Tutorial - True Material Damage

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong

Another article jumps the jungle. 
We are slowly reaching 200 articles in our article section.
Massive Voodoo once was a place where articles, Work in Progress shots and helpful information for other figure lovers were provided. I know it still is, but somehow the last months of 2012 didn't feel right at all. Less articles, more music and even more music. I told you for 2013 that the blog will find a way back to its roots. So here you go!


This article is about True Material Damage.
Great describtion, I think, but I have a smile on my face because of it. It sounds so ultra professional, but in the end it is just something simple and easy. I even guess many of you outthere already know it and did it for several time.

Let's start step by step. 
I did start a SciFi bust last year, Saergent Corwinn by Wonderlands Project, sculpted by ultratalented Romain van den Bogeart. A really awesome bust that I really enjoyed working on.
Right now I want to write something about its early preparation and my thoughts.

I wanted to create a really messed up character, one who has seen many fights on dark space ship hangars or worlds of the Outer Rim. I was aware already from the start that I want to make his armour damaged.

I had 2 options:

1) painting the damage freehand
2) damaging the resin of the figure before painting

I choose a mix of both, but in this article I only want to talk about option 2). This technique works great on plastic or resin figures. It works on white metal models too, but the material is not that soft so more muscle is needed. I took my drill to bring in damage to the resin of the bust while assembling it:

 I did not put the damage randomly. I thought about what has happened at the areas, for example a blast from a multi-las-shotgun, the character fell, scratched his armour while sliding into cover and so on ... imaginiation never ends here. I checked back on the armour and my plan was to bring most of the true material damage to the edges of the armour and only some at the areas themselves.

Next step was using the drill and a Hobby Knife to bring in the damage. Check for the Edges and do it carefully. I also recommend wearing protection glasses when doing it with white metal as sharp parts can fly into your eyes and damage them. I recommend doing so even you only work this way with resin.

I did this to all parts of the armour. 
Before I primed the figure I cleaned it from all the lints and primed it. Before I'll go further in the article I want to make a little trip to some light theory and why I did put the damage inside the material. I could have painted it all. Sometimes I see figures with damage painted on them, a lot of them are great but some are just ... uhm, snarly. On those you find damage painted like a black line with a white line beneath, somewhere in the middle of an area, like a cut and more of those cuts randomly placed just to paint damage. We described this kind of technique in our Weathering Overview too:

An overview about Weathering, including theory and practical use.

In the end it is important to know why you paint damage to a place. What caused that damage. After this is clear you should understand why to paint a dark area with a bright line under it. It's not just pure randomnes. You can understand it if you keep your eyes open in nature and you can train it by the use of true material damage. It goes hand in hand with the light situation you want to paint on your figure, for example the easiest one, zenithal light:

A guide that shows you how you can bring your miniature into a good light situation.

Recently I was at my local post office and there is a column that explains pretty well the theory behind the black and white line thing. If the light from above hits a hole or a crack it will change the area of the hole/crack. I show you the photo now, followed by words of explanation:

As you can see at this example mostly the lower parts of the edges of the cracks are hit strong by light. This we already know from many painting tutorials and we saw it already on many figures, but why is that so?
Imagine light wanders there from its source. It wanders the area of the column, suddenly there is a hole where the light goes inside before traveling on. I tried to show this in a graphic that makes my words hopefully more visible, check A right now:

 The lower edge will get most of the light. It is good to paint it as a sharp edge highlight. On B you can see the area in a different angle to the light. The light has more room to go inside, so a bigger area will be brighter. It even touches the upper edge of the crack. I hope this shows what I mean. You can already spot it when the figure is primed, some gentle shadows at the crack areas, some gentle lights on cracks bottom. It depends on how you prime. I did prime with black and white like described in this article and did put up one or two blast from white primer straight from above - to have a gentle sketch on my zenithal light:

In my eyes you can do the damage too with only painting it freehand, but it is easier to paint when it is done as true material damage. It is easier to understand when you can work with the material's volumes and if you do understand the "why" you will get the "how to" easily while painting. You will understand why all this theory goes hand in hand with other theory only by the act of painting.

If you try to question the painting you do you will grow. You will master difficult areas, difficult angles and difficult light situations. It is all about training. I hope my thoughts were easy to understand and be sure I still see some mistakes in my photos above when it comes to check back on my own theory.

By the way you can win one of these cool Wonderland Project busts in our Bananalicious Painting Contest - don't miss your chance!

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes

PS: Bust is not that big as you might think from the photos ...


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