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Bringing Out the Details



Drybrushing is, perhaps, one of the most misunderstood Processes in modeling. While the mechanics are simple, the technique itself requires practice, patience, and an understanding that a little is a lot.

Let’s begin with a word of caution. Drybrushing in a mildly violent process that will wipe away small photo etched parts like a rip tide. It’s best to leave off photo-etched parts like levers or other small parts that stick up ‘till after.
The prior article on washes helped us establish the dark shades on our kit to give the effect of some depth. Drybrushing is used to highlight the raised areas to increase the feeling of depth. The most common mistake made when drybrushing is that it’s overdone. This, in my opinion, tends to make the model look cartoonish, or artificial. So your kit’s sitting there all glossed up, with a nice wash surrounding the raised details and sunk into the recessed details and we’re ready to drybrush.

We’ll begin the process with a nice flatcoat. I like Model Master dullcoat laquer. The reason for the flatcoat is exactly the opposite of the pre-wash gloss. The flatcoat creates a rough surface that will pull the pigment off your brush. Without a flatcoat the drybrushing will not work as well because you need more paint to get it to appear on a gloss surface and what it ends up looking like is brush painted highlights-not the effect we’re going for at all.


About the Author

About Mike Taylor (modelguy2)


Ah, so that how you do it, eh? I guess I underestimated the importance of clear coats in washes. I tried one on my M60A2.... lets just say no one other than my parents will ever see that model again. Now, if someone'll make an article about figure painting I'd have most of the basics covered! YodaMan Go Red Wings!!!
APR 25, 2002 - 08:56 PM
Interesting Article I will have to try it out. Thanks DAGGER: A weapon with a short pointed Blade "THE CUTTING EDGE"
APR 25, 2002 - 09:21 PM
O.K., you wanted to discuss the article right? A very nice article modelguy2, aka, Mike Taylor. Written in an easy-going style that is quite enjoyable. I am constantly having that battle though. Enamels vs. acrylics. I like the colour availablity in the enamels (humbrol for example). But I prefer the ease and speed of the acrylics ( when I finally get the time to sit down and model, I really have to take advantage of that time). As to washes, I used pretty much the same technique as your article discribes, sans the Q-tip. I would have another brush that was immediately handy and 'dry wipe' off any extra residue with it. I finally discovered (after much deliberation) oil washes. I have never really 'gone back'. The richness of the oil pigments only adds to the colour variation as a whole, and the 'working time' of the oils allows a degree of control that is just simply not present in either enamels or acrylics. Your mention of using the washes to create shadowing, especially in illustrating the 'correct' way in which a shadow would fall (away from windows) is a small, but very important point. The eye will subconciously pick up little things like that that are wrong. Good call Mike. A well written article, difinitely prize material. Tread.
APR 25, 2002 - 10:03 PM
That is a good article. Well done Mike. I wish that article was available about 3 or 4 months ago!
APR 25, 2002 - 10:48 PM
I updated this story with part 2 so that it would meet the contest's 1000 word requirement. Airbrushing is covered in part 2. Jim
APR 27, 2002 - 07:04 AM
Very well written article Mike! A couple new ideas for me. And all those models. :-)
APR 27, 2002 - 07:32 AM
Mike, a well written, well spoken, and excellent instruction of how to use these 2 techniques, that are a must do for creating a realistic & accurate finish on any model. These techniques are what makes the difference between a great model or having one with a toy like appearance - like I said, they are a "must do". Also great models ! They show your talent & skill & are proof of what results one can achieve by your article. I Agree - Definitely a prize winning article ! GREAT JOB MIKE ! - ralph
MAY 18, 2002 - 03:50 PM
Yoda - Get over to my house, and I'll help you out first hand. What do like painting with Enamels or acrylics ? - I have an excellent article I can email you on painting faces with acrylics by Lynn Kessler. But I myself like oils & enamels. - ralph
MAY 18, 2002 - 03:56 PM
Good article covering the basics.Myself I use oils for all my washes as wellas drybrushing. I should add that it's on top of acrylic base coat, mainly for their longer work time and richness of color. Would love to see a comprehencive article on 1/35 figure painting
JUN 23, 2004 - 10:38 AM
Great article, looking forward to the next one.
JUN 23, 2004 - 02:29 PM