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first steps in oils and enamels; Electra 3D models head.

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by darkeye, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. darkeye Member

    hi folks,
    another spare piece painted in enamels and oils, i was amazed at hoe fast it was to apply and blend colour in this medium; took me an hour to do this head- whereas in acylics, would have taken hours more.
    Used acrylics since 1978 in the Games Workshop genre, i used to have to use this technique;
    apply base-coat
    add a deeper/darker tone to base colour by minute degrees
    re-apply base coat on highligh areas and high-light by degrees.

    Phew!! no wonder then that figures as small as 28-30mm for a competition used to take 24- 40 hrs work! I knew a painter back then who showed me oils but i went back to acrylics.
    Having chatted at Euro, i reckon i shall keep to the oils and enamel and use acrylics for base coats and maybe airbrushing too. Regards-- tim.

    Attached Files:

  2. tonydawe A Fixture


    Its funny but I've painted in oils for almost 20 years and only recently switched to acrylics. Like you I guess the change in painting medium is allowing me to get results I couldn't achieve with the old medium, and its very exciting to see what happening at the other end of the paint brush.

    For me the quick drying time with acrylics allows me to paint faster than I did with oils, so its almost the complete reverse of your situation. Good luck. Your photo suggests that you've already got a very good eye, a steady hand and a lot of talent.

  3. darkeye Member

    hi tony,
    i see what you are saying mate!, the change of paints has indeed made painting refreshing where i had previously begun to drift away from it.
    Although acrylics dry faster, i think that they are in the long run, ultimately slower to apply by hand.i reckon the speed up in blending more than makes up for the drying time required.
    your Aragorn was nicely rendered in acrylics btw. do you have any tips for oils from your experiences? i am using a set of Maries Oils i got for free; they dry quickly and fairly matt too.
    Many thanks Tony for your kind comments.

    all the best--- tim.
  4. tonydawe A Fixture


    Firstly I'm no expert, but in my experience oils are at their best when used "wet on wet", where you can achieve very pleasing blends and shading effects relatively quickly. The main drawback with oils is when you apply too much and it builds up in layers. This often distorts the surface and detracts from achieving a smooth, flat finsh. The secret to both oils and acrylics (and enamels for that matter) is to thin your paint, and never apply it straight from the tube/ bottle. It's taken me years to learn this, and develop the patience to apply multiple coats of thin paint instead of slapping it on and covering the area with one thick coat. Most of the master painters that I marvel at and have tried to learn from have mastered the art of getting the paint conistency right, so that when you put your brush into the paint, the paint doesn't stay on the brush when applied, but runs onto the surface of the model like thin gravy.
    The other thing I've learnt is that there is no substitute for quality. No matter what paint medium you use, buy the best you can afford. Cheap paint is worth what you pay for it, and the same goes for brushes and thinners as well. I personally use Windsor & Newton oils and brushes, Vallejo acrylics and Humbrol enamels. They do cost more, but they keep well if you look after them, and always give reliable service.
    I know this advice is exactly the same that Shepard Paine, Bill Horan and every other master painter would tell readers in their books because that's where I learned it, and they're right. I've been reading and learning from these guys for years and the results speak for themselves.
    For what its worth, I find the subtle blending of acrylics gives me more control over the final look and finish of a figure, but I've only done three figures entirely in acrylics. I still use oils for woodwork on rifles etc, and enamels for metallics. Each to his own. There are no rules, only what works for you. I find that I never paint a figure the same way I painted the one before, and this constant experimentation has taught me to stick to what works for me and keep striving to improve and try new things.
  5. darkeye Member

    cool, thanks for the reply Tony-
    Never tried Vallejo since i stuck to Citadel for ever and still have paint twenty or more years old!
    Do Vallejo paints dry more slowly allowing blends between layers? How fine is the pigment?
    if i stick to what i know then it would be Acrylics but the chalky finish and bittyness is what has made me re-think and look to oils/enamels.
    enamel seems similar in behaviour to acrylic but lacks the bittyness when thinned and applied by hand(i hand under-coat you see).

    regards -- tim.
  6. tonydawe A Fixture


    I've only ever used Vallejo acrylics, so I can't compare them to other types or brands, however they cover well and have a great range of colours. I'm not sure about drying times, but they are relatively quick compared to oils. I thought drying times tended to reflect other factors, such is how dilute the paint mix is, the room temperature etc.

    In addition to the relatively quick drying time, another major advantage of acrylics is being able to thin and wash in water, rather than requiring turpentine and thinners. This has made a big difference to the quality of my brushwork, and (some of) the odours coming from my hobby room!!!

    I know a few modelers who swear by Games Workshop acrylics, which are favoured by war gamers and fantasy modelers. Others use Andrea acrylics and other use Floquil or some other brands. Ultimately I guess it doesn't really matter what type or brand of paint you use, it only matters that you are happy with the results.

    I'm sure, like me, that you will probably use a combination of acrylics, oils and enamels on your figures, as you try to use the best features of the different paint mediums to their best advantage.
    For example, I still like to give my wood work, such as rifle butts, a dilute wash of burnt sienna oil paint just to add extra depth to the surface, after I've finished painting the shadows and highlights in acrylics. I also tend to give flesh areas a light wash in oils to add a slight sheen, as acrylics tend to dry too flat. Flat, dry skin is just as unrealistic as shiny cloth uniforms, and distracts the eye from the overall effect of the model.

    On the other hand, uniforms tend to look better painted in acrylics because they dry dead flat. There's nothing worse than painting a figure in oils and having the uniform glisten and shine. To counteract this, I used to have to spray my figures with DullCoat or another brand of flat lacquer. This tended to create a mono-sheen over the surface of the entire model, dulling the metallics and the skin tones and leaving the uniform areas with a feint satin finish.
    I guess the only thing you can do is keep experimenting until you reach a stage where you feel comfortable using the paints you have, and you find a way of using the paints to their best advantage.

  7. vergilius New Member

    A lot of my friends paint with acrylics but I'm quite stubborn and use 'the real thing' : OILS!
    (sometimes I do use acrylics, but don't tell my friends)
  8. darkeye Member

    thanks for the insight there Tony, i will as you say end up using a mixed media and have been experimenting with adding an oil layer to a semi finished Acrylic / enamel one.
    Elektra's head was done with a base coat of citadels new Foundation colour, then a thin enamel layer which i worked in to.

    And vergilis..... they already know....!! :))
  9. blabsy PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hi Tim,
    nice to see that me boring you was not lost in transit,(the drive home from Euro that is)it would be nice to see in the flesh.
    After Euro I managed a few short spells with a brush, painting the Pegaso Praetorian Centurion,I'll bring it along to Gravesham openday!
    When I get sorted I will post a thread!
    Best Regards
    p.s. You have an e-mail.
  10. darkeye Member

    what ho paul!
    boring?! you?! no mate it was help ful stuff and i think i have found my preferred medium so thanks for the tips and advice and for sharing.
    Sadly i could not get the day off for the open day whichi am gutted about, but i may be able to go to the letchworth show ; you going to that?

    all the best Paul, regards --- tim.

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