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How does painting mecha differ from painting fantasy characters?


Ganryu Kojiro
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I tried to do a search on the forums but nothing quite hit the question squarely, so I figured I'd ask here. How does painting mecha/ vehicles/ giant robots differ from painting the sorts of fantasy characters and monsters I normally paint? I've got a pile of Robotech miniatures that I'm finally planning to tackle (after I get a bunch of Christmas presents painted), and it seems like a different aesthetic is called for. Particularly since there are a lot of flat planes and such to do.

Alternately, given what I'm working with, maybe I want more of a comic book style. Basically, any tips or tutorials you might give me would be appreciated (or just a general discussion of the topic).

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Seems like it should be such an easy question to answer, and yet I've no idea how to answer it, even though I've been thinking about it for the two hours since you posted the question. 

A lot of the same techniques apply, the biggest difference being, as you said, there are usually more flat planes and hard edges.  For me, the biggest difficulty is windows and glass canopies. I'm still struggling with the right color combinations and types of highlights for them. 

I'd recommend browsing this forum and the talon games website for CAV models to maybe give you ideas. 
 

@CAVBOSS - maybe you can tag some of your best CAV painters to help answer this? 

Edited by kristof65
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Vehicles and mecha can be painted just like figures (the majority of the work here), but sometimes the techniques, and how you look at lighting them, need some adjustment to look great. Remember that sharp lines and edges are common here, and making those look neat and clean (and then weathering as appropriate) will have a huge effect on your finished work.  Blending and shading will start to take a back seat to the sharp lines for a time.  Panel shading (an almost uniform shade around all edges with less concern for light direction) is common.  Edge highlights and pin washes (Tightly controlled spot washes) become very effective.


After that you can circle back to your shading and blending and come at is as an approach for reflections and echoing a gloss effect.

 

You could look into some other miniature painting traditions, particularly ones used for fine scale models and gunpla. Plasmo, and Quick Kits on Youtube do a lot of finescale,  I.R.O and Millennial Model Mayhem do a some Gunpla, and there are lots of others.

Edited by Cygnwulf
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1 hour ago, Cygnwulf said:

Vehicles and mecha can be painted just like figures (the majority of the work here), but sometimes the techniques, and how you look at lighting them, need some adjustment to look great. Remember that sharp lines and edges are common here, and making those look neat and clean (and then weathering as appropriate) will have a huge effect on your finished work.  Blending and shading will start to take a back seat to the sharp lines for a time.  Panel shading (an almost uniform shade around all edges with less concern for light direction) is common.  Edge highlights and pin washes (Tightly controlled spot washes) become very effective.


After that you can circle back to your shading and blending and come at is as an approach for reflections and echoing a gloss effect.

 

You could look into some other miniature painting traditions, particularly ones used for fine scale models and gunpla. Plasmo, and Quick Kits on Youtube do a lot of finescale,  I.R.O and Millennial Model Mayhem do a some Gunpla, and there are lots of others.

Thank you so much! Exactly the sort of thought I was looking for. Once I'm through the Christmas crunch I've got some Zentraedi battle pods that need some love.

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