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Dry Brushing Techniques

Learning dry brushing techniques is a skill that will help take your railway modelling to the next level, as you will discover through this brief tutorial.

As the title suggests this is a painting technique that uses a basically dry brush, I tend to purchase some cheap flat brushes from art shops or the supermarket when they are on offer. With this style of painting you tend to destroy brushes rather faster than you normally would.

Paint brushThe first step is to give your model a coat of primer and then the base colour, normally I use a mid tone as I will be dry brushing the highlights on and then adding the low lights with weathering compounds which I'll cover in a separate tutorial.

Very lightly load the brush with the chosen colour (I tend to do this with a lighter tone made from the base colour, and gradually make it lighter every time).

Now wipe the bulk of the paint from the brush onto a paper towel, so you are left with a brush that is basically dry.

Paint-1Using very light strokes smoothly run the brush over the area you wish to highlight. This should be done slowly and built up over many layers – this is definitely a case of  Less is More.

As you can see from this image we are starting to highlight the edges of the stone on this sheet of plastic card, and if several passes are made you can greatly enhance the detail of the stone or brick work.

Dry brushing is a slow process but with a little practice and a few layers later you can build up a highly detailed finish to your model as you can see.

Paint-2When working with dry brushing you need to think about the way water will run off the stone work, or how it will be stained by the water or oil as it settles.

Using different shades will help build up this effect, and when combined with weathering techniques will dramatically enhance your model.

Once you have built up the layers to the level you desire it is best to leave it to dry over night, and then using an airbrush if possible spray a thin coat of matt varnish over the model to seal it all.

This seals in your hard work and when using weathering powers or liquids it is easy to clean off any mistakes without affecting the highlights.

Finished partThis is part of a small display item which uses a few of my products, and hopefully will give you some food for thought for your next model?

As with all things, practice makes perfect so take your time and experiment. The rewards will come with time.


As always, if you have any questions about weathering & detailing models for your layout, please feel free to email them to me and I will be pleased to assist you.

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