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Once more: painting MAS MDF terrain

Discussion in 'Scenery' started by Varsovian, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Varsovian

    Varsovian Well-Known Member

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    I keep working on the various terrain pieces I own - and I plan on assembling my MAS terrain soon (along with the rest of MAS MDF items I own, such as objectives markers). As these would be the first unpainted MDF objects I'd be assembling, I still keep wondering on how to paint them this stuff afterwards? I know I've asked about this before, but I'm still quite... lost.

    After much seeking, I actually found this video by MAS that explains what is their approach for painting their own terrain:



    MAS' chosen approach seems to be spraying the MDF with universal enamel paint (I think?), then painting it with normal hobby acrylics... What do you guys think, is it a good idea?

    They specifically advice spraying the terrain with a *black* paint... But one thing worries me: MAS terrain (such as the Kyokko subway entrance set, which I own) has these thin decorative laser-cut lines... They clearly indicate area to be decorated with colours later on. But wouldn't black paint obscure them completely? Maybe a lighter paint would be better?

    Another option mentioned in the video are the "artists' paints"... But I have no idea what these would be? Hmmm...

    So, guys, any more advice on painting MAS terrain? I really don't want to screw it up...
     
  2. colbrook

    colbrook Black Fryer

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    Fibreboard can soak up acrylic paints, meaning you need many, many coats to get a solid, even colour.

    The enamel paint seals the fibreboard effectively undercoats the terrain giving you a surface you can then paint on, colour doesn't really matter as you can paint over it. You can also seal with hairspray or watered down PVA which will allow you to use acrylic sprays without changing the underlying colour.
     
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  3. Varsovian

    Varsovian Well-Known Member

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    I've read that using watered-down PVA makes the MDF look rough (the term "pulling up the grain" was used) and requires further sanding? If so, I'd refrain from using this method...

    Hairspray, you say? Any specific type of it? I know nothing of these things...

    When it comes to enamel paint - it can be just an ordinary enamel paint, right? Not something like a special enamel primer etc.?
     
  4. colbrook

    colbrook Black Fryer

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    I also know very little about hairspray, but I suspect cheap and cheerful will work as well as anything.

    The reason to use enamel is that it doesn't soak in and sits on the surface, allowing other paints to be applied on to it, most people recommend enamel car primer spray cans but that's mainly because it's cheap and easily available more than any special priming properties IMO.
     
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  5. Usashi

    Usashi Well-Known Member

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    Actually when I started painting my mdf terrains few years ago I was using acrylic sprays as a primer and it was working just fine. I was using Idea spray brand as it was the only acrylic spray I could get in my local artistic store.

    Nowadays I use enamel primers but that's more to do with Zen's stackable trait so the buildings are more prone to take some scratches here and there and as I see it enamel primers are more damage resistant. Still on regular, non stackable buildings using just acrylics sprays shouldn't be a problem.

    Since I use semitransparent masking tape on the buildings and it's far easier to spot black, laser engraved lines when there is stronger contrast, so personally I always use grey primers.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Mob of Blondes

    Mob of Blondes Well-Known Member

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    Artist paint is that... go to art shop, ask for acrylic paint. In some cases, there is no difference with the one used for miniatures, other than pot size and price (fluid and airbrush ones are pretty much the same, and some miniature painters use those). Vallejo Model Color derives from their Film Color range (long gone), and has properties similar to some of their current art ranges. Other brands that sell acrylics are Titan, Amsterdam / Talens, W&N, Maimeri, Pebeo, Sennelier, Golden or Liquitex. Depends where you live, some will be avaliable or not, or at least be cheaper. Some brands have multiple ranges, from high end to intro (or even crafts), and in different styles (fluid, ink, dense, extra dense, chalk, etc), start with cheap or mid level and avoid ultra dense at first (cream ones normally can be thinned to rather liquid, IME).

    PVA can reactivate with water or even humidity, so beware. Sometimes it's just better to use random unused paint or varnish (someone said that they sold colored glue when describing paints). You may want to try urethane primers or gesso for base coats, as both tend to shrink, so any issue with fibers minimizes/disappear once they dry. You can also try craft paints, like Americana, Ceramcoat, Apple Barrel, FolkArt, Marabu, etc, but in some cases I found they are priced like art ones (not the ultra high end, but the student/generic level, of course), specially once you take into account they normally come in 30 - 60 ml or so, and art ones are pretty common in 125 - 250 ml and bigger (sometimes even "jerry cans" / barrels of 5 l). If you can want exact colors, craft ones, and if you are going to practice mixing or don't mind the limited range, art ones.

    With art ones you also get information about exact pigments, transparency and fading, which can be useful as you are not going insane wondering what is going wrong (semiopaque paint will require more coats than opaque but less than transparent, and under colors will matter a bit). Don't be scared of testing things, just get one or two colors you can reuse in big areas (natural yellows, browns and greys, for grounds and buildings) and test their consistency, how well they thin with water, etc. Some drops from a "tooth paste" tube are not a big loss, and if stored correctly closed and above freezing temps they should last decades.

    As for using black, if you paint everything, the lines will stay black if you later avoid them by not soaking the zone but using a more "dry" approach (not really drybrushing) with the next colors. OTOH the result tend to be a bit darker than with lighter primers. You can light or mid prime, then apply black wash to all the lines and inner corners.
     
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  7. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    I had coverage issues with a baby rattlecan of Testors Flat Red when I was painting some MDF. No issues with the fibers swelling, it just took pretty much the entire can of paint for the Warsenal Torii gate. Probably 6 coats of paint(!) before coverage evened out, though that was unprimed.

    Priming MDF black isn't a problem if you don't go crazy on the layers of paint.
     
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  8. Varsovian

    Varsovian Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm... What is gesso?

    Also, if you can use acrylic artistic paints of acrylic spray paints to seal / prime MDF, then why the hobby acrylics (like Vallejo's Game Colour) don't work? I'm confused...

    My current idea is to go with what the MAS guys suggest, spray the scenery with a cheap enamel paint and then paint it with Vallejo. I hope it would work...

    Regarding the laser-cut lines I mentioned - here's an antenna marker I'm working on currently:
    antenna.jpg

    I'm wondering - how does one go from this to that:

    antenna2.JPG
    The finished antenna has somehow been primed and painted - and yet, all these decorative lines are still there... Wouldn't a primer cover them, at least when it comes to their blackness?
     
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  9. Mcgreag

    Mcgreag Well-Known Member

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    The lines are deep enough to still be visible after painting. If the whole thing is black they won't stand out much but even with a dark grey you can easily see them.
    Here is MAS building set (Precinct Sigma Pack) painted with Vallejo German Panzer Grey and some shading with lighter greys and even with colors that dark the lines are still clearly visible:

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. colbrook

    colbrook Black Fryer

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    Gesso is a type of paint/primer used to seal canvas that also works great on minis and terrain, you glob it on and then it shrinks as it dries to produce a nice tooth for paint to adhere to.

    You can get spray Gesso but I've had some really poor results, but that could be because of 30C+ temperatures at 90%+ humidity.
     
  11. Mob of Blondes

    Mob of Blondes Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the VGC don't have fillers, while the others do, or the resin loves to get into cracks. In any case, you will use a lot, so better go with specialized & cheaper things.

    As for gesso, see colbrook above. By smell, I would say the acrylic gesso (crafts, not art type) I got also had PVA. And by guessing, also talc or carbonates (marble dust?) or titanium white (or a combination of those) as it leaves a very white matte chalky surface. Each brand has it's own formula, but the basic idea is something that sticks to many things and lets many others stick to it, shrinks a bit, and can be sanded. Ask in art shop for those that leave the texture show instead of filling any crack (they can know about painting over MDF or plywood, but they will think first about pictures not miniatures). Some brands even sell transparent versions (fine tuned resins?), as the main purpose is the "stickiness".
     
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  12. LaughinGod

    LaughinGod Well-Known Member
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    You can spray multiple coats of paint over engraved lines and not cover them. Trust me, this is coming from someone who bought a crap ton of MDF terrain and I also cut my own since I bought laser cutter few weeks ago. Lines are thin and deep, only way paint covers them is to soak it in paint and get it into recesses. And this is almost impossible to do with spray paint or airbrush.
     
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  13. Zoccola

    Zoccola Angry Maple Syrup Powered Italian
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    I use black mat Rustoleum primer in a rattle can. 9 bucks Canadian a can, you can do about 4 or 5 large buildings per can. (I get a little less out of the cans, as I spray the interiors as well (first as I will eventually finish them, as these have playable interiors) secondly, its protection against water which will warp the mdf.
    https://www.homehardware.ca/en/340g-painters-touch-flat-black-primer-alkyd-paint/p/1720111

    Its an solvent based primer, which means that it will protect the MDF for soaking up waterbased liquids (i.e. acrylic paint).

    After I painted these with Minitaire paints (trying to finish my supply as I hate them). Sealed with Vallejo Mecha Gloss varnish, then weathered with Windsor and Newton oil paints and turpentine. Finally sealed with Krylon mat varnish.

    balcony.jpg front.jpg rear.jpg roof.jpg side.jpg three quarters.jpg
     
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  14. Varsovian

    Varsovian Well-Known Member

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    Rustoleum... I think we have these spray here...

    Re: those pesky lines. So, you guys say they stay visible after spraying... but that's priming / basecoating. What about the actual painting? I paint with a brush, won't the paint get into them...

    Sorry for asking so much about this, I'd just like to wrap my head around how this is supposed to work?
     
  15. Mob of Blondes

    Mob of Blondes Well-Known Member

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    If you apply a lot of paint, or very thin/flowy (brush) or wet coat (airbrush term), of course it will cover, or fill, them.

    Try to pay extra attention around them (just like any other edge were a different color starts), and keep a needle or blade at hand to clean in case of problems.
     
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  16. Varsovian

    Varsovian Well-Known Member

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    A needle or a blade! Thank you. I honestly wouldn't have thought of that... Thankfully, I have both.

    Alright! I think I know what to do. A cunning plan to mess up some MDF takes shape... :D Thank you guys for all of your input!
     
  17. Ben Kenobi

    Ben Kenobi Well-Known Member

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    Where is this building from?
     
  18. chromedog

    chromedog Less than significant minion

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    The one with the neon green acrylic bits is by Knights of Dice (available in the US from "Noble Knight games").

    It's the Obelisk building from their "easy district" range.
     
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  19. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Oh, crap.

    I didn't realize KoD had a US distributor!
     
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  20. chromedog

    chromedog Less than significant minion

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    It's a relatively recent thing (November 30 last year Baron Von Zorcula confirmed that NKG had KoD stuff in - they were his local supplier).