What I Use (and Where You Can Buy It)

In most modeling situations, I use dry pigment(s) of one kind or another.  In advance of the tutorial I’m collecting photos for, on how to create a section of paneling specifically, I thought I’d write a little bit about what I have on my workbench–and what you might want to have, or not have. There’s no “right” answer with these things, no one specific supply that’s a magic bullet. I do what works for me; I developed my own set of techniques, because no one else’s felt “right.” So bear that in mind, and start small. You don’t want to outfit yourself with a bunch of supplies you’ll never, ever, ever use. And yes, I am speaking from experience!

As far as shopping destinations, I live in the continental US and purchase everything on this list from MegaHobby and Dick Blick. Both ship worldwide. However, I’m sure there are local sources as well. Your best bet is probably to google by specific supply, then see.

And now, without further ado…

Latex craft paint: I tend to favor FolkArt, a Plaid brand. But, really, you can swap in any similar brand (DecoArt, Martha Stewart, etc). I use it for one thing and one thing only, and that’s as a base. I like the colors in the FolkArt range; for example, on the Glencroft, I’m using burnt umber. I’ve used other brands, though, and even oils. It doesn’t really matter. All you’re trying to do with it is prep a surface.

PanPastel: PanPastel bills itself as “the softest in the world.” It is. In fact, the formula in these little pots is so concentrated, I only use them when laying down really heavy color. The color range could be wider, although everything mixes well. You can even do a fun Zorn palette exercise, if you’re into that kind of thing. I do mix my colors, generally right on the surface of whatever I’m painting. I have every color and have, in fact, used every color at some point but I get the most mileage out of the earth tones.

Abteilung 502: These are great pigments, which don’t store in ANY commercially available racks. So keep that in mind. I’m always trying new, and unsatisfying, ways to organize these stupid pots. I have them, though, because I use them everywhere. They’re just that awesome. They lay down less color, generally, than the PanPastels and deposit less quickly, too.

AK Interactive: This isn’t everyone’s favorite brand, but it is mine. They take a little getting used to, but I love their weathering pencils. I use them wet, mostly, or apply them dry and then detail them out with a damp (usually 20/0) brush. I also really like their loose pigments.

There are other brands; I mostly don’t use them, either because they’re nothing special or because they downright suck. I love Tamiya’s paints, but those so-called “weathering master” sets are the literal worst. They don’t deposit at all. And Vallejo pigments, I have a few and there’s nothing wrong with them but they don’t give–me, personally–the same results as Abteilung 502. But, again, your mileage may vary!

As far as other supplies…

Mr. Super Clear: This spray, ahem, is not cheap. Also the cans are tiny. I buy them on Amazon, where each one runs me a cool 15–20 USD. However! I really do think this is the greatest sealer in existence. Honestly, I’m a classically trained artist and therefore I’m pretty sure I’ve used every sealer, between years of classes and disasters and fun that’s been my life. I won’t bore you by listing, exhaustively, every single brand and formulation and what’s wrong with them/it, but I swear: mention a sealer, I can tell you why Mr. Super Clear is superior.

And yes, you do need to use spray. Brushing over your work, however carefully, will ruin it. So set yourself up somewhere safe and go. “Safe,” FYI, means use a goddamn hood. Wear a mask. The pursuit of beauty is no reason to give yourself lung cancer.

Brushes (that are decent): I use these brushes. I also use most of the other brushes in AIT’s line. Detail brushes, especially this small, wear out. No matter how well you take care of them, or how many times you condition them. Accept this fact, and embrace it. When examining brushes, though, generally, look to the brush itself rather than the price tag. We don’t want expensive; we want well made. Some brushes (from dollar bin finds to handmade in Holland) have been on my workbench for years; some, I replace for every project.

So, now it’s your turn! What are your go to supplies? Tell me in the comments!

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