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GaryHinshaw

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Fading fast...
« on: September 10, 2008, 07:26:31 PM »
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This is a follow-up to an item I posted in last week's weekend update on fading with acrylic paints.  After botching an attempt to fade a BN car with a coat of thinned reefer white (too many obvious over-spray artifacts), I did a bit of research on alternatives and found that many forms of acrylic tube paints come in a form with transparent pigments.  In particular, white paint with a titanium pigment is opaque, while white paint with a zinc pigment is transparent or semi-transparent.  (Transparent paint was a counter-intuitive concept for me, but I'm sure it's well known to some of you.)

My first attempt with a zinc-based white was with Liquitex's Mixing White (some results are shown in the update thread) but the fine print on the tube reveals that it contains lead which I prefer not to spray... (I can hear the Monty Python retort in my head: but it's not got much rat in it!)  So I picked up Zinc White from the M.Graham line, along with some of their Matte Medium for thinning/dulling the finish:



This brand does not contain lead, so how well does it work?  Here are a few quick test cases, all based on mixing about 2 parts medium to 1 part paint, then thinned with windshield washer fluid (though you could also thin with water - only spray WW fluid with adequate ventilation).  I set the compressor pressure in the high teens and spray at a rate where I can barely see the plume, then just hit it with many coat in succession.

[NOTE ADDED: in post #11 below I decided to switch from Matte Medium to Microscale Flat finish as the dulling agent.  I found the latter to be easier to work with and give better results.  I suspect that any brand of acrylic flat finish would be just as good, but I haven't tested others.]

Here are a few bright containers - factory finish on top, fade on the bottom.  The Hyundai set used a minimal fade, the K Line a bit more:





The nice thing about this paint is that it really is transparent at these application rates - it can produce a pretty decent looking fade effect without looking gauzy.  The matte medium also seems to give a pretty good flat finish to go along with it.

Here are a few old box cars I tested as well.  The first shot of the RG box has a minimal fade on the left half, the second has a more aggressive fade on the right half (factory finish elsewhere):





Again, no obvious spray artifacts compared to opaque pigment paint.  Finally, a classic weathering challenge scheme, before & after a light fade:





This does a pretty nice job of dulling the silver paint too.  So far I'm quite happy with the results.   I'll post more as I continue to try this out and step up the level of distress.  Comments and advice welcome!

Cheers,
Gary

P.S. I also picked up some tubes of their transparent iron oxide colors as well (based on synthetic pigments).  They have a yellow, orange, and reddish brown that may be useful for tinted fades, or base coats for rusting.  Don't know yet...
« Last Edit: October 11, 2015, 05:08:44 PM by tom mann »

DKS

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2008, 07:31:07 PM »
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Thank you for taking the initiative to update this information and post it in the how-to section. This is very useful information to have handy.

(And nice to find another Python fan. "Don't you take the bones out?")

tom mann

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2008, 07:44:44 PM »
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P.S. I also picked up some tubes of their transparent iron oxide colors as well (based on synthetic pigments).  They have a yellow, orange, and reddish brown that may be useful for tinted fades, or base coats for rusting.  Don't know yet...


Nice stuff, Gary...I would like to see the iron oxide colors.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2008, 08:27:15 PM »
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Thanks Gents.  I thought this topic fit better in the "slinging dung" section of Railwire.  I'm headed down to the basement shortly to try out some of the oxides, though in truth, I'm not really sure what I'll do with them yet...  I'll report back.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2008, 08:40:50 PM by GaryHinshaw »

pedro

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2008, 05:32:41 PM »
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Gary, I like the results you're getting. Thanks for posting your method in more detail here.

My question involves the use of windshield wiper fluid as a thinner. Is there a specific advantage to using it versus other alternatives? (Obviously, price by volume would be considered a huge advantage!) It just seems like a curious choice of thinning agent, unless it possesses some magic quality besides price that I am unaware of.

Thanks!
Pete D.


Iain

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2008, 08:32:16 PM »
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Have you thought about adding a tiny bit of some oxide to the white mixture when fading reds?  It ought to reduce the maroon effect without screwing up the lettering.
Thanks much,
Mairi Dulaney, RHCE
Member, Free Software Foundation and Norfolk Southern Historical Society

http://jdulaney.com

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2008, 11:29:11 PM »
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Pete:

WW fluid has very nice flow properties (low surface tension) so I find it gives water-based paint similar properties to solvent based paint.  It also helps produce a very flat finish.  I learned of it from Rich Yourstone's wash recipes and thought I would try it with the airbrush.  Having said that, I will reiterate that it's poisonous -- only use with adequate ventilation when spraying. I simply haven't tried water or other thinners with this particular brew - but it should work fine.  Let me know if you do.

Iain:

I'm definitely interested in trying the oxides but I haven't had a chance yet (never made it down to the basement last night...).  Should have some time in the next few days, so I'll post results when I do.   

Thanks for the feedback,
Gary

P.S. It's a blast having so many new things to try!  :)

Mark5

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2008, 11:23:35 AM »
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Velly Intelestink!



Thanks for the info!

Mark

up1950s

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2008, 12:35:13 AM »
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Thats the best post painted fading I've seen . Have you tried it on a black tankcar , steam loco , or plate girder bridge ?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2008, 04:38:10 PM by up1950s »

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2008, 03:20:55 PM »
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Thanks Richie - I'm very happy with how this paint is performing.  So far I have only tried it on one black tanker and I didn't go very far with it, so it's hard to tell how a heavy fade might go.  In any case this one worked quite well, i.e. no visible spray artifacts.  Here's a shot of an Atlas tanker before (rear) & after (front):



[It was hard to get a photo that shows the fade very clearly...]  For fun here's a comparison to a shiny new ethanol tanker:



but the base colors here are different to start with.  I'll be trying heavier applications soon, I'm sure.

Cheers,
Gary

« Last Edit: September 30, 2011, 07:12:58 PM by GaryHinshaw »

pfs

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2008, 07:43:55 PM »
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This is great stuff, thank you for sharing/taking the time to.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2008, 10:00:37 AM »
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Ok - time for some updates.  Here is the current lineup of material:



I have decided that the matte medium is a bit too thick for fade work; the Microscale flat gives a more subtle finish.  I have also been trying the transparent oxides mixed with the zinc white to see how that does.  I've only scratched the surface with these but so far I'm pretty pleased with the results.  Here is a shot of two fade brews ready for spraying (freshly shaken to make sure the color shows up):



Both consist of ~1 part zinc white, ~1 part color (transparent yellow on the left, orange on the right), ~2-3 parts flat finish, then thinned with WW fluid to the consistency of skim milk.  The degree of color in these mixes is surprising, but read on.

First test is an IM BN boxcar.  Here is a proto shot that served as a reference:

http://www.railcarphotos.com/PhotoDetails.php?PhotoID=9609

I wasn't really going for the level of distress in this photo (especially in the lettering) since I'm not that talented, but this shot does show that the green has faded to a very yellowish tint, hence I'll try the yellow brew shown above.  Here is the factory model:



The only mod I made was to switch to FVM wheels - I'm not going for a showpiece, just something that will look "good" in a 40-car train.  I first hit it with a gloss coat and a few graffiti decals, then followed with a few coats of plain flat white fade.  Then I masked the door and a few regions that were painted over and hit it with several coats of the yellow brew.  Here is the intermediate result:



Despite the obvious yellow tint to the brew, the effect of the yellow is very subtle, e.g. on the lettering.  I finished this off with a light colored wash (~60/40 raw sienna and raw umber) and some basic rust work:





The wash helped to highlight the contrast between the faded sections and the "paint-outs" (which are just unfaded sections).

Next up is a generic boxcar red job, an Atlas double-plug door:



Here's a proto shot I used as a guide:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=387538

For this I used the orange-tinted brew with no paint-outs, followed by a similar light wash and some rust work:



Again, minimal detail work: BLMA crosswalks and MT trucks with extended couplers to simulate cushion frames (a cheap thrill, but it works for me) and of course FVM wheels.  Here is a final shot showing before & after side by side:



The final finish is not quite as orange as in the proto photo, but I think it works ok.  Also, it's hard to see in the photo, but in person the finish on this car has a quality that is hard to articulate, but it seems to have a depth that looks incredibly realistic under good light.  I think these transparent colors are basically glazes (but w/o a glossy sheen) that contributes to the depth.

Next up: trying to fade a blue Golden West Service box I just received in my latest Chuck-pack.  I'm wondering if the orange brew might work here since it's complementary to the blue and hence might block the blue more effectively than a straight white.  I don't really know what I'm talking about here, and I'd love to hear from someone who does, but I'll report back.

-Gary
« Last Edit: September 30, 2011, 07:21:53 PM by GaryHinshaw »

Sokramiketes

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2008, 10:22:22 AM »
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This is such good stuff Gary.  You're nailing the everyday runners that can make up the bulk of a modern fleet. 
Mike

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amato1969

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2008, 10:36:00 AM »
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Nice work indeed!  Not too over-the-top.

Rowan

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Re: Fading fast...
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2008, 03:33:16 PM »
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That has come out really well mate, looks very realistic.

 :)