Sunday, June 5, 2016

WIP: Poe Dameron's X-wing (Black One)

© Lucasfilm Ltd
The second part of my Red 5 commission is painting Bandai's T-70 in Poe Dameron's Black One livery. I was both looking forward to this and kind of dreading it at the same time. Black is a notoriously difficult color to paint convincingly. Most painters, especially inexperienced ones, tend to pick a black paint off the shelf, slap it on the model, highlight with some grey, and call it done. While it's possible to get away with this on simple paint jobs for things like gaming miniatures, on something like a scale model designed for display, this simply isn't enough.

There are two main issues that make it difficult to pull off a convincing black scale model. The first is that most real world objects that appear to be black aren't actually black. This is especially true in anything that has been exposed to the elements for a considerable amount of time, especially sunlight and heat. A great example of what sunlight and heat can do to a vehicle can be found in pictures of NASA's Space Shuttles:
Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105)
The other issue in painting a convincing black scale model is dealing with what is known as the "color scale effect." What that means is that, typically, the smaller the scale of the subject, the lighter the paint needs to be to maintain realism. It is supposed to simulate viewing the real world version of the subject from a certain distance (e.g., looking at a 1/72 scale X-wing from 2' away is the same as looking at a full scale X-wing 144' away). Most modellers don't really worry about this (myself included), but it can be something to think about with certain paint schemes... such as black!

By putting all of this together, we can start to figure out how best to paint Poe's X-wing without it looking garish or out of scale. After priming the entire model with Alclad grey primer, I gave everything a coat of Tamiya German Grey (XF-63) with a couple of drops of Flat Blue (XF-8) added to it. A thin, splotchy coat of NATO Black, which despite it's name is actually a very dark grey, was added on top of the German Grey base color. These two colors make the "undercoat" of the model and is what will be showing under the paint chipping. I used a torn piece of foam to apply Vallejo Liquid Mask along the leading edges and anywhere paint chipping would accumulate. Once that was dry, I gave the entire model a light coat of Flat Black (XF-1) mixed 2:1 with German Grey, which served as the final "black" paint.
In addition to painting the fuselage and S-foils, I masked the canopy and gave it coat of Alclad Aluminum, sponged some liquid mask on it, and then a little bit of Alcald Dull Aluminum to give it a worn look.
I also painted the interior of the cockpit using various Vallejo greys, drybrushed it with some Tamiya metallic pigments, and then picked out some details. I also painted Poe using a mix of red and orange Vallejo paints for his flight suit and then free-handed his helmet.
In the next update I'll be covering painting his X-wing's orange markings and my plans to further weather the ship to make it a little monotone.

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