Hi, friends, and welcome back! Welcome back, also, of course, to me! I am writing to you, this afternoon, from (thankfully, today) sunny Prague and as you might recall the last time we spoke–and, certainly, the last time I wrote a tutorial of any real value–my family and I were still living in the US. Usually, Fall in my part of the world is drizzlier than not so I was thrilled to take advantage of the natural light and bang out some priming.
Priming, you say? Yes, and before that sanding (and more sanding) and filling! To get to that priming point, in addition to the Chrysnbon kit of your choice you’ll need the following:
- Milliput (I use Superfine)
- Mr Hobby Mr White Putty
- AK Interactive Magnet Ultra-Resistant CA
In addition, you’ll need whatever sanding (and gluing) supplies you like. For sanding, I typically use a combination of nail files, sanding sponges, and whatever sandpaper scraps I happen to have on hand. I have both the super fancy dancy craft-specific files and the regular beauty supply kind and I personally find that the latter works best. Don’t overspend on something that’s meant to be thrown away!
For gluing, when it comes to plastic kits the only kind I use is the Magnet. I squeeze a little out into a bottle cap or whatever and apply it, from there, to my model with one of those tiny disposable brushes that are sold in bulk to–once again!–nail artists. For someone who last had her nails done for her wedding, I sure do like the supplies. Anyway, when it comes to Chrysnbon happiness starts with the right glue and most polystyrene-specific glues suck.
I use the Milliput to fill in those deep, equally inexplicable holes. I use the other, lighter body putty on any shallower divots. We aren’t worrying, here, about matching anything colour-wise as all of this prep is leading up to primer. When we start painting, we won’t be starting from the base of the plastic itself but rather from the base we’re creating with (fillers, sanding, and) primer. So when you are sanding, periodically shut your eyes and run your fingertips over the piece to ensure that it’s as smooth as it looks.
Here we see some hole Rx, before and after. Once all the individual pieces are smooth, then it’s time to assemble! Be careful, we want to leave free all the pieces that interact with the drawers and grain bin. If we glue those in now, we won’t be able to insert them later! Rather, we are creating sub-assemblies. We’ll prime, and base coat them before we touch the glue again.
Here, I’m using a funky little glue station I found on Micro-Mark.
Don’t glue anything else in, for the bottom assembly!
Now, we are ready for primer!
But first, a note: I use an airbrush. Actually, I use two: an Iwata Eclipse with a 0.35mm needle and an Iwata HP-TR2 Revolution with a 0.5mm needle. The second, I purchased solely for priming (although I might use it in an upcoming “creating a weathered brick façade on the Charlie’s Cozy Cottage” project, also). Airbrushes themselves aren’t cheap, but once you add in a compressor, various accessories, etc etc etc. you’re talking calling up Santa. If anyone’s interested in what (I think) they need to get started, let me know and I’ll devote a separate post to that. I built up my own studio over time; I have a son in private school and, you know, we need to eat. That being said, for me at least adding airbrushing into my repertoire has been a game changer and something I’d highly recommend exploring.
However! A great alternative is to purchase two things: a can of Tamiya Superfine Primer in light grey, and a can of Tamiya AS in USAF Tan. Those two together are going to get you close to where we’re going and, truthfully, under all the dry brushing and etc we’ll be doing the base coat will be barely visible. The most important thing is that you don’t pick a colour that’s too dark. As for what colour I’ll be using, we’ll cover that in the next post in this series. I’ll give you a complete supplies list of what I’ll be using but, as always, your mileage may vary! No two pieces of wood, even from the same tree, ever really look alike and weathering is subjective. Two identical pieces of furniture, one treated with care and one left to rot in some barn, will quickly transform from twins into evil twins.
I like the IDF Israeli Sand Grey, as a primer colour, because it’s got quite a greenish cast to it and so does actual raw oak. I always dilute Vallejo primers, even though they’re technically “airbrush ready,” because otherwise they gunk up my airbrush and the Retarder Medium really helps with–my personal nemesis–tip dry. I also recommend removing your cat from the room before you start painting, as at one point mine appeared and blessed several pieces with his fur. I had to rinse them (and him) off and start again. As you can imagine, that was great fun!
It is, also, why I only use (what the EU considers) safe, nontoxic, water-based products. I share a home, not just with my cat but with my husband and son. My first foray into the, admittedly initially terrifying world of airbrushing was because I wanted to move away from propellants. Spray paint is fantastic, but it isn’t safe. Which brings up a good point: since our drawers are stuffed with them, when you’re sanding things like polystyrene wear a mask!
We have achieved primer! The hardest steps are DONE and we’re (finally!) ready to have fun! Everything is now that strange grey, yet brown, yet somehow green colour we’re aiming for and that’ll make a perfect canvas…eventually. Vallejo primer dries to the touch after about an hour (I waited about two hours before flipping over my pieces and painting their reverse sides) but doesn’t actually cure for about 24. Honestly, though, those of you living in more humid climes should wait 48 before progressing on to the base coat. We’re still not breaking out the glue, either, what you see above are the sub-assemblies we’ll be working with through base coating and the first few stages of dry brushing. But that’s all waiting for us in the next post!