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Brushes: Has anyone used one of the Rosemary and Co. combers for feather effects?

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I'm referring generally to series 331 as well as some of the synthetics, 2230, 2240, and 2250. I guess these things are usually called rake brushes?


Anyway, I've got some Deinonychus antirrhopuses I need to paint up and as a bit of an amateur paleontology observer nerd, I'd like to cover up the '70's era scales with something that looks like feathers. I'll probably try my hand at sculpting feathers someday, but not now!


Has anyone tried using these rake or comber brushes to paint feathers? Any tips or tricks for avoiding abject failure?


(I am okay with most failure, I just have to break out the liquid green if it's abject, I think!)

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I had to go look that up.


I use brushes like that, but mine are cheap flat sable-synthetic blends that aged that way naturally.


I use my brushes until they disintegrate. Most of the brushes in my studio are old enough to vote. As they change shape with use, their usefulness changes.


It should have occurred to me that someone might notice the utility of such things and make them deliberately.


I am not sure how well something like that would work on a 28mm scale.

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Wow, those R&C folks ship fast. We got our brushes today. Since they were pretty cheap and it's not like I know what I'm doing, I got a wide variety of sizes and styles of these things. I figured that maybe I'd find a use for a couple of the brushes. Most of them are synthetic, although my wife picked up one of their sable comber (rake) brushes.


My original goal with these was to find something easy to give the impression of feathers with. The early results don't look good. Actually, they look terrible. The spiky combers make clear lines but they're too far apart for 28mm scale, just like you said, Pingo. The properties of paint are actually working against you, because with the smaller brushes, the paint causes the bristles to stick together even if they've been separated. Longer brush strokes, say over a 16th of an inch, often end up being a solid color, just like you'd expect from the non-comber version of these brushes. They're pretty clearly meant for painting at larger scales.


When used for my intended purpose, they seem to combine the worst characteristics of ridiculously tiny brushes (below a size 0) and too-big brushes. The individual tines have no belly to them, so unless you really dilute the paint, it doesn't flow well and dries out quickly. But because you're painting tiny details with a big brush, the tips will encounter surface inconsistently, so the paint flows inconsistently and runs out inconsistently.


On top of that, some of the brushes I received really did not look all that healthy and I'm not sure these are at all durable. With a single-point brush, or with a consistent edge like a flat or a filbert, you can reshape the brush pretty easily by running it on a paper towel or whatever. With these things, the only thing I've found that works is flicking them, and that doesn't get them back to a pretty point, it just gets them closer.



On an impermeable surface (primed metal, bones plastic) the situation is a little better, but it's still hard to control. (Note: I am not great with brush control, so a more experienced hand may have better luck.)


I did have some unexpected success--while these things are freaking terrible for creating feathers, the flat ones're surprisingly good for feathering, of all things! The smaller combers don't create gaps in the stroke, but they do create an inconsistent edge. So instead of having to make two dozen tiny brushstrokes with a size 0 round, you might be able to use one of these and get a similar effect with two brushstrokes of a 1/4" flat.


That's still a pretty limited use brush, but if you're doing folded cloth (capes, robes) and the like, that's probably a good candidate surface.

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