Airbrushing Camouflage Patterns
DVD Presented by Mario Eens
A new DVD has arrived that aims to help us all better understand how to paint a great camouflage with the ever popular modelling medium of acrylic paint from new company MXPression. Let’s have a look at the DVD and see if it’s a good (– or as I found after seeing it) a really good investment!
“Airbrushing Camouflage Patterns”
Presented by Mario Eens
PAL DVD (NTSC users can also use this in a PC.)
Format 16:9 - Colour (of course)
Running Time 66 mins
Languages: English - German - Japanese
Subtitles: English - Flemish/Dutch - Italian
Available from: MXPression’s retailers world wide
- This weekend (17 + 18th Sept.) MXPression will be at the Historex stand at Euro Militaire – the video is on sale there
The video starts with a menu screen of course – a play menu, chapters, subtitles, and languages are all options here – the languages spoken being in English - German – Japanese while the DVD is subtitled in English - Flemish/Dutch and Italian. The DVD is PAL format but will work on any PC with a disk drive of course! Most DVD players now are region free anyway so that’s not usually a problem.
A nice intro with great camera shot so Mario’s work and the man Mario Eens himself sets the tone for this DVD – it is not really a school style video as you can see with them goofing with Mario with the camera and making fun poses at the start – you immediately warm to the guy which is important as it’s not just some other old dude sitting in a chair talking about how they had to hollow out a stick and blow through it to make an airbrush effect back before the war – it’s a guy with some personality talking you through in a nice an easy pace.
You get to see all of the techniques and the processes in action from start to finish and the end result of each – I learnt a lot from this video and I think most people could too – let’s talk more of the contents though – ill go through chapter and verse – lots of pictures to show you what is on offer and why its better than any book on the subject I have read.
At the start of this DVD Mario explains that this film is to show you techniques and not a historical accuracy lesson in colours - really who could ever do the definitive colour round up is a much smarter cookie than 99% of the population. Mario focusses instead on showing you the best techniques to wrangle your subject into the correct painting scheme for you to be pleased with.
I had high hopes after seeing Mario's collection!
Mario talks through the airbrushes he uses and talks about the optimum airbrush aperture for coverage against detail. A few of different types of these are shown here but I was pleased to see him using a less common airbrush called the Harder and Steenbeck infinity - this airbrush has a neat tool free assembly method and a great paint/air mixture on the back of the airbrush – I have a similar airbrush from H&S and its great to see them using something other than a badger or an Iwatta. I related to this straight away when I saw that I had all the equipment I just needed the knowledge this DVD contained to help me achieve my desired result.
Mario helped also with tips on what to look for in obtaining a Compressor and what not to use (air cans) the good thing about compressors like large tank and moisture trap with adjustable nozzles for airflow, silent compressors and a regulator help!
Mario talks us through the tools and often usual household items he uses to do his painting. From paper towels to cotton buds (Q-tips) to pipettes and straws are all part of the everyday equipment you may have lying around that can help your camo-painting skills reach their peak!
Colour systems used here are the most popular ones around – that I found very helpful as Mario goes through different techniques with different paints and cleaning agents and thinners to show you just how to use your preferred brand. He uses Lifecolour, Vallejo and Tamiya Acrylics in this video, and knowing how popular these are with modellers he has made a good choice for this DVD. You can relate to what he is doing because again like the airbrushes he is using the same equipment as you are.
Safety is talked about, a mask; goggles are talked about – as are the safe use of thinners and the hazards of each.
The most important thing I think people have trouble with in their airbrushing is thinning the paint. I know especially when I am trying a new type of paint I have problem working out the ratio. Different types of the same brand of paint have different thinning ratios as well - Mario takes us through this in a simple but very effective example of the tried and true analogy of milk – how it behaves is how your paint should behave when travelling through the airbrush. This I understood already – but a good quality video of how this should be done beat a picture by 1000 words! I now have no problem mixing my paints after seeing this really insightful but most helpful part of the DVD. (Well occasionally I still have some issues but that is just my own, not because I am not very good at mixing paint)
In Airbrush Basics Mario takes us through some practice exercises with his airbrush – from straight boxes and lines, to curved and wavy patterns, all of these exercises help with your aim and confidence with the airbrush. The differences between airbrushing on different surfaces are discussed, as are optimum pressures to use when brushing.
Distances and movement actions are discussed in the part on practice and airbrush exercises – how to achieve different size patterns with changing distance from the kit’s surface. All of this as well as the all-important “air on, colour on, MOVE, colour off, air off” technique that enables a clean, regulated pattern spray to be achieved on the model each time.
In the troubleshooting section we are looking at possible problems and the rectifying of these issues in this part of the DVD. Problems such as splattering, spiders and runs and are discussed as are the differences of changing surfaces and any impurities these may contain such as dirt or grease are explained.
Mario takes us through the quick colour change with acrylics – how to - without completely disassembling the airbrush, change colours and keep working “on the run” instead of having to shut up shop while fully cleaning up. A handy trick that again is worth the DVD price nearly itself if your painting progresses like mine has since watching this...
Mario then takes us through the painting of a Brumbar he has made up. Through the initial steps of painting this vehicle you can see through an extended view - not just a snapshot or shortened sequence – how he goes about getting the paint on this half of the vehicle. The fact that it is done in real time gives you a better understanding of how to go about painting this in the most effective way much better than a book or pictures does or can.
We then progress on to the painting of the wheels of the vehicle. Mario shows us how to effectively mask the rubber from the metal of the wheel. Using small beads of Blu-tack™ and toothpicks we learn the fastest and most effective way to give the right colour for the rubber and the wheels. Using wheel marks Mario shows how easy it is to get a realistic result fast – easily and thankfully for people like me error/stuff up free. Mario show how a thin layer with the darker base coat for the rubber brings out wheels to show standard faster than anything I have tried before. Hints and tips for tracks are discussed as are the paints Mario uses.
Camouflage - the main part of this instructional DVD is the second real half of this instructional film. Freehand camouflage is shown in real time again to show this the most basic of patterns; Correcting borders and colour balance of the camouflage mix are discussed. Mario also shows us freehand thin line patterns which were often used in German tanks.
A combination of airbrush and regular brushing is shown next to great effect – after drawing camouflage on a template with a pencil the colour is applied with thinned paint using a regular brush to make the hard edges – then filled in with an airbrush to make a level coat – it is at this point I was getting in the music – as I think the song sounded like “satisfaction” but it is little things like the music that add to the flow of the video, instead of stony silence while watching the DVD in real time as Mario paints there is music playing, not to loudly but just at the right level to help things flow. While on the music I must say that I liked it a lot! It never distracted from what I was watching which is what you want really.
Mottling is discussed next – Mario takes a Panther turret and shows how from start to finish he free-hand sprays colour on to the sides of the turret – this part was especially helpful to myself as I often model mottled figures and more often aircraft from the Luftwaffe with mottled finishes – this DVD isn’t just for the armour guys but for everyone who needs a hand with their modelling technique.
With the help of some scale plans and some well thought up design of the camouflage Mario shows us how to create two and three colour patterns with hard edges using an airbrush. First the best method to demark – then cut the masks, and then how to apply the colour. How to apply a mix of three different colours over each other is explained and better still shown here.
The small dots shape of the “ambush” scheme common with German tanks is shown here as well
Mario actually shows you the paint on the angle so you can see it quickly drying and how he uses his airbrush air to speed it up. This whole DVD to me is just full of real time great hints and tips and it’s like having a tutor there with you.
Soft masking patterns are described and the best way to use masks to let the paint bleed through around the demarcation are shown here as well.
It looks like a confusing mess before the third colour goes on – but Mario shows you how to get it right
Also shown is the masking method to create soft spots
Silly putty is used to create a waffle or all number of camo patterns, really it is these parts like this in the DVD which help your mind run wild and create the patterns you have not worked out how to do yet. Like Mario says at the start of the DVD the research is up to you – this DVD is an instruction of just HOW to achieve these complex patterns. The colours are at your own discretion.
Ripped and cut paper is shown to be a good masking medium and the way of making this into a useful mask is shown. A neat method I have never thought of before.
The ambush camouflage of three colours with a stencilled spotted finish is shown with two different methods here. This is really an advanced technique but Mario makes it look easy. Through imitated stencilling and actual stencil replicas the look is shown in detail which leaves you confident you can do it after seeing it on video.
The imitated stencilling shoes what a lot of dots can do for your tank
Lastly finishing the vehicle and cleaning up the airbrush is covered. Even an old dog like me can pick up a tip or two from the real experts! Deconstructing the airbrush is shown on a Harder and Steenbeck infinity and tips are shown on the best and most efficient way of cleaning that brush. Ohh and there is a neat little bonus part in the video as well if you wait on after the short credits. Well worth the wait to watch!
While this DVD does not explain the ins and outs of how an airbrush works it is truly the best hands on tutorial that I have experienced to help you get the most out of the airbrush you have. The sequences on paint mixing and achieving the right viscosity of your paint make the price of the DVD in themselves with all of the on-going benefits they will bring you. The basic, intermediate and advanced tips Mario shows are for the beginner’s right through to the experts who will all learn something from this DVD I guarantee
The pace – narration and subject matter of this DVD is spot on. The fact it is in several languages and with subtitles will only add to the appeal as modellers around the world all need the same help and usually ask the same questions. The laid back style of presentation helps and never talks at you – this and the other touches like the introduction to Mario and the music in the background all make this a entertaining and informative watch that I have repeated viewing a few times since I got it.
If you need to know more about how to effectively use your airbrush to use with acrylics this is the DVD I would buy - you cant say better than that really.
Also just released and up for review from MXPression soon is their new DVD
Here is a short Video Trailer of the latest video on YouTube.
Cilck on the MXPression banner for a distributor near you