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Painting Hair on Helmets

Discussion in 'Acrylics' started by Karlosfandango, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Karlosfandango Active Member

    Hi folks, forgive my question as I haven't been able to satisfy my approach to painting a black plume on a 1/10 Spartan helmet.
    I've read a couple of techniques here but I don't seem to be able to achieve anything satisfying.

    I'm about to take the approach of base coating in a very dark grey, then drybrushing with a lighter colour then perhaps shading with a pure black wash.

    My question is then, what colour added for drybrushing or should I not drybrush but use the edge of a moist brush.

    If there are other approaches I'm very open for that too.

    Thank you in advance.


    Sent from my KFSOWI using Tapatalk
  2. Viking Bob PlanetFigure Supporter

    Start with a very dark black grey as a base coat, then wash in black and then highlight in shades of dark brown. the lighter shade near the top of the plume.
    You can use the two methods you have set out, but I prefer to dry brush the last highlight.
    All the best
    Oda, anstontyke and Inaki like this.
  3. Karlosfandango Active Member

    Cheers Bob great advice. I was thinking of Brown actually, I think I'll go ahead and lay that in.
    4th time lucky.
    Cheers Karl.

    Sent from my KFSOWI using Tapatalk
    anstontyke likes this.
  4. housecarl Moderator

    Paint it dark brown, dry brush a lighter brown, then wash with black oil.
    Wipe it off leaving your highlights.(y)
    anstontyke likes this.
  5. peedee A Fixture

    OR undercoat BLUE BLACK!
    then a couple of thin black washes and highlight black with ochre.
    this way the black looks black not grey.
  6. Ferris A Fixture

    I'd suggest not to drybrush. It tends to give a grainy finish that's fine for fabrics, but not for smooth things like a helmet plumes. If you mean the 'broom'-style plume you could drybrush the top, but suggest not to do the sides.
    Suggest to mix a warm dark grey (black plus some brown or ochre), shade with black, highlight with blueish black. Keep contrast low to keep things looking 'black' and not like 'ashes'.

    Good luck!

    anstontyke and peedee like this.
  7. Karlosfandango Active Member

    Thanks guys, some interesting and differing approaches.
    Cheers Carl I'll keep that one written down.

    Peedee I'm going to trial your idea only I've base coated a very dark grey and washed black using the soap water idea to reduce surface tension.

    Yes Adrian it's the broom style. I'd agree there is that grainy finish risk with drybrushing but I like your approach, I'll keep that if I may.
    Can you not improve the potential grainy finish by using a suitable glaze to tie it altogether?

    Cheers chaps regards Karl.

    Sent from my KFSOWI using Tapatalk
    anstontyke and peedee like this.
  8. peedee A Fixture


    Karl, as long as you enjoy the process you will learn a lot from these different approaches.
    If in the future you did, say, a mounted figure with fur cloak and a plume you could use them all to give different black hair effects across the same piece.
    All the techniques work well, I have also used black with a touch of flesh for a warmer highlight too.
    anstontyke, Ferris and OldTaff like this.
  9. Ferris A Fixture

    Yes I think a glaze will effectively tone down the drybrush effect.
    Anyway, like Paul said, there's various ways to go about it, no right or wrongs, just a matter of preferences.
    Hope to see the result one day.

    anstontyke and peedee like this.
  10. Karlosfandango Active Member

    Thanks again chaps for your very useful input.
    I eventually found something which was satisfying.
    I settled as i mentioned with the dark black/grey base.
    Shadows with pure black and for the highlights i found yellow ochre mixed with the black grey very pleasant visually to my surprise.
    I know Adrian you suggested ochre so thanks for that.

    I'll post pics very soon.
    Regards Karl

    Sent from my KFSOWI using Tapatalk
    anstontyke likes this.

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