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Freakin' Stormtroopers

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To be fair, it should probably be "freakin' white paint."

 

Hi folks,

 

I'm a fairly experienced miniatures painter, but I was hesitant to actually put the brush to my IA minis. I finally did, starting with the Stormtroopers.

 

And now I feel like it was a terrible mistake.

 

I know white has always been a difficult color to work with, and I usually basecoat with a gray and then build up to white (which STILL usually results in a clumpy, uneven mess, so I try to avoid it as much as possible). Seeing the amount of success Sorastro had using his technique, I figured it worked well for him, so why wouldn't it work for me? 

 

The problem I'm experiencing is post Nuln oil wash. I'm not even slathering it onto the mini. I'm being very cautious with it. When I go to layer on the white, I'm experiencing the same old problems I've always had (and that's despite everyone crowing about how the new Citadel colors have a better formula). 

 

So, I've attached a photo. You can see -- on the front left upper leg -- the uneven nature of the white coat. I don't want to continue slathering it on there because I'm worried about the ever-present paint crumbs that usually result from too much white or yellow. I'm also using matte medium with the paint -- I've always had good luck with it (and I highly recommend novice painters start using it, it really helps, guys) so it's not like the mix isn't flowing evenly. 

 

I'm basically ten minutes away from spaying them all with White Army Painter Primer and saying "Yep! They're all white!"

 

Suggestions? 

 

Many thanks in advance.

post-111998-0-64537000-1428979280_thumb.jpg

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I completely sympathize with you. I'm avoiding the Stormtroopers for all of those reasons, so instead, I started with the Royal Guard. Of course, I've reminded myself how maddening red is to work with on large areas, so it appears I've outsmarted myself on that one. :P

 

I have a few thoughts for you.

 

1) I don't think the figure looks nearly as bad as your description made it sound, so don't throw it in the trash yet.

2) I would try starting with the white primer anyway. As you said, the black wash is intense enough - there's no reason to put on lots of extra layers fighting your way back up from gray. 

3) If you don't like the intensity of the wash, try diluting it with some medium, or making a different one. A medium-gray shading wash is probably more than enough for the detail on the armor panels; leave the black wash for around the edges where they meet.

4) As for the "paint crumbs", do you mean it's clumping up as you paint? That sounds like either old paint that has partially dried in the pot, or you're trying to paint another layer before the previous one is dry. Otherwise, you should be fine putting down quite a few coats, especially if you're thinning them first.

 

- H8

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Oh man, I had the same problems.  The Stormtroopers took longer than any other figures.

 

What I finally did took patience and tedious touch ups.  Once you are happy with the wash, go back with your detail paintbrush and your white paint and go over all of the raised areas and cover up enough of the black wash splotches so that it only leaves traces of shadow where you want it.  I admit that I had to do this process several times.  Apply wash, apply white paint to keep wash where I want them, re-apply black paint to the bodyglove areas and helmet where needed, re-evaluate, go over the same steps as needed. 

 

Trey

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I've struggled with the stormtroopers a bit too. The latest one (8th out of 9) turned out ok though any experienced painter would probably just scoff at it. I use Army Painter's White primer and then paint the black areas with Uniform gray. Then I use Citadel's Ceramite White to cover any mistakes since it covers nicely. Then I apply the black wash which always seems to pool too much on the shins. Perhaps I should try wiping that off with a paper towel or something on my final stormtrooper.

 

After the black was has completely dried, I paint the highlights with Citadel's White Scar. I had much the same problems but with this last trooper I noticed that it's best to paint one area with thin layer, move to another part, come back and paint another layer and move to another area again.

 

I've also experimented with different brushes trying Citadel brushes, Army Painter Detail brush and some cheap Goldline brushes. I actually prefer the Goldline size 1 brush for painting the highlights. It doesn't have a very sharp end and can't hold a lot of paint but it's easy to paint with it. The bad side is that it gathers some paint easily in the middle of the hairs while the tip gets rid of the paint quickly so have to wash that brush often.

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Thanks for the feedback, folks. Very helpful (and encouraging, too!).

 

I'm using Citadel White Scar. Whilte I'm still doing super-thin layers, it's still coming out uneven in many places, so I'm just going to have to suck it up and say "good enough" I guess. Besides, the non-stormtrooper minis will look better, so most of the attention will be on them, right? ;)

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am glad its not just me having problems with these. i have used detol to remove the paint so far as i followed that painting guide but the white look horrid after the wash...the best i found was using a base white then using a spray gun to apply TAMIYA flat white (XF-2). This gives it a stormtrooper shine...i would then just do the rest like the painting guide exept the ink wash.

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white's usually have a pretty good hiding power and i'm rather surprised you're having such difficulties with it. though not nearly as good as browns or blues, they are still miles above the reds, yellows and oranges of the world

 

did you try spraying a primer coat of white first to give it a rich white to start?

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If you're finding the paint goes on 'chalky' even after thinning with water, flow release is your best friend. It helps break the paint up in the medium, so it flows better off the brush and dries smoother. I find white and flesh paints particularly prone to this, so I use a water / flow improver (20%) mix to thin the paint a little to get thin, smooth layers. You need several coats (waiting for each to dry before doing another) but it gives good coverage without obscuring detail or leaving bumps. Don't use too much flow improver though, or it becomes very hard to control and doesn't stay where you put it! If you are struggling to control it, a bit of matte medium will thicken the paint physically, while leaving the colour alone.

 

One trick I'm going to try out is borrowed from tank painters, a pin wash. Basically, after doing the white coat shading/highlight that you want (or just a flat white base coat if you're not trying to be fancy) do a gloss varnish coat (spray or brush). This protects the white, and makes the surface slick. You then use the black wash on the lines and crevices specifically with the tip of your brush, rather than slop it all over. Importantly, you then mop up excess wash with a clean brush and/or wipe it off as you go, leaving the flat white surfaces white, so you don't have to do much - or ideally, any - new white paint to cover up the wash overflow.

 

The wash needs to stay wet long enough to not grip on the surface where you don't want it, as well as flow nicely into the crevices, which is why many tank painters use oil or clay based washes as it's easier to control and clean off than an acrylic wash. But then you end up needing turpentine to clean your brushes, which is no fun. So an acrylic wash will also work, but a little bit of additives can help. You can thin GW washes with a bit of water + flow improver, which will help it get into the crevices easier (and easier to wipe off). Adding a bit of matte medium will extend the drying time a bit, and also help prevent 'tide rings' where it dries too quickly around the rim of the crevice rather than at the bottom, and will help thicken up the thinned wash so it's easier to control. GW's lahmian medium is an (expensive) alternative that achieves much the same aim if you don't have easy access to an art supply store. GW's painting videos almost invariably thins every wash with lahmian medium first.

 

Again, don't overdo it on the thinning/mediums, as if you make it too thin it becomes a glaze rather than a wash and won't 'settle' in the cracks, which is not the effect we're after.

 

In short; flow improver and matte medium make tricky paints much easier to use,  even if they take a bit of practise to get the hang of the exact impact a given amount will have. My painting improved considerably when I started using them.

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