Friday, May 31, 2013

1/72 Zombies step-by-step Pt. 3: Zombies complete!


(Sorry about the photo quality: our better camera conked out just as I was about to take these, so I had to resort to the old one.) Zombies are finally complete! Part 1 of this tutorial covered modding figures to make 1/72 zombies, part 2 covered actual painting, and this part will cover finishing touches, including the "magic dip" method for adding outlines and shadows.
1. The first step is to finish the bases. I just paint them with a couple coats of flat black paint. I don't like anything more detailed, preferring as neutral a base as I can so I can feasibly use these figures for a number of scenarios. If I added static grass, for example, they would look strange in an indoor dungeoncrawl.

2. The eponymous "dip" is this stuff: Minwax Polyshades, Classic Black Satin finish. It's wood stain and finish in one.  The figure is mounted here on a battery-powered drill: this is another reason I glue my minis to nails when painting. Some people prefer the control of painting the "dip" onto their figures, but as I find one needs to wipe the dip off no matter what, I like actually dunking the figures in the dip

3. I do this with a box nearby and plenty of paper towels on hand. I open the can, dip the mini while holding the drill, then immediately hold it over the box and spin the drill, to shake off most of the excess dip. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area, and to put the lid back on the can when you aren't using it to minimize exposure to fumes.

4. After it's dipped, you'll need to remove even more excess dip. Blowing on the mini while it's in the box will get rid of the globs that tend to accumulate between arms and legs, and a paper towel will soak any dip that pools in the neck and other places. Dab if you want to reduce the amount of dip, and wipe if you want to remove most of it. By the way, your minis usually won't turn out this dark: I have a problem with too-thick dip that I'll need to solve.

5. Give the dip at least a full day to dry. Even with the satin finish instead of the gloss, the dip looks way too shiny for most minis. A matte spray will solve this problem, and will also provide another layer of protection. Do this outside on a fairly warm day with fairly low humidity, and be sure to rotate the figures and spray as much of them as you can.

6. Give the matte around an hour to dry: You'll see that it kills the shine and also gets rid of a lot of the blobbiness the dip leaves. At this point you can simply pry the minis off the nail head, and they're mostly ready to go (the nails are reusable). You may want to use a hobby knife or emory board to get rid of any excess glue or paint that accumulated around the nail head on the bottom of the miniature, so it will rest flat on the table.
 I hope this tutorial was helpful to at least some of you. As I mentioned, I'm concerned by how dark and splotchy the dip is leaving my figures lately. It's a decent effect for zombies, but I used to get a much cleaner look from this method. I think the problem is that I was lazy about fully sealing the can of dip when I was done with it, which allowed for a degree of evaporation that has now left the dip too thick. I need to figure out a way to thin it with something that won't eat my plastic figures. I'd welcome any suggestions!

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