I am very close to admitting defeat. No matter how I arrange and re-arrange, there does not appear to be any way to produce a simple “tutorial” on how to paint camouflage.
My soldiers, I am truly sorry. Perhaps we will see Jerusalem next year.
The problem is that once you know how to do something, and have done it for years, it becomes progressively more and more difficult to tell if it’s easy or hard to do–if it’s easy or hard to learn–and, ultimately, if it’s easy or hard to teach.
I toyed with the idea of providing a “phony” tutorial with a lot of “tricks” and “hints” and “tips” but that’s insane. I just wrote about how teaching math using “phony” puzzles alienates women (that’s what my last post was about, if it wasn’t clear) and here I am getting ready to go all phony.
Sometimes I wonder.
So here is how I actually do it. If it’s not obvious how certain things are done, that’s because it will never be obvious. Some things do, in fact, require practice. The lure of the airbrush is that the mildly crooked airbrush sellers give the impression that you DON’T have to learn to use it to get good results. It’s the All-American dream machine. Just plug it in and WHOOSH the problem is solved.
Well, no. It doesn’t work that way for anything, including airbrushes.
I need to find a good, solid point of reference. In this case, the canopy is right in the middle of things and it’s not going to move.
Painting it was challenging because I BROKE ONE OF MY OWN RULES. I “Futured” the canopy, then tried to use the “slop it on and clean it up with a toothpick when it dries” method. That was dumb. I managed to save the canopy but I almost botched it.
The dust inside the canopy is another example of stupidity. Don’t sand, file or scrape after the canopy goes on. If you do, prepare for the dust and the hurting.
Anyway, it’s time to move on.
I just use a brush of about Number 2 size. The paint has to be thin and WELL STIRRED. This means about a minute of stirring. A real minute, not where you go “uh, that seems like a minute.” No. Stir it properly. Before I stir, I add in a few drops of Slo-Dry from Liquitex and some water to thin it.
Then I draw a line.
See that “iffy” area on the side of the belly air-scoop? Should it be dark green or sky? I don’t want to “shy away” from these puzzles. If I have to decide if it’s painted one color or the other, I decide and I paint it according to plan. I don’t want to be wishy-washy and try to hedge my bets by “kinda” painting it. I either paint it one color or the other. Deliberately.
Then I draw another line.
That’s about all there is to it. The one thing that I noticed as I did this painting was that I constantly dipped the brush in the paint. I never want to have a “dry” brush that “pulls” the surface of the paint. It must be SLOPPY. Always always always. Even to the point where the paint may run or drip. Better to have a drip or run than to scrub out the surface.
I make mistakes.
Look at the model, then look at that photo of the real thing. It’s off. Fortunately, I’m going to use the American method of painting each color separately and not on top of each other.
That’s right. I’m the American representative now. Yeah. Read it and weep.
Eventually I end up with this. The lines are drawn using a the brush. It’s not easy, maybe. It’s easy for me. Very relaxing.
But there are errors and goofs. I need to apply the first coat of dark earth.
Notice that I have corrected the worst of the errors, using the second color.
Here is that “oops” on the top of the port wing.
This is only the first coat, and the underside will be painted last in order to properly do the demarcation between the upper and lower colors.