Friday, 14 March 2014

Tutorial: Painting digital camouflage on a Tau Devilfish - part 1

A while ago, I bought an interesting new product called Mask FX from Critical Mass Games - available here. Available as standard digi-camo, or now a variety of other cap types, this product is marketed as a quick and easy way to apply camo with spay cans or airbrushes. I decided to try this out, and over the next few days I'm going to be posting a tutorial on applying digi-camo.

The product really works! I'd highly recommend it! I actually wanted to do something like this on some armour portions of an Imperial Knight, but decided to try out the technique on a Devilfish before hand. My aim was to paint up a really dirty, very weathered transport; I wanted the camo to look sharp, but also hastily applied.

Using this masking product is all about planning. It's important to plot out hat colours you will use, and the order in which they will be applied. I wanted a mainly grey-blue tank, so worked that as my primary colour.

Stage 1: Undercoat
I started, unusually, with a white undercoat. Nice and solid, applied with several loose and thin coats.

Nothing to see here - move along...

Stage 2: Apply mask
Next, I broke open the Mask FX and some tweezers.

The tape comes on a backing plastic, and you simply pull it off and apply to your model. Be careful not to damage the tape, although it is quite durable. Make sure that you apply it with some pressure to your model - especially if you have curved armour sections etc.

Here's the model as it should look. Note how only the taped sections will end up being white - an example of carefully applying colours. The finished model will actually have little white on it, only the taped sections.

Stage 3: Spray second colour
I simply sprayed my model again, with the next colour of choice (in this case, a flat grey).

I actually used spray cans for this project, but it would work much better with an airbrush. It's basically too cold in my area of England at the moment to use my airbrush outside, so I went with what was at hand!

Once this is dry, go back to the Mask FX and apply more tape pieces to the model. Only those parts left concealed beneath the tapes will be left grey.

Note that the underside of the tank was left white. This was deliberate: I liked the idea of weathering up the white, and leave it like the underside of an aircraft (commonly left white).

Stage 4: Last colour coat
The third and final shade is then applied - in my case, Army Painter Wolf Grey.

Stage 5: Remove the tape
Let your model dry! This is important, as otherwise the tapes might left off some of the paint. This is especially crucial if your using spray cans...

I would suggest tweezers are again the best option. The Mask FX should just peel off with little resistance!

You'll be left with something like this...

Note that you will probably have some errors after the tapes are removed. If your chosen vehicle has curved armour plates, like this Devilfish, this might be quite pronounced. This is easily fixed by going back over your camo and touching up mistakes with a brush.

Next instalment: adding shading with a wash...

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