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One little trick I picked up quite some time ago was to make a nail polish water bath. One can swirl together different colors, then apply it to a model to get interesting affects. I'd tried it on a couple of sprues of Bones material, but never was inspired to actually use the technique. This last weekend, I was shopping with the family and wandered into Hot Topic, where they had several interesting nail polishes. And so, I bought three different bottles, but I'll be using only one of them here, a red and black mottled polish in clear.

 

Let's start with the basics. A completely unwashed, unprimed Gnomic, and a quick shot of the actual nail polish.

 

Gnomic_Nail_01_zps0y4kgpm5.jpg

Gnomic_Nail_02_zpsh7a0vsru.jpg

 

The polish was dropped into the water bath by putting a lot of excess liquid on the nail brush. For the water bath itself, I am using an old lunch meat container. It's silly, but the lunch meat comes in a little bag, packaged in these little containers. It's my standard every day work lunch, so I've got a lot of them. Ruining one will not matter to me. The polish itself, I was a bit disappointed in. I was hoping for pink flakes in a black base color polish, but it turns out the polish base is clear, and it is pink and black flakes. Oh well, have to roll with that then.

 

Gnomic_Nail_03_zpsr7nsd7j5.jpg

 

Now, when the drop is put in, it'll either sink to the bottom, where it becomes useless, or float on top of the water and start expanding. It sort of flows out over the surface, in almost a 2D explosion. I think the top surface then rapidly dries, but for a while at least, the polish is sandwiched between the upper dry layer and the water underneath. Here's where the magic happens. In an open part of the water, I dip the model piece down, then bring it up underneath the puddle of polish floating on the surface. It will wrap itself around the part, forming a film of sorts. I then set the part aside and work on another.

 

I'd coated most of the parts, and decided that I didn't have enough variety in color. Really, I probably could have used an old toothbrush to splatter paint over the figure and get just as decent a look. However, since I planned from the beginning to make this a WIP/Technique thread, I wanted something that shows off the technique a little better. Since I have a small collection of dollar store polishes for just such a purpose, I grabbed a red one. Same process as the mottled polish, but when it spreads out, it makes just a small to large puddle. It To the rescue, a toothpick!

 

I already had one that I was using to clean out the little clear polish puddles that were left floating. Another was pressed into service and used to swirl the red (now pinkish) puddle into something more streaky. This took a little work to get just right, but I was left with little streaks of color over the CAV. It turned a bit more purple/pink than red. I also tried a little bit of white, but I didn't like it nearly as much. The results are below, drying on top of the now empty water bath container.

 

Gnomic_Nail_04_zpsy8hev5af.jpg

Gnomic_Nail_05_zpsqzh9qtle.jpg

 

The plan forward is to brush off any poorly adhered film, and to remove any film where it has bridged a gap. I'll soon paint the crew's windows, and pick out a few little details here and there, but the "base" coloring in nail polish is complete. From decision to actually do this to the state you see above was about 45 minutes. If I had remembered how to do this a little better, it could have been less time and a little better placement of the coloring.

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The red streaks are a solid color. The real magic happens when you get two or three colors swirled together.

 

I'm not sure if getting it painted a different color would work better or not. I was thinking I had this in the white Bones, but decided to just go with the grey. I'm sure any color after being properly sealed would work, just have to watch out for loosening any acrylic with the water bath.

 

I will be "finishing" the figure with more traditional hobby techniques. This was just to get a quick pattern applied. The film is a bit thick in spots, so it isn't just photographic magic. Although, that photo was taken while it was still wet, so it may look better now. I will probably knock away spots where it is obscuring details. It is pretty brittle after it dries... which now that Ai think of it might not be really wonderful on Bones. I think I can just be gentle for now, then seal it really well to help hold things together. Actually I should probably do the touchups to the dried film then seal it now. No reason to wait for disaster to strike.

 

I hadn't thought about using it for ships. I do have a lot that are awaiting paint. A quick base coat followed by this technique might get them a ways down Completion Road.

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This technique is a variant on marbling or hydrographics. You can drip almost any oil-based paint over the container of water provided it's thin enough, like Testors model paint (though that's usually incompatible with nail polish. give it a try anyway, you might like that effect) or spray enamel for larger applications, or even special pre-printed film for certain specific patterns.

 

With certain additives to change the density of the water you can use waterbased paints too. Maybe someday I'll write a painting tip about this. In the meantime, Well done with your experiment. Looking forward to seeing more!

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  • 2 months later...

Okay, so I painted on the Gnomic a bit back on a Colorado paint day (March? April?) and just assembled it today. Figure I'll do a quick little base then call it good. The polish is starting to flake off, and I'm thinking that's mostly due to the flexibility of the Bones material. So I will shoot it all with a quick shot of clear before working on it much further. The clear polish really wasn't helpful, and so it really looks like this poor thing stumbled across a Snot Bush or something. Eh. For Science!

 

Gnomic_Nail_06_zpsnkmidf6d.jpg

Gnomic_Nail_07_zpstzecaqql.jpg

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