Friday, January 23, 2009

AI: Aircraft Recovery

Recently I obtained 2 Orc Fightas and 2 Imperial Thunderbolts in a trade via bartertown and decided that I wanted to redo their paint jobs. Actually, only the Thunderbolts were painted, but the Fightas needed a little TLC due to shipping issues and so I decided to redo everything.

Above are shots of one of the Thunderbolts prior to any work being done.

As such, I really wanted to try out a technique I found on FTW about using liquid Gesso as a primer. Now the directions on FTW showed how it could be applied over existing paint, but I decided to attempt to strip the existing paint first instead. As this is my first time working with resin, I wasn't fully certain that my normal stripping methods would be safe for it. I decided to go ahead though and use some Simple Green, which in my experience seems to be the mildest of stripping agents.
After soaking in a bath of Simple Green for 1 hour I then used a Sonic Care toothbrush and lightly scrubbed away as much paint and primer as I could. As you can see, the results were very good, but there were still a number of areas that paint still clung to. I decided as the Resin seemed fine to go ahead and give the model another bath for another hour.

After the second bath I did the same process of scrubbing again and more paint did come off, but there was still a little residue. Also I noticed some blotchy patches of area that I think are from super glue that got smeared on the model during it's original assembly. Hopefully this will not be a problem after my primer goes on.

Well, I decided to move forward and try out the Gesso. I have never used Gesso before, but chose a Clear Gesso and added black acrylic paint to tint it. Benefit one was the Gesso in clear was $2 cheaper than the White or black versions. I also chose to glob in on as suggested in the end of the FTW article. Here are some shots after the Gesso was applied.

As you can see, I laid on on pretty think to make sure to get solid coverage. I was VERY hopeful that the Gesso would shrink up as it did in the original article. After 2 hours of drying time here is the final result.

So, it is clear that the Gesso shrunk up as expected. I see it appears a bit grainy which I don't know if is normal, but I think it is OK as when I paint the model I think that will get covered up and may help grab up the paint as it is applied to the model. I plan to try out the Gesso without stripping on my other Thunderbolt to then compare the two to see if there was really difference.

Have any of you all ever used Gesso yourself? I am curious what results you got and was the final result grainy similar to what I got? Let me know.

EDIT: I completed the Gesso on the other Thunderbolt. Can you tell the difference? It is the one on the right. It is a little darker, but coverage as a primer coat I think is acceptable.

Here are a couple closer shots. You can see some of the old red paint peeking through. Still I think these will look great once I get the Electric Blue paint I am planning for them.


CrusherJoe said...


I did a little write-up on using gesso as a primer a little while ago. I read the article on using gesso twice, actually, once on the original site it was posted on and again when Ron re-posted it. That was encouragement enough!

Here's my posting about gesso, if you're interested:

I didn't (and won't ever) use a clear gesso, as good ol' fashioned black works just great for me.

Lastly, while I have used gesso as a primer exclusively after that first trial with it, I can't say that I'm an expert. But what I -can- tell you is I'm not sure where that graininess came from. I've never seen anything like it on any of the models I've primered with gesso.

What I'm trying to say is that gesso doesn't look right to me.If I had to guess as to what caused it off the top of my head I'd say the clear gesso is a pretty good candidate for being the cause.

Unfortunately, though, a "guess" is all it is. The gesso I use is a deep, almost liquid-tar shade of black. When it dries, it's a very smooth flat black all ready for the paint.

jlong05 said...

Hey, glad to hear from another gamer who has used this product also. I look forward to seeing your promised pictures on your site. Very good write-up yourself btw.

I am curious about the graininess. It isn't that bad looking at it, but the pictures really showed it. Also I think some of it may be the over gluing by the original owner of the models. Not sure though.

I have some other LotR and 40K models that have not been primed and plan to use my Gesso on them to see if I get better results or if they are still a bit grainy. If that continues I may switch to the Black Gesso and just go with that.

Luckily I know some artist people, so I can probably donate the clear to them, or actually better yet, restrict its use to terrain where graininess isn't an issue.