Tutorial: Masking Options

by Massive Voodoo

Good Morning Jungle people,

Massive Voodoo is happy to present to you another article that you voted for during the latest tutorial voting.

Since MV is running its year of the painter the number of free articles in the tutorial section is constantly swelling. With the following article there are 235 articles that are waiting for you to read and use them. We hope you enjoy!

26 people voted on the last tutorial decision and the "Masking Article" hit a homerun with 23 votes against 3 votes to the "Dragon priest". Thanks to everybody who is helping to decide.

This article is is written by Roman and it is time to let him speak from his perspective now.


Masking Options

Well, I am no airbrush superhero myself. My main miniature painting tool will always be the brush. I am using the airbrush as a tool like every other additional tool and I should clean my gun more often. The airbrush is a nice tool to work with as it is a nice addition in techniques you just can't do with a brush alone. Check this article about the basic use of the airbrush.

This time I want to talk about using "Masking Options". You already find one cool article about using Masking Tape on a miniature by Raffa in MV's tutorial section: Step by Step - Ferrari Girl

Lazy Masking__________________________________________
This technique actually works, but it is not a technique I'd recommend for every action. You need a tissue and some toothpicks for it and a proper goal that fits to that lazy variation of masking. In my example I made my groundwork to greenish and it did not fit to the figure anymore. Now I want to spray it all a little more with a sand colour.

I used the tissue to quickly mask the painted figure, to keep it from colour harm and accidents. Tissue wrapped around the figure, put in place by using a toothpick for fixation.

The too greenish base.

Using a very thinned glaze of some sandcolour.

Done. Caught the legs of the figure a little bit, but that is ok.

Masking Tape__________________________________________
Using Masking Tape is a well known technique and there are different companies who offer masking tapes in different sizes. In the following examples Tamyia's masking tape was used. I now show you different examples where it was used and explain why.

When placing masking tape it is important that you don not put it straight to your miniature. Place the piece of tape that gets connected to already coloured areas on your shirt or trousers before you place it to the figure. Why? Well, if you hit it right to the figure it still has a lot of sticky powers and might harm your coloured places when removing it. So, first remove a little of its stick-power by placing it elsewhere and then hitting the figure.

You also might need a blade, toothpick or a round edged sculpting tool to have access to detail preparation for the masking tape. Use such tools to cut exact pieces you need to create sharp edges and press them to your material. If the tape that you are placing is to loose colour might run under it while spraying.

It takes proper time to prepare the area you want to spray gun.
It takes proper time to cover everything carefully.
After the Spray. Pink!

Ready for pfft! pfft! too.

Another example,
from private coaching with Sebastian, done for the already painted face.

Another example, this time from Patrick's private coaching.
He used the masking tape for the already painted face again and the colour preparation on the busts clothes (stripes).

Well, masking tape can be used for a lot of things, but the biggest downside from my point of view is that proper preparation takes a lot of time and sometimes, even if you took care it can harm your paintwork beneath. After using the masking tape you throw it in the trashcan as it can not be used again.

Liquid Mask__________________________________________
Liquid Mask is too a very cool option to mask more detailed areas. There is already an article on Massive Voodoo that explains how to work with liguid mask. You can also find many companies who produce liquid mask options for your painting joy. I would not recommand such for big areas as it is always a lot of work to rub it off again, but for smaller, more detailed stuff it is great!

Masking Putty_________________________________________
This is something new to me and I did not use it very often yet. There are different companies who offer Masking Putty or so called Panzer Putty and first it is really confusing stuff. As I heard many Scale Modellers use it since a long time when it comes to working on tanks and such. In this example we used PK-Pro's Incredible Masking Putty "Serious Black" - you can find a link if you click here!

Box looks like this, still not too confusing.

If you now open the box you get confused. Man is this liquid, does it run somewhere if I don't take care? Ough, what is it? Carefully place a finger inside and learn that it is solid. Rip out some of it and move it between your fingers to get a feeling for that interesting stuff.

I now show you different examples where it was used and explain why. First I show you my first attempts on a figure that was painted as a quicker fun paintjob for gaming and explaining options: A Games Workshop Dwarf Slayer in 28 mm.

I prepared basic colours on the figure. In the first steps the skintone was airbrushed, trousers and base painted in their basic colours via brush.

I know it was not the best decision to choose his hair as example to spray on after the masking. I realized this fact quickly while placing the putty there as I had to place much, but I was much faster than I would have been with masking tape and it was fun just hiding the whole dwarf beneath the putty. Then it was time to hit his hair with some orange. Pfft! Pfft!

Corious I was about removing it again. It looks very strange when you remove it but it worked very well, no harm was taken by the already painted areas. Looks like alien poo.

After I removed all the masking putty I placed the amount I used back in the box, the red areas were kind of consumed by the putty and not really a problem. Seems like you can use it more often, good thing. The dwarf getting ready for some more brushwork.

After some brushwork was applied to the dwarf yet again I used the masking putty on the face before I applied some blood splatters on the whole figure. Just press it there with your finger ... drrrooupp!! Cool!

Raffa used this Masking putty on his version of the "Lichy Priest" and shows how exact you can place it. The first application was for spraying the fur areas amd saving the face from harm.

The next example shows how sharp you can really place the edges.
Still fur here.

Now coming back to a tool used in this example, a round edged metal sculpting tool to make accourate placing of the putty possible. In this example it was used to spray the basic colour of the skin pattern to his hat.

In this step - while placing the masking putty - it is now important what you want to achieve in the end. Let's have a look on the case in profile, I hope it is easy to understand. For a soft edge leave the edges rounded down. This can be achieved by just placing the Masking Putty without further detail application work.

If you want to achieve a sharp edge than it is important that you use your helping tools to press the putty in place. The edge where the two colours come together will become sharp in the end.

Well, I hope you understand what I tried to explain here.
If not drop a your question in the comments :)

Masking Tape is really fun to work with.
Raffa once said to me that I'd love it as it is such an easy way to mask, kind of the Roman lazy way but better and yes, he is right, I love it :)

Check how M R Lee used the Masking Putty for some camouflage pattern on his Japanese tank last week.

I hope you enjoyed the article and found some tricks and hints in it for your own masking action while airbrushing. One thing I want to mention is that masking can save you time, but still you got to do it properly with care to recieve good results, even if you choose the lazy method, masking tape or masking putty.

Keep on happy painting!
Best Wishes


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