Saturday, 24 November 2012

Small Paint Touch-ups ~made INVISIBLE!

Hello!

So, today I will be popping in briefly to my poor neglected blog to talk about minor paint touch-ups.

It happens so often...
You have a lovely shiny new figure. It's pristine and beautiful right out of its box... then, in an instant, lost in your excitement, your hand slips; that momentary, involuntary movement which sends your new treasure flying. For a few moments, your heart is in your mouth as the figure falls to the floor (or worse, onto the sharp edge of one of those Apple ergonomic keyboards)... Thunk. The sound rings coldly in your ears.
Next is the horrible sinking sensation as you realise that beautiful new shiny paint is chipped. The chip is small, but horribly obvious. You know the shining white fleck of raw plastic will catch your eye every time you look at your figure and the regret will live on inside you forever! You must do something!
BUT WHAT? (DUN DUN DUNNNNN!)
Well, you have two fairly obvious options. You could put the chipped figure on the shelf and feel sad, or, you could paint over the blemish and be happy.

Today I will be explaining the unthreatening task of covering up the all-too-common paint chip.

Meet Chogokin Aegis, who is beautiful:
Some people claim that Chogokin Aegis has trouble standing on her own but they are obviously just naysayers who lack creativity. She can stand just fine! ... you only need to adjust her center of gravity forward a little...
So anyway, Aegis had a relatively small blemish on the bow around her neck. I think she came out of the box with it.
Here it is, in all its shining glory:
Okay, so it's not THAT bad, but it's annoying. (Besides, I like painting.)
So... tools.
I will be using the following things:
A tiny paintbrush.
Paint.
I know it's a lot to remember, but try to stay focussed.

Now... This is the part where I explain with unnecessary detail tricky part.
It's time to choose the right colour.
The paint I use for this kind of thing is good old cheap and readily available acrylic. It doesn't matter what grade. Student or artist both seem to be fine.
If you want to do touch-ups, I suggest keeping a good range of colours so that mixing the right shade is easy.

Now, I need red. You'd think red is red, right? No. Wrong.
You see, paint manufacturers are not normal people, and to them "red" is anything which even kind of vaguely resembles what we, in the real world, would term "red". (Like "indian red"? Not even close. Sorry guys. It's brown no matter which way you look at it.)
I, personally, have three shades of "red" on hand for just this reason. Usually, at least one of them matches or can be mixed to a colour which will match:
From left to right (note that label colours are often wildly inaccurate and names vary a lot):
"Cool Red": this is a pinkish colour similar to the magenta used in CMYK printing and is good for making purple but not orange. When added to yellow it makes a colour I like to call "poo", but purples made with this shade have a lovely depth and clarity. Added to a spot of white it makes "hot pink".
"Warm Red / Brilliant Red": This is a bright, slightly orangey colour and cannot be used to make purple, but it does a very nice orange.
"Red": Miraculously, this artist's paint is actually a good medium red which can be mixed to purple or orange, though it doesn't make as good a purple as "cool red". I searched for many years to find this colour.
Unfortunately "cool red" and "warm red" seem to be the most common in shops, but if you keep both of them in stock you should be able to manage. Who knows? Maybe mixing them together will make a proper red (though for some reason I never felt like trying that...)

Please note that no other primary colours are this stupid.

So, to choose the right shade I opened the tubes and compared the colour of the actual paint inside with Aegis' ribbon and luckily the "red" on the right was very close, so I didn't have to mix colours.

Mixing colours really isn't that big of a deal if you have to do it. Just keep fiddling around with small amounts of paint until it's right.

On to the actual painting:
It's a very small area which I'm painting. Just get a tiny bit of paint on the end of your brush and gently paint over the blemish.
If the paint is a bit lumpy, wipe your brush and use it to smooth over the freshly painted surface (before it dries!) until it's nice and even, removing excess paint if necessary.
You don't need much. I dipped my brush once for this job.
This picture shows approximately how much paint I used.
(And how tiny the brush is!)
If the area to be painted was a bit larger, I might consider thinning the paint with a bit of ethanol or metholated spirits to make it spread more evenly (no, vodka probably isn't good enough). I wouldn't recommend thinning with water because it tends to stop the paint from sticking to the plastic.
When thinning, just add a teeny drop of ethanol/metho to your palate (which in my case is the lid of an old ice-cream tub – classy!) and thin the paint little by little, as you go – invariably some sections will want thicker paint than others.

Sometimes, the colour isn't as much of an exact match as you expected it to be! \(O.O)/
If this happens, don't panic. (o.o)
The human brain seems to be trained to notice sharp edges, so, using a very thin layer of paint, make a gradient (see below) over the edge of the touchup. This will make it extremely hard to notice the colour difference. Sometimes you have to paint quite far to make it work, but that's no problem.

If you really stuffed it up, then quickly wash your brush and then use the wet (but not dripping) brush to loosen the paint (this must be done before it dries), then dab off the mushy paint with a tissue.
I have done this plenty of times and I've never wrecked a figure.

If worst comes to worst, you can just paint over your touch-up once it's dry. (I end up doing that pretty often, actually...)

And... We're done!
I always write a lot, but once you actually get down to it, the job only takes about 40 seconds.
Aegis' Fixed Ribbon!
The "red" paint didn't quite match the original colour, so I made a gradient.
Can you see it? It even extends onto the left side of the bow at the top.
(I can't see it.)

More info on gradients:
Introducing Real Action Heroes Baoh Renewal ver!
Doesn't he have a pretty face?

These are not before and after shots. Unfortunately I forgot to take a before shot >__<
These pictures just show how he looks in different light. Left: Under a horrible desk lamp. Right: With a flash.
Can you see where I painted? It's more obvious in the picture on the left.
When I got Baoh, he had a little bit of a mark on his nose and I also didn't fancy how dark the lines/cracks around his mouth were.
That's totally personal taste, so I suppose you can consider this a mod and not a touch-up, but I thought those lines looked a bit messy and not true to the manga, so I PAINTED OVER THEM!
Naughty me. He was a collectable. Still, I love disgusting 1980's manga so I doubt I'll ever part with him.
I made a colour I like to call Baoh Blue by mixing the cool red from earlier with a colour called "cobalt".
I have included Baoh in this post because he shows a visible example of a home-made gradient.
You can see in the image on the left that there is a slight discrepancy between the colour of the middle of Baoh's face and the colour between the black lines on his cheeks.
This is because I couldn't get the colour exactly right (and I like the variety anyway) and I also couldn't extend my invisible blendy magic gradient as far as I would have liked without painting out details... but the point is, do you see how the new colour gets thinner and thinner until it's hard to see it? There's no "edge".
This is achieved by using less and less paint the further out you go.
That's what you have to try and do if you want your touch-ups to be relatively invisible.
Try it on a scrap of plastic like an ice-cream tub lid. It's not as hard as you think!

Happy Painting!
Cheers!
Sparkey

43 comments:

  1. Which type of paint should I use to fix a paint chip in the hair of a blonde medicom RAH? Would Acrylic be too flat or it would work? The figure's hair appears to be a brown color base with the blonde/transparent pale yellow painted over it to make the blonde hair. He has different colored strands of blonde to make highlights but it's one of the lightest colored areas that has a chip. It looks to me like the top coat of paint chipped off exposing the brown underneath. I can't take him to the nearest beauty salon and ask them to give him a dye job! ;) lol

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    1. Hullo!
      Boy, I know that problem all too well!
      Acrylic paint is fine for RAHs.
      The only thing is that sometimes it dries a bit shinier than the surrounding paint. You can only notice at certain angles, so this doesn't bother me personally, but if you're a real perfectionist, you can mix the paint with some matte medium (Liquitex brand seems to work and is readily available from art stores). This will take most of the shine off the paint.
      I hope that answers your question alright, and I hope you have fun painting over the chip!
      I usually really enjoy paint touch ups!
      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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  3. Hi! Can you give me any suggestions on fixing the chipped hair tip for this image? http://puu.sh/dwZgG/7139e4abd0.PNG

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    1. Hello!
      Sorry for my slow reply - it's such a busy time of year!

      The chipped hair part probably just needs a little bit of smoothing and a dob of paint - after that you won't even notice it.
      My advice is to get yourself some very fine sandpaper and just carefully sand off the raggedy edges of the chipped area.
      Next, use the method which I described in my article to paint over the bare, white plastic, and that chip should be nigh invisible.
      You'll probably have to mix your own paint, but don't stress. Just mix the colour on an old butter lid or something similar and then adjust it little by little until it looks the same as the hair colour.
      You'll only need a tiny amount of paint.

      Depending on how particular you are, you may not even need to sand the chip. Painting may be enough.

      Good luck!

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  4. Hello. I recently got a Rika Furude Banpresto Prize figure (the one with the green dress), and as I was showing my mom, I let her hold it and it slipped out of her hands. x_o *Sob* Anyways, it has a minor crack and paint chip on her hair, and I'm not sure what to do. Should I use these techniques and paint over le crack or should I scrape it off and repaint it?! 0.0 Halp!! (Note: never let your moms touch your animu figures).

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    1. Hello! Thanks for your question!

      If the surface is still relatively smooth, then yes! Just paint over it!

      If the chip is lumpy, and that bothers you, then try gently smoothing it off with a *very fine* file or sandpaper. Once it's relatively smooth, then paint over it.

      Best of luck!
      Sparkey

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  5. hey by any chance you know what needs to be done by white blemishes on black thigh-highs my figure is an Happy Smile Company Lucy figure but her thigh high are showing rather strange whiteness.

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    1. Hello! Thank you for your question!

      I can think of several ways you can approach your problem, ranging from doing nothing to repainting to contacting the manufacturer, but it would be much easier if you could show me a photo of your Lucy so I can see the problem.

      The only thing I would suggest without seeing a picture is to try washing the figure gently by hand with soap and lukewarm water. Sometimes pale discolouration will come off easily this way.

      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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  6. Hello, My Motuc He-Man fell off his display shelf and now its nose and scalf hair paint is chipped off.
    i can live with the hair but nose looks particularly aweful!!

    Can you please help me with the right shade or color combination , At least for the nose?

    Or is that skin shade readily available??

    Thank you snd appreciate

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  8. my Motuc He-Man fell off from my display shelf and now his nose and front bit of his blonde hair is discoloured. (Nose looks aweful!)
    What kind of color should I use to touch it up? (Its very minute but visible)

    Can you help me with color combination?
    or is that shade readily available?

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    1. Hello! Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately, skin shades vary so much that it is almost always necessary to mix your own paint. Pretty much any skin tone can be made using various combinations of red, yellow, white and black.

      The exact amounts will vary between skin tones, of course, but for He-Man, my advice would be to start with maybe equal parts white and yellow plus a little red on your palette. Start mixing small amounts of the colours together, and adjust the ratio little by little until it looks right. If it seems too bright compared to He-Man, add a *TINY* amount of black at a time. You should be able to match the colour this way.

      Remember not to use too much paint, or mixing colours will get messy fast.

      Please note also that some paints will dry to a slightly different colour. To test it, you could put a tiny thin layer on a bit of paper and dry it off quickly with a hairdryer before your main paint mixture solidifies.

      Good luck!
      You should do fine!

      And remember, you can always paint over a bad touch-up with a better touch-up.
      ... You can sand off bad touchups as well :D

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    2. Thanks a lot for really quick reply! I am gonna try that sooner than later!!

      I've got my before pic.

      http://s5.postimg.org/ql0l37r1h/20150508_115902.jpg

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    3. Glad to help!
      Pics are always handy. Yeah, you are definitely going to need some black to make that colour, but be careful with it; it's potent!

      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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  9. Can you give me a tip on to what colors can I mix to paint the hair of my super sonico figure some spots have faded so I need help

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    1. Hello!
      So sorry for my late reply!

      Not all Sonico figures have exactly the same coloured hair, but in general, I would recommend trying some combination of white and red first. For some figures you might need white and cool red or if that's no good, perhaps red, white and a tiny bit of yellow. In all cases, I would expect white to be the main colour with just small amounts of the others mixed in.

      I also recommend thinning the paint with some alcohol (ethanol) before applying it, or Sonico's hair may end up looking a bit lumpy.
      You might also consider adding matte medium to the paint if you're worried about your touch-ups looking shiny.

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  10. Hi, I received a figure that had a some paint chipped off from its shoe. The spot became sorta grey instead of the black. I was wondering what I can paint it with ?

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  11. Hello!

    Acrylic paint should be fine for that. You can buy it at pretty much any art store. It doesn't even need to be a fancy brand - student acrylic is perfectly good.
    I hope that helps!

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    1. Thanks for such quick reply, I wanted to ask one more thing, the paint has sort of a shiny finish. Does it matter if I use acrylic paint ? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I lack artistic skills.

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    2. Nah, that's okay!
      Acrylic is a little bit shiny anyway, but if you want a really high gloss finish you can buy some gloss varnish (I recommend Liquitex brand, if it's available. Or just ask the person at the art store what to use with acrylics.)
      Cheers!

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    3. If you're still not sure, just link me a photo.

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  12. I recently scratched my S.H Monsterarts King ghidorah special color version on the wing, what type of paint will work for that type of gold?

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    1. Hello!
      A metallic-gold acrylic paint ought to work well for a small area. Though depending on the shade, you may need to mix it with a little yellow.
      I had a similar issue when I left a gold figure in the sun and it faded badly. In the end, I think I managed to replicate the original colour convincingly with a combo of Matisse yellow, metallic silver and pearlescent white.

      Still, if you're not that creative with your paint mixes, it might be easier to take the figure with you to a specialty art store and try to find a metallic acrylic paint colour that matches.
      It's also possible that you could get a gold marker which would match, so that's worth looking at too.

      I hope that helps!
      Cheers!

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  13. I was wondering if you know what kind of paint and glue I should use on a soft vinyl figure. My eternal sailor moon excellent model figure keeps coming apart and needs some areas repainted.

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  14. Hello!
    That depends on what needs gluing. "Coming apart" makes it sound like previously glued parts have come unstuck...?
    If that's the case then a dab of super glue (cyanoacrylate) would probably do the trick.

    If the parts are actually *broken* off (IE, the plastic has snapped or cracked) then it would be much easier for me to advise you if you could link me a photo of the broken surfaces.

    As for paint, I would recommend regular acrylics for pretty much any figure touchup. Just do the gluing before the painting (if possible) since glue often melts paint.

    I hope that kind of helps!
    Cheers!
    Sparkey

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  16. Have an "old" Alter 1/8 Sanya Litvyak figure that I've had out on display in a very well protected area from sunlight, etc. I noticed recently a strange glare on the crease of her pleated skirt. I grabbed a step-stool and gently removed it from the case. I noticed a very small hair-line place on the skirt where the paint came off. The problem is, the gradient is so strong on the figure, I'm not sure if this method would work without being overly noticeable. Any suggestions? I would be willing to send pictures if that would help your assessment. I would rather not have to rebuy the figure.

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    1. Hello! Thanks for writing!
      I will need to see a photo or two before I can be of any real help, since, from what I can see on Google Images, the figure doesn't look like she has much of a gradient on her skirt at all, and I'm not sure from your description what kind of scuff/scratch/fracture she has.
      Is the plastic broken (a hairline crack) or is the paint just scraped off along the outer edge of a pleat?

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    2. Here are some pictures that you can clearly see the missing paint:
      http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r123/elizlestrad/IMG_0422_zpskyaxnboq.jpg,http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r123/elizlestrad/IMG_0423_zpssfriwbea.jpg

      There are no cracks, broken bits, or defects on the figure otherwise. Just scraped on the edge of the pleat. ^^

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    3. Hello again!
      That's really small. I think if you mix the paint carefully, and thin it with a bit of ethanol or methylated spirits, you should be able to paint over it just fine as described above (like I did with Baoh).
      To match the gradient of the original figure, mix the paint to match the darkest part of the damaged area, then spread the paint out over the palette and add a little white to one end, mixing backwards until your palette has a gradient painted on it which looks similar to the skirt's colour. Then as you paint the skirt, you can take tiny samples of paint from different sections of your pre-made gradient to match the colour.

      A word of caution, though: if you don't have experience with the paints you're using, try them out on a bit of plastic (like an ice-cream tub lid) first. Some paints dry to a darker colour than they look when mixed and thinned.

      I hope that answers your question! (If it doesn't, just write me again.)
      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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  17. Hey :), i recently got a Super Sonico Space Police figure in the pink version, but the pink color of the skirt peeled off. Could u give me any advise, which colors i have to mix so that i can overpaint that spot?

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    1. Hello!
      Unfortunately, it's really hard for me to tell you exactly what colours you will need to match the pink on Super Sonico's skirt, but I can guarantee you will need red and white. Because pink comes in so many shades and variations, you may also need blue, yellow and black in very small amounts.
      (Rule of thumb -- black makes it duller, yellow makes it more "peachy", and blue makes it colder.)

      When mixing the colour, start with a dob of white and a dob of red on a palette of some kind (could be an old butter lid. Doesn't matter), then start pulling dabs of colour into the middle with your brush and slowly combining them until you have approximately the right shade of pink.
      Hold the brush up to the skirt and see it it's the same.
      If you need to modify the feel of the colour with blue, yellow or black, use the same method of putting a tiny bit on the palette and then mixing it in with the brush, bearing in mind that you will only need an infinitesimal amount of any of these colours, if you need them at all.

      I hope that was a good explanation. If you need to know anything else, feel free to ask! I've been mixing colours so long that sometimes I forget how I do it.
      All the best,
      Sparkey

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    2. I didnt expect such a good and fast reply!! Im really thankful for your suggestion and i think i might just try out mixing these colors. I have another question but its not color related. I had to fix a figure with glue and it worked really well, but now i have a spot on which glue is on. Do you know how to remove it, without damaging the PVC and the color?
      Thanks

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    3. Hello again!
      If the glue is on bare plastic (not a painted surface) you can use this method to fix it:
      http://figurefixer.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/safely-removing-paint-blemishes-from.html

      If it IS on paint, you can still use that method, but you will probably scuff the paint, so be prepared to paint over the scuff when you're done.
      Unfortunately I don't know how to remove glue from paint without leaving scuff marks.

      Cheers!
      Sparkey

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    4. Thanks a lot!

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  19. I've got some scuffs on my figma Akemi Homura's hair which I want to fix, her hair is black but it's also got some very slight tint of purple or some other color that offsets it a bit from your standard black paint. What should I do to accurately gauge the color?

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    1. Hello! Thanks for your question.
      I always find it tricky to explain how to mix colours, but I'll give it a go.

      I guess my best advice is to paint over any scuffs on the black areas first. Next, get some black, blue and red paint and start mixing them in various combinations until you get a shade of purple which matches -- just judge this by eye. Then paint outwards into the black area, using less and less paint (as described in the article). Just keep working it until it looks nice.

      N.B. On some figmas, black hair is actually off-black. If your black paint is too black to match Homura's hair, mix in various combinations of blue, red and white (in TINY amounts) until you've got a match.

      I hope that helps.
      All the best,
      Sparkey

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    2. Yeah, this one is definitely off black, tried painting a really small area with straight black paint and it was definitely a different color. Only problem is that because it's so dark, I can't actually tell what color the paint is offset to. I want to say purple but the underlying plastic below the scuffed area is purplish too, so I can't tell if it's actually purple or it's the plastic screwing with my perception.

      I guess it's up to trial and error then.

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    3. Yep. Trial and error is often the best way. Just keep mixing colour variations until you get one that looks good.
      Just stick at it.

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