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Advice on blending Model Vallejo color paints better.

Discussion in 'Just starting...' started by bladerunner8u, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. bladerunner8u New Member

    I have been trying to switch from oils to Vallejo paint.

    I am starting to learn them a little better but I still am a ways from blending colors the way I would like.

    Here my latest 1/35th scale figure.

    As you can see the blending of colors is not correct.

    Any advice on explaining how to blend high lights, mids and shadows.

    Also any advice on painting seams around pockets etc.

    Thanks Glenn Bartolotti


    Attached Files:

  2. megroot A Fixture

    The paint has to be: thin, thinner, thinst.
    That's the only trick they say.....but i cannot manage them at all.
    Therefore i stay with the oils.

  3. housecarl Moderator

    pmfs and SRP like this.
  4. Meehan34 A Fixture

  5. BarrieHynd Well-Known Member

    Glenn, i know how you feel, just starting with acrylics myself and am still not too confident with them. But this is the place to learn.

  6. kansas kid Well-Known Member

    Painting figures with Acrylic Paints. . .

    Oh Gee:

    I hope my comments do not make things worse, rather than better. A poster
    the other day used the term blending when talking about using acrylic paints
    instead of oil paints. And I wonder if that term blending is what is causing
    part of the trouble. That perhaps YOU are trying to blend acrylics. As House
    Carl mentioned about how you apply one thin wash over another and over
    another, etc. Sometimes, I make a very transparent wash (some people call
    this a "filter") and apply it 10 or 15 times in the same area to build up the
    tone I want. So I use the term with acrylics:


    With oils I blend the colours together. With acrylics it is a process of
    layering. So for me to understand the process of how to paint with acrylics
    it is better to use the term layering, because that is what you do. One
    layer does NOT go on the top of another layer before the first layer is
    completely dry. When I think of blending, both tones that are blended
    together are still wet paint.

    I hope I haven't made things worse, by expressing my opinion about these
    two terms. With acrylics, it does take quite some time to learn when to
    make the next layer, when mixing it, either more opaque or more
    transparent. No one can tell you just how to do that, unless they are at the
    same table with you. So it takes quite some time, some experience, to
    start to get the feel of how it works. That is how I learned it.

    So put in the time on practice figures, and I wish you good luck,

    The Miami Jayhawk
    billyturnip and SRP like this.
  7. gordy Well-Known Member

    Rick, I would agree with the layering versus blending terminology!

    Another interesting point to mention is that in armour and aircraft modeling worlds, a "wash" means to outline rivets, panel lines with a darker colour. This too can be a misnomer for cross-over folks.
  8. SRP Active Member

    The transition from oils to acrylic in my opinion..and experience..is the worst. Your eye is used to the fine blending of oils..and the TONS of time the medium allows...then trying to use acrylics is like a kick in the face...back to square one...but you have to learn to treat it as a different medium..think....instead of blend..layer..and no need to rush..as layering gives as much time as blending with oils. It takes time...don't I know....but you will start to paint in a different way eventually without even thinking about it...keep at it..!!!!
    kansas kid and housecarl like this.
  9. bladerunner8u New Member

    Thanks for the many replies!

    I do understand the layers vs oil blending.

    Ok my last question.....do the layers go over the entire area you are blending or just the edge? If the latter how is this done on a 1/35th scale face?
  10. housecarl Moderator

    This is off the Vallejo colour chart, hope it helps. Drop me a PM and I'll E mail it to you.

    Attached Files:

  11. tonydawe A Fixture

    One of the best things I ever bought was an eye dropper. I use this to measure the amount of water I add to my acrylic paint, which in turn helps me achieve consistent paint dilution ratios.

    As I general rule, I usually add 1 drop of water for every drop of paint when I'm painting the base coat.

    When it comes to applying the mid highlights and mid shadows, I thin the mix to 5 drops of water to every drop of paint.

    When it comes to the most extreme highlights and shadows, I thin the mix down to 10 drops of water for every drop of paint. This is applied very carefully over several sessions to ensure that the colour is built up in numerous layers. Patience is a necessity.

    As Rick mentioned, you can also apply "filters" or colored washes over some or all of the figure. These should be even more dilute, perhaps 10-15 drops of water to each drop of paint.

    I hope this helps.
  12. Einion Well-Known Member

    Glenn, as I think you already know, generally when people paint with Vallejo and similar paints they apply them in sequential layers with the paint diluted (sometimes a lot). But in case you haven't read anything that made this clear while the paint can be heavily thinned - just like in a wash - you don't apply it that way, instead you only load the brush lightly (damp brush, not wet) and carefully paint the thin, transparent colour exactly where you want it to go.

    The beginners' guide to using Model Colour in this way was written by Mario Fuentes a few years ago which used to be available as a download on the Vallejo website as a PDF but doesn't appear to be there any longer. It's the basis of the multi-lingual section in the Vallejo colour chart and while the text isn't in English the illustrations showing highlighting and shading in diagram form make the gist of it clear. They're easier to read in the PDF version of the leaflet which you can find here.

    Most of the text is now on this page on their site (under Painting figures with Model Color) along with some other guides that are worth reading too.

    Another good ground-up guide to using this sort of paint is on the Andrea site, here.

    You can do true blending in acrylics - wet blending - but generally only on small areas. If you want to play with doing this over larger distances it's probably best to buy a blending medium or retarder to help slow down the drying time and improve brushability. These products can tend to increase gloss a little so you may end up needing to rely on a matt overcoat of some kind if you use one much.

    In addition to problems of application it looks like there may be issues with the colour mixtures/choices but with smoother transitions these should look better anyway so probably best to work on the technique first, then think about colour if necessary.

  13. housecarl Moderator

    Thanks Einion, my scan didn't work out as planned.
  14. housecarl Moderator

  15. gordy Well-Known Member

    Nice find Carl (y)
  16. bladerunner8u New Member

    Many thanks to all!

    I have been practicing and slowly getting the idea. I used thinned layers of the base color and it is blending! Just have to work more with it.. Thanks!
  17. combatartist Active Member

    Ge'ez this sounds pretty complicated. Acrylics are neither opaque or transparent, unless a titanium white is added, which will mute the color you are adding it to. Mediums are varied and can be used, but at such small scales I'm not sure if they would matter.

    Buy some cheap figures and play with the acrylics. It's all about practice and then more practice and technique will take care of itself.
  18. Nap Moderator

    Hi Guys ,
    Like all have said the "secret" is thin, thin , thin , but obviously you have no real working time so on advice from SWMBO (a very talented artist herself) I now use Winsor & Newton Blending Fluid (available at all art shops) , just use a tiny amount (just dip the end of your brush) with the distilled water and this will prolong the drying time and for me it gives me on average about 40 mins working time . It looks gloss when put on but will dry right back .

    Hope this helps

  19. dinovision79 Active Member

    Hi Glenn,

    you can't leave the learning time out, but here are a few advices, which might help:
    - use only long, liner (?) brushes, the release paint much better, than short haired ones, their tip is key to how thin lines you can paint with them
    - after loading your brush, use a damp paper tissue to unload the brush at the root of the hair a bit, this will take extra water, leaving pigments there and improoving paint flow (not often mentioned, but I simply cannot handle fine details without this step)
    - for transitions I found Jaume Ortiz's method the best: paint the subsequent highlights or shadows clearly idnetifible from each other, then go over their border with the more dilluted colours in turns, 2-3 times each
    This will decrease the number of mixes and thinning you need, and you will be able to do transitions at places where there is no space for a number of subsequent layers for transitions.

    Good luck!
    housecarl likes this.
  20. Einion Well-Known Member

    Depends on the paint ;)

    Most people use hobby paints like Vallejo and the bulk of those are pretty opaque, they're specifically made to be, although obviously there's some variation from colour to colour.


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