Sunday, December 4, 2011

Action Figure Painting Project: Everything Prior to Actually Priming

Ok! Well, finals were over this week, and this weekend, I've had a chance to get back to work on my hobby.  How To Pain Citadel Miniatures says that you can go with either a black or white primer. According to the book, black is good for making the painting process go faster, while while is good for master painters and makes bright colors show better.  The black makes shadows look better.

I went with a black primer base primer. I could be wrong, but I think it'll be easier to get the shadow effects I would like on the finished product if I start with the black, instead of painting it white, than doing a dark second coat and THEN painting the real colors I want on top of that dark coat on top of the primer.  According to the book, I can also get a good shadow effect using dark washes over the final layer of color, but I am trying to keep this first figure relatively simple.   I'm ruling out washes for this project.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Lets step back.

Before you can put on the primer, you need to disassemble the figure into its component pieces.


Next you need to sand down potential rub spots so that once you put your paint on the figure, the paint won't run itself off.


Note.  According to the book I should have also performed a check of all the mold seams on the figure pieces.  If I found anything that I could detect by running a fingernail over it, I needed to sand it down.  I did not actually end up doing this step thoroughly, and yes, after I sprayed on my first layer of primer, I did notice several huge plastic seams.


Oh well.  But what I want to get to is the painting phase.  Looking forward to actually painting has been what has got me thought all the pages and pages of papers I have had to write for my finals last week.  Its my first figure that I'll be painting since getting a clue as to how to do it.  I'll let the seam thing slide.

The clean water burns!  It BURNS!
After you check for seams (should you decide to check for seams) you need to wash your prices off to get rid of any oil or other substances on them that could keep the primer from adhering smoothly


Best get cracking on that one!

So I did.  With the use of standard hand colander, I got the figures good and rinsed in the kitchen sink.  I didn't want to risk the joint pegs getting lost down the drain, so I didn't bounce the pieces up and down in the water- I just smoothly moved them around under the water to get everything nice and soaked.  I couldn't see any residue on the pieces to begin with, so I wasn't worried about very aggressive washing.  Next I put the pieces on a towel to dry on the porch.  We have a door between the porch and the rest of the house, so I didn't need to worry about our two cats, Boots and Dora, getting to the pieces, deciding to knock them around as they do everything that isn't bolted down, and making sure my dream project ends up a nightmare.

So close to the painting step I can barely stand it.
I should talk about the spray painting situation a little bit here.  Right now, it is winter in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I live.  It is about 29 degrees Fahrenheit outside (about -2 for everyone else in the world that goes by Celsius).  We have 4 inches of snow on the ground.

According to the spray paint instructions, you need to paint in a place that is well ventilated and where the temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit/10 degrees Celsius.

What I did over the summer is spray paint stuff out in the garage, where there was plenty of fresh air and air flow when I had the doors open.  We live in a house built in 1947 or so, and the garage is detached.  Thus, there are no problems with fumes getting into the house.

Now that winter is here, I want to use the porch as my spray paint studio.  Its a good 3 season space.  One of our home's previous owners installed a nice heater there, and there are windows that open to let in the air from outside. My plan was to spay paint the work pieces using the cardboard spay paint enclosure I built for previous projects while I had the heater on, and after 75 minutes or so (the amount of time it takes for the primer to dry) open up the window and get the fumes out.  This seemed to be a great idea until my wife looked at the warning label for the primer.

The new mask.
::hooooo-pah:: ::hooooo-pah::
What is thy bidding, my masta?
It turns out, the fumes from this stuff is really, really, really, really, really, really bad for you.  I think I have mentioned on my blog that my wife is a family practice doctor just about done with her final year of residency, and among other things she said after seeing the paint instructions is that she wasn't interested in spending her hard earned dollars after years and years of intense education education on chemo meds for her husband anytime soon.   She *ahem* encouraged me *ahem* to buy a really serious painting mask AND that I do not use the door between the house and the porch, that I go out the back door, walk around to the front of the house and use the front door to the porch there.

Because I am a smart effing husband, I said "Yes Dear" and ran to the hardware shop, where I bought a really, really hard core, professional grade painting mask. I put it on and looked in the mirror. I look like something out of a Hollywood movie with this thing on.  I need to incorporate it into a Halloween costume at some point.  Anyway, I grabbed the mask and sealed the door between the house and the porch.  I turned on the heater to get the porch warm enough to paint the pieces and waited for the porch to warm up.

This cardboard once package a toy.  Soon, it will find a new
use as a platform for items to be painted to be place upon.
Another thing I learned from the book is to not just put the pieces down in your painting enclosure, but to put the work piece(s) on a section of cardboard that you can rotate without touching the pieces themselves.  This may be a 'duh!' suggestion to people with more experience in this area, but this was useful advice for me.  I still had the box from the Bravo Team M3A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle in a pile of boxes to be put in the recycling, and cut the box into a bunch of cards. 

At this point someone could accuse me of ceding all decision making authority on this project to Rick Priestley, author of How to Paint Citadel Miniatures.  Those people would be right.  I absolutely have.  I am not just my wife's bitch, or as I like to think of it, a smart effing husband, I'm game workshop's bitch as well.  But I am cool with that.  When it comes to painting figures, I want lots and lots of instruction until I know what I am doing.  At that point, I'll start doing my own thing.

The spray enclosure.  Don't spray paint anything without one.
I am not at that point yet.  Sometime soon I am going to write a more in-depth blog post about my feelings on using a book which is absolutely a $30 advertisement for Game Workshop products. I think its a topic worthy of a write up.  But I want to get done with this post first.

In about 10 minutes, the porch heater got the porch warm enough to paint.  I got the paint enclosure set up, put down one of my newly cut cards in the enclosure, and put the pieces on the card. I spray painted two light coats of black primer on the figures, and things look good so far.  Moving the card to adjust the angle at which I could spray the work pieces worked out fantastically.  I took a few pictures, but it is dark at this point and the lighting on the porch is bad, so no pictures of that is going up yet.  I will take some pictures tomorrow and post them then.  I'm happy with how things are going so far.

That's the logical conclusion of this update, so I'll call it quits here.

Until next time,

David Draper

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