Clean Paint Lines... With a Brush?

Komachi Jun 29, 2011

  1. Komachi

    Komachi TrainBoard Member

    Hey, Guys,

    Question for the paint guys out there...

    How does one get nice, clean, crisp paint lines when painting structures, without paint "bleeding" into the mortar lines, etc. when painting structures... with a brush?

    I know it would be better if I was airbrushing my models, but I don't have an airbrush, so I have to use brushes to paint my models.

    I'd rather not have to keep going back to re-paint stuff. Just paint it once and be done with it, without screwing up surrounding paint and/or details.

    Appreciate any tips/suggestions you may have.
  2. Harron

    Harron TrainBoard Supporter

    Couple options for mortar lines.

    First is to build from the background up. Paint your whole wall the color of the mortar, then use a drybrush technique to paint the brick. Drybrushing will keep paint from sinking to the lower level.

    Second is to use a thin wash of the mortar color over the entire brick wall, then quickly pat dry the raised brick surface with a paper towel to remove excess wash. The color will settle into the grooves and when it dries you'll have mortar lines.

    I saw a video recently where a guy used drywall compound and rubbed it into the groves with his fingers, then used paper towel to take the excess off the brick.

    Personally I prefer to use the wash method then lightly drybrush the brick with a slightly brighter shade of red - helps it stand out even more.

    For other things (windows, doors, etc) - paint before assembly, makes it that much easier. Otherwise use painter's masking tape.
  3. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

    komachi - no easy answers for your question. I'll state the obvious and say it helps to have good eyesight and a steady hand! And probably the second thing is experience. Types of paint have a huge bearing as well in how they flow off the brush and as you mentioned, how easily some will bleed into mortar lines and such. The brush itself - the quality, makeup and size, as well as shape - also play a part.
    I have just broken into the world of airbrushing but so far most all of my experience has been to use it as a spray gun, not detail lines. So - I'm still using a brush for details.
    The best flowing, smoothest paint with a brush I've used is solvent based paint like Floquil. However it does like to bleed. Sometimes not a bad thing as mentioned above it does work well when doing mortar lines, just cover the whole wall and wipe it off the bricks. Water based acrylics are easy to use but tend to dry too fast on the brush and on what you're painting. I've found it's good for dry brushing though, as it doesn't act as a solvent on the base coat.
    For long straight lines I use either masking tape or decal stripes. Really no other way to do it unless you are a professional pin striper.

    Best advice is to experiment, hone your own techniques and practice! Invariably you will put out some junk before the good looking things come out - but that's the way it goes. There's several pieces I've done a year or so ago that I thought looked darn good at the time but now I'm redoing because I've progressed.

    Hope this helps a little - good luck and don't stress it.
  4. jeffrey-wimberly

    jeffrey-wimberly TrainBoard Member

    I start with the unpainted wall. Rub in a gray acrylic paint to fill the mortar lines then wipe off the paint on the brick surface. Go back and paint the wall a brick color (or whatever color) with the dry brush technique. Let dry. If another part of the same wall has to be a different color I use blue painters tape to mask to make the line. Once again use the dry brush technique. Start at the tape and work away. Never go toward the tape or paint can be pushed up under it. Remove tape. Let dry.
  5. meledward23

    meledward23 TrainBoard Member

    One thing that has helped me alot when working with acrylic paint (in another form of hobby painting not trains) is to dip the brush in Future Floor Wax Polish and then dip the brush into your selected paint color. That and using 0 and 1 sable brushes not synthetic.

    Future often will make a paint smoother. IT does increase drying time some and it will give a shinier finish (and harder). A matte over it works fine to dull it out.

    I use varying amounts of future in painting projects. Sometimes a lot to thin paints down to workable, sometimes just a little for a smoother finish, and sometimes a little just to delay drying to help with blending.

    Working on the technique though may take more practice than applicable in trains. Repetitive painting of similar models over a period of time allows for more technique trial and error than I seem to get from trains.

    But my two cents...
  6. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

    That's interesting, I'll try it with some of my more problematic acrylics. The white and yellow flats seem to be the worst.
    I wonder - have you (or anyone) tried that as an additive when air brushing?
  7. Dee Das

    Dee Das TrainBoard Member

    The fastest way to paint large brick structures is to use the appropriate colored spray can. The new Fusion paints for plastics have a fine enough nozzle that you can apply a really thin coat. Once it dries, I use a bottle of liquid white Kiwi shoe polish. The plastic bottle with the foam dabber on it. Rub it across the bricks and the polish goes into the mortar lines. Then wipe the face of the bricks off with a damp (not wet) cloth. Do one small area at a time as the polish can dry rapidly. I then go in with a fine black pen and/or the dry-brush technique and make cracks, discolored bricks, etc. Once you dull coat the entire structure, it looks pretty good.
  8. Komachi

    Komachi TrainBoard Member

    I appreciate the ideas for mortar, guys, but I was going more for being able to paint the details on my buildings without straying outside the lines.

    I've tried using 3M blue painter's tape, but the paint seems to want to bleed under and "blotch" into the surrounding details/brickwork.

    Was wondering how I could mask those areas off, or paint them, with a brush, and still have some nice, clean, sharp paint lines.
  9. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

    3M painters tape may be OK for painting your house but in my experience it's marginal at best for masking your models. There are much better suited brands made specifically for modeling - and at the moment I can't remember any brand names lol. Check your local hobby store's paint section for a start, I'm sure there are some experts who will chime in here too.
  10. grouch

    grouch TrainBoard Member

    I thought I read somewhere that if you paint the tape with Dull Coat or Mat Medium, the paint won't bleed through.

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