Wednesday, 31 October 2018

HQ12-02 Race Queen [WIP - Skin Tone Test using Flesh Colored Tamiya Weathering Pastels]

Airbrushed skin tones are great, and I love the results I've gotten so far. But by itself, airbrushed skin tones are incomplete especially around facial features and hands. Such detailed areas require more finesse which is the purview of hand painting. In addition to applying acrylic, enamel or even lacquer colors by hand using the good old paint brush, I am also trying to learn new techniques involving the use of hard and/or soft pastels. This initial test seeks to discover how the pastel colors would look against a general light flesh hue as well as how Tamiya pastels would react to a lacquer varnish.

Tamiya Weathering Master G and H sets for figures

Before delving into the details of this quick test, I would first like to draw your attention to the final results as can be seen in the immediate photo below. From top to bottom, the pastel hues are salmon, caramel, chestnut, pale orange, ivory and lastly peach. All the pastel hues had been sealed onto the light flesh basecoat with a semi-gloss clear coat. These 'quickfire tests' are partly responsible for my lengthy project completion times. Sadly they are also a testament to my idiosyncrasy of trying to perfect techniques before the first drop of paint even hits a miniature figurine. While there is merit in learning as you do, I unfortunately tend to err on the side of caution. Not always but mostly.

Pastels applied on a basecoat of light flesh hue and sealed with semi-gloss clear coat

For the flesh colored weathering pastels test, a piece of Tamiya Pla Plate (essentially a white styrene sheet) was used in lieu of an actual resin figurine. The sheet was first primed with the Mr Hobby Mr Base White 1000 before being basecoated with a fairly light flesh color from Gaianotes. Just a quick note for those of you whom may wish to run similar tests. A recent visit to Gaianotes' website show that this particular flesh color is no longer in production anymore. But its a fairly standard light flesh color whose close equivalent can be easily sourced. In fact the basecoat color used will change depending on the subject matter at hand i.e. the specific skin tone look you are after.  

From left to right: the primer, paint thinner, flesh-colored paint and clear coat used in the skin tone test
Gaia color Ex-Flesh lacquer paint formed the basecoat onto which the pastels were applied

Tamiya Weathering Master sets are more widely known among the AFV scale model community, especially the earlier sets A to E. The flesh colored sets aren't new either but I have yet to see them in use by miniature painters. Instead, I've seen artist grade hard pastels like Primacolor NuPastel being used to create natural skin tone shadow on resin figurines. In running this test, I'm assuming that the Tamiya's weathering pastels work in a similar (or almost similar) fashion.      

Pastels from Tamiya's figure sets comprise salmon, caramel, chestnut, pale orange, ivory and peach colors
Tamiya Weathering Master sets look a lot like wet soft pastels
Latex eyeshadow applicators were used to transfer the pastels onto the paint

Texture is the one clear difference that sets the Tamiya pastels apart from its regular art counterparts. While the former has a consistency closely resembling eyeshadow makeup, the latter is hard and chalky. Both require different application techniques. In Tamiya's case, its just a matter of using any commercially available eyeshadow applicator (see above), preferably latex-based, to transfer the pastel hue from the set onto the intended surface area. Hard pastels require a different application technique akin to dry brushing in parts. Explaining it would require another blog tutorial entirely.

Comparisons of how each pastel flesh color looked against a light flesh basecoat

Due to the hot and humid conditions that I work in, I have a strong preference for lacquer-based varnishes because they tend to provide a better finish overall. This is not always possible as the underlying paint type might be too 'weak' to withstand a lacquer-based clear coat finish. To be sure, an additional test was required. After the pastel hues have had a few days to dry, they were then sealed in using a lacquer-based semi-gloss clear coat. I don't want to jinx it but early results seem to indicate the lacquer-based clear coat did not have any adverse effect on the Tamiya pastel colors.

Pastel colors were sealed in using Mr Hobby's Mr Super Clear lacquer-based varnish

So there you have it, a test to see how Tamiya flesh colored weathering pastels look on a light flesh basecoat after being sealed in with a semi-gloss lacquer clear coat. Now that's quite a mouthful. And before you think it, this is not my comeback to the hobby ... not yet. It's just more chronicling of past work I had done. And it's with little fanfare my hobby malaise enters its ninth week seeing that I didn't post anything at all last week. Alas it's the longest stretch of artistic inactivity I've ever had since I started this hobby. If only the solution as simple as the one provided by a character named Roy in the British comedy The IT Crowd ... "Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

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12 comments:

  1. Great testing ! I'm looking forward to see you using it on a miniature.
    Greetings

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    1. I too am excited to see what results I can get with pastels and skin tones.

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  2. Most interesting, thanks for the time. Reall ylooking forward to seeing your progress on miniatures.

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    1. Thank you Suber. I'm looking forward to seeing if weathering pastels can be useful when painting skin tones.

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  3. Interesting read! Never have thought about using such techniques on my figures. But then they‘re probably a little too small anyway. Be that as it may I‘m looking forward to your next project.

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    1. You're right about pastels being not so suitable for small figurines. I've only seen them used on resin figurines at least 1/12 in scale but mostly 1/6 and above.

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  4. Fantastic! thanks a lot for review!

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    1. No problem Michał ... thanks for reading.

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  5. Seems to be so minutious...and technical, I'm impressed!

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    1. This technique is seemingly widespread among painters that work on larger sized figurines e.g. 1/6 scale. Hope it works on my 1/12 scale figurine.

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  6. Great test, and like many it never occurred to me to use pastels on flesh. Now that I think about it, it could also be used with the more usual pastel browns and grays that modelers tend to have to indicate body hair, growing beards and the like.

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm ... you might have stumbled upon something good here. Using pastel browns could just work for body hair and such. Good catch!

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