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Author Topic: Painting models  (Read 1239 times)
LesTindall
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« on: March 03, 2018, 09:09:59 AM »

I seem to be pushing myself into a corner regarding painting a model.  I have always been  advised never to use black, only shades of grey "not 50!". I have now come to the boiler and cab of a Garratt I am building in 16mm scale. Frames and engine units have been done in my usual "dark tank grey" as this shows up the detail. Having painted the boiler and cab front in satin black (to represent a black painted engine) I lose all detail.  Looking at models in a number of (UK) magazines they use black paint, yet still seem to reveal the detail. I've tried dry brushing (not happy with the results). Am I doing something wrong?  Looking for advice on how to paint a "black" engine but still show up the detail.

Les   
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finescalerr
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2018, 02:11:44 PM »

Your perceived problem is most likely how you light your photos and/or the exposure setting of your camera. After all, black is black regardless of size.

Another factor could be the level of gloss. Full size locomotives are glossy but dusty. Satin black is more flat than a dusty loco.

The reason some modelers advocate dark gray instead of black is because, under their layouts' "darker than sunlight" lighting conditions, satin or flat black reflect too little light and gloss black reflects too much. You might find it preferable to paint the loco gloss black and then "dust" it by very lightly airbrushing with a semi flat clear coat, a little at a time, to emulate the dust on a well maintained full size loco.

Before you paint, find a satin black model, put it on a white seamless backdrop under your usual lighting, and shoot a photo. Then, if your camera allows you to set the exposure manually, prevent the lens from seeing any background at all, expose on the black boiler, and then check the exposure. You'll probably find it is at least a stop or two different and requires the shutter to stay open longer. A shot at the new exposure will reveal far more detail, especially if you use some small reflectors.

Then do the same thing (expose on the black paint) outside in full sun where you have tons of direct and reflected light. That would more closely emulate the conditions of shooting a full size gloss black loco. (Again, even outdoors, reflectors are very important to bring out detail.)

After decades of building, painting, and photographing models I have concluded that adjusting a model's color to look good under specific lighting conditions (unless your model ONLY will appear under those conditions and never be photographed) makes no more sense than changing into lighter clothing when you walk into a house. The best advice I can offer is to ignore most rules you've learned from modelers (unless they are of the quality of the guys on this forum) and do what looks best to your own eyes.

Russ

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Bill Gill
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2018, 03:55:57 PM »

Russ has exposed more film and pixels than I ever will. I agree with what he said about not trying to paint models based on the light they will be exposed to unless they will always only be exposed to that light. When I take photos for magazine articles I try to shoot outside in various kinds of daylight (bright, overcast, open shade, early or late day) depending on what mood I'm hoping to create or what details I want to show. When I shoot on my layout I am confronted with a large South facing window that cannot easily be shuttered. One side of the layout faces the window, the other side has a view block mountain that blocks much of the daylight. Lighting on the layout is always a challenge and trying to paint models to accommodate that situation just wouldn't work. I try to use as much light as possible and/or shoot longer exposures.

Here are two test shots of a factory painted satin black loco on the "dark side" of the layout. The first was shot with indirect daylight. The second with two photo daylight cfl bulbs in photo reflectors. Quite a different look!


* 1a.jpg (103.53 KB, 1000x1188 - viewed 134 times.)

* 2a.jpg (99.59 KB, 697x532 - viewed 129 times.)
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LesTindall
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2018, 02:57:19 AM »

Thanks guys for the advice.  I will now "re-jig" my thoughts on the paint job and try some experimenting with the lighting (though the photography side is not the main object of what paint to use, I keep the models on "mini-diorama" display shelves.
I'll keep you informed
 
Les
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LesTindall
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 05:12:49 AM »

Jus a couple of quick available light pics of the Garratt, now with main frame, boiler and cylinder covers painted in Satin black. The engine unit frames are in Dark Tank Grey.

Les


* Garratt 15.JPG (171.83 KB, 640x480 - viewed 128 times.)

* Garratt 14.JPG (168.38 KB, 640x480 - viewed 124 times.)
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finescalerr
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 01:39:43 PM »

Seems like a decent start. Is the model scratchbuilt? Because, if you fabricated the frame and running gear, that couldn't have been easy. -- Russ
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LesTindall
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« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2018, 06:01:31 AM »

All scratchbuilt in styrene apart from ready made wheels.

Les
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LesTindall
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« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2018, 09:12:23 AM »

As mentioned my models just get put on the cabinet shelves, as attached.  Top is an old Bandai 1/16th scale steam roller kit (dates from the 1980's) purchased recently at auction and built slightly modified. Middle is the 16mm scale (approx. 1/19th) 2ft gauge WW1 Alco and bottom is the "oldball" 3ft gauge Byers geared engine (5 of them were built in Ohio between 1896 and 1906) also in 16mm scale.

Les


* Models.JPG (170.29 KB, 640x480 - viewed 130 times.)
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finescalerr
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2018, 01:40:23 PM »

Displaying good models seems so much more reasonable than running them. I admire your good sense as much as I do your modeling skill. -- Russ
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Ray Dunakin
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2018, 03:37:28 PM »

Nice work!
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Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

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Barney
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2018, 08:42:57 AM »

Very nice - and thanks for the the rivet suppler
Barney
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Design-HSB
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2018, 11:23:43 AM »

Hi Les,

from my point of view, such excellent models are best presented on a small diorama or model layout.
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Regards Helmut
the journey is the goal
LesTindall
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2018, 01:16:02 PM »

Unfortunetly Helmut I do not have the space to be able to do that living in a 2-bedroom apartment. Perhaps my own fault moving up scales from 1/48th to 1/35th and now 1/19th.  I have never been a "runner" only static models, its the building of the model I enjoy (I'm now even thinking of 1/12th scale!).

Les
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2018, 01:33:17 PM »

Les,

exactly my Prinziep, the model making in and of itself is my hobby and the way to a self-made model is my goal.

Think about a mini-diorama in the closet.
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Regards Helmut
the journey is the goal
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