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Wash and stippling

Sketch1218Color
Feedback: I’ve been away from the hobby for about 20 years. In August’s “Building a Beater Impala” there were two terms I wasn’t familiar with: “wash” and “stippling.” The article also mentioned using Windex sprayed on to achieve a certain effect. I’ve been away too long!
Years ago, aftermarket resin purchases were risky at best. Has that part of the industry improved? How does one find a reputable dealer?

-Pat Garcia
via email

Ken: Thanks for the note, Pat, and welcome back to the hobby.  You’ll find there have been significant changes in the past two decades.

The term “wash” refers to brushing on a very thin, runny mixture of paint that will settle into the low spots to create an appearance of depth, plus that’s where most crud will accumulate on a real car - in the low spots.

Acrylic (water-based) paints, which have really taken over since you’ve been gone, can be thinned with water, but thinning with Windex (or even windshield washer fluid) eliminates much of the surface tension found in plain water. Thinning with Windex allows the paint to flow more freely.

“Stippling” refers to dabbing color onto a surface to create a random, mottled pattern that gives the piece a bit more texture, which is helpful when you’re modeling rust or creating an oily build-up.

Stippling is done by dabbing a stiff brush straight down onto a part, as opposed to “dry brushing”, where the brush is pulled sideways across the surface to highlight the high spots.

To answer your last question... yes, the resin aftermarket has improved exponentially in your absence. Gone are the days of slush-cast resin bodies.

Today’s aftermarket resin casters are top-notch, and the best ones are easy to find - they advertise in Scale Auto. You also can Google “Model Car Resin Casters” for reliable links, too.

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