I want to talk a little bit about preparing smaller items for diorama and vignettes. Nowadays there are many different techniques and products to create rustic and worn surfaces to various items we have on out modelling benches. I want to show a quick and easy way to obtain a simple worn surface, in this case one of Value Gear Detail Universal Stowage Sets; Wooden Crates Set #5 and Acrylicos Vallejo’s Chipping Medium. This is alternative to simply base coloring stowage items and dry brushing them for highlighted effects. With very little effort you should be able to control chipping of the surfaces to get a depth building finish to your add-on pieces.
I chose to use Value Gear Details as their products are my “go to” when it comes to adding little details to my projects. The casting is excellent, there is a large selection of items in various scales and they are just too easy to use. Basically, open the package and you are ready to go! If there is ever any cleaning it is quick and light and typically on the base side of the piece. Along with the boxes here, I am prepping another small piece of Value Gear stowage for my build…no chipping required!
Before we start any painting project using resin, it is best to give the piece a quick bath in soap and water to clean any , dirt and oils as well as any release agents from the casting process left behind from the piece. Once clean and dry, priming is the first step of the painting process.
Vallejo primer, when applied correctly, is the best way I found to a durably smooth finish. In the case of the small gear I wanted to use, I typically choose their Black acrylic primer. The primer is good to use straight out of the bottle, usually without thinning; however, I like to thin the Black primer a little. The thinning mixture I use is typically one drop of thinner for every four to five drops of paint/primer. More often than not, I will use Vallejo’s Airbrush Cleaner as my thinner. To be honest, I don’t have an exact reason to why why I feel this seems to preform better for me than their regular thinner does, other than the Airbrush Cleaner must contain a surfactant which helps to suspend the paint making for a smooth application.
I found the primer works best with one to two lightly applied thin coats making sure not to build up the primer too much. One big misconception with primers is applying a thick coat. The primer will adhere to the surface and in most cases hard enough after the cure to withstand scraping with your finger nail. If the coat is too thick the cure time will be extended and will tend to rub of peel off with handling. Remember…thin, light coats. It is always important to wait the full curing time for the primer, which is between 12 and 24 hours depending on the environmental conditions you are working in.
Once the prime has sufficiently cured we are able to move on to the base paint application of paint. This application is the undertone color you will see when you are done with the painting. While the color does not matter too much is is best to stick with lighter colors seen with most natural woods; off-whites, light tans and grey tones. I utilize the black primer base into this first application. I didn’t want to cover the black entirely. The slightly heavier concentration of paint gets applied to the more open areas. This will leave a shadowing effect in the creases and recesses. With a light application of this coat will also leave undertones to the base wood coloring. I chose to use Model Air Sand # 71.075 for the natural wood coloring. This coat will add depth to the piece. The small tarp bundle received a coat of Black Green # 71.021.
Once you are happy with the base coloring it is best to wait for the paint to cure before the next step; adding a cleat coat such as Satin Varnish from Vallejo. In the interest of moving things along sometimes, I break my own rules and often after letting the paint dry for about an hour or so, I will apply the clear coat and then let the piece sit for 12 to 24 hours to cure. The curing time is important at this point as the chipping method to follow, while not abrasive, involve working the surface with a brush or various soft tools to obtain the effects and could potentially remove more than you want if you do not wait.
Once the base color and the Satin Varnish has cured it is time to apply the Chipping Medium. Chipping Medium works much like the hairspray technique whereas you apply a coat, allow to dry and then paint over it. The properties of the Chipping medium make it very easy for the paint applied on top of it to be removed giving a worn, chipped effect. The amount and consistency of the Chipping Medium you apply do play a factor into the final result. If you apply a heavy coat of the Chipping Medium at full strength to the surface, the result will be heavier chipping of the top coats of paint; with a thinner coat of the Chipping Medium or if the solution is cut with a small amount of water or thinner will aid in the chipping being a little bit smaller. The size of the chipping also depends on the tools used to remove the top coat of paint; explained below.
Moving forward, once the Chipping Medium has dried, which only take a few minutes, it is time to apply the top coat of paint. In this case I chose to show both boxes with a light coloring as if they were painted with a light brown or even varnished when they were made. I chose to use Model Air Wood #71,077 and Camo Pale Brown #71.035 for my top coloring. No matter the color you choose, the chipping process will remove a personally defined amount of top paint to reveal the base coloring when you are done.
Wait until the paint is dry to the touch, typically only a few minute or as long as it takes to clean you airbrush and bench and you are ready to chip away. Take a soft, flat bristled brush that is damp, not wet, with water and go over the surface to dampen the area you wish to work. As I mentioned with the application rate and consistency of the Chipping Medium earlier on, the amount of water applied to the surface will also define how much the paint will chip. With lesser amounts, as I have done here, the chipping will be more controlled allowing for smaller effects whereas a wet surface the water permeates to undermine the paint quicker allowing for larger chipping. Control is what I wanted here.
Once damp, wait a few seconds for the water to soften the paint. I am using the same flat bristled brush I applied the water with to perform the chipping. I made sure the brush was dried off properly on a clean towel. You can use different methods to get the look you desire. Stippling will crate small chipping while rubbing will create elongated and/or larger areas of removed paint while using the edge of a Q-tip (Bud) or toothpick will remove larger sections or create simulated scratching.
Work the area of each piece until you are happy with the results and then set the piece aside to dry. Once dry, it is best to seal your work again to protect everything you have accomplished up until this point. Again, Vallejo’s Satin Clear Varnish is great for this process as it not only seals the paint, it makes for an excellent surface to apply any effect you wish to apply such as washes or filters.
Here is the somewhat completed version of my stowage boxes. I hand painted some Model Air Color Hemp, to the rope handles of one of the boxes followed by a very light wash made form Model Color Black paint to the edges and grooves. Further weathering such as dirt and grime will be added once the pic has been placed onto the model I am making these for.
In closing, Vallejo’s Chipping Medium is an excellent way to obtain a worn tattered look to small add-on pieces for any diorama or vignette especially on resin cast boxes like the ones I used here from Value Gear Details. Part of the fun of modelling is experimenting with different products and techniques. Never stop trying new things. Each attempt will give you one more set of tools for you bench!!
If you get the chance, stop by and check out many of the other great add-on stowage items Value Gear Details has to offer on their website
The Chipping Medium is just one of huge selection of products offered by Acrylicos Vallejo. Please stop by their website to to see and learn more!