Tuesday, 3 September 2019

HQ12-02 Race Queen [WIP - Face, Boots, etc.] plus a Review of the Tamiya Modeling Brush PROII (Ultra Fine)

Almost without fail, I seem to hit pause on each and every one of my scale model figurine projects whenever it was time to paint the eyes. Inertia seems to grip me as I gather the needed courage to paint eyes at the miniature scale. In fact I had been debilitated with fearful inaction for so long that progress on the Race Queen's paint job was last made three-and-a-half-months ago. So what has changed? Up until now I've never felt I had tools that were truly up to the task of painting eyes at a miniature scale, even though they were Kolinsky Sable brushes. But that's no longer the case.     

atelier iT 1/12 scale Race Queen resin figurine work-in-progress: Facial details
Work done include her eyes, upper/lower eyelids, nose and some touch up on her lips and teeth
Metal zipper on her Race Queen outfit was also painted in this session

A key difference between the Tamiya Modeling Brush Pro II (Ultra Fine Kolinsky Sable Pointed Brush) and the existing Kolinsky Sable brushes in my collection is in its shape. The Tamiya version has a brush that is wide at its base before tapering into an ultra fine point. In contrast, the fine pointed Kolinsky Sable brushes that I currently have, unfortunately do not have a wide enough base to load up the brush with sufficient paint, which in turn prevents the brush from drying up too quickly. In addition, the wider base actually helps maintain a more stable brush point thus increasing accuracy.

Tamiya Modelling Brush Pro II (Ultra Fine Kolinsky Sable Pointed Brush)
As advertised the brush does indeed ... "maintains shape and has good paint carrying capacity".

Another pleasing characteristics of the Tamiya Pro II Ultra Fine brush is its fattened ergonomic grip. I prefer it to the usual pencil-like grip. Together with its stable sharp point and high paint carrying capacity, I found painting the eyes so much easier than before. Moreover, the extra large plastic cover which serves to protect the pointed brush tip is a welcome change from the usual small, narrow plastic piece provided by paint brush makers. For one, it reduces the chances I'll accidentally damage the brush tip when covering it as well as offer much better protection for the tip. 

Extra large plastic cover makes it easier to prevent accidental damage to the pointed brush tip
Kolinsky Sable brush is wide at the base (paint carrying capacity), then tapers down to an ultra fine tip (accuracy)

Meanwhile, the boots and nails were painted using a regular run-of-the-mill nylon paint brush. Larger surfaces do not require the pinpoint accuracy of a Kolinksy Sable brush. A regular brush does the job just as well so there is no need to add wear and tear to the more expensive Tamiya PRO II brushes, bought online for ¥1,140 from Japan-based HobbySearch. So a neutral white was added to the Pantone COTY 2016 scheme of her boots while a reddish pink was applied to her nails. I wasn't happy with the latter as awful preparatory work on my part resulted in a rough, mold-lined surface that wasn't conducive to smooth layers of paint. I need to work better and smarter at the prep stage.    

These boots are made for walking; And that's just what they'll do;
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you
Not happy with the nails/hands at all; largely due to a badly managed preparatory process

A different background was selected for a series of photos of the Race Queen just to see how her skin tone looked against a beige background. Can't say I'm a fan of the results and instead may opt for blue as an alternative background color for the completed figurine's photo shoot. 

1/12 scale Race Queen facial details against a beige background
While her dark brown iris blended in with her black pupils as is wont in real life ...
... I had actually intended for lighter brown irises; but I'll be leaving the eyes as they are for now

After all that's said and done, there are three key areas of my hobby bugbear - painting eyes - that can be improved upon. One, a better differentiation between pupils and irises. Two, adding eyelashes to the eyes. And Three, a more realistic placement of eye lens highlights. Of course there are more areas I can work on but these three takes precedence in the coming projects. Hopefully by next week the Race Queen will have been completed with uploads of photos and a video to follow soon after. Until then, have a great week and may the point of your paint brushes always be sharp.



  1. Fantastic work & great review Kuan !

  2. Any word I come up with is such an understatement. I'm speechless in front of my keyboard, just jaw dropping.

    1. Aw, thanks Suber. ^_^ There are still many ways her face can be improved upon. But I think I've meddled with the facial features too much to the extent the underlying paint layers are a bit fragile. I best let things be and make sure the next figurine project is better. Thanks again!

  3. 1. Thanks for your comments :)

    2. The eyes are, as they say, the window of the soul; we notice the slightest imperfection. It's so, so hard to get them right in any scale. She looks great so far!

    1. 1. No worries :) Ours is a lonely hobby and any encouragement we can get and give is always a positive.
      2. Thanks Allison. I had repainted it many times up to that stage so although it still can be improved I decided not to risk it as I'm not sure how much re-do's the eye area could take O_O

  4. Nice work the face is particularly good.

  5. Superb, skin tones are just wonderful!!

    1. Thank you Phil ... airbrushing really helped me make skin tones more realistic.

  6. Truly excellent work! You should show us a picture of the torso and head against a real life object so we can really appreciate how small it is!

    1. Good idea, thanks ^_^ I usually do that but I kinda forgot this time around. I hope I remember the next time I post her. If I forget, my apologies in advance.

  7. A beauty Kuan, that's some impressive brushwork.


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