How to mask a building for painting.

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by jkristia, Oct 25, 2003.

  1. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    Finally I was able to achieve nice sharp lines when painting a building with my airbrush.
    I read somewhere here on The Gauge how to avoid paint running under the masking tape by first painting another coat of paint on top of the masked building with the same color as the wall color, that way it will 'seal' the masking. And it works (of course it works, I read it here :) )

    I am happy with the building on the right, and don't want to touch the windows, even though they should have another color than the sill, but I don't want to mess it up with my clumsy hand painting. (I have several other buildings which are hand painted, and I'm not happy with them)

    After the 'success' with the first building, I went on to the next building, but now I was wondering if somehow it's possible to also airbrush the windows, in other words, once I'm done painting the trim, should I then mask off the trim and give it one more coat trim color and then paint the windows, or what is the best way, or do I 'have to' hand paint the windows?


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  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    what kind of problem are you having with hand painting?
  3. belg

    belg Member

    I love the nice crisp lines but could you give me an order of your painting walls first then mask and so forth.
  4. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    the problem is that I like clear sharp lines, and I don't seem to be able to get that when hand painting e.g. the windows or the trim. This picture is an example of 2 hand painted walls.

    The right one is one of the better ones, but still I would like to have had a nice sharp line
    between the wall and the windows. The wall was airbrushed and the rest hand painted.

    The left one is all hand painted, and definitely it will be repainted with the airbrush.

    Attached Files:

  5. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    belg, maybe it's hard to tell because the color is so close to the unpainted color of the plastic, but the left building (first picture) has already been painted dirt color, I will then mask of all but the trim, then paint it all dirt color again, to seal the mask, and then paint the trim in a light gray color. Now my question is how/when should I mask off the rest except for the windows to get this nice sharp line?.
  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    what try of brush do you use i use Grumbacher erminitte liner and round types in size to match area.
  7. Blake

    Blake Member

    Here are some suggestions. First, look for Tamiya masking tape at your hobby shop. It is thin, low tack and flexible. It comes in many sizes but I like the 10mm. Don't just get the refill roll, get the one with the plastic case. It keeps the edges free of lint, dust and hair. Next, go to a good art supply or arts and crafts store. Michael's, Treasure Island and Pearl Paint all carry Loew - Cornell paint brushes. Get the ones that have Taklon bristles. They are as good or better that red sable. Get a #1, #0 and #00 round. When you dip the paint out of the jar draw the brush along an index card at a 45 degree angle while rolling it in your fingers. This will blot off the excess paint and bring the tip down to a nice point. Then just get in there and paint, paint, paint. The more you do it, the better you will get at it. The better you get at it, the more you will like doing it. Take an old building or one you are not happy with and practice on that. Most of all, have fun. Also, when you go to do it, try not to think "more damn tedious hand painting". Try thinking "time to hone my hand painting skills". Sounds corny but attitude can really have an effect.
  8. Blake

    Blake Member

    Here is a photo to better illustrate the brush technique.

    Attached Files:

  9. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Neat, sharp lines!

    You'll get the hand painting down, you have a great teacher. Blakes a real pro.
  10. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Tips On Brush Painting

    Cheap brushes don't make clean seperations between colors. Get the best you can afford. Its better to have just a few really good brushes than a number of cheap ones. If you take care of them they will last for years and years. I like Windsor-Newton red sable brushes. Always clean your brushes throughly after using them. The use of a brush conditioning product will keep them like new.

    Don't try to hold your work with one hand and paint it with the other. That's just too unstable. Its better to put the piece on a flat surface and move it around to get into all those "nooks and crannies" Don't be afraid to "prop up" your work to get the best angle to it.

    Brace your painting hand. I paint right handed so I put the top of my left wrist against the bottom of my right wrist. "Lefty's" just do the opposite. You may be more comfortable "propping up" your painting arm on something like a small book.

    Take a few minutes to study what you are going to paint before starting and figure out "the best plan of attack".

    Don't get in a hurry...just take your time...the details on a lot of buildings like DPM are very intricate...just relax and enjoy what you are doing. If you get tired stop for awhile.
  11. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    You know, if you look at a lot of real world paint jobs up close, you realize that the paint lines are not sharp lines either. When I had to paint my house, I had a bear of a time with the trim on the windows. Personally, I would not worry too much about being exactly perfect. After all, the real world isn't! :rolleyes:

  12. billk

    billk Active Member

    I'd have to quibble with that, Michael. A 1/16in. "mistake" would be pretty close to perfect whan painting your real world house, but would be very noticeable on a model.
  13. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    The LPP View

    There's always going to be some overlap between colors but admittedly an air brush will hold it to a minimum.

    But...what the real situation is ....the way we view our models. Most of us don't have layouts tall enough (including me) to view our models "straight on" at eye level from a standing height. Visual perspective dictates that when we view our models from the top down we see those imperfections. But the little plastic people on the layout see it normally and say..."Gosh what a great paint job!":) :D
  14. grlakeslogger

    grlakeslogger Member

    Everybody who's done this for a while has their own favorite techniques. Mine include:
    1. Red sable brushes for fine work. ...and, these get used only for fine work--use other brushes for painting scenery.
    2. Use sanding sealer first on wood models. Use light gray spray on other models to provide a base coat. LET THIS DRY AT LEAST HALF A WEEK.
    3. Spray first color coat. I personally like Floquil, Scalecoat, or Testors Model Master flats and I do use an OSHA respirator.
    4. Apply masking tape. I like 3M blue low-tack masking tape.
    5. Seal tape with light coat of Testors clear flat spray. I believe the number is 1960--I'm out right now so cannot check. Again, let dry.
    6. Now airbrush your other color. Carefully remove tape after a couple of hours.
    7. If brushing that second color, be sure your hand is well braced at a comfortable height. I often butt an 18" long piece of pine 1x4 up to the bottom of the work to provide a rest for my hand.
    8. Have LOTS of light on the work--as free from shadows as possible. That is, use several lights coming from different directions.

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