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"How-To" for Painting Camo...

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Old 03-20-2009, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"How-To" for Painting Camo...

Since I began doing customs, I have gotten a lot of comments inquiring how do I paint my camo patterns. Well, I believe in sharing the knowledge and did this write up for a few tankers the pm'd me. Below is everything I do when painting camo including what paints, brushes, and application process. So, if you follow the steps below, and practice a couple of times, you too can paint some bitchin' camo in any color pattern!!

BRUSH TECHNIQUES. Here is the technique that I use to paint multi-color camo patterns. The first rule of thumb is to select the color that will be the majority color,... i.e. Tri-color woodland would be Olive Green, and use it as the base color. Then alternate light and dark color layers. Meaning if I am painting Tricolor Woodland Camo, I will start with Olive Green as the base, then Khaki, folowed by Flat Brown, and then Flat Black. The darker colors are used to "mute" or subdue the lighter colors. Same theory used for the Blue Tricolor Cobra Ninjas in my 7.62 Kustoms for sale Thread (linked in sig). Just think environments. If you want to come up with a bitchin' color scheme for a team or figure, take Cobra Night Watch for example, they are based on operating at night so Black is the majority color and would be used as the base color. Urban may include a dark or light gray for either day or night, while desert ops may call for Khaki for day camo or that odd desert nighttime color that looks like a dark mix of tan colors seen here http://go-armynavy.com/index.php/vmc...amo-pants.html .

Utilizing this alternating pattern will subdue the light colors and blend them all into the camo pattern. For example, if you paint the last layer as Khaki, you will have a pattern that makes the khaki stand out over all the other colors making it non-subdued or less realistic. Does it really matter if you alternate though... probably not, but it is my prefference and what works for me. After you practice it a few times, you will find a groove that works for you. While we are discussing colors... DO NOT use too much black! It is over powering if used to often. One of the reasons that the Marine Corps changed from the old Woodland Tricolor cammies was because the new digital pattern was more difficult to pick out the pattern and had less black in it. That is up to ones own opinion/interpetation as well... but obviously the other services followed suit and began doing the same using similar digital patterns, so we must have been on the right track Black is not a color that can be found in nature, meaning naturally occuring. You have shadows, and items that appear black, but nothing is a solid black. That is a Sniper trick when looking for camouflaged persnnel in the field.

As far as what brush technique to use, I just let the brush go where it wants to when adding the other colors over the base color if that makes any sense. If you try to make it look too perfect, it will just end up looking like you tried too hard and come out unnatural. Again, this is something you will have to practice on to see how and when to apply pressure to the brush to form the various shapes and patterns. There is really not established pattern in painting camouflage... only when they print it out on actual military uniforms. I would suggest taking a look at camo patterns online, just do an image search in google for camouflage and you will find a few that you can study to see how the various patterns mesh together.

BRUSHES and PAINTS. Probably the key ingedient of the process... I primarily use Tamiya Acrylic paints. They have a lot of colors to chose from and all of the above listed can be found in their line up. I ahve also used Citidel Paints, but they have some weird names and I don't like using a color witha weird name for something that I know the actual name for... i.e. Olive Green (Tamiya) vs. Goblin Sweat Green or something similarly named (Citidel Paints). I just recently tried using Testors Model Master Acrylics and I am thruroghly impressed with the paint quality, unfortunately the local hobby shop does not carry that line and it is a tad more expensive than Tamiya. In order to get the paint to flow so well and produce a smooth looking finish, I use Windex to thin the paints. You can use water, but I have found that Windex just mixes easier with the Acrylics and produces the best looking finish. I don't have an actual mixing ratio, but it is easy to figure out when it is too watery. It doesn't take much to make it work though. Windex can also be used to clean your brushes, this saves money over buying a little 2 ounce jar of thinner that will cost $3.00 when you can get a huge bottle of Windex for the same price. On to the BRUSHES. I use Crafter's Choice by Royal & Langnickel. They are inexpensive and can be found at Michael's craft stores. They come in four packs and have a no-slip rubber grip near the brush end. I have the Golden Taklon Detail set in size 10/0, 5/0, 3/0, and 0; and the Round set that has a size 1, 3, 5, and 6. I use the Detail 0 and Round 3 size for camo work. I think that I paid like $8 total for both sets of brushes.

SPRAYS AND FINISHES. I prime ALL my customs with Gray Tamiya Surface primer. Tamiya is kinda on the expensive side at $6 for a 6 oz can. I have tried using Krylon Gray primer, $2 for 10 oz can, but it left a tacky feeling when handling the parts. I haven't applied Acrylic paint of the parts yet but that may get rid of the sticky feeling once the acrylic paint dries. If it does, then it is definitly a more bang for the buck product and will save money if you make a lot of customs. I also just used some sandable primer from Dupli-Color. I think that you can pick it up at Wal-Mart, but I recall buying this at Autozone. It has a Fan-touch paint nozzle and is awesome for laying a nice even coat. It comes in a 12 oz can and I think is about $5 bucks. It also was not tacky after applying to plastic, I think that the chemical mixture in Krylon is what casued the parts to feel a little tacky. Anyhow, once I paint the Krylon sprayed parts to see if they come out well I will let you know, it would be a more cost effective route to go in the long run. But for quality purposes, Tamiya works GREAT and is damn near flawless! I also use Testors Dull Coat to seal all my customs, this gives a nice flat finish to the camo work. Once again, I tried Krylon and the the figure came out sticky feeling... I am no Chemist but I blame the chemical mixture with soft plastic Joe parts as the culprit.

Anyhow, I hope this is of use for some of you on here. I tried to be as thorough as possible and capture as many details and steps as possible.

Semper Fi!
MD
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marine_Deadpool View Post
Black is not a color that can be found in nature, meaning naturally occuring. You have shadows, and items that appear black, but nothing is a solid black. That is a Sniper trick when looking for camouflaged persnnel in the field.
Bit o' trivia. Authentic ninja, when they did wear their shinobifuku (ninja uniforms/outfits) they never (according to all historical evidence) wore black. Their uniforms were often the color of whatever was predominant in the landscape their mission took place in, and was often reversible to accomodate different environments.

Sorry, I can't resist any opportunity for an installment of Ninja Trivia, but all in all that's a REALLY good how-to.

I NEVER KNEW YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO USE PRIMER!

No wonder the friggin' paint never sticks when I try it! Damn!

But... now I know.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zefram View Post

I NEVER KNEW YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO USE PRIMER!

No wonder the friggin' paint never sticks when I try it! Damn!

But... now I know.
Interesting trivia...

and knowing is half the battle!

LOL couldn't resist!!!
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zefram View Post
Bit o' trivia. Authentic ninja, when they did wear their shinobifuku (ninja uniforms/outfits) they never (according to all historical evidence) wore black. Their uniforms were often the color of whatever was predominant in the landscape their mission took place in, and was often reversible to accomodate different environments.

Sorry, I can't resist any opportunity for an installment of Ninja Trivia, but all in all that's a REALLY good how-to.

I NEVER KNEW YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO USE PRIMER!

No wonder the friggin' paint never sticks when I try it! Damn!

But... now I know.
Good tibit there...so many misconceptions and myths about Ninja, Samurai and Bushido all together...now, back to my SS outfit for more Onibi No Jutsu!!!
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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nice.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thankyou for this dude, as simple as painting camo may seem the actual doing it I have frustratingly hard, this is very helpful and I imagine I will be spending the next few weeks experimenting with this and hope to get better results..!
Again thanx...
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RED DOT View Post
Thankyou for this dude, as simple as painting camo may seem the actual doing it I have frustratingly hard, this is very helpful and I imagine I will be spending the next few weeks experimenting with this and hope to get better results..!
Again thanx...
No worries! I have seen quite a few customs out there that appear to have followed my guide since I wrote it up. I am all about sharing the knowledge!! Let me know if you have any questions. Cheers bro!
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Any update on Falcon or Low-Light. Again, glad you made it home. There's a package headed your way. Should be there tomorrow or Tuesday.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:17 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Any update on Falcon or Low-Light. Again, glad you made it home. There's a package headed your way. Should be there tomorrow or Tuesday.
Working on them now. Hope to have them complete in teh next few days.
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for posting this. I have some Stargate (6-7") figures I've been wanting to do woodland and desert paint jobs on. This will help a lot. Also, what is your take on the ROC camo pattern? Gray or blue? I would say from pics it's gray, but in the movie I could swear it was blue. Could also have been a trick of the lighting though. Thanks again.
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