brush the raised detail with red paint.

Or, do what some figure painters do. First paint the raised detail red, then carefully paint the body black. If the paint is thin enough, the black paint will flow around the raised detail, leaving it red.

Colored pencils are another option for raised detail. There are pencils made just for this purpose, but sometimes the garden variety colored pencil will work.

Is there an IPMS chapter or other model club in your vicinity? If so, join up! You'll be able to get plenty of useful advise on this and other techniques from other modelers.

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Thanks very much.  I was not aware of the dry brushing technique, I’ll give that a go for sure and work from there.  Appreciate the prompt reply, I’m working on it now.

I’ll check about a chapter.

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Stuart,

Michael is right. It sounds as if you have too much paint on that paint brush. Dry brushing is the way to go on those panels. Try practicing on a scrap of plastic with an indenture if possible. That will give you a good idea what Michael is talking about. Take his advise about joining an IPMS Chapter if you have one nearby. The members can give you a helping hand. Happy modeling!

 

Mark

 

 

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The techniques for painting raised detail varies with the kit, how they handled the molded detail and the individual modeler.  Each one of us has a preferred technique that we've developed thru trial and error.  Michael and Mark are correct re a technique that should keep you out of trouble.  I have a preference for an art pencil combined with Testors Dullcote as I have described in some of my articles and ebooks, but I also use drybrushing as well as other techniques.  As for magnification devices, the only one I use is the old, reliable OptiVisor for the simple fact that it offers a number of optical glass interchangable lenses.  Cheap it ain't, but you darn sure can't go wrong with it.

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I second the use of watercolor pencils and or a set of colored Sharpie pens to color dials etc.  

Edited by Mister300
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You've got some very good advice above...but this also raises a subject that you'll have to tackle at one time or another: detail painting.

The guys are right....good paint and brushes are the key. If you don't have some very fine tipped brushes, go buy some. Make sure they have clear protective covers to help the points last longer. NEVER dip ANY paint brush all the way in the paint, only go about 1/3 of the way...you don't want much (if any paint) getting up into the ferule,  as the accumulating dried paint up in there will spread the bristles and ruin its shape over time. Never "scrub" a brush on the bottom of your cleaner jar....instead just swish it around and then gently roll and pull/wipe the bristles on  a paper towel or rag. You can use a bit of spit to wet, twist, and bring the brush to a point again before covering it with the protective sleeve.

Don't overlook painting with something "finer" than a brush....a sharpened toothpick may give you better control in a very tight spot.

It'll take some practice to find the right consistency for any paint you use to detail paint with. It needs to be thick enough to cover with a touch, but thin enough to actually flow off of the brush at a slight touch. The answer (how thick or thin) will NOT be the same all of the time....it'll depend on the brand, type, and also even the color you're using. The real answer here is practice, practice, practice on some spare parts, bond paper, or even the sprues of the kit (try painting those raised numbers!). Also, stick to using the brand thinner that matches the paint until you get more experience...it keeps things simpler.

Lastly, use magnification! We all do...even the young, eagle-eyed among us! It can be something on your head, or a magnifying lamp, or both (as in my case). And also be sure you have some extra light that can be directed onto your work so there's no shadows obscuring what you're trying to see to paint.

No matter the scale, no matter the model, as you build more and more, sooner or later you're going to want to try to tackle this. Some of the shortcuts listed above can save a lot of time (drybrushing, very fine tipped Sharpies, etc,).....but at one point or another you're going to need to be able to paint some buttons on a console. Don't let it intimidate you!

 

Gil :smiley16:

 

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I wanted to thank everyone for their great advice.  It seems there are many methods to try here and I am excited to put them to use.  This is the second 1/32 scale aircraft that I have tried and after reading through all of the instructions i see many pieces to detail paint.  I want to get this one right, I am embarrassed to say that I may have ruined the engine for the Tamiya 1/32 Mustang, got frustrated and put it away.  I certainly picked the wrong models to restart my hobby but they were on sale on Tamiya’s website 😀

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Ruined? Naaahhhhhh......you're just at the beginning of a journey that most of us started many years ago. You're not screwing up anything we've never screwed up. You simply want to get the results you see others have,  but remember they have way more experience than you have.  It's a good goal, as it'll make you push yourself to be better. But, never let what others may think control your building or suck the fun out of your hobby! If you sincerely think you bought a couple of models a bit too complex for now, box them up and try to pick a few to get under your belt before you come back to them.

The bottom line is FUN! There's NO requirements to build contest winners or match anybody else's quality. Cut yourself some slack, stretch your building legs until it frustrates you and then pull back a bit and relax. The only way you can fail is to not have fun when it's all said and done!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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