22 February 2012

Painted Resin Scratchbuild Spaceship

Last post I showed the results of my latest experiment: resin casting in silicone molds of my custom spaceship sculpts.  I love how the resin captures very fine detail, yet it's easy to work with.  My only concern was whether it would take paint well.  Some helpful comments assured me the resin would paint nicely, and with those words of encouragement I dove into it.

I made two casts in that last post, intending to join one to the other as top and bottom hulls of the same ship.  I realized however that since I'm a solo-gaming enthusiast, no one will ever see these miniatures other than here on the internet.  And since the bottom of the miniatures never really see the light of day, I decided to just spread some two-part epoxy (Pro-Create) on the underside and give it a regular shape with a bunch of stamped impressions.  So the bottom of the miniatures have detailing, just nowhere near that on the resin top.  I think it looks fine however and now I have two ships where I was anticipating one.

Anyway, as the pictures below show, I'm no painting expert.  The cool thing about resin however is that unlike water putty, the resin does not absorb moisture and turn to mud.  This durability allowed me to use a magic wash technique.  As a poor painter, I like short-cuts.  So I primed white, painted a thin layer of very light blue (almost white) acrylic paint, and then brushed on a thin coat of Future floor polish.  After 15 minutes of drying I applied two different magic washes.  The first was 4ml of water, 1ml of Future, and 0.1 ml of black illustration ink.  The second wash used the same proportions, but with blue ink.  As you can see, the ship turned out fairly dark, so it was good I primed white.  I really like this magic wash method with these ships; the ink highlights the amount of detail very well.

The next evening I drybrushed using very light blue.  I really need to practice my dry-brush technique.  It's so simple in theory, I don't know why I can't seem to avoid over-painting.  Finally, I painted insignia and stripes to give the vessel character and then hit the flight stand and base with two coats of black.  The very last step was spraying it with a dull matte coat to protect it and get rid of the shininess that the floor wash tends to give.

Over all I'm very pleased with resin as my new medium.  I know the ships will look even better if I can practice and improve my painting techniques.  And although resin is far more expensive than water-putty, I figure it only bumps my cost per ship to $0.40 to $0.50 US.  A fair price for my very own designs.

While I'm thinking of it, thanks to all who've stopped by to check out my weird ideas.  My downloads page has broken 2100 hits and I know nearly half of those are since I posted Greater Space Battles.  Special thanks to Dean "Star Ranger" for putting my game up on his awesome site Starship Combat News.  If you're reading this post, you probably already know SCN is THE place for spaceship miniature gaming.  I feel like a rock-star seeing my little game on there.  Also, thanks are in order to JF for plugging my game on Solo Nexus; if you want to know what's going on in the world of solo-gaming, check out JF's blog.


  1. These are incredible!

    You need to start selling these beauties! If you're able to produce these at even a dollar per unit, you can offer these at a really attractive price and make money.

  2. Drybrusing, to be effective, need to use a color somewhat lighter than the basecoat.

    If it's too similar, it won't bring up the detail.

    Second, you have to really dry the brush before applying it on the model.

    Don't be afraid of removing too much paint from the brush. The problem is removing too little of it. That's what can ruin a model.

    Third, you should brush over the model as if you were dusting it of. Light, firm, strokes, with your arm staying firm, and with only your wrist moving up and down.

    What is going to do the difference is repeating strokes abundantly over the same place. That's why the brush can be almost completely dry. The first couple strokes would do much, but after a handful you begin to see it happen.

    That should do. ;)

  3. *where you read "would do much" on the last line of my comment, please read "won't do much", instead.

    Lots of other typos there, but won't take the trouble of pointing them out.

    Damn blogger with no "edit" option on comments... :P

  4. Thanks for the kind words scottsz! I would crank them out and sell them if I had the time, but I have a hectic full-time job that eats up all my free moments. Even posting to this blog is a luxury I really can't afford (but do anyways).

    And thanks Mat for the dry-brush advice! I know you're right; I always get impatient and leave too much paint on. I just need patience I think.