Pimp My Board Game

a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Paint Masking

Just a quick note on a paint masking technique I ran across when talking to professional house painters.

In the past, I’ve had limited success trying to mask paint jobs on my minis. I had some professional house painters come in about a year ago to do some painting and asked about how they made crisp and clean paint lines on uneven surfaces like knockdown or eggshell wall textures.

Apparently, the trick is quite simple. You paint your base surface and then tape everything off. I’m doing this with an airbrush but it works with brushwork as well. You can go the extra mile and seal the surface so the tape doesn’t pull up the base coat but if you let the base fully cure/dry and don’t leave the tape on long, it shouldn’t be an issue.

The tape here is just blue painters tape and the yellow is some Tamiya 6mm masking tape.

So here is the main secret. After you tape it all off, go back and paint over it all again in the same base coat. In this case, I’m using the black base again. The theory here is that if the tape is down well, the reapplication of the same base coat will get the base color under where the tape can’t fully seal and make a better seal than the tape alone. Also, when using a brush, any paint that gets on too thick and wants to seep under the uneven spots will still be your base color.

After you apply that cost over the tape, let that dry and then paint with your new color. In this case, I was doing some white traffic pattern (uh future traffic pattern… I’m sure it will make more sense in a few years or hundred).

I remove the tape after painting, not letting anything dry in case you get the new paint trying to permanently seal the tape down. The model should now come out without any major blemishes. Nothing beats putting down a good line of tape so if you’re tape line has bubbles or is lifting up, you will have a bad day.

Obviously, this requires having the base color available to using for the process. If you’re taping over a pattern or camo or a blended surface, this won’t work.

I’ve been having good success with it and will be doing it on more models to come. This finished off my Infinity bots with this EVO hacker Pangguling.

There can still be issues like the front small bot in this picture has some issues at the top where I had to let the paint dry and successive layers were too thick and left a paint ridge. This technique did allow me to use the white undercoat and try some airbrushing shading with the green tones while also having a mask so it succeeded in that regard.

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4 Comments

  1. If you have a surface where you can’t match the colour, blast it with a little matte varnish.

  2. E

    Another trick is to paint your base color and place your tape. Then paint a clear coat over that before painting your second color. This seals the edges of the tape – basically the paint that gets in under the tape is clear, and it keeps the second color from getting in under the tape.

    • Christian

      Excellent! Do you find that that painted on clear coat leaves a paint ‘ridge’ after you remove the tape?

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