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Imperial Star Destroyer (3) :

Imperial Star Destroyer : hull paint job

After talking about the optical fiber and the Arduino programming, last WIP for this build up : the Imperial Star Destroyer paint job. Two major challenges in this paint job : the model is single-coloured (in fact that’s not totally true but that’s the most common representation) and the colour is hard to define : white ? grey ? grey-white ? Tricky. In this article I try to explain every step required to get a satisfactory result. Bye the way, many Star Wars ships (or others) can be treated this way.

The undercoat

Imperial Star Destroyer : underlayer

No difficulty here : the model is totally covered with a chrome-silver acrylic paint. Why a silver paint ? We can find quite evidently 4 benefits :

  • metallic paints are rather sticky and easily adheres to almost any surface
  • the neutral tint does not affect the upper paint layers
  • it can be interesting to scratch the upper paint layers here and there to reveal metallic shards on the model (but not this one)
  • the drying time is very short, half an hour at max (depends of the temperature of course)

The thing you should absolutely not do :

About the undercoat, many model makers use an universal primer (you can find them in auto parts stores). Bad idea with a polystyren model : the stickness is awful. Consequently, entire areas can detach and let the plastic naked. You must use those primers with resin kits only.

The pre-shadding

Just after the undercoat, a mat black paint is sprayed into all the gribblies areas (that is non-smooth ones). This technique replaces the usual “wash drawing” step in these areas wich is sometimes unsatisfactory, especially at this scale (1/2700). Indeed, you can’t see the oil runs or soot spots at this scale.

Imperial Star Destroyer : pre-shadding

The base colour

Once these two steps done, the base colour is applied. But which one is it ?

Imperial Star Destroyer : base colour

I chose a white-grey very very white : 80% mat white mixed with 20% sky grey (XF19 in Tamiya’s). However, this tint will be altered later to be lightened and become whiter. Watch carefully the preshadding into the gribblies areas : the surface hollows are accentuated.

The wash drawing

Once the base colour is dry, a gloss varnish is applied (klir varnish diluted) onto the all model surface. The gloss varnish allows the wash drawing to slide on the surface and so to go into the hollows.

Imperial star destroyer : wash drawing

The wash drawing consists simply on applying a grey oil paint into the model hollows. The panel lines will be especially treated.

Once the wash drawing is naked-eye dry, it must be wiped, so the paint stays only into the hollows.

Imperial Star Destroyer : left wash drawing

You can easily see on this picture the difference before/after the wash drawing treatment.

The fading

Eventually, the last step consists on masking a few panels and spraying a very light grey coating. I usually use grey ink et not paint for this step. The ink is thinner and allows to spray very transparent coating.

Imperial Star Destroyer : ventral panelling

In this way you can control perfectly the intensity of your coating for each panel. With the same ink load, you can easily get different tints from a panel to another depending on the number of passes.

Imperial Star Destroyer paint job : conclusion

This kind of scale model requires many painting steps. You cannot be happy with a plain rendering even though the movie model seems to have one.

The ship size generated a huge painting time, at least 30 hours. The longest was the wash drawing sonce I had to go ionto every single panel line.

I’m quite proud of the result, my client too – I guess. This made me want to build my own Imperial Star Destroyer I bought years ago : this big model from Anigrand.

Posted on 28 September 2019 by petersteven in Work in progress

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