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Painting and toning wood for modelers is sometimes a crucial factor in construction. After all, in a single moment, you can destroy the half year hard work or, au contraire, to give depth and volume to the model.

Much of the fear comes from having little experience with dyes.

Therefore, before applying something on the finished product, it is better to make several samples. In order not to write a lot of "beautiful" words here, I will demonstrate how to prepare for painting/tinting the hull and parts ...

Let's look at different types of dyes and their properties.
So let's split into groups:
- water-soluble;
- alcohol-based;
- other stronger solvents;
- concentrates that can be added to the finish coatings.

Each group has its own characteristics and scope for use.

Options dyes:

- powders;

- liquid concentrates;

- and ready-to-use. 

Application options:


It can be applied to the surface with a brush, sponge or cloth ...

Preparation of the coloring agent (i.e. shellac)

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Shellac is a natural colouring agent, product of insects. It is sold as dry flakes that need to be dissolved at a rate of approximately 30-40 grams to 100 mililiters of alcohol. It needs to be left in a dark place for a2-3 days. It has wide usage, thanks to its characteristics. As the shellac is edible, it is also used in the pharmaceuticle industry and in ...It is also used in photography of products of the leather industry. Wood soaked in shellac is water-resistant, so it is used in furniture. Its protective qualities make shellac a favourite among modellers, too.  

Shellac is applied on cleaned surfaces and fills up the grain of the wood. With this, the the texture of the wood is highlighted and gives and deepens its color. The more coats, the stronger effect and gloss of the surface. .


The shellac solution should be stored in a dark place, preferably in a tightly closed glass jar.

So how to choose the right dye for the model?

I can't say that there is one solution for all cases. In every case there are circumstances that influence the choice of colouring and tinting solutions. This is why I usually prepare series of samples, before I make a final decision what to use on the model. 

Production of a working sample:

1. Test dyes:

It is better to spend a day or two to produce a "working sample" than to regret a destroyed model. So I made myself a few mini-samples of the planking of my La_Cerf, clinker and carvel.

This is not time for hurry, so I first tested the coloring agents on a piece of maple, which has similar coloring to pear.  


(Maple sample under different types of dyes)

2. Finishing coating:

For the protection of painted wood, as well as for preserving the natural color of the wood, it is necessary to apply finishing coatings. There are different types of coatings, and, again, I make a sample board out of maple. My favorites are the wax oil and the alcohol-based shellac, but for some applications, there is nothing better than oil (linseed, tung oil, teak and many others).


(Sample maple coated "finish")

3. Painting of samples:

After these, I prepare samples made out of the wood that I am using on the model - in this case, Swiss pear. All I am trying to achieve is make the color fuller-bodied and deeper. But I also have carvel planking above the wales, so I plan to set it off with tinting.


(Specimens of working wood under the same coatings)

4. Producing the final "work sample" for the model:

To get a true idea of the color of the future model, I make a reference "work sample". It's exactly how I'm going to paint and finish the model. In my case, the clinker planking would be soaked with cyanoacrylate then covered with a coat of woodstain. The carvel planking above the wales will be coated with two hands of wood restoring oil.


(Working sample for painting the model)

5. Multilayered finish:

One more step is left: to choose the protective finish. Ideally, it would have anti-static properties to protect the model from dust. I experiment with different finishes on the final work sample. The time spent on preparing samples pays off with interest in the final result. 

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(Fully finished sample for painting model)

6. Shellac - universal coating:

It can be a finishing and protective coating, as well as used for wood tinting, so I will show a separate sample with different shades. I used "lemon-yellow/orange", "pomegranate-amber" and for comparison - "transparent" spray shellac.


(Swiss pear under different shellac)

I filmed the whole process for you, because it is better to show once than to try to explain how the technique works. The video was shot during the process of coloring while the photos were taken after 100% drying of the samples. In the video, you can see how the different agents behave in the process of application.  

If you found useful information here - like it, or write in the comments any questions that may have arisen while watching! As I increase the collection of dyes, I will update the topic. 

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