Let’s Review: A Brushpainting Demo Video

I freely admit that my videos are not really good.

But this video shows me brushing and when I posted it I truly didn’t think I needed to comment on it– but now I’m not so sure. I really believe, now, that I need to add some “instructions” to the video so that it might make more sense.

Here’s the video. Pay particular attention to the stuff at the very beginning, before my hand gets in the way. Around ten seconds into it, you can clearly see what I’m doing.

You can clearly see that I use a full, small brush. A number “2” brush is usually about the right size. I prefer to use a “4” but that’s not always practical. I use thin paint. I barely touch the brush to the plastic and the paint flows from the brush to the surface of the model. This is very different from using the brush like a trowel to smooth the paint onto the surface. Thin paint runs onto the model’s surface without brushmarks and dries that way, if you have a paint that’s appropriate for this kind of brushing.

Watching the mini painters on Youtube, I can see that what I’m doing here is just different enough to require an explanation. I didn’t invent this method, but I did learn it from an article in Air Space Model magazine from 1969 and I figure that most of y’all ain’t seen it.

I look for a certain kind of paint– I call it “ammonia paint” although that is a term I invented to apply to all paints of a certain type. Hell, I don’t know if it has ammonia in it or not– it just smells like ammonia to me. Right now, a few paints “resemble” my old favorites, and can be adapted to work like the old Testors paints. But it really requires a certain kind of paint.

The paint has be thin. It has to retain all the good coverage and other characteristics (adhesion, not beading-up, self-leveling, not reactivated, doesn’t dissolve plastic, doesn’t emit toxic fumes) when thinned to that level. Most paints fail when thinned this way. They bead up. They fail to adhere. They don’t smooth out as they dry. They reactivate previous levels. They dissolve the plastic. They emit poison into the air.

A paint that goes on opaque, smooth, adheres to the surface and doesn’t dissolve prior coats is the whole secret to my method. An airbrush can cover up a multitude of bad paint qualities– the only source of complaint is usually “it won’t spray.” But when you’re brushing, you need a paint that does ALL THESE THINGS WELL.

Right now, I’m experimenting with Golden So Flat paints. So far, I have not encountered any “deal breaking” problems. I’ve been particularly happy with a mixture of 50% paint and 50% Windex window cleaner. Despite a truly epic amount of bullshit posted here and and there about Windex, I’ve tried and tried to find a problem and I don’t see it. No problems so far. The paint works really well (so far).

I’m building the old Revell Charles W. Morgan. I’m using (mostly) Tamiya paints on it, although Tamiya paints do not have all the good qualities I look for, they have other qualities that make them perfect for this particular job.

In the end, that’s the most important thing.

7 Replies to “Let’s Review: A Brushpainting Demo Video”

  1. Dan your text here makes it close to obvious whats going on though a few might expect the paint to literally drip off the brush. 😉
    The video not so much. If I hadn’t read the text at first I wouldn’t see anything than somebody brushpainting an aircraft model!
    How’s your way different/better/whatever?
    If you don’t explain that the paints thinned down – possibly needing a video to cover that – and show how to get the paint on the brush then a close up to show the little of the brush actually touching the surface of the model then..
    Possibly closing with something – “try it out though remember experience’s needed to obtain a good result.”

    1. Right on all counts.

      The wonder of it is that it seems obvious now but it never occurred to me before. I think this lack of empathy for my “students” is probably just another symptom of my overall peculiarity. What’s really funny is that I’ve studied so hard and so long to learn to “not be like that” that I now go along fooling most of the people most of the time. But really, I do think it would be “better” in some way to just be a typical shoe-gazing Asperger-y guy, and not someone who greets people at the castle gate with a fruity “good eee-even-ing” then poor Renfield wakes up a week later with bad case of fly-craving.

    1. It sure is. One of these days I’m going to do a blog post on “Official” paint. Man, that was truly the favorite paint of the Loch Ness Monster and Jack the Ripper.

  2. Thanks for the video . Images after drying would be helpful.
    I ordered a few sable brushes, will let folks know how my work turns out .

  3. Great video and I really enjoy your articles. I have to agree, nothing compares to good ole MM acrylics, such a shame they are gone. I have tried the Revell paint with good results, but there is a learning curve. I never had luck with Tamiya paint, but have good things when people mix Tamiya Retarder with the paint. I will buy some Tamiya Retarder and give it a try. Also I noticed Testors still sells their acrylic paint in paint sets at Hobby Lobby. This issue is I have to buy in sets and also limited colors.

  4. So I am mostly recovered from my COVID booster, made me tired, sore all over but glad to have it to moan about .
    Got my sable brushes, now to find my gumption…we old guys have gumption, mojo not so much.

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