Interpreting ILM painting techniques in scale modelling

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spacebob

Sr Member
I don't think they used what we all normally refer to as washes in panel lines. A wash to make panels pop is usually on gloss coat doesn't it? Then matte.
The black base coat ilm used will always leave a teeny bit of shade in the corners. More subtle.
The staining in the falcon pic there is not flowing into crevices and its leaving a tide line, so painted on the matte it is.
 

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Toadmeister

Sr Member
I don't think they used what we all normally refer to as washes in panel lines. A wash to make panels pop is usually on gloss coat doesn't it? Then matte.
The black base coat ilm used will always leave a teeny bit of shade in the corners. More subtle.
The staining in the falcon pic there is not flowing into crevices and its leaving a tide line, so painted on the matte it is.

I agree ILM didn’t use washes much if any side of streaks and stains. Their scale was typically large enough and with scratchbuilt peices to cast natural shadows that it wasn’t really needed.

When I build a Bandai 1/72 model it’s a different beast of molded and blended surfaces that will benefit from a wash to create shadows that otherwise would be lost.
 

starwarsdude

New Member
I agree ILM didn’t use washes much if any side of streaks and stains. Their scale was typically large enough and with scratchbuilt peices to cast natural shadows that it wasn’t really needed.

When I build a Bandai 1/72 model it’s a different beast of molded and blended surfaces that will benefit from a wash to create shadows that otherwise would be lost.

The point is that they didn't wash the panels lines to make it look like inked comic book art. They did splatter washes here and there.

The thing I'm learning about ILM models is that they were probably much sloppier than most people imagine, given their on-screen purpose and limited time and money.

I'm trying to use the airbrush more to match their look but find a Tamiya weathering kit isn't a bad choice either in some cases.
 

crackerjazz

Sr Member
Hi Jaitea I just started browsing around again after so many years. : ) This is exactly what made me stop looking in -- you guys are so good at ILM-style painting and I felt so inadequate : ) I notice that ILM paintjobs are unique in that they seem to employ techniques that are the opposite of traditional methods. On the 5 foot falcon there seems to be an absence of washes that creep into crevices which we would normally apply to our beloved aircraft scale models. And instead, the misted-on dark colors are on top of the greeblies? It seems to be a negative of how normal model painting should look. Creating tonal variations just using the the airbrush is also another area that just made me throw my hands up. I tried using oils but it still looks different -- I'm not sure if the ILM modellers actually employed oil paints? I know I should just practice more but until I can find a way to paint my PG Falcon right, it stays in the box : (
 

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Toadmeister

Sr Member
Hi Jaitea I just started browsing around again after so many years. : ) This is exactly what made me stop looking in -- you guys are so good at ILM-style painting and I felt so inadequate : ) I notice that ILM paintjobs are unique in that they seem to employ techniques that are the opposite of traditional methods. On the 5 foot falcon there seems to be an absence of washes that creep into crevices which we would normally apply to our beloved aircraft scale models. And instead, the misted-on dark colors are on top of the greeblies? It seems to be a negative of how normal model painting should look. Creating tonal variations just using the the airbrush is also another area that just made me throw my hands up. I tried using oils but it still looks different -- I'm not sure if the ILM modellers actually employed oil paints? I know I should just practice more but until I can find a way to paint my PG Falcon right, it stays in the box : (

Just get started on your Falcon. It’s a fun build independent of painting.
 

Analyzer

Master Member
I think the ILM style works better on larger scale stuff and is skewed towards extreme lighting. Sometime things were a bit sloppy or haphzard
like the side of this canopy or the staining on the pipes behind the neck. It is overdone, but it reads well on screen in the final shots

with table head.jpg


My personal take on the ILM look for 1/48 and smaller stuff...obviously YMMV

on the smaller Bandai stuff, I think you have to tone things down a bit.

washes, not crisp uniform panel line washes, but more of a filter/staining wash works well
along with weathering powders, oils, pastels and "mist" coatings/layers to tie everything together

for example on Gold 3 here, the black in the panel lines is most likely the result of some kind of wash, it is just not uniformly applied. There appears to be no wash on the side panel. Those streaks can be mimiced with pastels or an airbrush. At larger scales it is easier to use airbrush, but I find pastels and oils easier to work with at smaller scales And then finally, some very very thin mist coats to kind of fade/blend the effects together and add some dark patches and faded areas

041-yMGDyOT.jpg
 

Hunk a Junk

Sr Member
My take on it, after building what I hope was a fairly faithful reproduction of the 5-footer in the PG Falcon, is that what ILM did and how we do things as modelers are two different things. We could follow ILM's apparent method on a model to a T and it might not get the same results on a model on a much smaller scale intended to be seen under normal household lighting, etc. A studio model designed for use under intense lights and designed for specific film stocks is just going to look different than one seen in person in our homes. And I'm not even talking about on-screen appearance vs. real life appearance. As modelers, we're creating illusions of other, (usually) larger objects. In this case, it may take using different methods and paints than those ILM used to create a look that accurately replicates the studio original. For example, I avoided using heavy washes on my Falcon AFTER I painted the reefer white base coat (except in areas where it looked like ILM created some surface staining), but I did apply wash UNDER the base coat in order to create artificial shadows and to bring out details I knew would likely disappear under the uniformity of the base coat. That allowed me to use a thinner base coat and to still get the illusion of the black undercoat that ILM used on the original. That might not be the best method, but it gave me a look I think it pretty close to studio model.
IMG_8839.jpg

IMG_8840.jpg

IMG_8932.jpg

IMG_1726.jpg
 

Analyzer

Master Member
For example, I avoided using heavy washes on my Falcon AFTER I painted the reefer white base coat (except in areas where it looked like ILM created some surface staining), but I did apply wash UNDER the base coat in order to create artificial shadows and to bring out details I knew would likely disappear under the uniformity of the base coat. That allowed me to use a thinner base coat and to still get the illusion of the black undercoat that ILM used on the original. That might not be the best method, but it gave me a look I think it pretty close to studio model.

That's pretty similar to what I have been doing. Add washes around all the greeblies, the add some mist coating afterwards and avoid using dark black washes for panel lines
 

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