Home Forums WWII How to paint soft-edged camouflage?

  • This topic has 17 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by Avatar photoStug.
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  • #168406
    Avatar photoStug
    Participant

    Hi. I would like to know how to create a subtle camouflage pattern like this where one color blends slowly into another. I don’t have an airbrush and can’t use spraypaint.

    Thanks for your help!

    #168411
    Avatar photoMartinR
    Participant

    I use a stippling brush for this sort of thing.  Take a normal paint brush, cut off about one third of the bristle length. Put a bit of paint on the end (not much) then gently stab the flat end of the bristles against the model. You can produce quite convincing spray paint effects like this, but practice first.

    6mm vehicles are generally too small for this to work reliably though.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #168427
    Avatar photoAlex
    Participant

    It wouldn’t be as smooth as that but a bit of sponge can also produce effective softer camo.

    Alex (Does Hobby Stuff)
    practising hobby eclecticism

    #168429
    Avatar photoMike
    Keymaster

    Each camo ‘stripe’ is essentially 4 layers.
    The first layer is very translucent and the widest.
    On top of this is a thinner layer that is slightly less translucent.
    On top of that is a much thinner layer that is almost opaque.
    The final layer is very narrow and is opaque.
    The 4 layers when on top of each other create a gradual blend from fuzzy and transparent going to the centre which is full on.

    The secret is in the thinning of the paint.
    The final and top layer is paint straight from the pot.
    The under layers are thinned.
    But not with water.
    Thinning with water does not give quite the right effect.
    So I thin the paint with…… spit aka drool!

    I know…  :/

    But, to do the first underlayer, get a teeny smidge of paint and put it on the vehicle, then very quickly lick the brush and apply the lickage to the paint and spread it around so it creates a blurry thinned version of the paint.
    Whilst this is still wet, do the same on top but with less licky, blending the new layer into the bottom and so on until the last layer is just a thin line of paint from the pot…

    Then paint the whole thing with a tinted varnish, mix a bit of the base colour into some varnish so the varnish is very slightly tinted and cover the whole area, that should soften and blur the pattern.

    It was what I did years ago with some 6mm GHQ, was passable  😀

    #168430
    Avatar photoMike
    Keymaster

    Some images here:

    #168443
    Avatar photoMr. Average
    Participant

    Agree with Mike. I found that this technique was easier with oil based enamels and thinner, as it tended to stay where it was put while watered-down acrylic tends to bead up under its own tension, even when thinned with -ahem- “naturally occurring” thinners.

    #168451
    Avatar photoStug
    Participant

    Thanks everyone. I have made a little test on a scrap piece of plastic (a lot larger than my 6mm model).

    1. I drew thins lines of chocolate brown and green to give me an idea where the lines will be.

    2. I mixed half of dark yellow with half of chocolate brown, remove most of the paint on a towel and then took a drybrush and push gently from one side of the chocolate brown line to the other.

    3. Then, I mixed half of dark yellow with half of green, remove most of the paint on a towel and then took a drybrush and push gently from one side of the green line to the other.

    4. Finally, with the same brush, I took a little bit of dark yellow paint, remove most on a towel and then gently push the brush over all the surface of the green and brown lines.

    Mike, I want to test your technique too so I will take another scrap piece of plastic and test it there.

    Here is what I have done with my technique. What do you think?

    #168458
    Avatar photoNorm S
    Participant

    We do like our models with soft airbrushed camo and heavily weathered, despite the fact that real world vehicles might not look so exaggerated in those regards. Your camo lines look more in keeping with what ‘in combat’ vehicles may have been using.

    #168472
    Avatar photoStug
    Participant

    After painting my first 6mm Jagdpanzer for about one hour and a half, here is the result. Big difference between the before and after picture. I am not finished yet. I still need to paint the tracks and paint some little details .

    Ugly

    Way better

    #168474
    Avatar photomadman
    Participant

    So the last image looks like it has been dry brushed. That is another possible solution, dry brush the entire vehicle with, say, a light(ish) grey putting very little paint on the model. All you are trying to do is mute the colours and the lines between them. Looks great.

    #168477
    Avatar photoMr. Average
    Participant

    Agreed, the last photo there seems very successful to me!

    #168479
    Avatar photoStug
    Participant

    Thanks guys. I think I spent around three hours painting this model. There has been some change because I painted some details, added mud on the tracks and use a matte varnish.

    #168499
    Avatar photowillz
    Participant

    So the last image looks like it has been dry brushed. That is another possible solution, dry brush the entire vehicle with, say, a light(ish) grey putting very little paint on the model. All you are trying to do is mute the colours and the lines between them. Looks great.

    This is the method I use but I tend to use very light earth, then add more white and dry brush again.  Dry brushing works very well with all scales 6mm – 54mm, especially with raised detail on the model.  Dry brushing is always best done as less is more,  with minimum paint.

    #168501
    Avatar photoStug
    Participant

    Here is the final result after painting my first 6mm german Jagdpanzer. The model looks way better than the photos.

    #168506
    Avatar photoDarkest Star Games
    Participant

    Looks really good.  Another method I use, though so far only on 15mm and larger, is after the dry light brushing of the camo brush or spray on an acrylic matt finish, then apply a “filter”.  Basically very thinned oil paint.  I get mine from Mig.  The great thing about a filter is that it both blends edges/softens them as well as gives a little bit of a tint.  So, you can use different color to manipulate color and tone if you are not happy.  For instance, I once used a dark blue over a medium grey because my early war panzers didn’t look “panzer grey” enough to me.  I’ve also used a brown over a too bright olive green for Shermans with great success.    (and of course whackier combos for sci-fi minis).

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #168511
    Avatar photoStug
    Participant

    Another method I use is after the dry light brushing of the camo brush or spray on an acrylic matt finish, then apply a “filter”. Basically very thinned oil paint. The great thing about a filter is that it both blends edges/softens them as well as gives a little bit of a tint. So, you can use different color to manipulate color and tone if you are not happy.

    Thanks.

    When I finished painting this model, I sprayed it with Krylon Workable Fixatif. Once dried, I, for the first time, used Matt Varnish from Vallejo. The look is very good but now the Krylon bottle is almost empty and I would like to know if Matt Varnish would be sufficient to do the job alone?

    I should try your method also.

    #168512
    Avatar photoLogain
    Participant

    I’ve finished all my figures for years with just Vallejo Matt Varnish with totally happy results. I think you could skip the Krylon Fixatif.

    Photographing miniatures well is almost a separate hobby! Your first mini looks pretty good!

     

    #168518
    Avatar photoStug
    Participant

    I’ve finished all my figures for years with just Vallejo Matt Varnish with totally happy results. I think you could skip the Krylon Fixatif. Photographing miniatures well is almost a separate hobby! Your first mini looks pretty good!

    Thanks. I am very happy with the result. I will then continue to use Vallejo Matt Varnish. It was my first try.

    And yes, I have difficulties taking picture of such small models 😉

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