Time Spent (Hours)
An easy build of Ciel from God Eater. This was an Ori gathering kit from e2046.com. It was probably one of the cleaner / easiest kits I’ve built, requiring no bending or trickery to get it to fit together. Just your standard minimal cleanup of the gates from the mold but nothing crazy. A few minimal photos in WIP for this one, mostly things that got repainted to different colors.
I only had two goals on this kit – to use the resin clear coat on eyes as I did in my Android 18 kit, but not mess up the face while doing so, and secondly to spend time trying brush painting more.
Up until now, I’ve pretty much airbrushed all my kits for the vast majority of the kit, minus tiny details that just don’t airbrush. However, after reading up on some more advanced modeling techniques, many of which are by modelers that almost exclusively brush paint their figures, I thought it was a good idea to try it. Long ago when I tried I never got good finishes – I had brush marks and figured it wasn’t worth the trouble, and so I never tried again for years and years to brush paint larger areas.
But what if I could? It sure would be nice to have the skill to brush paint some hair after gluing it to the (airbrushed) face and filling gaps – usually I would airbrush first, but touch-ups became hard especially if I had mixed custom colors, now I would need a proper color match to touch up. Or sometimes there are larger areas but taping the section could be a pain. The skirt here is not a bad example.
Beyond that, there are some advanced techniques where being good with a brush would be good. Adding highlights to the hair, or possibly using different brush techniques for different finishes on different types of material.
On Ciel, I airbrushed about half and brush painted the other half. Primer was airbrushed, the skin is airbrushed, her outer jacket is airbrushed, and her leggings airbrushed. The rest was done by brush.
After having painting Ciel and getting more familiar with paint consistency needed for brush painting, I’m a lot more comfortable brush painting and no longer afraid it will look poor. I was able to get a pretty smooth clean finish and it wasn’t that tricky. Even more, it was easier than I thought and I can definitely see it saving me effort on future kits if I see an area that I really don’t want to tape and would rather brush – now I can. It doesn’t take too long to do either (especially if you aren’t spending all the time taping and cleaning the airbrush afterwards).
Of course, there is still room for improvement. For example, I tried a couple different stroke techniques on the purple shirt to see how it worked out, hoping to provide some sort of interesting texture for the fabric, neither worked well for me and instead I got a pretty much smooth finish similar to had I airbrushed. Not what I was going for, but does show the ease of getting a decent smooth finish with a brush so I no longer have to fear it.
One challenging area I have found for brush painting is metallic finishes. For example, on the sword you can clearly see some brushed chrome details (Testors), and it’s probably the worst aspect on the kit. I also tried brush painting Alclad II, which I’ve tried before and it’s not great either. I think it’s slightly too thinned from the bottle to brush well. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried brushing it on previous kits as well and it wasn’t the best. I was able to brush it a little better on this kit, but it’s far better airbrushed. For reference, the sword blade was originally brushed with Alclad II, but I ended up going over it with some pigments later so what you see now is pretty much pigments applied with a makeup sponge/brush.
Another area of focus was the hair. I really wanted to brush paint it and then add highlights and shadows, resulting in an even better final job than if I airbrushed it. It didn’t work that way. The shadows and highlights barely show up. I’ll have to continue practicing, but it was pretty easy to get the base color applied across the hair with a brush – I can see myself brush painting hair a lot more often in the future as it simplifies some things.
I will likely to continue experimenting with brush techniques in the future, and likely increase how often I use a brush for certain pieces on kits rather than limit myself to the tiniest of details.
The resin clear coat on eyes worked out better. I applied by getting a tiny bit on a toothpick and transferring to eyes in very small quantities. This fixed the issue where I applied a larger drop on last kit and it ran outside the eyes due to too much volume, causing much needed touch-ups and repair to the matte skin coat outside eyes.
The leggings were a disappointment. I was going more for a non-opaque finish, somewhat transparent like stockings. I painted skin color first on full leg, then tried a mr. color smoke gray in thin layer over top. It didn’t work out. It didn’t look good, and eventually I just went over it completely to try and match her jacket. I will have to practice more on these types of finishes.
- Brush painting (in general) is a lot easier than I remembered. You do need to use less thinner than you would for airbrush, and you do need to thin it (if Mr. Color at least) rather than use directly out of the bottle, but if you specifically thin it meaning to brush paint, it’s not hard. You can get a fairly smooth and well painted finish without too much effort. Furthermore, brushing certain areas can be a lot easier than having to airbrush.
- Brush painting metallic paints/colors should probably be last resort or for tiny details. As the areas get larger, I think the finish degrades and is just not as good as airbrushing. I tried brushing Testors, Mr. Color, and Alclad II metallic colors on this kit and they are the hardest to get a good result and maybe my least favorite parts of the final product. Stick with airbrushing when you want to do any metallic and/or metal type finishes.
- Brushing Alclad gloss black base is possible, with precaution (even though it’s fairly thin in bottle), but really need a good prime base underneath (black surfacer probably preferred). Due to it’s thinness, any differences in coloring underneath show though – you can’t get great coverage/depth with it using a brush, BUT if you want to get the gloss finish, you can. Just apply over a solid black surfacer coat.
- Shading with a brush is challenging for me. I tried highlights/shadows on the hair, but they are barely visible (if at all to anyone other than me). Furthermore, one other challenge of brush painting is pre-shading may not stand out as much (I had pre-shading all over the skirt, for example, under the brushed gray, which now you cannot see). At least with an airbrush, I can do pre-shading alright and get some variety in color, but at least on this first brush painted kit it’s pretty much one solid color without much variety wherever I brushed.