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Kharsin

Of Pigments and... well... Pigments

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Okay all, I'm sure you've noticed that I've popped back up on the forum. Basically, I'm picking back up where I left off, with the exception I've also started getting into armor as well as minis. At any rate, where I left off was that I was about to start messing around with pigments. The problem is, I'm not sure which line, if any, to go with. What got me started was the Tiger 1 model I'm currently working on. I decided that I needed pigments to weather it, but got impatient and just started using what I had lying around. I sufficiently muddied the thing, and now I'm going to have to make a muddy diorama to go along with it to justify Hans and Franz' off-roading antics, but I digress...

 

What I'm curious about is what brands do some of you use/recommend? I'm leaning towards the Secret Weapons weathering pigment set as it has quite a few pigments in it, and I can't see needing more than that. However, I'm also aware that Scale75, Tamiya, and quite a few others I hadn't heard of before also produce pigments. Shoot, I even made a rust pigment in the past to use on one of the exchanges we did on the forum, and I may just make lampblack to finish out the sooty areas that need to be on the Tiger. At any rate, I'd love to hear y'alls experience with whatever powdered pigments you've used in the past. Thanks for any input you can provide!

 

-K

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I tend to get my pigments in 1- kilogram bags from Kremer Pigments, which is my other pilgrimage store, along with The Compleat Strategist, whenever I visit New York City.

 

(In my day job I make my own paints.)

 

Pigments are a raw ingredient.  Unlike paints, which have many proprietary ingredients and can vary a great deal from manufacturer to manufacturer, pigments are more or less the same no matter the source.

 

A number of fine art companies sell good quality dry pigments in smaller jars.  I've used Gamblin, Schmincke, Sennelier, and Daniel Smith pigments.

 

Dry pigments are a significant breathing and dust hazard and should be stored carefully and handled with proper protection, at the very least gloves, eye protection, and an OSHA-approved mask with a fine dust filter.  They should be kept well away from children and food preparation and dining areas.

 

Many pigments are hazardous in and of themselves.  You could not pay me to have a sealed jar of any Cadmium color in the house.

 

Know your ingredients.

 

 

Edited by Pingo
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Quite frankly when it comes down to it when you are looking at the various modeling companies that make pigments they are all basically the same. Secret Weapon, Ammo by Mig, AK Interactive, MiG Productions (This company may have closed up shop), Battlefront (which maybe Vallejo or one of the other brands re-packaged) and Vallejo are all brands that I have on my shelf. Other than colors they act pretty much the same way. You can brush on dry (messy), apply as a paste with isopropyl alcohol or use one of their fixers (and I really wish I know what was in the fixers).

There is a line called Pan Pastel that I use most of the time now, it comes in a cake like form rather than loose pigment, its easier to apply and clean up than the rest of them.

 

Here some links to some of my work with the pan pastels: 

http://wargamesandrailroads.blogspot.com/2015/11/building-calamity-8-row-house-finishing.html

http://wargamesandrailroads.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-little-freight-car-weathering.html

http://wargamesandrailroads.blogspot.com/2014/08/boxcars-for-calamity-c-ry-borrows-some_14.html

 

I'm not sure we are talking about the same kind of pigments that Pingo is talking about but taking pre-cautions with anything you use is a good thing.

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What Heisler said...

 

I've had very satisfactory results using diluted black and raw umber oil paints as a general and pinpoint wash. These are followed by acrylic hobby paint washes and glazes. Reaper's Muddy Soil and Basic Dirt triads are a good place to start. Other colors can be used to match the terrain you're using as a setting - coral island, North Africa, etc. Because the washes and glazes are transparent and allow underlying colors to show through, they basically functions as pigment filters. I'll lock everything down with an airbrushed flat coat, then add a bit of dirt/dust colored chalk pastels in protected areas (the chalk pastels are not fixed, so some careful handling is required). Apart from the StuG III in the WIP forum, there is also a Russian KV-1E and and a British Cromwell in the Show-Off forum under Ordnance 1 and Ordnance 2 respectively.

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Ok, so oil paints... I have no real experience with oils. I THINK I have a book somewhere that discusses using oils with acrylics, I think in that particular case to get subtle tonal differences in skin color on the face and such. I'm familiar with acrylic washes and glazes, and used them to weather the current Tiger project, but oils are currently unknown to me. I did find a good price on a Tamiya pigment set, so I'm probably going to go with those. 

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Oil paints are a whole other ball of wax.

 

To begin with, I would recommend caution getting oil paints anywhere near lead miniatures.  I haven't heard of any incidents, but oil paints are acidic and acids can trigger lead rot.  In addition, the presence of lead carbonate can trigger lead rot and lead carbonate is a white pigment found in oil paints (very rare these days, but still).

 

To emphasize, I have not heard any actual report of such unfortunate interactions of materials.  

 

If you are using acrylics and oil paints on the same figure, paint with the acrylics first and go over them with the oils, not the other way around.

 

An old rule of thumb in the fine arts is "fat over lean" (which refers to a simplification of a fairly sophisticated understanding of how different pigments interact with drying oils and how to layer them so they do not crack badly or otherwise cause problems).  For people who paint with acrylics and oils together, what it means is oils always on top, never under acrylics.

 

Acrylics painted over oils can flake or peel off later.

 

Oil paint also ages very differently from acrylics.  

 

Acrylics will shrink v-e-r-y slowly (on the order of decades or centuries) but will not appreciably change color or transparency.  

 

Oil paint dries by oxidation in a complex process.  In the early stages it expands by as much as 25% as it takes up oxygen molecules.  Over time oil paints will darken, turn yellowish, and go semi-translucent as the refraction index of the oil changes with age.

 

Over time a mixed media painting can change a lot as the different media age differently.

 

If you're not too concerned about the long term, they can have some pretty effects.

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Thanks Pingo! That's a great write-up. I appreciate the science behind things as I like to know the "whys." I'll have to see if I can find that book I remember having something to do with oils over acrylics. 

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Actually, oil paints are heavily used by some segments of the mini painting population primarily in the larger scales 54mm and up. While there has been quite a shift towards acrylics in those scales there are still plenty of painters using oil paints, exclusively, on their work. Oil point covering a lead or pewter cast miniature should not in and of itself produce lead rot, there are other conditions that have to be present for lead rot to occur.

 

Check this handy paper on lead rot: http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Carderock/Resources/Curator-of-Navy-Ship-Models/Lead-Corrosion-in-Exhibition-Ship-Models/

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I wish I'd been as enveloped in science when I was using enamels (oil subtype if not mistaken). I'm not quite sure why one would want to use both oils and acrylics on the same figure. What effects cannot be done by using one or the other? 

 

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The only place I'm really familiar with painters that use both acrylics and enamels on the same model are armor modelers. In general acrylics give you a nice quick solid base of color that dries quickly while the enamels give you more time to work and blend things together. I would recommend James Wappels blog site as a place to really have a good look at his techniques (although the final look of his vehicles is a bit over the top for me). http://wappellious.blogspot.com/

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Indeed the enamels do; back when I was using those, I'd need 5-6 figures to work on at a time for the sake of working on one then setting it aside to dry. Sometimes the time was nice, sometimes annoying. And it needed ample ventilation. 

That fellow does do nice work - thanks for the link! 

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Haha, I had a class with Wapple in 2015. He's a hoot! I'd noticed he's been doing armor but forgot to take a look. I'm going to try to find the book I keep thinking about after work. If I remember correctly, the oils over acrylics were used for skin due to their ability to blend better than acrylics over time... or something like that. When I see it I'll post the book and reason. Seriously though, thanks for the insight! What brands of oils are y'all using? I'm sure there's a difference among the brands.

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Oil paint brands are all over the map.  Winsor and Newton, believe it or not, I find to be middle-of-the-road mediocre-average oil paints.  Utrecht aren't worth the bother.  Some really good brands are:  Holbein, Williamsburg, Old Holland, and Rembrandt.  I think Maimeri are pretty good too, but I can't recall if I've used them much (have to,check my paint drawers).  Schmincke paints seem to work well, but they add a lot of resins and stuff to their paints and I'm not quite comfortable with their "secret ingredients".

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What Heisler said... 

 

And...

 

By way of my own clarification, I paint plastic models (tanks and aircraft) with hobby enamels; Testor's Model Master, Mr Color, Aeromaster, Folquil Military Colors, and Humbrol. These are used for the fade and shade technique (common) that I use. The paint is allowed to dry for at least 24 hours. I then use an artist's oil black and dark brown in a general and pinpoint wash form to create artificial shadows in panel lines and around raised detail. This is allowed to dry for at least 24 hours, although these colors tend to dry quickly compared to other oils. I add a gloss coat (Testor's GlossCoat) to the areas that will have decals. After the applied decals are dry, I apply a clear flat coat (Testor's DullCoat). The gloss is applied by brush if there's only a few spots that need it, while the flat coat is sprayed through an airbrush. I have never experienced any compatibility problems with these materials as long as they are allowed to dry/cure.

 

Once the flat coat is dry, I use a combination of Reaper MSP colors in a wash/glaze form for dust and dirt layers, colored pencils and Reaper/model enamels for paint chips, scratches, and rust spots. Again, no compatibility issues. This is followed by a final flat coat sprayed through an airbrush.

 

Once that flat coat is dry, I use chalk pastels for a final dusting. The chalks are not fixed or otherwise overcoated (careful handing is required, but I tend to base tanks for competition).

 

Many oil figure painters I know will undercoat a piece with the appropriate acrylic color before before over painting the shadows and highlights with the oils. This is a fairly common practice. I know of no one who does the reverse, and that applies to hot lacquers over enamels and acrylics as well. Additionally, every oil painter I know primes the figure before applying any paint regardless of its chemical makeup. Actually, every acrylic painter I know, including myself, also primes a figure before painting.

 

Lead disease was a known issue up through the late 70s/early 80s. It could occur in unpainted pieces still in their box or on painted figures. It is far less common now due to regulations inhibiting/prohibiting the use of lead in 'toys' and the improved alloys (mainly zinc) used by metal casters.

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