Time Spent (Hours)
Closing out my (current) FF7 models is Aerith Gainsborough. I’ve been on an FF7 kick since I played the remake and got inspired to knock out my very old Cloud Strife kit as well as a couple new resin kits from the remake for Tifa Lockhart and Aerith. This was purchased through e2046.
When I started this kit, I planned to try and do it as a speed build and see how quickly I could paint a figure reasonably well without going overboard. Normally my builds seem to take 15-30 hours depending on the figure, and given my current backlog and amount of free time for this hobby, I’ll never get all my kits built.
With that said, as I began working on the project I kept making adjustments and extending what I considered to be a “speed build”. I couldn’t help myself. At first, I originally wanted it to be done in a single day, literally. Then it evolved into a single logical day – 8 hours. This change to me was more around timing as it’s hard to get a solid 8 hours distraction free, and 8 hours straight is a long session.
I was mostly on track and if I controlled myself when it came to painting I could’ve managed something. After about 5-6 hours I had the kit mostly built with priming and base coats done for a good portion of it. And then I got a little carried away around the following:
- Blending skin tones – I’ve been using acrylics for the past couple kits rather than lacquers and they have the benefit of being easier to brush. This does make it a bit easier to do detail shadows/paints in combination with the airbrush using the same color(s). Using vallejo skin tone sets, I’m trying to get better and ended up spending some time trying to brush paint highlights/shadows. I definitely need more practice here, and I think I am much better at creating highlights and shadows with the airbrush than real brush. It could be that most instructions and tutorials on the subject are for much smaller scale miniatures and maybe the brush techniques work better on them.
- Hair tones – I’ve also been on a kick trying to get better at highlights/shadows for hair. Once I started building this kit, I couldn’t help but try and spend some time on it – the hair and braiding on this kit was perfect for practice.
- Stippling – I probably shouldn’t have gotten into trying new techniques if I wanted a speed build, but I did. I tried stippling on the dress to try and give it some texture. You can’t see it much (if at all) in the result, but that’s because it came out not looking too great and I ended up airbrushing a few light/medium layers over it of the shadows and base pink color. I think using a sponge for stippling effect as I did on Tifa turned out better, especially for large areas. This may be one of those differences between most tutorials around detailed painting, which usually are for miniatures, get translated over to a larger resin kit. To do stippling proper on a kit this large would take a huge amount of time I think.
- Base / vegetation – I’ve also wanted to build a nice base with grass/vegetation like seen in amazing diorama’s people create. Normally I just buy a plain black / brown base and that’s it since most kits I have don’t have a base. Aerith actually came with a pretty decent base and had some flowers, so I thought I’d spend a little time on it. It’s all done with a brush except for a few places I tried an AMMO oilbrusher. While building this kit, I did learn about static grass and ordered some, but it’s not here yet. I have it on my list for a future base (or one I’ve been planning for a couple kits for about 6 years now) so hopefully that’ll help. This base for Aerith I still like – the dirt/grass could surely be better, and the wood could look a bit more worn / older I think if it’s supposed to represent the church in the slums, but that’s ok.
- 8 hours may be enough for a basic build and paint job, but not if I get into varying tones. For this kit I probably could’ve completed it in about 8 hours with a standard airbrush finish, but once I get out the brushes and start trying to do highlights/shadows and other details, the time creeps up. I’m still getting faster and acrylics have helped a lot in this area over lacquers for many reasons though.
- Try detailed painting methods demonstrated on miniatures using an actual miniature first. I’ve recently been watching a lot of tutorials around painting but most are for minis, far smaller than the kits I work with. The effects look great, but when I try them on my resin kits they rarely turn out well. It may be because I’m terrible and just getting started, but it may also be due to differences in scale. For this kit I spent quite some time stippling only to mostly airbrush over it later since it didn’t look too great. I’m going to start practicing and get decent at these techniques on miniatures first now I believe before trying on larger kits. It should go faster, and the scales should match what the tutorials cover as well.