Thursday, 27 September 2007

A Little Experiment!!

Back to the grindstone after our holiday so I thought I'd ease myself back into painting by having an hour or two experimenting. Recently a friend asked us to pick him up some masking fluid so we thought we'd get some ourselves. I use it quite a lot in my illustration work and I have always wanted to try it out on miniatures so I finally got round to giving it a go. I have seen it used to great effect by military modellers and I recently read an article by the very talented Cyril Abati who, like some military modellers uses it for weathering purposes more than anything else. I have always thought that maybe I could use it to produce some interesting freehand decorative effects maybe masking of areas and layering the freehand.
I figured it would work best on a nice large open area so a half painted steamjack in our miniatures case was perfect.

I applied the masking fluid with a brush. As with all types of masking fluid you have to be reasonably quick painting your design because as the masking fluid dries your brush sometimes sticks as you try to apply more and pulls what you have already painted on - right off!!
I chose to paint some simple lettering. Painting the letters with the masking fluid and then washing over the panel with another colour means that once the masking fluid is removed, the base colour of the steamjack will be left in the shape of each letter.

fig 1 - applying the fluid with a brush

fig 2 - washing over the dry masking fluid with a darker shade

fig 3 - masking fluid is removed by rubbing gently with a clean finger - or a clean eraser may be better

I then blocked out the shape of a star with the fluid so once removed the image of the letters would show through.

fig 4 - star shape painted in masking fluid

fig 5 - A bone colour is blocked in over the star shape

fig 6 - Bone shade is highlighted as normal

fig 7 - Masking fluid is removed leaving the lettering design visible underneath

The results were interesting and by no means perfect as this was just an experiment. To be honest, creating a perfect design in masking fluid would be a lot more difficult and time consuming than just painting the design straight on with paint. The gluey properties of the fluid make drawing a perfectly sharp design a little tricky. It may have it's uses though. It would be great for masking off large areas and simple shapes and I'm really keen to try it for weathering effects.



David said...

Interesting... but I'm still wondering who this "I" is. There are two of you writing the blog, so it would be nice to know whether it's Mike or Ali who is writing any given entry.

Thomas Thijs said...

The name is right under the article...

Anyway, very nice article. I have experimented with the Vallejo masking fluid myself and got some interesting results with it. But I find it a bit difficult to remove without damaging the paintjob itself.

YoungWolf7 said...

You might want to give a quick seal of Dullcote before applying the masking fluid. That should save the paint from coming up with the mask.

Dragonforge said...

Hey Ali,

Good to see you try the masking fluid..I look forward to getting it in the mail. I feel the suff has great potential for effects and for masking of large areas. I like using it on aircraft for masking off clear parts like canopies. A hint for removal, use a piece of scotch tape to remove it.. just lightly touch the mask and it should pick off. An eraser or one of those rubber chunks for removing rubber cement works well also. As someone pointed out some masking mediums can be difficult to remove, thats why I like this stuff it doesnt seem to be as tacky as others. Also you don't want to leave it on long periods of time as it bonds more. A dull coat seal as someone pointed out might help also.

Alison Friend said...

Cheers Jeff - would love to see what you've done with it!!