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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

Am painting a full stack 1/144 Space Shuttle atm.
My 2 Monogram 1/72 full stack Shuttles are still waiting to be done :) I thought I`d practice on the little one first.

So... I'm about to paint the underbelly of the Orbiter. Going by photos, I think satin black is the best option.
But the belly has, because of previous Earth re-entries, a light grey coating on it which kinda whisps off at the edges.. See photo....

http://wallpaperstock.net/space-shuttle_wallpapers_25111_2560x1600_1.html

What I want to know is how best to achieve this affect on my Orbiter.

I've thought of adding a grey to the black mixture but that will just produce a different shade.
Maybe getting some light matt grey and dabbing it on with a tissue and flicking it off at the edges ? I really dunno and am totaly unpracticed with effects like this.

But I've seen what some of you guys are capable of so I know I'm in the right place for an answer :)

Cheers.
 

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The wall paper picture didn't come up (do you have another?) when I clicked on it so I'm assumeing you're talking about the charing of the tiles? If this is the case try painting it black first then 'dusting' it with gray. Since the charing was uneven, make it darker in some areas than others.

For those that didn't get tile decals when they were available I've seen them use screen as a mask to replicate the tiles to good effect. Also, as you've no doubt seen, some newer darker (black) tiles are scattered about too.

Hope this helps.

hal9001-
 

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Use Google to search for pics of the shuttle that was sent to a NYC museum.

I read an article on this earlier this week.

They mentioned the exterior was not "cleaned up" so that people could see one in the condition its in as it returned from a mission.

The pics might give you some ideas.
 

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Use Google to search for pics of the shuttle that was sent to a NYC museum.

I read an article on this earlier this week.

They mentioned the exterior was not "cleaned up" so that people could see one in the condition its in as it returned from a mission.

The pics might give you some ideas.
Unfortunately the Enterprise never went into space, it was used for atmospheric testing only. It won't show more of what he is looking for, it doesn't have engines or a heat shield.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Enterprise

@F1 Dry brushing shades of grey on black or powdering are both viable options. Just experiment on your test model, perhaps one half one way and the other half the other way and see which you prefer.

By the way, good find on that photo, it really shows detail of the underside of the shuttle!
 

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Hi guys,

Am painting a full stack 1/144 Space Shuttle atm.
My 2 Monogram 1/72 full stack Shuttles are still waiting to be done :) I thought I`d practice on the little one first.

So... I'm about to paint the underbelly of the Orbiter. Going by photos, I think satin black is the best option.
But the belly has, because of previous Earth re-entries, a light grey coating on it which kinda whisps off at the edges.. See photo....

.
I puchased a set of tile decals from e-bay for my 1/72 scale shuttle and the seller uses Tamiya Color TS-4 German Gray for the base cote to go under the tiles, I could not find that brand of paint in local stores so I picked up the closest color in Testor paints.
 

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I worked on the shuttle for the entire program and retired last year when it did. We had the tile people in our group. When the tiles were first glued on the orbiter they were a kind of semi-gloss black. Then as the orbiter flew during reentry the plasma flow along the tiles would make them look streaked in an aerodynamic pattern from front to back. The streaking pattern would be kind of a lighter gray starting along the leading edge of the tile, basically dissipate along its length, and sometimes build up a little on the trailing edge. I've often thought about how to paint something like that but it would be hugely tedious and difficult. I have two sets of 1/144 tile decals I bought years ago and will use those on mine when I finally build it. I just got an Airfix 1/144 shuttle yesterday and also have one of those big Monograms. I contacted a guy in England who sells tile patterns in 1/72, 1/144, and 1/200. I'd like to see yours when you get it done.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@hal9001 Here is another link to the photo http://racingrenders.com/shuttle.jpg

Your description of the underbelly is spot on. How do I achieve this 'dusting' effect. Do I need special paint and/or brushes for that ? I have Humbrol and Revell enamels here at the moment. Don't think you can dust that on :)


@spawndude, Thanks. I have a lot of reference pics already and a few books too including this latest one which is great for the pics... http://www.amazon.co.uk/Space-Shuttle-Celebrating-Thirty-Years/dp/0760339414/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337269604&sr=1-1

I really gotta visit NYC someday if only to see that thing in real life. Wow!


@Sgthawker Yeah, I have the photo as my desktop too :) I will have to find out about this technique of dry brushing / dusting / powdering. It does sound like it will have the desired effect. Its a new term for me though as I`ve always, up to now, done it the traditional way of building and painting with the enamel paints. I'm guessing this might be a bit more involved.


@RobertH, I have those decals for my 2 Monogram 1/72 full stack Shuttles which are waiting patiently for my attention. I didn't get any 1/144 ones - at least I don't recall. Now I`ll have to check :)


@rkoenn, OK now it's one thing when I get responses from modelers who can advise me on techniques to paint the Orbiters underbelly but quite another when I get one from a guy who not only worked on the Shuttle but with people who worked on the actual tiles ! :) I feel a bit humbled.
You said the streaking patterns were on the tiles. You mean each ?
I don't think Im going to individually tackle it tile by tile ;) besides which this model (Revell) has a smooth bottom so there are no tile patterns on it.
Once I think I know the way to paint (or dust) the paint onto the Orbiter I will use that technique probably in the main engines and on the maneouvering thrusters where possible.
I would gladly show you my attempt at that once it's done. Right now I have the white paint on the body and its looking quite dirty which was both unintentional and actually quite handy because I didn't want a clean looking Orbiter.
 

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F1Racer, would you like the email address for the guy in the UK who sells the decals in all those scales? Let me know and I'll PM it to you it you want it.
 

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EffOne,




I presume the tiles on your shuttle are outlined by raised or engraved lines, yes? If that's the case, I would treat them as one unit:
  1. First I'd paint the entire area flat black. I know the tiles originally had a satin finish, but the wear and tear on them would flatten their appearance. Plus, 1/44 is a pretty small scale and a flat finish will provide a more accurate-looking 'scale'effect. Of course, I'd have painted the entire color scheme and applied all the decals before I weathered any other part of the shuttle.
  2. I think gray colored artists chalks would give the best burn effect (be careful not to buy "oil pastels", which cannot be ground into powder; some chalks are also called pastels). I'd rub the appropriate color with an emery board over a paper towel until I felt I had enough gray powder to weather my shuttle. If I needed to alter the color, I'd follow the same procedure with warmer or cooler, lighter or darker colors, then blend the powders into my gray until I had just the right colors.
  3. I'd apply the colored powder to the model with a fairly small, pointed brush. The powder would be placed where the burn effects should be greatest so that the thinning application of chalk could be streaked back along the lines of airflow. The thin brush would drag the last of the chalk along the edges of the wings, leaving streaks like those in your photo. Colored chalks could be used to weather the upper portions of the shuttle as well.
  4. A light misting of a clear flat sealer like Testors Dullcote would set the chalk and seal it. Clear sealer can alter the appearance of artists chalks on a given surface, so I'd be perpared to apply more chalk if the scorching effect became too diminshed. Applying the sealer with an airbrush would give me the greatest control over how much and where I placed it.
Here's a photo of a shuttle touching down. As seen here, the shuttle looks close to 1/44 scale. Although you can see that it's weathered, the colors aren't as dramatic as they'd be if you were standing next to the real thing. That's what is meant by "scale effect"; the rule of thumb for weathering in any scale is, less is more.

If the underside of your shuttle is smooth and you're wanting to show all those little tiles, you'd be looking at a lot of work. That is, unless you get a set of the tile decals that Bob has reccomended. This help a little?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great stuff guys.

@rkoenn, I did buy the 1/72 decals for my other 2 Monogram Shuttles and maybe it's the same guy. But yes please PM me the email and I`ll see if it's the same guy and also if I want to get them for a future Shuttle.

For this one though I think I want to paint the underside and learn how to weather it.
Thank you.


@Mark Thanks, some great tips there. I will try and see if our Arts shop has those chalks in that colour and follow that method.
The Testors I will have to order because they don't have it here.

Unfortunately there are no tile markings on this model kit for the underneath tiles. Its smooth. I'm not too concerned with creating the tiled effect, that is going to be way too much work and I wouldn't know where to start :)
 

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...I'm not too concerned with creating the tiled effect, that is going to be way too much work and I wouldn't know where to start :)
Looking at the photo I posted, the individual tiles aren't very apparent anyway. I think you've got the right idea, EffOne. You'll probably find a set of artist chalks, rather than one color. That's for the best, as you're bound to find uses for the other colors sooner or later.

 

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F1 Racer, the dusting effect I refered to is simply holding the airbrush back far enough you don't get an opeque coverage and it lets some of the black show through. No special paint. Of course not too far back or it will be grainy. You're just trying to change tonal values in a uneven way.

Like someone pointed out there is somewhat of a heat flow pattern to the lighter charing. Try testing on the belly of an old aircraft model to see what different effects you come up with. Practice, practice....and practice.

Pastels are a good choice, but, again, that takes practice too! There's no easy way to replicate tiles with dedicated decals I'm affraid. I've never tried it, but try the screen effect I mentioned to see what you get. Paint black first then 'dust' with the grey over the screen.

Good luck.

hal9001-
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks guys. I will consider these options and see which one I'm most comfortable with.
I havent used my airbrush yet so Im new with that too.
Can I put the paint in neat or does it need to be thinned first ?
 

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You'll definitely need to thin the paint unless it's formulated to be shot out of the bottle. Testors and others make metallic paints that don't need to be thinned, as are some acrylics. Otherwise, you'll need to thin the paint until it has about the consistency of milk. The safest thinner is whatever the manufacturer reccommends.

The paint/thinner ratio, P.S.I. to shoot with, etc. are things that you'll master only with experience. Proficiency with your airbrush, as hal so astutely observed, is a matter of practice. Don't be scared, just pull out that junky old model you have sitting around and start hosing it.

BTW, make sure you have a decent spray booth to pull overspray and flammable fumes (that even acrylics generate) out of your work area. And a good respirator will protect your lungs the way a paper dust mask can't.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well I think I'm going to try the artist chalk method first as that is not only the cheapest but one that I think I'm less likely to mess up on. I do have a very old (25yrs) landed Orbiter that I built 1/72 scale which to try it on first.

Then some point later I`ll start learning how to airbrush etc. I don't really want to start doing it on my Shuttle model.

Let's see how it turns out.

Great reference photo btw. I`ll work off that !
 

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Could you dust on the gray through a nylon stocking or similar mesh ... Semi-transparent, building up layers, while masking some tiny squares to leave them black ...?
 

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Something like this...

The "black" squares are where a tile has been replaced recently on the orbiter due to damage or other problem. There were probably 50-100 tiles that needed replacing per flight. So you could randomly paint some of the individual tiles semi-gloss black too for realism.
 

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Can't help on the painting technique, but can I suggest you make her dirty?

Here are some photo's I took just after Discovery arrived in Dulles.











I hope these help. Notice how dirty/used she is.
 

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Compare her to Enterprise from Nov 2011





Both from Dulles, Notice how much cleaner/neater Enterprise is.

Again hope this helps
 
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