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"Cotton Ball" Paint Fading Method Question

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  • Member since
    June, 2016
"Cotton Ball" Paint Fading Method Question
Posted by David from PA on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 10:23 AM

Hi All,

I'm trying a method I read about on the Large Scale Planes website concerning fading paint by rubbing it with a cotton ball (or soft cloth). Anyway, it seems to work ok but I wondered if anyone has ever done this, and if so, did anyone use anything on the cotton ball (a wash of some sort or another) to get more contrast? So far I have only used a plain, dry cotton ball on bare paint (no glosscote, future, dullcote applied)  

David From PA

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2014
Posted by BarrettDuke on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 10:38 AM

Hey, David. Glad to hear you're working on fading and weathering. It really makes a difference. I think cotton balls should work pretty well. My biggest concern with them would be the way they shed. You will want to make sure you don't leave any small cotton strings on your model. As an alternative to consider, you might also want to experiment with sponges. They don't leave any of their matter behind and can do everything a cotton ball can do. I use them increasingly for painting to recreate the inevitable mottling that occurs on vehicles. Best of luck to you. Barrett

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 11:25 AM

I never heard of this before,so all your basically doing is rubbing the paint with a sponge or cotton ball ? Doesn't this remove paint,or just lighten it ? Please share the whole process.

  • Member since
    March, 2014
Posted by BarrettDuke on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 12:32 PM

No rubbing involved. That would create streaks, which I suppose you might want if you were trying to do water streaking or something. All I do is take a piece of fairly solid sponge that has very few holes in it and dip it slightly into the paint and then apply the paint very thinly in dabbing motions. I have a palette with the base color and then a lighter color and I dip the sponge into the two colors to get any gradation I want. I use another spot on the palette to wipe off some of the paint if I have it too thick on the sponge and get the colors to mix together better. You want this to go on very thinly, so that your base color shows through. All you're doing with this is creating the mottling. Simply dab the sponge onto the model and get the mottling you want. It gives all kinds of color gradation from light to dark. If I can ever finish the Maus I'm building, I'm looking forward to using this technique on the large grey surfaces of that beast.

  • Member since
    June, 2016
Posted by David from PA on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 12:39 PM

Hi, Tojo,

Yes, all I'm doing is rubbing "bare" (i.e. not covered by any clearcoat whatsoever) paint with a dry cotton ball. The effect is a very subtle lightening of the paint. Mind you, I have only tried it on flat colors and I have yet to put a clearcoat over what I've rubbed out. What the rubbing actually does is to take the "bumpiness" out of the flat paint (making it very slightly glossy) and in so doing it lightens the color. It also has a tendency to blend the seam between colors and also blend in two colors along that seam. BTW, the only thing I read on LSP was that it was done, not HOW it was done. It's a learning process for me too. 

David From PA

 

 

  • Member since
    June, 2016
Posted by David from PA on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 1:02 PM

I think I might add to this because I did not include everything that I did so far. First of all, I paint on either aluminum or or some other metallic paint. I put dullcote over the top of that. I paint on zinc chromate (the standard US Navy aircraft primer) then the topcoat color. I let everything dry for a day or two and then start rubbing the topcoat with a cotton ball, an old t-shirt or a q-tip. On raised detail it's very easy to rub through the topcoat and expose the zinc chromate and if I rub a little more I can expose the bare metal underneath. (the dullcote protects the metal paint from rubbing down to the plastic) So far it's been pretty neat and it seems to show a real wear pattern. I've done the cockpit of my F4F-3 and also the rudder which I painted red and white. Ive got the rails where the pilot would step in and out down to bare metal, some subtle bare metal effects around and on the seat, and faded out the top two thirds of the rudder leaving the part under the horizontal stabilizers unfaded. I don't know what this will do to decals. I've decided to paint everything (national insignias, side numbers etc.) on this plane

David From PA

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2014
Posted by BarrettDuke on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 1:47 PM

Sounds interesting, so you're not applying paint with the cotton balls, you're using them as a mild abrasive? That would certainly be less abrasive than practically any sandpaper. I've done the same by using fine grit sandpaper and sanding through top coats to expose underlying steel to make it look like wear spots. Never thought of cotton balls. Please post some pics of the results when you can.

  • Member since
    June, 2016
Posted by David from PA on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 2:50 PM

No, I do not apply paint with a cotton ball, only use them as a mild abrasive as you said, BD. I will post some pics when I figure out the photobucket thing. The fade is so subtle that it might not show up in a photo though.

David From PA

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, July 28, 2016 9:22 AM

This sounds like a variation on dry brushing.  Dry brushing can allow the application of very thin, almost patina-like paint.  It also can be very versatile, by varying the amount of dryness, to apply a shading.  No need to use cotton- you can use regular brushes.  However, I usually set aside brushes for dry brushing, because it can be a bit hard on brushes.  I do not use real expensive brushes for dry brushing, since they do not last as long as when used for regular hand brushing.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Thursday, August 04, 2016 7:41 AM

Thank you Dave,again sounds interesting.

Duke,I have dry brushed with a make-up sponge the way you described,just never heard of the dry method.

  • Member since
    April, 2006
  • From: denver, colorado
Posted by waynec on Saturday, May 13, 2017 11:49 AM

i think there are cotton swabs sold in sporting goods stores for gun cleaning that do not shed like regular ones do.

"You can avoid reality but you can't avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

 

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